travel

eek! life is awesome

reflection-mycreative

Last night I spent three hours organising a very small corner of my life. Copies of exercises for tutoring (something that I never would have though I would have been doing a year ago). But that isn’t very awesome is it?

I want to share some plans without sounding like a big brag. Is that okay? It is just life is currently pretty awesome and I like to share with you guys. Because I feel that you are some of my people.

We just bought tickets to Japan for “Summer 2015″. I put that as a ‘title’ because our summers are pretty epic with Tim teaching and me on a similar contract we get an amazing two and a half months off. We don’t get paid in that time but I think it is worth it.

We’ve made travelling a priority for the next few years so we are also looking at spending a week with friends in Crete as well as heading back to London in August for three (!!!) weddings.

Oh and we are heading back to South Africa for Christmas but that has been in the pipeline since the beginning of the year.

Prioritising travel means making some adjustments. Taking on some extra tutoring work and being a bit tighter with the budget. But when I question why it is 8pm on a Thursday night and I have three pre-teen boys staring at me questioning whether something is a past participle I can adjust my attitude to ‘how awesome is my friend that passed this on to me so I can have the amazing experience of eating Ramen in Japan!’. Happiness is just an attitude after all, right?

Anyway, if you have any tips for Japan and Crete I’d love to know!

On a side note this is a detail from the picture above which I just thought looked cool. Kind of like a painting.

reflection-detail-mycreative

travel | 24 hours in zagreb

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Zagreb was on our list of places to see as it is only a three hour drive away but without knowing too much about it, it wasn’t too high on our agenda until a friend said they were driving there for a night.

So we booked an airbnb*, packed a bag and hopped in the car two days later.

I love travelling to a place without having expectations of it. It is definitely different to the other places we have been in Croatia but that is unsurprising since we have mostly visited coastal areas. Without having ever been to Berlin I kind of feel like they might be similar. It has a designy, cool-things-are-happening-here kind of vibe with a lot of restaurants and apparently the more museums per square foot than any other city in the world.

As we only had 24 hours in the city we went ‘full tourist’ and did lots of walking around, passed lots of green spaces, spent some time watching the market happenings, watching old people queue for the busses to the cemetery (as it was the day of the dead), went up a hill, saw some old churches and visited several design shops as well as the Museum of Broken Relationships (which now tours but started in Zagreb). I really loved this original concept for a museum and it was really beautifully done. If it does a tour of your town you should head to see it.

Also if you find yourself in town there is an amazing vegetarian restaurant called Nishta. We visited a branch in Dubrovnik and the food was so good I ordered another main to take away which I ate for lunch the next day!

In the end my final thoughts of the city are I don’t think we will hurry back on our own steam but if a friend is heading that way again I would love to visit more of the museums and get a back back I was eyeing out but can’t find online.

* definitely recommended for cheap and cheerful with a central location and very helpful host, although earplugs might be warranted as it is on main road.

p.s. I think this title would be an excellent name for a spy novel. Any takers?

venice | three things

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Blushing colours

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Signage Love

foggy-venice

Foggy days (see see more of the foggy day at Steller)

Venice has definitely grown on me since our first visit (prior to us moving 2 hours away from it). Funny that. Also note that many museums, including the Architectural Biennale, are closed on Mondays. But if the day is perfectly, beautifully foggy you can fall a little bit in love with Venice.

Also you can follow me over on Instagram. I’m @mycreative

a print shop in ljubljana

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You know how some shops are kind of magical? Anthropologie in London, for example, is one of my happy places. I rarely buy anything there but always leave feeling inspired.

When I was in Slovenia I walked into a letterpress shop which left me with the same sort of feeling, although the store itself was completely different. I was instantly charmed by the rustic furniture, letter lights, dark grey walls and small but interesting collection of products. I spent about 10 minutes browsing around a store which is the size of a small room and then another 10 minutes messaging Tim (who had just run a race) trying to justify the purchase of a simple but lovely poster. I eventually bought it and then spent the next 20 minutes speaking to the owner and getting a mini-tour of the public and private workshop.

Marko, has titled himself the ‘foreman'; an English version of a word that has some amusing ‘soviet’ associations. A natural story teller, he told me about the store and explained the provenance of some of the pieces that filled the space.

The shop is fairly new but the workshop has been around for several years. All the cabinets which store the fonts and other pieces have been restored by Marko from old print company stock. The fonts are more a random collection then full sets. And as the workshop has become more well known in the community people have brought in various tools and memorabilia from Ljubljana’s old printing days.

And that was perhaps what I loved most about the store/workshop; its involvement in the local community through workshops and public art projects. Perhaps that is the next step in the consumer experience, not just having an awareness of the story of the product but being involved in it, much like many kickstarter products.

Shopping isn’t a necessity in life but I love how this store is working in the community, promotes creativity and produces beautiful pieces in a lovely space.

I am now pondering if I can head back to Ljubljana for a workshop at some point. Christmas cards maybe …. ?

tipoRenesansa | studio za visoki tisk, Križevniška 16, 1000 Ljubljana

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Two weekends back we took our first trip to Ljubljana (proudly sponsored by the letter J as our friend says). Tim was running his first race which was the reason we headed up there but now I wonder why we haven’t gone before.

