Friday 27 July 2018

Lazy summer days

After sketching almost every day in June, this month has been very poor artwise so far. For the first two weeks, I was on holiday, and then, back to work last week, I was beginning to feel a bit under the weather. Which turned out to be bronchitis, so I'm at home this week, resting and snoozing. I was hoping that by now, I'd feel noticably better, and might even be able to do some drawing or sketching, but it just doesn't seem to clear up. Which is a bit frustrating. At least I'm catching up with all the episodes of The Handmaid's Tale and Maigret that I've recorded. And yesterday, I managed at least one little sketch. I've been wanting to make these kiwi and banana ice lollies for ages, and they're sooo delicious! I'll definitely be making more of these!

N came here for our summer holiday, and I didn't pick up a pencil or brush for the entire time. We were out pretty much every day, on little day trips, and I took lots of photos. So this post is rather photo heavy...
We even went on a long weekend away to the southwest of Germany, in the Palatinate, to visit family. It was great to get away for a few days, and see something different. And I am glad we're not there now - the Palatinate is famous for its wine, the area is covered in vineyards, which means that the climate is mild, and it can get pretty hot in the summer. It was hot enough when we were there two weeks ago, up to 30 degrees Celsius, but this week, the thermometer is climbing up to 37 degrees.

On our first day there, Friday, we visited the beautiful city of Speyer, with it's famous cathedral. We even climbed up the 300 steps to the tower, which gave breathtaking views of the city and beyond. It really is a beautiful and picturesque town, and in the pedestrian city centre, there's one cafe after the other, selling the most delicious Italian ice cream. Heaven.

On Saturday, after a long breakfast in the garden with my relatives, and not really knowing what to do and where to go for the rest of the day, we somehow ended up in the city of Worms. Steeped in history, but not as pretty as Speyer by far. And having been spoilt by Speyer, we were rather disappointed. At least we got to see the Rhine close up and had a lovely lunch on it's bank. The big huge cargo boats were fascinating. This area has lots of beautiful and idyllic spots. But it is also very industrial, and those signs are very visible in many places.

On Sunday, we decided to stay closer to home, and went over to Mannheim to spend the afternoon in the Luisenpark. It is a huge park, built between 1892 and 1903, in the middle of the city, with gardens, a little zoo, aquarium, restaurants, a big Chinese pavillion and garden, greenhouses, a butterfly house, lots of play areas for childrens, and lots more. And of course, the lake with the Gondoletta - little boats that are pulled by an underwater rope. So relaxing. Last time I visited the park was at least 15 years ago, but as soon as we sat in the little boat, I remembered them - the carps. The lake is filled with big huge carps, which come swimming towards every boat, sticking out their big round mouths in the hope of some food. It's just too funny! We didn't get up the telecommunication tower, but I hope to do so one day. The views over Mannheim and Ludwigshafen must be amazing!

We almost missed the butterfly house. We were already on our way to the exit when we discovered it, and so we stayed for another hour...

On our last day, we travelled to the nearby town of Schwetzingen, with it's palace, and huge park and garden. You can only go inside the palace with a guided tour, either one or one and a half hours long. But we decided to give that a miss this time, and just explore the garden. It was the hottest day of all, and strolling around the vast park was quite enough.

There's also an old mosque-style building in the park, surrounded by an oriental garden, built between 1779 and 1791, when the Turkish style was popular.

 Even the Orangerie is absolutely massive. A little palace in itself. I liked the old model of it on display inside. Whoever made this must have had a wicked sense of humour!

I'm sure there must be some story behind this funny sculpture in the city square outside the palace gates, but I haven't investigated it so far. Maybe it was made by the same person as the Orangerie model...

Hopefully, next time I'll have more art to show again. But I'll also have loads more photos....
Have a wonderful weekend!