Category Archives: Europe

Fountains of wishes

IMG_0292 Trevi fountain

Bertie and Croc were feeling a little hot in the comfort of the black camera bag. Every now and again, Bertie would waft the corner of the bag open in an attempt to create a slight breeze…..it didn’t work very well and usually resulted in more warm air coming into the bag.

Bertie lifted the flap of the bag for the third time. There were lots of voices and noise outside, which was different from the honking horns he had heard the last time he had attempted to let some air in. He braved a peek out of the bag and realised they had stopped.

There were crowds of people. He had not seen this many people since they were in the Vatican. “We must be somewhere important” Thought Bertie and went to nudge Croc. Croc was already beside Bertie, which made him jump a little. “That was unexpected!” Bertie said to his friend. “I usually have to come hunting for you at the bottom of the bag.” Then Bertie noticed something. His friends eyes were wide and Croc was staring in the direction of all the people. Bertie strained to see what he was looking at and as his eyes adjusted to the bright light he could see water.

“Oh no!” Thought Bertie, “Here we go again!”

Being a Crocodile, and being from the tropics, Croc had a certain fascination with water. Especially when it was as warm as it was today. They began to move again. This time they were making their way towards the water and Bertie could see that it was actually a fountain. The fountain had the most magnificent sculptures behind it. The water was the most beautiful turquoise blue and Bertie had to admit it did look very inviting.

Bertie began to look around for some clues as to where they were. Croc began to look around for an escape route to the fountain. He wasn’t quite brave enough to make his way out of the bag and pick his route through the crowds. Bertie saw a sign. “Oh my” He thought. “This is the Trevi Fountain.” He explained to Croc. “It is one of the most famous fountains in the world!” Croc continued to look at the crystal clear waters. Bertie carried on explaining that if you throw a coin in the fountain you will return to Rome. Some people even believe you can make a wish and it will come true! Croc thought, if you throw a crocodile in the fountain they will be very happy indeed and that would definitely be a wish come true!

They were achingly close to the water now and Croc, in a fit of bravery, made a leap for freedom. He tumbled down onto the railings. He began to make his way towards the water and away from Bertie’s shouts. A man, not noticing the small crocodile knocked Croc and sent him sliding further along the railing. He bumped into the arm of a lady and then fell a few inches onto the concrete below the railings. He began to feel scared. He started to forget about the water as he tried to dodge the people who were crowding around him.

“Eek” Croc squeaked as he was nudged again, this time back towards the direction he had just travelled from. He covered his eyes then felt a soft pair of hands on him guiding him to safety. It was Bertie. Croc grabbed onto his little friend in a fit of relief and let himself be led back to the safety of the camera bag! Thank goodness for good friends, thought Croc as he snuggled bac into the safety of the bag. Bertie closed the zip just in case Croc got any more ideas and they felt themselves being carried away from the crowds and the magnificent fountain.

Advertisements

The Sistine Chapel

IMG_0225 edited

Bertie and Croc continued to stare amazed at the intricate paintings on the ceilings of the building they were making their way through. Croc wasn’t too sure where they were heading or when the slideshow of paintings would come to an end, Bertie began to grow in excitement as he knew exactly where they were going!

One of the final ceilings they viewed was a huge dome, flood light by natural light from the windows at the side of it. It made Croc shiver a little as he looked at all the sharp spears and swords the warriors were using to kill the creatures who lay at their feet. Croc felt slightly in-nerved by this ceiling painting and he wasn’t sure why.

The steadily moving queue of people they have been following had come to a stop and they were faced with some very tight and narrow winding stairs.

Then something very strange happened….the camera went back into the bag. “Well” Thought Croc. “That was fun. It must be over now.” Just as he tried to sink back into the bag following the camera Bertie grabbed him. A confused Croc watched in wonder as they emerged into a very light room. There were hundreds of people, some sat at the sides of the room, most of them stood. There was an eerie silence. Croc shivered and looked at Bertie. Bertie’s eyes were the biggest Croc had ever seen and he realised that Bertie was still looking up!

As Croc turned his gaze towards the ceiling he was amazed! He was looking at some of the most famous paintings in the world by an artist called Michelangelo. Bertie looked at his friend and whispered that the ceiling told a religious story for the Catholic church about the creation of humans. He pointed to one of the central paintings and whispered that was a famous painting which showed God reaching out to touch the first man, Adam’s hand.

As they moved around the room, the two friends stared at the story which was unfolding above them. The voices in the room had changed from a hushed silence to a low drone and suddenly there was a loud “shush!”. Both friends looked in the direction of the noise and realised that there were guards stood at various points in the room. Croc pointed to a sign and Bertie nodded….no cameras were allowed. So that’s why the camera when back in the bag!

