london1967: (knocker)
On Thursday evening, I met Adrian at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank.

P1030597

P1030602

The building is in a great position and there are 2 restaurants on the 8th floor (run by Harvey Nichols)  with great views over the river.

P1030603

We had a booked a table at the brasserie

P1030604

for their 3-course set menu with a welcome cocktail for £30 each

P1030609

P1030608

The food was really good.

I have to confess that I'm not a great fan of fancy food (maybe it's because I'm Italian but I like my food to be rather straight-forward) but I really enjoyed it as it wasn't too pretentious (said that, I had to look up a couple of words!)

P1030612
Soutzouki sausage, sesame hazelnut labne, cumin pickled cabbage, glazed fig, fried artisan flat bread

P1030613
Chilled gazpacho, Manchego albahaca, sourdough crisp

P1030617

P1030619
Goat’s cheese tomato tatin, grilled asparagus, mustard seed dressing

P1030621
Coconut Thai yellow curry duck leg, lemongrass jasmine rice, shrimp sambal

P1030622
Dark chocolate orange pave, tonka bean ice cream

P1030624
Vanilla brûlée, strawberries, melting moments

After the meal, we had to rush back to the London Wonderground at the Southbank Centre "a playground for the people, leave your real life at the door and step inside..."

P1030626

Among the attractions there is the 1920 Paradiso Spiegeltent - Wikipedia informs me that a Spiegeltent is "(Dutch for "Mirror Tent", from spiegel+tent) a large travelling tent, constructed in wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors and stained glass, intended as an entertainment venue".
It is used as a performance venue for a number of acts.

P1030629

P1030633

P1030632

The one we went to see is 'Briefs' an Australian group of acrobats and drag artists, burlesque with balls as the website says!





The website warns that it "Contains adult content and some nudity. For the fun-hearted, not the faint-hearted!" and it was certainly right! LOL!

I enjoyed the show

P1030636

especially the acrobats and the contortionist who were rather easy on the eye too. A couple of the acts were a bit too crude for me but then I guess I am a bourgeois these days!

I'm always quite fascinated by performers who go out on a stage and really expose themselves (in this case, on more than one level LOL!)
I guess part of me would love to do that, if I had any talent and the personality.

And talking of performances, our panto is now only 5 months away and I'm busy writing it (at times, it's a bit of struggle).
The postman yesterday delivered part of Adrian's costume and of course we had to try it on and take a couple of pictures!

P1030638

P1030644-001
london1967: (knocker)
Apart from the small square just outside the sitting room's window, our small garden is mainly made up of pots, loads of them.

In the autumn I plant them with spring bulbs, and once these are over in the spring, I replace them with dahlias and seedlings which I have started off in plastic pots in the garden.

This year we decided to change it slightly and put quite a number of lilies in the pots with the dahlias.

We've been very pleased with the results, and daily we go out and marvel at what's in bloom, and at how some of the flowers change colour and even shape.

Look for instance at this scabiosa:

IMG_3268

IMG_3298

IMG_3411

The same variety of dahlia seems to differ from one specimen to another, like this dahlia "Jive":

IMG_3184

IMG_3348

The lilies have been quite wonderful, and brought more colour and fragrance to the garden:

IMG_2782

IMG_2789

IMG_3283

IMG_3315

We even have some double ones:

IMG_3286

and a Peruvian spider lily

IMG_3313

The real 'showstoppers' this year have probably been the 3 Gloriosa lilies that we bought (the tubers) at the RHS Flower Show in Cardiff.
We put them in the big pot with the metal frame where last year we had the Mina Lobatas.
Many people have commented on these beautiful, exotic-looking flowers:

IMG_3226

IMG_3229

IMG_3201

We are delighted at how everything blends in

IMG_3212

IMG_3364

IMG_3332

IMG_3318

IMG_3210

Among the dahlias, I particularly like the honkas

IMG_3379

IMG_2790

IMG_3236

IMG_3256

which are also bee-friendly, and the dark, unusual ones.

IMG_3250

IMG_3255

IMG_3371

IMG_3366

but I really love them all (well maybe with the exception of 'Snowflake', a white pompon dahlia - when we bought it, I didn't realise it was going to be so small).

IMG_3279

IMG_3175

IMG_3178

IMG_3190

IMG_3191

IMG_3215

IMG_3231

IMG_3234

IMG_3263

IMG_3265

The seedlings have quite a struggle to come up among the 'giants', but they contribute so much to the look and feel of a 'cottage garden'.

IMG_3343

A poppy

IMG_3324

now in flower:

IMG_3354

IMG_3406

IMG_3305

IMG_3273

IMG_2822

IMG_3207

I do the planting but Adrian does almost all of the watering, deadheading and staking, so it's really down to him that the garden looks so beautiful.
This year we also have to thank our friend Michael who, while we were in Sitges, came to water the garden every day and saved it from annihilation! (believe or not, there was a heatwave in London at the time).
london1967: (knocker)
Today I've been working from home as I had some minor surgery at my GP. They (doctor and nurse) removed a cyst from my back. I was quite surprised that it looked bigger than I imagined: a ball roughly an inch in diameter.
Stitch are coming out in 10 days' time.

*

Yesterday I got slightly worked up reading an article on the Central YMCA blog. (They e-mailed me the link as I am a member).
The article is about "four good reasons why you should train your legs at least once a week."
Reason 4 was: "People notice bad geometry: If you want to attract the opposite sex, don’t skip leg day. Leonardo Da Vinci, inspired by the architect Marcus Vitruvius, created his famous Vitruvian Man to illustrate the “golden ratio” – the mathematical determination of what is objectively attractive."

So I replied on Twitter saying:" 'If you want to attract the opposite sex, don’t skip leg day'. Doesn't it work on the same sex? #casualhomophobia"

It made me laugh that Leonardo was also mentioned in the same paragraph! Hello!! LOL!
And it's rather obvious that probably about 50% of the men at the gym are gay.

Anyway I got a reply "Hi, we're sorry if that sounded homophobic. That wasn't our intention at all and we've now changed it in the post. Thank you". And indeed they did: "If you want to look more attractive, don’t skip leg day."

I know a storm in a tea cup, and some - would say - political correctness gone mad. But that's how I felt.

*

Hopefully this post won't cause any more de-friending. Someone removed me from their friends' list on Sunday after my last post.
I don't know if it was the 'temptation of the cauliflower' or my criticism of sunbathers in flower beds. Or perhaps he was just bored with me.

Frankly, I don't really care (he was always too clever for me). I am just curious!

