More Antiqua Roma

Sep 11, 13 More Antiqua Roma

Posted by in Italy 2013

We’ve packed in another full day of Ancient Roman sites. It makes up for the rather disappointing day we had yesterday when I was robbed on the Metro. I had my pocket picked and lost my iPhone {deep sob}. Spending a couple of hours in an Italian police station was ‘interesting’. It was like something out of the 1930s … weird. Via Appia First off the Appian way … a 16km stretch of Roman road leading into the city. The actual paved highway is still intact in many of the places. All along the road there are memorials, sepulchres and catacombs to the Roman dead. No-one was allowed to be buried in Ancient Rome. Hiring bikes we rode down this most ancient of roads. You can even see the wheel tracks of the roman wagons worn into the flagstones. I have to say that the Ancient Roman bottom must have been made of sterner stuff than ours. Whilst it might have been the cutting edge in road technology then it was still very rough. The Caracalla Baths Then we headed to the remains of the Caracalla Baths. This building was HUGE. It could accommodate 1,600 people at a time and was available to all of Rome’s citizens FREE. It had 2 gymnasiums, massage rooms, Turkish baths, a hot room to sweat the dirt out after a hard day, a tepid room to wash and finally a cold pool to cool off in. All this whilst our ancestors were still sitting in mud huts picking lice out of their armpits. Your average Roman pleb had access to clean water, baths, libraries, good roads, a legal system …. need I go on !! The Circus Maximus We then walked on to see the site of the Circus Maximus. Think ‘Ben Hur’ and chariot races and you’ll get the picture. Anyway as you’d expect it was huge. Roman engineers never did anything by halves. Sadly there’s not much left today but outlines of the arena and seating....

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Dagtocht naar Amsterdam

Nov 01, 12 Dagtocht naar Amsterdam

Posted by in Holland, Travel

Dagtocht naar Amsterdam – “Day trip to Amsterdam” Yesterday we had a fantastic day trip to Amsterdam which took in a canal tour, a visit to the Rijksmuseum ending up with meal in Dam square.… lekker...

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Shakespeare at the Castle

Aug 10, 12 Shakespeare at the Castle

Posted by in Miscellaneous

We’ve had a great evening of Shakespeare at Vale Castle, a medieval fortification perched above the little Russel overlooking Herm and Jethou. The play was “Julius Caesar”, officially a tragedy, but as it was the “Oddsocks” company performing it they managed to convert it into a hilarious romp through, in my opinion, one of the Bard’s best plays. Prior to the play commencing we had a fantastic picnic in the grounds of the...

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Colonial Echos

We rather smugly thought we’d beaten the jet lag and had gotten our bodies into its new routine smoothly. However 4:00am in the morning found us both wide awake so we resigned ourselves to a few more wakeful hours until we would get up for breakfast … 8 hours later though we woke up decidedly confused at 12:30 in the afternoon! Determined not to waste any time we headed out as soon as we could by taxi to that most famous epitome of colonial rule, Raffles Hotel. As we glided up to the front entrance we were met by an Indian concierge dressed in full Raj regalia. As he opened the door of the cab the sense of Imperial decadence I was feeling at this point was somewhat dented when he asked if we were guests, upon which we duly replied ‘No’ and we’re then shown round the back. We had come to Raffles to soak up a little of the atmosphere that must have pervaded Singapore when it was a British colony and of course drink the famous ‘Singapore Sling’ cocktail in the Long Bar. We weren’t disappointed and it wasn’t hard to imagine the British upper classes along with other Europeans languidly enjoying the comforts of the hotel, their footsteps and conversations echoing down the cool marble corridors and upper walkways of the hotel. The Singapore sling was developed by the barman at the Raffles Long bar in 1915. I’ve tried a few in different cocktail bars but the one mixed at Raffles is without doubt the smoothest and best I’ve ever tasted. It’s hardly surprising though as our barman told us that they’d served approximately 150-200 on that day alone … so practice really does make...

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La Bonne Vie

May 06, 11 La Bonne Vie

Posted by in Holland-Paris-Provence 2011

Our hotel room, although the size of a large closet, even has a very small balcony which we can sit on overlooking some typically Parisienne street life, cafes and terraces (tres chic :- D) We’ve thrown ourselves into Paris with abandon combining some regular touristy stuff with some “haute culture”. Over our 3 days here we’ve visited Note Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel tower, Montmartre and Le Sacre Coeur as well as “La Musée du Moyen Age” (Museum of the Middle Ages) which contains the famous “Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries” and of course the Louvre. We resisted the obvious of going to see the Mona Lisa and instead opted ( well Annelies opted seeing as I’m the original cultural barbarian who can’t tell the difference between a Reuben and a Robin) to go and see the old Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer and Reubens to mention but a few. The Louvre is truly a stunning and massive edifice. The entrance via the famous glass pyramid was very impressive. Underneath the pyramid it houses 2 floors all excavated out out into separate underground galleries. These in turn take you up into the main Louvre buildings ( the open quadrangle that surrounds the pyramid) via escalators. It’s all very modern and yet quite harmonious with these centuries old buildings. We also visited Le Musee d’Orsay which houses an impressive collection of Impressionist paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Manet, Gauguin and van Gogh. Being able to see these famous art pieces so close up was even for me exciting. They were truly spectacular. The museum building itself was also impressive. It was a former railway station but even the restaurant was a 19th century fantasy spectacular with gilt edged encrusted decorated mirrors , chandeliers and classical sculptures … the prices weren’t 19th century though … £8.50 for a piece chocolate cake ! That said I could definitely get into Paris cafe culture. All our meals have been gastronomic delights and our many cafe...

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