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Day One of 20/60 – overland to Greece

After the Bread round gets off the Hamster wheel and travels to Greece overland. We called it 20/60!!!

From Bramblestown ……

After the bread round gets off the hamster wheel – and embarks on a long planned overland trip to Greece. As you may realise, we are long back and have been baking again for the last week but I did write while we were away and I would like to share my thoughts on this trip – and practise writing and blogging so please bear with me as I take you from Bramblestown in Gowran to London and then over land by train to Greece.                                                                                                                 This trip was long planned and well prepared. Exactly 40 years apart, my son and I  planned a trip for our 20/60 year and settled on Greece because we share an interest in ancient civilisations.

carrying the bags…….

He gave us both books to study for Christmas and since then I was reading about ancient Greece or rather working my way very slowly through a book that presumed much more education and knowledge than I actually have. But I persevered and gathered at least some knowledge. The deal was that I would pay for accommodation and travel and he would pay for food – and carry my bags all the way!!!

Speltbakers closes for three weeks in July and we set off nearly immediately (once the sourdough were fed and in the fridge and all the necessary paperwork was either done or packed) I had long wanted to try a longer overland trip but still we cheated at the start – and flew from Dublin to London. Over the years travelling to Germany with the car every summer, the ferry from Rosslaire to Pembroke and the trip all the way along the M4 to London are old friends that, for this trip, were deemed too expensive.  As a holiday start, Dublin airport however, did not at all compare to the ferryport in Rosslaire. I much prefer the summer journeys that start with a sunset or an early morning in Rosslaire and ferry travel is so much more travel than the  busy airport with its still massive queues, long waits and tight spaces.

Cartwright gardens

Anyhow, I appreciated the fast option, we took it and we arrived in London before midday on our first day of travel. Found our tiny room in Cartwright gardens right in the middle of London and settled right in. It was advertised as a studio apartment and looked like a room. On closer inspection however, we opened a cupboard – and found the kitchen sink and kettle and further search even unearthed cups, plates and saucepans. A very good value overnight for inner city London but as long term accommodation, which it obviously was, a little bit of an insight into city life and its lack of space! For lunch we found an ale house and I forced the travel companion to abandon the safe toasted sandwich and have a steak and kidney pie –  a first culinary success. On our way, we passed the British Museum in all its glory and discovered that as chance would have it, the exhibition “Luxury and Power: Persia to  Greece “ was in its last few days. Fate obviously and we immediately got tickets.

The British Museum

The British museum is an amazing place of flamboyant architecture and collections – all to be seen some other time. Today, we concentrated on three rooms of exhibits and for the very first time in my  60 years, I felt reasonably well educated. Having studied ancient Greece since Christmas, I recognised at least some names, wars, eras and problems and loved the amazing luxury and flamboyance of ancient Persia and how Athens tried to resist, realising -over 2000 years ago- that luxury and super wealth of few are a threat to democracy.

In the evening, we met the older brother of the 20 part of this journey who lives in England and together went to see the Mouse trap in St Martin’s theatre. In its 70 year and as the longest running play in the world, a must see if you’re in London. Our last plays in the West End had been the amazing Lion King with its flamboyant and brilliant dance, music and pageantry and the equally amazing Bad Cinderella  with its rotating stage and fabulous sets ( and brilliant story line and music). Here I was loving a play that is older than me and has one set and no costume changes. A classic murder mystery from the Queen of mysteries. I highly recommend it and no – I won’t say who did it!!!  The evening ended sitting in the street in the Spaghetti house, sharing pizza and feeling immense gratitude for family and the ability and gift of travel and looking forward to getting on the train tomorrow.

Quote of the Day: From Juvenal ( about AD 55 -130) Roman satirical poet 

Now we are suffering the calamities of long peace.

Luxury has settled down on us, crueller than fighting, avenging the world we’ve conquered….

…. It was filthy money that first imported foreign ways, and effete wealth that corrupted our era with its disgusting decadence.

( part of the Luxury and power: Persia to Greece exhibition in the British Museum)

….. to London

Place and meaning: We stayed in Cartwright Gardens named after John Cartwright who lived from 1710 to 1821. There is a statue and plaque to him in the gardens as a “firm, consistent and persevering advocate of Universal Suffrage, equal representation, vote by ballot and annual parliaments”. Apparently he was a naval officer who refused to “ draw his sword against the rising Liberties” The statue was erected in “sincere admiration of his unblemished virtue”   

On our way to find the roots of democracy, we already found one very determined democrat here in the middle of London.

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