Monday, 20 November 2017

This and that in Venice and Seoul

A lot of people in Asia will travel far to get a scene like this and in London all you have to do is go to the parks.

When I go to Asia now, all the palaces and temples don't interest me as much as the little differences in daily life like the food shopping.

Dried fish is a very bit part of Korean cooking.
They reconstitute it like the Portuguese bacalao ( dried cod ) but also use it in stews and season it as a side dish.  It is very nutritious but of course the origins are from the lack of refrigeration.
And as such there are big variations and nuances to dried fish as seen in the picture below.
The different grades and thicknesses of the fish are a different as a cuts of beef for Koreans.

I  am in take your time and be a tourist even in London mode so I took the long way to the gym and I walked through the maze bit they built a few years ago at Kensington Palace.


The highlights of my long trip to Korea was the fabulous weather we had every day I was there - 23 degrees and sunny.

I rediscovered our Han river which cuts through Seoul.

Plus I loved this private library which I thought was a bookstore until I tried to buy a book and they looked at me like I was a weirdo and said this is a library. 
They said to look at the sign.
( the sign does indeed say library but I thought it was marketing.)
But I haven't been to such private libraries open to the public before.

I loved these traditional compacts made by a local Korean cosmetic brand.

I saw the Damien Hirst exhibition in Venice and I was confused to what was impressive.

The art or the setting?
It was the setting actually as you could have had a kindergartener's scribbles in the building and it would have look curated.

Venice was nice but surprisingly I know a few people who just don't like the energy of it.

Funny because I chose this time in November because I wanted to see Venice in the fog and yet it was sunny every single day.
But definitely more pleasant than summer.
People say the water taxis in Venice are expensive but then they go on gondola rides that essentially take you to where they pick you up.
This way - you get a boat ride, a seamless journey from the airport to your hotel, and a taste of the canals.
Don't hesitate!

I like the water but terra firma has its charm for sure.
I went to a Christmas fair and the people were going crazy buying so many decorations.
It was as if none of these people had a tinsel in their storage anywhere.
Design glut when an optometrist has to decor it up and you don't know if you entered a hotel lobby or a banker's hobby art gallery in Shoreditch.

I do like that art has pervaded everywhere despite some lateral off shoots that are eye-roll worthy.
This is a double knot traditional cloth wrapping for presents at the cosmetic store that is now a stand alone quasi museum in Seoul.
Isn't it pretty?

Please excuse the editing - if I wait until I get a hang of the laptop I will never post anything ever...

Stay well! x


  1. I love those compacts. Wow! Are they super expensive? They look it! You didn't buy one for yourself did you? I hope you are well. You get to travel so much, you are so lucky. How is Millie? xx

    1. They are a bit - but they are made for the La Prairie of Korean cosmetics and they do an annual one based on a traditional Korean craft and you can refill them. I don't have any bc I only just started using CC cushions myself but I enjoy them with my eyes. I try to take advantage of being able to travel while I can. Millie is fine and she sends her love xx

  2. Hello Naomi, Please come to Taiwan and bring some of that sunny weather that seems to follow you around! Fascinating to see all those varieties of dried fish. It reminds me of the tea leaf shops here with hundreds of varieties, yet each one has a distinctive taste to connoisseurs.

    As you photos show, there is so much good art and design around, both traditional and contemporary, that there seems no excuse for any lowered standards.

    1. Hi Jim, I nearly came to Taipei in October and I aim to go next year actually. In fact I want to go try all the tea shops and the famous types of vegetarian food along with the hot springs. I feel Taipei is another underrated Asian city like Seoul that isn't necessarily aimed for tourism.

    2. I always love reading about your travels. Those beautifully wrapped packages and the cosmetic compacts are to die for!!!!

    3. Thanks Louise, I do need to learn how to do the more complicated knots as it might be a revived trend in saving paper too?!

