Category Archives: History

On This Day – Ljubljana Christmas Market

December is a time for Christmas Markets. In 2007 I was in Ljubljana in Slovenia…

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On This Day – Krakow Christmas Market

Even though travel restrictions are easing I am not yet minded to risk it so I still have no new stories to post so I continue to go through my picture archives and see where I was on this day at any time in the last few travelling years.

On 1st December 2006 I was in the Polish city of Krakow visiting the Christmas Market…

I recorded no story because this was so long ago it was even before I started to write my blog.

I did buy this rather nice chess set in the indoor Christmas market…

Travels In Spain – Wives at Church and Men on Street Corners

“…anyone that knows Spain will be aware of the frequency of the marriage in which the wife is deeply pious and the husband is irreligious. This is indeed a fairly normal situation. The man’s sense of self-esteem conflicts sharply with the teachings of the Church, especially in the sexual field, while he is irritated by its many small, fussy rules and regulations, which treat him, he feels, as though he were a child.” – Gerald Brennan – ‘South From Granada‘

There seemed to be strange goings on in the main town square because it was full of men just standing around and chatting in groups of ten or so and making an enormous din as they competed with each other to be heard about the great political issues of the day or yesterday’s football results perhaps.

Mostly elderly men because just as Gerald Brennan explained “…almost every Spanish peasant becomes wise when he passes fifty.” This was obviously a Sunday morning ritual while wives attended Church and the street corners and the public squares were overflowing with men all in animated conversation waiting for the service to end. Brennan also explains that – “At bottom the husband almost always approves of his wife’s devoutness, is aware that he is only playing truant and that, after a lifetime shrugging his shoulders at the Church, he will return to it in time to receive its last sacraments.”

Kim, Sue and Christine do their best to compete with the men…

Travels in Spain – The Scruffy Dog of Carmona

First of all we walked to the town’s market place and I was distressed to find scruffy dog following us again. Christine had been fussing it and it must have considered this to be an invitation to tag along. I tried to get rid of it, Kim tried to get rid of it, but we both failed. I’m not sure just what Micky did but he took it around the corner to get rid of it and we didn’t see it again for the rest of the morning. Micky has an understanding with dogs it would seem!

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Travels in Spain – Tapas and Sherry in Carmona

The bad news this morning was that Micky had gone down with a nasty little case of man flu and he wasn’t feeling very good at all. This was the strain that affects the sense of humour and after breakfast Mick invited us to go out without him. Naturally we said we would do no such thing and then as we watched his normally stoic temperament evaporating in front of us he demanded firmly that we should go out without him and we took the hint.

After a walk around the town and back at the Puerto de Sevilla there was a sunny pavement with café tables so we stopped for a drink before going back to the hotel to see if there was any sign of Micky.

Micky wasn’t there but the scruffy dog was and Christine started to play with the horrible thing and this unfortunately encouraged it to then join us as we continued our walk around the town.

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Travels in Spain – Driving Issues in Carmona

We set off and it soon became clear why we needed both precision and good fortune because if we had thought that the previous street had been narrow this one made it look like a six lane highway!

First of all it was necessary to negotiate a dog leg gate that was barely wider than the car and we all had to collectively breathe in so that we could squeeze through and after that the street narrowed down still further and I needed delicate keyhole surgery skills to manoeuvre through 90º bends and past carelessly parked cars and iron bollards strategically placed to impede progress at every turn.

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Postcard From France – The Canal du Midi

The idea of creating a waterway as a shortcut between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea had captured the imagination of successive French Kings and governments since Roman times. The regional route overland was slow, uncomfortable and haunted by bandits; the two thousand mile passage by sea took at least a month and was also dangerous as ships negotiating the Spanish coast dodged storms and Barbary pirates to pass through the Strait of Gibraltar.

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Postcard From Cahors in France

In the early summer of 1998 the Times Newspaper ran a daily competition one week to win a prize of an all expenses paid trip for two nights in an up market Relais and Chateau Hotel somewhere in Europe. One day the competition required answers to three questions about Santiago de Compostela in Galicia and the Way of St James.

I was confident of the answers and telephoned them in several times over the course of the day.

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Entrance Tickets – The Cathedrals of Salamanca

It was lunch time now so the next task was to find somewhere amongst the huge choice of bars and bodegas to find somewhere suitable. We didn’t have to concern ourselves too greatly with this because our minds were made up for us when a young student stopped us and forced a card into our hands and directed us to a bar down an old town side street.

There was something in her smile that said if you present this card I will be paid some commission and it was impossible to refuse.

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Iceland – The Blue Lagoon, Power, Psoriasis and Pubic Hair

The signs to the attraction were a bit confusing but as we approached we could see the plumes of steam rising into the atmosphere and finally it was impossible to miss the huge structure of the power station looking like a set from a James Bond movie and we turned off the road and into the car park, which today, probably on account of the wretched weather was virtually empty.

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