EDIT: well I was wrong someone else has now removed me. Oh well!
london1967: (knocker)
It's pouring with rain today and it was the same on Friday, but the weather has been rather dry this summer (so far).

Last week-end on the Saturday we went out, straight after the Skype call with my brother and parents, to the V&A to see the Alexander Mc Queen exhibition. (We had booked tickets a couple of months in advance, as this exhibition has been extremely popular; in fact, when I looked 2 weeks ago, the only available tickets for the last 2 week-ends were at around 3 am on Saturday morning!)

P1030178

We got there just before the museum opened at 10 am and, as we had a bit of time, had a quick look around in some of the rooms.

This French medieval stained glass showing one of Jesus Christ's temptations made me smile

P1030183

as it seemed that the devil was offering a cauliflower or perhaps even a game of football!

P1030187

The exhibition was simply fantastic. I cannot say that I was a fan but I certainly admire the imagination, hard work and ideas behind his clothes and accessories.
Plus the exhibition was very theatrical, a real show in many ways. The most amazing room was the giant, multi-media cabinet of curiosities: you didn't really know where to look first!

We then had a very late breakfast in the cafe' in the courtyard and admired the lovely hydrangeas.

P1030190

P1030197

P1030198

As the weather was lovely and sunny, we went on a spur-of-the-moment stroll around Battersea Park.

P1030199

P1030203

There were lots of people sunbathing.

P1030202

'Live and let live' may be my motto but well I think that some people should exercise a bit more judgement and not plonk themselves in the middle of flower beds (not pictured here).

The pagoda always reminds us of San Francisco although the one there is very different.

P1030204

P1030206

P1030210

(I don't think I have told Adrian yet, but I'd love to spend my 50th birthday there. Not in the pagoda, but in SF.)

P1030208

One things I have always loved about London is the different views you get at almost every corner, and how the eye is constantly tricked. In the picture above, the 'Walkie Talkie' and the 'Cheesegrater' appear to be very near Chelsea Bridge while in fact there are another 7 bridges on the Thames before you get there.

P1030212

P1030226

P1030216

P1030217

P1030220

P1030241

P1030250

P1030254

P1030222

P1030246

P1030253

P1030255

P1030258

We really enjoyed our walk in the park

P1030271

When we got back to Penge, we called at the Alexandra Nurseries for a cuppa and a slice of cake.

P1030273

Sitges

Jul. 19th, 2015 09:37 am
london1967: (knocker)
We got back from our annual 'pilgrimage' to Sitges 2 weeks ago and it already seems a distant memory.

P1030036

I didn't take many pictures this holiday, in fact all of them were taken on the first full day we were there, when we went on a guided tour of Palau Maricel.

P1030152

P1030039

P1030156

P1030150

You can only visit it on a Sunday morning, there are 3 guided tours in English, Spanish and Catalan, and since it was full last year I booked it in advance a few weeks before leaving London.

It was certainly worth going to see it.

It was built in 1910 for American millionaire and art collector Charles Deering who furnished it with beautiful tiles and filled it with masterpieces (most of them now in Chicago).

P1030043

P1030046

Now the palace is used for congresses, meetings and weddings:

P1030053

P1030065

Some fittings were purchased from old palaces and churches, while some are reproductions:

P1030067

According to the guide, the dot in the middle of the chapel floor marks the point where Deering was planning to erect a column upon which the Holy Grail would have been placed, as he thought it was only a matter of time before he would find it!

P1030068

The terraces and the cloister are just wonderful, with beautiful views of the town and the sea:

P1030075

P1030078

P1030081

P1030090

P1030091

P1030094

P1030096

P1030099

P1030100

P1030105

P1030109

P1030112

P1030114

P1030118

P1030124

P1030129

P1030131

P1030135

P1030137

The weather was glorious all week but a bit too hot even for Ricardo, who would normally be very happy to spend all day roasting on his sunbed. This holiday he had to spend some time in the shade too.

This is San Sebastian beach

P1030161

but we spent our holiday on Balmins beach

P1030162

Closer pictures of the sun worshippers are not advisable without putting them behind a cut as this is mainly a nudist beach, although the convention never seems to apply to musclebears of all nationalities

P1030166

We didn't go to any bars or indeed visited the centre of Sitges, apart from the station.
Out of the 9 nights we were there, I cooked 7 dinners and we went out for a pizza to a nearby cafe/restaurant by the cemetery the first and the last nights, when we also met up with Martin (a former neighbour of ours) and his new boyfriend Micha.

I don't know if I'll go back next year: it was nice and relaxing and I read 5 books on the beach, but somehow I need 'stimulation' of a different kind on holiday.
There was some discussion about going to Puglia next year (we went in 2011) so that we could mix visits to towns and villages with half-days on the beach, but this was before Ricardo spotted his favourite man on the beach.
Now he says he would like to do both, perhaps just going to Sitges with Adrian, if I can't/won't. Well we will see.
london1967: (knocker)
When I look at the pictures taken during the last few weeks, I see a lot of food. But I'm positive we did so much more than just stuffing our faces!

The last Friday in April we went to Roberta and Gianfranco's for dinner. Roberta is Adrian's Italian teacher, but needless to say we didn't speak much italiano!
I got there straight from work and when I took my coat off we all laughed because both Adrian and myself were wearing the same M&S shirt (I had bought mine first, but as Adrian really liked I bought him one too). The children were rather amused by our 'uniform'!

On the Sunday, we went to evensong at Southwark Cathedral.
The service was rather long (and at one point I nodded off slightly); when the service was over we gathered outside to witness the internment of the ashes of our neighbour Jo. Both Adrian and I thought that the place was anything but peaceful with the constant din from the trains passing on the nearby viaduct, the noise and the smell from the adjacent Borough Market, and the people eating on the benches but it probably suited our late neighbour.

May started with a book launch. Bobby, a neighbour of ours, launched his book "Seeing Sodomy in the Middle Ages" at the "Gay's the Word" bookshop. It was packed.
Before the launch Adrian and I had dinner at a nearby Strada:

P1020901

Then we had the 'excitement' of the general election (LOL!) and the first get-together for the Residents' Association's Panto (I decided to write another one: "Cyril the Squirrel and the Magic Nut").

The following week was very busy:
- Paul, an old friend of Adrian's, coming for the afternoon and then dinner on the Tuesday
- dinner and theatre on the Thursday
- exhibition at the National Gallery on the Friday
- gardening all week-end (lifting the bulbs and planting dahlias, lilies and a number of seedlings)

We went to see "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown - The Musical" which was excellent and very funny:

P1020920

We had a pre-theatre set dinner (tapas serves à la afternoon tea) at Salvador and Amanda's in Covent Garden:

P1020910

P1020914

P1020917

The exhibition we visited at the National Gallery was 'Inventing Impressionism': "the UK’s first major exhibition devoted to Paul Durand-Ruel, the entrepreneurial art dealer who discovered the Impressionists".
We both really enjoyed it.

