Each new trip to Spain includes visits to World Heritage Sites so when I counted them up I was interested to discover that out of the forty-three sites on the UNESCO list (second only to Italy with forty-seven) I have now been to twenty and that is nearly half of them.
In 2005 I went to Barcelona in Catalonia and saw the works of Antoni Gaudi, Palau de la Música Catalana and the Hospital de Sant Pau. Then in 2008 I saw the Historic Centre of Cordoba, the Caves of Altamira in Cantabria, the Old Town and Cathedral of Santiago de Compostella and the Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville. In 2009 in the motoring holiday around Castilian cities it was the Old Town of Segovia and its Roman Aqueduct, the Walled Town of Cuenca, the Historic City of Toledo and the Old Town of Ávila. This trip in 2011 added Cáceres, Mérida and Aranjuez and also Trujillo which for the time being is only on the tentative list.
Even before I knew anything about World Heritage Sites it turns out that I have visited two more in the days of my beach type holidays. Although, to be absolutely fair, when I went to these places neither of them were yet on the list. In 1988 I holidayed on the island of Ibiza which was accepted onto the list in 1999 in recognition of its biodiversity and culture and the following year I went to Tenerife and took a cable car ride to the top of Mount Tiede, a national park that was accepted to the list in 2007.
Even though they weren’t World Heritage Sites at the time I visited them I am still going to count them but the final two might be a bit dubious – but anyway here goes. In 1984 while driving back through Spain from Portugal I drove with friends through the city of Burgos which was accepted in that year because of its Cathedral and in Galicia in 2008 while visiting Santiago de Compostella I managed to drive over parts of the Pilgrim Route, which exists on the list separately from the old city itself.
World Heritage Sites (posted June 2009)
Good morning Andrew,
You are a fascinating character: quite unlike me in your thinking. And that is great. Who wants to read blogs from “like minds”? I don’t. Who wants to join clubs full of similar people with similar interests? Again, I certainly don’t. Who wants to read a newspaper that echoes one’s political views? Again I certainly don’t (though that said, if I did, the plain fact is that there IS no such newspaper).
No, with newspapers – and to some degree with people – I reckon that it is always best to associate yourself with views that run counter to one’s own. A sharp negative is always preferable to a blurred print. That way, one can always hold one’s own views up to the magnifying glass, and – on the rare occasion – actually take on board as one’s own, a view that one originally found alien. (Or in the case of people: by associating with them, develop a quality of theirs, almost by osmosis.)
Right. Preamble over.
I suppose that was all a way of saying that I am reminded of a desire I had as a boy to visit every League soccer ground. I never did achieve it, but I went a fair distance along the way.
But I wonder now: what was it all FOR?
Similarly it is the case with Munros. I have a family member who is never happier when bagging one. It baffles me, but hey, I defend to the death people’s right to do anything as long as it “doesn’t frighten the horses”.
Which is all a way of saying that when I was in the great square by the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, or at the top of Mt Teide, or in Barca at La Sagrada Familia, in Parc Güell, and in Casa Mila, the very last thing I thought of was whether they were world heritage sites. (In fact, I am not thinking of it NOW particularly, since I reckon you should strike the last of those three Gaudi creations, since – on reflection – I don’t think ” La Pedrera” is a designated world heritage site.)
I have just googled* the UK list of world heritage sites in our country.** I discover that there are 28, and I have – totally inadvertently, you understand – been to 21.
Have I any desire to “bag” the other seven? No. Not even the remotest desire. Even if there was only a single one missing from the ones to chalk up, I confess that I would still feel the same way.
And guess what?
It is MY loss, my dear fellow. MY loss.
You have retained this desire to get the last cigarette card to make up the album. I have lost that urge, somehow somewhere along the way.
You are a lucky fellow. And I salute you for staying young.
*deliberate lower case!
** You have to laugh at its arbitrariness. Blenheim Palace, but no Chatsworth or Castle Howard. Durham Cathedral and Castle but no LINCOLN Cathedral and Castle.
I have just looked at the list of UK World Heritage Sites and must agree that it does seem rather random! I have always assumed that to some extent making it onto the list may be in part down to just how hard the sponsors are prepared to promote and lobby their application! Perhaps we are simply not forceful enough? Interestingly Greece has only 17 sites on the list and that surprises me. Even the Palace of Knossos on Crete is absent!
Although I never shared your ambition to visit football grounds the game has always been important to me from about the time I was nine years old and dad took me to Filbert Street. The first game I saw was against Blackburn Rovers (Leicester won 4-3). I can recall quite clearly going to the matches because this always involved a long walk of about two miles there and two miles back. Very close to my grandparents house (where we left the car) there was a bus stop with a direct service into the city but dad rather cunningly always started out for the match at a time that was certain not to coincide with the bus timetable. I never caught on to this little trick of course and it turned out that he just didn’t like paying bus fares, which he considered an unnecessary expense!
Interestingly my granddad was the security man at the player’s entrance at Filbert Street so it was easy for me to get autographs. I don’t suppose you’d find a sixty-five year old man protecting today’s multi-million pound super stars!
