Botanical Gardens – Tenerife – Photos

Botanical Gardens Tenerife

Botanical Gardens Tenerife

The Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, are stunning.  They were set up in 1788 by order of King Carlos III of Spain.  He wanted tropical plants from his overseas territories for his palace in Madrid.  These plants needed somewhere to get used to the colder climate of Spain and the Botanical Gardens were set up as a halfway point to allow them to acclimatise.  In fact, the gardens are still known as the Gardens of Acclimatisation.  The gardens are incredibly well stocked and are highly renowned – on a par with places like Kew Gardens.

These red hot pokers definitely beat any that I have ever grown!




Winter colour

Bougainvillea flowers

Bougainvillea flowers

The whole area of Puerto de la Cruz, where we were staying, is full of colour.  I’m familiar with bougainvillea from my childhood in Africa, but rather surprisingly I had never noticed the small white petals right in the middle.  I have since found out that the white forms the actual flower while the pink or purple petals surrounding it are actually leaves known as bract.

Fan shaped plants

Fan shaped plants

The variety of plants was amazing.  These fan shaped plants had similar leaves to a banana plant, but I have only ever seen bananas growing in a more tree like form.

All the plants were well labelled, which was a great help for me, but I wasn’t able to photograph asll the labels – and of course my memory isn’t up to remembering any of the names of the plants.

Muscular tree

Muscular tree

Unusual trees

Some of the trees looked completely different from the ones that I am used to.  This one had nodules along all the branches which reminded me of muscular arms – either that or balloon sculptures.

Adventitious roots

Adventitious roots

And this one was fascinating.  Those are all roots that you can see – known as adventitious roots.  they are also known as aerial prop roots and support the main structure of the tree.  It allows the tree to grow over a larger area than it would otherwise.

Feathery flowers

Feathery flowers

Glorious colour

Coming from cold and gloomy Birmingham, it was an absolute treat to see all these wonderful colours.  In this particular flower there were droplets of moisture collected between the petals – glistening like diamonds.

Calliandra

Calliandra

I’ve seen this plant as a houseplant in the UK.  It was lovely seeing it growing outdoors in great profusion.  From the labels that I did take photos of, I think that this is called Calliandra and comes originally from Bolivia.

Wallisia

Wallisia

This one was stunning – the flowers seemed almost to be a part of the leaf structure.  I’m guessing that the spikes turned purple along the whole length with time. Gorgeous.  It comes from Ecuador.

Water section

Water section

Water Plants

Behind a wall we nearly missed the steps up to this wonderful water section.  The water was very still so the reflections of the plants made a magnificent feature.

Bird of paradise

Bird of paradise

Finally my favourite flower – and I know that I always show you one of these when I head off to warmer climes.  It’s Strelizia, also known as Bird of Paradise.  They bring back wonderful childhood memories and I’m always thrilled when I find one during my holidays.

The Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit and I’m so pleased that we were able to spend a morning there.  I can quite understand why the King of Spain wanted to transfer some of these magnificent plants to his palace in Madrid back in the eighteenth century!

Puerto de la Cruz – Tenerife – Photos

Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz

Last week I visited Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife for some much needed winter sunshine.

The first thing that struck me (after the sunshine and the warmth) was the lovely colours used on the houses.  Many of them were delightful shades of ochre, with an odd blue or turquoise house amongst them.  Absolutely lovely.

I think that’s probably my abiding memory of Puerto de la Cruz (Port of the Cross) – the vibrant colours in both the flowers and the buildings.




Fisher Woman

Fisher Woman

Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.  Puerto de la Cruz was a fishing village in the 15th century – so it’s much older than I had realised.  This lovely statue of a fisher woman stands in the harbour area, reminding us of the island’s history.

The islands are so close to Europe that they are a popular destination for those seeking sunshine at any time of the year.  Originally they were visited only by the well off or by researchers – the plant life is amazing.

Church in Puerto de la Cruz

Church in Puerto de la Cruz

Church of Our Lady of the Rock of France

This church lies peacefully in a very attractive square.  You can’t miss it if you are meandering along the coast.  The inside of the church is stunning – very beautiful.

