May 14, 2008

Catching Up (what else would it be?)

Me on Rialto Bridge

View from the Mola

the bus

Typical Venetian Canal

It’s been a good 7+ months since Venice and I absolutely loved it – I will admit it was difficult at times but looking back with hindsight it was an absolutely fantastic experience!! I really miss the architecture, the walking, efficient public transport, Billa chocolate bars, the ease of a laid back life-style and life without television. I did miss my old housemates and Andy – though Lucy Biesok, Lucy Batten and Gareth did come to visit :)

gate with temporary light-up berlin wall

We (me, lyd and caroline) went to Berlin for travel week – absolutely fantastic!!! I want to go back next December for the 20th anniversary of the wall coming down (assuming they’ll have celebrations) and go round the huge xmas market. I really enjoyed it – really run down in some parts and brand spanking new in others …they’re still rebuilding after WWII!! let alone the cold war!! Mental. Really vibrant city though. I’d recommend the free walking tours which leave from Starbucks by the Brandenburg Gate in Paris square? (opposite the hotel where michael jackson dangled the baby out the hotel window!!)

me - being 21

There is no point in filling in the gap – there is just too much to say about everything. I turned 21 in January which was quite significant but since then it’s pretty much been work in the uni sense and in the gallery sense – actually I haven’t mentioned that anywhere on here – yeah, I work in Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum in the Pump Rooms – it’s a great job …I love it …best student job in the world and all my colleagues are really lovely. It is a bit too much at times though (this being the final year and all). I also went to Barcelona with the twins and lucy at Easter for Emma & Rachel’s 21st.

I was so bored of revision that I Googled my name …yes, that bored!! And my blog came up – it makes me ever so slightly weary of potential employers googling me as this is far from interesting for anyone but myself …though I get lots of comments for my glandular fever post from a while back lol. Anyway, seeing as I was on here I thought I’d post to acknowledge the passing of time.

I am not sure what will happen to this thing when I graduate – i think I have to subscribe to WGA to keep it. I intend to do that though – the subsription goes towards scholarships for students that really need them (seems only right seeing as I had a dangoor scholarship in my 1st Year).

Other things in life to mention to look back on in another 6 months?! Errrm… not really… I have absolutely no plans for after graduation – I’m going to take some time out over the summer to ‘find myself’ and decide what to do without the pressures of uni over me – then I’m going to try and get myself some work experience in something arts admin related (i’ll be living at home in case it requires me working unpaid …which is pretty likely) and then we’ll see where it goes. I am looking forward to the freedom of graduating – I haven’t liked having to be committed to my degree since I realised I didn’t like it in the first year but I’ve got there in the end.

andy and i in venice

Things are going great with Andy – I just wish the miles to Southampton were much less. He’s working in Surrey with his sponsors again this summer before we cycle the Danube from East Germany/West Austria to Budapest.

Pete’s getting on well with a BTEC course at college in computer administration (networking and stuff I think). Mum’s well though her tablets take it out of her and her eyes are being funny – she’s really enjoying her job to the point she’s working full time. Dad’s ok too – he’s a trooper as ever – got the garage into some sort of waste disposal unit with the new 2 week rubbish collections, still making weird meals and being lovely. Grandma is not so good – she has old age leukemia (sp?) but she’s getting there. The side effects of her drugs are worse than the leukemia. I think about her a lot. I will try and visit lots over the summer.

Titian ...legend!

Anyhow, ...back to Venetian altarpiece revision :) I like architecture more though …I should have done maths at school and become an architect (if only GCSE graphics hadn’t put me off).

Ciao for now xx
Catch up soon lil blog …promise …I’ve missed you ;-)


October 08, 2007

MANTOVA

I’m slowly getting there with the update of this thing …this entry follows on directly from ‘Ravenna’.

