Whilst visiting Lisbon I was particularly taken by the beautiful Portuguese mosaic pavements that adorn the city.
Today they are still made by hand and are part of the country’s heritage and identity. They certainly add a wonderful charm to the city.
Just over a year ago, I accompanied David on a work trip to Lisbon. I really did not know what to expect. Lisbon doesn’t seem to get the publicity that a lot of other European capitals do.
But wow, does it have it all…good hotels and restaurants, culture and history, night life (not that I saw any) and entertainment, great shopping, museums and art galleries, wonderful service and fantastic value for money.
I just loved wandering the streets of this culturally rich and charming city…it really is a photographer’s delight.
I think this is the beginning of a long love-affair. I’ll be back for sure.
Have you ever been surprised by a destination either good or bad?
Online magazines have been around for a while now. They have always seemed like such a great concept but to be truthful I have never really got into them. I usually browse a page or two and think I’ll read this later, and yep…that never happens. Until this week! Finally there is an online magazine called Wayfare that ticks all the right boxes for me. The perfect blend of travel, lifestyle and photography. The contributor line-up is impressive. Let’s hope this magazine is here to stay. I’m hooked.
I don’t let my travel agent find our accommodation. I love to search the internet for hours, sometimes days until I have found just ‘the place’, myself. That way I know all the pros and cons and there are no surprises. I’m rarely disappointed. I love finding value for money. To me that does not always mean inexpensive. Location and experiences add great value to a property. In saying that, the fashion forward Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, NY is pricey but great value.
Maddie and I loved our stay here, back in December. We loved the fact that The Crosby is elegant and quirky yet entirely cosy. It totally felt like home. Warehouse-style windows and contemporary artworks sit comfortably alongside classic oil painting, plush sofas and vases of freshly cut flowers. And of course, I love designer/co-owner Kit Kemps uninhibited use of colour.
We were impressed by the special touches, like these gigantic chocolate covered strawberries and being able to order fresh popcorn for our movie night.
One of the best things about The Crosby is location, location, location. It’s situated on a quiet cobbled street in the heart of New York’s vibrant SoHo neighbourhood (between Spring and Prince Streets and one block behind Broadway). You couldn’t be more in the thick of things, surrounded by shopping, restaurants and some of the best art galleries in New York. It has a very cool, urban New York vibe. We’ll be back for sure.
These photos were taken on a trip to Cinque Terre, the string of five villages along Italy’s Riviera, in 2005. We stayed in Vernazza which I think is the most charming of the seaside villages. The photo below was taken out the window of our apartment.
Since falling in love with this endearing stretch of the Mediterranean coastline I have been longing to return…longing to return with my DSLR camera. It’s a photographer’s paradise.
Recently, I was shocked to discover that on October 26, 2011 a freakish rainstorm brought flash flooding and landslides through the town, gutting nearly every business, and filling the ground floors with mud. It is so sad. So much uncertainty now surrounds Vernazza’s future.
Here is some footage of the disaster.
Rick Steves (American Travel Writer) who put this region on the tourist trail, believes we can help by visiting the Cinque Terre in 2012 and by donating to local relief groups.
I wish I was in Paris right now. I’ve been longing for a French baguette. I want the real thing, with the crispy chewy crust…where they are so delicious and moreish that you eat the whole thing!
What has your heart been longing for? Paella in Spain? A hot dog in New York? Laksa in Singapore?
I really recommend staying downtown in New York City, as it is away from the shopping madness of midtown/uptown. You really get to feel like a New Yorker rather than a tourist. We frequented the Birdbath Bakery in the heart of SoHo for tea and muffins and it was fun watching the locals come in to grab their morning fix!
Birdbath Bakery is on the grounds of the former Vesuvio Bakery, a legendary, old, Italian family-run operation, with no new signage. So I almost missed it. Thank goodness for Maddie’s navigational skills.
Their muffins are something else. Our favourites were the Blueberry Cornmeal and the Raspberry Bran Muffin, and we sampled a few! We did try their famous cookies too and boy are they good – crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Just how a cookie should be.
Birdbath bakery – 160 Prince Street, SoHo
No visit to New York City is complete without a trip to MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art)!
The museum highlights the best of modern and contemporary art, showcasing the evolution of artistic expression through the 20th century and into the 21st century.
We loved seeing famous artworks by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Andy Warhol, to name a few.
It’s no wonder MOMA makes the best museums in the world list!
What are your favourite Art Museums?
Whilst I was in London in October I took a Mystery Photo Tour with Hairygoat Tours (funny name, hey). My mystery tour ended up being in the financial district, discovering the often un-noticed and unexpected treasures, including a beautiful church and garden.
It was not instructional, so there was not too much in the technical help or composition department. I think I prefer photographic tours where the leader is a professional photographer and can be a little more directional. All in all though, it was a nice way to spend an afternoon with my camera.
On our Nov/Dec trip to New York, I stole someone’s suitcase!!!
Not intentionally, but all the same, some poor person was standing at the baggage carousel in Los Angeles for what probably seemed like forever until the steady flow of bags on to the conveyor belt slowed to a trickle, then stopped. And their bag was nowhere to be seen.
And I was the culprit! It must have been one of the very first bags to have been unloaded! And in my half awake state after the 13 hour flight from Australia, I saw a blue bag come around straight after my khaki one. I remember thinking how fortuitous it was that our bags came out together. Being in a rush to get through customs and drop our bags back off and head to terminal B to make the connection, neither Maddie nor myself noticed anything astray. When we handed the bags over to the baggage staff, they noticed that one bag was only tagged through to Los Angeles and the other to New York. We questioned how that could have happened and no-one seemed phased. They said we just had to go up to the departure check in on level 3 and get the bags re-checked in there! I then explained to the check in staff how weird it was that one of our bags was not checked through to New York and gave them our luggage claim tags (you know the tags that identify your bags by matching the numbers to the tag on your luggage). Obviously I wasn’t the only one half asleep! They rechecked both bags reassigning them with new numbers, no questions asked!
When it was time to board our flight on to New York, we gave over our boarding pass and the lady said ‘Oh you didn’t pick up one of your suitcases in customs, but don’t worry we checked it through for you to New York’. Maddie and I looked very puzzled and I replied that we actually did pick up both bags. The lady replied back ‘Oh there must be someone else with the same name’, and we thought nothing more of it. Well that was until about 2 hours into the flight when I leant over to Maddie and said ‘I’ve had a terrible thought that I may have grabbed the wrong suitcase’. She said ‘Oh Mum, don’t be ridiculous’.
When we arrived in New York, I discovered that I was a thief. I took the stolen bag straight to the lost luggage department and made sure they tracked the owner of the bag and send it back to Los Angeles. I still can’t believe I did it, especially when the bag was nothing like our bag. Well it was blue (I will give myself that) but it was half the size of ours and it had a black luggage strap around it and ours had an orange one?
I feel so bad and will probably be in therapy for the next 10 years.
Have you ever had missing luggage? Or perhaps taken the wrong one?