Londinium Calling

It was so good to get back to London for a week!

I managed to see awesome members of family and fabulous friends to catch up and check out what they had been up to (my Aunt has taken to making awesome gemstone jewellery, which I’ll share some pictures of later as I bought some of her unique pieces).

Good people, good food – caught up with one of my fabulous fellow writers from Tuscany, AND I managed lots of revisits, sightseeing and shopping!

Places included –

  • National Gallery
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Tate Britain
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Sir John Soane Museum
  • British Museum
  • Apsley House
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Hyde Park
  • Bloomsbury
  • City of London
  • Westminster

Here are a few highlights:

Apsley HouseApsley House

  St. Paul'sSt. Paul’s CathedralBMBritish Museum


Writing in Tuscany

Some of you probably already know that I made the decision to take a holiday to Italy this year after not going anywhere for 5 years.  Some of you may also know that I decided to go to Tuscany to take an amazing chance of being taught by Sharon Kendrick in the surrounds of an ancient Watermill in the mountains.

Yes, it is and was as amazing as it sounds, and I learned so, so much.  I also gained confidence and amazing friends in the group of women that I met while I was there.  There is no excuse now not to make the best use of the time and finish my writing and send it out there into the world.

All I can say now is take control of your dreams and make them happen any way that you can.

Here are some memories of my time there – next I will blog about my trip to London on the way home.

The garden at the Mill

The gardens of the mill were fantastic, we wrote out there most of the day, and I loved the roses – so gorgeous against the blue of the sky.

Writing paradisePart of the Mill view from the walled part of the garden.  The river is to the left, and there are several buildings that form a courtyard.

Walking down

Our midweek day off took us on a hike and to the beaches of the Cinque Terre.

Vintage Kitzbuhel

Made it to the extravaganza that is the huge second hand book sale in town this week.  This happens apparently every other year – though this is the first I’ve made it to.

One of those strange moments, since we were in Scotland and these are unmarked/unposted – but I riffled through a box of old postcards and found these.  Serendipity?  I think they are from the late 1950s/early 1960s.


Kitzbuhel Panorama

Those of you that have been with this blog for some time will probably recognise this place!  If not, do have a look to find out more.

A Vintage Venetian Find

I love this, I really do.  The extra nice thing about it is that it was a gift.

I don’t know when this was made, but I suspect there were many made for tourists, and I have since seen a similar ring for sale.  I also think that they were probably produced over a long period also.

A Venetian coin bracelet, showing scenes from Venice.

I’m always on the look out for vintage guides to Venice too if anyone’s seen any…

Why Am I Haunted by Venice?

For some reason at the beginning of this week, for at least three nights in a row I dreamt about Venice.  Why?  I just don’t know.  I haven’t watched, read, looked at or otherwise done anything remotely involving Venice.  Yet, here we are.

I should explain my relationship with Venice, such as it is.  Years ago, I think it was when I was in my mid to late teens my maternal Aunt bought me a book called Tregaron’s Daughter by Madeleine Brent.  My Aunt, it should be said was, and is, a fabulous book and trinket supplier :smile:

Tregaron’s Daughter is a mystery story set in Cornwall and Venice.  I don’t know what it was about it exactly, as the book isn’t about to set the world on fire, (though I still love it anyway) but it instilled in me a deep desire to visit Venice myself when I was older.  By the age of 20, I had fulfilled that dream.

I visited museums and galleries, including the Basilica San Marco and the Doge’s Palace, I took boat rides – including one on a gondola – and walked the length and breadth of Venice.  Sadly, I didn’t take very many pictures, and I think they are rubbish, so I won’t include them here!  The fact is, when I left all those years ago, I didn’t feel that I needed to return.

So why now?  No idea, not a clue.  I hunted out my photos (eek), found a couple of guidebooks, and most importantly – remembered my Venetian Palazzi book – which is gorgeous indeed.  Even while writing this I remembered my Venetian mask that I bought (I was enthralled by the mask and costume shops), but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

I suppose time will tell, but I cannot see myself getting to Venice any time soon, time permitting, never mind anything else!  So, I have ordered myself a second hand copy of Tregaron’s Daughter (no idea what I did with the last one) and a DVD of Francesco’s Venice which is supposed to be very good.  All I know is that for now, my subconscious mind will have to be content.

