NEW FOR 2024: THE FOUNTAINS AND AQUEDUCTS OF ROME
A work in progress and it'll soon be ready! As the title suggests, this will be a look at the sources and development of the Roman aqueducts and some of the many beautiful and interesting fountains and their majestic statues - a counterpoint to my talk on Secrets Beneath Siena (see below)..
A WALK AROUND ST MARGARET'S AT CLIFFE & ST MARGARET'S BAY
An introduction to a small yet important coastal village twixt Dover and Deal that played an important strategic role during both World Wars. Over the decades St Margaret's has been an exclusive Edwardian holiday resort for the well-to-do; home to writers, actors, entertainers, politicians, aristocracy and smugglers. Prestigious names such as Earl Granville, Sir Winston Churchill, Noel Coward and Ian Fleming have lived here.
HISTORY OF THE GRANVILLE HOTEL, ST MARGARET'S BAY, KENT
Built in 1882 by the Earl Granville, Foreign Secretary and Warden of the Cinque Ports, as a modest cottage hotel it was soon to become the discreet holiday haven of the rich, famous and well to do. Sitting atop the White Cliffs above St Margaret's Bay the hotel is mentioned in Ian Fleming's 'Moonraker' and was frequented by Noel Coward, both residents in the bay. On a clear day with a good pair of binoculars from the verandah it was possible to tell the time on the clock tower in Calais the other side of the English Channel, a mere 22 miles away.
SECRETS BENEATH SIENA, ITALY
A medieval subterranean engineering feat to bring water into the fast developing settlement of Siena in the 1200s. Unlike Florence situated on the River Arno, Siena's nearest river, the Merse, is 14 kms away. This was a long and perilous journey in medieval times carrying corn to the water mills on the Merse to be ground into flour, hides to tan into leather and wool to be washed and felted. The problem was solved by tunneling beneath the city, channeling natural spring water from the surrounding hills into the fountains of the centre of Siena.. Find out how 25 kms of tunnels (bottini) were constructed, using little more than a plumb-line and a pickaxe, and how Siena developed to compete successfully with Florence.
A VISIT TO VENICE
How did Venice, the city that floats between sea and sky, come to be established in the middle of a lagoon?. Find out as we stroll around this magical city visiting some of the lesser known areas.
A VISIT TO FLORENCE
The capital of Tuscany. A look at Ferragamo's Shoe Museum, Botticelli's 'La Primavera', marbling paper, working in an artist's studio along with more familiar parts of the city.
TRAIL RIDING IN CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA
Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica. Riding with gauchos in Argentina, watching huasos compete in rodeos in Chile, witnessing the arrival of the Monarch butterfly in Mexico after its long flight from Canada, riding in the three eco regions of Costa Rica.
All text and images copyright of Wendy Fraser 2023