P1020929

P1020923

P1020927

P1020930

After the week-end of gardening, we went to the local garden centre/cafe' on the Sunday evening for a 'meet the neighbours' event. I baked some macarons to take round.

P1020933

Last week was somewhat quieter, although we both had dentist appointments and Adrian had to go for laser treatment on the eye which had undergone cataract surgery a few years ago. The treatment went well and now he can see clearly again!

It was also Eurovision week and our friend Richard arrived on the Friday to stay for a few days.
We also had the great pleasure of meeting Gregory ([livejournal.com profile] isledemoi) on the Saturday.
As Richard was visiting, we invited Gregory round for a cuppa on the Saturday afternoon, rather than suggesting meeting in town.
I'm afraid the 'spread' wasn't quite as abundant as on previous occasions (no scones!), but we had sarnies, a chocolate cake made with Old Speckled Hen (a 'fine ale'), lemon curd macarons and orange natas.
We were all in agreement that Gregory was a very charming guest!

P1020941

P1020943

P1020948

P1020951

P1020952

P1020955

P1020960

In the evening we watched Eurovision with Utku, a neighbour of ours. It was fun but we were disappointed that Sweden won (quite a boring song, in my modest opinion).

Sunday was spent finishing planting the dahlias, etc. and Monday (which was a Bank Holiday) was spent at home again for me (Adrian and Richard went shopping - when they got back they found some freshly baked scones waiting for them).
And now it's all back to normal, although tomorrow evening we have another meeting re the Panto (meeting the actors to discuss their involvement, so that I have an idea when writing it. This time we have 2 professionals in the cast - no pressure! LOL!) and on Friday we're invited at Mike and Alex's in Streatham for dinner.
london1967: (knocker)
Last week-end we went to Cardiff, guests of our dear friend David. Richard was also there and he had got us all tickets for the RHS Flower Show in the castle's grounds.

We travelled to Cardiff by coach as the train was horrifically expensive. It took us 3hr 30min to get to our destination as there was quite a long queue at the tollgate after the bridge over the Bristol channel.

On the way to the show on the Saturday morning:
P1020819

Some tulips in the park:
P1020821

Inside one of the tents:
P1020834

P1020835

P1020846

With a Welsh dragon (no, not Adrian, he's only 1/4 Welsh!)
P1020859

P1020860

The castle:
P1020863

We made a few purchases but not too many.
Richard was a bit disappointed as some of the exhibitors he was interested in weren't there, but both Adrian and I enjoyed it. We were all glad that we went as soon as it opened since it got very busy later on!

After lunch back at David's, they took us out to the coast to the resort of Penarth where we had a stroll on the restored Victorian pier followed by an ice-cream. (I really wanted bubble gum flavour but it was fluorescent blue and I'm not a 5 year old anymore!)

P1020871

P1020878

P1020879

P1020889

P1020891

It was a very enjoyable week-end and it was lovely to catch up with David and Richard. Although I fear that it wasn't quite as enjoyable for poor David, as he cooked for us every meal!

We caught the 12 pm coach back to London. We didn't experience any traffic hold-ups and we were back home by 4 pm.

Actually we had a short hold-up at Chiswick.
The police had stopped all traffic in every direction apart from the lane next to us.
Within a couple of minutes the reason became apparent. It was the Queen (no, she wasn't driving).
I guess that traffic lights are just for commoners!

Going back to flowers and gardening we are both very pleased with our spring bulbs this year.
They have attracted lots of compliments by neighbours and passers-by too.

This is what the pots in the drive looked like on March 8th: only the crocuses/croci are out

IMG_2343

and this was yesterday:

IMG_2576

What a transformation in just a few weeks!

IMG_2569

IMG_2562

IMG_2549

IMG_2539

IMG_2466
london1967: (knocker)
Last week-end Adrian's friend Sue was visiting us and we had also had arranged to see our friend Jean (from Annecy, in Haute-Savoie) and his new Swiss boyfriend Urs.
They came for afternoon tea on Sunday: our friend Michael was also invited round.

So, I spent Saturday and a few hours on Sunday baking.

I made:
- Lemon curd macarons
- Religieuses
- Helsinki caramel cakes
- Orange natas (Portuguese custard tarts)
- Pistachio and raspberry tarts filled with frangipane and crème pâtissière
- Chocolate and crème de cassis cake

I was very pleased with all of them, apart from the caramel topping of the Helsinki cakes. It was the second time I made them: the first time the sauce was too runny, this time it was toffee-like but perhaps next time I'll get it just right.

The cake, the pistachio tarts and the religieuses (Mary Berry's recipe) were all first attempts and turned out really well. The macarons were my best to date and Jean said that they were just as good as the Ladurée ones, which was a very kind thing to say.

Adrian made two type of scones (cheese and fruit) and all the sandwiches (cucumber and cream cheese, coronation chicken, smoked salmon and cream cheese) and set the table beautifully as always.

IMG_2407

IMG_2408

IMG_2410

IMG_2415

IMG_2425

IMG_2427

IMG_2429

IMG_2431

IMG_2436

We spent a few hours eating, drinking and chatting, and not long after Jean and Urs left, Michael's partner Chris arrived. So the party was over at around 10:30 pm!
Yesterday I felt a bit tired but all the baking was worth it!

San Diego

Apr. 9th, 2015 03:26 pm
london1967: (knocker)
The first full day in San Diego was a Sunday and there would have been a long wait for the bus, so we walked downhill from the B&B and its lovely garden

IMG_1315

IMG_1311

IMG_1313

to the Gaslamp Quarter.

IMG_1317

IMG_1319

IMG_1322

IMG_1329

IMG_1334

IMG_1335

IMG_1337

IMG_1338

I suppose we were both slightly underwhelmed by it although some of the buildings looked rather appealing: I'm sure it is rather different in the evening, but I wonder whether it may turn into a 'tourist trap'.

We then walk down to waterfront near the conference centre

IMG_1341

IMG_1342

IMG_1351

and caught a tram to the Old Town which is the original European settlement and has a number of very interesting attractions and museums.

