A Kiss Silhoutte of Vienna

Beautifully written with a poignant story

“little waltz, little waltz, little waltz, of itself of death, and of brandy that dips its tail in the sea” – Leonard Cohen

A Kiss Silhoutte of Vienna

This post by maximcartography is reblogged. I was captured by the photo and then read the words. There’s a poignant story of two women’s losses in here.

What a beautiful place … Vienna is on my list of visits once we’re out of lockdown! Why have I not been here before?


Thank you for visiting!

Travelling to places near or far. OR SHARING OTHER BLOGGERS TRAVELS … This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event! I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far. Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Roomzzz York City

if you’re visiting York City … read this blog by Little Miss Traveller as you may be pleasantly surprised.

Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets” Oscar Wilde

One of the travel blogs I follow is Little Miss Traveller. I like the detailed explanations about the tiniest things that make the difference to a traveller. I feel like I’m actually with Little Miss in the place she’s at.

I’m one of the worst for sharing … and as for reblogging … well I’m not sure what I do or don’t do but often my reblogging doesn’t “work”.

But look, here is a share. I tell myself that I must do better. Must share more and reblog as there is so much interesting information that I can make available in a helpful way.

This sounds like a lovely place to stay in York City. It’s called Roomzzz and hope you enjoy the read as much as I did … I’m even borrowing Little Miss Travellers feature photo to lure you in here …

We were very impressed with our stay at Roomzzz York City with its peaceful riverside setting and easy access to city centre attractions and shopping. The Aparthotel offers the best of both worlds as it combines a fully serviced hotel room with the added luxury of additional dining and living areas. Not only that, with the benefit of a fully fitted kitchen, guests have the option of dining in or out as they please. The accommodation is perfect for both leisure, business travellers and families as many rooms sleep 4 guests.

Read the blog here https://wp.me/p6ANMU-69i


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event!
I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far. Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.
Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language. Copyright CecilyLalloo 2020.

ROMA by any other name

A last minute weekend away … why not!

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

Featured image is a photo of the sculpture of Apollo with lute, 5th C B.C. Photo by Cecily.

Why do I feel so at home in countries whose language is classic romantic? It’s really a lovely sound and makes me feel ever so romantic too. There’s a carefree way of life. Relaxed. Unhurried. People standing about or sitting just chatting. Just spending time together. The weather, of course, has much to do with it too.

My blog is a cursory view of our trip. I’ve covered a bit about tickets on the metro … isn’t that something we all need to know about hahahaha! I love train travel … even if it is the metro.

Our location

The Secret Escapes email appeared as I browsed my mail early one September morning. Where shall we go I pondered looking quickly through the destinations beckoning me to the seaside, luxurious and faraway places, or the Citybreaks. Rome caught my eye. Two nights – hotel, flights and entry to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. We’ve been to Italy’s eastern coast and had a marvellous time at the seaside for my son’s wedding. We missed Rome on that occasion but as it was hubbys birthday coming up in September … I decided I’d treat him and me! Hotel Rex is well located – in an area that is not lacking in hotels. It’s conveniently placed between the main international Termini Station and Metro line on one side and the Repubblica Metro station on the other. Rome’s Fiorini airport is a 30 minute trip from Termini.

On our inward journey we took a taxi from the airport to the hotel. We arrived after 21:00 and decided on this form of transport so we could get to the hotel quickly and didn’t have to wander around looking for the hotel in the night. The taxi rank is easy to find outside the airport building. They are official white taxis with a flat rate of €48. Don’t be badgered into taking any other taxi. There is a shuttle bus service from the airport which is just over €5 per person too. The highway was pretty clear at that time of night but as we came into the City we felt it’s vibrancy … as is the way with most cities that don’t sleep at night!

After settling into our room – a delux room with double bed and lounging area, clean, crisp white sheets, a bookshelf acting as a divider between the bed and settee, fresh cut melon awaited us and a welcome drink!

We wandered out for a walk to get our bearings … a beautiful church on the doorstep – Santa Maria Maggigore – already placed as our landmark.

At the other side of our hotel is the Theatro de Opera … nothing fabulous to look at from the outside but we are told sumptuous on the inside.

Breakfast at Hotel Rex was on the 4th floor restaurant or terrace. A wide variety of cold and cooked food, fruit, fruit juices, breads, pastries, etc. I settled for fruit juice … a green veg one, yoghurt, crossants and cheese. Hubby did justice to the cooked breakfast which he thoroughly enjoyed. Of course, the next day I had a ‘cooked’ to see us through the touristy day ahead.

The Metro

We used it quite a bit but also walked quite a bit. It’s easy to get around Rome by Metro. It took me a few minutes to make out that this sign was not the metro! There are two lines on the Metro system so not complicated at all.

My hubby had a lot of change which came in handy. €1.50 for a ticket that lasts 100 minutes. For our day out we spent €9 – first to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and the Basilica of St Peter. Then from Ottavia, the Metro closest to the Vatican City, we went to Barista to see the Trevi Fountain. We then took the Metro from Spagna, not far from the Spanish Steps, back to Repubblica where we stayed.

In all, travel by train is convenient and not at all expensive.

The ticket machines are uncomplicated … and you learn a little Italiano on the way …

The Metro for us was a great way to get around. We found our bearings by looking at the maps. It wasn’t long at all before we knew our local area and were quite happy to wander out and about during the day and night.

Vatican Museum

History is an absorbing subject. So much Egyptian history told at the beginning of Roman times. Rooms full of carefully protected and restored artefacts. So much beauty. So much history. So much emotional vibrations from the people of the past.

Just a few of the many, many photos I took. There is really, really just too much to take in. One trip is not enough.

Seeing the Egyptian hieroglyphics reminded me of a post I saw on Facebook. Haven’t we just gone full circle … today’s hieroglyphics are our well known emojis …

😁🤔😎😍😘🙄😇💃🛀👉🤚🙏💜🤣😂😅!!

St Peter’s Square and The Sistine Chapel

It was a very long time coming. I was excited to get to it. There was so much to take in – after waiting in the queues and the sun! But not knocking it – the sun – it was a beautiful day. What a massive library, so much. So much. So much history.

We saw tapestries with outstanding needlework that look like paintings! Frescos as far as the eye could see. Sculptures from so many different mediums … from black granite to cool alabaster. My best is this … I could feel the flow of the diaphonous garment … can you?ries with outstanding needlework that look like paintings! Frescos as far as the eye could see. Sculptures from so many different mediums … from black granite to cool alabaster. My best is this … I could feel the flow of the diaphonous garment … can you?

2018-09-26 11.16.35

There is already so much information on St Peters Square, the Sistine Chapel and its history, so I’ll not reproduce any more. Only to say that for me, I was somewhat disappointed in the Sistine Chapel.

What did I expect?

A room of massive proportions.

It’s not.

So, on to something else …

Ice cream

Around 22:30 one evening we felt like having gelato so out we went to Piazza Repubblica. What a range of flavours! One scoop. Two. Or more? What deliciousness.

Delicious gelato ... ice cream

A weekend in Rome

It ended too soon. We could not fault the weather. We could not fault the last minute City trip with excellent accommodation thrown in. We did the touristy things. On a first trip anywhere we always do ‘the touristy things’. We get over the ‘have-to-sees’ straightaway. Then we take our time and wander about. Investigate this and that. Enjoying the place. The time. The company.

Dean Martin …

I can’t think of Italy without thinking of Deano. He is one of my most favourite singers. So I shall leave you with a Dean Martin song …

0.

Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.
Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too.

This blog can be translated into any language

To the Forest of Dean, England

A short weekend break in Gloucestershire, UK.

“Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.”

Jamie Lyn Beatty

A place in Lydney, Gloucestershire

Just me and him. It’s cool now after the sun beat down hard all day. Summer. August. One of the hottest Summers on record in England. We walk shrouded in the coolness and quietness of the night. Nine o’clock and it’s still light.

