clockwork orange

Glasgow_IMG_1703There’s a lot to be said for Glasgow
We enjoyed the Lighthouse, the Cathedral and Necropolis, the Burrell Collection, Pollock House and Park, the hippy cows. Kibble Palace was magical from the inside with the soft mildewy light. We overdosed on Mackintosh and the Glasgow School of Art library lived up to its reputation as one of the 5 must-see architectural sites in the world. An Leabhar Mor or The Great Book of Gaelic at the Museum of Modern Art was an amazing anthology of poets, artists and calligraphers.

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The cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants were brilliant. The Ballet Boyz at the Theatre Royal put on a great show. The fireworks and Christmas lights in George Square provided a fun ending to a perfect weekend away. And yes it was cold but most of the time the sun shone brilliantly.

We did our best with the local beer, Tennent. The fact that we found it undrinkable is no slur on Glasgow, its a “british beers thing” in general. Aside from a few select ales our puny Australian/Dutch beer-genes can’t drink this alcoholless-tasteless-swampy-stuff.


But the best thing of all was the underground. If Jules Verne had designed a machine in which to make the journey to the center of the earth then it would have borne some resemblance to this. Otherwise it could just as well have been the train Snow-white’s dwarves used to get down to the mines each day.


A renoavtion at the end of the 1970’s earned it the nickname “Clockwork Orange” but has not done much to hide its Victorian roots. A combination of a victorian imagination and a fairy-tale railway built for the little people, the underground manages to cleverly disguise itself as a bona-fide public transport system. With wee little carriages, wee little tunnels and wee little seats.


Which brings me to another really good thing about Glasgow. At least 50% of the poulation are shorter than me! (After living in the Netherlands two years this means a lot!)

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very nice

hotelA couple of weeks before Christmas we went down to Nice for the weekend.

We saw a very expressive exhibition of sculptures and design by Barry Flannagan at the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain . The Musée also had an interesting Yves Klein collection.

the_thinker3We discoverd Socca, the local thing-to-do with chick-peas, and washed it down with the local table wines.

sunSpent hours wandering around the old town and basically not doing much at all, which was what it was meant to be about after all.

strandIt may seem strange for a French city to make you home-sick for Australia but the Promenade des Anglais reminded us of nothing more than the Esplanade and Beaconsfield parade between St Kilda and Port Melbourne and we spent a lot of the weekend humming Paul Kelly’s “From St Kilda to Kings Cross”.



Ron and I went down to Valkenberg for the weekend where his parents are taking their zommer vakantie. Valkenberg is unusually pretty for a dutch town, it has the benefit of hills and trees and hence is also very popular. It is the perfect place from which to go on walks or bike rides through the countryside.

Coincidentally it was also the first weekend of summer weather (25 -20 celcius)that we’ve had this year so it was very pleasant to be able to be outside again, warm, sunny, blue skies, heaven!