IMG_1355

IMG_1359

IMG_1362

IMG_1363

IMG_1367

IMG_1368

IMG_1377

IMG_1380

IMG_1382

IMG_1385

IMG_1386

IMG_1388

IMG_1389

IMG_1390

IMG_1391

IMG_1395

IMG_1397

IMG_1398

IMG_1401

IMG_1405

IMG_1407

IMG_1409

IMG_1413

IMG_1418

IMG_1419

IMG_1420

IMG_1425

After that visit we needed a spot of lunch and we headed to Little Italy, where we had a caprese with garlic bread in a rather atmospheric restaurant.

IMG_1434

IMG_1435

IMG_1438

IMG_1440

By doing so we also avoided a very heavy shower!

Later we walked down to the Santa Fe Depot which is adorned with lovely tiles.

IMG_1442

IMG_1445

IMG_1449

and then to the Embarcadero on Broadway.
The plan was to catch a ferry to the Coronado peninsula but it started raining again and, as it seemed to be set for the day, we decided to catch a taxi to go back to the B&B.

Unfortunately when we were back in our room. Adrian realised that he had lost his camera. We think it slipped out of his shirt pocket when he got out of the cab.
We didn't remember which cab company it was, but only more or less the colours. A few phone calls that evening and the morning after proved unfruitful.
Luckily I had backed up his pictures on my laptop the night before so he only lost the pictures of the day. I guess I was more upset about the loss of the memory card which contained pictures from end of September (trip to Prague) onwards and, possibly a few of myself in a state of déshabillé. If whoever pocketed the camera was upset by them, well it's a well deserved punishment!

Later that evening we went to a Fry's and bought a new compact camera. Adrian would have probably waited until we were back home but I was determined that he had a new one, as he enjoys taking photos even more than I do these days!
london1967: (knocker)
Weirdly I can’t really tell whether the last few weeks, since coming back from the US, have gone slow or fast, a bit of both I guess.
This week I had my last appointment with the ENT consultant, and really after spending just over £2,000 (thankfully paid directly by the insurance company) it’s sort of back to square one.
I am a bit disappointed.
When I saw the consultant after our holiday, he said that he had looked at the MRI images (which he had on ‘the system’ - he didn’t want the CD I had brought with me) and said that there was a growth, a nodule on a salivary gland and that I needed an ultrasound-assisted biopsy to determine whether it was benign or not.
I went for this test a few days later but the doctor couldn’t find the lump (which I am very relieved about, of course). So when I saw the consultant again the other day he decided to check whether said lump was really there in the MRI images. He needed the CD (which luckily I had with me). It turns out that he hadn’t checked the images in the first place but relied on the report written at the centre where they performed the MRI scan! He couldn’t find it either but he said that as he’s no radiologist he’d write to people who filled in the report. And this for £290!
Don’t get me wrong I’m pleased that he couldn’t find anything, although this rigmarole doesn’t really fill you with confidence about the diagnosis and leaves wondering whether they may have missed something, or indeed filed the wrong report. Oh well!
---
We went to the cinema and the theatre once.
We enjoyed ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ although I felt it wasn’t quite as good as the first one and maybe (sorry Adrian!) a bit tired.
We loved the fact that it was set in San Diego at the very beginning.
Maggie Smith’s character berates the Americans on 3 different occasions (I did agree with her complaint about tea!): I did wonder whether those lines were really put in with the American viewers in particular, after all that’s what one would expect from Lady Violet herself!
The theatre show we went to see was at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
‘Buyer & Cellar’, a one-man show starring Michael Urie of ‘Ugly Betty’ fame. We loved it and laughed a lot.
It is set in the basement of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu mansion, and it is rather hilarious. It must be very exhausting for the actor: 100 minutes on stage with no break!
---
Last week-end I visited my parents.
On Sunday morning my brother and I went to see a friend and on the way back we became victims of road rage.
Another driver took exception at my brother going first at a roundabout: he chased us and pulled in front of our car in a matter of seconds. Marco managed to stop the car from crashing; the other driver got out and was furious, completely out of control like a wild animal. Marco tried to reverse and drive away, but had to stop as the other guy jumped in front of the car.
He started pummelling the car with his fists and cracked the windscreen in 2 places; then started with the side window and then opened the door and tried to pull my brother out of the car. At that point, I took my seat belt off and thought that I had to get out of the car to try to stop him. Marco told me to call the police and take the number plate. The other guy then calmed down slightly and we managed to get away.
When we got back to my parents’ we were both rather shaken and went straight to the carabinieri to report the assault. It took a while to file the complaint. Now my brother will have to replace the windscreen (the insurance is not paying out) and we’ll see what happens. It is quite likely that the ‘animal’ is going to file a counter-report probably saying that my brother tried to run him over. He may even find some ‘witnesses’ – you never know with some people.
---
And tomorrow we have the meeting with the people who want to come and dig up our garden to replace some drains belonging to our neighbours. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes. No point in getting all worked up.
london1967: (knocker)
After saying goodbye to La Dolce Vita and Palm Springs we drove south and then left the Coachella Valley behind us, climbing up on SR74 towards the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains. The landscape changes rather quickly and the desert is replaced by forests.

IMG_1162

IMG_1163

IMG_1171

After about 2 and half hours we stopped in Julian, a rather quaint town which these days is famous for its apples (and apple pies, of course) but was born when gold was found nearby in 1870. At an altitude of just over 4,200 feet, it was certainly cooler than Palm Springs.

Here we had a generous portion of apple pie (when in Rome, etc.)

IMG_1180

IMG_1179

and then went on a horse-drawn carriage tour of the town, which we both enjoyed (I am not sure that the poor horse did!).

IMG_1182

IMG_1184

IMG_1185

IMG_1187

IMG_1191

IMG_1200

We then visited the Pioneer Museum - which was really interesting to see (no photos allowed) –

IMG_1193

IMG_1195

before getting back in the car and driving to San Diego.

In San Diego we stopped at the Mission San Diego de Alcalá which was the first mission in Alta California (in fact, it was founded on Presidio Hill 6 miles away but moved away from the original site in 1774 due to lack of water).

IMG_1201

IMG_1204

IMG_1210

We both just loved the buildings and the cloister: it was one of my favourite places in San Diego.

IMG_1211

IMG_1212

IMG_1217

IMG_1224
(A reconstruction of one of the friars' cells).

IMG_1227

IMG_1233

IMG_1234

IMG_1239

IMG_1241

IMG_1243

IMG_1246

IMG_1247

IMG_1248

IMG_1252

IMG_1253

IMG_1255

IMG_1258

IMG_1264

IMG_1266

IMG_1271

After the visiting the mission, we drove to our B&B on Bankers’ Hill, a lovely Victorian house. The hosts were really helpful with maps and directions.

IMG_1282

We then went for a stroll in Balboa Park at sunset

IMG_1284

IMG_1302

IMG_1304

before dinner in a nearby restaurant (Hob Nob Hill).