No one about. We pass a house that has recently been renovated. It’s huge. It’s very modern next to the ancient stone built houses. Pass the Green where earlier today it was buzzing with people, cars and things – the village car boot sale. Pass the Memorial Hall. Pass the Baptist Church. Pass the Woodman Inn – apparently renowned for it’s good food and drink. We see only one car in the parking bays. One man sitting outside, on his own, with his beer. Maybe there are other people inside.

We walk back to our abode where we are staying for two nights. Edale House, Lydney. We’re in what seems to us a sleepy village.

This weekend, the first weekend in August, hot, hot, hot! We travel to the Forest of Dean. In the two and a half days here, we packed in quite a bit. My hubby and I enjoyed our walks in the forest, watching people on the Cricket Green, eating ice cream and other delights, attending a glorious wedding, meeting people, visiting a friend, visiting the caves, also known as mines, it’s still a working mine … iron, coal and orchre. I’ve lots to write so I’d best get on …

The Forest of Dean is a geographical, historical and cultural region in the western part of the county of Gloucestershire, England. Wikipedia

Map of Gloucestershire

This is where we stayed, right across the road from the Cricket Green.

 

 

Clearwell Castle

The reason we are here is to share a wonderful life event. Last night we were at the wedding of Chris and Kerry. We’ve known Chris for years – friend of our son Pri – they schooled together, played football together, remained friends. Chris was often at ours and Pri at his. A beautiful wedding at a gorgeous location. A happy occasion shared with the couple’s family and friends. Clearwell Castle was the venue. An historic place, we are told that it is only hired out for weddings. Stunning grounds. A place full of character. We danced. We talked. We lost our way there … GoogleMaps didn’t do too well when we lost the signal … we went around and around down very narrow roads (well could they be called roads?) only room for one car at a time. Eventually we arrived.

Image may contain: night, sky and outdoor

Image from Clearwell Castle Wedding Venue

Tudor Farm House Hotel

I’d booked us into The Tudor Farm House Hotel for Saturday and Sunday nights. Great reviews and only 2 miles from Clearwell Castle. That would do us fine, I thought. Their restaurant is well renowed for amazing food. How disappointing when, on Friday night, day before we were due to leave for the Forest of Dean, around 9 pm I recieved a call from the manager at the Hotel. There was a leak. Our room, and only our room, was wet to the core. The bed was soaked through. There was “no room at the inn” for us! But … as any good business person would know … a solution had to be found. So Colin presented me with his solution … “I’ve reserved a room for you at a really nice B&B”, he said. “It’s not far at all. Peter is expecting your call. But, if you prefer, you can make other arrangements.” At 9 pm the night before we are due to travel ‘other arrangements’ seemed alien to me.

More about our evening at Tudor Farm House will be told another time. We were treated to a complimentary taxi service, from Edale House to Tudor, as well as drinks, The meal was quite delicious, the atmosphere warm, friendly and well worth the trip.

Edale House [images of Edale House from tripadviser.co.uk reviews]

As everyone does these days … I went straight onto the web after the phone call from Colin at Tudor … I typed in Edale House, Forest of Dean. I poked around on the website. Checked out the reviews. Mmmm a bed and breakfast I thought. I actually wanted to be somewhere where we could come and go at our leisure. I didn’t envisage being bedded and breakfasted and then put out to pasture until evening. Anyway, what I saw looked good. The reviews were mostly complimentary. It was too late to do anything other than phone Peter, have a chat, and confirm our reservations.

image.png

Peter was extremely friendly, helpful, and accommodated my questions. You know about your ‘gut feeling’? Well, mine was just right. After much questioning and a very forthcoming Peter, we were all set to go. Peter and Jane own and have been running Edale House for 14 months now. It has, however, been in existence for some 30 years, they say. They are a very friendly couple and have no qualms about telling us that this is a business. It’s their livelihood. With the service they offer I hope that they have many happy and profitable years ahead.

image.pngimage

We were greeted by Jane on our arrival on Saturday afternoon in August. We signed in and were shown around. First impression – it was clean – the red carpet up the staircase did not show one spec of anything! Jane offered us tea and cake. It was most welcome as we’d spent much longer on the road than we should have – road works around Gloucester! Edale House allows dogs which, had I known, it would not be our preferred choice of stay. However, there is definitely no ‘dog scent’ and our room seemed to be dog-free which made for a pleasant stay. Peter and Jane have a labrador who we didn’t see. A few guests did have dogs with them but we hardly noticed, and they were all very well mannered!

Edale House is not your normal B&B I was pleased to discover. We were provided with a room key and a key to the front door. We were told to come and go as we pleased. After 10 pm we needed to observe a little courtesy to other guests. Of course. No noise. There is a resident’s lounge – nice and spacious and airy – and an oh so quaint ‘honesty’ bar. You help yourself to drinks, write down what you have, and it is added to your final bill. The lounge is filled with books of all types and we are encouraged to take a book “and if you don’t finish it whilst you’re there, please take it with you!” There are a number of hardcover, reference and special books that shouldn’t be taken for a walk! The garden is also availalbe to guests athough we didn’t make use of it this time around.

Our room, No. 5, overlooks the cricket green. Edale is on a main road so I guess more cars than normal pass by. Every second Sunday (which today is) a car boot is held and wow, the place is crowded very quickly with lots of cars lining the adjoining roads and people teaming in to browse and buy. All finished, however, just after 12 noon when we managed to scoot over to buy an ice cream which was delicious in the summer heat. Soon, the cricket green was just that – a green field with no one in sight!

No. 5 is spacious with all the normal furniture you would expect. It’s unique feature is it has both a bathroom with bath, as well as a separate room with toilet, shower and wash basin. If you love bathing it’s great – there is a geyser just for the bathroom with plenty of hot water. If you are a shower-er like us, providing you manage to grab your shower when not too many others are doing the same, you’ll be fine. But, you may find an intermittent hot and cold shower if others are doing the same! The house is such that this can’t be helped. The proprietors have taken pains to let us know about this little hiccup in their guest information booklet and on their breakfast order sheet!

The towels were nice and fluffy and soft – white and purple in our room. We had the normal lotions and potions in the bathroom. Tea, coffee, Galaxy hot chocolate, biscuits … and a slice of cake each with afternoon tea brought to our room on arrival by the lovely Jane! How sweet.

Next door is the Woodman”s Inn which is said to serve good food and it’s best to book in advance over the weekend. On Saturday night it sounded like it was a karoke evening … we had lots of loud music, not really to my taste! Now, I am a music lover, and it woudn’t normally bother me … but because the music wasn’t of my liking … “best I say no more” (to take a favourite phrase of a Facebook friend!).

There’s enough parking at Edale for 5 cars, if they are parked with care. Unfortunately for us, as we went out on Saturday evening, by the time we returned there was no space for us so we parked across the road. As the car boot was on Sunday morning, we had to move the car because the road is off limits for parking – it gets too congested. It wasn’t a big problem as we double parked at Edale and simply moved when other guests booked out.

The dining area is inviting. Fresh deep pink/red carnations on each table. The under table cloth is a royal blue covered with a crisp white. Cutlery is beautifully shiny and what’s not to like about white crockery?. Mainly tables for 2 – Peter says their clientelle consists mostly of couples – but they can accommodate larger parties.  Breakfast is served between 8 am and 9 am. There is a variety of fruit juice, fruit and yoghurt, cereals, nuts, jams, etc. Then the cooked English breakfast. For a small establishment, the choice is wide, the food is cooked to order, so hasn’t been standing around in a warmer, and is nicely presented. I had kippers one morning and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon this morning, both served with mushrooms and tomatoes. Dhiru stuck with traditional bacon, fried egg, mushrooms and tomatoes. We had plenty of toast, coffee, tea (green for me). I didn’t ask who cooked – actually it must be Jane as Peter was serving! I liked the jug of ice cold water that was available to us.

image.png

Peter and Jane are the perfect hosts. Nothing seems too much trouble for them. They have a range of leaflets for the tourist and were very helpful advising us what to do and where to go. Although it was really hot – we’re experiencing an unusual summer – they work tirelessly to keep their property clean, tidy and inviting.

