Sunday, November 17, 2019

Beach or pool?

The choice is hard on these super-hot days! Perth sweltered in 40 degree heat on Saturday and some towns in WA reached 45. Cottesloe Beach is a favourite:

Our pool at Burswood is also lovely (especially if we have it to ourselves!). C and E arrived on Sunday morning with their watermelon/donut:

I didn’t try it in case I fell through the middle!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Pop-up Globe

Shakespeare in Maori? Why??? The sections of the play involving Titania and Oberon, the Fairy Queen and Fairy King, were performed in Maori which was really annoying if you weren’t from NZ. It’s true that the company itself was (which we hadn’t realised and were not warned about). We needed a translation. Apart from what was in Maori, the words of Shakespeare were very familiar; I had studied A Midsummer Night’s Dream at school some 60 years ago, with an English teacher who made us learn long passages from it. He did a good job as it turned out.

The best part of the play was the “rude mechanicals” AKA  “tradies”, in modern dress with hard hats, work boots and hi-vis jackets. Towards the end, when Pyramus stabbed himself, blood flowed freely from little plastic sachets which was sprayed into the audience standing in the pit area, to the glee of everyone else.

C and E were in the pit originally (tickets were cheap there, standing room only for “groundlings” ) whilst JL and I had purchased front row seats. The problem was, our seats were in the sun, and we were boiled! They need to take a lesson from the “sol o sombra” system in Spanish bullfights where the sombra seats are sold at a premium. Fortunately one of the staff took pity on us and found us better seats in the shade. At this point, C and E appropriated our old seats:


Maori Oberon.

More traditional costumes.

Sitting in the shade during the interval. It was a hot afternoon!

Review of Perth's Pop Up Globe

Review of Sydney production

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Catching cold...feeling hot

Someone wrote recently in their blog that long haul travel is not for wimps. This wimp is feeling decidedly under the weather, having caught a cold on the packed Emirates flight from Dubai. It seems impossible to shake off, this unfamiliar bug. I am resolved to seek another airline in future! Meanwhile the temperature in Perth today reached 36 degrees, too hot to do anything except read the Sunday papers from cover to cover and then all the e-news.

The travel sections attract me.  In The Guardian J.K.Rowling has written a short piece about Porto, along with a beautiful photo (rather like one I took myself, but hers is 10 times better):

She writes:

 I fell in love with Porto and I love it still. I was enchanted by fado, the melancholy folk music that reflects the Portuguese themselves, who in my experience had a quietness and gentleness unique among Latin peoples I’d encountered so far. The city’s spectacular bridges, its vertiginous riverbanks, steep with ancient buildings, the old port houses, the wide squares: I was entranced by them all.

I've also been reading The Accidental Tour Guide the new book by Mary Moody (who ran away from home at 50 to France and published Last Tango in Toulouse, an account of a love affair with and in France). Now she writes about the sad death of her husband and his fight against cancer, as well as her new profession of leading tour groups in unlikely places (Morocco sounds interesting, but Ladakh and its altitude sickness: no way!)

My Typographia t-shirt, designed to reflect the Porto streetscape.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Seville to Madrid

...and suddenly it’s the end of my holiday!  I’ve done lots and seen lots, tired and happy and I’m now in Madrid but time has run out!

I was awake early because of the noisy aircon in my room which went on and off like a fridge. Dawn is now at 8.30 am, so as soon as I could see, I was on my way for an early morning walk to the Cathedral. I knew it would be closed, but at least I beat the crowds and could walk round the outside in peace.

The Giralda is being cleaned, as this poster demonstrates, so there is scaffolding on the east facade.

On my way back to the hotel, I stumbled upon the downtown office of Renfe, so I was able to buy my train ticket without waiting in a queue at the station. I also spotted Hotel Simon, which rang a bell, and I realised that this is one of the places that supply a Credencial for the Via de la Plata.

At Santa Justa Train Station, there is tight security getting onto the train. Tickets are checked twice and there is an X-ray for baggage.

Once underway, the high speed AVE train reached 280 kms per hour, too fast to take photos, and reached Madrid way ahead of schedule in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Final luxury: this is a SKI holiday after all.

I don’t usually do afternoon tea, but this was just delivered to my door:

Monday, October 14, 2019

Tavira to Seville

A splendid yellow express bus left Tavira at 9.30 am on a direct route to Seville. It had black leather reclining seats and wi-fi. Unfortunately the best seats had all been grabbed by passengers from Lagos! I had to settle for the sunny side of the bus and keep the curtain drawn. We stopped once at a Motorway Services for a 15 minute break.

I was able to follow our progress on my phone.

Clouds increased as we neared Seville. Time jumped an hour, as Portugal sensibly does not keep EU time which is not really appropriate for a country so far west.

After a siesta in the Hotel Becquer, I followed Spanish tradition by going for a paseo along the river:
Looking upstream from the Triana Bridge.

Tower of Gold.

Not hungry enough for a full meal, I settled for a plate of Bellota Ham and a glass of cava.

Tavira and Santiago

Tavira was captured from the Moors in 1242 and a castle was built at the top of the hill, very close to my hotel. Not much remains of the castle except for the walls and a garden has been planted inside with exotic trees and shrubs. People like to walk round it at sunset. What does remain however is the Santiago Church, with a medallion on the outside paying homage to Santiago, slaying the Moors:

There is now an attempt by local enthusiasts to gain support and recognition for an official  East Portuguese Camino, which goes all the way from Tavira to Santiago de Compostela. Opposite the church are notices in the window of a house about this:

I don’t suppose there is much infrastructure as yet for this Camino, such as waymarking or Albergues, though I did see a few yellow arrows going down the street and over the Roman Bridge. It’s a worthwhile idea in principle, as people are always seeking alternative Caminos which are less crowded.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tavira Island

This morning I took the ferry to Tavira Island, a 15 minute trip down the estuary towards the open sea. The island is said to have the best beaches on the Algarve, but not today. The sea was rough and the yellow and red flags were out. The lifeguards had nothing to do, as not a soul was swimming. A thick sea mist had descended on everything and it hung around all morning. The island has a huge camping area but it’s also the home to a fair number of mosquitos. They soon found my bare legs attractive!

Heading downstream.

He’s busy collecting, but I don’t know what!

An old wreck.

A colony of swans. There are supposed to be flamingos as well, but I didn’t see any.

On the island: not much doing!

A very long beach.

Lots of shells in many colours.

These are popular.

They are serious about rubbish recycling.

Better weather for a swim this afternoon.