  3. Great photos that you’ve shared. That library is great.
    I Totally understand if you live in a busy bustling city often in an apartment or in the inner city, why you’d love big uncrowded parks with the gorgeous vistas and colours provided by Mother Nature.
    At the moment, lots of tourists are flocking to the Sydney streets where jacarandas are in bloom, particularly in kirribilli. It even made the local news.
    Travelling across a city by water really is the best. It beats sitting in a bus, in stand still crazy traffic to commute to work or on a packed train. Still love getting the ferry on a night out.
    The one place that surprises most people as a tourist haven is the Sydney fish market. As messy and unattractive as it is, there are always plenty of tourists enjoying cooked or fresh seafood.
    I hope you enjoy a calm orderly lead up to Christmas and 2018! Den xx

    1. That library had foreign books too and magazines - it apparently costs a few million dollars to operate but then it is run by a huge conglomerate so it is great PR too. But also a great place that is centrally located so people can actually use. I saw the jacarandas in IG and they do look great - LA also has them but for some reason in Sydney they look better. Venice did have some night traffic though on the canals and there was a bit of honking...hope you enjoy the summer Den xx

  4. Every photo is superb and the post flows so beautifully across cultures and items. Particularly love the cosmetic cases and the double tying - so simple and tasteful. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Photos should be edited but right now trying to do well is making me do nothing ;)

  5. I love food markets. I think the displays are as pretty as jewelry stores. I love those compacts. Very glam. The private library is stunning. But it definitely looks like a bookstore. xo

    1. Aren't food markets one of the few things left where individuality is allowed to be "organic" pardon the pun! I wish there was such a library here in London too x

  6. Enjoyed this POST VERY MUCH.............The ITALIANS do the COD FISH thing TOO!Interesting about NO REFRIGERATION.Venice in the FOG would be MAGICAL.........YOU need to GO BACK!As for the ART verses the BUILDING.........MY VOTE IS THE BUILDING!

    1. Yes they do it in Venice but truthfully I don't like it as much as the spanish way. I hope to see Venice in the fog one day and yes my vote is with the building too.

  7. Naomi, Love your photography! I think I would be charmed by Seoul and all the unique little things there that we do not have - like the wrapping, beautiful buildings, and the markets. I had no idea about the dry fish! Venice must be lovely in fall because it's just too crowded all the other times. I do think it's beautiful! Especially like wandering around and getting lost in a neighborhood there and finding spots to eat you wouldn't otherwise. Enjoy your London beauty. My friends are there now and it looks so charming with all the decorations. xx Kim

    1. You are way too generous - funny bc my brother was really criticising my iPhone pics LOL Yes they use dried fish almost as a staple and as a umami builder in all types of food and stand alone. The water doesn't stink now which is great but then there is flooding issues now. Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving Kim xx

  8. Hi Naomi
    Always love your travel posts! You do an entirely different take from everyone else. Also wonderful how good weather follows you around.
    Agree about the water taxis in Venice. They're magical. One visit we flew in quite early in the morning and just walked the few steps from baggage collection to the jetty. The water taxi zoomed across the lagoon in the pale morning light and then slowed down as we entered the Grand Canal. It was so early there were almost no boats or people about. We sat out in the open in the back area of the boat as we cruised along - I was almost breathless with excitement at seeing the buildings so perfectly. Finally we reached the hotel's water gate. All so easy - the driver handed up all our bags to the hotel porter. The start of a fabulous holiday. Speaking of fog in Venice - have you seen the movie "Don't Look Now"? Best wishes, Pammie

    1. Hi Pammie, I did think it odd people were hesitating about water taxis yet go on a 80 euro 20 min gondola ride. plus you can share a water taxi if time permits. I would do it every time if I flew into Venice. I want to see Don't look now but I heard it is really scary? and these things stay with me now so am tempted but might have a few restless nights...I am tempted though x

    2. It is truly scary - and almost certainly will stay with you if you see it. It's still with me years later. But it is a good film and wonderful for views of Venice out of season. Haven't seen it for years - so don't know if it would hold up under repeat viewings - but at the time it made a huge impression on me - and I absolutely LOVED the shos of Venice. So good on the big screen. Pammie x

  9. Your opening line really resonates with me as I've always judged the success of a city by its green spaces and London has many impressive wonderful parks to enjoy. I've traveled to cities where there were hardly any public parks and boy, are those depressing cities I can tell you.

    The knotted packaging is pretty indeed, and inspirational seeing as we are almost upon the present giving season. Perhaps I'll try to figure it all out the next time I have something to wrap.


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