The train journey was a long slow one!! I filled in my scrap book the whole way in an effort to pass the time. The train to Bologna was absolutely packed!! When we got there we had enough time to grab a drink before catching our connection to Mantua – the café in the station looked out onto a Lindt chocolate shop and a large LG flat screen TV which we noticed that they have in all the stations to play adverts – the most notable adverts were those for ‘Peter Pan the Musical’; a terrifying looking stage show where actors are clearly hypnotised to make fools of themselves before huge audiences and where children are convinced to strap themselves to some kind of propelling machine in the vein that they will be able to ‘fly’ …it was a terrifying commercial. Another note worthy advert is for the Kinder ‘Duplo’ bar which is also shown on every other advert on TV too; this advert has some very memorable music, occasionally shows squirrels but always shows how the chocolate bar is constructed with a layer of chocolate, then whole hazelnuts, then more chocolate and a pretty squiggle of a darker chocolate to finish. The advert is played every 2 minutes or so!! You can see that Bologna station is a truly fascinating place!!

The train to Mantua was another slow one, seeming to stop at every station in Northern Italy under the sun. The landscape changed little the whole way there – still very very flat though the light changed the atmosphere dramatically as the sun hid away behind the bullying rain clouds and the rain hammered against the windows. When we got to Mantua the town was sodden and the locals were clearly, and worryingly, used to it :-/ On the plus side, the hotel was across the road from the station and when we got there we were clearly 2 of very few guests so we were given a large family room …the joys of travelling out of season!!

Although Mantua was blackened by the dark rain clouds we went into the town centre for a bit of a mooch; the town was very quaint on first appearance with loggias over most of the main pavements and lots of little piazzas. Gelaterias were ever-present as were the boutiques and bars. We were both still feeling it after the day before in Ravenna and neither of us could even stomach the thought of pizza or pasta for another night and eventually we succumbed to the allure of …MacDonald’s. No I am not proud of it, but a burger and fries and the familiar was just what the doctor had ordered.

After tea (and watching the news on the big screen TV in MacDonald’s which talked about serious flooding in Northern Italy and Acqua Alta in Venezia …this made me very excitable) we continued our mooch about town. Eventually we came upon one of the town’s 3 lakes but we decided to try and return when the weather was slightly less relentless. On the way home we passed a Post Office where we thought we’d post our postcards from Rome the following day.

The next day (Thursday) we went back into town for another look around and perhaps visit some of the historic buildings and/or have a look at the lakes. We were pleasantly surprised when we got to town, to find ourselves in the middle of the biggest town centre market of all time …ever!! There were fruit and veg stalls, meat stalls, cheese stalls, bread stalls, fish stalls, carvery stalls with roasted chickens, household stalls, fabric stalls and endless clothes stalls. It spread from piazza to piazza along every street and every alley. We ended up spending the morning looking round. I bought a striped scarf which could multifunction in much the same way as a Pashmina a.k.a. head scarf, belt, neck scarf, bag accessory, shawl etc. (this was for the simple reason that I was beginning to fret about Venice and the fact that I wasn’t going to fit in without one …these ‘irrational’ thoughts have since proved to have been not all that unfounded). The market took up the most part of our day. After lunch we had a look round the town to try to find somewhere to post our postcards and to post my grandma a little box of ‘Leone’ mints which she likes. This task could have been simple seeing as we had passed a post office the previous day but, alas, we could not find one! Eventually, we walked across the whole town and found ourselves at the lake again so we retraced our walk home the previous night.

We went out for tea that night – I had lasagne and salad, I wasn’t all that impressed – My Dad’s is better!!

On the Friday we decided to have a walk round the lakes and maybe hire bikes (as this was mentioned time and time again as a recommended thing to do in my Italy guide book). The sunshine decided to come out for us and we had a really relaxing day walking the edge of the lakes. It was beautiful; the water was calm and carpeted with these amazing lotus flowers. Unfortunately there was no cycle hire but the lakes turned out to be pretty small anyway so that’s possibly not such a bad thing. We stopped off half way for a little sit down in a café opposite the old ducal palazzo – this is noteworthy because I had some bread with a German looking name (it was square and a kind of flatbread which tasted, though not textured, like Ritz biscuits.

