Turkey 2010 – Ephesus Hill Houses

Over the last 10 years or so, some high status houses in Ephesus have started to be excavated.

You have to pay an extra fee to see them, and it’s well worth it.
Some of the work is like a huge jigsaw puzzle.
The scale of the houses is quite astounding.
The fresco work is, by all accounts, the finest outside Pompeii.
My jaw dropped when I saw this.

As you can see there are lots and lots of finds.

Look, a Roman goth (although goth meant something quite different then!).
Each house was built under the terrace of the house above.
A Roman water pipe.
Lovely little cherubs…
…and a nice lion.
More jaw dropping stuff…
…astonishingly well preserved.
I thought you might like a better look at the ‘goth girl’, she even has black lipstick.
My fave was this pigeon…
…although this fish was fabulous too.

Burgundy 2008 – Auxerre

We had a number of reasons why we wanted to visit Auxerre:

  1. It’s somewhere that Grandpa and Rowan used to visit and really loved.
  2. After my recent visit to South Leigh, I’m mad keen on wall paintings, and Auxerre has some of the oldest in France.
  3. It has a cathedral AND an abbey (in the picture above).
  4. In the past we’ve always taken the wrong turning out of Auxerre, and we felt we had something to prove :-).

The limestone carvings outside the cathedral are beautifully intricate…

…the ceiling is breathtaking…

…and the wall paintings that remain seem to glow.

In the 11th century crypt there is a painting of Christ on a white horse. No flash photography was allowed down there and it was hard to get a clear picture – so I just urge you to go and see it.

In the crypt of the abbey are the oldest frescoes in France – circa 850. It was a real privilege to be able to see them.

It was nice just to wander around the backstreets…

…catching up with the odd saint…

…and revelling in the old buildings.

I was rather taken aback by this! It turned out to be a gift from the people of Redditch – to celebrate 40 years of being twin towns. Now, I admit I’ve never been to Redditch, but I can’t help feeling that they have the best of the deal!