IMG_1308
london1967: (knocker)
Most of our last day in Palm Springs was spent out of town, visiting the Joshua Tree National Park.

IMG_0965

IMG_0968

Our first port of call was the visitor centre at the north-west entrance, where one of the rangers decided that I looked like Peter Townshend of The Who. I’m sure that Mr Townshend wouldn’t be pleased with the comparison, and neither am I now that Wikipedia tells me that he’ll be 70 this year! LOL!

The park is really lovely with some amazing rock formations. We did the 1-mile walk around the ‘Hidden Valley’ which was apparently used by rustlers to hide stolen livestock. We both really enjoyed that: it was quite magical.

IMG_0975

IMG_0976

IMG_0979

IMG_0989

IMG_0998

IMG_1006

IMG_1010
(No, we didn't do any climbing!)

IMG_1023

IMG_1024

IMG_1028

IMG_1047

IMG_1051

Then we stopped at Keys View from which you have a view of the Coachella Valley, the San Andreas Fault and the Salton Sea.
It was a bit hazy but the vistas were still great.

IMG_1062

IMG_1066

IMG_1069

IMG_1070

IMG_1076

IMG_1078

We drove down to the south of the park stopping to admire the ‘Skull Rock’

IMG_1082

IMG_1087

IMG_1090

and later stroll around the Cholla Cactus 'Garden'.

IMG_1093

IMG_1094

IMG_1095

IMG_1096

IMG_1100

IMG_1101

IMG_1103

IMG_1109

IMG_1111
(Awww.. a teddy bear!)

On the way back to Palm Springs we called at the Shields Date Garden in Indio

IMG_1117

IMG_1149

where we had the world-famous date shake.  I had mine and finished Adrian’s… let’s just say that all that fibre had quite a 'moving' effect on me, later that evening! LOL!

The garden is rather nice but, as it  has a collection of statues and scenes from Jesus’ life recently relocated from a biblical garden in Vancouver (we were given a leaflet with all the descriptions and biblical passages), I felt slightly uneasy. I wouldn’t have a problem with something like that in Europe but I thought you never known with American Christian fundamentalists. (I know, I should be ashamed of my prejudices).

IMG_1123

IMG_1121

IMG_1126

IMG_1131

IMG_1135

IMG_1136

IMG_1137

IMG_1146

IMG_1148

Back in Palm Springs, we went for an early dinner at Trio’s  (“Where Palm Springs eats”) and enjoyed the $19 3-course menu.

IMG_1151

IMG_1153
(No pictures of dessert - the bread pudding was the worst ever!)


We then went back to the resort and relaxed.
london1967: (knocker)
My second day in Palm Springs didn’t start well, as I had one of my 'episodes' in the morning just after getting up: temporary hearing loss followed by vertigo and vomiting. So we shelved the planned trip to the Joshua Tree National Park and sat by the pool until about 2 pm when I started to feel better.
I was lucky that it was a mild attack and it was on a day where we could swap plans and didn’t have to travel.

In the afternoon, we went to the nearby Moorten Botanical Garden, which was established in 1939 by the Moorten family who still own it. The garden specialises in cacti and other desert plants, which are divided according to the desert of origin. It was an enjoyable visit.

IMG_0854

IMG_0807

IMG_0815

IMG_0820

IMG_0823

IMG_0825

IMG_0830

IMG_0832

IMG_0835

IMG_0838

IMG_0841

IMG_0842

IMG_0844

IMG_0851

IMG_0856

As I felt so much better, we decided to drive on to the Indian Canyons, which are part of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. They are oases in the middle of the desert where thanks to the presence of water California Fan Palms (the only palm tree species native to California) and birds abound.

IMG_0857

IMG_0859

IMG_0860

We had a couple of nice walks in Palms Canyon, one down to the canyon floor

IMG_0908

IMG_0915

IMG_0916

IMG_0920

IMG_0930

and one to a small waterfall.

IMG_0932

IMG_0938

IMG_0946

IMG_0950

We stopped at the Andreas Canyon on the way out.

IMG_0959

IMG_0962

IMG_0957

IMG_0954

IMG_0956

I really enjoyed watching the hummingbirds at the ‘feeding stations’ near the visitor centre (I know that they are commonplace in the US – indeed we saw them in San Diego and Phoenix too – but I had never seen them out of captivity and I was thrilled.)

IMG_0869

IMG_0872

IMG_0876

IMG_0886

IMG_0888

IMG_0890

IMG_0893

IMG_0897

IMG_0904

After getting back to the resort, we went out into town catching the Palm Springs "Buzz" free trolley service. On Thursday evening the 'VillageFest' is on, a street fair with food, art, crafts spreading down the main street for several blocks.
It was rather busy everywhere but we managed, after a wait, to get a table at Bill's Pizza: we loved the pizza. We had a 18" one: half Chicken Alfredo (Adrian's choice) and half Northern Italian.

P1200301

P1200302
london1967: (knocker)
On our first morning in Palm Springs

IMG_0691

IMG_0692

we went to visit the cluster of museums around the small village green.

IMG_0696

IMG_0699

The two first places we visited were the Cornelia White House (1893)

IMG_0695

and the McAllum Abode (1884) which is the oldest building in town and has a very interesting collection of photographs and artefacts.

IMG_0697

Miss White’s house was built of discarded railway sleepers, and was the first hotel in Palm Springs before she bought it. She was a pioneer and quite a character by all accounts.

IMG_0708

The nearby Ruddy’s General Store was shut but I managed to take a photo through the glass door.

IMG_0714

IMG_0713

Our last stop was the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum.

IMG_0715

There was an exhibition on “Section 14 – The other Palm Springs” which was very interesting indeed. I’ll leave it to the museum’s website to explain:

“Section 14 is a square-mile parcel of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. Located one block from the heart of downtown Palm Springs, it extends from Indian Canyon Drive to Sunrise Way and from Ramon Road to Alejo Road.
This exhibition explores the life experiences of people who lived on this historic tract in the 1940s through the 1960s. Section 14 was the home of diverse cultures, races, and ethnicities. It became a battle ground over Tribal Sovereignty and conflicting political and economic interests that forever changed the fabric of community life as it was known.”

The village green was full of colourful summer flowers!

IMG_0716

IMG_0719

IMG_0720

IMG_0724

After a bit of unplanned shopping

IMG_0726

IMG_0729

and purchasing sandwiches for lunch, we drove back to the resort and decided to spend a few hours relaxing by the pool.
Alas, it wasn’t a very relaxing afternoon because it appeared to be the day when they trimmed the hedges. There were a few of them and so much noise! We changed places about 4 times (there are 2 pools in the resort) but the noise kept following us!
It stopped eventually and we had about 1 hour of peace before going out again.

