It’s dirt Jim, but not as we know it…

We had breakfast in the ballroom this morning. The hotel provides a lot of choice and most of it is excellent. I restrained myself from asking Susie for a quick tango whilst transporting a full cup of coffee across the parquet. The setting is impressive but, like the hotel it exudes an air of faded grandeur….It’s a peculiar set up here. We ate in the hotel last night and found that to be seated and get a menu, we had to press a button mounted on the bar counter in order to summon a waitress. There were only four of us ‘eating in’ last night…afterwards we knew why…

So after breakfast we popped off to the Soap Museum for a tour and a dissertation on the history of dirt. This really was going to be the high point of our holiday. However, we found that an English language tour wasn’t available until 2:30pm. Crestfallen we consoled ourselves with a stroll up to a street famous for it’s Art Nouveau architecture.

Taking our time, we wandered back over the river and found a cafe on the square for lunch. Good food and a lovely, charismatic waitress. The appointed hour for our tour came closer and, barely able to conceal our excitement we sat on a bench in front of the museum. There were six other people on the tour. The guide took us through into the ‘workshop’ part of the museum, where we concocted our own soap using concentrated aromas and fragrant ingredients…I steered clear of coffee beans.

That over we began our tour. The museum is bijou and the guide’s English less than sparkling, much like her personality. I concede her mother tongue is not English and she did a capable job, guiding us from the inventors of what passed for soap then (Babylonians), through the Middle Ages, to the French Court and up to more modern times, with old communist era washing machines. She then thanked us, handed over our soaps and went off to get ready for another eager lot of tourists……But hang on we thought, how was dirt discovered and when…and by whom. We’ll never know…..

On the way out we used the toilet. It was a little quirky but missing that one vital hygenic ingredient next to the wash basin….yes there was no soap…I think that topped off our afternoon…….

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