Sunday, 16 June 2013

A vivid memory?

What draws one to a place?  What is it that sticks in the mind when one visits somewhere and makes one think either - I must go back there again or I enjoyed that visit but don't need to go back?

Sometimes it is memories of the place.  I will never tire of visiting Lincoln Cathedral and looking in various nooks and crannies for familiar objects, and admiring the Bishop's Eye window, and listening to the choir practising in the chancel.   Why?   Well I went to school close by and we had many art lessons sitting in the cloisters sketching; my brother was heavily involved with the cathedral for many years and is buried in the cloisters; and I could even see the cathedral, sitting as it does on top of the only hill for miles around, from my bedroom window when I was a child.

Sometimes it is just one memory.  If you were to mention Sicily I would immediately think of poppies.  When we went a few years ago, every grassy area seemed to be covered in red poppies and the memory of those takes precedence over the ruined buildings, impressive as they are.

And so I come to Arezzo.   My grand-daughter has just been to a wedding in a village close to the Italian town of Arezzo.   The moment she mentioned the place I was back in the square, waiting for the Basilica to open at ten o'clock so that I could see the Piero della Francesca frescoes.   More than five hundred years old, they sing like they were painted yesterday.  I have searched through my computer for photographs of them to put on my blog today, but can't find them.   However, I did buy a reproduction of one part because I thought it would make a really good basis for a fabric collage.   I never got round to working on it but I often look at the reproduction.

Do places hold special memories for you?  Bologna for a little back street cafe and a plate of Spaghetti Bolognaise; Balltimore for the harbour and Border's bookshop; China for the little, wizened old lady with her bound feet who sold me a flimsy paper windmill for the equivalent of a farthing and who was chastised by her neighbour for short-changing me by a farthing.  It's the little things one remembers, isn't it.

9 comments:

Heather said...

I am not nearly as widely travelled as you Pat but have lovely memories of a trip to Chinon in France. The old part of the town is almost unchanged since medieval times and so beautiful. I also have fond memories of a holiday on Rhodes and the kindness of the local people.

The Solitary Walker said...

So many memories... thousands... those frescoes in Arezzo too, and also Chinon (Carmen and I arrived there after walking and hitchhiking all day through the Loire valley. Of course I remember the legendary castle, but even more the superb Chinon rouge...)

Many of my most imprinted memories are to do with the Camino. Drifting down to Le Puy through an ancient volcanic landscape in glorious late September sunshine... Walking 40 km in one day from Belorado to Burgos with feet that killed... Crossing the Pyrenees (twice) on foot... Far too many indelible memories to mention...

Irene said...

I remember picking cherries in the orchards in the countryside when I was a kid and the farms were separated from the road by a ditch that was covered by little bridges that were ever so quaint and that I thought were just perfect and I wished to live in one of those farms. I am sure I would have had a much happier childhood.

Gwil W said...

My memories connect to mountains and trail races and long walks I've done or been involved with. I find I can remember what the weather was doing on the day, details of the campsites or b&b farmhouses etc.. I'm not very good at recalling names of places, museums, churches, streets that kind of thing. But I can recall the shape of a mountain, what the natural light was like and the clouds, the sound of the river, natural things I suppose.

MorningAJ said...

Lincoln Cathedral holds many memories for me too. I lived at the top of the hill and worked at the bottom (Waterside North) so went past the Cathedral every day. I have a replica of the Imp hanging on my fireplace.

As for Chinon, it just means rain to me. I spent a couple of weeks nearby, many years ago, and every time we went to Chinon it rained very heavily. The river had burst its banks and I remember trees that should have been on the bank being in the middle!

Rachel said...

Funny I remember Chinon too. The only time I ever went camping (circa 1973) was in Chinon on the way to the Dordogne. We pitched the tent by the river and went for a meal and when we came back four hours later the tent had blown away. We wondered why nobody else had used that spot on the campsite, it looked so nice on the bend of the river.

Em Parkinson said...

Travelling on the number 10 tram through the back streets of Lisbon in the early 1980's. No responsibilities and a sense of absolute contentment and that feeling that only prolonged continental sunshine can give you.

Hildred said...


Lincoln Cathedral remains in my memory as the site of the memorial to Bomber Command, the beautiful window, and the day we visited there with Charles' crew while on a squadron reunion. Precious memories...

Dave King said...

Ah, I do envy you having seen the Piero della Francesca frescoes! What a fantastic memory that must be! I have only seen them in reproduction, but even there, I agree, they sing.

An equivalent memory for me, I think, would be a cruise we took of the Norwgian Fjords. Quite unforgettable, the weather perfect throughout.