On the way home we bought lots of salad ingredients and catered ourselves – it was a really nice salad (better than the one in the restaurant the previous night anyway). Also, we bought the main bulk of our salads in these really cool tubs which explode vinegarette into your salad when you hold the box upside down and push the little vinegarette box so that you get an even covering but don’t have soggy salad leaves :) – simple things for simple minds lol.

I was pretty teary that night – I was really nervous about coming to Venice. I temporarily decided I didn’t want to come and that I was going to hate it here.

We got the train to Venezia Santa Lucia the next morning …it was too late to back out!!!


October 04, 2007

RAVENNA

Well, I’m actually in Venice now but I figured I should probably update this blog a bit first.

So, Ravenna…

We got to the train station pretty early on the Monday morning – better than being there late I suppose. When we found the right platform the train which greeted us was absolutely massive – our seats were in coach 11 and each carriage was huge in terms of height, width and length. This lovely oldish lady was getting on the same carriage and she was taking something ‘molto fragile’ to Venezia and so wanted us to put our bags on the rack first and then help her with hers. Once we’d got to our seats the awe of the Eurostar continued – big plush seats, fold down table with wood-effect, electric sun blinds, personal plug sockets and radio!! Not bad considering the price.

My seat was opposite Andy’s and there was an American lady sitting next to me – she seemed quite relieved to have met an English speaking person for a neighbour. She was telling me how she and her husband were staying with some friends who live just outside Rome and how they were going to Florence and Venice before returning to their friend’s house in a couple of weeks. You could tell she was really excited – she told me on numerous occasions that this was her first journey outside the USA!!

Andy fell asleep within minutes of leaving Termini Station but I was too curious about the Italian landscape to nod off. The scenery from the train was pretty spectacular but, if I’m honest, I was a little disappointed – I think that this is probably due to the fact that I expected rolling Tuscan hills lined with vines and olive trees and those trees that you always see in Italian paintings. The reality was a lot of run down out houses and little towns with more arid looking hills… to be fair to the country; I suppose it was the end of the summer.

Anyhow, after a brief stop in Florence we arrived in Bologna exactly on time and had plenty of time to catch our connecting train. The second train was a ‘Regolare’ – a plain old train basically. The thing that did seem fairly strange was that it had windows you can open …now I know that sounds a bit silly but the virgin and central trains of home don’t let you do that. Anyway, it was a scorcher of a day so we had all the windows open and the wind in our hair. Ravenna was the end of the line and it was one very very long journey!!! The landscape was dramatically different to the rest of the journey though as we were crossing a flat plain and the land that wasn’t used for industry was devoted to masses and masses of olive groves.

It was bright and sunny in Ravenna and on first impressions it seemed a quiet sleepy little town and hugely industrial. We found our hotel without any problem and the lady at the desk was very cheery and helpful. Our room was very basic though it had an en-suite – a strange en-suite though – there was no shower curtain so the floor of the bathroom got very wet and there was no mop or anything …ah well, it did the job.

On the first night we went to a nice looking restaurant and we had rather a lot to drink – the food was nice to the taste but, as we were later to find out, not so kind to the stomach!!

We also noticed from our wonder around the town that the chosen method of transport was certainly the bicycle …bikes absolutely everywhere!! The whole of the town centre is pedestrianised and that all get about on bikes. They even have proper bike lanes separate from the road and the pavement – Andy was, of course, loving it and I was pretty impressed too. There were some old B+W photos of the town in the hotel and with all the bikes today the pictures would look pretty much the same if they were taken again.

On the Tuesday morning we woke up to what we thought were hangovers – Andy’s being far worse than mine, surprisingly. We went off to the Basilica of San Vitale straight after breakfast …I was, dare I say it, rather excited. The mosaics were absolutely breath taking – and it takes a lot for me to say that about anything – the workmanship was amazing …and to think that they are a good millennia and a half years old!! It was while I was taking photos with the last moments of my camera battery that Andy disappeared outside to be sick!! We quickly had a look round the Baptistery next door before heading back to the hotel so he could wash and change. We went via the tourist information people who hire out bikes to tourists for free!!