It was important to go early to get a good spot on the wall just behind and to the left of the goal at the kop end. This required an early arrival and although matches didn’t start until three o’clock dad used to get us there for the opening of the gates at about one. This must have required great patience on his part because two hours is a long time to wait for a football match to start standing on cold concrete terracing.
In 1973 or 1974 I went to see Wales play England at Ninian Park in a friendly match and that was a lovely old ground with traditional terraces and tall floodlight gantries in each corner. There were 3 Leicester players in the team that night – Shilton, Worthington and Weller!
Later, I used to take my own son to watch Derby County at the Baseball Ground but we stopped going when they moved to Pride Park because although it was a better ground and pitch it didn’t have the soul of the old terraces at the BBG and I would suppose that your ambition to visit all 92 wouldn’t have the same meaning now because they mostly all look alike!
Profoundly sound stuff from you here Andrew. Where do I start?
Let’s first settle on Filbert Street.
Great reminiscences from you here. I lapped them up.
You brought to mind LS Lowry’s 1953 “Going To The Match” painting. (Methinks were that to be painted today, we’d have a picture of gridlocked cars!)
I recall visiting Filbert Street. Never a happy hunting ground for Cardiff City. But it wasn’t as near to Braunstone as is The Walker Stadium (or whatever it is now calling itself … I see the new Thai owners have sold the naming rights to someone else).
And I recall my time selling booze around every district of Leicester, like it was yesterday, rather than just over THIRTY years ago.
And only in Braunstone did any kid ask me – in this case, slightly menacingly – for payment, while he guarded my car while I was in the off licence!
Ah, happy days!
I take it that you know the link between Filbert Street and the second shortest pier in Britain? No? Well let me tell you.
The pier in your new town – and Cleethorpes* really IS your new town: the Grimsby/Cleethorpes border at Park Street did once offer a real demarcation line, in the days of two separate councils and different rates levied in both twin towns, but to all intents and purposes they are merged, in a way that say, Cardiff and Penarth could never be – was three quarters dismantled at the start of WW2, NOT because it was unsafe, and not to save iron for the War Effort, but because (wait for it!) … they thought Jerry would cross the North Sea and moor their landing crafts to the endmost pillar and then walk down the pier and immediately ask the Mayor for the formal surrender of the town!
Yes, I wonder too what drugs they were on at the time.
And what happened to all those iron pillars?
They made their way to Filbert Street and were used in the construction of a new stand!
Staying on soccer: having read of your love of blue flag beaches, I now realise why Pride Park proved a poor successor to The Baseball Ground.
You missed the sand!
Seriously though, I am really with you on your view that the new soccer stadia are all seemingly carbon copies of each other. I don’t go now. I won’t pay the absurd admission prices that exist in Britain..
The cheapest adult SEASON ticket at Bayern Munich is £120. That is for the best team in the Bundesliga.
Your new team in the FIFTH division of the English professional game, want £18 on matchdays to get you in.
They – and all the others – are having a laugh.
And finally: World Heritage Sites.
Look Andrew, I am a real philistine. I am not a culture vulture.
Museums and ancient ruins usually leave me cold. Pompeii did nothing much for me, but I loved the menace and chaos of Naples (probably my favourite Italian city). And actually thinking back, let me contradict myself.
I was rather taken by the museum in central Naples that showed the priapic art unearthed from the Pompeii ruins! Unforgettable! And depressing, if you get my drift!
But generally speaking, like I say, I am not a man for history much earlier than 1947.
But when you tell me that Knossos is not listed, well, that leaves me speechless. What a farce.
Okay, so Larissa hired a personal guide at Knossos, and he was a brilliant fellow. Maybe if I’d had him at Pompeii, I ‘d have gotten more out of THAT place. But even allowing for the disparity that this invariably brings, I have to say that the info you have just imparted (on Knossos’s non-inclusion) makes a mockery of the whole list.
BTW, I have just thought of a link between Knossos and that erotic Pompeii museum in central Naples. Sir Arthur Evans. A man who knew a thing or two about the priapic! I note that he left the bulk of his estate to the Boy Scouts.
I tell you, when we leave this world, we will wake up and realise that life has been “but a dream”!
* Did you know that the branch of Morrisons at the end of your road is known – throughout the Morrisons empire as Morrisons CLEETHORPES (not Grimsby)? Indeed, make a purchase there and you will see “Morrisons Cleethorpes” on the receipt.
One wonders whether Edward Lear was once Town Clerk?
(Actually the answer for the “Cleethorpes” when it seems to be 2-3 miles away, is more mundane. I won’t bore you with it.)
** You Could Not Make It Up (even if you tried!)
More chuckles from Laceby Road! I love the story about the Cleethorpes Pier and it now assumes even greater significance. For a couple of seasons dad used to get free tickets to sit in the double decker (for some reason his uncle, a school teacher in Enderby, could get them) and I think they were probably free because there wasa restricted view because in front of them was a great big iron pillar! It has just got to be hasn’t it?
Your observation about the sand at BBG is spot-on, I always teased by family (all Rams supporters) that the only reason they ever won the 1st Division championship was because no one else could play in the Derby mud.
I’m off to Morrissons so and will check the receipt.
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