In the same road are other estabishments offering probably similar accommodation. I think the service of any place is what counts. I can highly recommend Edale House and Peter and Jane. We would stay again. Thank you.

A walk in the Forest

Just behind Edale House is the Forest. A mere walk away. And we walked – 25,000 plus steps! Wonderfully cool under the boughs of the green trees. So much to see.

The paths are well sign-posted. There were many cyclists about and we seemed to be the only ‘walkers’ at that time of day – around 10 a.m. We didn’t keep to the main pathway, but braved the hills and wandered amongst the grasses, hedgegrows and trees that had been cut by the foresters. In my ears I could hear the humming of their saws and the shrill cry of “Tiimber”! Of course it was just my imagination … no lumberjacks were to be seen on that Saturday morning!

 

 

As we walked I observed the little things. Like the twigs covered in moss and shaped like – could it be a lizard? It’s fascinating to see how nature takes it’s course. No flowers, but lots of different types of leaves, ferns, pine trees of all types, mushrooms in the undergrowth – actually I only saw one. The sun peeping through the thick foliage above. I found a stick that was just the right height, weight and strength to help me on my way. It was a boon for climbing up hills and then walking down!

What an exhilarating walk. Water was our friend, lots of drinking water.

 

 

Too much fresh air and more exercise than normal left us tired. It’s two hours walking just a very small part of the Forest. Up. Down. Over fallen trees. Under boughs shading us from the heat of the sun. Across paths, trodden by many walkers before us. Hot. Sweaty. Feeling good in the outdoors! Tired, we finally return to Edale House. After a welcome shower we collapse on our bed for a lazy mid afternoon snooze before our next outing.

I’ll write later about our visit to The Caves … Clearwell Caves. I loved the history, the ‘exhibition’. It is an education. I look forward to sharing my photos soon.

For now … it’s byeeee from me!


Written over a period of time from 5th to 18th August 2018 – please forgive the use of present and past tense. It depended when I wrote and I decided not to edit too much or my blog would just not be published.

Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event!
I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far. Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.
Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

 

 

Stockholm – The Land of Islands and Lakes

Go slow, feel the vibrations, breathe the smells, listen to the sounds. Each place has it’s own. Savour it. Remember it.

Cecily

We’re in Stockholm for a few days – a few days in March 2018.

It’s a beautiful sunny day as we arrive. I watch through the porthole window as the plane rushes forward, eager to find solid ground. Over the clumps of green trees. Over the dried grass. Over the waters and islands that make up the City of Stockholm.

We touch down. A quick exit into one of those snake-like buses, ready to take humanity to its destination. The usual. Immigration. Passports checked. Waiting around the conveyor belt. There’s our bags … scurry to grab them lest they disappear around the merry-go-round.

Arlander Airport, for an international airport, is small. It takes no more than 30 minutes to exit, having made a visit to the toilet … very clean … collect our bags and find our way to the bus stop.

This trip is not one as tourists. We’re visiting our daughter who lives and works in Stockholm. We miss her. It’s a new adventure for her. Learning a new language. Culture. Workplace.

She’s moving to a new apartment. And we decided to hop over on the 2-hour flight to see which island she was moving to. It’s also a break for us. A few days away.

Transport

We bought our Flybusse (click here for detals) tickets online before leaving home. The bus stops are outside the airport building. The buses are prompt, on time. The tickets are 99 Swedish Krona (SEK) single and 198 SEK return. There are 3 destinations from the airport – Stockholm City, Lileholjm and Kista/Sundbyberg/Bromma. We caught the bus to Hornstull, which is on the Lileholjm route, about a 45 minute ride. The taxis rank is opposite the bus stops … fixed price … always ask what the charge is. We like the bus … there’s a route map on each bus and you get to know the different places. The buses are convenient, as is the metro system. Travel is not expensive, especially compared with travel in London, UK.

You can also get the Arlanda express return from the airport at 540 SEK. For us, it was convenient to get the bus which stopped close to our daughter’s place – the one she was moving from.

Stockholm’s rail links

Map of parts of Stockholm.jpg
This map shows only the places we visited … Stockholm City is at the top right which is partly blocked … next island is where Hornstall is.

Weather

Sunny when we arrived, temperature to 14 degrees. We were there for 4 nights. We had rain every day. The type of rain that you can walk in and not get soaked. The type of rain where the sun comes out intermittently, where the sky is not dark and dismal all the time.

I am not complaining. No, I’m not. I may live in England, and have done so for more than 35 years, but I’m not complaining about the weather. I am simply stating facts.

When in Stockholm we walk a lot. It’s good for the body and soul, of course, isn’t it. On this trip we have travelled to many of the islands with our daughter. Getting to know a bit more of the city of Stockholm. It is pretty. It’s quite clean. It’s very eco-friendly. People do a lot of recycling.

We don’t feel like tourists. So hope this blog will give you a little insight into travelling around Stockholm – not as a tourist.

The public transport is awesome. From the airport we caught a bus that stops on the island close to where our daughter lives. The buses as are as regular as they say! There are no ‘3 coming at the same time then nothing at all for the next half hour”. We bought our tickets online. It’s 98 kr for a single which is just under £10.

2018-05-02 15.47.21

Below is The Globe. It’s on the Metroline. There is a theatre, cinema and a huge shopping mall, places to eat, and more in this area. The Globe is outside of the main part of the city but is still within easy travelling time.

2018-05-01 16.25.53

On a clear evening we took a brisk walk along the lakeside. Well signposted, We sayed in Hornstull so you can see we were not very far from where we needed to be – 1.9 miles. Stockholm is geared to bike riders. Families, singles, pairs all make the most of the outdoors. Bikers are to be seen all over and you can easily rent a street bike. It was a beautiful evening.

.2018-04-30 21.06.47.jpg

2018-04-30 21.07.23

2018-04-30 20.55.08.jpg

We could see a bonfire in the City.

2018-04-30 20.54.38.jpg

That’s a whistle stop tour of a little bit of Stockholm. There is a lot more to see. There is a lot more to write about. But, tomorrow is another day.

So from me … God natt. Hej då. Haj.


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event!
I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far. Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.
Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Quaintest Churches to see on your Travels … and the kitchen in The Golden Temple

On the little Island of St Helena, set in the South Atlantic ocean, my sisters, cousin and I visited the quaintest church up on Blue Hill …

Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times – Asian Proverb

It’s Sunday. A traditional Church Going Day for some.

Why am I writing about Church Going on my Travel Blog and not on my normal cecilyswritings blog?

I’m listening to Kate Mosse (twitter.com/.katemosse), renowned author, talking about how religion impacts her writing and life. Not a long interview, and a few of her words and thoughts are very much mine.

I feel my values, though, are not solely about religion but through my upbringing. Watching and learning from my parents, my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, close friends – all role-models. These people were not all of my religious background, so my base from which I learnt and continue to learn, and question, is wider than religion. Now that I am a “grown up”, for me, it does not matter whether or not I go to church every Sunday. It doesn’t matter that I visit other churches or partake in other religious ceremonies. What matters is how I live my life. It’s definitely about the people, not the religious beliefs. It’s about a way of life. About how you treat each other. Love has no specific religion, in my opinion.

Travelling to visit churches

Back to why I’m writing on my travel blog about churches, places of worship. Simply because there is a strong pull to churches. Wherever we have travelled, there is a church or churches, cathedral, temple, mosque, that are just a must see. Many are thousands of years old. Many are absolutely beautiful inside and out. What workmanship. Intricate. Elaborate. Others are simple but nevertheless are respected as places of worship. Simple but respected, just as are the more flamboyant for example The Golden Temple (Wikipedia.org), one of India’s incredible places.

