The Gerrard Chronicles 2000

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Traveller's Tales


The Anglo-German Family History Society (who's web site we host) makes these highly enjoyable, family-outing type coach trips to Germany occasionally & on December 10th 1999, we set off to Boppard, a lovely village on the Rhine, from which we visited the markets at Ahrweiler, Koblenz, Rudesheim & Boppard's own. We bought decorations, because the Gerries really do top quality ones, the like of which are unobtainable in England. We also had two boat trips, the evening one having a dance floor. As usual, it was very cheap & the hotel, otherwise very good, economised on the food but we have learned to expect that!

Ahrweiler Xmas Market

A stall in the Ahrweiler Xmas Market

Avis on the Rhine boat


While the weather was not perfect this February, it was much better than our previous trip to this Mecca of skiing. Even so, Ken only managed one of their super-difficult runs & found it, well, super-difficult & thinking maybe 56 is a bit old for this sort of thing. Avis had thought to retire from skiing (again) but decided late to join Ken in his chalet, a new experience she much enjoyed, including the afternoon tea & cake one gets in chalets. The other guests were mostly non-oiks, fortunately & Chalet Murr was better than the Hotel Grischuna we used last time. Avis has now given up thoughts of retiring from skiing altogether. The World Cup arrived, amid much amateurish hoopla & we actually saw a race live, concluding that you see them better on the telly.

Avis in the Rendl ski area.

Ken on the way down

St Anton welcomes the World the frequent rain.


Ok, so we are not thought of as Sporting Types, with good reason. However, the ski racing & the Tour de France has us both glued to the telly.


To get away from the pressure from the kids in late June, we made a trip to Dolgellau (for our foreign friends, that is pronounced 'Dolgethly') in Wales to explore this area for Avis, who did not know it. The collapsed main road meant that even getting there was a Welsh Pass adventure. We walked across the Barmouth bridge for views up the Mawddach estuary & stayed in Malvern on the way back.

Cader Idris & Tyrau Maw
from Barmouth Bridge


We made a trip to Liverpool (via Edinburgh, where we had a bit of business) to do more Daniels research & have set him up a proper web site, Hit this to link there. Apart from hours spent in the Walker Art Gallery, pouring through & copying material, we walked the streets looking for Daniels locations, having already visited his 1st marital home in Runcorn. We found one of his pubs, the house he was apprenticed in & the Royal Institution, where he first received some education which is now the racial awareness unit! The web site contains everything we could find out, both from this & last year's trip & we hope, will continue to expand. We later visited the Victoria & Albert Museum store to look at more William Daniels' paintings, including 'Keen as Hamlet' & 'George Stephenson'.

The Liverpool Royal Institution


On May 3rd, we flew Easyjet to Malaga, grabbed a hire car & headed up into the Alpujarras, the valley system south of the Sierra Nevada & very interesting. Still the poorest part of Spain, one could see how they used to grub a living from much-terraced hillsides & we saw a mule-drawn plough which was not a heritage stunt. We stayed three nights in Bubion at 1300 metres (the Villa Turistica - no concession to the Cold - snowline at 2000m but the food ok), doing a walk up the valley & a tour of the Alpujarras region, going down to the unattractive coast, where the plastic-covered agriculture reaches as far as the beach. The ham-curing village of Trevelez at 1400m was a revelation - pure Mediterrannean with no concessions to the altitude.

Bubion from above & looking South

Antequerra from its own Alcazaba 

Then, off in pouring rain to Granada, where, with extreme difficulty, we found the exquisite Hotel Carmen de Santa Ines in the old Albacin area opposite the Alhambra, the target of the visit. Next day, we thoroughly explored it, which takes over six hours. This early in the year, tickets are not a problem but they are later. Vast meals were very cheap, even though this is Euro-land.

Avis at the top of the Alcazaba (fortress part)

The Generalife (private palace of the Moorish boss man)

This left us two unbooked days. After examining the still snow-covered Pradollano ski resort above Granada, we drove off West to Antequerra, A Euro-heritage town with much Euro-snowcem on the walls, a tourist office but No concessions to tourism whatsoever. We stayed in a commercial traveller's hotel, cheap but no breakfasts. Apart from exploring the town, we went for a trip into the surrounding limestone country, having lunch in a town, Ardales, that had probably never seen a tourist before, very pleasant. The final trip back to Malaga was also packed with interest but the valley we used will soon be flooded, as we drove up behind a dam.


Ken went to the Bisisthal on June 13th, staying at Schwarzenbach & next day crossing the Chinzig Pass. Suvorov had taken his army over it in 1799 but this is scarcely believable, as it is just another tiny track. Then, he went up to Brüsti on the way to the Surenen Pass but this was not passable without the full gear, so he thumbed over the Susten Pass to Innertkirchen & walked to Willigen. He rang Avis, who advised him to come home for boy trouble, which he did with difficulty because of the collapse on the Air Traffic Control system, so he came by train & had his first experience of the Chunnel. Avis had been through it earlier in the year on a YMCA Gym day trip to Brussels.

The Chinzig Pass between the Muotatal and Reusstal.

This is part of an alternative section of Ken's Cross Swiss Walk.

No, it's not a church now.
It's Meiringen's 'Sherlock Holmes Museum'.


The small matter of Galaxy Holidays demise was not going to prevent us having a German holiday. So, on September 4th, we flew to Berlin for two nights, picked up a hire car & drove to Munich over five days. Although there was some rain early in the trip, it was glorious after. Berlin was interesting for being wooded, quiet & little car traffic. Then, to Weimar for Goethe, List & Schiller, via Wittenberg for Luther & Dessau for the Bauhaus. On to Bayreuth for Wagner (Ken leaving plants on the grave) & a visit to the Festspielhaus, where Avis was thrilled to go on the stage & Ken, into the orchestra pit, a acoustic miracle. Going south through the lovely Frankische Schweiz, we stopped in Ingolstadt, old town intact or rebuilt, before visiting Loopy Ludwig's chateau, the Linderhof for the most vulgar experience of the 19th century. A full report of the trip is on the web. Hit this link.


Left: Tuchersfeld in the Frankische Schweiz
Right: The Linderhof in its Alpine context near the Austrian borde

Bayreuth - Wagner's Festspielhaus

Berlin - Charlottenberg Palace

Wittenberg - Luther's Church & Market Square

Weimar - Goethe's gloomy house


Ken's niece Zoi graduated from Southampton University in June & the ceremony was on October 27th, so we arranged to go out to Skiathos & all come back together. We went on October 17th to Athens, stayed over &, despite the incompetence of Greek taxi drivers, caught the bus that connects with the hydrofoil the next day. For once, we hired a car, just as well as it was quite cold at first but gradually warmed up. This allowed us to explore some roads, ranging from bad to truly terrible & which Fiat Pandas are not designed for. It also allowed gathering driftwood to keep ourselves warm with the Farmhouse villa stove. We made ourselves useful helping the Albanians (if you want anything done in Greece, ask an Albanian) to haul out Geof's catamaran. No tourists, as the last plane had left - good.

We all came back to England together via Athens for Zoi's graduation ceremony the next day in Southampton.

Geof & Lida had built this beautiful tomb in
Greek traditional style for Ken & Geof's parents

Zoi graduates

When we arrived,
Geof was extending the
Barn villa using this
delicate instrument

We beach Geof's catamaran
'Merlin' for the winter

Odos Papadiamentes
(the main street)
is now pedestrianised - good.

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Contact: Ken Baldry or Avis Saltsman, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him or he
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