It probably seems as if I've been zigzagging around like a lost bumblebee, with posts on Germany, Egypt, Suffolk and (soon) Spain all in a couple of months. Of course the purpose of these is to write articles, and there hasn't actually been much time to spare for that little task. But I have FINALLY sent in my story about Germany, so I'm tidying my German pictures away for now and preparing to write about Egypt.
Before I do, I thought I'd share a few random images from the last German trip. First, on the flight into Munich, I saw a weather front moving across the land. Clear skies, bright sunshine, but the horizon shrouded in heavy rain creeping forward - you can probably see the shadows in the clouds where it is falling. The sun was setting and it looked dramatic, and reminded me of a JMW Turner painting.
Next, some suitcases on the train between Munich and Coburg. Not very exciting, you'll agree, but I was interested that you could lock your bags to the racks with that coin-operated locking system - something I always wish I could do on English trains.
But there is a little story attached to this photo. Some little tip-up seats are attached to the wall opposite the luggage racks and the toilet, and since the train was crowded we decided to stay on the tip up seats rather than struggle to find a seat in a compartment.
The ticket inspector marched past, took our tickets, looked a little strangely at us, (I thought), and said, "Don't you want to sit in the compartment?"
"Oh, no, no, we are very happy here," we replied.
He then gave us a VERY funny look indeed, but said nothing, handed back the tickets, tossed his head and continued on his way. His manner seemed so strange that I took another look at the tickets. Only then did I see that the good folk at Rail Europe (who had comped the tickets) had provided me with first class tickets and seat reservations.
We hastily transferred to First Class, but the ticket inspector no doubt told his family that evening of the mad English people who had first class tickets but preferred to crouch on tip-up seats by the toilets!
The third and fourth pictures shows Prinz Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He lives in an amazing striped dining room in the hilltop fortress at Coburg. This was about the most eerily lifelike wax bust I have ever seen.
I've got very close to his face in this picture which makes him look rather bug eyed, so here is a side view
He lived from 1737 to 1815 and was a famous army commander. Apparently a good bloke, effective and popular, but really this gave me the creeps because he was so real looking. To me, he looks dutiful, conscientious, represssed, and well meaning, but not the sort of person I can imagine sitting down for a cosy chat with, even if my German was perfect enough to do so.
So that's my German trip finally out of the way, and I am continuing with the Egypt piece for the paper. The present demonstrations are part of the ongoing Egyptian revolution, and I doubt that they affect most of Cairo and I hope they won't escalate - but the Egyptian Museum is almost on Tahrir Square and if I were in Egypt now, I'd be waiting to see what happens next before visiting it. So I suppose I will write my piece mainly about Giza and Thebes, which are well out of the mainstream.
We've been invited to stay in the future in Cairo by some American friends who are currently building a house near Heliopolis. I'd like to stay with them and also visit Heliopolis (City of the Sun) since it is one of the places where my ancestors lived, way back in the Agatha Christie days.
Inspired by my trip, I've dug out some old photos of them all and they include one entitled "Down the Nile from Cairo! 1922".
Hardly the Nile, shurely - it looks like a sort of railway to me. What on earth can they be doing? I wish they were still here to ask. It would be so interesting to talk to them.