Tuesday 21st March
There are four features in this area
The Hohenstaufen Bridge
The River Rhine
DB have stated that the weight of the locks attached to the bridge has no impact on its safety.
The Hohenzollern Bridge over the Rhine in Cologne. First visited in 1966. Later I sat beside it after hitch-hiking from Berlin where I’d had a ‘bit of a run in’ with the East German authorities (visa issue which we Brits now need to get used to again when travelling in EU). I sat by the Rhine and eat a celebratory ‘bratwurst’ from a van. When the owner realised this was my 21st birthday he refused payment. The next night was also interesting as I encountered a Belgian dentist.
Wednesday 22nd March
On December 12th 2019 we had left the UK knowing that, due to the inability of reasonable politicians to act in concert, a man of almost no political ability save that of amusing a crowd gained a majority in Parliament.
Now, after a period of rule which became so chaotic that even his own MPs turned against him, it would seem that we were absent from the country on a day (21st March 2023) when, in front of a Committee of MPs his lies and failings became, at last, ‘fully revealed ‘blindingly obvious’.
Having escaped U.K. on December 2019…. We arrived in Cologne…The day that Britain elected philandering, corrupt liar to be its Prime Minister. That evening in the depressed mood, we chatted to a local couple with whom we dined. ‘Do not worry’ she said ‘you are at home here’ Real and consoling sympathy. Britain is now slowly learning to live with the results of that electoral choice. Today the same person, having been removed as Prine Minister, is trying to build a future that will allow him to return. The whole process is a farce. Note the ‘thought for the day’ in the picture.
Vienna – the introductory architecture.
The traditional confection of St Stephen’s Church.
Reasons why I’ve never bothered coming to Vienna
Took a tram to distance point near Danube and walked back to hotel.
speculating about the manner in which people live – and adjust to differing contexts…. but also the ‘dreams’ being promoted to aid sales….. though near the Danube this area of concrete is hardly ‘wild’.
But provides (along with associated parkland) ‘space’
The presence of invented ghostly characters
No Harry Lime
Radetsky with ?commentary sculpted in front?
One of the best railway systems in Europe – saviour and promoter of the overnight ‘sleeper’ train
Spring seemed to have arrived – but then left quickly after the next day or so and did not return during the whole of our travels on Journey Two.
The Hongarian – Romanian Border…… leaving Schengen
To become a familiar sight in RO & BG – reconstruction of railway (later than other ex-communist countries)
change and decay in all around I see
There seems to be no ‘culture of tidiness’…… but this is changing as new structures are being created
The railways line to Bucuresti is being reconstructed.
New Style (a shopping Mall)
The juxtaposition is valuable.
The city has a very active cleaning service – almost no rubbish (this was also true of other cities), considerably better than many other countries.
Graffiti – an issue (not just on restored surfaces)… there seems to be no regime in place to discourage this issue both here and in a range of other situations in Romania.
Though the ‘Saxon’ towns and villages witnessed a migration of the German speaking population – especially after 1990 – the Black Church maintains a Lutheran Evangelical persence.
A new railway service to Bucuresti…. but the lack concern with comparatively minor repairs is detrimental.
Had accommodation at the Lido Hotel, first visited in 1991.
Much has changed – but not everything: the 1930’s lift shaft (the lift itself is recent)
Amazingly, the dry swimming pool is, apart from the trees that have grown around it, exactly the same as in 1991.
The reason is that the ownership of the pool is different to that of the hotel – and the owner will not sell.
Whilst exploring the latest developments in the Lipscani we toured a market of local products in Hanul Manuc.
…. and bought Blackberry and Raspberry wine…..
București haș an Anglican Church which in 1992 we were allowed to use for a workshop event with a group from Râmnicu Vâlcea
On Sunday 26th March the clocks changed to Summer Time – and we went to morning service at the church.
The place has always been a resource
– in Communist times where it was possible to meet those from beyond the Iron Curtain (but perilously, as the Securitate always had a presence at services)
– in the years following the events of 1989 it was a place where groups and individuals engaged in assisting Romania develop new structures could share and support each other (some of the work in the health sector was very stressful)
– and always it had been & remains, a place where those in the international community who spoke or were learning English, could meet.
In the afternoon Father Nevsky led a group round the National Gallery, explaining some of the delights and details of the important collection.
Romania maintains contrasting cultural and religious traditions (as the Black Church in Brasov exemplifies). Transylvania was, culturally, more western influenced
In the Eastern tradition John the Baptist is a regular feature – and (given the story of his decapitation) shown carrying his own head on a plate
The painting is of Mary Grant born into a Scottish family on the Isle of Guernsey.
She married Constantin Alexandru Rosetti, an important Romanian literary and political leader, and was deeply committed to the issues of Romanian nationalism & female liberation.