Explore

Research darling, research!

Swanning around ancient European countries requires a savvy strategy if we are to justify enduring the 24+ hour airline food and movie fest sans sleep marathon don’t you think? Not to mention ensuring a glamorous entrance at our ancient cliff clinging quaintly cobbled village upon arrival. Now if you think getting stuck behind a pig parade is fun, consider trashing your best Louboutin heels par for the course or are still wondering why heavy baggage hefting isn’t yet an Olympian sport, stop reading now. For the rest of us…we need tactics. Big ones. And Google. Just a small amount of research can prevent a big amount of pain. Trust me, been there!

Research darling, research!

You’ve a list of places you’d love to visit while on that fab holiday and you’ve Googled highlights to add to your must see list. Now, seven further items worth the research:

1: Is the hamlet/village/township/city built upon level terrain, clinging cliffside or an ancient fortification perched atop a bloody great mountain?
Two weeks spent toting a heavy suitcase full of endless wardrobe possibilities up and down Italian cliff clinging villages and I was quickly packing excess into boxes homeward bound.

Solution: Pack light! Wanna know how? See: Packing like a sophisticate

2: Is it historic and thus likely paved with cobble stones?
The death knell for those gorgeous heels!

Solution: Thank god ballet flats are considered de rigueur in Europe!

3: Can it be easily accessed if one hasn’t a car?
Damn! Strike those gorgeous little villas in the Tuscan mountains, the lavender fields of Provence and anything else remotely remote off the list.

Solution: Day tours make great substitutes! I took one which started at a winery. Five tastings later and our party had morphed into one hilarious fun fest. For more on that crazy day and a little taste of the Luberon: Wine o’clock somewhere yeah?

4: Are there multiple platform swaps if traveling by train?
Most European trains have steps. The platforms have steps, few  of the smaller train stations have escalators and if there’s a lift, it’s usually broken. Platforms are mostly accessed via subterranean pathways. This means steps my friend. Steps!

Solution: Pack light! Allow plenty of time between connections (Oh! And here’s a story about a time I sat on a set of train steps with a bunch of perfect strangers eating pizza washed down with cheap red wine: You eez on zer wrong train Signora

5: How far is my chosen accommodation from the train/bu20131215-210108s/airport?

Just one baby jumping, phallus whacking,orange throwing, pig celebrating festival street closure and next thing your taxi driver is salivating as both meter and your flight climb heavenward right before your very eyes. (Spain, Greece, Italy, France)

Solution: Research festival and market activity scheduled at the time of your visit. Put Spain on future agenda – baby jumping is a must!

6: How close is the accommodation to the action?
The outskirts may be cheaper but a quick stroll directly through quaint streets into the hamlet heart and soul means a deeper, more culturally enriching experience.

Solution: Negate public transportation costs by choosing digs close to the hub of activity.

7: And if the hotel/villa/apartment isn’t on ground floor, does the building have a lift?
My traveling buddy’s hubby started divorce proceedings in a stairwell somewhere between the 9th and 14th floor of a particularly arduous curvy flight of timber stairs; though it must be said BOTH their bags weighed the equivalent of two dead bodies. The beauty of the actual apartment and a stiff G&T managed to stifle a potential screaming match. Just.

Solution: Need I say? Pack light!

 Logistics sorted? Prepped for a penis whacking? Anxious to avoid a divorce hearing? Keen to pack mega efficiently to make the most of that well earned holiday? You can do it!!

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Who loves Space Invaders?

Damn space invaders, the little suckers are everywhere. Excuse-moi? No I have NOT been worshipping at the wine trough thank you. You’d think so though the way I’ve been stumbling over gutters and into fellow pedestrians, for these perfect little mosaic space invaders from the arcade games of yesteryear are high up the sides of buildings and necessitating nose in sky not on sidewalk.

And I’m obsessed! MUST FIND MORE.

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But why are they there and what do they mean and exactly how many of them are there and who’s the quirky artiste who put them there in the first place? Well dear reader, in the interest of reporting in on the lesser known quirks of this fine city, I did a spot of research.

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Seems there’s over 500 of them in Paris alone, all lovingly created, planned and attached by a French urban artist who goes by the name of ‘Invader’. Having started the project in this his home city, he now pops little invaders high above the urban traffic in cities across the world, then documents this as an “Invasion”, with books and maps of where to find each invader.

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The locations for the mosaics are not random, rather, they are chosen according to a diverse criteria which may be aesthetic, strategic or conceptual. He favors locations frequented by volumes of people but also a few hidden locations. In Montpellier, the locations of mosaics were chosen so that, when placed on a map, they form an image of a giant space invader character. (Wikipedia)

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I’ve managed to find 10. My new mission has begun. I will need shoes of fine leather of course, perhaps those cute boots with the gold hardware, and that uber cool pair of…oh sorry, digressing again. Here’s a few space invaders to tickle your curiosity. Don’t ask me for their addresses for I was mostly lost at the time.You can visit the Invader’s website and Google maps also have a series that share invader locations. Must rest now, this sleuthing takes energy!

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 (photo below taken from Invader’s web site)

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Amalfi Coast…Maison la Minervetta

Style – ‘Quirky Nautical’
Setting – ‘Neapolitan Cliffhanger

So says the luxury boutique hotel bible ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’. We are talking about Maison la Minervetta, a little haven requiring the sacrifice of one’s  first born to afford but luxury well deserved, after all, how often do we just ‘pop over’ to Sorrento, Italy for the weekend huh?

