Where to begin? Where to begin? I arrived home on Wednesday after my wonderful visit to Germany and Scandinavia and now comes the hardest part – sifting through photographs and deciding which to include and which to discard.
Here is just a taster selection and I hope to expand on some of the visits and walks during the next couple of weeks.
On Wednesday I start this summer’s “Big Adventure”. In 2013 I spent a month working at a B&B in Switzerland and last year and the year before I took myself off to Ireland for 4 weeks and 3 weeks successively. This year I’ll be travelling in Germany, Denmark and Sweden visiting Lübeck, the Baltic islands of Rügen and Bornholm, walking the Osterlen Way before finally spending two nights in the Swedish university city of Lund. Originally I had hoped to travel quite independently by ferry and car but there are no longer passenger car ferry services between the north of England and northern Germany or Scandinavia. I think there is still a service to Amsterdam but that is as far north in Europe as you can get these days. So, to save precious time, I’m flying to Hamburg and back from Copenhagen.
On Wednesday we were back on the hills again – and several of them. It was a tough climb out of Palm Mar and a very rough path over the cliffs of Mount Guaza to Los Cristianos. Los Cristianos is a huge resort and ferry terminal for sailing to the Canary Island of La Gomera. It seemed strange to be walking along part of the 10km promenade in our hiking gear. The promenade is lined with bars and fast food eateries but there amongst them is the office for booking Whale Watching Boat Trips. I’m not at all a sailor so I opted to take a taxi back to the house at Palm Mar. The others enjoyed seeing whales and dolphins but I preferred a lazy afternoon with my book.
Last week by invitation of my friend Barbara from Bern I visited Tenerife. This was the first time I’d travelled so far south – to the largest of the Canary Islands 62 miles west of Morocco. Barbara and her husband, Paul, own a beautiful house there on the edge of the small resort of Palm Mar in the very south of the island. This year Barbara and I met with our two other friends from the Cambridge days to celebrate 40 years of friendship.
Tuesday was the only day we left the immediate surroundings of Ramsgate and we drove just five miles away to Margate to the recently opened and much acclaimed Turner Contemporary. We parked nearby and paid for three hours in the car park thinking that would be quite long enough to see the Gallery (as we are not into modern art), walk along the front and the Harbour Arm (jetty) and investigate the town centre. In the end we spent over two hours in the Turner, including a quick bite to eat in the airy cafe, and had quick walk to the end of the Harbour Arm for a view of the gallery and a breath of fresh air. It was a 10 minute walk back to the car park and we realised that we had Landmark Withdrawal Symptoms and drove straight back to the Presbytery to build up the fire for the evening.
On the first Friday of February after leaving St Edward’s Presbytery and dropping my sister off at Ramsgate Station I headed to the little seaside resort of Broadstairs. It’s practically part of Ramsgate but definitely a separate place. I liked very much what I saw. I’d always been intrigued by views of the town which show Charles Dickens’s Bleak House on a cliff looking out to sea. You can see it in the middle of the picture below. There are several Dickens connections in Broadstairs and I probably didn’t see all of them. At that early hour in the morning I was able to park easily near the sea front. As near as you can get by car, anyway. There are pleasant gardens and paths separating the beach from the road and the main streets and narrow lanes behind.