Lockdown Armchair Travel – Israel – Jerusalem – March 2016

I is also for Israel, and we had a couple of days there during our Mediterranean cruise in 2016. We took the ship’s day excursion to Jerusalem, somewhere I had always wanted to go. Incredibly busy, incredibly beautiful, incredibly tense. The day included probably the unhappiest tourist-rip-off moment I’ve ever experienced, but it also included moments of sheer joy.

So what do you think of, when you think of Jerusalem? Maybe this man:

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This picture is just one of many beautiful and emotion-filled works of art in the Church of All Nations that stands on the Mount of Olives beside the Garden of Gethsemane. Here’s more of the Church:

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But my favourite place in the whole of Jerusalem is the neighbouring Garden of Gethsemane. Extraordinary to think that it still exists so beautifully to this day.

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Did Jesus sit beneath this olive tree?

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Standing out in the whole of the Jerusalem cityscape is the incredible Dome of the Rock

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But Jerusalem has its fair share of other stunning buildings. This is the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene.

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Perhaps the most famous sight in Jerusalem is the Wailing Wall. It’s split into two portions; one large area for the men to pray and one tiny one for the women.

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The old walls are remarkable

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But the most important place is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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Which was one of the least friendly churches I’ve ever been in!

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But the light shining in is amazing

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It’s fascinating – although crowded – to walk down the via Dolorosa, which is believed to be the path Jesus took to his crucifixion.

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Here are some of the stations of the Cross

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The layout of the Jewish Cemetery at the Mount of Olives is fascinating

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There are, of course, modern sights, but you don’t really get to see them in a day trip. This is when our coach drove past the Knesset.

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As in all cities, life is lived on the streets

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And there are always quirky views to enjoy

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Although the security fence is somewhat distressing

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And even the souvenir t-shirts proclaim something of a gallows humour

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So, in short, Jerusalem is beautiful but stressful. We also went to Tel Aviv which is the complete opposite – ugly and relaxed. I guess you can’t have both!

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Thanks for joining me on this little jaunt around Jerusalem. Next blog will be back to the old theatre trips, and some shows I saw between August and October 1980. Stay safe!

 

 

Lockdown Armchair Travel – Ireland – Dublin – June 2019

It was just a year ago that our British Isles cruise set sail to seven exciting ports and Dublin was one of them. Having only visited Ireland twice before, and not for many years, it was high time we had a lovely day in the Irish capital. Unfortunately we had to dodge the raindrops all day!

So when you think of Dublin, what do you think of?

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Other drinks are available of course, but for whatever reason, Guinness always tastes better in Ireland. Maybe Dublin brings to mind this chap? (The one on the left)

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Art is well represented

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This was my favourite picture during our brief trundle around – Caravaggio’s Taking of Christ

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The heavens opened and we took shelter in here – only to discover it was the Parliament Building. They were kind enough to let us in, but were even happier when we left. I offered to sign the vistors book – the offer was refused.

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I can only assume that Molly Malone’s breasts are part of a good luck ritual.

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In the world of Dance, Dublin is responsible for a very important modern classic

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which just so happened to be playing at the Gaiety whilst we were there (but not on that day)

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Meanwhile the city is full of hustle and bustle, like all cities

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with attractive modern shopping and dining areas

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whilst retaining a charming elegance

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and lovely green spaces

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Possibly the most fascinating place we visited was the Masonic Hall – opened up for individual visitors, full of history and very beautiful.

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There was only one person in Dublin whose fashion sense was more outrageous than this character:

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And that’s this character:

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Thanks for joining me on this little jaunt around Dublin. Next blog will be back to the old theatre trips and some more shows in July and August 1980. Stay safe!

 

Lockdown Armchair Travel – Iceland in 1998

I is for Iceland – not the supermarket but that frozen little island to the north of the nearest Viking. We went there for a week in March/April 1998, during which time the day temperature warmed up from -4 to +3 degrees. Positively balmy!

So what do you think of, when you think of Iceland? Mainly – ice!

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I took lots of photos on this holiday but for some reason can only find a few – and I’m not sure where most of them were taken. I know there’s the amazing place in the centre of the island where the tectonic plates meet – and all the steam rises out of the centre of the earth!

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The very bold and daring might creep right up to the edge and look down!

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Not that far from the capital Rejkjavik you can find the ├×ingvellir National Park

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It’s an extraordinary landscape

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Our hotel was the Saga and was just on the outskirts of Rejkjavik, which gave a very picturesque view of the city as you walked in.

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The big pond was frozen when we arrived, but had turned into water by the time we left!

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Plenty of opportunities for some quirky photos

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And the locals were very friendly

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Sorry not to be able to show you more of the sights, but this is a little taster if you fancy going, or a small souvenir if you’ve already been! Tomorrow it’s back to the theatre memories, and some shows I saw between July and September 1979. Stay safe!

