A week in the Philippines where everything is (according to the tourist board) more fun. Well it’s been too long since I had fun playing with my camera, so this was a great opportunity to enjoy myself.
Brussels is a lovely city. It has beer, chocolate and lots to see. The first thing we saw (if you exclude the Atomium which we passed underneath of course) was Mini-Europe. This contains scale models of many famous sights in Europe, many of which I have seen (and usually photographed) the real one.
|De Wand||16:21||Gare du Midi||16:27||3|
|Gare du Midi||17:20||Merode||17:53||81|
|De Brouckère||11:05||Gare du Midi||11:12||4|
|De Brouckère||13:15||Port de Hal||13:25||4|
Much to my surprise (some of) the trams are made by Bombadier.
When you come to a city the first challenge is finding your way around. We were lucky when we visited Kingston-upon-Hull recently to be part of a group of fellow tourists and friendly locals who went on a walking tour of part of this lovely city.
We met up in Queen’s Gardens, leaving unneeded possessions for safekeeping and from there we all walked through to the Rosebowl fountain.
“It looks like a ship’s wheel”, we were told.
Then we marched up Alfred Gelder Street to Lowgate.
“What’s this big building?” asked one person*.
“It’s the Guildhall” the locals helpfully replied.
From there we walked towards the old town and up to the Scale Lane Bridge; notable for being the only bridge where pedestrians can stay on it while it opens. We were a large group but some of us were fortunate enough to be able to make our way on to the far end of the bridge and how kind of them to open it especially for us.
Our tour then done we made our way back to Queen’s Gardens to collect bags before heading back to our hotel for a shower and then searching out some breakfast.
Perhaps I forgot to mention though, that this tour started at four o’clock in the morning and we were naked and painted a rather fetching shade of turquoise (in our case ‘B3’) throughout; for we were part of the “Sea of Hull”. A nude art installation by photographer and artist Spencer Tunick commissioned for Hull as part of the UK city of culture 2017. The largest so far in the UK, with 3,200 participants.
I know there are lots of pictures on the internet, so many accounts already describing how it felt. So how did it feel for me? I hadn’t worried about getting naked but I had worried (laugh if you know me) about my lack of worry. I wondered if I’d find I’d misjudged myself when it came to it. It turns out I hadn’t.
I wasn’t oblivious to the careful way the whole thing was set up either. We were repeatedly asked not to get naked until told to. Partly I’m sure in order to avoid public order offences, however also it meant that once final instructions on painting ourselves had been given and we’d been given clear instructions to be as quick as possible, when the order to strip came there was a mass scramble to get out of our clothes. We were given no time to think about what we were doing. By the time we had leisure to look round we were part of a sea of naked blue people filling the park.
It felt perfectly normal to be honest. For once I felt completely at home in a crowd, accepted, we were all together. Even leading the march down Alfred Gelder street chatting to Spencer’s assistant Steve (“Steeeve”) was surreally normal.
It was a truly fantastic experience; to be part of something amazing, beautiful and so, so much fun. I’m glad to have discovered a wonderful city, full of friendly people. I certainly learned some new things too. For instance:
- Hull has some fantastic city clocks (and when nobody is wearing a watch they are the only way to keep any sense of time).
- Penguin huddles work to keep people warm too.
- Body paint is surprisingly hard to remove from some places (but coconut oil helps).
- Also, if you ever wondered what it felt like to be the little mermaid then try walking barefoot on the Scale Lane Bridge. Ouch.
We’ll be back of course, when the art gallery reopens to see the art we helped create. Until then…
Embed from Getty Images
We are #SeaOfHull
*that was Spencer Tunick of course. He was giving us directions relative to it.
In our recent visit to Spain we decided to drive out to Bilbao to have a look around. I always enjoy a chance to see a new city and to ride on a new tram and this was a decidedly modern tram.
Plus of course there were lots of things to see.
I’ve been to Budapest many years ago (and believe me that really is another story) but in those days I knew not of trams and so we had used the metro to get around the city. This time however I wanted to ride on a tram. Time was short but I fitted one little journey in:
|Kossuth Lajos tér||15:41||Vígadó tér||15:46||2|
Here are a few of the pictures I took of this lovely city.
We’d been cruising along the Danube for several days. Each day had brought new locations and we had been toured round them. We had seen trams, we had even seen trolleybuses but there had been no chance to ride on any of them. So when we given basically the whole day free in Vienna I had only one real ambition, to ride on a tram.
Well, actually, I had another ambition, to see the snow globe museum and find a snow globe from the original snow globe manufacturers, but although we took the tram out there, they were closed on Fridays. Then we headed back, and after lunch went out to The Belvedere to see the Klimt paintings (“The Kiss” is really far more impressive in real life than in a poster). Then finally back into town for a little shopping before we headed back to the boat. And, for those of you are interested, I did manage to buy a snow globe from the original snow globe manufacturers as a present for someone very special.
*The 40 doesn’t actually go to Vinzenzgasse normally but it was diverted due to some kind of street festival.
I find going on holiday very exciting and my most recent trip was no exception. We went to the airport and had all the fun of catching a flight. On our arrival in the evening there was a coach to take us to our destination. Then we settled into our room, unpacked everything and went to enjoy our first night’s dinner. Since it was dark there wasn’t much to see out of the window in our room but the next morning there was a view…and the next…and the next; for this was a river boat cruising up (and then back down) the Danube. Taking us through locks (who knew the Danube had locks) and past beautiful scenery and to a variety of exciting places.
So here, as a tiny taster, are the views I woke up to each morning:
Munich is a lovely city but the Neues Rathaus (or New Town Hall) is something special.
It is a beautiful building from the outside with a carillon with a set of figures that move and dance as the music plays and countless intricate carvings and decorations.
From the bottom there is a lift which takes you up to another lift in the tower which (for a small fee) you can ascend and enjoy views over the city.
Having done that we decided to take the stairs back down to the ground floor and discovered that the building was even more beautiful on the inside.
While taking photographs inside a mysterious woman beckoned me on, going ahead and turning to signal insistently that I should follow her. She led me to some chambers which were also incredibly beautiful but as she (literally) pointed out the ‘No photography’ sign to me you’ll just have to go and see them for yourselves.
The photographs here don’t cover a fraction of the beauty of this building, or even of the pictures I took. It really was truly amazing; if you’re ever in Munich I’d recommend that you visit it.
Visiting Munich was of course yet another opportunity to play on some trams, so I took full advantage.