Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Time Vacuum that is the Summer of 2017


Sometimes you leave it too long and you don't know where to start...

Well I saw some coliseums in June that gave the one in Rome a run for its money.

I went to Provence in June.  

I did Avignon, Nimes, and Arles.

In a nutshell, I didn't like Avignon the first day, then got used to it.

Fell in love with Nimes from the moment I arrived and now want to move there.  But I think I just stayed at one of the most fabulous hotels I have ever been to and ate one of the top 50 meals ever had a lot to do with it.

I hated Arles initially - it was an energy thing - but then I got into its different vortex on the last day.

Then when I went back to Avignon, I was so happy to be back.

It made me realise that emotions are silly and fleeting and one really needs to let thing rest and all things and people deserve a second chance. 

But not the third.

Last year I had decided to grow snow peas on the railing of the terrace.
It was going well until we had a massive heat wave in June.
But I was still happy with the results.

Forget Frieze.
It used to be amazing the first few years but now it has become a bit banal.

Go to Masterpiece.

It has got art, antiques, furniture, restaurants - the lot.
It would be a top rated museum if things weren't mostly sold by the end of the fair.
Duncan Grant series at Philip Mould gallery at Masterpiece

It is at the end of June and there are so many art previews and auctions going on.
It was one of those times where I feel so thankful to be in London.

For those not interested in art, Wimbledon is on at the same time.

I hung up my Korean straw handmade bird hut out my house.
No birds yet but invitation is still there.

Do you have a hotel that you always have a great time staying?
Mine is the Principe di Savoia in Milan.
I have stayed there a number of times and I have always just had the best memories there with friends. My trip there for a few days in July was no exception.

Plus I love how they tie ribbons to the most mundane item to zhush it up.

The service in the U.K. isn't great and in some ways it would be lacking compared to Italy.

But in Italy they have their own quirks.

I ate at this restaurant every night in Milan because they serve great local cuisine but they wouldn't give lemon for the milanese cutlets because they said it would ruin the flavour. 

Customer not always right.

I rediscovered this chickpea dish called - farinata.

It is the northern version of the fried chickpea fritter they have in Sicily except the northern version is baked.

This was a very popular snack snack and wish London would open a branch selling this healthy food.

I hadn't been to Venice in decades.

It is a lovely city but I was always put off by the excessive tourism.
I felt almost guilty to partake in its sinking.
I didn't want to be evil eyed by the local residents because who needs that?
Plus there are horror stories like the one where my husband paid 8 UK pounds for a cappuccino in St Mark's square back in 1991. 

Did a lot of being a cultural peeping tom in Venice.

I think they must be trying to remedy this because I asked for a cappuccino and was ready to be ripped off - just the once - but I was only charged 1 euro 50 cents. 
That is cheaper than London!

Funny because Heather in Lost in Arles did a blog on this very exhibit today.

I'll keep it short.

It was one of the most wonderful exhibits I think I have ever seen hands down and those of you who read this know I go to a lot of exhibits and museums on a regular basis.

That is seating by the very Axel de Vervoordt if you are wondering if it looks like something he would do.

The Palazzo Fortuny not only is a wondrous space but each floor held something wholly unique.

So much so I am determined to go to Venice again just for this exhibit because let's face it, you don't go to Venice for the food.

I loved how Venetians are people too and they hang laundry like everyone else!

After I got kicked out at closing time at the museum, I went to this rug exhibit which I nearly hesitated doing.

I mean, I like a rug, wouldn't mind a nice one, but if it wasn't for the fact everything else was closed I shudder in horror how I might have missed this.

The rugs were amazing and of museum quality but it was held in the piano nobile on a building on the grand canal.

It normally is a private apartment but as the owner lives upstairs he used his connections to rent this space out for his rugs.

It has majestic Venetian proportions with a terrace at the rear.

Venice is truly all about art.
Once again, the food sucks.

I saw a gondolier yell at an American who went for a dip in the canal and threatened to call the police. 

He said, "Venice is art! You don't swim in art!"

But of course it is amazing.

But then I found a section of public housing.

Mostly elderly people seemed to live there.
I saw as I wanted to have a morning coffee away from the crowds and I randomly picked this side street on a canal leading out to the lagoon.

I do hope that Venice doesn't go the way of Atlantis.

Then I took the 3 hour bus ride to my favourite lake in Austria.

I love Worthersee lake.
It is where I used to do my detox retreats.

But I bored of that.

So I took in the lake through the prism of beer and schnitzels instead of hunger.

wild deer!

I discovered so many new foods and Austrian food is so under rated I feel sorry for it.

 I shared my rations with the ducks and fishes.

I met Raina from the blog, If the lampshade fits, this past weekend.

We went to the Colony Grill Room which is my new favourite because they do old table side flame desserts.

I thought how I would have never met her if not for the blog which reminded me to do a post.

Hope you are all well! xx


  1. Would have murdered to be a fly on the table with you and Raina!

    1. I had so much fun with her and you would love her in person too!!

  2. Oh what travels and adventures you have had...are having. I am in Atlanta waiting for a flight home after driving up to Boston...16 move Miss Em into her new place and start her grown up life. A bit melancholy but so excited for her.

