On the days off between Quilt Market and Quilt Festival we took a drive out to La Grange, home of the Texas Quilt Museum. It’s about an hour west of Houston, and quite a small town, but it was chosen as the site of the TQM because it is situated equidistant between Houston, San Antonio and Austen, Texas.
Coincidentally, because of the Sapphire theme at Quilt
Festival the TQM also had a display of historical blue and white quilts which
form part of a collection of a local Texas quilter. Next door to the TQM is a knitting/quilting
shop called the Quilted Skein which was fun to browse around (although I was
glad that I’m not a knitter because I might have done even more financial
damage). Outside of La Grange is a shop
called the Texas Quilt Barn which also added to my baggage going home.
What can I say Santorini, Greece is as beautiful as they say with the white and blue buildings radiating light as they bask in the hot sun. The town of Oia is where you’ll find the quintessential blue domed buildings; Fira has white/cream domes but it’s where you’ll see the donkey steps and the huge cruise ships moored out in the bay.
The most excitement of the day was taking the two hour ferry ride from Rethymno, Crete (near where we were staying) to Santorini Island. The ferry had more passengers than cars so the vehicle decks were used to sort out the hundreds of people as they quickly got on and off the boat. And I mean QUICKLY – the ferry docked with its bay doors open and the passengers got off while others got on (see photo). This all took minutes and then the ferry left as the bay doors were raised!
Then we were collected by buses and had to drive up the cliff face on a twisty road full of other traffic – a bit scary if you were on the seaward side of the bus!
I recently spent five days in Budapest, Hungary. The architecture is stunning especially in the downtown area along the Danube River. These photos include the Hungarian Parliament, St Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge, Mathias Church, the Fisherman’s Bastion and the New York Cafe. Seeing the buildings lit up at night from a river cruise was a real treat!
Spent a week in Helsinki, Finland this Christmas. It was quite dull with cloudy skies for most of the time but we did get a little bit of snow here and there. The people are very friendly and the food was amazing. It is a much quieter, more sedate Christmas than we are used to and they celebrate the event on December 24th with a family sauna, rice pudding for breakfast, going to church and giving presents in the evening. There were quite a few people complaining of having a hangover on the 25th!
Christmas Day for us was very quiet and we went to a Finnish restaurant for dinner in the evening. Thought there’d be lots of Finnish families having a meal out, but the majority of the clientele were tourists some of whom spent the entire meal on their phones even when sitting with a group of people – very strange!
Also visited the Helsinki Christmas Market, saw Helsinki and Uzpansky Cathedrals, saw the magnificent Rock Church and the National Museum with it’s gorgeous ceiling and stained glass, went on the Helsinki Wheel, took a dip in a 27 degree C pool (it was -11 degrees C air temperature), visited the Helsinki Zoo to see the Snow Leopards and walked around Suomennlina Island on the ice!
Had a lovely weekend with my youngest daughter – we visited a new quilt store, had breakfast for lunch, stayed in a lovely rural hotel with a view (see below), treated our bodies to a facial and hot pool soaks and ate a great steak dinner! That was only the first day.
On the Sunday we had a fantastic breakfast at an old favourite haunt, wandered through the Bath Christmas market, completed most of our Christmas shopping lists and went through the Fashion Museum in the basement of the Assembly Rooms.
It was a great two day break in which we didn’t stop talking!
My women’s group went on a guided tour of Christchurch College at Oxford University yesterday. We got to see the cathedral and had tea in the Harry Potter dining hall but the highlight was the library which has 8,000 pre 1800s books in its collection. As a special treat the librarian showed us this parchment outlining the charter of the College with Henry VIII’s signature and seal! Amazing! One of the many wonders of living in England and being able to see items from the 1500s.