Main

-- 13 March, 2005 --

An eye on London

LondonEye.jpg
Given a very little encouragement I could keep talking about Cornwall until I am physically there again. Of course I would end up a blubbering mess and any readers that I had left would be bored senseless. I suppose that I should move on to our final destination before we came back to Oz.

There are a couple of companies in London who run double decker bus tours of the City and Westminster areas. After buying a ticket you can get on and off the bus at any of their stops for a 24 hour period. They go past all of the regulation tourist must see spots so you can see everything that the folks back home are going to ask you about.

The Poet and I took this trip the first time that we were in London together, four years ago. This year we bought tickets because it really is an easy way to get to most of the places that we wanted to go. So long as it isn't raining, the open top isn't too bad at this time of the year, but you do need a warm jacket, gloves and probably a beanie.

After four years of whimping out, The Poet finally gave in and said that he was prepared to take a ride on the London Eye. I think that he was wise to the fact that it is closed for maintenance in January. At least I got a decent photograph from the top deck of the bus.

Posted by robynls at 5:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

-- 12 March, 2005 --

As I was going to St Ives

St Ives.jpg

It has been a few days since I posted any reminiscences of our holiday. Since then I have made a new e-friend, Blue, who has the enormous good fortune to live in St Ives in Cornwall.

The Poet and I have enjoyed a day in St Ives each time that we have visited Cornwall. He came here years ago and bought a painting by the St Ives artist, Keith English. It hangs on the wall of our family room to serve as a reminder of our times here. The Poet has visited Keith English's studio on our last couple of visits.

I imagine that St Ives in the summer is wall to wall tourists but in the winter it is not very busy. Many of the shopkeepers take the opportunity to have a holiday so lots of the shops are closed. The main street is very narrow and paved with cobblestones. Normal traffic is not allowed to drive down it but it is still a good idea to be cautious as delivery vans use it and there is not much space to let them pass. A handy doorway makes a good bolthole at these moments.

Fortunately the pubs are still trading and the one just out of of this photograph provides a great lunch of crab cakes with chips and a crisp salad. The bread rolls are fresh and crusty and the cider is cold.

Posted by robynls at 5:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

-- 04 March, 2005 --

Moving Porthleven


Porthleven panorama

I want to go back and have another look at Porthleven. I want to go back in this entry and I want to go back.

Our cottage is on the road that leads out of the village above the cliffs to the west. Between the cottage and the sea is only a narrow road that has wound up from the harbour, past the Ship Inn and then on to the cottage - The Lookout. From the cottage the view includes the Atlantic and the long wall of the outer harbour. From the road it is possible to see the coast sweeping up towards the Lizard, the Fishermen's Institute that always gets mistaken for a church and then round into the harbour with it's row of Edwardian terraces.

It is peaceful place, even with the waves in the aftermath of a winter's storm.

If you have Quicktime and some patience (8.5MB) click here to view video.

Posted by robynls at 8:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 27 February, 2005 --

Boskenna Cross St Buryan


Boskenna Cross
Our exploration of the megalithic sites of Cornwall was punctuated by lots of stone crosses that are often found in among the hedges at the side of the road. Some of them are even being used by farmers as gate posts or fence posts. It is believed that the crosses are pre-Christian and that many of the carvings on them were done after Christians came to Britian in order to usurp them from the old religion.

The Boskenna Cross is at a road junction near St Buryan. In the right light, it is possible to see a crucified figure on this side of the cross.

Posted by robynls at 2:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

-- 26 February, 2005 --

Cornish treasures

A little while ago I was talking about our adventures while exporing the megalithic treasure of the western Cornish peninsula. I am not sure about the DH who, because of his mobility difficulties, didn't see too much of what was on offer, but I had the most wonderful couple of days - mud puddles excepted.

