First Past the Post

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You will be glad to know this is the last of the three, dedications to loved ones and friends. Not saying which is which however. This blog is for the 101 Saint himself, the Hot Rod Racer Gordon Mann. Relevant of course as its purely about Motor Racing, of sorts, with a visit to the Mercedez Benz museum. For those who don’t know, Mr Mann does not like the Mercedez bunch when it come to the F1. Why would he, he has good taste and that is why he is a lover of all things McLaren and Fernando Alonso. That said, this place was sweet and any lover of cars will appreciate some of the pics.  **My apologies, while the wee magic cam works wonders ootside, no so great indoors**

It’s another rainy day today and its a wet walk from the tube station to the museum. Thankfully its well signposted and I do not end up at the footie stadium, which is the other way. You walk into the place and it’s immaculate, it’s also vast. It’s shaped like a tire as each floor winds into another. I pay my fare, I get my ticket, along with a nifty museum guide. It’s a booklet half the width of a compliment slip, but the same length. It opens out the length of two A4 sheets and gives you a floor by floor, blow by blow of what’s on show. Your shown to the right and the lifts – start at the top baby and work your way down. Gonna get those steps in today.

I was thinking about the best way of detailing what I saw, so as it’s for Gordon Mann, like a gid complaint letter, I shall bullet point the floors! What I will say is that from the top floor, there are two levels to each floor, the second of which mainly have cars on show. What is really interesting and will blow your mind, as the museum takes you from top to bottom, from 1886 to the present day and the future, on walls on the walkways, they detail important things that happen through history, based on what floor and era you are approaching. Thing’s like the moon landing, Paris fair, Beatles hit the scene, Woodstock and the likes. They also detail key things, inventions that happen in the Mercedez world. These boys and girls sure can put on a show and for only €10 as well.

Level 8 – Pioneers (1886-1900): The invention of the automobile
Level 7 – Mercedes (1900-1914): Birth of the Brand   Gallery of Voyagers
Level 6 – Times of Change (1914-1945): Diesel and Supercharger  Gallery of Carriers
Level 5 – Post War Miracle (1945-1960): Form and Diversity  Gallery of Helpers
Level 4 – Visionaries (1960-1982): Safety and Environment  Gallery of Celebrities
Level 3 – New start (Since 1982): The road to emission free mobility Room for special exhibitions (fancy cars)
Level 2 – Silver Arrows: Races and Records     All your F1 stuff, but also simulators
Level 1 – Ticket desk, information, cafebar and cloakrooms
Level 0 – Basement: Fascination of technology, interactive exhibitions (one for the kids)

I could give a description of what was on each floor, but that would mean I would have to organise my photo’s in that order as well and to be quite frank, can I?, Can I be Frank? I just cant be bothered boys and bears. I am having to much fun being the Jolly Scot. I am up a mountain somewhere in the Alps, giddy as a schoolgirl as I’m heading to Alpe D’Huez for the mountain top finish tomorrow. It’s cost me a bit, but safe to taking it from my wedding fund as that won’t be happening anytime soon. Maybe a family member will get rich with da PPI and sub me the £175 for two nights in a hostel.

Sorry, back on script! The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart is the place to go for every car or race enthusiast. Although I was on my todd, it’s a great place for some great father and son time, and to be honest, if you have a standard family of 4, boy, girl, mum and dad, it would be a superb, inexpensive day oot. I have to say also, I was wearing my McLaren gear while walking roond the place as well, go Jenson!

Cheerie

A Farmers Daughter

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This particular blog is dedicated to one luvvely person. Some say she can be annoying, I certainly don’t think so, I find her always to be enchanting and somewhat delightful. We are Slimming World buddies, both who have fallen off the wagon and should definitely make a better go of it. A really nice person, positive, despite having Ross as a son in law. She makes time for everyone.

 

 

So, based across a total area of 5700 square metres, the German Museum of Agriculture in Hohenheim illustrates agricultural progress, from primitive farm implements to the latest in agricultural technology. It shows how technical innovations have revolutionised farmers’ working conditions – thus ensuring the population’s food supply. Fascinating: the historical farm machinery and tractors which have been lovingly restored to their former splendour. Can you tell that was taken direct from their website.

I have always wanted to visit Stuttgart and when I done my research, both this place and the Mercedez Benz museum jumped out at me as two doozy places to take in. Just as well in the circumstances, the weather was horrific, strait rain, in patches that each lasted about 30 mins throughout both days. As you know I love a good tram, especially when I need to get one and change. The day did not start too great. I got the tram out to Hohenheim, but thinking there was another stop, I sat on the tram like a bellend for a good 5 mins, realising it was not heading on, I got out and had a looksee, and it was the end of the line. I launch Google maps that takes me along the road, across the tram tracks and into a ‘farming’ area, with barns, greenhouses and fruit and veg growing. It felt like I am where I am supposed to be. You wander up through public gardens and I can now see the building, but there is a big steel gate, barbed wire fences either side. Google maps has taken me the wrong way, a detour of another 10 mins in the rain – sheesh! and I am at the place.

I rocked up and the guy who was taking the candy for the ticket, gave me a puzzled look as if to say, what are you doing here. I gave him a smile back that says, I know, but I am. To be fair, the place was really cool. All the signs were written in German only, as was the pamphlet he gave me about the museum. There are two buildings. This one and another down the road about 10 mins away and my ticket gives me access to both. The first is across 3 buildings, with the far away one full of the bigger tractors and machinery, including some engine’s which get me excited.

In the next room the museum beings to tell a story, with various things across the ages to do with milking the cow’s and the machinery involved in that and in the fields. Visually, it does tell a story, as without, I would be struggling. I fleet through the 3 buildings and head off doon the road to the second building. Although this also had machinery, it is more about the history of farming, milking and cheese making and the awards you can win for it. Ploughing through the ages and how machinery has developed from the old horse pulled ploughs. The differing sides to agriculture and what equipment back on the farm the women in the house would use and the important role they played. Even some good stuffs on brewing the old hops and the type or ornaments, two horses pulling a cart, that every home had back in the 80’s.

All in all, quite an interesting afternoon, even if I did get a bit wet. Enjoy Suzie Quattro.

Cheerie

Art that can sing to you

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Over the next 3 days my blog will feature 3 places of interest, of places I would not normally visit, were it not to take an interest in the passions of others and hopefully let them see, through my eyes, what some places have to offer if they so wish to take flight. My love for them, hopefully transfers into a love for their interests. This particular blog is in appreciation of A Man About Town, Gordon Hendry and his love of Art.

It was by chance that I came across this fountain when I got the tram from my hotel into the centre of Basel, which in itself, is a very beautiful city. I was interested in doing a bit of shopping and looking out for a toy museum, when I seen a crowd ooing and aaing. Up some steps and there are many water features in the fountain by the artist Jean Tinguely – a creator of kinetic works of art, Jean Tinguely was among the great pioneering artists of the second half of the twentieth century. At the heart of his work was a preoccupation with the machine. What interested him most was how machines work, how they move, the noises they make and their intrinsic poetry.

 


I’m hooked, a wee look up on the old Google and I find that the Museum is a long tram ride, followed by one stop bus ride over the bridge. I have 2 hours to kill before the footie kicks off, so before you can says Winnie the Pooh, I’m onda tram on my way. To be honest, I do not know what to expect. I have not researched the man, I am only inspired by the fountains, so I do not know what to expect and without a word or a lie, I was blown away.

The Basel card I got from my hotel gets me in for half price, so only €5 baby.  The first part takes you through a couple of corridors and tells the story of his childhood in Basel. He was born in Fribourg in 1925 and moved to Basel within the first couple of months of being born. At 19 or so, he attended Basel’s School of Arts and Crafts, where he first began to engage with works of modern art. Taken from the booklet – Kinetic reliefs and sculptures, moving automata, reliefs, and wire sculptures in 1954. Clanking, shuddering, anything but fine-tuned mechanisms, the kinetic works were constantly changing and hence were as much a product of chance as of design.