When we got back to the hotel we realised that it really wasn’t a hangover and I suffered from some pretty awful stomach pains! Andy proceeded to spend the rest of the morning at the hotel while I took a look round a couple more sites where they had mosaics. The afternoon was then spent with both of us feeling pretty rough and taking it in turns to use the bathroom. We felt okay enough to go to the final place included in our 6.50euro ticket just before it closed – the Basilica of S. Apollinaire Nuovo. I loved the mosaics and really appreciated taking the binoculars (though I did feel ever-so-slightly nerdy!)

We spent the evening feeling sorry for ourselves and watched weird and wonderful Italian television in the hotel room. We watched this fantastically politically incorrect game show which we couldn’t understand – I think that’s what made it funnier. It looked to be a contest between Virgins and Whores and they had to compete in various different challenges. The teams both had very young and rather old women and many were fairly scantily clad. The audience was entirely made of men and they decided which team won the various challenges (which were clearly biased towards the whores). It was kind of sad but great – it’d be a student cult if it was on in the UK, though I imagine it could be pretty awful if you actually new what they were saying. Anyway, mental note has now been made to watch Canale 5 at 9.10 on a Tuesday the programme was called Ciao Darwin …I think a kind of survival of the fittest was inferred!!

We left for Mantua early the following day.


September 23, 2007

ROMA

Hello there, it has been rather a while.
I am in Rome at the moment with Andy though not for much longer – I am off to Ravenna tomorrow for a couple of days.

This week has been great, the weather has been fine and the food delicious – the most important things for a holiday!! Oh and the company …great also :)

We arrived on Tuesday to pouring rain!! (There were certainly flashbacks to the Spanish Pyrenees) but the sun had come out and the puddles had dried up by the time we finally reached our hotel. The room has been lovely and comfy and even has air-con!! The bathroom is also nice and the breakfast bar/kitchen is available to use ALL day …so lots of Nutella sandwiches lol.

We went to the supermarket …it was soooo exciting!! Pasta, biscuits etc …it was like England!! I know you think I’m sad Andy but I have to tell the world!!

By the end of Tuesday we felt like we’d seen all the sights already – on the hunt for a restaurant we saw the Coloseum, the old Forum, Trojan’s Column, some kind of memorial to Vittorio Emmanuele (not sure who he is), Palazzo Venezia (where Musolini made his speeches) and the Pantheon!!! We ate near the Pantheon but the food was crap …the ice cream on the way home made up for it though!!

On Wednesday we went to the Centro Storico area of the city. The sights are an endless list again …the Spanisgh steps (just some steps and thousands of tourists), The Trevi Fountain (an impressive fountain with thousands more tourists), the Pantheon again (with another load of tourists), Palazzo Navona (with some pidgeons and street sellers and tourists) and the Castello Angelo (a big fortress thingy – I think the Emperor Augustus’ Mausoleum which had far fewer tourists and a nice view over the city). In total we walked for about 4 hours and our feet were achey!! We’ve also invented a new game called …’Where’s Andy?’ – It works on the same principle as ‘Where’s Wally?’ and Andy goes and poses for a photo and then tourists engulf him and then we post the photo on Facebook so people can look for him …cool lol.

For tea that night we ate in a really nice cheapish restaurant just round the corner (on a road leading to the Coloseum). Andy had some tasty (even I agreed it was nice) fish filled ravioli and I had some cheesey pasta – YUM!!

On Thursday we were a bit lazy – we just went to the train station to buy all our train tickets in advance – the total price was so cheap …just the equivalent of 50 pounds each!! crazy stuff!! Once we’d sorted the tickets we went to the church/Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore …it looked lovely!!! And the audioguide was …fascinating and musical to boot. I don’t think we did much else that day … we went to a nice part of town for tea YUM.