Lanyon Quoit

After one or two false starts, our first stop was at Lanyon Quoit, not far from Mousehole. After climbing a small stone stile, the quoit was just a short walk across the field. In this case, a quoit is not a game played by children or cruisers, but a stone table. Originally covered by a mound of soil, it is believed that the quoit was a burial chamber. It was blown down in a storm in 1815. When it was re-erected the legs were shortened.

Merry maidens

At the Merry Maidens the DH was able to stand at the fence to see this stone dance which is on the top of a small hill. From the centre of the dance it is just possible to see a standing stone, which is part of the same structure, in the corner of a field across the road. Not seen are the two Pipers, which are in a field behind hedges in the opposite direction. The legend is that the stones are young women who were turned to stone for dancing on a Sunday. The Pipers are the petrified remains of the pipers who provided the music for their sin.

Standing stone in daffodils

Not far away I noticed the top of a standing stone over a high hedge beside the road. I pulled up where I saw a stile through the hedge and, grabbing my camera, dashed off to get another photograph. I ended up with a treasure of my own. Behind the hedge was a field of daffodils in full bloom, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather.

Carn Brae

The most westerly hill on the English mainland has been used by the locals for thousands of years. It is known as Carn Brae. The walk up from the carpark was exhausting but the view from the top was magnificent. I could see all the way up Mounts Bay to the Lizard and out to the rocks beyond Land's End. The site has been a settlement, a fort, a hermitage and a lookout and is the stuff of legends.

Carn Brae

Posted by robynls at 4:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

-- 22 February, 2005 --

Cornish mis-adventures

Menantol.jpg
Men-an-Tol - mysteries of Cornwall

When I left Australia in December I had 3 novels with me. I had chosen Penmaric because it was obviously, from its title, set in Cornwall, but the other two books, Charles de Lint's Little Country and Sara Douglas' Hade's Daughter had been chosen because I like the author of the former and the subject of the later. Imagine my surprise when I found that both these books also were closely related to my travels.

Hade's Daughter is a science fantasy novel - the first in a series called The Troy Game - which weaves history and mythology into a battle for London. It begins in the Mediterranean after the fall of Troy. It very quickly moves to a settlement on the edge of the River Teign in southern Devon, near where we stayed.

Little Country was even closer to 'home'. It is set in Mousehole, on the edge of Mounts Bay in Cornwall. Some of the crucial scenes in the novel involve megalithic sites around this area of west Cornwall and specifically Men-an-Tol. Some of these sites had also been written about in Penmaric.

These conjuctions set me on a quest to visit as many of the prehistoric sites as I could fit into two days. This led to some wonderful moments and also some adventure. At the end of the first day I tried to see Chun Castle, which is the remains of an iron age hill fort. It was getting late and it had been raining for some days previously but the day had been beautiful.

I followed a tiny sign down a narrow lane. The lane eventually crossed a farmer's yard and became a dirt track. Our little Ford Focus began to spin it's wheels and lost traction. Unable to go forward or turn around, I was forced to go backwards. Unfortunately I didn't realise that the track had been quite narrow. I dropped off the edge into the mud. I couldn't go back and I couldn't go forward. We were stuck.

I trudged back along the track in the gathering gloom to the farmhouse. My knock was answered by a man who looked like the archetypal Cornish farmer. After listening to my story he said that he was only visiting the farmer, who was in bed with a broken foot and that he was unable to drive the tractor. He disappeared into the house for what seemed like a lifetime. Eventually he came back with a phone number and the suggestion that I use my mobile phone to contact another farmer - thank goodness there was a signal.

The lady at the other end of the line was very sympathetic. She said that if she couldn't get her brother-in-law, she would come herself since her husband was away from home. "Just wait" she said ... we did.

Down the lane came a great big yellow and green tractor with a great big farmer and two boys who had the good graces not to laugh. The great big farmer even backed the car up the lane for me without too much derision.

I never did see Chun Castle.

Posted by robynls at 5:17 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

-- 20 February, 2005 --

Porthleven - My resting place

lookout1.jpg lookout2.jpg
If I had the choice of only one place on Earth to be, it would be Porthleven in Cornwall.

