Tuesday, 2 September 2014

London


Oscar Wilde
"The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world."
View from the Shard
London is a city I've never spent much time in. Its at my door step - just a 2.5 hour journey away. Yet, I've spent less time here than I've spent in Italy or Cambodia. So I decided to visit the city that...what? Rome is the eternal city, Paris is the city of lights and New York is the city that never sleeps, but what is London? I think that London is so individual, so demanding and so magical that London is London - it doesn't need a catchy name to be one of the best capital cities in the world.

We decided to visit The Shard - the tallest building in the European Union - after its recent opening. Its specular height dominates the London skyline. We visited the Shangri-La Bar (Gong) on the 52nd floor where we were able to see views over the City of London. However, being in England the weather can be very changeable and within an hour a rainstorm set in. To the right is a picture showing the rain running down this tremendous building with the city in the background.




Located near The Shard is The Tower of London. This historic building has over two million visitors each year. This was my first time looking around the tower and it can be said - I wasn't disappointed. However, being the middle of the school holidays, the queues were huge and i wasn't able to see the crown jewels! The white tower at the centre of the site now homes the Royal Armouries. It must be said that anyone visiting The Tower of London should join a tour with the yeoman. These informative tours are funny and, better yet, free! The Tower of London has recently had an influx of poppies. 888,246 ceramic poppies have gradually been filling the towers moat, each poppy representing a British military fatality during the war. Outside of The Tower of London is the iconic Tower Bridge - 40,000 people cross this bridge everyday.


London is excessively beautiful at night. Whether you spend time in Mayfair bars or walking through Piccadilly Circus - all of London needs to be seen at night. Walking along the Thames towards Westminster produces some of London's most spectacular views using the reflections off the water. On a misty night, Big Ben can even look slightly spooky.

My final afternoon in London was spent at The Natural History Museum. The attraction to this building, for me, was the architecture. The outside is fascinating with its blue and sand coloured bricks. Only when I entered the building did I realise the magic was inside and what better way to be greeted than with a giant dinosaur! The craftsmanship and design of this building is really what sets it apart. As for the stuffed animals - not really what I was expecting.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Monaco

Monaco is located about 40 minutes east of Nice. From this view you can see the entire race track used in the Monaco Grand Prix (including the swimming pool). When I first arrived in Monaco i walked this racetrack - the tight turns and the apex (when they leave the tunnel) would have never been fully understood if i hadn't! The photo was taken in old Monaco where you will find the Palais Princier. This is where the Royal family of Monaco currently reside and the surrounding area is filled with restaurants and shops.

This photo was taken in the Monaco harbour and features a few of the huge cruise liner yachts. When I walked past the larger yachts each had a cleaning crew working on board, but only one of the boats had its owner visible. Do these boats have a crew all year long that work everyday?

However, easily my favourite part of Monaco was Monte-Carlo. It really did stand up to its reputation for the glamorous. Monte-Carlo Casino was amazing with large rooms, high ceilings and gold leaf covering everything! Not to mention the chandeliers. Several shops were featured outside the casino including a flagship Chanel store.

Immediately next to the Casino was the Hotel Du Paris. This Hotel is infamous for its sophistication and class and judging by the cars parked outside, all the rumours about it are true!




   

Nice, France

This is the view from my hotel room over Nice at sunset. The tallest point is View Nice and below it is Old town in Nice. My hotel was located in the main shopping district in Nice, next to Louis Vuitton - a dear old friend of mine. This also meant the walk from my hotel to the beach took only minutes.

Old Town in Nice consists of small and narrow alleyway with restaurants and shops filling all available spaces. 

There are many churches in the area but mainly its ice cream shops. The narrow streets have a completely different feel to the rest of the city and the modern coastline.

To the left is Nice Harbour, the photo is taken from View Nice. From the other side of View Nice the coast can clearly be seen. The water is much lighter than further down the coast and a lot busier, even though the beaches are made of pebbles rather than fine sand!

