Category Archives for Travel Lifestyle

15Apr2014

We Learn to Make Pasta in Bologna

Learning to Make Pasta

“My great-grandfather bought this farm just before the Second World War,” Federica explains. “He was an industrialist, importing vegetables from Egypt, and he could see that the family would need a place outside the city.” Her farm, Podere San Giuliano, is no longer a farm. It’s a restaurant and agriturismo, a hybrid farm and tourism […]

11Feb2014

A Whirlwind Tour of Italy’s Food Museums

Gelato with balsamic vinegar in Modena.

The last bastion of the four-hour lunchbreak, the home of Slow Food, the birthplace of the world’s first University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy is almost certainly the world’s most food-obsessed country. And Emilia-Romagna is, without a doubt, its single most food-obsessed province. And so, logically enough, it is home to at least five food museums, […]

29Jan2014

A Sexy, Sexy Shop

Billboard advertising sexy shop in Palermo Italy - image by David Holt.

After a slow start – an automatic handbrake? What fresh hell is THIS? – we take the slow road from Pisa to Modena, and it’s beautiful. We stop for lunch in Lucca, a walled, medieval city so ludicrously pretty and so thoroughly Year In Provence-ified, that it feels, from the posh delis through to the […]

15Jan2014

Pisa — Not, Actually, Horrid at All

The Duomo at Pisa.

Bologna is almost entirely shut for Ferragosto, AKA August. So, rather envious of the Italian approach to life, with its six week vacations, four hour lunchbreaks and all, we resolve to come back when Bologna’s actually open and head to Pisa instead. Why? Well, for the Leaning Tower, obviously. And, in particular, to get that […]

08Jan2014

Venice — Woot!

The view from Venezia Santa Lucia train station, over the Grand Canal. With Zac.

Our train trundles slowly across the open sea, stucco buildings threading the skyline, waters lapping at their base. “Look!” I exclaim, quite childishly excited. “It’s Venice.” “Yeah,” says the boy, with frankly limited enthusiasm. After ferrying from London to the Netherlands – “Look, son! Windmills!” — and wandering the canals of Amsterdam, I’m beginning to […]

06Jan2014

Accidental Tourists in Milan

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.

We hadn’t exactly planned to go to Milan. But, due to the insane economics of travel within Europe, unless we want to spend hundreds of euros on a whole series of trains connecting at godawful hours like 5am, the best way to get from Amsterdam to Venice by train is… Well, fly to Milan. And […]

12Dec2013

In Which the Boy and I Do Some Overdue Travel Planning

World in Hand

“Europe” as a destination might seem quite intolerably vague. I know it always does to me when Australians and Americans plan their month-long vacay to “Europe”. It’s a fucking continent, not a country, y’all! But still, as it so happens, after rising three weeks in Blighty, all we’ve really got is “Europe”. So, sitting in […]

08Dec2013

I Haven’t Got This Coming Home Lark Right

View of Hampton Court and Gardens.

Back in London, for the first time in 18 months, after more than three years away, I have a list of people I need to see and things I want to do metaphorically as long as my arm. Things to do are easy enough. But the people take some wrangling, not least… Well… In a […]

03Dec2013

In an English Country Garden

View of Hardwick Hall, from the lake.

We stayed up there, somewhere, around 20 of us in varying waves over the week, for a long-planned family reunion. The cousins practiced their best gurns and zombie faces in front of Hardwick New Hall, the monogrammed monument that Bess of Hardwick built as a huge F.U. to her fourth and richest husband. Not that […]

30Nov2013

To Physio and Beyond

Ducks on a lake in rural Norfolk.

King’s Cross station, like the rest of London, has been quite ludicrously poshed up, although, reassuringly, there are still the same works underway that there were when we left, over three years ago, and, if memory serves, for several years before that. Still infused with the rationality of Mongolian and Chinese rail systems, I signally […]