I looked forward to being here through all of the previous weeks of our holiday. I looked forward to the cool air on my skin and, the sound and sight of the Atlantic at my doorstep. I looked forward to the freedom of our own place where we did not have to be in the dining room for breakfast at a certain time or be back in the house without disturbing the landlady. I looked forward to not having to hurt feelings by refusing the full English breakfast and eating just muesli and toast. But most of all I looked forward to here.

Our cottage is called The Lookout and is perched on the edge of the cliff overlooking the entrance to Porthleven harbor. It is the last house at the top of the road which runs along the edge of the harbor and up the hill towards the edge of the village.

Hanging on the wall above my desk at work is a black an white photograph of a great storm - waves crashing up against the wall of the Fishermen's Institute at the mouth of the harbor. These storms happen only in October but the one that was raging on the day that we finally arrived was doing a pretty good job of imitation. In the summer, Porthleven is a meca for surf loving tourists but in the winter it is quiet. It is mine. Porthleven.gif

Posted by robynls at 3:54 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 17 February, 2005 --

Dartmoor moods

Dartmoor.jpg
The Yorkshire Dales were beautiful but my heart still lies on Dartmoor.
I wonder if it is because my great grandfather was born in a village on the southern edge of the moors. I never get tired of driving through the Dartmoor National Park. There is always something new to see over each rise and around every corner. I even know now where I am most likely to find a herd of Dartmoor ponies. The weather here can be extremely unpredictable and the fog closes in very quickly. This day was very windy ... wonderful! ponies.jpg
Widecombe.jpg The villages scattered around and on the moors are full of surprises and the narrowest lanes to drive down. There are lots of little art galleries and craft shops to browse through. This is Widecombe-in-the-Moor which the Uncle Tom Cobley song is about. We like to stay in a tiny village on the edge of the moors called Drewsteignton. The pub there is renowned for having had England's oldest and longest serving publican. It used to be a nice place to stay but, since it has been sold recently, it is not what it used to be. This year we stayed in a great guest house in the village called The Old Inn, which is run by a lovely young couple.

Posted by robynls at 7:05 PM | Comments (3)

-- 16 February, 2005 --

Ely revisited

The lantern at Ely
I 'collected' Ely cathedral four years ago on my very first visit to England. In fact, it was the very first one. I had watched Ely on a webcam for months before we left Australia but that didn't prepare me for how beautiful it was. The ceiling of the nave is painted with figures from Christian stories and the crossing, pictured here, is an octagonal lantern, richly decorated with more figures of saints. Every time we have been back to England we visit Ely and find something new to see. This time I even took the time to sit for a while to draw.

Ely-006.jpgThe web site that I was watching before our first visit talked about this new statue of Mary that had been placed in the ancient Lady Chapel of the cathedral. It was very controversial. Detractors said that it reminded them of the glamorous presenter of an English gardening program and complained that the statue appeared not to be wearing a bra. I seriously doubt that Mary would have worn one either.

The Lady Chapel was being renovated during our second visit. Though we were not allowed in, you could look through the glass of the doors and see the tombs that had been exposed by the excurvations. This time I could sit in the chapel for as long as I liked, watching the visitors come and go, listening to the echo of their voices and the silence of them gone.

Posted by robynls at 7:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

-- 15 February, 2005 --

York Cathedral

Yorkcath1.jpg
This picture shows why I love to visit the cathedrals in England. They have some of the most beautiful architecture and decoration of any building that I have ever seen. Her is the ceiling decoration on the ceiling of the crossing, which is where the nave meets the trancept. It is one of the most individual feature of each cathedral. Some are plain but most are stunningly beautiful, like York.

