Saturday, 22 April 2017

Rome

About time...the olds have finally got it together to take me on a trip to Rome....they said it was actually for junior to assist his education...but everyone know who comes first round here...

April 2017.....Rome....

Its all about product placement...here I am on the way from Gatwick, grey and overcast....

I hope EasyJet have got the idea they owe me big time...!

Ready to get on the Leonardo Express...but they made me get
on the grot train and mingle with the locals....actually...it was great...!

...to sunny Rome....

First...the Colosseum or by its proper name....the Flavian Amphitheatre...they started building in AD72 commissioned by Emperor Vespasian and it was finished by his son Titus in AD80...I bet this didn't run over time and budget like the local road improvements on the A21...


It was here that slaves of all sorts were made in to Gladiators....sometimes even if you didn't want to be.  If you were troublesome they made you a Gladiator....if you were tough, the same....if you were a right dunce...the same.  Gladiators lived a short life, even the successful ones.  But if you were successful you were given all the trappings that went with success...though you had to make the most of it....


Here we have a fine picture of the vomitorium which actually refers to  all the entrance and exit passages in and out of a place and behind the stage...or under the stage in this case...


Popular belief has a vomitorium as a place to go and be sick once you are stuffed with food, but this s wrong....

Next....and indeed next door to the Flavian Amphitheatre....the Roman Forum via the Palatine Hill...

The Roman Forum was the centre of Rome, full of important government buildings...the Palatine Hill...right next to it, was where all the important and rich people lived overlooking the poorer...


...its an impressive site.....

This doesn't look much now...but if you could transport yourself back 2000 years you would find yourself watching a chariot race....this is the Circus Maximus....

...at the Circus Maximus....

The chariots must have been an impressive site along the long straights...but those tight corners were deadly and would eventually leave an impressive dent in your bonce....chariot racers didn't last too long...

A tour of the city round the 'other' famous bits....well...some of them....theres so much to see...

Spanish Steps were built in the 1720's

You want bling...heres bling...in the Trevi area of the city....

Trevi Fountain

Built in the Baroque mid to late 1700's and completed well after the architect Nicola Salvi had died.  He didn't win a competition for the design....a chap called Alessandro Galelei won but as h was a Florentine chap they decided that second place was the better option...its not the taking part that counts...just coming second...! 

Coins thrown in to the fountain...around 3000 euros a day...!...are used to subsidise a supermarket for poor people...

Off to the Pantheon...

At the Pantheon...but its not all it seems....

Marcus Agrippa it says over the top...but....the building that he had built here is not what we see today.  Hadrian had this building erected around 126AD on the site of the temple Agrippa had built sometime between 27BC to 14AD.  The inscription just confuses the issue.  It has the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world....and its pretty old too...take not modern architects...

The oculus

This hole in the roof originally provided the only light in to the building....there are drains on the floor just in case the rain falls through it and lands on the floor (which is sloped)....however....rain doesn't often fall through the hole...strange...

The elephant and obelisk statue...


Finished in 1667 it was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini....

Loitering Romans....

...found this guy propping up a doorway....he didn't
have much to say for himself....

'I found Rome a city of bricks....

Augustus

                                                                                            .....and left it a city of marble'
                                                                                                         Augustus

Last day...and off to Ostia Antica...the famous port of Rome located west of the city...actually, not many really know about this place so don't visit, meaning its fairly visitor free compared to the main sites in the city...but its an amazing experience...

The port was by the river Tiber and was important for importing all sorts of goods, especially grain which was generally distributed for free....the population of the port was around 50,000 people.

...here I am in the 'graveyard' in one of the ports for an ern...


The mosaics date back to around the second century AD....and many are still in tip top condition....


As per usual with many of these places the tide went out...well...actually the Tiber changed course....the port was used less...people meandered off....eventually with the damp marshes that became more prevalent malaria moved in and that, as they say, was that.  But the gradual decline of the town is why its still in such good condition rather than one abandonment at one time.

A mask by the theatre...

As a small I have to suffer the olds thinking they are being humour itself by placing me on these statues....ha ha....I laughed so much...


...bit x-rated isn't it...?

3 legged horse....that's hunger for you...

Life in Roman times wouldn't be complete without a communal toilet....

.......!.....

Would you really have wanted to meet your neighbour here for a chin..though I suppose the modern equivalent is leaning on the fence....

....and so ends the trip....a few days of sunshine....and very nice it was too....but theres nothing like being homeward bound...and we even sat in a railway station....

Muse-um

Another bit of culture....this time....the Natural History Museum in London....here I am in some amusing poses that keep the olds happy...

I was asked to do Jurassic Park...but if this is the best they can do...

White dinosaurs didn't last long....


Blue Whale....big....but not as brainy as me...

Talking of brains...

...just remember who the brainy one is Mr D....!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The Stones Return

No, not those old gits Mick and Keith...but the real Stones.....


....Stonehenge.....

Its been nearly ten years since I visited....they are till there and slightly more worn than then....and you still cant go and touch them...bah!

They have a super new visitor centre....

....I didn't like to show everyone up by pulling this light stone.....

....and they have reproduced what a village nearby would have looked like....

...thatch.....
More Henge....which of course means ditch....not stones....so stones by the ditch....Stonehenge...



We moved on to Avebury where of course they ask you to keep off the ancient monument...but then allow you to go and touch them anyway....





Saturday, 10 September 2016

Winston

So off we go for a cultural visit to the home of a bloke that saved the sane world....and here I am with him....

Me and Winston....

That's right, Winston Churchill....here I am lounging on the lawn outside the house....


....and in the gardens is one of these big leaved plants, all hairy and trying to be giant rhubard...



Saturday, 27 August 2016

Holidays

Well...I wasn't the forgotten Monkey this time....having been left in the car in the car park at Gatwick last time...so the olds had to make up a lot of lost ground!....so....where did I go....?

The land of el toro.....the bull.....

Yes....Spain.....this picture was taken outside the bullring in Ronda....they still fight the bulls...one of the most dishonourable one sided fights you are likely to see once you leave the Grouse shoot here in the UK....

We flew in to Malaga.....luckily we had a hire car and headed to the luxury villa at Almogia about 15 miles inland...


....I relaxed for a while, allowing them to unpack....

We soon headed out to the famous cliff face walk...the Caminito del Rey....

I'm safely on the updated new walk...

...but over my right shoulder is the old walk that people used to fall off!..
over my left shoulder is the train track that goes through the mountin....

Image result for el chorro
...and heres a piture of some looneys walking the old path...!



...from the sublime....to....

....enough said.....mind you...in times of need....!

So we visited Malaga for a bit of culture...yes....its not just sand and...er....sand...we visited the fabulous Alcazaba....a Moorish castle basically...the enemy would have been slaughtered endlessly trying to attack it....and for many years they were....


...its like a small version of the Alhambra in Granada...



Awayday to the cosmopolitan town of Antequera...very nice...and a splendid Spanish meal in the small square was enjoyed.....


El Torcal, a small nature reserve....or natural park....one of the most impressive 'karst' formations in Europe....



...and because its in the Sierra del Torcal range....a rather impressive...

....view.....

....and back to Ronda....and the thing that all the tourists go for....the bridge.....

Hemmingway....spent a lot of time here in Ronda...a few of his books include references to both the town and bullfighting, which he loved....so he and I might be in the same league, but I am above him...heh heh...

....and a visit to....

....and a bit of Monkey ice cream too....



....and here I am not making an ass of myself on a donkey....