Church interior

Church interior

I couldn’t take photos inside because it was so dark so instead I can show you some of the beauty of the church in Buenavista that we visited.

We had hopped on a bus to take us to Buenavista (meaning good view) to see just how good the view was.  If I’m honest, the view there was no better than the views of the ocean from Puerto, but the church was magnificent.

Ocean view

Ocean view

The Atlantic Ocean

Puerto is set on the ocean front and I couldn’t resist taking lots of photos of the ocean.  I have some fabric that loos very similar to this, with the sea pounding the rocks.

Puerto lighthouse

Pouerto lighthouse

Given all the rocks, it was no surprise to see that a lighthouse was in place.  What was surprising was its unusual design.

According to Wikipedia it is 89 feet high, made of steel framework enclosing the red and white panels.  The light pattern of two flashes every 7 seconds can be seen up to 16 nautical miles away.

El Teide

El Teide

El Teide

This nearby volcano, El Tiede, dominates the skyline at Puerto de la Cruz.  I’m sure it dominates the skyline all over Tenerife.  It is the tallest mountain in Spain, which surprised me.

You can just see the peak in the top right part of the photo.  It is possible to take a cable car and walk to the top, but sadly we ran out of time.  I’ll have to take another trip to Tenerife!

Carved door

Carved door

Quilt inspiration

Obviously during my trip I was on the lookout for quilt designs.  This door had some lovely designs which I’m sure could be transferred to fabric.

I also managed to find an amazing fabric shop full of a huge range of different types of fabric.  I also saw a couple of things that I intend to make up for my craft stalls.

The Atlantic

The Atlantic

We also visited the renowned Botanical Gardens but I have so many photos from there that I’ll have to get them sorted in time for next week.

Seascape

Seascape

I’ll just leave you with some more seascapes.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Rose

 

 

 

Ashby de la Zouch – Leicestershire – Photos

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch – the name of the town has always fascinated me.  I was convinced that there was some deep rooted French connection there, but I was only partly right.  The town was already known as Ashby as far back as the Domesday Book.  The name means ash tree farm according to Wikipedia.

The name was extended when the town was given to the La Zouche family during the reign of Henry III.  This was after the Norman conquest so I’m guessing that the La Zouche family were French.




Ashby de la Zouch castle

The castle is set within the town and it dates from the 12th century.  I didn’t go right into it, but it’s amazing how much of it still survives today.  It’s run by English Heritage and they have a fascinating article about it that you can read here.  I had noticed some connection with Ivanhoe in the town  and apparently this is because Sir Walter Scott placed a tournament in the grounds of Ashby Castle in his novel Ivanhoe.

Altar in St Helen's Church

Altar in St Helen’s Church

St Helen’s Church

I was on a bit of a flying visit to Ashby, but I spent far longer in the church than I had intended.  It is beautiful.  The church dates from the 15th century and is surprisingly large for such a small town.  Naturally I was on the lookout for floor tile designs to give me inspiration for quilts.  I found inspiration more or less throughout the church.

The altar was gorgeous with so much to look at.  The stained glass windows above it had beautiful designs but these didn’t show up very well in my photos.

Baptismal font

Baptismal font

This baptismal font was placed quite near the entrance and it really dominated the area:  all that lovely stonework and the flowers working up from the base.

Candle kneeler cushion

Candle kneeler cushion

These kneeler cushions were beautifully made and enormously varied.  So much love and time must have gone into stitching them!

Crown kneeler cushion

Crown kneeler cushion

I have shown just two designs in this article, but there were many wonderful cushions in the pews.

Bargello style knee rest

Bargello style knee rest

You may have heard me mumble on about how wonderful it was to see the original Bargello chair backs when I was in Florence.  This knee rest used the same design which I was thrilled to see.

Huntingdon tomb

Huntingdon tomb

Just one more note from the church:  the stonework on this tomb was very intricate and the tomb itself took up a surprisingly large area of the church.  The inscription shows that it contains the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon and his wife.  Now the interesting thing about this is that the English Heritage history of Ashby mentions both the 1st and the 3rd earls but makes no mention of the 2nd earl who occupies such a prominent position in the church.