Yorkcath3.jpgThe chapter house is a large room where the governing body of the cathedral meets. Often this room is a many sided circle, with individual seats around the wall for the members of the chapter. Some a richly decorated with carvings and York is no exception. It is said that many of the carvings in these buildings are portraits if the building workers and their families. They are images of people who have been dead for a thousand years. This carving shows a married couple.
For each of the cathedrals that I 'collect', I stand by the west door and take a photograph looking down the nave. From here it is possible to see the east window, the choir, the crossing and the wonderful light flowing in through the high windows along the nave. It makes the whole building glow, even in a late winter's afternoon.Yorkcath2.jpg

Posted by robynls at 9:08 PM | Comments (5)

-- 13 February, 2005 --

Beck Hole, North Yorkshire

Beck Hole North YorkshireA beck is a stream and this is the one that runs through the valley where we stayed during our time on the Yorkshore Dales. The tiny village of Beck Hole is quite close to Goathland and our accommodation was at a delightful B&B called Brookwood Farm. The breakfasts that we enjoyed here were wonderful, using all local ingrdients. The smoked bacon was especially good.

villagegreen.jpg

There is only about half a dozen houses in the village, all arranged around a tiny village green, where sheep could often be seen grazing. Across the single lane stone bridge is an ancient pub, Birch Hall Inn, in which drinkers front up to a small window-like opening in the wall of the front room to place their orders. We learnt about the Beck Hole buttie here, which is a bit like a plowman's lunch already aboard a locally made bread roll. We ate more substantial dinners at the Mallyan Spout Hotel up the hill in Goathland.

Posted by robynls at 3:12 PM

-- 10 February, 2005 --

Goathland aka Aidensfield

goathland.jpg

The image that many Australians have of Yorkshire has been gained through the television series called 'Heartbeat' and I suppose that we are really no different. When the DH was deciding where we should stay here, he chose a tiny village just near the village of Goathland where the the exteriors for the series are filmed.

We had great fun walking around Goathland pointing to places that we had seen on television. Even in the depths of winter there were still lots of visitors to the village doing exactly what we were doing. The images in the collage above should be familiar to Heartbeat fans. We also found Greengrass' farm on the dales just outside Goathland. It is really just like it looks in the series and has a sign out the front advertising a camping and caravaning park. This seemed to me to be a vernture that Bernie Scripps would go in for. I forgot to take a photograph.

dales.jpg
My favourite view from Goathland

Posted by robynls at 2:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

-- 08 February, 2005 --

Whitby abbey

whitbeyabby.jpg

Sometimes my quest to collect my cathedrals leads to some adventures.

The signs in the town of Whitby in Yorkshire carried us through the town, over a bridge, up a hill covered in small cottages and then into a very large carpark. We have learnt from past experience to go right to the front of carparks as that is where one finds the disabled carparking spaces so this is what we did here. Again following the signs we set off to look for the abbey.

whitby2.jpgThe path was very rough and worn by little runnels of water that has flowed for most of the winter. It wound along past high walls on one side and glimpses of Whitby below us over the top of allotments. . The DH stuggled along bravely but, by the time we finally found a gate in the wall, he was knackered and stumbling very badly. We found him a spot to rest in the sun as it was really quite chilly in the shade and I went off to look for a way into the abbey. The tearooms were closed but there were lots of people about it looked as if it should have been accessable. No matter where I went, I couldn't get in so I took the photograph up there from the best vantage point that I could find.

Further investigation found a sign on the front gates, which were approached from the complete opposite end of the car park from our chosen spot and along a footpath beside the approach road. The abbey is not open in the winter, dispite all of the people. The road did make it easier for me to drive the car up to the gate so the DH didn't have to walk back.

Posted by robynls at 12:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

-- 06 February, 2005 --

York and Mary Ward

york.gif

In our previous visits to England we have never come this far north. The DH was always concerned that we would become snowed in and unable to continue our wanderings. This winter, though, we decided to come to Yorkshire.

In the 17th century a very couragous woman stood by her convictions, defied the monarchy and her church hierarchy to establish a community of like minded Catholic women to educate girls. Because of this woman - Mary Ward - I am able to work in a school whose philosophy on the education of girls is much like mine.