On Friday we went to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s. The Vatican was like a treasure trove and all I can really say is that the Catholic Church clearly has far too much money!!! Some of the gems we saw included the Sistine Chapel, some Raphael frescoes, the discus thrower and Laocoun (excuse spellings). I especially liked the corridor which was frescoed in the first maps of Italy – they were crazily detailed and the corridor was actually very long.

St.Peter’s Basilica was majorly impressive – by far the hugest religious building I have ever stepped foot in!!! And dressed beutifully in marble too!!! We saw a mass while we were there and we also went into the crypt where we saw the tombs of all the dead Popes – Jean Paul II was there and there were nuns and lots of pilgrims praying to his tomb.

Yesterday we went to the Forum and the Capitoline Museums. The Forum is actually pretty awesome and the same for the museums. I saw the statue of Spinario!!! And the famous one of Constantine!. Again the audioguides were just great …not at all boring!!

The museum ended up taking all afternoon so we aborted the plan to see the Colossuem.

We went to the Colosseum today instead – it looks just like on the telly!! Though it is quite big I suppose. Too hot today and too many visitors for my liking though. We also went to see the Palantine and the old Cricus Maximus …more ruins!! Though interesting ones of course!!

This afternoon we went to the church across the road ‘San Giovanni in Laterino’ I think it’s called …anyway… there was a service on at the time and I thought it was creepy and then we saw the steps that Pontius Pilot is meant to have gone down before condemning Christ to the cross and there were more pilgrims climbing up the steps on their knees!! Religion is a strange thing!!!

Anyway, this post is HUGE and has taken me ages. I’m going to go now.

Ravenna tomorrow …exciting!!! xxx


November 05, 2006

6–month gap filler

Oh dear… it seems I have left my blog for far too long. It is quite temping to start afresh rather than try to fill the 6-month gap between this post and the last.

I will try and do a little summary of each month or something and I will change my background from being bright and summery to something more reflective of this time of year …leaves.

JUNE:
Revised for, and then sat, my exams. I suppose they went fairly well in the end – considering how ill I was at the start of the year and how much work I missed – I got a 2:1 (only just). It was the lowest grade for my kitchen, which upset me a little, but I suppose it is not too bad really. After exams most people hung around for the 3 weeks of fun – the weather was glorious and many afternoons were spent lying in the sun on Rootes field. It was great – a happy end to halls.

Week 10 was WSAF – we did our big paint fight, which went really well. It was a great laugh. The Dr. Faustus board also looked awesome and I can say that it was by far the best student production I saw last year.

Term ended on the 24th. I started work at Boots on the 26th.

JULY:
I spent the whole month working at Boots. I saw Sigur Ros in Southampton with Andy on one of my days off. I probably did other stuff too but I’m having diffulty remembering what right now.

AUGUST:
Again, I spent the month at Boots …yay.
I also went to the Isle of Wight for a weekend with Andy (pretty much to get me away from the pressures of work to stop me burning out). We went to East Cowes and camped on a campsite with a steep field. We also went to Ryde for a day etc.

I also went to V-festival on the Sunday to see the AWESOME Radiohead. Beck was also super good.

I went to Reading Festival the following weekend – though camping. It wasn’t really my kind of thing – I don’t drink which made me feel really alienated and I’m not that huge of a fan of indie-rock music (the toilets in the arena were lovely though in comparison to V). Highlights included, the fancy dress shop along with: Feeder, The Streets, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Muse, Radio Soulwax Presents, Peaches and many more small bands that I have forgotten right now.

SEPTEMBER:
I finished at Boots on the 9th.

I went to Spain with Andy on the 10th until the 25th. It was a really good end to the summer. We went out to the Pyrenees (El Pont de Suert) for the 1st week. It rained a helluva lot but there were a couple of nice sunny days. There were no buses to town out of season so we had a 2.5-hour mountain walk to the nearest shop. It was really nice and relaxing though.
We spent the 2nd week in Barcelona. We stayed at a fairly nice hostel on the edge of the El Ravel district. It was muchg sunnier than in the mountains and we spend most of the week walking the streets of the city. We saw pretty much everything that Gaudi had done (yay) and we did all the other typically touristy things. We (well I) also picked up a little Spanish – when I say that I do mean a little – though enough to enable us to shop in the local markets for our lunch etc.

