Saturday, 9 November 2019

Pompeii, revisited

A family funeral in Oxford earlier in the week.  My cousin told me that there was an exhibition at the Ashmolean entitled "Last Supper in Pompeii", and, considering we had just been there, we should certainly go and see it; she recommended it.

So, as there was a little time, we decided to visit it. I'm so glad we did; the exhibition showed us a lot of finds from Pompeii, which we could visualise "in situ" as it were.  It was mainly concerned with eating and drinking, both in Pompeii itself and, contemporaneously in Roman Britain.  There were lots of cooking and serving vessels.
A figurine of a piglet, that may have been offered to the gods instead of the real thing (though I would have thought the real thing would have been cheaper, but what do I know?)
and even a Roman muffin tin:
and carving-knife:
There are plenty more photos on the website, so do have a look - or, better still, go and visit the exhibition if you are anywhere in the Oxford area.  It is on until January.

Friday, 1 November 2019

October holiday, 1 November

Cité de l'Europe

Today, being All Saints' Day, is a public holiday through much of Europe. So, in true Bank Holiday spirit, it rained all day!

We drove to the Strépy-Thieux boat lift, but sadly I was too asleep to really be aware of it. Then we stopped for lunch at a services - just a sandwich, but very nice.

Then we were stopped by French Customs - I don't know whether they were unaware that Brexit hadn't happened, or what - but they  kept asking where we had been, and why, and what we did for a living, and what was the retirement age in the UK, etc, while one of them with his dirty great feet peered all round the motor home and looked into all our cupboards and so on. Not nice, and I feel violated. This van is as much my home as my flat is, and I don't want customs officials all over the flat, either!

Haven't taken any photos today, so here is one from a happier border crossing! 

Thursday, 31 October 2019

October holiday, 31 October

Blégny-Mine, Belgium.

If you count Vatican City and San Marino as separate countries, which we most definitely do, this is the 7th new country this holiday!

The day started with the Swan Whisperer going for a run. It was a bitterly cold morning, and we were glad I had a pair of knitted gloves with me that he could borrow. After breakfast I went for a walk down to the Rhine,
rather glad I'd tucked a woolly hat into my bag. How many holidays do you need both a sunhat and a woolly hat?

It was a simply glorious morning for a walk, though. I was interested to read the plaques about Lord Byron - apparently the romantic poetry he wrote after visiting the area made Rhine tourism a thing and they pulled down the city walls and built hotels instead!
Sadly the local folk museum was only open in the afternoons, or I'd have visited it.

I wanted to do a Last Shop in Germany, as tomorrow is All Saints Day so the shops will be shut everywhere. Its just possible the Carrefour at Cité Europe will be open, but I'm not relying on it.

So we drove down to Niederdollendorf, the next commune along, and I went to Kik (knitting cotton), ReWe (groceries) and DM (drugstore) in that order.

By then it was lunch time, so we crossed the Rhine on the nearest ferry and then stopped for lunch before driving to Blégny for the penultimate night of the holiday. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

October holiday, 30 October

Königswinter, Germany.

A long drive today; too long, really, as we won't have so far to go tomorrow, but Germany, even from the motorways, is so lovely at this time of year. The autumn colours are spectacular, but I keep never managing to take photos of them, so today's only photo is from my bed.

We've been to this site in Königswinter a couple of times before, but this time, to our surprise, it is full of British cars and caravans!  Don't know who whey are or what they are doing here, but it is rare to see other British tourists in Germany!

It is bitterly cold - only last week it was blissful in Southern Italy, and now there is a frost! 

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

October holiday, 29 October

Ochsenfurt, Germany

The Swan Whisperer went for a run this morning, and then after breakfast we both went for a walk round Ingoldstadt,
calling in at a DM and an Edeka, and then on our way back there was a wool shop so I sent the SW back to the van to get his coffee while I investigated. There was nothing I wanted in the actual wool shop, except possibly some cotton, but I found some acrylic in the colours I wanted in the shop next door. So a win.  The SW said these flowers, in the main square, looked more like cabbages than flowers! I have to agree! 

After coffee and the services, we headed off towards Würzburg, this aire being on the Main a few kilometres short of it. Smooth journey, except we almost didn't find somewhere to stop for lunch and had to come off the road into some random village! Don't know where, but it was near Emskirchen. 

Monday, 28 October 2019

October holiday, 28 October

Ingolstadt, Germany

I should really know better than to say "Haven't  we been lucky with the weather?", which I said to the SW last night, because of course it promptly started raining - I fear to close the skylights when I got up in the night, and today has been very cold, as well as wet. From "just a t-shirt" yesterday, I've gone  into thick cardigan, scarf and wrap! We knew this would happen as we came north, of course, but you do feel it! 

I spent most of the morning wrestling with my bank (successfully) and PayPal (unsuccessfully), very frustrating, and was glad to walk into Kufstein to shop and work off excess adrenaline while I was at it. These Alpine towns are so scenic
that a modern shopping centre comes as a shock,
but just as well.

Then a cold, wet drive to here at Ingolstadt, stopping for lunch on the way. Got the last place in the aire, which is lovely and has electricity, and the SW went for a walk while I bought yet more rail tickets. I think it will be a warming drink this evening - whisky or sloe gin - rather than beer or wine! Last night we had pre-made Apérol Spritz, and all I can say is, don't bother, it's revolting with a horrible artificial aftertaste!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

October holiday, 27 October

Kufstein, Austria

The Swan Whisperer's idea of enjoying an extra hour in bed was to get up early and go for a run! Me, I enjoyed the extra hour in bed!

After breakfast, I had a lovely time pottering round a very large hypermarket while the SW used services (Italian shops are open on Sundays). In Bozen, everything is in two languages and although my German isn't very good, it's a lot better than my Italian! Still some things I had no idea what they were, though - I think cheese, but could have been pastry.

Then a splash of petrol (it is much cheaper here, so it enough to get us to Kufstein) and we were off along the motorway to Austria,
(I think this is a glacier) stopping at the border to have lunch and buy a vignette for the motorway, which didn't stop us having to pay for the Europabrücke, alas. 

And then on in, past Innsbrück, with me trying frantically to get some decent photos of scenery
which was more breathtaking round every corner,
and finally we arrived here at Kufstein
in a very nice, although crowded, aire, which would be nicer in the person next to us wasn't taking up two spaces!