We had come to Yorkshire to pay my respects at Mary Ward's grave site. Unfortunately the church where she is buried was closed while we were there. We tried to visit the museum at the Loreto convent in York but it was also closed for the whole of January. Thanks to Mary Ward, though, we did get to see Yorkshire.

Since I have been back to school, our historian told me a story about how, after Mary's death, the people of York tried to have the convent closed but a vision of St Michael appeared above the building, scaring the folk into leaving the convent alone. All Loreto schools have a statue of St Michael on the campus to commemorate the event.

I suspect that the story actually comes from the fact that the convent stand just a few metres outside the Michelgate in the city wall of old York. So does the pub where we had lunch on the day that we visited.

Posted by robynls at 6:58 PM | Comments (1)

-- 03 February, 2005 --

Moving on

moveon.gifSadly our time in Paris was soon over and we had to move on, leaving behind the galleries and art works that we might never see again.

Our flight to Manchester was via Heathrow. I was amazed to find that you can see both shores of the Channel from the plane high above. This snow on the roof top of the house opposite the hotel in which we stayed over night in Manchester turned out to be the only snow that we would see on the whole trip.

Click here to read the whole travel story, so far. Start from the bottom as the newest entries are at the top.

Posted by robynls at 5:30 PM | Comments (0)

-- 02 February, 2005 --

Christmas in Paris

notradame.gifLet's face it - I collect cathedrals. Since my first experience with Ely 4 years ago, I have collected cathedrals the same way as other people collect stamps or butterflies. Beautiful things are just irresistable.

What better place to spend Christmas Day in a city that is not your own, when you are far from your family, than in a church where everyone is celebrating the same thing that you are. Mass was just about standing room only and said in French, of course, so impossible to follow but it was still Christmas.

Notra Dame is very different from the many English cathedrals that I have photographed. It seemed to be a lot darker, I think. The east end is a somewhat shorter and rounded, which I hadn't seen before. English cathedrals have lots more famous and not so famous people buried and monumented in their aisles and chapels. I suppose that the lack of monuments could be the result of the French Revolution.

After mass we joined the throng of tourists that had continued to circulate around the side aisles throughout the service. In the south aisle I met Joan and in the north aisle, the Madonna and Child.

In the forecourt outside it seemed as though every sparrow in the whole of Paris had come to be fed. As I watched, parents gave their children crumbs to entice the the birds. This little girl made such a cute picture with the tiny birds fluttering around her head.

Posted by robynls at 3:30 PM | Comments (1)

-- 31 January, 2005 --

Six Degrees of Seperation at the Louvre

louvre.jpg
We went to the Louvre. Who in their right mind wouldn't when they were in Paris. Of course what you don't know is that it would take half a lifetime to fully appreciate all of the treasures in this magnificent complex of buildings. I have read 'The Di Vinci Code' and lots of articles that complain about the glass pyramid in the forecourt but it is really quite beautiful and is a perfect counterpoint to the period buildings of the rest of the Louvre.louvreart.gif

So where do you begin to see all that you can in one day. There is so much to see! Ancient art like this Etruscan sycophacus decoration, breathtaking sculpture galleries, even the buildings themselves are works of art. We sat to eat fabulous bagette sandwiches under this wonderful ceiling.

Naturally when in the Louvre you have to see the Mona Lisa. Having done so, all I can say is "I have seen the Mona Lisa". I was disappointed. It is small and dark and you have to aggressively shoulder your way through the crowds to get anywhere near it. What these sad people miss in their adoration is the much nicer Di Vinci paintings not very far away in the Italian gallery.

It seems that a the six degrees of seperation are alive and well. I was standing admiring a group of figures in a sculpture gallery when I heard behind me -

"Hello, Mrs Smith. Remember me?"

I turned to see a former Loreto student from 3 or 4 years ago. There is no escape! Even in Paris, half a world away, they find you.

