26 August 2021

2007

In this post I travel fourteen years back in time  to 2007 courtesy of my photo library. Like 2006, it was a year in which I did more than my fair share of foreign travel. Above - can you guess where that is? It is an unusual view of  The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. I was in Tuscany for three days in February - also visiting Florence and Leonardo's birthplace in Anchiano near Vinci.

At Eastertime, Shirley and I went to Morocco for ten days. It was a self-made holiday with half the time spent in Marrakesh and the other half at Essaouira  on the Atlantic coast which is where I took this picture of fishing boats:-

In early June we went to Galicia in northern Spain with our friends Moira and Steve. Like many pilgrims before us, we visited the great cathedral at Santiago di Compostela. Here it is claimed that the bones of St James are concealed in his gaudy shrine though the story is of course all pure fantasy. This is a view of the cathedral against a slightly threatening sky:-

In early August, Shirley and I flew to Biarritz in south west France where we picked up a hire care before meandering through the foothills of the Pyrenees to my brother's house near Pamiers, south of Toulouse. We stayed in a small hotel near Lourdes before travelling into the town to mingle with more Roman Catholic fantasists. The people in wheelchairs were hoping for cures as hundreds filled plastic bottles with holy water near the shrine of St Bernadette:-

At the end of August, I flew to Gdansk in Poland from our local airport - Doncaster-Sheffield, also known as Robin Hood Airport. This is a picture of St Mary's Church in the old town - one of the biggest brick-built churches in the world and it was completed in 1502 after a hundred years of  construction work:-


So that's that. A look back at 2007, the year that Luciano Pavarotti, Kurt Vonnegut and Benazir Bhutto died. All that travelling, soaking places up like a sponge. What a contrast with the time of this plague that we have all been living with for so loooooong now. Apart from my country walks, I have hardly been anywhere. Never mind - last night we booked a house in a Leicestershire village for early September and we won't need to fly there.

42 comments:

  1. That was a year of interesting experiences. Something good to look back on in these more troubled times.

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    1. Maybe those days of easy, carefree and cheap travel will never return.

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  2. Oh where are you going in Leics? You might remember I am a Leicester girl ( though I left there many years ago!).

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    1. A village called Tugby just off the A47, halfway between Leicester and Uppingham.

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    2. You will be able to visit Rutland Water and Oakham that are quite near. If you have never been to Bradgate Park you really must go there. It is a few miles NW of Leicester and is my favourite place ever ! A ruined house that Lady Jane grey lived in ( apparently) a rocky valley with a stream. A walk up to a volcanic plug with a folly on top ( Old John) and acres of bracken, herds of deer, and oak trees that are hundreds of years old. Sadly not been there for about 20 yrs!

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    3. Can I recommend Bradgate Park to visit. It is my favourite place ever! It is a huge area a few miles NW of Leicester. Bracken, herds of deer, very old oak trees, a stream in the valley and a walk up to " Old John", a folly on top of a volcanic plug. Fantastic views from there. Not been for about 20 yrs. Please go ...for me!

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    4. Bradgate Park sounds like a smashing place to visit and clearly holds special memories for you. I would definitely like to walk there but it is a fair distance from Tugby so I am not sure I will manage it this time round. I think I will make a special trip there on my own some time - it's not too far down the M1 from Sheffield.

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  3. Interesting reminiscences YP, and your excellent photos are a a delight.
    Each time you complain about global warming and loss of fossil fuels, do you ever give a thought to your own carbon footprint? How much fuel do you use each time you take a drive into the countryside?

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    1. You are right to ask these questions Carol and all that I can say in my defence is that my car (Clint) is fuel-efficient and there are many days when he does not leave his parking place. In relation to climate change, we are all liable to hypocrisy.

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  4. On top of the tower of Pisa! I am impressed. But no staged photo of your risen hand holding it up from outside. People didn't have imaginations back then.

    I've always been envious of British people who can so easily travel to Europe but also puzzled why they only want to visit the Costa del Sol. Clearly you didn't in 2007 and saw a lot.

    Perhaps they should douse the crowds at Lourdes by low pressure water cannons full of the healing waters. Ah, that would kill the thriving industry of hope.

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    1. Lourdes feels like an alien planet - all that religious belief out in the open. Some of my fellow countrymen's favoured holiday hotspots would be hell to me... Benidorm, Magaluf, Aya Napa, Torremolinos etc.. Some people are averse to both adventure and curiosity.

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    2. Andrew - in defence of my fellow country persons, some of them do venture further than the Costa del Sol, and the other hotspots YP mentions. In fact quite a few travel as far as the Antipodes, and even further!

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    3. It is rumoured that one Englishman even made it to Melbourne in Victoria. I guess he was lost.

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  5. From the bones of Saint James to Benazir Bhutto.
    Jings, ye must have been a well-kent sight at Robin Hood Airport, Yorky.

    If I am still here at Xmas, I'll take you and Shirley for pizza and Chianti in Glasgow's best Italian restaurant. As good as any pizza in Pisa. I'll ask Mario the proprietor to play Pavarotti and Antonio Benedetto (Tony Bennett to you).

    2007 was the year before the bankers and Wall Street financiers crashed the world economy.
    In 2008 the Chancellor Alistair Darling let the crooks get their *bonuses* in spite of the fact that we bailed out the banks and now owned them. The gits robbed us blind. And nobody went to jail.
    Haggerty

    P.S. Saint James was the brother of the Lord. Well, hauf brother.
    The Inquisition would have burnt ye at the stake for your cheek.
    *Would ye like your Yorkshireman rare, medium rare or well-done, Holy Father?*

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    1. "I'd like him tae stop mekkin me cry!" saith the Lord.

      You are so right about the crooks in suits getting away with their greedy self-interested behaviour and blinkered incompetence in 2008. They should have been hung, drawn and quartered like the common criminals they were.

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    2. Darling was thinking about his Blairite career in the City.

      Do you have good memories of green Galicia and gritty Gdansk?
      Gdansk makes me think of the Baltic, the Polish Corridor, Cold War.

      I like the old name, Danzig, legends of Lech Walesa, and Gunter Grass's *The Tin Drum* which reeks agreeably of fish, beer, strong coffee + tobacco.

      I was out for a walk in Montpellier, Cheltenham, and a charming German couple asked for directions. They told me Gunter had died. They loved his books.

      Google Grass and click on images; there is a photo of Grass in a cafe standing beside John Dos Passos, a favourite writer of my father.
      Grass is smoking a cigar. Dos looks a happy old fellow.
      German cafes are braw.
      Haggerty


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    3. Thanks John. Gdansk (Danzig) is a small city just a little way inland. When I was there the weather was balmy. I stayed in the old music school and visited the Solidarnosc Museum and the famous shipyard. It was a nice trip - just like the visit to Galicia. I have good memories of both locations.

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    4. I looked at that black and white photo of Grass the Younger again.
      It has the caption:
      *Gunter Grass Dies at 87; Writer Pried Open Germany's Past but Hid His Own - The New York Times.*

      Gunter has a cigarette in his mouth (in other photos he smokes cigars) and is about to light it.
      Dos Passos is drinking what looks like schnapps and is grinning.
      The other German Nobel laureate Heinrich Boll is also happily present.

      I don't think Grass hid his past.
      He was conscripted into Hitler Youth like every other boy.
      Once Upon A Bad Time in Danzig.
      Haggerty

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  6. All of these photos are fabulous, Neil. I envy you all the traveling you've done. Who knows how long it will be before it's safe to take trips again, if it ever will be. I'm beginning to have my doubts. :( But hey! You have wonderful memories to look back on and the pictures to go along with them!

    I think the one of the fishing boats is my favorite.

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    1. Essaouira is a special place in my memory. I took a lot of pictures of the blue fishing boats and we stayed in a lovely hotel where Orson Welles and Winston Churchill had both stayed years before. Thanks for calling by Jennifer and I hope that you are continuing to cope with the frontline pressures in your school.

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  7. Well, just think of all the money we've all saved, staying home and only going out to the stores once a week.
    There is that. Right?
    I know. Not really much of a comfort.

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    1. Yes there is that. Here in Britain owners of holiday rental properties have been greedily pushing their prices up - thereby profiting from the pandemic.

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  8. Going to Italy to spend some time is on my short list when my wife retires. But I never knew one could climb to the top of the Tower of Pisa. I always assumed it was unopened to visitors due to it's leaning state.

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    1. If you do go up the leaning tower remember to lower your head when you get to the top or you will suffer a nasty bump as I did!

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  9. Your walks are much more than some less creative people have. We have to adapt during the pandemic to keep on with life. There's lots to do if we think about it.

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    1. I know I could get on a plane right now but I just do not feel like doing that.

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  10. Gosh what a lot of travelling you did that year. As you say, a stark contrast to the last 18 months. I've referred to you in my last post.... holidays should come with a health warning!

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    1. Thanks for the heads up ADDY - I will be over to your blog in a jiffy!

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  11. What marvelous travels! I would love to go to those places. (especially Morocco)The less mobility I have, the more I long to visit exotic destinations. Instead, I'll head down to the coffee shop for an outdoor date with a friend. 2015 and 2019 were my heavy travel years. In 2015 I visited daughters in Korea, Thailand and Senegal. It was exhausting.

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    1. That's a lot of flying Margaret and you picked such different places to visit. At least you have travelled for as you know there are millions of Americans who have never left the USA.

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    2. I've traveled a lot, mainly due to my daughters' adventurousness. In 2019 I went to New York, Texas, Iowa for their State Fair and Scotland. It was a lot of flying but not as distant nor as many time changes. Being retired instead of working also helped with my recovery!

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    3. As I often say, work is an overrated activity.

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  12. You visited some exotic places YP. I think I will wait a while before fly again.

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    1. I have also been to Wigan.

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    2. Wow YP! Did you take any photos of the pier!

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    3. There is a pier in Wigan Carol! A short stubby one where coal barges were loaded.

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  13. That's a lot of travel for a single year! Good for you. I recognize that style of blue fishing boats from my time in Morocco. Essaouira is my favorite city there, as I'm sure I've told you. Have fun in Leicestershire.

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    1. There'll be no blue fishing boats in Leicestershire and no seagulls either.

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  14. A very good friend of mine has a home just outside Essaouira. He paid about £20,000 for it as a ruin, has no papers to say he owns it, and has since employed its 'previous' owner to do all the restoration work. If he was to die today, the house would still belong to the 'previous' owner, and he would have been handsomely paid for restoring his own property to a very high standard. My friend sees no problem!!!

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    1. He should avoid taking tea or anything edible from the previous owner.

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  15. 2007 does not sound all that long ago, and yet it is 14 years! I have a few personal highlights for 2007 in my memory, too, but nowhere near as interesting and involving travelling as yours.
    If I could get on a plane to England right now, would I do it? No. Would I do it if I felt I had to, for instance if my mother-in-law (she is in her late 80s) died and I were to attend her funeral? Not sure. I use trains all the time, but the hassle of all the procedures at airports and the limited space on a plane are putting me off.

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    1. I have the same feelings about air travel right now.

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