OCTOBER:
Term started on the 2nd and since then everything has been much of a blur. In week 1 I did a fair amount of stuff for the freshers’ fair and fpr the freshers’ helping – the freshers’ ball etc. I also went to Time Tuneel at the end of week1 which was awesome… wikid time. I also saw Confetti at the Student Cinema and I saw a Spanich film about love & dog fighting at some point at T’s house.

Last month also saw Simon’s birthday – we went bowling and “Frankie and Benny’s” and he also had a house party.

I guess that brings us to now. So I’ll end this post and write another …TTFN. xx


May 26, 2006

Been a while

Well it's been a while. I've been thinking for a long time that I really should write a new blog post seeing as I don't have any for this term :(

Truth is… I've not done a lot to write about. Though when I think ard about it I guess I have… it's been nearly 7 weeks.

I'm just writing this because I feel I should – though I should really be revising. I'll be half way through exams this time next week. After then I'll have 3 weeks of free–time – I can't wait. I can do nothing without feeling guilty about the fact I'm doing nothing – YAY!

Anyway, I should probably get back to revision… I was just looking for the Team Colour blog for a Medieval art essay… I really have NO IDEA what this unit is about!!

Fingers crossed for the big 4 0 %! xx


April 15, 2006

Library Books

After being made to wait 3 weeks for the book I am currently reading,
(3 weeks because the 2 people who requested the book before me did not pick it up!!!) I open the pages to find that someone has annotated every page. Every book I have read this holiday has been in the same condition.

So you all say…

So what if they didn't pick it up?... Everyone is entitled to reserve books.
(They could have cancelled their request if they knew they wouldn't pick it up so that other people could use the book)

So what if they made notes?... they're only pencil!
(Why should I rub out someone else's graffiti in order to see the words, of a book I am equally entitled to read, properly)

I thought library books were meant to be shared?!! It's so selfish!! xx


April 13, 2006

Air trapped in a bubble

butterfly trapped in a bubble

This is the picture which I have on my phone. I was looking at it, hoping for a text, when I realised that this is how I feel. Only I don't feel like a butterfly.

I started thinking…

I thought how nice it would be to be air floating through the leaves of trees on a sunny day or warming by a fireplace. But I'm stuck like the butterfly – I'm the air in the bubble. I can see everything around me but it's all out of reach. I feel weightless but only because my I can't focus, I can't think. I feel a bit lost, bubbles never know where they're going – they go where ever the other air takes them. They're shiny and they're pretty colours. That's all superficial though. Bubbles are fragile and eventually they pop.

What happens then? What happens to the air in the bubble when it pops? Does it feel free? I guess it must but it must be scary for the air in the bubble. It will have to find its own way then.

I'm ready for my bubble to pop now. I want to float through the trees, warm by a fire, help someone breath. I'm not just there for you to look through me. I want to be free. x


April 09, 2006

Easter holiday 2006

Essay stress!!

ESSAYS… don't you just love them?!


March 03, 2006

OPEN YOUR EYES – ART IS ALIVE!!

ART SOC EXHIBITION 2006
UNIVERSITY HOUSE, WEEK 10 (next week)

There will be an opening party on Monday night from 7.30pm - come along before Top B (it's all free).

Are you looking for somewhere to exhibit your artwork? Want to be involved?
Join Art Soc today and bring your artwork along to University House on Sunday afternoon from 4pm.

The visual arts are struggling among the student population here at Warwick. Even if you wouldn't normally visit an art gallery come along to support your peers and be inspired. Tell all your friends too – they might have done art before Uni or just appreciate looking at it.

Art is not all pretentious, and artists are not always trying to shock or make some kind of cryptic statement. Just give it a go – come along and see what you think.

Open your eyes and see the world differently... ART IS ALIVE AT WARWICK


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