Christmas parties, postal strikes, train strikes, freezing weather, hanging lights, writing cards and wrapping presents, eating warm mince pies with cream and drinking mulled wine... it must be Christmas! Oh, and what a finale to the World Cup! I have never seen a final as exciting as that!
I also listened again, this time in the comfort of my own home, to Judi talking to Gyles, but this was the Christmas edition. I went to see the live show earlier on this year and it was so fab, I couldn't resist watching again. I love Dame Judi Dench!
Merry Christmas one and all!
This trip really got me into the Christmas spirit. I've been feeling so stuck and not as festive as usual and I know I needed to get out of my comfort zone and do some travelling. It works its magic every time.
We started the tour with a bit of a heavy one, visiting Lukiskes prison (which only closed in 2019) and then the KGB prison and museum, but I felt it was necessary if you want to learn about the country's past - a bit like the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide prison and museum in Phnom Penh - heavy and deeply upsetting but so important to understand what a country has been through. The contrast between what Lukiskes was (a horrible prison full of the worse kind of people) and is becoming (an entertainment venue) is quite difficult to comprehend and learning about the torture that went on in the KGB prison is unsettling and horrific. I told you it was heavy!
We ended our first day taking a tour of some of the TV series "Chernobyl" filming locations and sets. I haven't seen the show but it's on my list now.
Day two was the morning exploring Trakai castle and the afternoon a walking tour around the old town including a visit to the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. It was so snowy and Christmassy!
And I'm not saying anything about England Vs France, except... that referee was shocking.
So here I am waking up in Vilnius on a short introductory tour of the country Lithuania - I think this is my 44th country - and I've had about two hours sleep! We got to the hotel around midnight and some of us decided on a little pub crawl. Always a nice way to ease into a new group of people who have never met before. Seeing the old town all christmassy with a smidge of snow was lovely. We tried out Who Hit John, The Piano Man and Mr Pub before hastily making our way back to the hotel as the temp was dropping fast and it was freezing with the wind chill!
I have a jam packed itinerary ahead of me so I really need some coffee, but not before mentioning that England beat Wales and then beat Senegal to get into the World Cup quarter finals!!! And I've booked a couple of comedy gigs for next year - Dawn French's "Dawn French is a huge T*AT" and, with my sisters, off the back of seeing Joanne McNally in October and finding it a riot, "My Therapist Ghosted Me" which Joanne is doing with Vogue Williams - and I love their podcast together of the same name. They laugh so much and it's infectious. They have definitely helped me adjust to working from home. I'm also still waiting for some more 2023 London dates for Ricky Gervais's new show "Armageddon", but so far no luck.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.