trieste | revoltella museum

revoltella museum staircase Over Tim’s holidays we decided to see a couple of Trieste’s museums as we hadn’t got around to seeing any yet.

Our first visit was to the Museum of Oriental Art, I wrote a short review on Google+. We also visited a site specific art installation by Kounellis which was in the former fish market and now known as the ‘Hall of Incantations”. Photographs weren’t allowed but you can see some pictures over here. It was interesting to see something that was created for a specific place – especially somewhere we are only just learning about.

Finally we visited the Museo Revoltella. Housed in the home of Pasquale Revoltella, financier, philanthropist and funder of the Suez Canal, which he left on his death to the City, as well as some adjoining buildings. I love wondering around old houses – beautiful details, gold accessories, marble walls (marble walls! really have a thing for marble at the moment). But what made this experience really interesting was the curation of the museum. Alongside older art pieces from regional and national artists are more modern pieces, like a life size pink plastic minotaur, champagne towers with sand cascading down and ‘complimentary’ art pieces amongst other things. It made me keen to explore the next room to see what I would find. Honestly I am not sure if this is a permanent feature of if they change but I hope it is. I would definitely visit again, although probably not too often as I am not used to paying for going to museums!

museo revoltella bannister museo revoltella art museo revoltella women museo revoltella chandelier Photos taken on iphone

better photography tip | visit new places

venice3 venice2 venice1 You’ve heard of a photographer’s eye. Some people are perhaps lucky enough to be ‘born’ with the ability to spot a great photograph but I think it is definitely something that you can improve with practice.  Whereas your average tourist might take a picture of the same famous building in the same old way a great photographer sees something happening that the tourist doesn’t.  So how do you stop being a ‘tourist photographer’? Confusingly, by been a tourist!

Take the time to look at the world around you. Pay attention. Start to see the world in more detail and as separate elements rather than a whole scene.  You don’t have to head to far off places to be a tourist either. Start by visiting a place in your own town that you haven’t visited before. When everything is new you pay more attention to what is around you. Once you have practiced that for a while visit an often photographed landmark in your town and try and take a photo that isn’t the “same old”.

I am so excited to be heading to Italy to photograph a world I haven’t lived with. I feel that this is a whole new step in my photography journey (totally aside from being fricken amazing) and I just can’t wait to photograph it!

Now talking about being a tourist …

If you are interested in visiting new places too I am thinking of holding a super duper special Eat and Snap which would involve a day trip to Paris!  I would need to get a small group of people together who are willing to go. I am tentatively looking at Saturday 12 October or Monday 21 October. If you can make either of these dates, If you can make Saturday 19 October are willing to pay for the Eurostar yourself, food in Paris and a extended Eat and Snap package (£50) where you will get advice and assistance from me for a day leave a comment, email or tweet me you can book here.  I think it could be awesomely fun!

burano | a suggested route

burano-a-suggested-route

On one of our days while in Venice we ‘day tripped’ to the islands of Murano and Burano.  We decided to go very early for some photo opportunities.  Unfortunately arriving on Murano first at a rather early hour (with kids heading off to school – on a Saturday!?) meant that not much was going on.  It did allow for some photos of buildings but I didn’t really ‘get’ it.  It seemed like every shop only had some glass to sell.

We then headed to Burano with half of the island of Murano it seemed.  We decided to get off the first stop (of two) for the island which I am really glad we did.  In fact the whole route we took around the island meant that we went around ‘quieter’ streets (although there were still ‘sufficient’ tourists around) before hitting the ‘tourist traps’.  I would highly recommend this because it just meant that it felt more like a place where people live (and do a lot of washing of sheets).  The map above shows the route we took.

Burano is pretty dang amazing.  The houses are all really colourful and it is like a bit of a fairytale.  The amazing spring like weather wasn’t too bad either (the video I made was mostly shot on Burano).

burano market garden burano canals burano houses cat in burano

Note about the map: it doesn’t include all the roads, those are just the main ones we went down.

best gelato in venice & tips for finding it

tips-for-finding-the-best-gelato-in-italy I like to think of myself as a bit of a gelato expert.  I have no idea how to make the lovely stuff (although I have dreams of having a gelateria in Italy one day) but i have tasted an awful lot of it from a large number of establishments (particularly in Italy).  I feel it is my duty to try as many gelaterias as possible when on holiday in order to find some of the best.  It is always the first thing I research when I head to my favourite country.