The Golden Temple, India.001.jpeg

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, said to feed over 100,000 people a day, is an amazing complex – it is not just the temple. The video below shows the experience when visiting this elaborate place. More so it’s about seeing the everyday workings of the Temple. The Kitchen. Cooking to feed thousands no matter their religion. No matter who they are. See the skills at another level in order to feed this number of people. Humanitarian.

When we travelled to India we visited churches, mosques and temples (travelindiasmart.com). So many beautiful, richly encrusted examples of skillful architecture and workmanship. Of course, we could not visit India without visiting the famous, exquisite Taj Mahal with its emotional love story. The architecture. The history. The craftsmanship. The pure symmetry. This is the pull for us. The pull to these places of worship, whether well-known or simply the local church. Craftsmen have put their hand to these buildings lovingly. In many cases maybe not lovingly – cheap labour? Slaves come to mind. But it’s many years and years of work. Beautiful places they are. The craftsmanship is second to none. Is the stone masonary craft in decline? Will we see such intricate work in the future? Here is a link to an interview with a stonemason in the UK (The Guardian). I do hope there are apprentices in these crafts, stone, wood, and other materials, so that the crafts of beautiful buildings continues and does not die a death.

Churches are fascinating

If you Google Travel and churches as like anything else, there is loads to find. Amongst them these links might whet your appetite to travel with a different aim if that’s what you’d like. There are times when travelling and visiting one more church is just one too many. However, I quite like the idea of visiting some of these quaint churches.

St Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean

On the little Island of St Helena, set in the South Atlantic ocean, my sisters, cousin and I visited the quaintest church up on Blue Hill, where some of our family still live. A church so very simply, but still with that aura of peace as any marvellously built, historical, architecturally, fabulous church would feel. We met our family for the first time on our visit a few years ago and heard stories of marriages, births and deaths in that little church. For such a small island, with a population of 4,535 (2016), there are many churches of all shapes and sizes, as you’ll see if you follow this link, and we visited quite a few.

St Helena churchsthelenacross

I have fabulous memories of St Helena, and that is another set of blogs that’s waiting in the wings for me to write my memories. To share with you if you care to take that journey with me.

Somehow, there is a feeling of peace in every place of worship. It does not matter what the religious leaning. What the place. Peace is the overarching bond.

Back to the interview with Kate Mosse

Kate M is talking about a poem. It sounds very much like something I want to read. As is the norm, Google throws up a selection of websites in a second.

I read. I like. I want to share.

My blog is a collection of things that I want to write about. Or things that I want to remember. I want to make it easier to find in the future. Maybe someone else will like what I like, I tell myself. Maybe someone else will want to share or save what I like too. I write for pleasure on my blogs. I write as a way to relax from my day to day work.

But now, on to the poem that started this blog – Church Going. If you enjoy visiting places of worship on your travels, I’d love to hear from you.

Church Going by Philip Larkin

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don’t.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
“Here endeth” much more loudly than I’d meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort or other will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognizable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation – marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these – for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I’ve no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event!
I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far. Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.
Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Magicness that is Foz do Iguaçu

Water. It’s calming. It’s exhilarating. It’s powerful. It’s beautiful. We can’t do without it.

“There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed.”

Kate Douglas Wiggin

I knew when I saw the photos

I knew. We had to make it. We had to visit. We had to see.

Bordering Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay is a most beautiful sight. We had an emotional 3-day visit – I felt the butterflies in my tummy, the dizzying feeling from the blood rushing back and forth from heart to head; and exhilaration throughout my body! Our visit to Foz (Falls) do Iguaçu.

Foz do Iguaçu or Foz do Iguazu, the spelling depends on the land on which I stand. The former is spelt in Brazil where Portuguese is spoken, the latter the Spanish-speaking Argentina. The Falls are one of South America’s most spectacular natural wonders.

It was April last year that the Falls had a place in our itinerary. My husband Dhiru, daughter Manisha and I, touched down in Porto Alegre in the State of Rio do Sol. At last we were going to meet our friend Eugenio and his other half, Ana, and their families. We’d already been in his country for about two and a half weeks, and were finally going to see them. Eugenio and Ana were waiting to meet us at the airport. How lovely to see him again after a few years, and to meet Ana for the first time. I’ve written about Porto Alegre – PoA as it is affectionately known – in an earlier blog. If you’d like to read do follow this link.

For now we’re at the Magnificent, Magical Falls. Our daughter has gone her own way, wandering to a differing part of Brazil, having already visited Foz do Iguçua.

Victoria Falls

Being a Zimbabwean, to me there is no more water of beauty than the mighty Victoria Falls … photo uploaded from wikimedia.org.

Foz do Iguaçu [fɔz dw iɡwɐˈsu]

“It is entirely conceivable that life’s splendour forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from our view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come. This is the essence of magic, which does not create but summons … ”  Franz Kafka

You know the saying “it took my breath away” … literally, that is it.

That is Foz do Iguaçu!

It sparkles in the sunshine.

Hundreds of falls as far as the eye can see.

Riverlets and Rainbows.

Deep drops and crazy corners.

Each step, each corner brings the next breathtakingly,

Eye-opening view to wow my mind.

My friend told me not to look.

Not to look at too many pictures.

Before our trip.

Good advice.

I pass it on to you too.

Keep the surprise and delight for your visit if it’s your intention.

Don’t spoil the feeling.

The emotion.

By looking up too much about Foz do Iguaçu.

Having said all this, no photo or picture could prepare me for the splendour and the emotions I feel. I share a few of my photos here – they do not show the full spectrum of the wonder of the Foz do Iguaçu – just a little taste. You definitely don’t get the full impact of actually being in the space through pictures.

Prepare to get wet to enjoy the ultimate experience.

Prepare to walk. The routes are well planned.

We are with a group, and a guide who points out places of interest we may miss if we went on our own. We’re not rushed. We go at our own pace. We stop. We take photos. We “wow” and “ahhhhh” and “look, look there” and “ahhhhh” and “wow” many times over … We walk up and down and round and round. The walkways are easy to navigate and are safe. There are many steps to tread as we gaze with wonder at the sights before our eyes. The sounds in our ears. The smells in the air.

On the Brazilian side, it is just amazing to walk right into the centre of the waters. A walkway, a platform over the waters, takes us into the spray. The waters pound below us. The waters rush down above us. Sunglasses steam up, covered with water. Soaked in spite of the rain cape sticking to my body, my wet clothes. I clutch my hat lest the wind carry it far and away. The wonder before me has my heart pounding. Being in the middle of the sound of water is electrifying. What wonders we have on this earth.

You’ll get absolutely soaked. You have been warned.

Your ears will vibrate with the sound of the thunderous water. You have been warned.

We take a lift up to the viewing platform where we are so close to the mighty waterfalls. It is beautiful. It is mesmerising. I’ve posted a video on my Facebook Page called Cecilyswritings. – please follow this link if you’d like to have the close-up look and feel … I can’t find how to copy it here …

On the Argentinian side you can take a boat ride/dingy right up to and under the waterfalls. We didn’t. But we watched as others did. You’ll get soaked. You have been warned.

It didn’t take us long to dry off though, after we tore ourselves away from the sprays, the mists, the sounds, to drier places along the river. So don’t worry too much. Waterproofs may help a little bit!

IMG_6619.JPG
Foz do Iguazu, Argentina – Rivelets of water cascading to the massive finale – Photo by Cecily

IMG_6622.JPG
Foz do Iguazu, Argentina – ‘calm river before the storm’ – Photo by Cecily

As you can imagine the sounds of birds at the Falls is musical. We see a few beauties on our route and as we sit and eat our snacks. The birds come hopping around us, some of them right up to where we sit. Inquisitive. Tame. Looking for titbits, but signs around tell us ‘do not feed …‘. We don’t make it to the Bird Park but this link is to some of the fabulous, beautiful coloured specimens we saw.

