“Grimsby was not at all what I had expected…. The town centre was not compact and charming and town like, but grubbily urban with busy roads which were difficult to cross on foot” – Bill Bryson
I used to like Bill Bryson, I thought he was funny but in his last lamentable book ‘The Road to Little Dribbling” he had the above to say about Grimsby. I am not a Grimbarian so I have no axe to grind. I am not arguing with him but I just got the sense that he hadn’t really visited Grimsby at all and his dismissive assessment was based on a Google search. Despite its shortcomings I think the town deserves more than a quarter page in one of Bill’s travel books.
I have lived in Grimsby for ten years and I rather like it.
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Posted in Europe, History, Travel, United Kingdom, World Heritage
Tagged Ben Hamilton-Baillie, Bill Bryson, Cleethorpes, Culture, Grimsby, Humber Estuary, Life, Northumberland, Trans Pennine Express
And so I come to the end of my A to Z of balconies and finish in the delightful city of Zamora in Northern Spain.
Zamora is only a small city for a provincial capital, close to the border with Portugal and situated on the river Duero (Duoro in Portugal) and most famous for having the greatest number of Romanesque churches of any city in Europe.
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Posted in Cathedrals, Europe, Food, History, Literature, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Castilla y Leon, Culture, Hotel Conventa Spa, León, Life, statues, Zamo
Louis Kossuth was the man who led the 1848 revolution that attempted to overthrow the Hapsburgs and there is a large monument to his memory at one end of the square.
Louis Kossuth is a hero in Hungarian history books but the pigeons don’t show him a lot of respect.
More statues in Budapest…
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Posted in Budapest, Europe, History, Hungary, Literature, Postcards, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Budapest, Budapest Parliament, Crown of St Stephen, Culture, Hungarian Goulash, Life, River Danube, Shoes by the Danube
In my A to Z, W and X were difficult and Y has been no easier. This is a hotel balcony in Segovia in Castilla y Leon in Spain…
We were staying at the Sercotel Infanta Isabel and we had one of the best rooms in the hotel on the second floor with a perfect view of the Plaza Mayor lined with cafés and bars and with the Cathedral directly opposite.
As it went dark it was nice to sit and watch the square melting from afternoon into evening with plenty of sociable activity. There were lots of Segovians walking out in families and we joined them in the busy streets and looked for somewhere to eat.
Click on an image to view the Gallery…
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Posted in Cathedrals, El Cid, Europe, History, Hotels, Literature, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Culture, Life, Photography, Roman Empire, Segovia, Travel
Welcome to my new Project – Washing Lines
Another picture from Porto. When it comes to washing lines, if I was a gold miner in Ballarat, Porto is the equivalent of hitting the mother load.
This woman is lost deep in thought, I wonder what she is thinking about?
It is a Challenge, feel free to join in…
Posted in Arts and Crafts, Europe, Literature, Portugal, Postcards, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Culture, Life, Monday Washing, Porto Ribiera, Porto. Washing Lines, Washing Pegs
When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.
This one was taken whilst on a gondola ride through the back canals of Venice…
Begging is quite normal in Europe, I don’t quite know where I stand on it, I am certain some of it is based on genuine hardship and some is based on a scam. I quite often hand over some loose change just to massage my conscience.
We had spent 100 euro on a gondola ride and she was asking for just a few cents.
I sensed this woman was genuine, she has the look of being genuine and I would have gladly tipped some coins into her collection cup but we were in the middle of a canal and how was I to get it to her. I felt guilty about that.
Some people however I would never give money to, like this pair of scammers in Oviedo in Northern Spain…
Posted in Cathedrals, Europe, History, Italy, Literature, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Culture, Life, People Pictures, Street Beggars, Venice, Venice Canals
Leaving central Lisbon I to the railway station next door and joined another glacial ticket machine queue and waited to pay my fare to visit nearby Belém, it took forever, I could have walked there in the time it took to get to the front of the line but fortunately this didn’t inconvenience me so much and I didn’t miss the next train.
I immediately liked Belém, it was a little more relaxed than Lisbon city centre. I walked first to the east for a good view of the suspension bridge and then to the west to the UNESCO listed Belém Tower and then to the real reason that I wanted to visit, The Monument to the Discoveries.
