This week… under lockdown (five)

Hayling Island beach huts

This week I’ve been humming that haunting hit song by The Mamas & The Papas.

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

In these difficult days under lockdown, I’ve been daydreaming about the beach. It’s partly because of the warm spring sunshine and also, of course, because I’m cooped up like everyone else at home, and longing for wide open spaces.

Where are you dreaming about travelling to when we’re able to move freely once again?

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This week… in lockdown (two)

Dreaming of a safari

If someone had told you last year that you would have weeks at home to do whatever you liked you would probably have been delighted. But it’s not at all easy being shut in your home. Of course, I’m disapointed to miss out on all the trips I had planned, exhibition previews and so on but it’s the face to face contact with family and friends that I miss the most. In a climate of fear and panic in the first week of lockdown, I found it difficult to concentrate on anything, at all. This week I seem to have made a major adjustment.

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Recycling: are repeat travel experiences worth it?

Everyone seems to have a bucket travel list. Instagram is populated with hero images that aim to make us green with envy. You know the ones where it appears someone is teetering alone on a mountain edge, admiring the panoramic view. Or standing by the ocean on a vast deserted beach. The more exotic and off-the-beaten-track the destination, the more authentic and life-changing the experience. New and remote locations are the only ones worth seeking out, right?

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Sweet memories are made of this

Just rocking up at the airport gets my heart racing with excitement. I’ve been that way since my first flight as a child (to Dublin, and on to Galway Bay, thanks for asking). When we entered cloud, I thought the engine was on fire!

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A life of contemplation: Abbey of Santi Nazaro and Celso

The Benedictine Abbey of Santi Nazaro and Celso was founded in 1040. It was also a fortification hence the disproportionate watch tower.

It seems like every town and city in the Piemonte region of north west Italy features a magnificent historical building, or two. If, like me, you appreciate classical architecture, incredible gardens and exquisite frescoes this should be on your list of places to visit. This part of Italy is so different from the sunny climes further south and it has a distinctly Gothic atmosphere.

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The Italian job

A still from Bitter Rice (Riso Amaro) with Silvana Mangano (1949). Dir. Giuseppe De Santis on the hotel reception wall

Last month I spent some time in the Piemonte region of Italy well known for skiiing in the winter and summer sports such as canoeing. I was visiting the many beautiful historic sites, more on that to come soon. In between times, I fell in love all over again with Italian style from the architecture, interior design, shops, food and more.

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Afternoon delight: sweet Biscottini

Camporelli’s a fifth generation bakery

In Novara in the Piemonte region of Northern Italy there’s a little bakery where golden, crisp, light-as-a-feather biscottini have been made since 1852 using a 16th century recipe created by the nuns in the 1500s to bake biscuits for the Pope.

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