THE BIG TRIP IX – GROSS GEORGE

Well the techie guy came and then they put in our new wireless internet and then the techie guy had to come again as the lap top was still crashing and then after a day and a half the new internet went down altogether. If we’d not told them to keep the old one up and running till all was well, I’d be cut off from the rest of the world. So now the internet people are expected again at any moment.

With all the hassle it’s nice to remember those few weeks when we were away and it’s only now I realize where we went. It was all such a rush at the time, on a plane every 3 days, different hotels – I could get used to that life.

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I mentioned the boat ride on the Perfumed River, apparently it gets its name from the flowers in the orchards upriver from Hue falling into the water, hence the nice smell. Sadly we only got the diesel instead. To make the journey even more uncomfortable, the little, wizened old lady who was steering this huge dragon boat got out a range of little hand made things for us to buy. We had agreed that we were not going to collect a lot of memorabilia on our travels for several reasons. Firstly we had to watch the weight of our luggage, especially for the low cost internal air flights, and secondly because our little rabbit hutch here in Spain is so small we don’t have space for any more stuff.

A few more pics of the Purple Forbidden City.

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The atmosphere was quite weird there. DH thinks me a little strange, no, rather he is convinced I’m totally mad, but feelings swirling around me make a huge difference to liking or loathing a place. I guess this was quite neutral but also a little creepy. Part furnished in places – mostly shrines I think – and it didn’t help that it was overcast and a bit drizzly.

I have a strange fascination for Buddist monks, and there was a small community of them living in the grounds. They wore dark red robes, but I couldn’t find out the reason from our guide. He simply said they were different, but in what way, he didn’t say.

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I see on the itinerary for that day we visited the Imperial Citadel and the Forbidden Purple City but I’m ashamed to admit I’m not sure now which was which. The guide took us to things in a different order, and we were so busy taking pictures and gawping like regular tourists we didn’t have any spare hands to take notes. I did keep a diary, which I have only just remembered now and that is a help.

The Imperial City is a World Heritage site and bits of it have been reconstructed from 1802-1945.

All this we packed into one morning, now it was time for lunch at the goldfish place – pics next week – and then, still fighting off the lurgy despite the number of drugs I was pumping into my system, we were whisked off to visit a tomb, just the thing for a fun afternoon activity.

When George arrived in England he was already 58, and remember that was not a bad age for those days. He brought with him 18 cooks and 2 mistresses, one very fat and the other very thin. I have no idea of the size of the cooks though. The thin mistress was called the maypole and the fat one the Elephant and Castle (a district in London).

fat mistress George Ithin mistress George I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frankly they both look pretty fat to me!

Now if you are wondering why a few British politicians asked the Elector of Hanover to come and be king it was because he was related in some way, possibly the great-grandson of James I, but I’m sure that’s not important. However the most awful thing about him was his terrible treatment of his wife. When he suspected her of being unfaithful, he divorced her and then had her locked up in a castle for the rest of her life. He was so mean, he wouldn’t even let her have her lap top and a television.

PRINCESS SOPHIA by Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656) at Ashdown House
PRINCESS SOPHIA by Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656) at Ashdown House

So poor Sophia Dorothea pined away in a part of Germany while her bullying husband cavorted in England with his two paramours. He clung on to his throne for 14 years and a lot happened in that time. The English were still unsure and many refused to take German lessons. It seems they all spoke French anyway which seems rather strange for the British.

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