    1. It is all so exciting to hear - I know you will still visit and her too :) are you coming over here anytime soon??

  3. Do you know I would totally trust you to plan a trip for me because I appreciate your deadpan sensibility. Good food, not too much noice, lots of cushions, you understand these things and their importance. Between you and Heather I have to admit that my usual solid ice feelings about Europe are melting and I kinda want to go. F*****g climate change. But something tells me we're a lot more likely to meet in Beaufort still. Haha love your highlights of your travels and I absolutely adore that woven birdhouse!!

    1. Remember I will more than gladly help you arrange anything and make your trip as seamless as possible!!! You gotta come so you can tell them that no one will understand - gluten free or i want that on the side or hold the butter in Europe when you are sealing that deal in Kiawah Island!

  4. Naomi, I loved this post. I knew you were in Italy too. I agree about Venice, and your lake in Austria looks just beautiful. Have you gotten to Hallstatt? That is on my list. This time we discovered Lake Brienz and it was pretty too, as so many of those alpine lakes are.

    I am impressed you get to so many of these shows and exhibitions! Love seeing them through your filter. I love everything about Europe- the food, the pace of life, the beauty. The only thing that disappoints is the customer service, but I could live without that. ... I got stopped in Frankfurt for a random security check that almost took an hour, I just about missed my flight- and they told me it was the fault of the U.S. that so many people were being detained. They also held my luggage a day. This is my first experience with this and I felt bad for all the others with me that were also detained- many missed their flights. I suppose this is a new thing? xo I have to check out Raina's blog.

    1. No but it is on my list too! Yes the customer service is not American level at all. In fact I think only America engages in that high level of doing whatever the client wants. Although it can work both ways I suppose? I can't believe the thing about you being detained?? Very odd considering Germany was rather open door about its borders so to stop a first world citizen from leaving the country is just posturing which happens here and there unfortunately. Pay no mind and Europe wants to see more of you Kim! xx

  5. What about the swimmer in Venice revealed him to be American to you and the gondolier? Did you two rifle thru his/her clothes for passport? It's as if all these alleged perps go abroad and announce: "Hi, I'm an Ugly American and have come to offend local customs. Now where might I find the grave of your most revered Saint so I can take a piss..."

    I do love the straw birdhouse and envy your life's itinerary. I hope this is only the first installment.

    1. Actually I was on a side canal watching this happen but thing is why the guy swam in that water? The Thames looks cleaner than that. It was hot mind you but a shower would have been more pleasant because he must still smell. That is something they don't talk about in the summer months, with a current and a wind combo - it can stink!

  6. Hello CSW, I have been in Ohio all summer keeping pretty busy, but you make me feel like an amateur at traveling! I don't know if we have so much drama here, but we do have a lot of charm, and wonderful natural areas.

    1. Ohio is a place I would love to see - the heart of American no? Hope you are having a great summer Jim!

  7. The world is such a splendid place through your lens. Gorgeous photos. Also, you make me laugh. The food is Venice is awful. xoxo

    1. I suppose if the food was good in Venice too then the place would just be more of a zoo so perhaps it is a stealth way of stopping more people from going?? xx

    2. Did you try Al Covo near Arsenale? It used to be very good but it's years since we've been to Venice. Katherine Hepburn had to fall into a canal for a movie, can't remember the name. She picked up an eye infection that dogged her for the rest of her life. You would have to be mad to swim in the canals. Byron did of course and he was a bit crazy. Looking forward to visiting the Fortuny museum next time - it looks wonderful. Just today bought "The Unfinished Palazzo" by someone called Judith Mackrell. The stories of Luisa Casati, Doris Castlerosse and Peggy Guggenheim, think they all might have lived (different times) in the Palazzo Venier Leon, now the Pegggy Guggenheim Museum. Hopefully will be interesting reading. Sounds as though you had an amazing holiday! Best wishes, Pammie

  8. What an amazing summer you have had!

    1. You made me miss Scotland with your pics LPC

  9. You have been rather busy this summer! Lovely places you have visited... I don't really like South of France and never go there. I am not sure what people find so attractive except from the sun...

    1. SoF is the easiest sunny place for Brits to get to so it tends to be very popular. But I tend to avoid normally bc it becomes a London on Sea! Provence was not as sceney and so easy to get to on the direct eurostar to avignon. Hope you are having a lovely summer Stephanie!

  10. welcome back!!!! you can't expect good food where million mouths a day want to eat.... that's the only bad thing I can say about Venice. Too much croweded even in 2000 when I visited it last time. I just can't put up with crowds..... Unfortunely. I look forward to your next post.....

    1. Yet Rome manages to feed everyone so well! But yes it was crowded and my attempt to escape the crowds let me to public housing LOL. But I must see that exhibit one more time - it truly was on another level. Hope you are having a great summer Ordinette!

  11. I am sure one of the locals could've whipped you up something in Venice, had you asked nicely.

  12. Amazing post, Naomi!!! The photos of the art show in Venice are incredible. Some day I will see the Biennale in person!!! Also, the Korean straw birdhouse is the cutest thing I have seen in a while. Take care, Louise

  13. Gawd - I'm so behind I didn't realise you'd blogged! OK, I loved each and every picture in this, and your ruminations on things. I loved Venice when I went, but I think that was because I was there in March, so lower tourist numbers. Also I was jet lagged and had no appetite, which is a weird side effect for me, so the food problem wasn't really my experience. I just loved walking around the city, and the light sparkling off the water, and the laundry.. just like you.
    I'm very keen to get to Masterpiece one year. Although it may make me feel sad at how poor my antiques are in comparison.
    You do get around on your trips!! xx


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