As promised: a quick recap of my 3 months travel through Europe – which in reality only incorporated two countries – Germany and the UK – or if you count Scotland and Wales as separate countries – like some people do – it was 4 :-).
Generally this whole trip can be categorized into 4 groups: Firstly – Germany and family, Secondly – UK travel, Thirdly – Leiston Abbey Dig with Dig Ventures (doubtless the highlight of the whole 3 months) and last but by no means least – various museums in Germany and the UK to see taonga maori.
So let me start to take you back to the end of May/ beginning of June and the unpredictable weather we have these days around the globe. After almost 3 months of no rain in New Zealand autumn arrived on cue with plenty of water – so I naturally thought – no problem I am flying to Europe to escape all this… not so! On arrival the temperatures were lower than here at home and it rained for my first whole week there! No wonder we had severe floods again in some parts of the country.
The soil was so saturated that it could take no more and the rivers started to rise – ever so slowly – not like the big 2002 floods where we had flooding overnight – no this time it was a gradual thing and consequently that also meant I could not follow my nicely thought out plans. Some friends and families had their cellars full of water – others lived in towns that where not accessible any more. Even some of my planned museum visits where affected.
Speaking of museums: What a sight – taonga maori in some storage cabinets and in cellars with other pacific items mixed in (Germany) – but also some great works of old art – nothing could have prepared me for some of the korowai or piupiu I’ve been able to not only see but also touch and most importantly photograph. In particular the items at the Museum in Dresden. There I will have to make another appointment with the Saxon National archives to view some of the original notes the collectors left. Leave it for next time..
So the floods and family visits all over – or almost – and my accident behind me (yes I will stay away from trucks from now on) I made my way over the channel to do some more interesting travelling. The first week was spent on a bus – not my cup of tea – but at least I had my sister with me for company. Let’s just say that I won’t be doing a bus trip any time soon again – I am more the IT kind of person (IT- Independent Traveller) – and most likely will stay that way for many years to come.
So highlights of those almost 3 weeks (some in a rental car) were undoubtedly the Scottish Highlands, Wales (castles and more castles), Fishbourne Roman Palace, the flint mines at Grimes Graves, and quite a few other historic sites (too many to name here). I love my history and in particular the English sites – simply because one can go from a prehistoric site to a Roman and on to a Saxon or Medieval in one day… or two :-). I don’t think there is a concentration on such a small space of this kind of history anywhere else in the world – or at least it is not as accessible as there.
The last week and a bit in the UK was spent at the dig at Leiston Abbey in Suffolk – and I loved every minute of it – yes even the last day when we had to backfill all those trenches in the blistering summer sun and the dust was getting a bit too much at times. The people I met there and the things I learnt will stay with me for a long time to come – if not forever.
Back in Germany and the summer had definitely arrived – with 35+ degrees heat and thunderstorms to make up for it. I can’t remember it being this hot when I was younger growing up there for such a long time but then again – the climate might really be changing – I don’t know. So as much as I like the summer – that was a bit to much heat even for me – especially since I really wanted to travel a little more and do a few hikes. I ended up cutting a lot of plans short because of the weather – both at the start and the end of my trip – but I still had a brilliant time! I have also started to upload most of my photo’s from that long trip here.
Would I do it again – yes in a heartbeat – maybe not as long and with a few changes to keep the cost down but definitely yes. So I leave you with the best photos from the trip and the next post will be on NZ and Northland.