I had purchased tickets for the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway online, a package that allows you to turn up any time after 4 pm and have dinner in the self-service cafeteria at the top.

Sadly, the weather had gone overcast by then but it was still a very enjoyable ride on the rotating, Swiss-made cars.

IMG_0730

IMG_0737

IMG_0748

IMG_0751

They say that climbing up on the cable car is akin to travelling from Mexico to Canada in 15 minutes; it was certainly cooler up there and there was even a bit of leftover snow, turned to ice but I'm sure it wasn't as cold as Canada that afternoon!

IMG_0760

IMG_0764

IMG_0765



IMG_0771

IMG_0774

IMG_0779

IMG_0785

IMG_0787

IMG_0788

IMG_0793

Dinner, I have to say, was rather disappointing even for a self-service cafeteria but at least we didn't starve.

It was dark

IMG_0798

by the time we took the cable car down.
london1967: (knocker)
After 2 nights in Las Vegas  it was time to go. Vegas loved us so much (sadly, unrequited love) that she tried to stop us by engineering some heavy traffic and some kind of ‘incident’. (We saw a helicopter on the ground as the traffic was diverted via the Bellagio car park. It didn’t look like a police or ambulance helicopter, so it wasn't a road accident: maybe it was someone with money who decided that it was the quickest way to get into town?). But we eventually got out and travelled down to California on Interstate 15.

IMG_0593

It was my birthday and, proof that one never really outgrows their inner child, we celebrated it by visiting a ghost town and had a jolly good time.

IMG_0595

IMG_0672

IMG_0600

Calico was founded in 1881 to mine silver (and later borax) and reached a population of 3,500 before dying out by the end of the century when silver lost its value.
It was then bought in the 1950s by Walter Knott, the founder of Knott’s Berry Farm who then restored the town and later donated it to the county.

IMG_0606

IMG_0609

We really enjoyed our visit there.

We had a great, tasty lunch – the meal was gigantic and we couldn’t finish it! And good job that we ordered from the plain and simple section of the menu!

IMG_0613

P1200134

IMG_0614

IMG_0617

IMG_0619

IMG_0620

IMG_0621

IMG_0623

IMG_0625

IMG_0628

After lunch, we enjoyed a ride on the narrow gauge Calico & Odessa Railroad, a remake of the original railroad used to carry the minerals. The ride is almost shorter than the name! LOL

IMG_0630

IMG_0631

IMG_0634

But it was great fun (do you see how happy Adrian is? He loves trains, trams and boats!)

IMG_0636

IMG_0638

IMG_0640

IMG_0645

IMG_0647

IMG_0649

IMG_0651

IMG_0652

IMG_0653

IMG_0663

IMG_0665

IMG_0667

IMG_0670

From Calico we drove to Palm Springs

IMG_0674

IMG_0684

IMG_0685

and arrived at the La Dolce Vita resort (where we stayed for 4 nights) just in time for cocktail hour.
Adrian relaxed over a couple of G&T and made a couple of guys from Minnesota laugh out loud with his description of the people in Las Vegas: “never seen so much man-made fibre in one place!”
I don’t know whether that was before or after he told people that it was my birthday and they all sang Happy Birthday to me. So embarrassing! I am told that I went bright red!
My birthday dinner consisted of a microwaveable burrito bought at a liquor store round the corner for the resort…

It was a birthday to remember! 
london1967: (knocker)
After a day in Vegas, it was a relief to get out of town!

We went on a day trip to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon, and we really loved the great open spaces of the desert and the spectacular scenery.

IMG_0364

I had visited the Hoover Dam in 1994; things have changed a bit since then with the construction of the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which solved both the problem of the traffic bottleneck on the road on the top of the dam and the security issues following 9/11 (since then, large vehicles have been prevented from crossing the dam). The bridge was opened in October 2010.

IMG_0366

IMG_0372


Wikipedia tells me that 'at 840 feet (260 m) above the Colorado River, it is the second-highest bridge in the United States, following the Royal Gorge Bridge. It is also the world's highest concrete arch bridge'. It was certainly nothing short of spectacular!

After the security checkpoint, we parked the car and walked up to the pavement which allows pedestrians to cross the Colorado river from the Nevada side to the Arizona one (at the other end you have to come back) and to enjoy superb views of the dam and the lake.

IMG_0376

IMG_0377

IMG_0380

IMG_0385

IMG_0386

IMG_0389

IMG_0393

We then went back to the car and drove down to the dam,parked on the Arizona side and walked down to it and crossed onto the Nevada side, going 1 hour back/forward a few times!

IMG_0399

IMG_0401

IMG_0404

IMG_0414

IMG_0416
(You can just see tiny dots on the bridge: people!)

IMG_0417

A monument commemorates the people who died building the dam

IMG_0425

IMG_0427

IMG_0428

IMG_0431

Due to roadworks, the road not long after the dam was closed and we had to drive back and cross the Colorado on the new bypass bridge. From the bridge you cannot see the dam or the river at all: it's certainly for the best as it would be too much of a distraction to drivers.

Next stop was the Grand Canyon West Rim. We enjoyed the drive there too.

IMG_0433

IMG_0434

IMG_0439

IMG_0442

IMG_0443

IMG_0446

The Grand Canyon West Rim is not part of Grand Canyon National Park but it is within the Hualapai Indian Reservation and it is a manageable day trip from Vegas.
It is all well organised with a shuttle bus to take you to the 2 viewpoints and the 'ranch'.
The first viewpoint was Eagle Point

IMG_0448

IMG_0450

IMG_0452

where the Skywalk (top-left hand corner) in this picture is situated.
IMG_0458

It's a horseshoe-shaped glass walkway almost 4,000 feet above the canyon floor.
We went on it as we bought it as part of our - rather pricey - entry package. No cameras are allowed so there are no photos to show! (Allegedly because of security issues - no camera, no bags, etc. - but I think it may have something to do with the official photographers that spend the day on the walkway taking pictures of people).
We had no problem at all walking over the glass: weirdly, it didn't feel scary and not even particularly thrilling.

IMG_0462

Then we went to Guano Point where there used to be an aerial tramway that transported miners down to the mine on the canyon floor and guano up. It must have a spectacular journey to work!