Victoria Falls versus Foz do Iguaçu

I never thought I’d say this but … Foz do Iguaçu takes just tips the Victoria Falls [she says very quietly]. Victoria Falls is a place of beauty too. It has the widest curtain of water and a tremendous drop. It is quite spectacular.

But overall, for the experience. For the views.

For me, Iguacu Falls is Majestic. Magnificent. Magic. Marvellous. Mighty.

It’s stunning.

It’s emotional.

So much water.

So much beauty.

So much sound.

So much space.

I’m sure some of my Zimbabwean friends, who haven’t yet, will want to make the trip to see for themselves. If you do … I’d love to hear what you think. Vic Falls or Foz do Iguaçu?

Brazilian side versus Argentinian side

They both have countless views and magnificence to offer … we do Argentina first – on a cloudy day, it is dry, cool but warms up later. The next day we do Brazil, nice and sunny, quite hot for the long walk ahead of us.

For both my hubby and me … the Brazilian side is THE one.

Is it because the sun is shining? I don’t think so.

More water. More emotion. More sounds.

Magnifico! Esplêndido! Grandioso! Excepcional! Maravilhoso!

Blog picture - Iguazu.001

The Journey

From Porto Alegre we caught a return scheduled domestic flight to Iguaçu. The airport at PoA is modern, functional, friendly and technology systems and signs all as they should be. It is not massive, but much bigger than I had expected. From the runway, you can see the sprawling City on the horizon, a skyline of highs and lows beckoning the visitor or the returning resident.

The flight to Iguaçu was under 2 hours. We used Azul Airlines. We did not have a wide choice of flights as we were travelling from Porto Alegre. Many tourists travel direct from Rio or Sao Paulo where there are more flights to the Falls.

Iguaçu is a small airport, but busy even at 19:45 when we arrived. We were met at by our driver where we were taken by car to La Cantera Jungle Lodge on the Argentinian side of the Falls. A drive of approximately 45 minutes. We had to clear immigration and it was no problem with our driver handling all the necessities.

Having been to La Cantera, if I had my choice again, I would prefer a more conventional place to stay. A frog greeted me as I showered. I screamed, … my husband hurried in to see what jungle monster was attacking his dear wife!  The walkway to our lodge, which was a good size with all amenities you would expect in an hotel room, was through the ‘jungle’ with creature chirps all night long. I’d forgotten what it is to be out in the wilds. The hotel was not close to any shops or the like so, after our walks at the waterfalls, we spent some time lazying in the hammocks by the swimming pool sipping the Argentinian tea (Yerba Mate) which is said to be addictive – this link is to Wiki’s explanation of the tea. 

Our travel agent had arranged our visits to both sides of the falls. We shared a coach with others so it was a lovely mix of people sharing stories of their travels. On both days we started off early in the morning when it was cooler, and the crowds had not yet gathered for the day. The entry formalities on both sides of the Falls were fairly quick. Although we had tickets for entry, we still had a bit of a queue. All the transport we used was timely and well organised. As at most tourist places, there are the usual places to eat or buy food and drinks. We brought a few snacks and LOTS OF WATER, because all the walking dehydrates you. We had a big breakfast and had snacks and dinner when we returned to our Lodge in the evenings.

The weather was kind to us. It was cool and cloudy one day. And bright sunlight and warm the next. We did visit in the country’s autumn so the weather was just right as far as we were concerned! In this part of Brazil, the climate and the vegetation are very similar to our home country of Zimbabwe, so we were quite at home.

In all we were away for 3 days, including our travel time, then made our way back to Porto Alegre for the last leg of our holiday.

In all, another well planned trip by our travel people, although the one change I would make was to our accommodation. I’ve obviously been spoilt!

Thanks to all who made our trip to Foz do Iguaçu / Igauzu a memorable occasion.

Facts about Foz do Iguaçu

The exquisite Iguazu Falls are also known as the Iguassu Falls and the Iguaçu Falls. The magnificent spectacle of these 275 individual drops has awed tourists, locals and indigenous inhabitants for centuries. They originate from the Iguazu River and are located on the border of Brazil (in the state of Paraná) and Argentina.

In fact, the Iguazu Falls are what divides the river of the same name into its upper and lower portions, a fact that has given rise to several myths and legends as to their origin. This river forms the boundary between Brazil and Argentina, making it a significant part of the political and geographical structure of the continent of South America.

The Iguazu Falls stretch in width for 2.7 kilometres (or 1.7 miles). Their height varies between 60 metres (200 feet) and 82 metres (or 269 feet). This makes the Iguazu Falls taller than Niagara Falls and twice as wide.

A large proportion of the water is thrust down Devil’s Throat, a long chasm that is 82 metres high, 150 metres wide and 700 metres long. This chasm has a distinguishing U-shape. Interestingly, there are several islands within the river and the falls.

The name of the falls originates from the Tupi or Guarani language, and means “big water”. While the ancient Brazilian tribes knew of its thunderous beauty, it was only officially ‘discovered’ in 1541, when the European explorer, the Spanish Conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, came across its awe-inspiring beauty.

Image of the full view of the cascade of Iguazu Falls, Brazilian side.

Full view of the cascade of Iguazu Falls, Brazilian side.

Today, the Iguazu Falls are owned by the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Iguazú National Park in Argentina and the Iguaçu National Park in Brazil.

On the Brazilian side, the best-known falls include:

• Benjamin Constant
• Deodoro
• Floriano

Extract from brazil.org.za

Facts about Victoria Falls from victoriafallsguide.net

Victoria Falls also known as “Mosi oa-Tunya” (“the smoke that thunders”) is positioned almost exactly half way along the mighty Zambezi River’s 2700 km journey from it’s source to the sea.

Here the river plunges headlong into a 100m vertical chasm spanning the full one-and-a-half kilometre width of the river.

Creating the biggest curtain of falling water in the world and also one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The power of the falls is awesome with the highest ever flow recorded in 1958 (read more about this flood and the mythology surrounding it) when it reached more than 700 000 cubic meters of water a minute. The water in the gorges rose 18 metres (60 feet) above its normal flood level.

Extract from victoriafallsguide.net


Smoke on the Water

The best song to finish with is definitely Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water … with that iconic guitar beginning … de de de dededede de de de de-de …


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event! I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far.

Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and http://www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Written on 7 June 2018, and posted by Cecily on 16 June 2018.
Copyright (C) Cecily Lalloo 2018

A lovely account of Paris …

Reblogged … from a story on Cafe Disenssus Everyday. Whilst reading this blog, I felt as if I was touring the lovely Paris as I had some years ago. We didn’t cover all the wonderful places mentioned in here so I know where I’ll visit the next time. A very good read!

By Jagari Mukherjee I wanted to see the city which has been immortalized by poets and artists. I wanted to see the city which had formed the backdrop in works like Alexandre Dumas’ Camille, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, and Sartre’s The Age of Reason, amongst others. I had watched and loved movies like Moulin Rouge (based on Camille) and Gigi (based on Colette’s novelette). As for me, my painting of Paris will be a work of Impressionism rather than Realism as I attempt to recapture its essence mainly through the perfumed mists of memory.

Continue reading … via Paris: An Immortal Memory — Cafe Dissensus Everyday

 


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event!
I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far.
Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.

Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Reblogged on 11 June 2018 by Cecily Lalloo 

The Music of the Country that is Brazil

I heard in my head the pounding of the drums, in my ears the passionate sound of singing, I felt in my body the beat …

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

Ray Bradbury

I have a number of blogs that are a work in progress. One that I’d started a while ago is about music we heard whilst in Brazil. So, yesterday I was reminded about this work in progress and about our travels in Brazil. I received a You Tube video of Girl from Ipanema … I had memories of walks along the beach at Ipanema, visiting colourful bars, a walking tour in the City of Rio de Janeiro. And a night out at a Samba club – with great Brazilian music! This was the impetus I needed to complete my music blog …

I’m viewing You Tube videos tonight as I hear in my head the pounding of the drums, in my ears the passionate sound of singing, I feel in my body the rythmic beat of Brazil. In Rio I heard more music than at other times on our trav els. For my blog I’ve borrowed this small selection of music and dance to remind me of our holiday.

