An account of a visit to ancient Ostia, as part of my Italy 2020 series of posts.
This is third post in my series about my Italian holiday (2-11 September inclusive) – see here and here.
Ostia was the port that served Rome in ancient times. Ships bringing goods across the Mediterranean would dock there and goods would then be unloaded on to barges to go upriver to Rome. Other goods would go out from Ostia.
There is a huge amount of stuff to see there today, including most of the main street, nine metres wide and two kilometres long, bath houses, warehouse quarters, the theatre which is well enough preserved to stage live performances, the forum and other stuff.
It is served by its own train station, Ostia Antica, which is a very short walk from the entrance to the site. To get into the site you have to undergo temperature checks and to wear a mask at the gates and in any inside areas (and the Italians overall take mask wearing very seriously, although there was an anti-mask protest in Rome while we were there). My disabled persons railcard got both me and my sister as my designated companion in free, while my nephew’s student ID (he starts at Oxford this year) got him a discount.
An attempt after exploring the site to find a different way back to the exit was foiled by the fact that the site borders farmland which is under cultivation, and we eventually went back into the site by a not strictly legitimate route and headed back.
My ticket for the return journey got swallowed by an automated ticket gate and a new one had to be bought, and I was sufficiently rattled by the experience that I failed to don my mask before boarding the train back (my apologies to the passengers on that train for the minute or thereabouts that I was aboard while not masked up). While we were waiting for the bus from the train station at Rome a pick pocket targeted my sister and got away with a fifty euro note but fortunately not with her phone and wallet.
I have lots of pictures from Ostia, and end this post as is usual for this series with a waterfall video from Tivoli.
Continuing my “100 cricketers” series with the openers from my 4th XI. Also features mentions of Afghanistan vs Ireland and the womens game between Sri Lanka and England.
Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. Last time I took the bowlers from my fourth XI out of position because one of them was in the news that day, so now I move on to the opening pair. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, and the post introducing the 4th XI can be found here. There are two other bits of business to attend to as well…
CONGRATULATIONS AFGHANISTAN AND COMMISERATIONS TO IRELAND
Yesterday I outlined ways in which things might get tense in the test match between Afghanistan and Ireland. In the event, none of those possibilities eventuated as Ihsanullah (65 not out) and player of the match Rahmat Shah (76 to go with his first innings 98 – he now has a test batting average of 48 from two matches) took Afghanistan to 144 before the second wicket fell, and although a third fell in the dying embers of the game as well, there was no way back for Ireland and the final margin was seven wickets. In winning their second ever test match Afghanistan have made a better start in this form of the game than any side since 1877, when the original combatants Australia and England each won one match (Aus the first, Eng the second). Ireland can also take plenty away from this game, having fought hard all the way. They now travel back to more familiar climes, and their next test match assignment is against England, which will be very tough for them, but I do not expect them to simply allow themselves to be steamrollered by their much more experienced opponents. A full scorecard can be viewed hereand a match report here.
ENGLAND WOMEN SEAL SERIES IN SRI LANKA WITH A MATCH TO SPARE
Sri Lanka won the toss and batted, but that was about all that went right for them in the second game of this three game series after they had been walloped in the opener. England restricted them to an inadequate 187-9 from their 50 overs, spinner Alex Hartleytaking 3-36, while Anya Shrubsole was parsimony personified with 2-21 from her full 10 overs. Amy Jones then blasted 54 off 39 balls to put her team in an unstoppable position, Lauren Winfield following up with 44 off 41, while Tammy Beaumontplayed the anchor role with 43 off 60. Heather Knight was unbeaten on 20 and Danielle Wyatt13 when England coasted home with six wickets and 99 balls to spare. Even in the absence of Brunt, missing with a back problem, the England women were simply too strong for their opponents. It is hard to see this series finishing anything other than 3-0 to England, so dominant have they been in both matches so far. A full scorecard can be viewed here and a a report here. Now on to the business part of the post, starting with…
Many years ago the England Women were playing against their Australian counterparts and being given a thorough beating (as I recall, Lisa Keightley had contributed a century to what was by the standards of women’s cricket at that time a huge total of in excess of 250), but one person did not surrender tamely, battling on with virtually no support, and the age of just 17, to make 74 and given England one positive to take from the match. This was Charlotte Edwards and that was merely the first of many big performances she would produce over many years.
Edwards came into women’s cricket when it was still regarded by most as something of a joke, and then players still wore skirts. By the time of her retirement the game was being taken properly seriously.
As well as being a heavy scoring opening batter and a magnificent captain (note that asterisk against her name in this XI) she also bowled occasional spin, on one occasion in an ODI effectively enough to take 4-30.
6167 test runs at 41.95, and a record as an ODI opener that included the rare feat of six sixes in an over (Daan Van Bunge of The Netherlands was the victim), his achievements speak for themselves. He suffered from the fallout around the disgraced Hansie Cronje, being one of two players (medium pacer Henry Williams was the other) who had been suborned by Cronje into underperforming in a match. When it came to it neither actually did so – Gibbs scored 74 in the game in question.
Perhapos Gibbs’ most remarkable innings came at Johannesburg after Australia had scored 434 from their 50 overs. South Africa knocked them off, Gibbs scoring over 170. Medium pacer Mick Lewis for Australia had in the indignity of being butchered for 113 from his ten overs.
