Tag Archives: Photography

A to Z of Postcards – Z is for Zuiderzee in the Netherlands

Z is always a tricky one in an A to Z.  I thought about it, racked my brains and eventually remembered that in 1979 or thereabouts I went to Amsterdam and the weekend included an excursion to Volendam on the Zuiderzee.

Volendam is a popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands, well-known for its fleet of old fishing boats, pretty gabled wooden houses and the traditional clothing still worn by some of the older residents. The women’s costume of Volendam, with its high pointed bonnet, is one of the most recognizable of the Dutch traditional costumes, and is the one most often featured on tourist postcards and calendars.

It is rather like a theme park actually, with little in common with reality,

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Siena and the Grimsby Dock Tower

There is a postscript to this story of my visit to Siena and one that in 2006 I couldn’t possibly have foreseen.

Five years later I moved to the fishing port of Grimsby and there by the docks is an Italianate water tower built in 1852 to provide power to work the giant lock gates.  The tower was designed by a man called James William Wild who had himself visited Siena and had so admired the place that he based his design for the Grimsby Dock Tower on the Torre del Mangia tower on the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena.  Fate sometimes place strange tricks!

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A to Z of Postcards – U is for Umbria in Italy

I live in England and I am a citizen of the United Kingdom of course but…

…I am really struggling with the letter U.  I have never been to Ukraine or Uzbekistan or Uruguay and doubt that I ever will,  I have never been to Uganda or the United Arab Emirates and also doubt that I ever will.

I have overdone Castro Udiales in Spain having used it three times already in my A to Zs.  So I am going to cheat here.  I am not sure if I have ever been to Umbria in Italy but I have half a thought that I have passed through it on a train journey.

The nearest place to Umbria that I have visited is the city of Siena in neighbouring Tuscany.

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A to Z of Postcards – K is for Kefalonia

In the first half of 2000 work was getting onerous and less enjoyable and I was beginning to lose my enthusiasm for working for a company (Onyx UK) that was financed by public taxes but was providing an ever deteriorating level of service.  I had a new boss who I didn’t get on with and I needed a holiday so at the beginning of June I went to the Ionian island of Kefalonia with mum and dad and son Jonathan.

As it happened it turned out to be the last time that I went away with dad because he became too ill to travel soon after that.

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A to Z of Postcards – J is for Jackson Hole in USA

 

Tonight we stayed at the Painted Buffalo Inn in Jackson or more correctly Jackson Hole. which was close to the town’s main square with arches of Elk antlers and close to the shopping and restaurant areas of this busy tourist town.

Later we had buffalo steaks at the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, which is a cowboy restaurant with lively entertainment, saddles for bar stools and an impressive collection of western memorabilia and cowboy theme bars.   Jackson and the Grand Tetons have been a popular western movie shoot location and includes one of my favourites – “Shane”.

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A to Z of Cathedrals – Z is for Zadar in Croatia

My A to Z of Cathedrals finishes today with Z for Zadar in Croatia…

We flew to Zadar because the air fares were absurdly cheap, our plan was to drive south so we didn’t stay long which in retrospect was rather rude.

Zadar was pleasant but the weather was poor and a couple of hours were just enough to see all of the things that needed to be seen.  In the centre were the ruins of the old Roman Forum and just as in Pula the previous year old bits of Roman buildings, columns and artefacts were strewn about the main square and the adjacent streets and there was an area of what looked like very important excavation work that was completely accessible to the public to go and make their own important archaeological discoveries.

A to Z of Cathedrals – U is for Castro Udiales in Spain

Around the harbour side women were working under parasols repairing fishing nets and past the fish market at the far end of the harbour a set of weathered stone steps took us up to castle which stands on an elevated rocky outcrop.  We made the tour of the restored fortress and then walked around the outside of the impressive medieval parish church, the Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asuncion, which had the external appearance of a much grander cathedral.

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A to Z of Cathedrals – O is for Oviedo in Spain

Oviedo is only a small city, only just scraping into the top twenty largest cities in Spain and it isn’t even the largest in Asturias so it didn’t take that long to walk around the historical centre and soon there was only one thing left to do – visit the Cathedral.

The building was severely damaged during the Spanish Civil War when the conflict more or less started here and there was fierce Nationalist oppression inflicted by General Franco but it has been restored now and has been returned to its former medieval grandeur.

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A to Z of Cathedrals – L is for Lecce in Italy

After the main square we slipped into into the side streets and made our way to the Basilica di Sante Croce, said to be the most beautiful church in the city and it may well have been but unfortunately for us the builders were in and the front was covered in scaffolding.  My picture is therefore a postcard.

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A to Z of Cathedrals – K is for Kotor in Montenegro

 

After a long drive around the Bay of Kotor we eventually arrived in the City which was bigger than I imagined it would be from the descriptions in the travel guides and there was a six deck, two thousand passenger cruise liner tied up at the dock which was so huge it dwarfed the town and looked sadly out of place.  I may have mentioned this before but I really do not like these cruise ships.

At 35º centigrade it was extremely hot so we were pleased to go through the main gate of the old town and into the shaded cooler streets inside, Kim because she was out of the sun and me because she had stopped complaining about it.

It was busy inside because Kotor old town is quite small with a population of about five and a half thousand and it was playing host to the holidaymakers from the cruise liner and hundreds of others as well which temporarily more than doubled the population.

Kotor is a UNESCO World Heritage site and inside the walls the narrow sinuous streets took us past little picturesque shops, cafés, bars, antique monuments and cream stone buildings, balconies overflowing with billowing flowers, washing lines full of immaculate laundry and the overwhelming smell of laundry powder and fabric conditioner.

Kotor Cathedral is dedicated to St Tryphon who it turns out is one of the least remarkable Catholic Saints.  His relics are kept in Constantinople (Istanbul) and Rome but his head is kept in Kotor.

The old town of Kotor is wedged in between the rugged Bay and at the foot of the imposing Lovćen massif mountain range directly under overhanging limestone cliffs of the mountains Orjen and Lovćen.  To be honest I don’t remember visiting the Cathedral, I don’t think we did, we just took up position in a nearby bar and looked at it so we didn’t get to see the head of St Tryphon which was a sheme.

I remember this priest on his mobile phone.  I always wonder who priests are talking to on a mobile phone.  Are they checking in with God or are they ordering pizza?

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