Long Term Goal: Our European Holiday

Back in Japan, Ben and I worked for IBM, and I put in around 60-70 hours a week and Ben up to 98 hours and something like 19 weekends in a row. It wasn't much of a life, but one thing was almost guaranteed: we had two weeks of holiday when we could go to pretty much anywhere in the world, within a reasonable but pretty forgiving budget. So we had plans about Rome and Barcelona and Lisbon and New York and San Francisco and even Africa.

We've lived in Nelson for over 12 years now, and life is cruisy; my life is like a holiday every day, and Ben works only a few weekends. The only thing we didn't count on was not to have much of disposable income, particularly since I started the art thing. And because we live away from both our families, we have to go home every once in a while.

The net result is, we can't go home as often as we'd like, and other holidays are very few and far in between. In the last 14 years we had 9 days in Tonga, and six weeks in Scotland and Ireland. I had imagined, by 51, I might have visited continental Europe several times, and US a few times a decade, but we've only been to Amsterdam for one and a half days and my last time in continental US was 1987. And the situation isn't likely to change any time soon.

So today, I bought a map of Europe. It goes as far east as Istanbul. I thought I'd start preparing in the event we can go, and mark places on the map. If you know of lovely textile-related places of interest anywhere in Europe, please let me know, so I can start putting big red circles.



  1. For the UK: Bradford, in York. It used to be a centre of weaving.

    Paradise Silk Mill in Cheshire.


  2. Hm, I'm 43 and I have not been outside Europe.

    If you are passing Sweden You must not miss Dalarna or Stockholm...

  3. Thank you, Geodyne. KD, Europe is a big place. When you live in places like Japan or NZ, even though they are both interesting places, sooner or later you hit the ocean and start to think beyond. Particularly if one's interest is stone architectures and old cities!

  4. I'd like to know where Geodyne would visit in Bradford? I only got as far as Texere Yarns, after that I'd spent up and went home with the loot!!

    I'd highly recommend Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Cheshire, England. It's a National Trust owned cotton mill, showing the whole story of cotton from plant to cloth and the history of the English cotton weaving industry (starts with handspinning). You can see all the machinery in use. It's not far from Paradise Silk Mill, and both are within an hour's drive of my home!

    A friend recommended to me the Ruddington Framework Knitter's Museum, http://www.rfkm.org/ I haven't been there yet, one day soon.. (I haven't been abroad for over 20 years, but I ought to be able to get myself to Nottingham, 2 hours drive).

    Also in England: The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, http://www.vam.ac.uk/

  5. Thank you, Dorothy. Yes, the V&A. We were in London for 4 or 5 days in 03 when it was the hottest in... years? And we just left Nelson Winter, so we weren't too active; we walked around Brick Lane, central London, and went to Oxford. I regret not having been to V&A and to go see Rothko, whom I didn't like back then.

  6. One more! I discovered Bankfield Museum last year, wonderful place. I went to see a tapestry weaving exhibition, but found a facinating collection of textiles and also a collection of primitive looms.


  7. I keep having to remind myself that the trip is sometime in the future and try not to get too excited, Dorothy.

  8. I didn't have anything specific in mind for Braford Dorothy, aside from its being a faded glory of a textile centre. But I believe it's possiblwe to visit the college and perhaps the Bradford Textile Society, if they're meeting? And of course, Texere.

    Quarry Bank Mill - that's the one! I couldn't remember the name of it. And the V&A is, of course, unmissable.

    I've also thought of the tartan mills in Scotland. There are many, but the easiest one to access (if a bit touristy) is right by Edinburgh Castle.

  9. We went to the one by the Castle in 90 and 03 and nothing was happening, though we had a grand old time at the whiskey tour nearby, plus the couple dozen distilleries we went. Ben Time. Though we were surprised how much expensive it's gotten to have distillery tours in 03.

    Who started talking about whiskey again?

  10. Thanks Geodyne, I never thought of visiting the college.

    Another place in Edinburgh is the Dovecot Studios (professional tapestry weavers) http://www.dovecotstudios.com/. They have exhibitions but it's the weaving studio tour I'd love. However, you have to get a group of people together for the tour, I think they told me a minimum of 16.

  11. Wow, we've been to Edinburgh twice for a relatively extended period and never heard of it. We just might have to go to my favorite city one more time, then. (And finally go inside the portrait museum, too.


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