You’ll find the owl perched on top of the Rotulos Roura Company building. It’s an old luminous advert for a company designing and installing neon lighting. Its eyes even used to cast out hypnotic beams of light, all night long! To see the last photo in all its glorious detail, click here.
This Easter I took my first trip to Spain. Just three days was enough to dent my heart.
Waking up on a train, and brushing my teeth as well rolled past the ocean; my first sight of the sea since August. Sipping sangria and scoffing dainty tapas at a cozy bar. Drinking cheap glasses of fraught beer in a courtyard, the pavers ruptured by trees. Taking an elevator to the top of a monument and seeing La Sagrada Familia from afar. Making friends with an elderly German couple over paella. Walking through narrow alleyways and ending up exactly where we started. Eating a fat churro, filled with dulce de leche. Looking up in wonder at all the gloriously decorative buildings. My spirits raised by the warm sunshine. Seeing oodles of adorable dogs, including one particularly fetching Afghan hound. Eating patatas bravas for the 5th meal in a row.
More photos to come…
1. Good morning, beautiful buildings 2. Fresh fraise 3. A wonderful optometrist’s sign 4. I always love the bold graphic deign of Metro posters 5. A bit of grit down by the Seine 6. Lock-hunting, seeing if ours still might be there (ha!) 7. Café crème to start the day. Don’t look foolish by asking for café au lait – that’s so 90′s 8.Shakespeare & Co., style-stalking the girl in the mustard tights 9. Marvellous meringues 10. Have you seen this cat? 11. Nice typography 12. Un éclair pistache – soooo good. 13. A couple of silly-faces.
More Parisian adventures:
A few good things:
- The sunshine! It has been fantastically sunny in London the last few days, making it an utter joy.
- Thom bought me a desk for £10 at a charity shop in Dalston, then carried it home. What a guy.
- I met up with Johanna for breakfast and a seriously good coffee.
- Visiting Lounge Bohemia, a bookings only Czech themed cocktail joint. It was amazing, like being in someone’s chic grandmother’s living room, only you’re served Lavender Creme Brûlée cocktails and absinthe. The highlight for me was a Bubble Bath Martini, that came with a little yellow ducky floating on the foam.
- Brick Lane on a Sunday afternoon – I just love people watching.
- Only 3 days of work, then it’s Easter, which means an adventure to Paris and Barcelona by train. Muy bueno.
A week ago I escaped the city for a dose of the country and fresh air with friends. They don’t tell you this in the manual when you move to London, but riding the tube and living in the smoggy air turns your snot black. Gross. You only discover this when your first apocalyptic London cold. Initially this HORRIFIED me (to the point of why are did we move here) so I am telling you if you ever visit…
In Wiltshire there are no such problems. The only issue is walking around without tripping over some piece of fantastic ancient history. After traipsing through some fields of broccoli, we reached a long barrow. Built around 3650BC, a long barrow is a Neolithic chambered tomb. Inside we met a pair of likely ladies, who offered Wayde a sip of their magic potion they were sharing in honour of Mothering Sunday.
Nearby is the village of Avebury, built within a huge, sacred stone circle. This is a megalithic monument, think massive stones arranged in a giant ring, encompassing two smaller circles. It’s older than Stonehenge, and every bit as perplexing. Antiquarian John Aubrey said of Avebury; “it does as much exceed in greatness the so renowned Stonehenge as a Cathedral doeth a parish church.”
The manor house and village church were also very quaint. But before we could really poke around, the clouds started rolling in (hence the dark photos). It looked like it was about to pour, so our time in Avebury was cut short. But all was not lost. As per any adventure in the English countryside, we wrapped up with a trip to a tiny pub for a lunch of foraged mushrooms on toast, and a half of cider. Perfection.
(Photo by Emma)
Elements of a lovely weekend:
+ Spending Saturday afternoon wandering the streets of Oxford
+ Running a few rolls of 35mm film through my Canon AE-1
+ Enjoying a pint at the Turf Tavern, a 13th century ale house
+ Watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at Oxford’s lovely Phoenix Picturehouse
+ Drinking a lot of nice red wine, including some from Wairau River (a taste of home)
+ Dashing through the snow and into a cozy pub, for another round of culinary delights
+ Excellent and hilarious company
It was nice to get out of London, and relax. London is its own little bubble, and sometimes when I go into the country I have this funny feeling. It’s like I suddenly realise I am overseas! It feels very British out there in the home counties and beyond. Tea, pubs with Sunday roast, thatched roofs, hedgerows, polo clubs… It’s all very picture-book.
Blue skies and warm spells at last! On Saturday I even walked past a guy with his shirt off. While it’s not that hot yet, it’s certainly a pleasant change. May it be noted for the record, I am never doing a double winter again. That sort of thing is majorly soul sucking, and did not play nicely with my homesickness at all. But it’s all looking brighter, and I’m so much happier (No joke, I’m actually a lizard).
Viz, glorious spring:
On Saturday we went on a walking tour of London’s old coffee houses, lead by Dr. Matthew Green. It was really fun; we filed through minuscule alleyways, peeped through pub windows, and learned how the humble bean shaped our world. Care to guess how much profit Starbucks made in the UK last year?
The bar Thom works at has something like 140 Belgian beers, or more! I think he’s drinking his way through them, and collecting the caps like Pokemon:
Meanwhile I am collecting protective amulets, channeling the power of love, the jaguar and the Third Eye. The little gold one is a Merci-Merci/Liberty trinket, which reminds me of special times in Paris.
I cycled all winter, rain and snow – which I consider a personal victory. But I can’t wait to go out when it’s nice, and ride fun places with my friends. I’m even thinking of doing the London to Brighton race…
I hope you’re all having wonderful week!