I don't know what it is about this time of year but I don't seem to be bothered much about doing anything, but at long last, after a few hints and nudges, I have finally managed to get myself into gear. Last month I had six days away with Maalie, and when I saw him earlier today he looked a bit mournful and asked why I hadn't blogged it yet. So hear goes.
On a cold and snowy evening we flew out of East Midlands airport (which I think was the only airport open in Britain) only four hours late. We had arrived at the airport five hours too early (Maalie rather likes to be on time and doesn't leave anything to chance). We had a delightful nine hours wait sipping tea, coffee, beer, wine and anything else we could get our hands on. Eventually we landed in Slovakia, dead of night and not a soul around! I won't dwell on the next few hours.
Perhaps February isn't the best time to visit Central Europe unless you are skiing, which we weren't, although we did have a morning on the Municipal ice rink. This was a wonderful affair. Two large ice rinks joined together by a network of small ice pathways. Maalie's not too bad at skating. He only fell once and spectacularly scattered half a dozen little children while doing so, much to the chagrin of their mothers. I'm a rubbish skater and luckily Maalie only caught me on camera in the upright position. I splatted on the ice too many times to count and ended up soaked through to the skin, with bruises all over my knees, bottom and back. My knees are still bruised three weeks later!
Posing on ice in front of the Rathaus.
Some of the frozen scenery was spectacular. Although it was wet and rainy in the towns, in the countryside there was a lot of snow.
The snowy countryside gave many opportunities for arty pictures.
The wind had blown the snow off branches, and then it froze. Amazing!
In Vienna, Maalie and I feasted on cake and coffee:
Hasn't he got nice hands!
I must say the blue Danube is grey, but it was beautiful, half frozen. Beavers live along the banks, and although we didn't see any, we saw plenty of evidence of their activity.
Birds taking off from the frozen Danube.
On one of our trips into the countryside, we visited the town of Melk. The monastry there was used in the film 'The Name of the Rose'. Mmmm .. Sean Connery.
The highlight of the week of a visit one evening to the Vienna State Opera where we saw Manon Lascaut by Pucini. This was the first time I have ever actually seen an opera in one of the grand opera houses. The word 'grand' just doesn't begin to describe it. I was so overcome by the beauty and the sadness of the final act, Maalie had to take me off to a bar for a couple of brandies to recover.
Vienna State Opera House.
And that was our week away. Maalie was the perfect host. It is so nice to travel with someone who knows what they are doing, doesn't bumble around with a confused look on their face and knows where to go for the best cake, coffee and wine! Thank you Maalie for my holiday.
On Thursday I am off to Japan for two and a half weeks, but I shall keep my eye on you all via Jack's computer. And so, to finish with, one of my heroes! Thank you Maalie for taking this photo for me. My camera had ran out of battery!