In the central public park of Nice there is a fantastic water park, which was full of children enjoying the sun and the coolness of the water. There were also several areas where cold water was sprayed through vents in the ground to cool people down. This created a misty effect throughout the park which did look quite spectacular.

I have wanted to visit Nice since being a young child, however, the city wasn't what I hoped it would be. It lacked character and excitement. The people didn't have a rustic feel and the city itself was nothing to be in awe of.






Friday, 22 August 2014

Le Lavandou, France

Le Lavandou is a commune in the Var region in the South of France. The region where we stayed was approximately a ten minute walk from Le Lavandou, called Saint Claire. 

Le Lavandou harbour is immediately outside of the town and featured many large boats. The harbour had a faux rock wall which caused larger boats to dock outside the harbour. The town centre had overhanging trees with fairy lights (or twinkle lights) which framed the courtyard and fountains.

This is the view from La Fossett beach which is a more family orientated beach - a 10 minute walk in the opposite direction of Le Lavandou. However, this beach had much colder water! The sea is azure blue in every direction which is clearly shown in all of the photos.

The sunset over Le Lavandou harbour with pink clouds in the sky! I really enjoyed this sunset - particularly as I had passionfruit and raspberry ice cream to go with it!
Afterwards we returned to the caravan that we were sleeping in on the campsite - a week of communal showers as well as washing up and cooking.

Adam and I watching 'Petanque' (which is effectively super aggressive bowls) whilst waiting for the restaurant to open on our final night together in Le Lavandou.






Monday, 2 June 2014

Bristol

I thought it was only fair to write a piece based on the amazing city where I have spent the last four years of my life.

imageA modern town, with a strong influence of university students throughout its centre. Students which originate from all over the UK and from further afield. Yet, making this city special is what is important to its residents.


imageThe iconic park street - which existed before bristol - has recently seen two closures to encourage the city to unite for "make Sunday special". Initially a closure to make Britain's first road slide.


Followed by "Park on Park Street" where local businesses showcased their stores in another attraction which lead to thousands traversing the infamous road.

The city doesn't stop there. A recent opening of an art gallery saw an invasion of heart shaped balloons in the city centre. Not only an excellent publicity stunt, but a sight sure to improve the mood of many after two weeks of constant cloud and rain.

Still, Bristol is more readily known for its yearly attractions, such as the Bristol Balloon Festival, where hot air balloons are seen in the skies from all over the city.

Choosing this city to base myself for university was a choice of convinence, but a choice I will long live to not regret!

image

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Warsaw

A sneaky trip away to celebrate the end of Christmas exams!


A week before we arrived in Warsaw began the beginning of a cold spell leaving the city at -16 degrees and coating everything in a couple of inches of snow. By the time we arrived, the temperatures had increased to 0 degrees, but the snow remained!

In the large parks the snow still looked practically untouched! As a person who hadn't seen snow in a couple of years, there was only one thing to do - build a snowman. On the right is Sammy the Snowman in all his glory. He took a long time to build, but he was definitely worth it!

After crossing the bridge over the frozen river we came to Poland Zoo which cost under £1.50 to enter. Here we saw a range of exotic animals which is far superior to that of even Bristol Zoo.
Old town square didn't rival that of Prague but it did still have an open ice rink. Snow fall was projected onto the walls of the square creating a very christmasy feel!

Not too far from Old town square is the National Opera House where we saw the modern ballet 'A Midsummers Nights Dream'. This form of ballet definitely differed from the 1962 version based on classical ballet with a more modern take and use of stage effects.

A few miles outside of the centre, there was an old castle with light shows in the garden to musics such as Pachelbell's Cannon and an Alice in Wonderland themed maze. These light shows were worth the travel to reach them - we were only disappointed we didn't come earlier in the day to see the amazing castle where these gardens were based.



Of course a night out in the cold wouldn't have been complete without our daily E.Wedel Hot Chocolate - made of only the finest chocolate!