Posted by robynls at 8:17 PM | Comments (1)

-- 30 January, 2005 --

Tour Eiffel - only the brave

invalides.jpgOK, back to the Eiffel Tower. Every tourist to Paris has to ascend the Eiffel Tower so we did too. Even though we were there in the winter, the queues at the lifts at the bottom of each of the pylons were long with people shuffling forward through barriers similar to those used to control queues at the bank. At least it gives you a good chance to see the people around you as they weave to and fro through the system and you can pass time muttering remarks to each other about their clothes and hair does.

Finally, you get to pay your entry fee, move through the security search and enter the first of two lifts that will take you to the top. The first lift moves up the 45 degree slope of the pylon – no big deal, as you watch the lacy steel structure move slowly past you until you reach the first level. Here you can eat at a restaurant (not open today) or buy yourself a souvenir of your bravery. The view is spectacular, Paris laid out at your feet.

The timid can stop here but the bold pay the premium and board the lift that goes up the centre of the tower to the top. I’m no wimp! Bring it on! Of course, no-one mentions that the lift is glass sided and the ground quickly disappears below your tingling toes. I chose to look toward the inside of the lift and carry on an animated conversation with the DH about nothing important.

Unlike the first level, which is open to the elements, the top viewing platform is, thankfully, enclosed so that even the acrophobic can feel some sense of security. Paris looks so ordered and regular from here. All the buildings seem to be of a similar colour and the streets run so straight. This picture shows the Parc du Champs de Mars and way over there, just to the left of the one tall black building, is the area of St Germaine where our hotel nestles.

The really, truly brave can go up a short flight of stairs to another viewing platform which is open to the elements, where Gustave Eiffel had a small parlour for entertaining dignitaries. Yes, I did!

Posted by robynls at 5:53 PM | Comments (2)

-- 29 January, 2005 --

Musee d'Orsay

mdorsay.gif

  "You just have to see the Musee d'Orsay"

This was the reaction from my Paris-wise friends when I said that I was really looking forward to seeing the Louvre. I am so glad that they put me straight. In my extraordinary ignorance, I didn't know that most of the paintings that I really wanted to see had been moved there.

Where do you start when you have only one day and 100 years worth of fabulous art works to see! At this stage of our journey, I had not yet come to the realisation that discrimination is the only way to cope with such a cornucopia. We started at the front door and then just tried to see EVERYTHING! Such babes in the woods! It is an impossibility.

No burly security guards here to stifle the need to capture memories on a flash card, only benign officials to make sure that your nose doesn’t actually come in contact with the canvas as you lean in to take a closer look.

Manet, Monet, my beloved Van Gogh – here I discovered a kindred soul in Degas who worked in a flurry of pastel dust like me. Degas lives in semi dark to preserve the delicate pigments of the pastels but Van Gogh is here in all of his brightness and darkness.

‘Culture vulture’ my dear Detlef? You bet!

Posted by robynls at 7:37 AM | Comments (0)

-- 26 January, 2005 --

Van Gogh and the security guard

potatoeaters.jpg

I just had to see Van Gogh! I have more books of his work than I think that we have in the art section of our library at school. I have read all about his tragic life and just love his paintings. So, in this frame of mind, we set off for the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

To make life easier for the 'old man', we used the lift instead of the stairs and this lead to a tiny little problem for me. I had noticed that although lots of my fellow travellers were carrying their cameras, none seemed to be collecting photographic mementoes of their visit. Never mind, I'm not backward in coming forward so I started to click away at a couple of examples that interested me. Ahh! The Potato Eaters, one of my favourites! Got to have a photo to show I was here.

A voice behind me made me turn.

  "You are not allowed to take photographs here. Didn't you read the sign" said the rather burly female security guard.

  "No," says I, in great innocence "Where was it?"

  "On the stairs where you came up" she said.

  "Oh, well then. That explains it. We used the lift. My husband has difficulty with the stairs" - play the sympathy card.

  "No more photographs" she said and turned away.

