Tag Archives: travel posts

Travel Post: Germany with Naumburg and Leipzig

With the music festival over, Monday was our day to explore Naumburg properly.

We had our sights set on the cathedral, but on our way there, we visited a rather special plush toy shop, called Kösen.  The are known for their highly realistic plush toys, and their toymakers sketch the animals from life, going to zoos or even overseas to find the animals in the wild and observe how they move.  The toys are then designed based on these sketches – and (alas!) priced accordingly.

toy1

The shop was rather spectacular with highly realistic jungle animals, farm animals, and birds.

toy4

Continue reading

Travel Post! Germany, with a Medieval Music Festival

Saturday was another slow start for us, followed by a long drive north and east to Freyburg for a festival.  We provisioned ourselves for the road with bread, fruit, tomatoes and some glorious capsicums that reminded me of tulips from Dutch paintings.

sat1

And then my friend’s mother, M, who was sharing the driving, and who would get along very well with the Italian side of my family, brought even more provisions, apparently feeling that we might starve without her intervention.

My friend A has been wanting to get me to the Montalbane Festival for Medieval Music for years, and I’ve never been in Germany at the right time.  This time I was – but we had that book launch to attend on the Friday, and Freyburg is a long way from Dedesheim.

So rather than going with our original, more sensible plan, of driving up on the Friday and attending a modest selection of offerings on each day of the Festival, we had elected to drive up on the Saturday afternoon, and then attend EVERYTHING on the Sunday.

sat2

So we drove, and drove, and drove, north and east, past lots of castles, including the Eisenach, which is where Martin Luther threw an inkpot at the Devil, and you can still see the stain on the wall (we did not stop to look at the stain).

And finally we reached Naumburg, where we would be staying.  We did this with a surprising lack of wrong turns – my friend A has been to Montalbane many times, but apparently never without getting lost or delayed on the road.

sat6

Continue reading

Travel Post! Germany, with Heidelberg, Soccer and Theology

And we are back to the travel posts, with our first glimpse of Germany!

Taking the train to Germany always has some interesting moments.  Changing trains onto the more local line is particularly good fun, because the signs at the station don’t always mention the name of the station that is on your ticket, and one has to wander around with a large suitcase looking for a map which might suggest the likeliest train to get on.  Fortunately, I did manage to find my way onto a train to Mainz Hauptbahnhof, where I was met by my friend A.

A has an apartment just on the edge of Lerchenberg, near Mainz, which is full of windows and light. Below, there is a carpark, a row of trees, and then open fields.  At this time of year, even though Mainz isn’t really that far north, the horizon never gets absolutely dark.

mainz

I’d arrived in the late afternoon, and A had just finished her University semester, which had been fairly taxing due to several conferences late in the term and the fact that she is actually working in a neighbouring country and taking the train back to Mainz every weekend.  Given that I had been busily walking my feet into ribbons all over Paris, and was still recovering from that endless cough, I was very happy with her plan for a quiet few days, and a chance to sleep in and catch up.

We took a walk through the fields near Lerchenberg, which I foolishly failed to photograph – there really are long fields of barley and of rye, with the occasional bright red poppy raising its head.  This was very lovely, and the first taste of an Arthurian theme which would recur several times in our German travels.

Continue reading

Travel Post: Paris and the Subterranean Weekend

On Saturday, the floods having retired somewhat (I sent out a dove to check), I decided it was time to start my proper underground exploration of Paris. And with garbage strikes allegedly over, but rubbish nonetheless still piled high on the streets, it seemed timely to investigate the sewers of Paris.  (My hostess warned me that it might be smelly, but I pointed out that right now, I was probably as used to smells as I was going to get.  It’s not that Paris has been unremittingly stinky, but with the warm weather, one does detect a certain aroma as one passes the rubbish bins…

I began making my way down towards the seventh arondissement, but then realised that I was going to be too early for the sewers, and decided to stop by the Rodin museum on the way.  As you do.

rodin1

Continue reading

Travel Post – Bath, and back to London!

OK, I should probably take a pause from revelling in Paris to write about Bath and the rest of my time in England.  But before I do so, I do need to update you on the important question of vegetable pectin jellies.  I have not yet tried them all, but the fennel and tomato ones are lovely (the tomato ones taste like some sort of stone fruit – peach or apricot or nectarine), and the capsicum one is *deeply* weird.  It tastes like a sweet capsicum jelly.  Which is what it is, of course  But I’m not at all sure that capsicum was ever meant to be a dessert flavour, even if Jacques Genin says so.

So.  Bath.  Which is already nearly a week ago, how did that happen?  My friend E organised the entire Bath trip, which was awesome, because both of us, alas, had the plague – I was still beginning my plague, and E was at the long, drawn-out, endless coughing stage of hers.  This was good in some ways, because we were both entirely in agreement about not overdoing things, and it was amusing in other ways, because at any given moment, one of us would be completely spaced out on cold drugs.  Fun times!

The train down was an exercise in two people who really shouldn’t be using their voices chattering incessantly.  Oops.  But we don’t see each other often, you see…

bath1

We got to Bath, and went in search of our B&B, which turned to be uphill from the train station. Continue reading

Travel Post! Shakespeare’s Globe, and a Preview of Paris!

Up until now, I’ve been virtuously writing up events in the order they happen, but I really do have to start with Paris today and go backwards.  You see, I’m sitting right now at a beautiful, old-fashioned, fold-out desk like my grandmother used to have, with the fireplace on my right and the open window on my left, through which I can see a courtyard garden and hear what I suspect is a blackbird singing.

parisroom1

My bedroom has wallpaper with little sprigs of flowers, and antique-looking furniture and a rug on the floor, and is basically the most idyllic possible place to be writing.  I might never leave.

parisroom2

This is my room in Paris. Continue reading

Travel Post! Todmorden, York again, and a little of London with the Ritz and Côte

OK, I have reached London, and am staying with my lovely friend N, which is a good thing for many reasons, not least of these being that I have a nasty cold *and* cramps, and the weather is uninspiring, so it’s a good day for staying inside and catching up with my travel journalling!  And there has been much to journal!

On Sunday, I went to the 11am Mass, at St Mary’s Todmorden, celebrated by my friend Jo.

todchurch1

It was a really lovely service, with a sermon that made me think, which is always a fine thing (also one which contained, apparently, completely unintentional subliminal pro-EU propaganda in the form of hymn tune choices. Who knew this was even possible?).

Gallipoli window at St Mary's. I hadn't realised that East Lancashire had sent regiments to Gallipoli, too.

Gallipoli window at St Mary’s. I hadn’t realised that East Lancashire had sent regiments to Gallipoli, too.

I do wish Jo lived within reasonable churchgoing range of me, but while Todmorden is many lovely things, convenient to Melbourne is not one of them.  Also, I was amused to find that I did, in fact, know all the hymn tunes – Alistair at Wesley was raised Scottish Presbyterian, as was Jo, so perhaps this isn’t surprising!

View from Saint Mary's.

View from Saint Mary’s.

Continue reading