Festive hay bales

Festive hay bales

East Leake

From Ashby I travelled a bit further to East Leake.  You may remember that last week I mentioned that I was visiting a friend for lunch.

We had a lovely lunch at the Manor Farm.  This wonderful Father Christmas was placed at the entrance.  It’s made from two bales of hay – what a wonderful idea.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall – Wales – Photos

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

I’m sure that Abbey Cwm Hir Hall is wonderful at any time of the year, but at Christmas it is truly spectacular.  The reception area is fascinating, with lots of old signs such as this Singer advert.  We saw vintage bikes hanging from the ceilings, traditional bellows beside the fire …..

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

This is before you have begun the tour of fifty two rooms, each one decorated for Christmas with a different theme.  From the outside it’s hard to believe that there are so many rooms within it.  It was dark by the time we’d finished the tour, so we didn’t even have a chance to look at the 12 acres of gardens – we definitely need a return trip in the summer.

Seashell tree

Seashell tree

The Collections

We were shown around by Paul, the owner and he had a wonderful and amusing store of anecdotes about the hall and the area.  These photos aren’t in any particular order – just examples of the decorations. In this room the theme was obviously the sea and the tree was blue, decorated with shells and fishnets.

Sewing machine collection

Sewing machine collection

The owners of the hall seem to be obsessive collectors so it wasn’t long before we came across their sewing machine collection.  There must have been half a dozen sewing machines (all vintage) in this area.  Paul’s wife makes all the curtains, covers the seats and makes the decorations so I’m sure there is a modern sewing machine tucked away somewhere.

Gold star

Gold star

Tree Decorations

There were many wonderful tree decorations throughout the hall and I found loads of inspiration in all the rooms.  The lovely thing about Abbey Cwm Hir hall was that we were encouraged to take photos and pick up ideas during our tour.  What a refreshing change from the many places that don’t allow photos.

Button Christmas wreath

Button Christmas wreath

Christmas Wreaths

We came across many wreaths, but this one particularly stood out for me because I’m sure you have a huge button tin – I certainly do – and this struck me as an interesting way of using them.  The buttons were formed into a chain which was then wound around the basic wreath.

Dolls house room

Dolls house room

The red mantle scarf was interesting.  It varies from my own one in that it can be used on any length of mantle.  It was also very striking with Christmas trees forming a zigzag pattern across the scarf.

Clothing room

Clothing room

This room was dedicated to clothing.  The decorations on the tree showed lots of small dolls in different outfits.  So much detail!

Crocheted cakes

Crocheted cakes

A mouthwatering display of crocheted and knitted cakes formed a central feature of this room.

Floral mural

Floral mural

Abbey Cwm Hir decorations

The attraction of this hall is not just the Christmas decorations:  the hall has been renovated over a period of twenty years by Paul and his wife with some very talented artists.  This floral display was just one of many painted on the walls.  I would never have the confidence even to begin a project like that.

Paintings beside the stairs

Paintings beside the stairs

These two paintings on the stairs have been shaped so that their base follows the line of the stairs.  I had never seen this before and the effect was really striking.  Many of the walls and doors had individual floral paintings applied directly on the surfaces.

 

Angel tree

Angel tree

More Trees

Festive cheer

Festive cheer

I’ll leave you with more photos of a small fraction of the fifty two trees.

Fabric ornaments

Fabric ornaments

These tree decorations were a great idea – fabric shapes with a small amount of stuffing.  Very striking.

Visiting Abbey Cwm Hir was a great experience and certainly went a long way to putting me in the Christmas mood.  I would recommend anyone to visit there if they are in the Llandrindodd Wells area.

 

Lapworth Geology Museum – Birmingham – Photos

Lapworth Geology Museum

Lapworth Geology Museum

My visit to the Lapworth Geology Museum was an unexpected treat.  It’s run by the University of Birmingham and was absolutely fascinating.  It’s also free to visit!  The Museum is set within the University and there is a lot of building work going on around it so I had to use Google Maps to get there.  It was well worth it when I arrived, though.