Good thing they don't teach the security personnel about digital cameras. I still have the photographs.

Posted by robynls at 9:37 AM | Comments (5)

-- 25 January, 2005 --

Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam

RijksmuseumIn my excitement to share my photographs and travel tales I have left Amsterdam without talking about some of the wonderful things that we saw so let's go back there for a little while.

The DH and I decided to go to Amsterdam for different but complementary reasons. He wanted to search out Dutch pottery, especially Makkum examples, while I, having seen the movie 'Girl with the Pearl Earring', had fallen in love with Vermeer so I was going to see Dutch paintings. At the Rijksmuseum we found them both.

When we walked up to the museum we saw a sign outside that said that it was closed for refurbishment until 2008. My heart sank! All this way to be turned away at the door, but then the rest of the sign said that there was one wing open. The curators of this museum very cleverly used some of the most wonderful artworks to document the Goldern Age of Dutch history. We had an art lesson and a history lesson in the same afternoon.

Despite having come here to see the paintings, my favourite item in the whole display was the Delft violin, shown in the slide show here. I would love to be able to take it home to look at it every day. In place of the real thing, I have a little bookmark with a picture of the violin on it so that every time I open the page of my book I can see it.

Posted by robynls at 9:25 AM | Comments (3)

-- 24 January, 2005 --

Paris

tower.jpgThe second port of call on our holiday was Paris. I had never been to Europe before and my French teacher colleague had been extolling the wonders of this city to me for years. I was so excited that I could almost not breath when we left the Garde du Nord and took our first taxi ride to our hotel on the left bank - all that art and only 4 days!

While the Metro is known the world over, we found that the buses were much better for getting around the city. It is much better for seeing the streetscape and they are also much more user friendly for disabled people. We were pleasantly surprised by the courtesy of Parisians, both young and old. They were very quick to notice my DH’s walking difficulty and insistent on making space for him in the special places on the buses.

France makes special arrangements for the disabled at museums and art galleries. They allow entry free of charge for both the disabled person and their carer. Once we were made aware of this generosity, we made good use of it. It did not, however extend to the Tour Eiffel, which was quite expensive, and the queue was very long, even in the winter. It was well worth the wait and the money, though. This photograph was taken as we were leaving the Tour. It was late afternoon and the light show had just begun. It was beautiful!

Posted by robynls at 7:41 PM | Comments (2)

-- 23 January, 2005 --

Amsterdam icons

Amsterdam 004.jpg

I took hundreds of digital photographs during our holiday to Europe and England. I suppose that because I don't have to pay to have every one of them printed then I just get carried away. I like being able to see what I have taken straight away so I can do it again if I make a mess of a particular shot.

We arrived in Amsterdam on 20 December. After we settled into our hotel, we went for a bit of a walk and straight away found the canal boat tours. We have used the open top buses in London before to get our bearings so it seemed a good idea to use the canal tour for the same purpose. It was SO cold but no snow. We saw the tall narrow houses of the city, the bridges over the canals and lots of bicyles. I can't imagine how they don't have lots more accidents with cars driving into the canals because the little fences along the banks are so short.

This photograph is the one that I have chosen to represent the Amsterdam part of our holiday. It contains all of the things that are to me the icons of the city - bicycles, canals, canal boats and the tall, narrow houses. I enjoyed our stay in the city which was made pleasant by the people who are friendly and welcoming.

Posted by robynls at 9:49 AM | Comments (3)

-- 01 January, 2005 --

Ely Cathedral

ely.jpgEly Cathedral is one of my favourites in England. I love the painted ceiling of the nave which was completed in the 19th century by two different artists. It is possible to spot the place where the second artist took up after the first one died - if you are very observant and look really, really closely - which is a bit tricky, given the height of the ceiling. We have visted Ely every time we have come to England. This time I took time to just sit and look and tried my hand at a little architectural sketching. I am still a bit shy at sketching in public but it was an interesting exercise.

Posted by robynls at 11:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack