I need to fill my world with beauty and music this Easter Sunday. And Easter eggs, of course! No, I know these aren’t square, so perhaps I should say eggs squared. Not scrambled or fried, but possibly boiled. Or painted, like these lovely traditional Polish eggs I’ve owned since my very first visit to Poland. Thinking of my Polish family, my English family, my blogging friends, who might as well be family, and all of those I can’t be with today. God bless, and keep you!
Layers of deliciousness! Which to choose?
Maybe a little of each? Amy invited us to explore Layers in this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I certainly did my best during my daughter’s visit. This photo is an October Square, so I think I can count a line or two for Becky, and Debbie is always generous with her Six Words. It just remains to wish you all a happy weekend. See you on Monday!
It was a strange Christmas for me. How about you? I flew into Stansted, in spite of being destined for Leeds Bradford airport. Nine hours later than planned, a neighbour’s very kind son deposited me at my hotel, tired and somewhat bemused at the chain of events. It could only get better, and mostly it did. Christmas Day should be spent with people you love, and it was. Blue skies in Leeds in late December, however briefly, a bonus. Put your gloves on and join me in a sparkly, frosty walk. You know you need the exercise!
We’re starting out around Granary Wharf, near to the railway station. Underneath the arches, a neglected image of times gone by. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is sandwiched between remnants of the industrial past and modern apartment blocks, and on a bright day the towpath makes for a pleasant walk. Don’t forget to check out the view behind you, and keep an eye out for those demon cyclists!
A colossal undertaking, primarily to transport coal for industry in the 18th century, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs for 204km in total, with 91 locks. We’re only covering a tiny section today, right in the centre of Leeds. It was Christmas Eve and I was avoiding the bustle of the city streets, whilst still hoping to meet our son for coffee. In places the canal runs parallel with the River Aire, offering an alternate route. Ugliness is a close neighbour with beauty here. One moment I’m admiring lily pads and reflections, the next confronted with urban scrawl and litter.
All is redeemed when I round a bend and find a pair of swans communing with a family of ducks. The natural world is at peace.
I’ve always been fascinated by locks, and find them a welcome distraction from gloomy tunnels and ever-present graffiti. The combination of old mills and rippling reflections works like a charm, soothing with their beauty.
Remnants of once meaningful murals cling to tired brick walls. The water races headlong, a solitary swan seeming not to notice his drab surrounds.
Where the sun’s soft caress has yet to reach, a hard frost remains. I look back along the canal and know that I must retrace some of my steps. A coffee laced with Bailey’s awaits, but more importantly, my son.
The path continues on for many miles and I hope some day to complete the section from here to lovely Kirkstall Abbey, a short distance away. And just in case you thought I wasn’t keeping my eye on the time while I was in Leeds….
Time’s up, it seems! Thanks, Becky. Wishing you and yours lots of good times in 2019!
This visit was all about family, and we managed to unite son and daughter, and their partners, in Nottingham, after a tortuous journey by road. Worth it, of course! Now I’m back in the Algarve with my memories. And some more walks to share.
After a flying visit to England, I’ve embraced cold. Debbie too! She’s sharing Icelandic beauty :
Give yourself an after Christmas treat! Go walking the streets of Prague with Nicole :
Margaret knows the way to a woman’s heart! Walking in one of my favourite places :
Jackie has fun wherever she goes. And the lady eats well! Drinks well, too 🙂
I love poinsettias! They spell Christmas to me, and to Alice too :
Lady Lee shares a wonderful Christmas tree and a post-birthday celebration :
Fancy a swift walk with my mate Andrew?
Or something more contemporary with Tobias :
Cathy gives us sweeping plains, petroglyphs and a great house, Chaco style!
We’ve reached the last day of the year. Goodness knows how! It only remains to wish you all the healthiest of years ahead. Mine will start with a bang, beside the bridge at Tavira. A first for me, but not the last, I hope. Happy New Year!
Tempting though it is to share relaxing, riverside images of Tavira, I thought I’d indulge in a little tram spotting in Nottingham instead. Now, I know tram spotting isn’t everybody’s idea of relaxation, but I’m reluctant to let go of time spent with my daughter. And the wine bar that was our first port of call (That gives a terrible impression, doesn’t it? But probably the correct one 🙂 ) was conveniently located, right beside the tramlines.
We had already debated the ‘Pitcher and Piano’, a favourite venue, inside that church that you’re looking at, but opted instead for a sunny corner to catch up on life. I’ve always loved trams and Lisa humoured me, as I bobbed up and down to read the names. The trams are named after local heroes of past or present. Robin Hood, of course. Brian Clough and Rebecca Adlington from the sports world. Lord Byron and his daughter Ada Lovelace. D.H. Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe. All spotted, and more besides. My one regret, I didn’t see Torvill and Dean!
Nottingham is never short of quirky in any respect, and as we ambled the streets towards home I recorded a few random impressions. Mosaic seemed to be big news in Sherwood, a very crafty area.
And just for those people who think I exist on cake, we did manage some nourishment, along with the wine.
I had a lovely, relaxing time in Nottingham. No cooking, no cleaning, wonderful company! The Sunday morning of my return home, I suggested brunch as a treat on the way into town. The food was great, but we did wonder why the place was so busy.
It’s Amy’s turn to host the Lens Artists Photo Challenge this week. I hope she won’t mind my rather frivolous version of Time to Relax.
In between visiting Poland and the Algarve, I managed to slip in 4 days with my daughter, in Nottingham. Knowing that I like to get out and about, one day she suggested a visit to Elvaston Castle Country Park. We had no real idea what to expect, but the Gothic revival masterpiece, staring at us across a mound of topiary, was a promising start. Part of a 321 acre estate, Elvaston Castle was designed by James Wyatt in the early 1800s, around a house dating from 1633. For 400 years it was home to the Stanhope family, later to become the Earls of Harrington.
Today’s walk is extremely green. I know that many of you have singed, brown grass right now, and might regard this as a refreshing change. The country park had a slightly neglected air, but many families were happily picnicking in the grounds, and I was glad to read that a renovation plan is underway. In 1970, when the estate was opened, it was one of the first country parks in England. Both buildings and gardens are Grade 2 listed. Behind the house are a church and graveyard.
Circling the house, we noted tea rooms, and eyes lit up at the prospect of cake. Looking in the windows, Lisa remembered that she’d been here once, long ago, for a wedding. I don’t know if it was the topiary, but there was a distinctly Alice in Wonderland feel to the gardens.
On to the lakeside, where the rockwork captured our imagination. Tufa, gritstone and gypsum were used to create arches and grottoes, framing a view and lending an air of enchantment. My very own woodland elf was right at home….
Paths meander all around the lake, and beneath the trees. My squirrel friend scampered away up a tree, but then thought better of it and returned to finish his lunch, defiantly keeping an eye on me.
Set deep within the woods, a Moorish Temple stands tall and hauntingly silent. Built as a summer house around 1846, it has fallen into disrepair. Apparently it featured in Ken Russell’s 1969 film, ‘Women in Love’, with Glenda Jackson in a balcony scene.
Time to inspect the tearooms, and step back in time. The age of the building was apparent but sympathetic restoration could easily bring it to life.
If you’re interested in garden history I found a fascinating document within the Derbyshire council website. If not, simply sit back and enjoy the faded grandeur of the Old English walled garden. Once it provided fruit and vegetables for the family, many of them grown within glasshouses. William Barron, Head Gardener in 1830, transformed the original walled garden with innovative drainage and heating systems, allowing six varieties of grape to flourish. Traces of it linger still.
I hope you enjoyed ambling with me. Many more details, including directions, are to be found on the Derbyshire website.
More wonderful walks to share this week. Pop that kettle on and settle in for a read. The world will wait! Many thanks to all of you.
I always like to start off with a beauty, and Debbie never disappoints :
Did you meet Mel last week? Let her take you shopping in style. I do like an arcade!
I’m not much of a shopper, nor much of a cook, but Jackie is well capable in both departments :
Lady Lee cooks too, and is content and happy with her bounty :
Home sweet home with Drake, in Denmark :
Rupali works just down the road from some glorious scenery!
Pure contentment in South Carolina, with Alice and family :
Or a double explosion of fun and colour with Pauline and Jack, Down Under :
Cathy’s in training for the Camino in September. This one doesn’t look an easy hike, but much shorter!
Much closer to home, Eunice rounds us off this week :
That’s it for another week. Sounds like it’s going to be a hot one, so take care! Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk.
If you read Reminiscenses from Poland, you know that I reached Bełchatów, almost without mishap. Immediately I was enveloped in a warm Zawady welcome, in the place that Dad once called home. His only remaining sister, Aunt Lusia, lives there still, daughters and grandchildren close at hand. A long summer evening was spent in her garden, rabbits proliferating, and a cardboard box sheltering the tiniest kittens you ever saw. I could feel my ankles being bitten, the pond and the sultry air an open invitation. All in a good cause. Her arm tucked through mine, we took a gentle turn beneath the apple trees. Not long since she was in hospital, with family fearful that she would not recover.
As darkness fell and eyes began to droop, I was returned to cousin Jadzia’s house. Halfway through my Polish adventure. I had scoured timetables, and lost sleep over how I would get from Bełchatów to Kraków. In the event, the problem was solved for me. Jadzia’s daughter Ania and family were driving to the Tatry Mountains, south of Kraków, for a few days holiday. If I didn’t mind being a bit squashed, they would take me with them and break the journey at Adam’s house. I’ve never been one to mind a squeeze. And so it was that me and 2 little girls, with 2 sunhats and a furry green frog, shared the back seat on a 4 hour journey.
We took the scenic route to avoid roadworks, but it was market day in Radomsko, and the car crawled beside the brimming stalls. Once out in gently rolling countryside, Hubert slipped a CD in and we sang along to Polish nursery rhymes. Two year old Nadia’s eyes sparkled as she sang, but all of a sudden they were filled with distress and she was being sick. Swerving off the road into a field, operation clean up began. “She’s never done that before” Hubert ruefully observed. “She’s normally a good traveler”. Five minutes later, in fresh clothes, she was beaming again, and munching a bag of crisps.
At Adam’s house all was suspiciously quiet. No sign of the two little boys who lived there, but the playroom overflowed with toys. A lovely respite for two little girls, who didn’t stop till every shelf and cupboard was empty and there was no space to play. Out into the garden for a quick burn off energy then, fuelled with coffee and cake, Mum and Dad round them up. Time to say goodbye….
I had a luxurious hour to myself before the onslaught. Toys swiftly back on shelves, a peep at TV (Rafa was playing in the French Open) and I was sitting on the balcony, waiting. Hot and mildly harrassed, Weronika and Marta shepherded two small boys through the gate. Bedlam! But in such a good way. My turn to play with Marti, 18 months old and a happy soul, and his rather more cautious brother, Bartek, aged three. Gradually the household filled as first Adam returned from work, then Wojtek, Weronika’s husband, and finally my lovely neice, Ula. One member was missing. Łukasz now lives with his girlfriend and I was promoted to his bedroom. The buzz of chatter, and patter of slippered feet on the tiled floors, filled the evening as we ate and drank. And finally, collapsed gratefully into bed.
Fluffy clouds greeted me through the skylight next morning. Sniadanie (breakfast), and an outing to the park, followed by wolny czas (free time). When I returned from the city, preparations were in full swing, the house full of bustle. Adam’s pride and joy is his barbecue room, a design wonder of wood and folding glass panels. The end wall is solid brick to enclose the grill and a smoker. Marta’s pride and joy is her garden and the delicious meals she provides for her family. Between them they conjure up many a feast.
That evening there was a guest of honour. A gentleman to whom I will always be in debt. Tomasz, Adam’s business partner, a warm and generous man and an impeccable English speaker, made the phone call to Dad that reunited him with his Polish family. (A night I will never forget, my tearful Dad hardly daring to believe his luck). Taste is of supreme importance to Tomasz, and is one of the foundations of the bakery business. Fond of wine and good company, with many tales to tell, you can imagine how our evening progressed. Adam provided salmon and garlic bread from the barbecue and smoked sea bass to compliment Marta’s salads. Wine flowed, and then Łukasz arrived, affectionate as ever. He had spent the afternoon sleeping after an early shift. The children played. Sandpit, bubbles and swing, until it was time to haul them off to bed….
Last day…ostatni dzien… and one last trip into the city. A tram ride home, stopping to collect a deep red rose bush for Marta, and a bag of cherries. A whirl of emotions. Adam, watering the garden after another hot one. Marta, pottering beside him, relaxed after feeding everybody again. The children at a birthday party in the neighbours’ garden next door, laughter and occasional tears drifting our way. The evening settling around us. Time for more goodbyes… we don’t know till when. In halting Polish on the way to the airport, I try to tell Adam how very grateful I am. His eyes twinkle as hugs me….
Last week I guess I cheated a little on my walk in Kraków. There was a bit too much sitting about at the riverside, but it was a very warm day so I make no apologies. I knew I’d be making up for it. ‘Obiad’ was rather special, with a big family gathering for my last night, and all was peaceful in the house next morning. Time to slip away, and savour my last few hours in the city.