Charles Lapworth

Charles Lapworth

The Museum has one of the oldest collections of fossils and stones together with lots of detailed information and videos which were great fun.

It is named after Charles Lapworth who was a noted geologist of the time, being Professor of Geology at the Mason College which was the forerunner of the present University of Birmingham.

Magnetic influence

Magnetic influence

Interactive displays

This display showed the influence of magnets really clearly.  As you moved the magnet on the left up along the slot the needle on the compass to the right moved to follow it.  I wish I had known about this museum when my children were young.

I

Revolving globe

Revolving globe

I spent ages at this revolving globe.  At the click of a button you could change the display to cover different areas of information.  In this particular photo you could see the lines of human movement but there were many other options.

Wonderful shapes

Wonderful shapes

Rock displays

I have various bits of rock around my house – I just love the colours produced by different layers of stone when they are polished up.  However these displays were something else – this particular one made me think of coral – what amazing and beautiful shapes.

I also learned a lot about precious stones from the displays.  For instance I have always believed that sapphires are blue but in fact they come in a whole range of colours.

Fossils and bones

Fossils and bones

Fossils and bones

These huge bones were a wonderful reminder of just how large dinosaurs were.

What impressed me about the fossil displays was not only how well preserved the fossils were, but also how instructive the notes were – explaining how fossils were formed.  The plant fossils fascinated me – I get that animals become covered in sediment and their shape is imprinted in the rock, but I was staggered to see that the same thing had happened to plants.  I would have expected them just to decay long before their shape was imprinted on the rocks.  Shows how little I know!

All in all my visit to Lapworth Geology Museum was a real treat – well done Birmingham University!

Liverpool – Merseyside – Photos

Liverpool memories

Liverpool memories

Liverpool is a photographer’s dream, but I have chosen this photo because the symbolism moved me so much.  A bombed out church has been left as it must have been at the end of the war and the sculpture in front of it shows a German and an English soldier shaking hands over a football during the Christmas truce.  Wonderful imagery!

I had not visited Liverpool before so it was a real treat for me.  I’m sure that most people (myself included) link Liverpool with the Beatles and the music of the sixties, but there is so much more to it than just that.  I had not realised that it is a Unesco designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.




Gateway to America

Gateway to America

Liverpool as gateway to the Atlantic

I knew that the Founding Fathers left England from Plymouth to travel to America, but apparently far more people left from Liverpool.  In fact the estimate is that nine million emigrated to America through Liverpool.

This Legacy Sculpture was given to Liverpool by the Mormon Church as a tribute to all the families who made that journey.  It shows a family with suitcases and the small child is intended to represent moving forward to a new future.

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

Even though I knew that Liverpool was way more than the Beatles and the Mersey Beat, I couldn’t resist a pilgrimage to the Cavern Club.  We had intended to have a quick wander around the club and then continue our sightseeing, but ended up staying there for several hours.  They have live music during the day and we happily bellowed out all the old Beatles songs.

Interestingly, they also had an impressive collection of memorabilia – signed guitars and such like.

Liverpool docks

Liverpool docks

The Waterfront

As with so many cities, the docks have been re developed to create a wonderful area of museums, exhibitions and art galleries.  We could have spent several days exploring just that area, but time did not allow.

The Liverpool Museum had lovely interactive sections for the children – but as there weren’t many children around I had a play on several of the sections and ended up with a good rating for being a potential docker!

Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Cathedrals

There are two cathedrals in Liverpool, not far apart from each other.  The first one that we came across was the Catholic cathedral.  It is a very modern and striking building.  I believe the overall shape has been likened to the pope’s hat.

Inside the cathedral

Inside the cathedral

It certainly dominated the area, but I was quite unprepared for the beauty of the interior.  Clever lighting framed the individual wall hangings which were all very impressive in their own right.  The building is round and they had made use of every inch of space.

We couldn’t descend to the crypt as there was something on that day, but apparently it was designed by Edwin Lutyens and is a masterpiece in its own right.

Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ

Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ

The second cathedral is built to a far more traditional design.  It is no less beautiful and surprisingly was only built at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is the longest cathedral in the world, although my photo only shows one end of it.  In this article you can find far more information about it than I could give you.

Royal Liver Building

Royal Liver Building

The Royal Liver Building

This wonderful building was built for the Royal Liver Assurance Company.  The two Liver Birds that you can see on the tops of the towers watch over the city and the sea.  Legend has it that if they ever flew away then the city of Liverpool would cease to exist.  Let’s hope that never happens to such a wonderful city.

National Memorial Arboretum – Alrewas – Photos

National Memorial Arboretum

National Memorial Arboretum

I visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas earlier this year.  This was officially opened in May 2001 and is a moving tribute to our armed services.  This is the official description of it:

A spiritually uplifting place which honours the fallen, recognises service and sacrifice, and fosters pride in our country.

It is now run by a charity with countless volunteers and I felt that I could have spent far longer than a day there to explore the 150 acres of trees and memorials.

Lifting a fallen comrade

Lifting a fallen comrade

I’ll try to keep my talking to a minimum now and concentrate on the photos.

This tableau is part of the first section that you come to, surrounded by walls inscribed with the names of those who have died in active service since World War II- so many of them.

The surrounding walls are placed so that at 11am on the 11th November the sun shines through two slits in the walls and a shaft of light falls on a wreath in the middle.

So many varied trees

So many varied trees

There are 30,000 trees here with the number growing all the time. What struck me was the wonderful variety of trees – leaves of every colour and shape.

Memorials everywhere

Memorials everywhere

Memorials along every walk way.  This particular one was at the end of a very long walkway.  The simplicity of two hands clasped was moving.

Engraved ball

Engraved ball

This globe had names engraved over the surface of the ball.

Memorial

Memorial

Every aspect of the armed services – support services as well – was remembered somewhere within the arboretum.

Bordered by rivers

Bordered by rivers

The arboretum is bordered by the rivers Trent and Tame and was built on a former gravel pit.  The rivers add to the peace of the area.

Warwick Castle – Photos

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is one of those places that I had always intended to visit but as it’s nearby I hadn’t quite managed a trip there until recently.  After all, it has been there since 1068 so I felt that it was likely to be around for a while yet.  What a lovely castle it is with lots of activities.

The castle lies on the River Avon and you can see at the front of the photo where the moat used to be.  Originally it was built in wood during the time of William the Conqueror but in the twelfth century it was rebuilt in stone.  It is run by Merlin Entertainments, rather than the more usual English Heritage or National Trust.




Inside the great hall

Inside the great hall

Inside the castle

The Great Hall is magnificent.  No floor tile patterns to inspire a quilt, but plenty to see.  This horse was a bit like the Mona Lisa – he seemed to be watching me as I walked around the hall.

Bear and ragged staff

Bear and ragged staff

I had heard of the bear and ragged staff many times before without quite knowing its significance.  The symbol of a bear with ragged staff is closely associated with Warwickshire – the T20 cricket team the Birmingham Bears is part of Warwickshire County Cricket Association..  They play at Edgbaston, just down the road from me.  Somewhere else that I still need to visit.

Apparently one of the Earls of Warwickshire was a Knight of the Round Table in the time of King Arthur.  His name was Arthgal.  The name is thought to have come from the Welsh word for bear.  A different earl a few centuries later fought off a giant using a tree branch from which he had stripped all the twigs and leaves – the ragged staff.  I have to admit that the link seems a bit weak to me, but it makes a nice story!  You can see two bears with ragged staffs in the photo.

Time Tower

Life at the castle

Life at the castle

The Time Tower provided some great stories of the castle through the ages.  There were some very lifelike models showing how people lived at the castle during various stages of its history.  The story of the castle was explained as you walked through a series of rooms – very interesting and well set up.

Wonderful tapestries

Wonderful tapestries

When I visit these historical buildings I am always struck by how well some tapestries seem to survive the years.