In Sao Paulo, our lovely hosts took us to the Parque Ibiraquera where we saw and heard a host of musicians practising under the trees. There were groups of drummers, guitarists, percussion artistes, and samba dancers. Apparently they practice all year round in readiness for Carnival in February. I took a video clip of them playing … rough and ready. Fabulous raw beats. But … I can’t find it tonight. I hope it’s not deleted! I found the video below on the web that reminded me of the musicians we saw under the trees who were playing this type of music. Wikipedia states: Batucada is a substyle of samba and refers to an African-influenced Brazilian percussive style, usually performed by an ensemble, known as a bateria. Batucada is characterized by its repetitive style and fast pace.

As at home in the UK, popular singers are played wherever, on the radio, TV, all over. We heard the popular singers of Brazil in the same way, all around us. We heard almost the same songs as we travelled. I recognised Djavan’s Eu Te Devoro (below) – as it’s a track on a CD I’d been given. Great voice and instrumentals in the band. I like this singer and his style of singing. It crosses boundaries. And you know, I’m watching Prince Harry and Megan Markel’s engagement, and their background track sounds very much like the piano here! If you have time to let the video run, you’ll hear some other beautiful songs by Djavan and Marisa Monte and other Brazilian singers. Hope you enjoy them.

This next video, Se (If), is another of Djavan’s songs on the album, another favourite. I heard it as piped music in wonderful, bright shopping centres or in the quaint, family-run eateries or restaurants that we stopped at on our travels. It accompanied us with our soft drinks, mineral water or the Brazillian cocktails, Caipirinha, along with our snacks.

Travelling with my daughter, we covered many miles sightseeing in walking mode. In particular, she arranged for us to join a walking tour of the City. It really was fun with people from all parts of the world, and even a couple who lived only 30 miles from us in the UK. Small world!

It rained that day in April last year. I clearly recall because our guide, Paulo, gathered us under his wing and marched us to an umbrella-selling stall. A few smart people in our party had bought their umbrellas packed into their rucksacks or bags. I expected only sunshine in Rio so was one who promptly bought a bright brolly – a souvenior from Rio I guess!

I love music. I like many different genres. My feet and fingers don’t stop tapping. At work I have background music to fill the sometimes quiet moments as we concentrate, busy beavering away, in our own little worlds. I love dance. Watching and doing. But of course my own steps. Programmes such as the competition “Strictly Come Dancing” is avidly watched by all our family. Who can forget Flavia and Vincent’s hot Samba …

Samba was high on our list of “things to do” when we were in Rio. So, we asked Paulo to recommend a night club / bar / restaurant we could visit. We planned to be in Rio for only a few days – we should have spent more time there. We knew we wanted to hear live music. We wanted to see and feel the Samba dance. We wanted to see and be amongst local people. We wanted to dance!

Paulo reeled off a few places. When we returned to our hotel, I carried out my own research, and we decided on Carioca da Gemasaid to be one of the first Samba clubs in Lapa, an area of Rio, close to the City. Carioca da Gema was one of the places Paulo recommended. “There will be a lot of Portugese and very little English. spoken”, proclaimed Paulo. “But, you will hear live music. You will have dance. There is a live band. Food to eat. Drinks to drink. A great atmosphere.” This sounded like just the place for us. But, he said, “... take the metro there, and catch an Uber when you return in the night or early hours of the morning“.

Carioca da Gema proved to be just the place. We wandered in around 21:00 and found ourselves to be amongst the first. Of course! Life only really starts at midnight … The place started filling up after 22:30 … people from all walks of life. Well heeled. Bohemian. Young lithe figures. Mature. Men and Women. Girls and Boys.

Cosy and friendly atmosphere.

Band strumming, drumming, keying.

Blowing out their Samba rythyms.

Singers crooning.

Lazy. Sexy. Charasmatic.

People stepping to the beat of the the music.

The rythym sounding out loud.

The buzz of the now accustomed language in our ears.

Oi! Boa noite! Como vai? Todo bem!

Uma água mineral, por favor. Um suco. Com gelo. Sim. Obrigada.

The smells of food. Snacks. Pão de queijo. Acarajé (pronounced a-ka-ra-zjeh). Quindim. Oh! I feel a blog just on food and drinks to be written soon …

2017-04-07 20.29.32.jpg

2017-04-07 20.29.41.jpg

Next to our table, the vivacious Izabel and her group were singing and swaying to the beat. Her white dress tight against her curves. Hips moving to the sounds. Hands and arms in unison.

Swaying.

Elegant.

Delicate.

Musical.

Sensual.

Thoroughly enjoying herself.

Quick step. Bounce. quick step. Slow.

She watched us too. Smiling and laughing. Swinging.

Izabel took our hands and kept us moving, moving.

Quick step. Bounce. Step. Step.

Transform hips.

Singing.

Exhilarated.

What a night.

What a night!

Watch the Samba show-dance here by Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko … no, they weren’t at Carioca da Gema, but … I like this video …

We had a wonderful time.

Rio at night.

In a crowded club.

Shoulder to shoulder with music lovers.

Feeling the music course through our veins.

But … It was time.

Time to go.

In the wee, wee hours of the morning we took

Paulo’s advice and caught an Uber back ‘home’.

Tired.

Happy.

The sounds of Samba still in our ears.

Até logo. Tchau tchau. Abraços e Beijos … to the people at Carioca da Gema …

Learn to Samba? Here’s some dance steps …

I’ll finish on this part of our Brazillian journey with another popular singer, Marisa Monte.

MY FEATURE PHOTO for this post is at Escadaria Selarón or Selaron’s Steps. The steps are swathed in tiles that he collected over the years, were given to him, or he had them made. Wikipedia: Escadaria Selarón, also known as the ‘Selaron Steps’, is a set of world-famous steps in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They are the work of Chilean-born artist Jorge Selarón who claimed it as “my tribute to the Brazilian people”.


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event!
I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far.
Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you.
Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.
Written by Cecily on 18th May 2018
Copyright (C) Cecily Lalloo 2018
Visit took place from 23 March – mid-April 2017

Travelling and learning about face recognition and dinner parties

I get a flutter in my tummy when I touch down … but before so doing the article I read says we touch our phones 5,400 times a day … surprising?

“Your wings already exist. All you have to do is Fly!”

Unknown

I always get that little flutter in my tummy when I touch down at Heathrow. Home. But as we come in to land, I never stop marvelling at this thing called an aeroplane. How those Wright Brothers were poo-pooed for their off-the-wall idea of flying. The busyness of the runways, the planes lined up, the crew smiling and waiting in readiness to take on their passengers, or to deposit us safely. All thanks to Orville and Wilbur Wright. How small they have made the world.

 

imageTravelling is fabulous – besides the waiting at airports – although air terminals are like mini cities, so much to do, if that’s what you like. For me, I like to people watch and the fact that we can charge our devices, is enough to hang about for a while.

The actual flight provides me with time to read. This evening it was the BA Business Life magazine. Some very interesting articles, which is the reason for my writing now.

We’re on the plane – Stockholm to London – having spent a lovely, few days in the delightful company of our daughter. I’m reading “Trends” in the Business Life magazine. Technology has always fascinated me so this part of the magazine caught my attention.

Could the old-fashioned human way of talking …

The article is titled ‘Could the old-fashioned human way of talking be having a resurgence?’ We’re getting back to being old-fashioned apparently – humans talking to humans, I read. Talking to each other is fundamentally what makes us human. Apparently, over recent years we have preferred to refrain from ‘real-life verbal interactions’. We have seen this way of talking as being ‘risky, intrusive and generally best avoided in favour of written messaging – emails and digital messaging.’ We know how much we love WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype, Trello and many more. Is conversation a lost art then, asks Henrietta Thompson?

