Sunday, 30 December 2018

Goodbye to 2018

As the year nears its end it is time to reflect. There have been some joyous occasions with the safe arrival of my grandson last January. A shaky start in life for him, but I am pleased to say he is now thriving and almost walking. My son was married on a beautiful June day to his wonderful bride. They had already moved to Leeds back in February and I still miss having them live close by. However, it gives me a reason to travel north again, something I hadn't done since Mum died in 2017.

My travels took me to five new countries: Denmark. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Croatia. All of which were fascinating and exciting. I am still leading walks through the picturesque Kent countryside for the U3A. My long distance walk took me to Northern Spain and a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

I have tried to keep up with blogging on a regular basis as well as visiting and commenting on your blogs. It is not always that easy. I have only written about 12 new stations on  my 'Above the Underground' series which is not enough so need to do better next year. But at least I have managed to complete a third of the Underground stations. Ok, if I carry on at this rate I will be in my mid eighties before I have visited all the stations!

I am looking forward to 2019, even though the country will have numerous problems to solve as we edge closer to leaving the EU, I have confidence that all will be well eventually. Travelling may involve a lot more visa applications but c'est la vie. I thank all of you for following me this year and wish you all  a happy and healthy 2019.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Christmas Lights - a bit of a change

Today I am showing you some non traditional Christmas windows at Selfridges and decorations from Carnaby Street.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Christmas Lights - Fortnum and Mason

From the traditional to the wacky, London has it all when it comes to the Christmas displays. Over the next few days I will try and give you a feel for how London is looking this Christmas.

 This is Fortnum and Mason, a large upmarket store on Piccadilly. I always enjoy their window displays and this Christmas is no exception.

The store is just as beautiful on the inside.

Monday, 17 December 2018

More of Zagreb

Standing at the top of a flight of steps, leading to Dolac open air fresh fruit and veg market, is this statue of a 'kumica' These are women who live in nearby villages who have traditionally sold their produce at the market.

The steps have the image of a 'kumica' painted on them with apples tumbling down from her basket on the other side of the steps.

The market dates from the early 20th century when the city council decided to remove the old houses on Dolac to make room for a market place on three floors. The fruit and veg stalls in the open air are covered by traditional red parasols.

There is also a fish market, meat market as well as cheese and cooked food.

The five star Hotel Esplanade  was built close to the main rail station in 1925. Its original purpose was to provide luxurious accomodation for the passengers travelling on the Orient Express train. Zagreb was one of the many stops between Paris and Istanbul.

This former National library is now home to the Croatian State archives. Built in 1913 it is a fine example of Croatian Art Nouveau.

On the roof are groups of globe bearing owls, a nod to its previous purpose as an educational institute.

Both the front and back of the building are adorned with symbolic figures and reliefs.

The Museum of Arts and Crafts.

The Croatian National theatre.

In front of the theatre is a sculpture known as the Well of Life.

There were a number of interesting buildings that I couldn't find  in the guide book but I thought were worth photographing.

This is the only preserved tower from the 13th century fortifications. The bells of the tower used to summon the townspeople back  to the town at sunset before the gates were locked for the night.

A view of the hills which overlook the town.

Time for a drink and a snack. This was in the Kava Tava cafe known for its pancakes. Look at the size of the one I ordered. It was delicious but huge.

The decor was interesting. The cutlery lampshade cast unusual shadows around the room.

This is one of the entrances into the Gric Tunnel.It was built in 1943 as a WW2 air raid shelter and not used much after the war. The 350m long tunnel opened to the public in 2016, so after that huge snack we continued our walk around the town by walking through the tunnel.

It is used for exhibitions and there are discussions about the space being used for more permanent interactive Museum of the Senses.

This is the circular headquarters of the Croatian Artist's Association. During World War 2 it was used as a mosque complete with minarets. After the war the minarets were removed and it was returned to its original purpose as an exhibition centre, although it is still know affectionately to locals as 'The mosque'.
The arrival of the Coca-Cola truck was attracting a lot of attention. I think it was part of the Christmas Market.

 This Christmas hut, in another part of town  is made of empty Coca-Cola bottles.

We walked back to our hotel through the park, watching the skaters enjoying themselves.

Our hotel is known for its original art deco features (I forgot to photograph it from the outside!).

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