Lockdown Armchair Travel – Greece – Athens 2016

Amongst other countries, G is for Greece, and we’ve been to Athens a few times, most memorably for a day trip from London when Easyjet first started and the flights were 1 penny. But these photos come from a sunny day on a Mediterranean cruise in March 2016.

So what do you think of, when you think of Athens? Gotta be the Acropolis.

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It’s a large and exciting complex of ruins and you can spend hours there

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And the views are stunning

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But there are other fascinating sights. I love the 1896 Olympic Park

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Everything you’ve heard about the Athens traffic is true

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Need any flags?

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But my favourite sight in Athens is the Archaelogical Museum

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I’m not normally one for museums but this is full of amazing exhibits. The Mask of Agamemnon, a funeral mask from 1500 BC is astonishing

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Zeus is fantastic doing his Warrior 2 pose in yoga. Maybe bend that forward leg a little more?

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“It’s your turn to deal.” “I’m sick of cards, this is our fiftieth round.”

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We’ve all had days like this

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Nice vase

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One fall, one submission, or a knock out

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Oops! I appear to have lost my clothes

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But my favourite thing in all of Athens is the statue of the boy on the horse, better known as The Jockey of Artemision, made around 150 BC. You see something different from every angle!

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And, just like any other city, there are always a few odd photo opportunities

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Thanks for joining me on this brief trek through Athens. Pausing to regroup on Monday, so on Tuesday it’s back to the theatre memories and some shows I saw between November 1978 and June 1979. Stay safe!

 

Lockdown Armchair Travel – Germany – Munich – August 1989

G is for Germany, a country I’ve visited a few times, but the first occasion was when we had a day trip to Munich during our holiday to the Austrian Tyrol in 1989.

So what do you think of, when you think of Munich? I think of beer!

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That’s not us, by the way. But that photo was taken at about 10am.

Munich is full of fairy-tale architecture. Here’s the Old Town Hall

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And the New Town Hall, from above

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There are some stunning churches – here’s St Peter’s Church, peeping over the top of the buildings

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And the interior of St Michael’s Church

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This is the Theatine Church (a tiny part of it!)

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And the twin towers of the Frauenkirche – the Cathedral – surrounded by other buildings

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So many churches, not sure which one this is!

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Some districts make you feel like you’ve gone back 500 years

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A little out of town you find the majestic Nymphenburg Palace

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Much more in the modern era, Munich is known for the 1972 Olympics – here’s the Olympic Park

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and the Olympic Swimming Pool

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As always, I can never resist photographing a market. Is that person wearing a dressing gown?

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But primarily I remember Munich for its very attractive and often quirky facades.

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Thanks for accompanying me on this brief run around Munich 31 years ago. Tomorrow it’s back to the theatre memories, and some shows I saw between August and November 1978. Stay safe!

 

Lockdown Armchair Travel – France – St. Tropez, 2013

F would have been for Finland if I could have found the pictures from our trip there a good while back but I haven’t a clue where they are. So F is for France and a day in St. Tropez during a summer Mediterranean cruise in June 2013.

So what do you think of, when you think of St. Tropez?

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Beautiful people in swanky yachts? Yeah, me too.

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Beautiful blue sea?

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Hidden coves?

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Seaside graveyards? That was a surprise.

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The town is chic

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with a Provencal twist

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and lots of expensive bikes

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There’s a lively market

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selling all sorts of stuff

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and the town has a typically French-town-feel

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But the sea’s the main attraction

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offering a relaxed lifetstyle

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a beautiful vista

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as well as some history

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and some ice cream

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Enchanting and quirky all round

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Definitely a place to revisit!

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Thanks for joining me on this little jaunt around St Tropez. Tomorrow, it’s back to theatreland, and some memories of shows seen in March to July 1978. Stay safe!

 

Lockdown Armchair Travel – Egypt – Cairo in 2010

D is for Denmark, but I haven’t any photos of our day in Copenhagen back in 2003, so we move on to E for Egypt. We had a fantastic Nile cruise in September 2010 that started with three days in Cairo, and we stayed at the magnificent Mena House Hotel in Giza, which is now a Marriott hotel although at the time it was part of the Oberoi group.

So what do you think of, when you think of Cairo? I bet it’s this:

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That was the view from our balcony! Stunning, eh? But there’s more to Cairo than pyramids. Here’s the Citadel

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The famous Coptic Church:

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with so many beautiful details inside

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There are also some stunning mosques. This is the Mohammed Ali Mosque:

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The Qani Bay Qara Mosque:

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and the Sultan Hassan Mosque:

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This is an original, 14th century oil lamp

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Views over the city are spectacular

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We loved our visit to the Egyptian Museum

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