The dinner party

Henrietta Thompson, an editorial consultant and curator and editor at large at Wallpaper magazine, writes about us all chatting together again on a face-to-face basis. The trend, she says, is that those dinner parties that we once enjoyed are making a come-back. We’re turning back to being social by grouping together and telling stories. She says:

“Proper dinner parties, long replaced by the ghastly ‘kitchen supps’ upstart, are once again punctuating our lives in “full frontal, full throttle, totally pumped, pimped up and banging Eighties form”.

I wonder if this trend can really out-do our virtual interactions? Social media is such a big part of our lives. Across the generations, we’ve come together virtually. Dating sites and places like Facebook and WhatsApp provide the opportunities for more and more people to meet, to chat, get to know one another, become more and more friendly. Is it really necessary to be physically close to tell the stories we want to tell. To share the news and views we want to discuss with those near and dear to us? Do we need to be in the same physical space, or even the same timeline, to get close to someone. To have a dinner party?

image.png
Photo by @simpleco on Unsplash.com

We Touch Our Phones 5,400 times

On the same page as Henrietta’s article is one written by David Mattin. He is the head of trends and insights at trendwatching.com. David says we are living in a world of interfaces. So may of us are so addicted to them. Do you know that recent research shows that some of us smartphone users touch our phones as much as 5,400 times a day? A big number. I use my smartphone lots – from business emails, to writing blogs and sending messages, to holding long conversations on messaging apps, and short chats too, as well as searching on Google, finding and following directions, and much, much, more. Now, that number – 5,400 – begins to sound feasible, doesn’t it? I know many of my friends, relatives and work colleagues touch their smartphones many, many times a day too. Do you?

Your interface

Mattin mentions a very important interface. One we use even more often than our smartphones. He tells us that an interface is defined as “a point in a system where information flows in and out”. The most important interface he talks about is … wait for it … our face! “Your face pretty much meets that definition, right?”

Mmmm, I thought to myself. Of course. If you’re not convinced think about the fast developing face recognition technology all around us, says Mattin. Yes, I know that text messaging is being overtaken by voice, but even more so by video. Never mind businesses, such as airports and banks, using face recognition for security purposes, our trusty smartphones use face recognition – the iPhone X uses face recognition to unlock the device. We use face recognition on Facebook, FaceTime, and so many of our other social sites.

image.png
Face recognition? This photo is by @heyerlein on Unsplash.com

That brings me back to Henrietta and her dinner parties. She has a point, I think, about dinner parties. They can be intimate affairs or very elaborate affairs. They can be affairs to bring our family and friends together. Our work colleagues – clients, employees – discussing, arguing, debating, brainstorming, telling stories. And what about one of the biggest dinner parties soon to take place in the UK on 19thMay – Prince Harry and Megan Markel’s wedding! Face to face interaction is going to be big at this dinner party – this is what Thompson is talking about – but on a smaller scale too!

Having said that, I have had a “meal” with a friend whilst we were chatting on social media by video. It’s instant, we could see each other smiling and laughing sharing sadness, and surprise, and all the emotions as if we were sitting face-to-face. Could Henrietta’s dinner party be a success virtually?

If you are on your own and decided you wanted company, could you join a friend’s dinner party anyway? Last Christmas Day my daughter and her friend were in Buenos Aires, Argentina, whilst we had a family gathering around a merry dinner table eating our Christmas fare. My daughter and her friend joined us via Skype and we chatted, exchanged messages with everyone around the table, laughed, showed them what we were eating and drinking! I’d sent her a Christmas parcel which had a pair of Christmas socks for each of them. They pointed their smartphone to their ankles to show us that they were wearing their presents! Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t partake of our Christmas meal. They just had to look. It was a bit sad. They didn’t realise that the restaurants and shops were closed on Christmas Day in Buenos Aires. They had found a little café and ordered 2 cups of tea so that they could use the free internet to join our dinner table, even though they couldn’t share our delicious food. A virtual dinner, maybe, but it does lack sharing and tasting the same foods, drinks, and most importantly, the atmosphere.

Jumped miles and time zones

Social media has jumped miles, time zones, and countries to bring people together. Mattin talks about a marketing experiment by travel company, Tui. The experiment sat individuals in a booth and showed them videos of travel destinations. Their emotional response was judged via facial recognition. The end result was that the individuals were given travel recommendations based on their facial responses. Our facial responses “tell us about our true and deep preferences”. So, it’s not surprising that we are using our social media’s video apps more and more. Seeing someone face-to-face with all their emotional responses makes that interaction that much more special. It’s like meeting someone who we are always talking to on the phone, and saying: “Isn’t it great to put a face to a name”.

I like Mattin’s quip:

“Ready for a world in which your face is your digital passport, your payment method, and the interface that lets a host of brands discern what you really want? Some will love it. Others will want to invest in a mask”.

Space for a dinner party and face-to-face recognition interfaces

I believe there is space for both forms of communication. Face-to-face using our digital media, but of course, the physical will never go out of fashion. The warm, close association when people are in a physical space, the dinner party, the atmosphere. The sensation of a hug, a kiss, which cements any relationship. With our ever evolving world of technology bringing us closer together, the human touch is not lost, it just gets better when we meet.

image.png

My song for this blog is a compilation of songs about travel … I haven’t listened to them all … but shall soon when I’m travelling again …


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event! I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far.

Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and http://www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Written by Cecily on 2nd May 2018.
Copyright (C) Cecily Lalloo 2018

Happy Port … Rio Grande Do Sul!

“No one ever comes to Porto Alegre unless they have business here or to visit someone here …”

It’s almost time to leave Porto Alegre, a City in the State of Rio Grande Do Sul. Rio Grande Do Sul means Big River of the South, or is it something to do with the Sun?  It is the southern-most State of Brazil, bordering Argentina and Uruguay. The River Guaiba borders the City – a very pretty sight especially as the sun dips down of an evening.

image
A walk along the river #PortoAlegre – Photo by Cecily

 

Image may contain: cloud, sky, tree, outdoor, nature and water
An afternoon stoll along the River Guaiba, Porto Alegre – photo by Cecily  

 

 

Image may contain: cloud, sky and outdoor
Porto Alegre, Brazil – Photo by Cecily

 

Before travelling, I read some reviews on Porto Alegre (Happy Port) and our host and his family shared information. “It is very different to the rest of Brazil”. “You won’t think you are in Brazil”. “There are places in the State where you’d think you were in Europe.” “Even the weather is different. It snows in some places in winter”. “The temperatures in winter can drop to -0 degrees in some places!”And, so it is. Different.

I’m writing about Porto Alegre today because, last year this time [around April 18th], we had just left the City.

We arrived. We enjoyed. The time disappeared so very quickly. We were soon saying a fond farewell to our hospitable and generous host and his family. So, it seems like the right time to write. Today. Even if it takes me three hours or more to do so!

No one ever comes to Porto Alegre unless they have business here, or to visit someone here, said Eugenio. It’s a business and financial hub. Tourists don’t usually make their way here. There’s not much to do, or see. It’s the main City in the State. Porto Alegre is his home. He flits around his neighbourhood, the City and his students in his larger-than-life, sociable manner. Conversing with all and sundry … the man in the car park, the restaurant owners and waiters alike, the women and men at the supermarket, as well as his students.