There are many lovely tapestries in Warwick Castle.  It’s the fact that the colours are still so good even after hundreds of years that always impresses me.

Outside the castle

I visited the castle out of season so a lot of the usual activities were closed, but I can imagine that in full season there would be lots of activities and demonstrations aimed at keeping the children happy and involved.

Peacocks close by

Peacocks close by

The trebuchet (siege machine) was fascinating.  For safety reasons this huge catapult was situated and fired on the other side of the river.  My photos aren’t clear enough for it to be worth showing them to you, but there are some good photos on the Warwick Castle website.  The trebuchet was used to hurl stones and rocks into whatever castle they were attacking.  Sometimes they also hurled things like dead animals over the defensive walls in the hope of spreading rotten meat throughout the area.  What nice times they lived in!

We sat on a hill on our side of the river to watch.  I was rather amazed at how close the peacocks came to all the spectators.  I had never seen a peacock so close up – what amazing colours they have in their feathers.

All in all, Warwick Castle provides a magnificent day out with a fascinating glimpse of life through the centuries.

 

Budapest – Hungary – Photos

Budapest - Hungary

Budapest – Hungary

Budapest has been on my list for a long time and I am delighted that I have finally managed to visit this beautiful city.  The River Danube runs right through the city, which was once the three cities of Bhuda, Obhuda and Pest (pronounced pesht).  I had always thought that Budapest was created from the two cities of Bhuda and Pest, so that was the first thing that I learned on my arrival.

Most photos of Budapest focus on the unbelievably beautiful buildings so I thought that I would open with a photo of a statue way above the city – it took me a long time and a lot of puffing and panting to climb up there but it was well worth it to see the panorama of the city spread out beneath me.




Budapest's Statue of Liberty

Budapest’s Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty Budapest

The statue above was actually a sidekick to Budapest’s very own Statue of Liberty.  This was perched on the hilltop on the Bhuda side of the river and completely dominated the skyline no matter where you were in the city.  It’s a very impressive area with magnificent views – appreciated all the more because it was such a steep climb to reach it.

It was erected in 1947 and shows Liberty holding a palm leaf aloft.  Actually, I thought it was a feather and have only just realised that it isn’t!

St Gerhard

St Gerhard

I have to confess to a senior moment here – while I was on a Danube cruise I heard the guide talking about the statue of the Archbishop while directing our attention to that side of the river.  So I thought that Liberty was the Archbishop until I climbed up the hill and realised that she couldn’t possibly be a man.

In fact the statue of St Gerhard is half way down the same hill that Liberty stands on.  He was the first bishop of Hungary.  The cruise guide told us that he was flung off the hill for his beliefs and that the waterfall beneath him signifies his death in the Danube, but I can’t find any reference to that anywhere else.

Parliament building

Parliament building

Parliament Building

The Parliament Building is best viewed from the river to get the full impact, but this is the front entrance.  They were obviously expecting someone special on this day – the red carpet was being unrolled while we watched and there was a very heavy army presence.  The following day we were allowed on to the area immediately in front of the palace so that we could see the memorial to those killed in the 1956 uprising.  I felt sad to see how open the area was – compared with our own Palace of Westminster which has to be so heavily barricaded and policed.

St Mathias church

St Mathias church

St Mathias Church

There is an area of Budapest called the Fisherman’s Bastion, built at the end of the 19th century to provide a panoramic view of the city.  This is beautiful but it was the Church of St Mathias just behind it which really caught my attention.  The roof alone dominates the area – such lovely patchwork designs created with the roof tiles.  I knew that the inside must be special and I wasn’t disappointed.

Inside the church

Inside the church

Inside, the church was breathtaking.  Every inch was decorated and the overall effect was eyewateringly beautiful.  Even with all the tourists the church managed to maintain a peaceful and calming atmosphere.

I took loads of photos of the interior – definitely lots of quilt inspiration there!

Shoes on the Danube

Shoes on the Danube

Shoes on the Danube

I had heard of the shoes on the banks of the Danube but it was still very moving to see them.