20120226-133634.jpgContinuing on my ‘fabulous finds’ accommodation from our recent travels theme…la Minervetta deserves it’s ranking in the luxury bible…and in my blog!

Clinging precariously to the side of a cliff overlooking a shimmering infinity Bay of Naples dotted with boats ferrying people to the Isle of Capri and Naples, the quaint narrow streets of Sorrento village below, Mt Vesuvius in the distance, and quite simply the most breathtaking view we’ve ever encountered…if we could just tear our eyes away from la Minervetta’s vibrant interiors…Quirky Nautical? Yes indeed! Eclectic, intriguing, groovy, classy, stylish? Absolutely!

Go on! Treat yourselves, starting with a taster below, a peek at their website, then a flight booking ok?

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Maison la Minervetta…Sorrento…Amalfi Coast…Italy http://www.laminervetta.com

Oh! the love of a good Blog…

Looking for inspiration on all things bright and chirpy, sage and wise, awe-inspiring and enchanting?

People across the globe are busy sharing their personal inspirations via their blogs so why not take advantage of your technological capability to tap into this rich tapestry of creative minds?  A decorating idea, a beautiful piece of art, twee piece of prose, breathtaking photography…all there for us to enjoy and just a click or swipe away when previously only accessed via generational sharing, chats over the back fence or lovingly hand written letters.

Being an aspiring blogger myself, naturally I wanted to see what the world was blogging on about and, being time poor, sourced the most effective and efficient way to do s
o via a few very clever apps. I now knock my breakfast coffee back while getting my daily fix from a wonderful little app called ‘StumbleUpon’. Try it. Only takes a sec. A quick trawl and once you’ve identified fave themes you’ll be hooked. And while your there, grab another app called ‘Pinterest’ for an ongoing visual feast! Of course you already have ‘Flipboard’ loaded? Essential! Absolutely essential!

AND…if you’d like an immediate photography and food fix, why not get your heart started via a Blog of Sydney origins, the link originally sent by my beloved traveling companion Fifi prior to our travels: heneedsfood.com.  I love John Bek’s  Zenfolio and, being a bit of a foodie reveler myself, am quite enthralled by his Blog. Enjoy!

And Adelaide’s intriguing critters…

The perfect crisp clear day to explore further afield around this interesting city, starting with a stroll along the lush green curbed river to the Zoo…or more precisely the Pandas…huge cuddly pandas.

20110619-054511.jpgWang Wang and Funi are cute and chubby in a lazy kinda way…equally the petite red Pandas dozing in their warm bamboo sunshine. We sigh in awe, photograph from every angle then mosey on to Pixi’s beloved Meerkats intent on simultaneously sunning their tummies, digging a new 15 bedroom underground mansion and keeping watch for the next food delivery, followed by Brazilian Tapir, Peccary and Dusky Langur…

20110619-054637.jpgIt’s starting to rain…a perfect reason to divert intentions to equally intriguing creatures, this time in the form of Patricia Piccinini’s ‘Once upon a time…’ exhibit at the Art Gallery of South Australia…

She doesn’t disappoint, a fascinating feast of contemporary, hauntingly real sculptures of grotesque yet adorable hybrid animals and seductively beautiful, loved up shiny motorcycles…Pixie’s in raptures, Elmo’s amazed and the classic work of local and national artists doesn’t disappoint either for we have happened upon the newly opened restored Elder Wing of Australian Art…sigh!

It has indeed been a day full of interesting critters…thank you Adelaide for inspiring and surprising…

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Loving Adelaide’s vibe…

Explore, explore, foot sore, weary, Elmo* and Pixi yearn for a pub and ale and a little lie20110619-041201.jpg down…but wait! Too much to do and see within a short weekend. First up a brisk walk to ‘Bark in the Park’…a doggy morning hosted by Stevie Jacobs (wee weather guy) where Shih Tzu rub shoulders with Alsatians…or rather take a keen interest in each other’s pants while attempting to wriggle out of their cute woolie jackets lovingly selected by doting owners, while others examine the obstacle course and weigh up the worth…treat for completing or dignity for not?

20110619-042631.jpgNext stop the High Street…top of Rundle actually…oozing hip boutiques and coffee houses, the evening will find the same street buzzing with Restaurant/bar trawlers. A dawdle down to the Mall…tacky shops, quick exit past interesting architecture unique to the region, Cathedrals and lush parkland surrounding lakes adorned with ducks and on to the Markets.

20110619-041130.jpgLargest in southern hemisphere, we absorb the hustle of fish mongers jostling with spruiking
butchers and organic vege growers, breathe the aroma of Chinese herbs mingling with hot roasted nuts, marvel at whole truffles nestled in waxy paper beds, glistening coffee beans, bags of black eyed peas and orange lentils, rich Haigh’s chocolate nests…a visual, sensory and cultural feast for the senses. Pixie yearns for the lush bunches of flowers that populated the French markets but quickly finds solace in a box of exquisite rosy blushed miniature pears.

An afternoon trawling pub cider on tap, Pixie’s fave, a pint of local for Elmo, Crocodile Thai nosh…tasty! and home to nurse those weary feet.

*Elmo Briatore Spiderfoot – Brettles – photographer extraordinaire

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