Located on the edge of the north bank of the Tagus, the fifty metre high slab of concrete, was erected in 1960 to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. The monument is sculpted in the form of a ship’s prow, with dozens of figures from Portuguese history following a statue of the Infante Henry looking out to the west perhaps contemplating another voyage of discovery.
Posted in Beaches, Cathedrals, Europe, History, Portugal, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Arco da Rua Augusta Lisbon, Belém, Belém Tower, Culture, Elevador to Santa Justa Lisbon, Life, Lisbon, Lisbon Castle, The Monument to the Discoveries Lisbon, UNESCO
Supposedly the location of the famous balcony scene from Shakespeare’s love story, Juliet’s house in Verona is a popular romantic shrine and tourist honey-trap where lovers leave messages to each other on the walls and attach the dreadful lovelocks to the fences and the railings.
Although the place has become a major destination for tourist pilgrimage the house of course has no connection at all with the bard’s fictional characters and although it is old and looks authentic enough, the balcony was actually added in 1936 and declared to be “Juliet’s house” by the city authorities in a blatant attempt to cash in on the Shakespeare connection and to attract more tourists.
The balcony overlooks a tiny courtyard containing a dainty bronze statue of a graceful Juliet and people were waiting impatiently for their turn to be photographed with the heroine and to touch her right breast which is supposed to bring good fortune but I was worried that public groping was inappropriate and ever so slightly ungentlemanly so I steered clear and elected to do without the good luck boost and on the way out decided not to waste my money on a lottery ticket next weekend.
It is an interesting fact that thirteen of the thirty-seven plays of William Shakespeare were set either completely or partly in Italy and if we rule out the ten English history plays (which naturally have to be set in England) then half of the remainder of the major works are set in the Italian states and no one knows for sure just why.
Those who question Shakespeare’s authorship make the point that he sets his plays in Venice, Milan and Florence not Warwick, Oxford and York and they just may have a point!
The plays in which some or all of the action is set in Italy are: All’s Well that Ends Well, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Cymbeline, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Titus Andronicus, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Winter’s Tale.
“Ever a shadow, he disappears, all but utterly, from 1585 to 1592….There is not a more tempting void in literary history, nor more eager hands to fill it” – Bill Bryson on Shakespeare.
Posted in Europe, History, Italy, Literature, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Balconies of Italy, Culture, Life, Padova, Photography, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Travel, Verona
Welcome to my new Project – Washing Lines
This week I am in Rovinj in Istria in Croatia.
I visited Rovinj with travelling companions in April 2011.
It was time for a coffee and there were plenty of busy harbour side bars to choose from so as we looked for empty spaces Micky reminded me of his theory that if we (the men) made a selection then this would be automatically overruled by Kim who has a curious habit of always walking to the next one perhaps in some sort of belief that it will always be better.
To prove his theory Micky stopped by an empty table at a perfectly acceptable café and waited for the girls to catch up sure enough Kim rejected it and led us instead to the one next door. It was almost identical and the coffee would be exactly the same so there really was no explanation.
Micky smirked, I smiled, Kim was oblivious.
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Posted in Arts and Crafts, Croatia, Europe, History, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Culture, Life, Monday Washing, Photography, Rovinj, Travel, Washing Line Challenge, Washing Pegs
In the centre of the Italian town of Polignnao al Mare is a tall statue of a man with arms theatrically outstretched as trying to attempt flight and this turned out to be the singer/songwriter Domenico Modugno who is perhaps the most famous son of Polignano who after a career in show business went on to become a member of the Italian Parliament.
Domenico who? I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you that Domenico is renowned for writing and performing what is claimed to be the most famous, most copied, most successful ever Eurovision Song Contest entry (even beating ABBA) and most lucrative in terms of revenue, Italian popular music songs of all time.
Think about it…have you got it…
“Nel blu dipinto di blu” or most popularly known as “Volare”
Quite by chance today is Eurovision Song Contest Day.
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Posted in Europe, History, Italy, Postcards, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Culture, Domenico modungo, Domenigo Modungo, Entertainment, Eurovision Song Contest, Life, Polignano a Mare, Volare