It’s probably fair to say a single word to summarise week 13 could be ‘culture‘. All our teams are enjoying beautiful places, and have spent the weekend in or around some lovely cities and towns, each with a fabulously rich cultural life.
In Hungary, the wee monkey’s are about to reach, and the snow leopards have just left, the city of Kecskemét. The Lonely Planet Guide has this to say: “Lying halfway between the Danube and the Tisza Rivers in the heart of the southern Great Plain, Kecskemét is a city ringed with vineyards and orchards that don’t seem to stop at the limits of this ‘garden city’. Indeed, Kecskemét’s agricultural wealth was used wisely and today it boasts some of the finest architecture of any small city in Hungary.” So there you go, an indication of the beautiful agricultural landscape you’ve been walking through these past days – we hope the sun has been shining! It’s a lovely city, with beautiful buildings and a town square that’s very inviting for just sitting to rest and people watch. We hope our teams have or will do some of that. Something else to note about Kecskemét – it’s famous for barack pálinka, a very fine and much sought after apricot brandy. If the footsteps get a wee bit wobbly we’ll know why!
Keeping pace with culture are our tigers, who have reached the university town of Erlangen in Bavaria. In this town beautiful buildings take second place to beautiful gardens, and even the names sound beautiful and peaceful: there’s the Orangerie, the Aromagarten, the Botanical Garden, and the Palace Garden – this latter is modeled on the gardens of Versailles, so you’ve an idea what to expect. The palace in question is the Margrave Palace that now houses the university of Erlangen – sounds very grand, and we hope the tigers have had a good roam around (without scaring anyone, of course!).
The peacocks have also reached a place of great culture – and that’s official! Plovdiv, in Bulgaria, pictured at the top of our diary this week, was the European Capital of Culture in 2019. The Guardian had nothing but good to say about it, and we hope the peacocks feel the same! Now, I couldn’t be a diarist without noting that the very first British city to be designated the European Capital of Culture was Glasgow! Yes, 1990 was the great year. They looked around and asked what could top Paris (1989), and there was no other choice, really. It had to be Glasgow. The Queen came, Franks Sinatra came, Pavarotti came, Chris Boles came – all the greats…! We had a wonderful catch-phrase in those days – “Glasgow’s miles better”– it’s still smiling and it’s still miles better than any other city in the world (except Edinburgh!!).
Well, you Chaparda Challengers are maybe well placed to prove me wrong in that, as you’re passing through so many wonderful places, as this week goes to show. So keep it up, and thanks for all you’re doing. At the time of writing you’ve collectively covered 404 miles this week and we’ve added another £80 to the Challenge Fund. A big thanks, as ever to our donors. Please don’t forget that this is a fundraising challenge as much as a physical challenge, and we know that the Jay Ambe hospital is in need of so much at the moment. So please ask friends and family to sponsor you if they can.