Having lived in the country for 40 odd years, he is as much a Brazilian as the Brazilians themselves. But he still is different.  He speaks the language like a local (though I’m told by a reliable source that on rare occasions gender is sometimes mixed up. Even the best …!) He is forgiven. He is a well-renowned English teacher in Porto Alegre and respected for his skill in being able to share his love of the language. His English grammar is near perfect. But he has taken on the American accent. “I say t-mar-to – you say t-mate-o; I say pot-ato – you say p-tarto…”. It makes sense, when in Rome to do as the Romans. When I know he is reading my writings, I feel he is scrutising my tenses, the subject and the objects. Intransitive and transitive verbs. Maybe my writing is fodder for his students … “how can you improve this article?” If so, at least I’m helping his work … please let me have feedback Eugenio lol!

image
Loved these pretty flowers in the Park – photo by Cecily

I loved the drive along the River Guaiba. From his home we’d almost always have the River ambling alongside us. The River feels like part and parcel of the City – it borders Porto Alegre. It’s a precious feeling to live near water. To wander along the riverbank. Amongst the trees – they were in full bloom, lots of foliage, lots of flowers in the park on the opposite side of the river. A romantic place indeed.I also loved the City by night. How magnificent the viaduct looks. We went up onto the bridge that overlooks the street below. The street lights gleamed, casting their light on the ancient masonry. In the dark of the night. What a splendid sight. I’d love to see it in daylight too. Apparently, it’s not that safe to wander around at night. But we took a walk down the Avenue and soaked up the sights, visited the Cathederal and the Municipal Building. Very modern buildings alongside the historic. I had a good feeling. I liked what I saw. It was fairly quiet that night. Must have been a Sunday!

Some of the buildings are beautiful. The Pink is one of my favourites. I call it The Pink – it’s the Mario Quintana Cultural Centre. It was closed when we visited – it must have been a Sunday! Thank you for sending this video clip Eugenio – love it! There are some diamonds in your City.

“There’s not much to see in Porto Alegre”, he told us. So I was surprised at what there was to see. The wide, well-kept roads in the City. The many beautiful buildings. The many well-filled supermarkets. The vast number of restaurants. It’s cultural to dine out, especially the midday meal. We didn’t have time to see all the sights. Next time!

Beautiful buildings
Taken from Tripadviser – https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g303546-d2365633-Reviews-Santander_Cultural-Porto_Alegre_State_of_Rio_Grande_do_Sul.html#photos;geo=303546&detail=2365633&aggregationId=101

After walking the streets, well just the one, we took a drive to view the city from atop a peak where there was a lovely view of the City lights. But no sooner did we arrive than we had to leave. The lights of the car woke the sleeping inhabitant(s) … the rough sleepers who make it their home … we made a hasty retreat.

The Mormons, a religious and cultural community, have a Church in a residential part of the City. By the size of the building, there must be many community spaces in it. This is a stately building of enormous proportions. It’s set in wonderful gardens …. we drove past at night and it looked stunning. The area has many architecturally beautiful homes, also of enormous proportions.

I did not expect this in a country where we hear about millions living below the breadline. Poverty is rife, even though Brazil is a very wealthy country. This is evident in many places. The favellas growing up side by side of a beautifully kept neighbourhood. Or along the busy road. Corruption is rife. The most recent President having recently been incarcerated for the part he allegedly played. Other government officials also being investigated. It’s no different to many countries, actually – corruption at all levels. Brazil being a massive country with a population to match, it is much more noticeable.

The people are friendly. Curious. Not afraid to ask pointed questions … “Are you Indian”, to my husband. And happy to talk with us … often telling us they don’t speak English and as we tentatively tested our Portuguese on them … they proved to us that their English was far superior to our sparse knowledge of theirs.

My husband and our friend in Brazil, Eugenio, knew each other over 40 years ago. They lived in the same house in London where they became good friends. I knew him many more years before at ‘home’. We’d all lost touch. Facebook brought us together some three years earlier. And it seemed that time did not come between any of us when we’d first met face to face in the UK and caught up on the years. An easy meeting. Keeping in touch with family and friends these days is so simple with social media such as Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, Messenger, Facebook. We have to thank Facebook, in spite of all its privacy issues and misunderstandings, for bringing people together, for making the world a much smaller place.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and outdoor
The boys now … 2017 – photo by Cecily

Image may contain: 2 people, smoking and night
The boys then … 1975 – photo by unknown

Facebook and all the other social media channels and messaging apps have bridged the gap of decades. Have bridged the gap of miles. Have bridged the gap of excessive international telephone charges. There’ll always be a place for messaging apps. A place for even more secure apps, such as Signal and Telegram too. Signal’s end-to-end encryption, apparently, is what Wahtsapp has adopted – and I guess Messenger too.  Unfortunately, we are told that these secure apps are increasingly being used for subversive activities – it’s a shame. I have to say well done to Zuckerberg, Durov, Acton, Kuom, and all the other innovative, entrepreneurial techno-wizards for making it simple for us to communicate with loved ones over the waves. And also for many populations to make their feelings known to their governments. There is always a negative, though … oops … going off at a tangent here! Back to Porto Alegre.

Porto Alegra was not what I had imagined. It is a bustling City.  One of the countries largest cities, second only to Sao Paulo in commercial and industrial importance in southern Brazil – rivaled by other cities like Curitiba, Parana and some cities in Santa Catalina. I saw modern cars. Transportation by bus and taxi. A neglected and unused above-the-ground transport system – pity it didn’t come to anything. It was a first which was abandoned.

Weather-wise, we had mostly sunshine, more clear skies, others with cloud. We were There in autumn. We needed a light jacket or cardigan when out of an evening. We had a few showers too. Well quite a few when we went to higher altitudes! The temperature most days was pleasant … but I felt sticky on other days and it was a joy to feel the beat of the shower both morning and night.

When we landed at the Salgado Filho airport, the City lay before us – sprawled across the horizon. My! Much, much bigger than I imagined. There are some eye-opening landmark buildings about the City. These two buildings below are iconic. Loved them! And the two rival football stadia … one blue the other red … as with all football teams, you’re with either one or the other. Staunch and loyal supporters.

 

The landscape that is Porto Alegre, Brazil

 

Our friend had played down his City!

What a great meeting with him at the airport. A modern place. Not big at all, but very efficient. After our earlier travels in the country it was almost like coming home. Home to see a familiar face. We met his wife. How kind of her to come in her own car to meet us. The news of our many sets of luggage preceded us. She’d brought her car for the overflow.

I couldn’t let Ana drive back from the airport on her own, with just our luggage for company. So I left my other half, Dhiru, and our daughter to accompany Eugenio and to catch up with him, whilst I went with Ana. “She doesn’t speak English”, he said. “That doesn’t matter”, said I. “It’s wonderful that she has come all this way to meet us.” And so I was her passenger. From then on in, Ana and I ‘spoke’ … with signs and faltering monosyllabic Portuguese. I picked up the gist of what she was saying to me, my little learning of Brazillian Portuguese and my little learning of Portuguese when I worked for a short time in Moçambique many, many years ago, helped somewhat. That way to home. I nodded. This is where one of her daughter’s works. Ahhhhh. The Guiaba River. “Linda” meaning ‘beautiful’, ‘pretty’. The Marketplace. Mmmm. Nodding. A bit about Eugenio and her. Especial. We’re on our way to a restaurant. Fabuloso. Fome. You’ll notice the monosyllabils …

Ana patiently pronounced Portuguese words to me. Of course, listening ordinarily to a conversation is quite difficult because people talk so quickly. … BUT … there was also Google Translate on my smartphone. We sat side-by-side, Ana and I, eating a delicious meal and sharing the device! I did make attempts to sound out the words with my new tutor’s help. Thank you Ana. And Eugenio for translating as needed.

So much more to relate about our visit. But it will have to wait for yet another time. I’m excited to tell you about my visit with our hosts family, his students, the food of Brazil, the food of the gaucho country.

The Churrascaria.

Caipirinha de abacaxi.

June sweets.

Gramado.

Students.

Language.

And more.

But now, till my next blog on … Porto Alegre and the people of PoA … and to you, my readers and visitors …

Tchau!

Até logo!

Boa noite. Sonhos com os anjos!

My music for this blog, per kind favour of YouTube, is a song by the popular singer Marisa Monte who we heard played throughout our visit.


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event! I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far.
Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and http://www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.
Written by Cecily on 14th April 2018 completed on 30 April and published on 30th April 2018
Copyright (C) Cecily Lalloo 2018
Visit took place on 23 March – mid-April 2017 – all photos were taken in 2017

%d bloggers like this: