"Onwards and upwards (figuratively speaking)...." leics's Profile
You'll find a bit more about me personally in the albums at the bottom of this page: this page focuses on the travelling and archeological aspects.
Now my children are adults I am doing the travelling I could never afford to do before. I have limited time available to cram in as much as I possibly can (when I finally retire there simply won't be enough money for much, if any, travelling) so that's what I'm doing.
I've become much braver about travelling alone (I didn't go anywhere outside the UK until about 9 years ago). I loved my first solo 'abroad' to Rome , especially OstiaAntica but have really enjoyed everywhere I've been since. I do like travelling with friends but circumstances usually dictate that if I want to go anywhere at all it's got to be on my own. So that's what I do, and it's been fine.
I'm not rolling in money, so it's largely a case of budget flights and cheapish hotels (though I've been on a couple of package holidays, for convenience more than anything else). I like to spend my time wandering around, seeing how people live and (especially) seeing what once was. 'Modern' things hold no real interest for me, though I sometimes enjoy pootling round shops to see what's on offer and at what price.
VT has been a massive help over the 8 years since I joined, not only in giving me the information which made me feel more confident as a solo middle-aged female traveller but also in providing ideas about what to see and do and where to stay. And I've made so many friends through the site, meeting many in reality as well as virtually, attending VT meetings both large and small. Those friendships have taken me to places I'm sure I would never otherwise have visited.
I started this year with a few days in January exploring Canterbury, Rochester, Whitstable and Sandwich. Kent is a part of the UK I do not know very well at all and it certainly deserves another visit so I can explore more of the county.
In February I visited Luxembourg with daytrips by train to Metz in France and Trier in Germany.
Over the Easter holiday I made a (very cold and somewhat stressful) return visit to Krakow (the farmer's wife choice), where we spent a lovely evening chatting with 68maciek and I also revisited a (very cold but also very sunny) Amsterdam This time round my Amsterdam base allowed me to visit Delft, Den Haag (The Hague) and Leiden, where I met PJ and Swanet for an afternoon's wandering.
I'll make my first visit to Switzerland (Zurich) in late May and, for the summer, I've booked my third US trip to (New York, New Haven, San Francisco and Los Angeles). And I've finally managed to sort out an August trip to Riga in Latvia (I've been trying to fit it in for three years!).
2012 began with a little of Cornwall: Penzance, Madron, Marazion, Mousehole, St Just, Lands End St Michael's Mount. I broke my journey at Tiverton, Launceston, Jamaica Inn and Exeter.
In February I made my first visit to Spain Madrid, meeting Redang and SirRichard there and making a daytrip to Toledo. Fascinating places: I will definitely go back to Spain.
I went back (with the farmer's wife) to Venice in early April, staying in Mestre with daytrips to lovely Padova and to Verona. The June Eurmeet in Bergamo was just as good as we three organisers hoped it would be...and I managed to fit in side-trips to Albino, Clusone and Sarnico.
In July I made my first hot weather visit to Rome and, in mid-August, I spent a week in Iowa, based in friendly, comfortable Iowa City and visiting as many places nearby as circumstances allowed:
the Amana Colonies
the Amish settlement of Kalona
the lake at Solon
the bridge at Sutcliff
It was a super visit, showing me part of the US I'd never otherwise have experienced. Then a Megabus trip to Chicago and spent a couple of days exploring, with thanks to Riorich55 :-)
The VT Halifax Meet in early September was as excellent as ever (thanks to Ricky52). I enjoyed the London Treasure Hunt in October and another fun Manchester Christmas Markets meet (many thanks to Gillybob).
In October I made my first visit to Slovakia, meeting VT friends (thank you, Katamorgana!) in Piestany, spending a few nights in Bratislava and making daytrips to , Trnava and Vienna.
2012 was a very good year!
2011 was the year of my long-awaited trip to the US.
In late July I flew out for a fortnight, visiting New York, New Haven and Boston. I had a most interesting time, not only driving on the 'wrong' side but also managing to visit Guilford, Pomfret, Sleeping Giant State Park, Storrs, Woodstock and Sturbridge. I saw chipmunks in Sturbridge, huge butterflies in Connecticut and humpback whales in Boston (well, on a trip from Boston). So that was all very exciting! :-)
Before and after my US trip I visited cultures I know quite well.
February: Milan, to see its historical elements and to explore a little of the Italian lakes:
Como, Torno. Pavia was an unexpected pleasure.
March: With the farmer's wife to Florence ,Pisa, Lucca and Fiesole
May: London for an historical exploration and a couple of fun VT meetings.
May: Bergamo to explore this lovely town in preparation for the 2012 Euromeet but also making trips to:
Varenna , Lecco
August: a truly wonderful trip to the wild, empty Shetland Isles
Sumburgh, Scalloway, St Ninian's Isle, Lunna, Tingwall, Trondra island, Sullom Voe, Eshaness and
I was blessed with four sunny days with barely any wind: it was magical.
October: More archaeological explorations, and my first visit to an active volcanic site:
Castellammare di Stabia and
November: my second ManchesterChristmas Markets VT meeting. Cold (again) but great fun!
First to Amsterdam, where I spent a *very* cold day with PJ and his wife Swanet, before exploring the city and making a side-trip to Haarlem.
I returned to Prague, making a day-trip to Kutna Hora and the bone church at Sedlec.
In the Easter holidays I made a far-too-short trip to Istanbul. Definitely somewhere I intend to revisit in the future.
The late-May Euromeet in Krakow was as excellent as I expected it to be, and I really enjoyed meeting VT friends both old and and new. We also managed to visit Wieliczka salt mine. Wadowice, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and the previously-unpronouncable Pszczyna (now at least 50 non-Polish VT-ers can pronounce it, because we practised on the bus!).
I explored lovely Northern Ireland for a few days in July and then took a package holiday (unusual for me, but a very good deal from a local airport) to Tunisia. Very hot indeed, but I saw the historical and archaeological sites and sights which I wanted to see.
Later in the summer I went to Kaunas in Lithuania,
The 2010 Halifax VT meet, was as much fun as ever, especially seeing the Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing again...excellent fun (especially the belly-dancing female Morris team)!
I took part in the VT London Treasure Hunt, organised by Jo104 and quizmaster Planxty....great fun, although train times meant I could only whizz down for a few hours.
During my October holiday I stayed in the UK and spent a few days exploring more of England:
'the Venice of the Cotswolds' Bourton-on-the-Water.
The lovely Roman city of Cirencester
The postcard-perfect historic village of Lacock
The beautiful, tiny city of Wells
I'd intended to visit Cornwall during the Christmas holidays, but low temperatures, ice and snow made it impossible.
First, a return to Sorrento in February with the farmer's wife, whom I introduced to Italy in 2008.
At Easter I went to Athens (a long-wanted-to-see place), with a brilliant side-visit to Sounio (thanks to VT-er Janetanne). Then to lovely Slovenia again, to spend time with friends nd visit (Bad Radkersberg), Hungary (Lenti) and Croatia (Cakovec) !
The late-May Euromeet in Cascais, was brilliant. My trip included ttime to explore Lisbon and just a little bit of Portugal
In mid-July I made a small exploration of northern Bavaria: (Wurzburg, Nurnburg, Bamberg, Regensburg and, yes, Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber), with a superb two days at the start exploring places near to Darmstadt (many, many thanks to Trekki). She took me to: Hering, Hummeltroth, Lorsch, lovely Freinsheim, Ibersheim, Rheindurkheim and Worms.....pretty good going for a day and a half! :-)
In August I re-visited Budapest
and later in August I returned to Malta for a lolling-about-in-the-sunshine-and-eating-too-much holiday.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Manchester, at Gillybob's Manchester Christmas Markets VT meet.
And my wonderful trip to Northern Cyprus at Christmas went smoothly, despite the threat of a strike by BA cabin crew and a highly unusual amount of snow in the UK!
October: Pisa and Lucca, La Spezia Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Vernazza ) .
February: Pompeii Sorrento
Herculaneum, Oplontis, Capri Amalfi.
March: Rome and Tivoli, then Venice.
Karlsruhe, at the VT Euromeet. Heidelberg Speyer
Bruges Flanders battlefields
September: Halifax VTmeet Brilliant!
Winchester , Windsor, Silchester and Salisbury
Ireland , Carcassonne , Narbonne and Florence
Turkey: Hisaronu, Fethiye and Kayakoy.
I'm a keen archaeologist in my spare time. In the main photo (excavating Medieval dump deposits in York) I'm the one in the hat.
For five summers I dug at Sedgeford in Norfolk; there is dig info on that page, and in the travelogues below. It's excellent fun, and anyone can join. So if you fancy exploring a bit of Anglo-Saxon England next year, look at the SHARP website.
I used to do a great deal of 'fieldwalking', although I have done far less over the past few years. 'Fieldwalking' means walking across ploughed fields very slowly, picking up evidence from the past. People used to put the contents of their rubbish heaps onto their fields so there's always lots of pottery to find, and this will show when the area was occupied. Many fields will produce not only pottery from Medieval and Roman times but even flint tools from more than 10000 years ago. Fieldwalking is a great stress-buster and really brings the past to life. England is particularly good for this type of archaeology, because there has been such intensive settlement and farming over the centuries.
There's much less fieldwalking for me to do nowadays because local farming practices have substantially changed, and that's a great sadness for me. It can be wet and cold, and very muddy indeed, but picking up a Mesolithic arrowhead like the one in the photo (8000-10000 years old) gives me a huge thrill.
I think the best UK prehistory sites are in Orkney. The albums below have some info too: I really will get round to writing 'Roman' and 'Medieval' history pages one day!.
Leicestershire is quite big and I only live in a small part of it ......... but it's ok for now. I'd much rather be living in the middle of nowhere, between the sea and the mountains, or in another country entirely. We'll see what happens. I think I'll probably have to win the Lottery first, which might be difficult as I don't actually do it. Hmmm....flaw in the plan there somewhere.
The UK is a fascinating country (or grouping of countries) from a historical and landscape perspective, so I've been making as many pages as I can about places large and small. They are listed on my England and Wales pages. I've been to Scotland as well, but too long ago to have the photos available for VT; must go back there soon.
So.....onwards and upwards, exploring and finding-out, seeing what there is to see, by myself or not. The world is a huge place, with an infinity of excitements.......how can one not be thrilled by the potentials and possibilities?
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