They are laid out along a stretch of at least 20 yards – sixty pairs of all shapes and sizes made in iron.  The memorial was created to remember the 3,500 people killed by the Arrow Cross militia men during the war.

The people were lined up on the banks of the Danube then ordered to take off their shoes.  When they were shot their bodies fell into the river.  The shoes are made of iron and many people have left flowers or candles in amongst the shoes.

Hungarian embroidery

Hungarian embroidery

Hungarian embroidery

Hungary embroidery is world renowned and it was a real treat to see it everywhere.

I have to admit that some of it looked mass-produced, but there were also ladies sitting in many areas embroidering the most delightful table runners and clothing.

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

Heroes Square

On our last day we visited Heroes Square.  This is a very impressive square where the Pope celebrated mass when he visited Budapest.  the figure at the top of the column is the Archangel Gabriel.

The square was laid out at the end of the 19th century to mark 1000 years of Hungary and there are magnificent museums and art galleries around it.

Museum in City Park Budapest

Museum in City Park Budapest

Behind the square lies City Park – an oasis of calm.  We didn’t go in to this museum but the architecture was a reminder of how these wonderful buildings seem to appear wherever we walked in Budapest.

Polar bears in the zoo

Polar bears in the zoo

We walked among the trees and fountains and then happened upon the zoo.  These polar bears were probably picking fish off each other’s teeth, but it was rather nice to imagine that they were kissing!

We visited so many places within the city that I haven’t been able to show you a fraction of my photos, but Budapest is a beautiful city – well worth a visit if you ever get the chance.

The beauty of Budapest

The beauty of Budapest

We travelled around on trams and buses.  Each journey cost the equivalent of about £1 although if I had been a year older I would have travelled for free.  All EU citizens over 65 travel free on Budapest’s extensive public transport system.  Food and wine are cheap and around every corner you can find a magnificent building to gaze at in awe.

 

Waddesdon Manor – Aylesbury – Photos

Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor

Waddesdon Manor is another delightful National Trust property.  It was built in the late nineteenth century for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.  He wanted somewhere to display his arts and sculptures – and of course to entertain his friends.  Although the property is owned by the National Trust, it is managed by the Rothschild Foundation.

A visit there is a real treat as both the buildings and the gardens are superb.  We had to park quite a distance away, but they have a shuttle bus between the car park and the manor, which helps.




The aviary

The aviary

The Gardens

The first place that we came across in the gardens was the aviary.  We didn’t look as closely as I would have liked at the birds because there were about three school trips that day and the noise from the children was deafening!

As you can see, the buildings are substantial and the birds had plenty of room in their enclosures.  Now I would never think of putting red and purple together in a quilt, but don’t you think that the flower bed on the right makes a lovely display.

What lovely colours

What lovely colours

My mind was still on quilts when I came to the next flower bed – those colours look gorgeous together.  There were statues all over the place and a rose garden that you could smell well before you reached it.

Beautiful topiary

Beautiful topiary

The other eyecatcher on our way to the manor was the topiary.  I’ve seen clever topiary before now, but what stood out here was the way they had used different plants to give a different green for the bird’s breast.  Very clever.

Tapestry fire screen

Tapestry fire screen

Inside Waddesdon Manor

The interior of the manor was breathtaking.  The colours in this tapestry were stunning and they had some really large tapestries hanging on the walls as well.

Zebra in harness

Zebra in harness

I was brought up in Africa and I was always told that zebra could not be tamed so it was delightful to see this photo of zebra pulling a carriage.

This is just an example of how varied the treasures are within the manor.

Twelve Caesars

Twelve Caesars

While we were there – and just about to finish – was an exhibition called the Twelve Caesars.  This consisted of gold or bronze sculptures of each of the first twelve Caesars.  It was fascinating and the amazing thing is that they don’t know who made them or why.

Dining in style

Dining in style

The meals were obviously sumptuous when the Rothschilds lived at Waddesdon Manor.  This table was set for a wonderful feast.  It was the chandelier that was truly beautiful, but I’m afraid my photo hasn’t done it justice.

Waddesdon Manor is an amazing place to visit both inside and outside – well worth it if you’re in the area.