I was warned that ‘Saturday service’ on transport would be different, but I was lucky and bus 178 sped me into town. Rattling over Most Jozefa Pilsudskiego, I spotted my bridge with the intriguing sculptures in the distance and hopped off. Walking back on ul. Krakowska, I noticed a plaque commemorating Jan Pawel Drugie, Pope John Paul II. I hesitated there on the pavement, thoughts of Dad suddenly filling my head. Pushing open the heavy wooden door, I slipped inside the church to light a candle. Without him, I never would have been here in Kraków.
Out again, into warm and hazy sunshine, it was on with my quest. Pausing to look at the map on the bridge Jozefa Pilsudskiego, I was more taken with details of how the city once looked than in absorbing my whereabouts. A common fault of mine. I have a hopeless track record on following maps. Fortunately I’m much better at finding beautiful bridges.
This one, ‘Between the water and the sky’, had called to me since first I saw it. I was mesmerised. You do, however, have to beware of cyclists.
I got ‘honked’ at as I daydreamed beneath the sculptures. Apparently it’s supposed to have a ‘cyclists only’ path. I’m not the only one to have been captivated. The ubiquitous love locks have made an assault on the bridge, but nothing can detract from it. Kładka Ojca Bernatka, or the Father Bernatek Footbridge, was opened in September, 2010, on the site of a former road bridge dismantled in 1925. The 130 metre structure, designed by Andrzej Getter, has no supports and is suspended upon an arch. The wonderful acrobatic sculptures are the work of Jerzy Kędziora. The districts of Kazimierz and Podgórze are linked once more, which will benefit the latter.
Tearing my attention from the bridge, it was time to investigate the corten steel clad building, which turned out to be the former power station in Podgórze. Now an exhibition space and cafe, as it was 10.45am and opening time not till 11.00, I decided to push on and explore the area.
It’s a bit ramshackle in places, but turning onto Rynek Podgórskie I looked across a huge space at a striking church. Sw. Jozefa w Krakowie Podgórzu had a delightful surprise awaiting me. But first, a peep inside. Dressed all in finery, as befits a wedding. I dared not linger.
But outside, behind the church, an invitation to a wonderful garden. Mounting the steps I looked down upon a grotto and out across the rooftops. A young couple, similarly entranced, were taking detailed photos, so I bided my time. As I descended a sprinkler played across the flowerbeds, a mist of water catching me out. You can see the droplets, if you look closely.
A smile still on my face, it was time to retrace my steps across the bridge. Naturally I couldn’t resist a few more shots. I needed a coffee, but the big old wooden barge ‘Barka’ was closed, and smart ‘Augusta’ was busy with a conference. That left me one other option. A smaller boat with a comfy seat on deck, and a view. Two guys in a blow-up dinghy drifted by and waved. I smiled and waved back.
Wondering about cake? I was good on this occasion, but with a venue for later in mind. First I had a walk along the riverbank. Music was drifting across the river from the big stage at Termy Krakowskie, a nicely relaxed vibe, as my son would say. He’d love it.
Boat hire was quiet, but Wawel Castle looked Saturday busy. Any ideas where I’m heading? Hotel Pod Wawelem has a roof top restaurant, as the name indicates, directly below the castle. No doubt about it- cake with a view!
Fully satisfied, the trip wouldn’t be complete without paying my respects to Wawel. Even on a busy Saturday, the place is sublime.
‘Home’ one last time. Just one more Reminiscences from Poland to come and that will be my trip complete. Already it feels distant.
I hope you enjoyed sharing Kraków with me. Time to put that kettle on for this week’s walks. Many thanks, everyone! Join me here at any time on Jo’s Monday walk. You’ll always be welcome.
One of Debbie’s loves is street art. She was richly rewarded in Madrid :
Drake has been captivating me with a series of photos of the island of Gozo :
An enigmatic title from Jackie this week :
Lady Lee sets the world on fire, but don’t worry- it’s quite safe!
Gunta shares more of the beautiful, natural world on her doorstep :
Share some ‘lolling kangaroos’ with Pauline. She’ll be delighted if you do :
Or hoof it from snow to ‘shy rays of brightness’ with Susan :
A heart stopping moment, just looking at one of Cathy’s photos. Don’t miss it!
And if you have time to spare you could join Indra on Prince Edward Island :
That’s it for another week. Can you believe, we have a drop of rain here in the north east? I’d forgotten what it’s like. Have a good one!