There is disorder in what this man puts together, but it mesmerizing. There are buttons on the floor that when you step on them, put the art in motion. Enjoy the photo’s and I hope they tell a story of his art. Strange things like power tools with fluffers attached. In the 60’s he turned his attention to Auto-destructive art, taking to the streets of Paris and New York with massive machines or happenings as they called it. In New York he premiered the world’s first auto-destructive work of art in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The machine was made of assorted objects that Tinguely had found in the scrapyards and junk shops of New Jersey: motors, a weather balloon, steel tubes, numerous bicycle parts, a piano, a radio, and much more besides. The artist Robert Rauschenberg also took part in the action with a small sculpture of his own. The invited guests looked on as the monumental machine Homage to New York auto-destructed before their very eyes.

I could go on all day, lets just appreciate his work. There is a doozy video where he has taken apart a racing car, added projectors and built a masterpiece. Enjoy Mr Hendry

Cheerie

 

My Heart is Melted

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Well, the day has come, my travels around Europe have taken from from Hungary to Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, the coast of Italy, through Milan and up to here, Tirano, home of the start of the Bernia Express. A short wee cute train ride up from Sondrio and I am here. First action is to go an buy my ticket, double check the times and do my usual – Wardy Here! video.

 

There is a boy I follow called ‘The Man from Seat 61’. This boy has done a power of travelling and if you are planning to go anywhere by rail, he has done it and has an extensive guide, with great advice and he was well used going across Asia (www.seat61.com). He writes – The Bernia Express is one of the most scenic train rides in Europe, or for that matter, the world, and a personal favourite too. The fabulous Bernina Express is a narrow gauge train with panoramic sightseeing cars from Chur & St Moritz in eastern Switzerland south to Tirano, just across the border in northern Italy. Let me tell you, all his hype was on the money.

I have about 90 minutes to kill, so I have a wander round the town. You can see on arrival that it’s very touristy. Stalls selling Fridge Magnets and plenty of restaurants are in view. Part of this is, that its the main stop if you are travelling down from St Moritz, seemingly a bit skiing town. Time for a wee sit down, 3 course meal with plenty of wine sir please and I stumble into the first gaff, that has a lovely terrace oot the back, but the problem being its reserved for coach parties only, despite only half the seats being used. They offer another table, but ma heids nipped, I say thanks but wander off to another doozy place up the road.

Most of the shops are shut between 1pm and 3pm, what the bloody hell is that all about. I have 30 mins till ma train and I want a carry out. Im rooting about the place with no joy. I’ve given up and as I stumble back towards the station, I spy a buthers come cheese shop and doozy, the boy has some wine of the go, corked wine as well, but I have a waiters friend baby, essential on travels when you buy cheap drink and beers. I’m loaded up and ready to go, case picked up, seat located, everything all laid out for my trip and raring to go.

It’s advertised that the Bernia Express is the most spectacular way to cross the Alps. The carriage has massive windows to give you those panoramic views to admire the most splendid scenery baby. We take off very slowly and the train guide gives us some advice on the region, what height we are at and what’s coming up ahead. The train snakes back up forth, winding back and forth slowly up the mountain, climbing up and over the Alps, glorious glaciers on view, following which it descends into just as beautiful area into Switzerland, What is interesting is you are experiencing is two different regions, different cultures and ways of life.

Taken from my brochure, the train negotiates the 55 tunnels, 196 bridges and inclines of up to 70 per mille with ease. At the highest point, 2,253 metres above sea level, you will find the Ospizio Bernina. Here, visitors can delight in the cultural and natural surroundings and enjoy the Alps at their most impressive. The railway line from Thusis – Valposchiavo – Tirano has UNESCO World Heritage status. Thanks to the modern panoramic cars, you will enjoy unrestricted views of the unspoilt Alpine panorama.

I was tipsy before I set off and I quickly get fired in about the Sauvignon Blanc, with a makeshift cup, from my water bottle cut in half. Just when i was worried i may run oot of liquor, a couple of Bonnie Lasdie’s come through with the menu and follow up with their drinks and cheese cart, don’t mind if I do ladies, local beer and cheese will take me down the mountain. I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks and it did not dissapoint. The photo’s on show are just a snapshot of over 100 I took, including some videos, all good quality with my wee magic camera.

I was blown away brothers and sisters. I have been on a good few train journeys and I hopefully have many more to follow. That said, it was an emotional trip for me. I am happy to admit that the journey makes you take a good look at yourself in the face of such excellance and beauty. Think about what you do day to day and what you should be doing day to day. I am a bit of an arse at the best of times and although I would like to convince myself I have had a fairly successful life to this point, before I set off on my travels earlier in the year, when I think about what I could do, truly applying myself, i’m dissapointed. Whether in the cold light of day that changes me as I grow older, I do not know. I am more than happy for all those who read this to ask me from time to time, what has Wardy done since he came back down the mountain.

One big box ticked for the Wardster. A fairly expensive one, but hey, its only money. For now, exnjoy the photo’s, lots of blogs coming in a short space of days now I have consistent wifi to upload photo’s baby!

Cheerie

 

Italy is not a secret – Baby!

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In my last post I was supposed to be taking the Historic tram to Trieste, the only reason I came this route and the bloody thing was not on the go. Well, I tell I lie there that is not the case. I am heading over to and through Milan or Milano as I head up to the picturesque town of Chur. Milan seems super expensive, so i make a full day of it on the train when I leave Trieste, getting to a location called Sondrio, supposedly at 8.20pm.

I say supposedly, cos Italia Rail are quite simply a bloody shambles. For the train from Trieste to Milano, you have to change in Venice. All fair and well providing your train is on time and on not one occasion, while in Italy did any of my trains travel on time. No worries tho, they’re are plenty of option, with town inter crossing on the way. So, the train is supposed to go to Milan Central, where I get my train to Sondrio and i have about an hour in hand. We get chucked off a stop short at Lambretta or something, but no worries, if I go two stops up on a train that leaves in 10 mins, I will have 20 mins wait and the train will come to me, superb.

The train goes one stop and stops! Conductor says everyone off the train that’s it and even the locals are confused. i had hoped to take a photo or video of me in front of the Monza sign, to wind up my good pal Gordon Mann, but alas. The guards make themselves scarce, i have spent the day hiking up and down stairs, with bag and case, from platform to platform in the searing heat, half cut drinking wine. The ticket shop is two Italians in their shop, like Johnyy  Tainsh’s shop, I canny shout at them. They very kindly tell me to get the next train on platform one, to the next stop and i can get a train to Sondrio. Bonus and the lass in the gaff hangs around for me to check in and give me a big glass bottle of water, cos she can see I’m dehydrated a tad.

Anyway, Its a new Wardy as i come to one of the most spectacular parts of my trips. I am not going to complain to Italia Rail. It was an adventure and plus, this blog is about the beautiful towns of Trieste and Sondrio, not the carry on in between. So I wander down to the harbour in Trieste about 8pm, just as the sun is setting to get a sunset for Ma Luvvs. There is a game on, which one I cant recall, but sitting outside, having the choice between, Pizza, Pasta or Pannini (Trust me, that’s all they do!) and supping on glasses of white wine @ €2.50 a pop, big glass as well, is the way of living.

I’ve got masel in company after the fitba. Boy walks past with pizza box & lad says something derogatory, in Italian ken. I ask another boy what he said & its basically slagging the pizza box boy of. Yet, the slagger has just eaten a pizza? So, his bird is quite annoying. She smokes roll ups, but does a very annoying thing. Acts all girly & gets a boy to do the roll up for her, then slags him off for not doing it right, then does it herself. This has happened 3 times now & she’s a boot, combined with her phud b/f, I’m on it. I giez it the ‘We have a name for the likes of you back in Scotland!’, “oh, what it be” – ‘Mink’, I say in return, only to be met with “what is this mink, what this mean?”