It is a quick and pleasant hour and a half by bus from Trieste and it is an absolutely lovely town. Here is what we did:

  • ate
  • wandered around the lovely streets
  • crossed over lots of bridges
  • ate some more
  • drank hot chocolate
  • walked up a very steep hill to a castle
  • ran a race (Tim not me)
  • wondered around an antiques/second hand market
  • spent a lovely 30 minutes in a Letterpress Shop
  • bought a letterpress print
  • bought some pumpkin seed oil
  • drank more hot chocolate
  • ate

So as you can tell it was pretty good few days in Ljubljana.

If you find yourself heading to Ljubljana I can definitely suggest:

EAT

>>> Repete

Probably the best meal I have had out in ages. I really appreciate it when vegetarian dishes aren’t an after thought and are really thought through. For a starter we had a cheese selection with some buckwheat bread (so yummy) and I had my first taste of pumpkin oil which had been stirred into a cottage cheese. I then had a traditional dish which is pastry with cheese and herbs on a bed of carrot mash with beetroot and side salad with vinegar made by the restaurant owner’s father-in-law. Although there wasn’t much space left for dessert I had a brownie with pear which was perfectly moist and a nice twist.

>>> Güjžina

A strangely laid out restaurant which is in 2 spaces next to each other. The food is traditional Slovenian fare but there were several vegetarian options. I had the gnocchi with mushroom sauce which is heavier than the Italian counterpart but still delicious. I also had a generous serving of more pumpkin oil with bread and returned here the next day to buy some homemade pumpkin seed oil from the restaurant which also sells a selection of other products. I need to return to Ljubljana for no other reason than to try their pumpkin seed oil gelato!

>>> Cacao

You would think I get enough gelato living in Italy but I always like to have some more. I just tried one flavour. I’m afraid I can’t remember what it was as it was a long name, but it had three sorts of flavours swirled together and it was really good.

SHOP

>>> Mestri trg (street)

The old town is full of lovely little streets with a wide array of shops but this street had a great selection including a shop which sold salt products and a couple design stores.

>>> Antiques Market

Apparently every Sunday from 8am to 2pm a nice small market with a selection of vintage and second hand. I am not sure of the prices because I was very reserved and didn’t buy anything but I would definitely head back here to do a bit of shopping.

>>> Tiporenesansa

A lovely letterprint shop in the old town. I’ll tell you more about it soon.

SEE

The old town is the perfect kind of place to wander about without having to actually go anywhere. Quaint streets and public art pieces, street markets, foodie places and plenty of places for hot chocolate or a drink means that you don’t have to go to a specific museum to find something interesting. That said a walk up to the castle would be suggested, I didn’t go inside.

As you can tell by the title this is definitely a town I plan to head back to.

venice film festival

cinema screen at venice film festival

A couple weekends back I headed to Venice for the day to go to the Venice Film Festival with Tim, a work colleague and Eryn who I met through twitter. Being only a few hours from Venice we thought we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to the famous festival and maybe spot a celebrity or two. So a few months before the festival I checked out website but it didn’t prove very useful.

As it turns out the list of movies that will be shown are only made available a few weeks before the event and tickets are only available to buy online at around that time. (In retrospect it makes a sense as it is a competition that needs entries). Up until this point I had thought we would have to head to Venice the day before to buy tickets at the box office, which would have been a bit of a pain, especially if we couldn’t get tickets. However, buying tickets online was pretty easy and the tickets were emailed to us and we could just show the barcode to gain access. Tickets for the day time and not in the ‘Grand Cinema’ were very reasonably priced at €9 each. The earlier show was pretty empty so you could probably buy tickets on the day. Although we were there on the last day so don’t quote me on that!

When the day finally dawned we got the train and then a vaperetto from the main station to the Lido (after grabbing breakfast of course). The cinema complex is about a 15 minutes walk from the vaperetto stop through a residential section of the island. I quite like the Lido. It feels like a beach town and has some beautiful art deco architecture.

We arrived a few minutes before our first movie started, Words with Gods. This was a series of short films which explored various religions around the world. I didn’t ‘get’ all of the references I am sure but it was still really interesting.

After our first movie we had 10 minutes before our second movie The President, which is the story of a dictator attempting to escape with his little grandson from a country that has turned against him. Dachi Orvelashvili played the role of the grandson absolutely brilliantly.

Both movies were subtitled, which meant this was they were the first movies we had actually seen in Italy since moving here and that made it even more of a treat!

Sadly we didn’t spot any celebrities …

After the movies we headed back to the main island groups and had an apertivo at a converted greenhouse where Tim and I had gone on my birthday and Eryn was keen to visit. We then took up our friend’s food suggestion and headed to Osteria al Portego where I was finally able to try chichetti (Venetian pre-dinner nibbles) and had a delicious plate of pasta with mushrooms. The chalkboard menu didn’t have any vegetarian options but when we phoned to make a reservation we were informed of several options (a rarity for veggies going out on the Continent). I would definitely recommend this place if you are in Venice.

I then promptly fell asleep for the two hour train ride home!