I have returned (reluctantly) from my Spanish holiday and mini inter-railing experience through Andalusia via Seville, Cordoba, Granada and finally Gibraltar, “Britain in the Sun.” I’m still going through photos from my proper camera, so here is a review of Andalusia in 10 mobile phone photos or less.
It’s the prime time of year for getaways. Unfortunately, my holiday is now over and I will be sharing the photos very soon. (Promise!) In 2008, I was lucky enough to spend a semester abroad and one of the day trips we took was to Mantova (Mantua). Typical of many tiny towns in Italy, Mantova is absolutely packed with history and culture, but has it’s very own ‘feel’ to it. Another powerhouse (along with Florence and others) of Renaissance art and architecture in the Palazzo Te, Palazzo Ducale, and the great church designed by Leon Battista Alberti.
I think I was a little bit ambitious when I set my goal of reading 10 new books. To date, I have read four. However, I loved all of them.
I read two history books. They’re both massive, so I think they should probably count for more.
The first book of the year that I read was The Inheritance of Rome. A fantastic history of early medieval Europe. It’s pretty dense, and I found the most interesting chapters to be the ones based on geographical areas I knew better. So, for me, the chapters on the UK and Italy were the most interesting. I found the Spanish chapter to be a bit slow going but that’s because I know next to nothing about Spanish history. I’m glad I stuck it out though!
More recently, I read another European history book, Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half- Forgotten Europe. This is another book that’s broken up into distinct chapters, each one focused on a former and almost unknown state. For some reason, the chapter on Byzantium was about 5 pages (a big disappointment) and the chapter on Aragon (in Spain) went on for what seemed like forever. Again, I’m glad I stuck it out though. The author cleverly references earlier chapters later on when discussing related kingdoms or states. (A teacher never misses an opportunity!) These books with distinct chapters are really good for commuting. I can usually get to a natural stopping point before I have to change trains.
I read one book on the Tube (whilst on the Tube). (This may come as a surprise.) Called Underground, Overground: A Passenger’s History of the Tube, it is a fairly new addition to the great body of varied quality literature on London Underground. I really liked it and found it to be a fast read. Broken up by line, it covers its interesting history with some anecdote thrown in. I learned a lot of new facts, which can be quite a feat to achieve. This is not to say that I’m an expert,but that most books on such subjects, because they’re so popular, tend to say the same things.
Finally, I read a book on murders in Paris. Crime Album Stories is a strange mix of fact and fiction. Based on a small archive of early police photos of murders in Paris, the author wrote a somewhat factual story about each one. Full of gory photos, it also has some great, albeit heartbreaking stories about the sad lives of murdered and murderer. I would recommend taking it slow to avoid the paranoia that comes with reading about murders/serial killers/ etc. or watching too much CSI.
And for the record, which might bring my goal a bit closer, I’ve read a lot of travel books for reasons that will soon become clear, in fact I will be officially on holiday as of tomorrow. See you upon my return.
It wasn’t my finest moment when I finally rocked up to Kennington station after 7 hours of walking, being rained on, enjoying a brass band, and having been lost for the last half hour. I chose to walk this section by myself and as such I just wanted to get it over with. This meant one bathroom break, no pub, lunch on the go, and clearly a lot of poor decisions relating to food and drink (tuna pasta salad washed down with Gatoraid while walking down Goldiers Green Road got some weird looks.)
Another of my finest moments is that I can’t actually find any photos from this walk (how frustrating!) Anyway, I started my walk from Edgeware to Brent Cross, crossing over what’s left of the River Brent and a very scary footbridge over a motorway. From there I walked through Goldiers Green, past some surprisingly leafy areas in the very affluent Hampstead which actually felt like it was farther out of London than where I started in Edgeware.
From Goldiers Green, through Camden, Euston and central London, now with a headache and no patience for the tourists going out to the theatre in the evening. Finally crossed the river as it started to absolutely pour to find a flash mob brass band. I have to say, I love brass bands at the best of times and this really perked up my spirits. I thought I really could make it to Kennington at this point. And I did eventually after walking past it for about 20 minutes and then back.
I then, in my infinite wisdom decided to pop into the food store and pick up soup and juice (very heavy) and get on the train home with everyone else who was going out for their Saturday night. I arrived home around 10pm, after giving fairly detailed instructions to a very confused Italian who was finding his way from Manchester to Milan somehow via Heathrow with no tickets.
It may come as no surprise as I took a very long break before starting my next line, the Jubilee.
So of course I know about the 365 Photo project where you take a photo a day for an entire year. Typically, I am totally incapable of starting at the first of a year (I started in March) and also incapable of actually taking exactly a photo a day.
So what if I started in March?
And so what if I take a photo in the same few hundred yards everyday (ever see my Window series?)
And so what if I don’t actually take a photo everyday, but several in one day and maybe none the next?
What’s important to me is that I’m taking more photos.
And I’m taking part.
Remember how an original steam(!!!) tube train was refurbished and run on the Underground for its 150th anniversary? You may have noticed I don’t have any pictures nor did I gush at any point about getting to ride on it (for several hundred pounds!) or having seen it go past in all its classy glory. That’s because I didn’t get a ride (for several hundred pounds) nor did I get to see it (I was too busy.) Well, that’s been rectified (and I got to blow it’s whistle!)
It’s safe to say that this steam train hissing, dripping, and periodically bellowing easily stole the show. The engine and the carriages were beautifully restored. We got to sit in the carriages and although I felt woefully under-dressed, I could just about imagine myself in 1863 on the first journey through central London.
Another steam train was a close second due to its small stature (look how cute it is!) and that it gave rides. Who doesn’t like rides?
Of course these two trains were the last things in a long line of very cool Underground and transport vehicles and general memorabilia related to transport in London. (I wonder where they keep all the complaints though!)
In addition, there was the renown 38 Stock. Arguably the classiest Tube trains that ever existed.
There was also every sign imaginable, some from Tube stations I’ve never even heard of!
There were also models of trains and entire stations, tiles, clocks, an electric car and a strange mixture of transport geeks and families. I wholly enjoyed myself and I think those I dragged along who were significantly less excited by the prospect of looking at London transport memorbilia also liked it despite themselves.
It really didn’t take long before I got bored of making my webs in single or double crochet. I’m not bored of looking at them yet, but I don’t think that’s really a compliment to my crocheting skills (more to a vibrant imagination!)
So for practice (and decoration that really annoys boys) I started making old lady doilies. Out of some (supposedly) silk wool I got with Lenny (over at RunnyCustard Photography).
More to follow! And hopefully be able to see the fruits of my effort in a new project to come!