Sondrio is just as beautiful and unfortunately, I only had enough time to wander a few streets before I checked out. There was a farmers market on the go, mainly fruit tho, but it was ace, I love that shit and plenty of decently sized Pomegranates. The town is surrounded by hills, so the views are Ace. Some guy parks his Ferrari and it gets a lot of attention. The lookie lookie guy is back selling now Senegal are oot the WC! The most interesting place was the train station shop that sold DVD’s incl Brigadoon, On the Town and an Elvis One. More than that they had interesting box set CD magazines on Pink Floyd and The Beatles. I wonder how old they were.

I have not done anything special with the photo’s just enjoy.

Cheerie

 

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The first time

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As the train sets off its raining heavy in Zagreb. We’re quickly into the countryside and a Sea of green and brown. Over the border into Slovenia and it’s damp, lighter rain and we are sneaking alongside a luscious green river, brought to life somewhat by the damp weather. Small drops of rain hitting the water is bringing the fish near the top and fishing birds that line the bank of the river are ready and waiting.

Sprawling hills and mountainsides, so many shades of green as all the trees, so many differing types, bushes, fauna and the likes make my eyes sparkle and as romantic as it looks, I would not have the words to describe how the mist, rolling over the hills and drifting just under Clifftops made me feel. I could easily spend every day for the rest of my life taking journeys like this every day. When we come near a town or village, well worn bridges and motor vehicle traffic let you know you are near civilization. The first sign of power lines atop a hillside and down the hill appear and you might think these look abrupt and out of place, let me assure you they don’t.  They are a necessity yes, but only enough of the green has been removed to accommodate the electric.

No houses are the same as they dot along the riverbank. The occasional graveyard sits on the edge of town, out of plain view, but surprisingly well maintained. How many generations of the same family are buried the ring methinks. There’s a chapel on the hillside, nae, no doubt a monastery. I wonder if they have some Slovenian version of Buckfast brewin fleets thru my mind. Every time we hit an open clearly and there is a strategically built house on the hillside I think, man, how cool would it be to stay there? Then the tune hits my head – ‘The hills are alive with the sound of music’

I’m facing backwards on the right hand side and it was a strangely well chosen seat, at the near end of the car. The towns, factories and roads are mainly on my left, the river and beautiful countryside right outside my window. Rather than look out, things hits me as I pass them allowing a nice long stare as is disappears into the distance, like a final goodbye to a loved one you may never seen again. As we climb up in some regions the river gets rocky and choppy, perfect for those white water rafters and canoeists. It takes me back to my youth out up the river Almond by Almondbank of course. Me and Andy cairns used to go hunting for tractor tyre inner tubes, then cycle out and hit the water.  Very rarely did this happen, hitting the water, as most tubes had punctures. The hope and adventure always kept you interested.

I’m thinking aloud asking, would I like a house by the side of a railway line. How noisy can it be and in these barren areas, how regular would they be to be a distraction?  Maybe their something to look out for and judge the time of your day by, who knows? High rise tower blocks and graffiti’s coach cars are a sign we’re approaching Ljubljana.  I have had this thought for a number of weeks now about taking, train coaches no longer in, moving then to an area of land aside other housing not being used and making them inside into a form of basic housing. They don’t necessarily need to be well equipped, but can meet modified slightly into sleeping, seating and possession storage space to get people off the street. Toilets are already built in. Now, see if I had a $1 million dollars,  that’s what I would do. Make it a drug free zone. You get tested, your clear, you have a warm bed and company☺

 

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I’m heading to a town called Villa Opicina, where I will take a hurl on the Trieste to Opicina tramway, as its advertised , it’s an unusual hybrid tramway come into a funicular railway, based in the city of Trieste, Italy and links to Piazza Oberdan, on the northern edge of the city centre, with the village of Villa Opicina in the hills above.

I have been wanting to take this journey for over 5 years and almost done it at the end of last year, as part of a Scotland jaunt. I has been out of operation for a while but was rumoured to be back on the go. When you arrive, touristly, they still promote it like its on the go, but that’s not the case disappointingly!

The good news its almost fixed and should be on the go within two months. The bus views are good, but not as good as the route the tram takes. Maybe next time.

Cheerie

A doozy Lady she was as well

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On the basis of the fact that I had money left from the last time I was in Zagreb, I made the point of bringing it with me, not in the hope of visiting Croatia, but in case I got a better rate of exchange over here. When I took my Rubles back to M&S money, I asked to change them in Euro’s, cos the rate was gid, but the lass refused. They had to be changed to Pounds then Pounds to Euro’s. It’s all a commision based scam in the UK. In europe, I can change from what I want to what I want.

Anyway, when I fecked up my train to Bar, it was Zagreb here I come baby! When I stepped off the train soooo many memories came flooding back. The Platza or main area right outside the train station was how I remembered. Walking up the street, I was looking for the doonstairs KGB bar on the left and I headed right up to Ban Jelacic square, to not only check out the fanzone, bit to remember the boozer Dejan had organised a disco party in, when we were here last.

I get to my gaff, get checked in and go for a ferrit aboot. I will try and keep it simple tonight, the main square for the fitba and the, wait for it, Croatia game. Every cafe bar, restaurant and bar on the way up is packed and so was the square. They have huts either side of the main screen, all the way down, selling beer @ €1.50 a pop – thank you ma’am, two for me please. I have had nothing to eat and I like ma grub. The name of the ‘Stella Restaurant’ catches my eye, so its some scran, a few beers and a couple of late Gin’s, considering they have a Premium G&T menu on the go. Oofftt, I’m ready for bed.

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Up sharpish the next day and I have my ‘One day in Zagreb’ plan all written out. A quick Espresso (maybe 2), from the Cafe Bar over the road and I’m off to the Museum of illusions’. It was aptly named to be honest, as I walked past the bastard twice, before finally finding it. They advertise it as an amazing and unimaginable experience and to be fair, it was really quite fun and interesting. Moulds of Einstein, that when you look at them, they appear to be filling out and not moulds. Piccy’s that appear when you look at angles and pics when you glaze your eyes. Water flowing upwards due to the light, small to big rooms and distance perception, all mind blowing stuff. there is a play room and puzzle room, stuff in which you can buy from the shop. If you have kids, you need to take them here, it will blow their mind.

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I stop for a spot of lunch, some beer, wine and Lasagne. It was in a square so you don’t know who you are really buying from, so imaging my surprise when I get the bill from Tom Tom Restaurant. My next stop is the Funicular. At 66 meters long, its the shortest passenger cable railway in the world and connects uptown (Christie Brinkley) with Downtown (Billy Joel). It’s been on the go since 1890, when it was powered by steam. It’s the easier way to get up to the likes of St Marks Church (I was in the Letham St Marks BB’s by the way), with it’s beautiful tiling, The historic Stone Gate, with its own built in chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary Doll, patron saint of Zagreb.

I take in the Old City hall, buy more pain killers from Zagreb’s oldest pharmacy, founded 1355 and scooted through the bloody bridge. Looking at the guide book later it tells me there was violent squabbles between Kaptol & Gradec, over right to watermills back in the day. Kind of like Perth Academy and high School rumbles. I catch a glimpse of St Stephen’s chapel and a golden Virgin Mary with Angels. I find the boozer we were at when the rain was pure teaming it down and round of my days trek with a quieter Ban Jelacic Square and the Mandusevac Fountain. It’s said the fountain was built above a natural spring, that witches used to use as their meeting point back in the day. One sunny day, an old Croatian war leader was returning from battle tired and thirsty. He asked a beautiful girl Manda to scoop up some water from the spring for him. The Croat word for ‘to scoop up water’ is ‘Zagrabiti’, so the spring got the name Mandusevac, after the girl and the town Zagreb after the scoop of water.

Hard to tell nowadays with the minks washing themselves in the fountain, ffs!!

A great day and a half in Zagreb and well worth another visit to see the Lower Town, the First Fountain, Gallery of modern art, Botanical Gardens, Kallina House and the Oktogon. Outside the city there is the Technical Museum, the River Sava and Mount Medvednica. If you and yer darling want a romantic long weekend away, you cant fault Zagreb. Beautiful, so much to do, very romantic and laid back and inexpensive as well. I have tons of change left over if you need it as well, free to a good home.

cheerie