IMG_0469

IMG_0470

IMG_0473

IMG_0477

IMG_0478

IMG_0480

IMG_0482

IMG_0483

IMG_0486

IMG_0490

By the time we left the Grand Canyon, it was late afternoon

IMG_0494

IMG_0496

IMG_0497

IMG_0503

and we enjoyed a fantastic sunset on the way back to Las Vegas

IMG_0509

IMG_0514

IMG_0517

IMG_0520

IMG_0524

Back in Vegas, we drove straight to the Neon Museum

IMG_0530

IMG_0528

IMG_0532

IMG_0533

which contains in the boneyard a collection of old neon signs from casinos and motels. We had booked a guided tour but as we were early, they very kindly included us in an earlier one.

The tour was led by a girl, a self-proclaimed 'desert rat' born and bred in Las Vegas. It was very interesting. Some of the signs had been restored and were lit up, and some were just floodlit.

IMG_0538

IMG_0541

IMG_0543

IMG_0544

IMG_0550

IMG_0553

IMG_0558

IMG_0565

IMG_0567

IMG_0570
(she said that on GoogleMaps you could see the skull - from Treasure's Island? - staring at you, and indeed you can: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/770+N+Las+Vegas+Blvd,+Las+Vegas,+NV+89101,+USA/@36.1765316,-115.1354421,139m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x80c8c30bf096ee55:0x23206c713ae0db58)

IMG_0574

IMG_0579

IMG_0583

IMG_0585

IMG_0586

IMG_0589

That night we didn't have dinner. It had been a very full day, and we just bought microwaveable burgers from the hotel's shop and relaxed in our room.
london1967: (knocker)
Our trip to the US has started to feel like a distant memory after only a few days back at work!

We flew to Phoenix on Valentine's day. The experience wasn't very romantic at all. Flight left an hour late and arrived late, rather indifferent service on the British Airways flight, very poor leg room and 1 hour queuing to clear immigration. (Adrian at least got the only officer with a same of humour, mine was just barking out his questions).
We were so tired by the time we left the airport, that we decided to catch a taxi to the hotel rather than ringing and waiting for the free shuttle service.

The following morning we caught an early US Airways flight to Las Vegas. The trip was so short we almost didn't have time to finish our drink that it was time to land. And we had more leg room on this short flight than on the transatlantic one!
After retrieving our car at the airport, we drove into town and parked at our hotel and then went for a walk on the Strip. The weather was glorious!

IMG_0180

It was busy everywhere - we later discovered that it was the Presidents' Day week-end.
The different hotels described in the guidebook sounded rather interesting but after a couple we were already a bit tired. And quite frankly a bit bored with how fake everything looked, although we really admired the imagination and all the work and planning that must have got in creating these massive hotels.

I think that Adrian enjoyed it even less than I did... it was a bit like going around Vegas with Lady Violet! LOL

IMG_0182

The first hotel we visited was the Bellagio
IMG_0195

just opposite Paris Las Vegas
IMG_0200

The highlight of the Bellagio was certainly the Chihuly chandelier in the lobby

IMG_0209

IMG_0210

IMG_0213

IMG_0227

followed by the garden. Here - as in many other places in Vegas - it was all decorated for Chinese New Year.

IMG_0215

IMG_0218

IMG_0226

Next stop was Caesars Palace

IMG_0230

IMG_0237

IMG_0239

We had a spot of lunch - Adrian had a Caesar's Salad!

IMG_0242

I had been to Las Vegas once before, in 1994 with my brother. And I recall that eating out was rather cheap. What has happened since then? Now, it was almost as pricey as London! (but with nicer service, of course)

IMG_0243

IMG_0244

After admiring the flowers outside the 'palace' (something that we won't be seeing here for another 4 months!)

IMG_0245

IMG_0246

we admired the 'Trevi Fountain'

IMG_0255

and then the Mirage.

IMG_0259

IMG_0260

IMG_0264

But 'Venice' was beckoning us across the Strip!

IMG_0277

IMG_0279

IMG_0288

IMG_0291
(It's the Year of the Goat. I'm a goat myself, a fire goat apparently! http://www.fengshuiweb.co.uk/animals/firegoat.htm seems rather spot on, apart from the bit about having a lively personality with many friends and being always at parties and social gatherings!

IMG_0294

IMG_0298

Ermmm... Venice doesn't have such clear water!
IMG_0300

IMG_0303

We both love Venice (the real one) and Adrian just adores it. I tried to convince him that now that we've just seen it, we don't need to go again for some time, but he didn't 'buy' it!

After 'Venice', we waited for a bus to go to the southern end of the Strip. We waited and waited. The traffic on the Strip is quite horrendous! After a very long time a bus finally arrived but it was rather full. Luckily we managed to get on, and we travelled down to the Luxor.

IMG_0304

IMG_0306

IMG_0310

IMG_0315

IMG_0318

IMG_0324

Very impressive but with enormous queues for checking in/out, just like the Bellagio. We didn't regret our decision to stay at a hotel 2 blocks off the Strip!

We then took the monorail from the Luxor to the Excalibur (no photos because well it looked just so plastic-y!) and we admired New York from a distance.

IMG_0313

IMG_0338

IMG_0340

We then went back to the hotel, had a rest and later went out (bus again) to Fremont Street for the Fremont Street Experience.
We were rather underwhelmed by it all: it was crowded, we felt a bit on edge, the 'patriotic' light show wasn't particularly good (in our opinion).

IMG_0346

IMG_0350

IMG_0352

IMG_0355

IMG_0358

IMG_0359

After the light show on the hour, we tried to get dinner at a nearby Denny's.
The apathetic waiter (who I'd like to say was quite on the ample side himself), showed us to the nearest table (there was a number of empty table). There was so little room that we couldn't squeeze in to sit on the banquettes. We walked out, and took the bus back down the strip, and an expensive pizza near the hotel.

IMG_0360

It was good to see Las Vegas but I have to say that that's it for me (and for Adrian too). I don't think I'd like to go back (but of course, if we won a free holiday I wouldn't say no! LOL)
london1967: (knocker)
I always hope for a quiet week before we set off on holiday, and I never get one!
Normally, it is work, this week it was other stuff.

On Monday, after a few months of silence we were contacted again regarding the 2 flats at the end of our garden. After they (their insurance people, in fact) made us cut down the tree, they came to inspect the drains that go from the flat into 'manhole' no. 3 in our gazebo. At the time, one of the surveyors told Adrian - informally - that there was nothing to worry about, maybe they would just put in some lining.
Well now they wanted to come on my birthday to dig and replace the pipes!
After contacting them, and pointing out that there's no way they can use heavy machinery and that we don't want them to ruin our gazebo, fence or garden (they said that they will be responsible for any damage but it's not good enough for me, as that would leave us to sort out their mess), they'll come in early March for a 'meeting' to discuss the situation.

