Sunday, March 26, 2017

Medieval Haarlem

It is a short train trip from Amsterdam to Haarlem but you arrive into a different world. We are staying in a delightful B&B in a pedestrian only streets. You still run the risk of being in a traffic accident but only by being run over by a bike and not a car!
It is now our third day and we will be sorry to leave this morning when we go back to Amsterdam.
On our first afternoon we strolled down to the Grote Markt and looked at the old medieval centre of the town.

                                                             Gail and Helen are happy.

   Gail window shopping. This is a very different window shopping to what we did last night in Amsterdam!

Gail in the Grote Markt. The next morning the place was covered in market stalls.

                                                       Rob gets up close with a few locals.

               Gail somehow ended up in a glass of beer!Trappist beer on tap for a few euros!

On Saturday morning we headed off to the museums. The market square was crowded as weekends in Haarlem are very popular.
Our first visit was the Frans Hals museum. Named after the famous painter who worked, lived and died in Haarlem. He is now at rest in the church.
It was a special exhibition as each spring they fill the museum with flowers. It was an interesting combination.

Later we spent some time in the markets. There is just so much to see that the two couples selected different places.

                                           Helen and Tony check out the Dutch cheeses.

Our next visit was into the St. Bravo church, one of the largest in the country.

Time for lunch and a break from culture!

                                                           Not much left on the plates!

We walked to the Teylers Museum that had science and the arts. For those interested it had an extensive collection of scientific instruments from times long ago.

This room dates from 1784 and is naturally lit. There was also art.

                                                       Kittens on the keys.

                                              A historic globe of the world from 1791

We were down at the canal with an interesting opening bridge and old houses and warehouses.

We walked back up to the main part of town looking for one of the old Alms Houses that are still in use for widows. At first we found the red light house but with lots of turns finally located the one that locks the men out at dusk!

                                             Rob didn't get past the courtyard!

Finally we went to buy supplies in the markets after first tasting the different cheeses. We took them back for pre dinner drinks and later went to a special restaurant to celebrate.

Saturday, March 25, 2017


After our long flights we arrived in Amsterdam and were soon out to explore the city. It is only 8 months since we were here but lots to see.
We had a short walk and later dinner at a local restaurant. This was followed by a walk in the old town famous for its red light district. We remembered the layout as we had to walk through this area to and from our hotel on our last visit. We even recognised some of the "locals" Fortunately none of them remembered us!

                                        Tony and Robert enjoy the local beer.

                             Gail poses by a canal. We saw others with a very different pose!

The next morning we went to explore the city and caught a tram to the Rijksmuseum that is the largest in the Netherlands. It is very diverse but most famous for the Dutch Masters. On our previous visit we went to the Van Gogh Museum.

                               Gail in front of a Japanese screen. They had an excellent Asian collection.

One of the best known paintings is Rembrandt's " The Nightwatch" painted in 1642.

This was our first view of the painting! The most popular section of the Museum.

This is the FK 23 Bantam. Designed by Dutchman Koolhoven and built in England. It was a fast fighter flying at 220 km ph.

Mondrian's flowers.

There were some wonderful musical instruments.

Gail wanted this for her birthday present!

The Royal Palace. We didn't visit this time!

It is tulip time. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Mumbai: Gateway to India and Gateway home

It is now some weeks since we were in India and made our way home. Christmas and New Year have come and gone and finally we end this chapter.
Mumbai was the traditional entry point to India for the British. For us it was the end of a few great weeks in India. We flew down from Udaipur but it is not a centre of tourism.

We visited this huge city undergoing a transition from slum to modern highrise. Today many people live in the slums but have good jobs in the areas around as they wait for their turn to receive Government highrise housing in the new developments.

Among the places that we visited were the traditional Dhobi Wallas going about their duties with the cities washing.

                              Many of the clothes are new and are sent for a wash prior to sale.

The most moving was the house frequently used by Ghandi that has been made into a museum..

It includes a series of dioramas such as this one of his funeral pyre.
"Lead me from the Unreal to the Real,
From Darkness to Light
From Death to Immortality"

We visited a Hindu Temple and tasted the delicious sweets.

Two weeks away and we didn't even open the pack of Immodium.

You know that the locals are cricket tragics! We drove past the many colonial buildings and past huge open areas with literally hundreds of cricket games in progress.

                                               They seemed to manage the narrow strips!

                                                               Mumbai Town Hall.

                                                                Victoria Station.

                                              Gail at the Raj Hotel.

                                                 We pose in front of "The Gateway to India"
This was built for the arrival of The Prince of Wales..King Edward VII. He and the troops marched through the gate. Not much later the British troops marched out of the gate as they exited India.
We had to catch a domestic flight back to New Delhi to connect with our flight home

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Marble boats and Palaces.

The city of Udaipur is considered to be the "Venice of India". There are lakes with Palaces and hotels. We stayed on an island with a land connection. The island is owned by the Royal family and comprises two luxury hotels. We stayed at one and the other was considered to be the top hotel in the world 4 years ago. We only walked through the grounds of The Oberoi.

Our first visit was to the Women's Gardens. Built for the women of the Royal court it had delightful gardens, fountains and lily ponds.

Yes these days they allow men into the gardens! Us with a butterfly.

We stopped to look at The Lake Palace. The city is seen as one of the most beautiful in India.

We moved on to The City Palace, a huge complex structure with some very ornate features.

The rooms were very ornate. This one had lots of gold!

Detail on one of the walls.

 The external walls were just as nice as those inside.

We could do an entire blog just on elephants as depicted in temple and palace art.

This is the Jagdish Temple and yes those are elephants.

After checking into our hotel we had a little time and walked to a local market. Later we went on a boat trip on Lake Pichola. The view was wonderful and the afternoon light added to the scene.

A few more photos of the City Palace and the Royal touch.

The sun set and we adjourned to our Palace to hold court.