Holiday to Kitz

As I posted a week or so ago, in the second week of July, my family and I disappeared for nearly 3 weeks on holiday. We went to Kitzbuehel, Tyrol, Austria (staying just outside the town) in a rented traditional style house.

It was huge, entirely made from wood, with bedrooms for around 7/8 people, a kitchen, bathroom, huge lounge and own balcony. I think we felt very spoilt indeed when we arrived! As we travelled over to Europe by car, we were able to tour around to a few different places, and I’ll include a selection of photos here. We had mixed weather, unfortunately more rain than we would have liked, but we did have some very hot days too. I had a great time, but was very tired when I got home.

I nearly forgot to mention, my Mum and I also got awarded at a small champagne reception our certificates for 10 (bronze) and 20 (gold) visits to the town. We got presents and VIP passes too! Extra nice to be spoilt by the Tourist Board!

Here are some views, I will probably post a couple more once I’ve identified which ones in a few days. I also met an interesting character whilst shopping in St. Johann…watch this space.

The view looking out to the left of our balcony of the Kitzbueler Horn mountain with TV aerial on top.

The town of Zell am See, which as the name suggests is set next to a beautiful lake. The weather was gorgeous here, there were paragliders out on the lake as well as boaters. Some of the family went out on the lake, but I hate boats, so I ate my lunch and waved 😀

There are also some fantastic old hotels from about 1903-1905 set at the side of the lake.

We also journeyed to the city of Salzburg, which has many interesting historical places and museums to visit, though I didn’t get to see too many! We had a long walk about the city, and stopped in at the Catherdral, from where I took this picture. The sell donut pretzels here too, you would have liked them 😉

Achensee, also obviously, set around a huge lake, is very beautiful, but sadly the weather was absolutely terrible, and quite cold on the day we visited. I was able to capture the lovely colour of the lake here though.

The church of the town of Soell. This is a lovely, but reasonably remote place, which has some lovely walks to take around it.

Please note as always, these images are copyright 2008 belonging to me. Please do not use/re-produce without my permission.

Swiss Railway Journeys

This post title is aka I Heart Austria.

Does anyone else watch this show?  My dad used to watch this years ago, and I know they repeat it on travel channels all the time as I often catch the end of episodes.  I know I’m not the only one that watches this show, it so reminds me of Austria, and those among you that are regulars know how much I love this country.

If you don’t watch it, start now!  By the way, if anyone can find an online video or DVD of it, let me know…

P.S, not long now ’til I’m back there, yay!

London: Final Day

I’d better get to this before the new year comes round! I’ve got an update of the Follow the Star weekend at Castle Fraser to follow too.

Well, last day in London and I always have time for copious amounts of shopping. It’s just a shame I always have too much to carry home in my bag.

We had a good look round, but I really miss my favourite book shops, so this is what I mainly went out for. Just for you people though, I took a few shots of London at night. It was colder in London than Scotland when I was there, so photography was a slight challenge.

So, it was dinner, packing and then the 3.30am coach to the airport for my flight. See you next year London, here’s Chelsea Bridge all lit up, with the beautiful crescent moon. I call this Moon Over the Water:

London Day Three: HIM Concert

After a late night, plus snacks as I am always starving after concerts, we had a late start to the day preparing for the HIM concert. HIM are also Finnish and the lead singer has done some work with Apocalyptica before. This is probably the last HIM gig I will go to, so we got there pretty early as the fans always queue early for them and we wanted a good photography spot again!

I’m pleased to say we got an even better spot and we liked the support band Kill Hannah who are from the USA. They were pretty excited to be at the Astoria (I wonder if I get frequent attendance points?) and played an energetic set, so I will be looking into hearing more of their music, and you will find a video of their song ‘Lips Like Morphine’ below.

HIM came on quite early, and played a really long set, mixed with old and new songs which I was glad about as I’m not so fond of their new stuff, but their roadies took ages to set up and I was getting seriously bored waiting for them to tape down rugs to the stage!

All in all, it was a good night, and the fans certainly enjoyed it, but I think we all would have appreciated even just a quick encore.

Here’s Kill Hannah’s video and a few of my shots of the evening (HIM’s lighting was a bit crappy):

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