Before we move onto the best gelato in Venice, it is important to note that gelato is not ice-cream.  This is a really useful infographic, but basically gelato uses less butter fat (so is better for you!), has less air and is served at a higher temperature than ice-cream.  This means that it melts quicker once in your mouth and the flavour is released faster giving you an instant flavour punch plus is a lot creamier.

ca-doro-gelateria-venice Okay, to the places we tried. I can’t guarantee, of course, that I had the best gelato in Venice but I can certainly recommend a few places.  I made a map!  I have numbered them in the order that we tried them, although I have realised that I have know left one off (it was more ice-cream than gelato so avoid the red lettered gelateria in the corner on St Stefano Palazzo). (Yup that is dedication, 4 nights – 6 gelato tastings!).

  1. Alaska Gelateria was one of the internet suggestions I found.  On the first day in Venice we ended up walking for a very long time and after finding a place for lunch I realised we weren’t far from this place.  Unfortunately it was a bit disappointing.  The flavours were interesting enough but I would say that it was a little too much ice-cream and didn’t have the smooth and creamy texture that a gelato should have.
  2. Ca d’Oro had a very modern and sleek interior (which I quite like).  The flavours were a bit safer but it was much of an improvement on the first try.  I went for my favourite combination of pistachio and chocolate.  I would have preferred a more intense chocolate but it was definitely good.
  3. We had gelato from Majer after an hour plus walk to try and find the Museum of Fabric and Costume, which we then discovered was closed until May and then went to the Natural History Museum instead.  Sitting in the nearest palazzo eating gelato was the perfect remedy for my sore feet.  I have a feeling it might be a chain (although I didn’t see any other gelaterias with the name I had spotted some deli type stores with the same name) but it was still pretty good.  Again only a small selection was available but it was delicious.
  4. Grom is a chain that we have tried before in Bologna.  On our last day as we passed one on our way to number 5, concern that number 5 would be as disappointing as number 1 made me suggest a ‘sure thing’ for our last day.  There was a good queue outside and their flavours  include some standards as well as some more adventurous ones.
  5. As it happened we then passed Gelateria il Doge which had a massive queue of Italians outside.  I had to try it.  I ended up getting their ‘Crema il Doge’ (or something close to that) which was a cream flavour with chocolate saucy bits and orange peel.  I love traditional Italian flavours that might not be so well known to the foreigner and really enjoyed this.

best-gelato-venice-map

I didn’t get to to trying all the suggestions on the internet (partly because I couldn’t seem to find them before but there seem more that came up in my searches now), but tried a few places.  So when you head to Italy and you don’t have any suggestions of where to go here are some tips for spotting the good gelaterias from the tourist traps:

  1. Because gelato is served warmer than ice-cream it melts faster.  Those shops with mile high towers of frozen dessert are unlikely to have the creamy texture of gelato because they would just melt.  Unless there is a massive queue (preferably of Italians) avoid it.
  2. Look at the colour of the gelato.  If you spot bright blue bubblegum carry on walking.  A good marker is always the pistachio.  It should have a subtle light green colour (as shown below).
  3. When put in a cup/cone it should have a softer consistency than ice-cream.  This doesn’t form perfect little ice-cream balls but is more pliable and has a more rustic look.
  4. Look for some unique flavours.  Why would you want to go to Italy and have plain chocolate when you can have cioccolata noir with little chocolate nibs for an intense chocolate hit.
  5. Ask an Italian eating gelato!

venice-gelato-couple-mycreative

I hope you find this useful if setting off for Venice (or Italy generally) and would love any suggestions if you have been.  You never know when I’ll head back.

venice advice

venice holiday

The Mr and I are off to Venice in just over five weeks (soooo excited!).  We are the type of people who do quite a lot of research before we go.  We read books set in the area, try and find tips from other travellers on hidden and unexpected treasures. Mr loves art (me too but not quite as much) so we like to know which museums and churches are good for that.  I am all about the food!  Being vegetarian means you have to sometimes be organised about finding places, although things aren’t normally a problem in Italy.

So this is where you come in.  Has anyone been and do you have any tips?  Gelateria’s, pizzerias, vegetarian friendly places, hideaways and churches?  We are there for four days so do you think we can squeeze in a trip to Verona?

2012 year in review i

One of the many things that I love about blogging is that it serves as a repository for all the amazing things that happen in my life and serves as the perfect tool to reflect back with.  I thought I would look back on the year and take three things that stood out for each month.  I’ve linked back to some old posts and for the first half of the year going back to my old blog.  I thought I would get started this week but will share the rest after Christmas.  Enjoy the walk through my year.

January: writing 3 essays for my masters | frosty mornings | giving up sugar (even fruit!) for 5 weeks

February: I went back to South Africa for a month caught up with family | celebrated the wedding of one of my oldest friends | spent time with all three of my besties from school for the first time in six years

March: went to Australia and saw one of the first friends I made in England get married | met some koalas and kangaroos | realised two months away from my boyfriend was too long