Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

My weekend – alpine walk

September 26, 2011

I am  staying in Morzine in French Alpes the moment and on the weekend we went for a lovely walk in the mountains. It was not a walk in the park as we had to walk up a rather steep path for over an hour, but with these views it was worth it.

Open House London, Sat 18th

September 22, 2010

I know that I am way behind with my blogging, and that I promised to post more photos from Italy. Honestly, I will post them…

But today it is about last weekend and Open House London. Open House is a great event, held in London every year in September, when members of public have a chance to enter and explore thousands of different building in London for free. It gives you a chance to explore buildings from different eras, admire architecture and interiors or simply have a peek on where some people work and relax.

Although some buildings are open to public any other day, maybe for a fee, such as Apsley House on Hyde Park Corner or Barbican Centre, it is buildings which have restricted access that are the biggest fun.

This was my third event. On previous occasions I managed to get into Freemasons’s Hall, City Hall, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Bank of England, Lloyd’s of London, Ernst and Young office in More London and Embassy of Argentina to name a few.

This year we decided to stick to Westminster. Our first stop was Channel Four headquarters. It is a contemporary building, build in 1991-1994 to the design of Richard Rogers Partnership. I absolutely loved this full of light structure, made of steel and curved glass. We were allowed to go up to the top floor to look at the structure of the concave atrium and also to the staff restaurant on the ground floor to admire lovely terrace and a courtyard.

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Channel Four headquarters

Our second stop was Portcullis House, a contemporary building which is part of the Houses of Parliament and houses MP’s offices and committee rooms. It was designed by Michael Hopkins and built in 1998-2001 together with 7-storey high underground chamber for a new tube station. But the most striking feature of the building is a rectangular courtyard covered by a glass roof at second level and surrounded by a 2-storey cloister. There are twelve fig trees and a lovely water features in the courtyard which creates absolutely lovely atmosphere. Apparently, this atrium is a popular place with MP’s and their stuff.

Our next stop was Banqueting House in Whitehall Palace. It was the first building designed in Palladian style by Indigo Jones, was finished in 1622 for James I. It is the last remaining complete building of Whitehall Palace, which was a hide two thousand room complex stretching from St Jame’s park to Embankment Gardens and from Charing Cross to Parliament Square. The ceilings of the main room were painted bu Peter Paul Rubens in 1630-4, which were commissioned by Charles I to commemorate his farther James I. Little did Charles I know that also would be the place where he would be executed in 1649 during the English Civil War.

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Banqueting House, painting by Rubens

Walking down Whitehall, we also visited Admiralty Boardroom and Admiralty House at 26, Whitehall. It used to be Admiralty Building, accommodating the administrators of the Royal Navy. Today the building is owned by the Cabinet Office and occupied by various Ministers and their stuff. But the Admiralty Boardroom is still used today by the First Sea Lord and the Admiralty Board. It is a most magnificent room, full of opulence and splendor. All the paintings and objects have a naval theme. The most striking feature of this room is the wooden panelling around the fireplace which is the most intricate piece of carved wood I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take any photos of this masterpiece.

Our last stop was Marlborough House on Pall Mall, just next door to Clarence House, London residence of Prince Charles. It is a Royal Palace, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren for the First Duke of Marlborough and build in 1711. Today it serves ads the international headquarters of the Commonwealth. Walls and ceilings of the Palace are lavishly decorated by 17 century paintings.

Marlborough House

Marlborough House

Marlborough House

Marlborough House

Italian trip, day 1 – Bologna

August 24, 2010

As summer is coming to an end, we decided to go on a trip. We are visiting Italy, and I am very excited, as it is my first visit to this lovely country. As we wanted to combine sightseeing with sunbathing, we are travelling through Tuscany and Liguria.

Our first stop was in Bologna, which is actually in the region of Emilia-Romagna. It is dominated by red colour, as most building are built with red brick or covered in red render.

Bologna streets

Bologna street

We only have time to visit the center of the city, as we spent only one day in Bologna.  There are several imposing and beautiful palazzos on the main square, which are unfortunately, closed to the public.

We visited one of Bologna’s landmarks, Le Due Torri, two leaning towers. I wonder what is it with Italy and towers, but it seems that one can find a tower in every city or town here. You can actually climb one of the towers, Torre degli Asinelli. It is nearly 100 meters tall (for comparison, the most famous of the Italian towers, the Tower of Pisa, is only 56.70 m (186.02 ft) tall).  To get to the top, one have to climb 498 rather steep and narrow steps (after all, it wasn’t built with tourists in mind), but you are rewarded by a beautiful view.

Tower stairs

Tower stairs

Bologna, Piazza Maggiore

Bologna, Piazza Maggiore

There are only 15 towers left in Bologna today, but at some point in history, there were as many as 180 different towers. Unlike other places, where towers were built as a bell tower for a church, in Bologna towers were built for completely different reasons. At first, local families built them as part of fortifications, which allowed to shot the enemies of the family from the safety of a tower. And with time towers became symbols of wealth and prosperity.

I absolutely loved dark and cool arcades which stretch along many streets of Bologna (apparently, there stretch for more than 40 km). It seems that one can walk all around the center of town without stepping on the street, which is absolutely brilliant in summer heat.

Bologna arcade

Bologna arcade

Weekend in Guernsey and new Alice

May 5, 2010

I am struggling to be on time with my blogging. It is Wednesday, but I still haven’t posted some photos from the weekend.

On the weekend we went to see family in Guernsey. I was really hoping to have really good weather so we could sunbathe on one of the  island’s gorgeous beaches. But instead we had usual British weather, it was cloudy and dull. Anyway, we sat in cafes, went for walks along beautiful bays and cliffs and had a very good time. I even managed to do some knitting.

St. Peter Port, Guernsey

St. Peter Port, Guernsey

St. Peter Port, Guernsey

Pembroke Bay, Guernsey

Pembroke Bay, Guernsey

The knitting in question is a new Alice top, I am working on a one knit with Rowan Milk Cotton DK. It will be a sample for a book, called Close to Your Hearts, which is due to come out in August. I haven’t got lots of information about the book at the moment, but I saw some other patterns included into it, and I thought there were gorgeous.

I was overly confident with the lace pattern in the beginning, as I thought that because I made it before, I remembered the lace stitch by heart. That was a little mistake.  Center panel lace stitch required a degree of concentration. But even with that in mind I really enjoy this project, it has a very nice flow to it. And I absolutely love all that lace.

New Alice top

New Alice top

Snow !!!

April 1, 2010

I am in the French Alpes at the moment and just wanted to share some pics. This is the view from my window at the moment. It has been snowing for the last 3 days and it is great to have some new snow so late in the season. I am definitely going skiing tomorrow.  :)

french alpes

french alpes


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.