As they made their way out of the Sistine Chapel the two friends felt a wave of exhaustion come over them. “Goodness.” Thought Bertie. “What could be better than seeing that!?”

sistine-chapel-ceiling
Image of the ceiling in Sistine Chapel, taken from google

Swarms of bees and painted ceilings

Bertie and Croc were on the move again. The bag they were in was swaying rhythmically but Bertie was so excited he clung to the sides with his little bear paws, not wanting to miss a moment of this journey.

For Croc it was all a bit much and he was quite confused at the fuss. There were far too many people out there in the big wide world and he sank slowly to the bottom of the bag and waited for Bertie’s excited squeak to alert him to something interesting.

He didn’t have to wait very long……

Bertie didn’t just squeak once but several times and his little legs kicked excitedly as he tried to pull himself up higher to get a better view. Croc sighed and decided he had better go and see what all the fuss was about. He was glad he did!

As Croc emerged into the light of the building they were in he realised they were in a long corridor. He was amazed at how many people were stuffed into the corridor. There were several different languages being spoken at once but there was also a weird hush over the whispered words. He was several different flags being carried by individuals who had crowds of people following them like bees. Then he realised Bertie was silent and looking up, craning his little bear neck as far back as it would go. Bertie’s eyes were wide in amazement, a look Croc had not seen on his friends face for a long time now.

Croc twisted to lay on his back…..looking up wasn’t his strong point. His eyes grew wide too. The ceilings were covered in paintings. Hundreds of them. All blending into one another in a massive story line. There were intricate decorative patterns all around each painting so they all had their own frames but were interwoven at the same time. There were paintings of people, animals, scenery….so much to take in!

The two friends found themselves being carried along in the wave of people. There seemed to be one direction to go and they were heading that way. Bertie and Croc watched the ceilings roll by like a slideshow.

Where will they go next and what will they see? They both wondered silently.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The bigger picture

2017 06 ROME 3d map IMG_0199

With Croc and Bertie safely back in the camera bag the two friends continued on their tour of the Vatican museum in Rome.

They had no idea how big this place actually was! The map which had been stuffed into the camera bag beside them gave them some clues that there were lots and lots of corridors and hidden locations to visit. It was all in a different language to the ones Bertie and Croc were use to and they couldn’t quite make out where they were or where they were heading.

Occasionally, Bertie would peep his nose out of the camera bag and see if he could work out where they were now. Croc had found a tissue at the bottom of the camera bag and was distracted trying to dry himself on it after his recent watery experience.

Bertie gave Croc a little tug, which Croc now knew meant “come and have a look at this”. Grumpily Croc climbed his way to the zip in the top of the bag and peeped out.

Right in front of the two friends was a wooden table with lots of mini houses on it. Croc shrugged and was about to sink back into the bag when Bertie grabbed hold of him and started pointing out places they had been. The little structures on the wooden board looked just like the grand houses and towers they had been posing in front of. Croc began to realise that this was a very special kind of map, once which showed a 3 dimensional view of where they were visiting!

Excitedly Bertie pointed out where he thought they were now and where he thought they were heading. He explained it was to somewhere called the Sistine Chapel. Bertie became quite animated as he talked about this place and Croc began to realise this was somewhere Bertie had always wanted to go but had never had chance to visit.

Can you work out where they are heading next using the 3D map?

The mystery unfolds

IMG_0185 Rome1

Bertie and Croc felt like they had been travelling for a very long time. They knew they were somewhere new as they could feel the heat from the sun warming the camera bag. Croc began to feel quite lively. He had missed being warm and happily snuggled against the warmest side of the camera bag to soak the heat into every part of his crocodile body!

When they were pulled out into the bright sunshine, it took some time for their eyes to adjust. They looked around them in amazement. Croc moved closer to Bertie. There were so many people! It was so busy. The last time Bertie saw this many people was when he was in Thailand at the temples. Croc wasn’t a fan of big crowds and watched nervously to make sure the camera bag stayed within jumping reach.

As they looked around they could see they were in the courtyard of a historic building. There were people gathering around a small fountain, filling up their water bottles, which didn’t surprised Bertie as it was very warm. He wiped a little sweat from his furry forehead and wished he had been given some notice of the heat as he would have packed his hat!

There was a large, dome behind Bertie and Croc and after they posed for their photograph and made their way back into the bag they watched with interest as they moved back inside. Bertie began to read the signs, he saw the word Vatican……

Can you guess where Bertie and Croc are yet?