I didn’t try to take any decent pictures today. We finally visited the National Gallery’s special exhibition from the Palace of Versailles in France, an exhibition that has been running for months – and finishes soon – but we missed because of travel.
I have NEVER, not in 3.5 decades of visiting the NGA, seen a queue like the one for this exhibition. It literally stretched from one end of the building to the other. We were touching the exit door!
So, here are two quick snapshots. There were so many people there I didn’t even try to take a clear shot. The chair in the second picture belonged to Madame de Pompadour, and the desk belonged to the Dauphin.
Le squelette joyeux – 1890s
We had a public holiday today. I think it used to be the Melbourne Cup holiday, but the ACT Government moved it and renamed it. Whatever it is, it’s just an excuse to not go to work!
I went with my parents to the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra, which – despite being called a “memorial” – is actually a huge war museum to rival those anywhere else in the world.
The first picture is of some of the Victoria Cross soldiers’ uniforms. The one on the left belongs to giant SAS Special Forces soldier Ben Roberts-Smith. I had to get a blurry photo just because it’s so huge!
It was SO crowded today, with a gazillion tour bus-loads of visitors. It’s interesting watching people who have never been there before. There were actually people today who were walking around crying, that’s how moved they were.
My father is a war veteran, so we occasionally drop by and just look at a couple of things (usually things involving the Vietnam War) and then go for a glass of wine! It’s free, so it’s easy to do. However, this is the first time I’ve been where they had a teeny bit of security at the entrance.
The main reason we went is because Mephisto, a World War One tank, is on loan to the museum at the moment, and we hadn’t seen it before.
What’s really upsetting is that at the entrance there’s a boat from the Gallipoli landings, and every time we go there, everyone is running their hands all over it, despite being told not to. It’s astonishing how disrespectful people can be to such important historical pieces.
This is about the biggest day of the year for Spello, so we walked around the less busy sections. The town still has Roman gates etc. There are gates and towers from about the time of Jesus (if that’s what you believe). It was very hot!
A picture from the centuries-old monastery complex in the centre of the city.
I don’t know if anybody else feels this way, but when you walk through those old churches and there’re all the ancient stone or marble grave markings on the ground, worn away by centuries of people walking on them, I feel terrible. I probably look like an idiot jumping around or over them, but I don’t want to add to the destruction!
Bologna has some centuries-old towers that lean several metres. If you are feeling energetic, you can still climb the tallest one (the one in the picture is the small one!). I didn’t do it!
The Golden Gate in Kyiv, Ukraine on this rainy afternoon.