The next post in this series will look at numbers 3, 4 and 5 from my 4th XI, but now it is time for…
The latest installment in my series about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post covers the botanic gardens and Carolina Rediviva.
Welcome to the next installment in my series of posts about my recent holiday in Sweden. This post deals with the start of the full day I had at my disposal in Uppsala.
Although I was booked in for a second night in my dorm room I still had to do some sorting out before setting forth to continue my explorations of Uppsala – I stowed my larger bag in a recognized storage slot and put everything else I did not wish to carry with me, including most of my books, on my bed, which as I would be using it again the cleaning staff would not need access to. Having thus ensured that the staff would be able to do their jobs with no obstruction it was time to set off. My initial target was the Linnaeus Museum,the former home of Carolus Linnaeus, but that was closed when I got there.
My next target was the…
THE BOTANIC GARDENS
The Botanic Gardens in Uppsala have an entrance just opposite the Carolina Rediviva which features later in this post and at their other extremity abut on to the grounds of the Evolution Museet.
THE START: FORMAL GARDENS
If you enter the gardens (admission free) at the Carolina Rediviva end you are first greeted with a very formal looking and generously spaced garden which reveals nothing of what lies ahead.
THE SECOND SECTION – A VARIETY OF GARDEN TYPES
The second section of the botanic gardens offers much more by way of variation. I did not venture into the greenhouse like building that houses the tropical plants, but everything else that was there to be seen I did see. Here are some photographs from this area…
Deep within this second section of the botanic gardens is a real treasure…
A SMALL EDUCATIONAL SECTION
I was drawn towards this subsection by the only indications of its existence to be visible at a distance – two information boards and a very distinctive sculpture. As I soon found out, these were just the tip of the iceberg…
I concluded by visit to the botanic gardens with…
SOME FINAL PHOTOS
Here are the last of the photos I took in the botanic gardens…
THE EVOLUTION MUSEUM: A PLEASURE DENIED
I had been looking forward to seeing what the Evolution Museum had to offer (a natural history museum in the home town of Carolus Linnaeus – surely it must be good). Unfortunately, I discovered that it was closed for renovations, so I missed out on seeing exhibits that include the largest collection of dinosaur skeletons anywhere in the Nordic countries. Making my way back towards to the town centre to visit the old home of the aforementioned Linnaeus I paid a visit to…
THE GREAT LIBRARY OF UPPSALA
The Carolina Rediviva to give it its proper name is home to 5,000,000 volumes. On the ground floor is a small exhibit of its greatest treasures, the centre piece of which is the ‘Silver Bible’, a 1,500 year old bible which was captured by the Swedes from Prague in 1648. A 17th century Swedish goldsmith crafted the cover that now adorns it and gives it its name. I do not have a photograph of it because after I had taken three photographs of the exhibits I was told that photography is not allowed due to the potential damage done by flashes (I never use the flash anyway, but it was clear that I could not win the argument). However, while I fully accept the argument for banning flash photography in such a place, a blanket ban on photography seems excessive (the Uppsala University museum, which I covered in this post, takes the sensible course of banning flash photography but permitting photography without flash). Here are my photographs from the Carolina Rediviva…
Although the museum was closed for lunch, necessitating a return at the end of our circuit round Mystra, the Cathedral provided many excellent photo opportunities. I will be devoting a whole post to the frescos I saw elsewhere, but this place warrants coverage all of its own…
In ancient times this was home to a temple and death oracle of Poseidon (the ruins of which can still be seen), and was a notorious spot for ship wrecks. At least one reasonably eminent Roman had a villa here as there are some old mosaics left from his tenure. The end of the Greek mainland is signalled by lighthouse, which is moderately attractive. Being in the driest most arid part of mainland Greece, the path is as one would expect bare and rocky, but I was able to walk it in beefed up flip flops.
This region also contains my nomination for the most desperate attempt at cultivation I have yet to see evidence of – indescribable, so wait for the photo…
Finally we have reached the first major trip of the holiday, a visit to ancient Messene and then on to Methoni. Messene is such an extraordinary site that I will leave my photos to tell as much of the story as they can, save only to mention that tickets for two OAPs and an adult left us with change from 10 Euros….
Greetings from the sea front at Stoupa on the Mani peninsular where I am on holiday. Due the fact that I can only connect to the internet when in Stoupa my posts will be somewhat sporadic, and will come in bunches (eight in total today if the internet connection and my laptop battery both hold out).
Owing to the fact that my flight out left Gatwick at 5:40AM on Tuesday, I departed King’s Lynn on the 21:37 train on Monday, and achieving precisely the set of connections indicated by both thetrainline and google maps (King’s Lynn – Finsbury Park – Victoria – Gatwick), I arrived at the airport at 00:45 and sat down to wait until I could move towards my flight. After a few trifling delays, the flight took off a tiny bit late, and therefore arrived at Kalamata at 11:10 local time rather than just before 11 as scheduled. Still, I had a seat and got a drinkable and not too extortionate coffee, which is the best to be hoped for when flying with squeezy jet.
I also managed to stay awake until a reasonably sensible time of night, so adapting to Greek time without too much of a hitch. Here are some early Greek photos…