On Tuesday I went to see the ENT consultant at a practice on Harley Street. What a difference from a NHS hospital/surgery. All quite swish and posh, from the staff to the patients (the others - not me!). The consultant thinks that it is indeed Ménière's disease but wanted a couple of tests: an MRI and a vestibular testing.
The MRI was booked for today and I started worrying straight-away.
I am claustrophobic and the idea of being stuck in a tube for half an hour or so, made me very panicky. On Tuesday night I had a minor panic attack but luckily over the next couple of days I managed to calm down and this morning when I went I was in the mood of "let's get this over and done with, and no-nonsense!" which really helped. But the biggest help was Adrian coming with me to the clinic!!

I think I was in the machine for about 25 minutes. It is indeed very noisy but weirdly I found the noise easier to cope with than silence. And the visor they put on me allowed me to see the 'control room' and that helped a lot too (although I kept my eyes closed for most of the time).
I left with a CD containing the scans - hopefully they'll show that if there's something between my ears, it is all as it should be.

Last week

Feb. 8th, 2015 11:43 pm
london1967: (knocker)
This week-end was spent (again!) entirely at home, apart from a quick sortie to the local garden centre/cafe' this afternoon.
I was lazy and we spent lots of time watching telly!
I'd like to say that I have our American trip all under control but it's not quite as well planned as previous ones: maybe it's a sign of aging but I seem almost unable to concentrate long enough to write down a proper itinerary. I'm sure that it will come together in the end. Plus it's not as if we were travelling to the Amazons.

I'm starting to get excited about it, although I am also very excited about the upcoming episode of the Great British Bake-off (the charity version) with Jennifer Saunders, Lulu, Joanna Lumley and Dame Edna!

Talking of telly, on Friday I tried to get tickets for a recording at the Hammersmith Apollo of a BBC special for the 60 years of Eurovision. Tickets sold like hotcakes and they were not cheap. £63 for a standing ticket in the stall (I don't think so!). I've tried the slightly cheaper - and seated - circle tickets but by the time I entered the captcha string there were no tickets available (and I tried a few times). Maybe it's for the best to watch it on telly.

After all our little trip to the theatre with Michael on Friday night gave me a bit of a headache due to the loud music (I confess that at one moment I thought that I couldn't deal with the noise and wanted to run out - but of course being in the middle of the row, one would rather pass out that disturb other people. Not that everybody was that considerate: the guy next to me spilled his drink over me and, by way of an apology, said that he didn't do it on purpose because after all it was vodka, and not just a soft drink!)

Oh yes, so the theatre. We went to see
P1020759

at the Leicester Square Theatre, and it was good fun. Apart from the excessive volume. And a few drunk people who made a show of themselves. I did tut and rolled my eyes a few times.

IMG_0750

P1020764

Spring seems to be on its way.
IMG_0173

IMG_0170

IMG_0153

Hopefully by the time we'll be back from our trip, it will be warmer and sunnier.
I'm looking forward to sow my flowers seeds.

This week I'm seeing the ENT specialist on Tuesday. I'm giving the naked yoga a miss because of the upcoming trip and because I think we're spending too much time on our knees during the class (LOL!) and my left knee has suffered from it.
The teacher said that I can get out of the yoga class as much as I want and that there's no limit. Poppycock, I say. Break your tendon when you're almost 50 and you'll change your mind!
london1967: (knocker)
I never really got round to posting about our trip to Prague (I only wrote about the first day), so without further ado here's day 2: Friday 26th September 2014!

It was a very full day.
It started with an underground trip (the panelling in some of the stations reminded us of the Daleks!)
P1000884

We spent most of the day at Prague Castle, which comprises a great number of buildings including St Vitus's Cathedral.

The first stop was the Royal Garden and the Belvedere palace, from which you have some nice views of the cathedral and the castle complex:

P1000897

P1000904

P1000906

P1000911
(Belvedere)

P1000914

P1000919

P1000920

After buying the tickets and before visiting the cathedral, we needed some some sustenance
P1000926
(Adrian had apple strudel, I had 'honey cake' which I was told was a local speciality but I now believe it's baked in many eastern European countries - it was delicious).

P1000934

The cathedral is, quite simply, amazing.

P1000993

P1000935

P1000936

Construction of current cathedral started in the 14th and was only finished in the 20th. It has some wonderful stain glass

P1000938

P1000941

P1000942

including work by Art Nouveau artist Alfons Mucha
P1000947

P1000987

P1000952

The tomb of St John Nepomuk
P1000957

P1000959

P1000969

and the tomb/chapel of 'Good King' Wenceslas

P1000978

We then visited the Old Royal Palace

P1000998

The huge Gothic Vladislav Hall with its ribbed ceiling is magnificent
P1010003

P1010027

From the windows of the Bohemian Chancellery you can see Charles Bridge:

P1010009

P1010018

The New Land Rolls rooms' are decorated with the clerks' coat of arms

P1010030

P1010036

The Riders' staircase
P1010040

St George's Basilica
P1010048

P1010054

P1010058

Also within the walls of the castle is the short and picturesque (and crowded!) Golden Lane where goldsmiths lived in the 17th century.

P1010068

The name gave birth to the legend of alchemists living there (while in fact they lived in another part of the castle)
P1010073

P1010080

P1010085

P1010084

P1010096

From the south gardens, great views of the city and of the rooftops of Mala Strana

P1010105

P1010108

P1010109

P1010110

P1010120

P1010123

P1010126

P1010132

P1010134

P1010138

The coat of arms on the Archbishop's palace
P1010140

'Sgraffito' facade of the Schwarzenberg Palace
P1010141

which from a distance makes the palace look studded with 'diamonds'
P1010146

We then went a bit further uphill to the Loreto, a church and convent built by a Czech noblewoman to promote the story of the Santa Casa di Loreto (flown by angels from Nazareth to Italy).

P1010156

P1010159

P1010160

In the middle of the cloisters there is a replica of that house!

P1010166

P1010169

P1010170

P1010171

P1010177

After going back to the hotel for a short rest, it was time to go to the opera to see

P1010184

P1010187

P1010188

P1010190

P1010196

We enjoyed the performance.

P1010198

P1010201

We had a snack in the bar of the opera (sandwiches and a glass of bubbly - very nice and reasonable) but this was our dinner!

P1010205



P1010207
(The National Museum)

It was a long and tiring day but we both thoroughly enjoyed it

P1010209

Profile

london1967: (Default)
london1967

October 2016

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
91011121314 15
16 17181920 2122
2324 2526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:49 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios