lunedì 23 maggio 2016

Teddy in Shakespeare-land: Stratford Upon Avon

Last winter, the time came to make a change.
It happens like that while you are just thinking about planning your holidays for the year, the phone rings and everything changes in 5 days.
You find yourself looking for a new hole, pack your stuff, call for help, and in 48 hours, puff! You are in a new place, to explore and discover and make the most of the experience.

So I was just in the middle of my winter sleep and I suddenly had to move.

Finding a new place to stay has not been easy at all, I didn't have much time and once I also got a bit lost in the middle of nowhere, just a road on one side and the country on the other, so windy to make  of my umbrella a useless but quite artistic and creative structure, while it started raining and snowing. Amazing.

These are the moments when you realize that, on the life stage, angels just show up to help when it's most needed before disappearing again, and pubs are serving hot tea and chocolate for very important reasons in this world.

Shakespeare Birthplace

So here I am: Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire. The land of William Shakespeare.

Now it's the time to enjoy a very English experience, mixed up in culture, history, accent and pronunciation, Shakespeare works, lovely local shops and everything opposite to the 9 million people city.

Stratford on Avon is definitely lovely, old streets and houses, cottages and shops, the Shakespeare trail, quiet life and the sound of birds.

The riverside, with the Theatre leading it, is a mix of relaxing and sportive areas, spaces to live and enjoy.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Attractions and entertainments go together with the quiet life, made interesting by tourists from all over the world who come to visit the most famous of British writers.

Shakespeare inspires everything, from the name of the streets to the name of the shops and products sold, I couldn't say the most creative interpretation as it's fantasy blooming at every corner.

I arrived exactly on time to be part of Shakespeare 400, the celebrations of his death's anniversary, that will go on with events from here to London all year long.

So let's see which new adventures, experiences, and news await me!!!

domenica 22 maggio 2016

Seaside & Seafood: let's go to Sardinia

This is what I call heaven on Earth: Costa Smeralda.

Liscia Ruja, Arzachena
Close your eyes and imagine: Mediterranean Sea, rosemary and olive oil, blue sky and emerald water, seafood and good wine. Put a colorful straw hat on top of this: welcome to Sardinia!

This is the island of one of my best holidays ever years ago, and it is still one of my favorite places. I try to go once a year to enjoy real summer sun.

Never-ending wonderful beaches and amazing local food, the island is full of places to discover. You can even plan a coast-to-coast on the day if you are adventurous enough, and go on the other side to visit Alghero for example.

Enjoy this selection of postcards from heaven!

San Teodoro, 

Cala di Volpe, Porto Cervo, view on Tavolara

Porto Ottiolu

Porto Rotondo

Spiaggia del Principe


Lyme Park and my old friend Button

You know already my old friend Button. 
I went to visit him in Manchester long ago and we had cakes and scones and tea...

Well, he moved home so I went to visit him and the story remained the same: nice places and good food together!

This time, we went to visit Lyme Park.
Located in Disley, Cheshire, it is next to a deer park in the Peak District National Park.
Moreover, it's the place where BBC's Pride and Prejudice, the one with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, was filmed.

You can still find animations and actors making Jane Austen world alive, and feel like you are a modern Elizabeth Bennet dealing with doubts and heartbeat.
As a food lover bear, I felt much closer to cookies, that gave me a lot of feelings as well.

As always, we spent time chatting and walking, enjoying the interiors of the palace and the library, and the outdoor garden, then up the hills of the wilder and bushy park.

The view on top of the hills was amazing, all along the valley and the District.

To celebrate our rendez-vous, we went out for dinner and I tasted one of the best Eton Mess ever: Blackcurrant meringue and mint sugar made it special. Eton Mess is one of my favorite dessert but this one was really something to remember.

The surprises were not over: Button woke me up the day after with a fantastic homemade Victoria Sponge Cake. He said the recipe was Mary Berry's one and I trust both, him and Mary Berry, I mean, it was delicious!!!

 See you next time my dear Button, for new fantastic adventures!

Greenwich Tall Ships Festival

This was certainly one of my favorite events in Greenwich: the Tall Ships Festival.

For some reasons it made me dream.

I used to wait the whole summer for the end of August, beginning of September to come and go from Cutty Sark, with its market and children entertainments, up to Woolwich with street food and music.

Then, when the night felt down covering the daylight in shadows, I took my place on the Pier waiting for the Tall Ships parade and the fireworks.

Canary Wharf lights on the background and a little bear starting dreaming of far away trips, new lands to discover and adventures...

Holidays abroad: Barcelona

And then summer came... I couldn't wait to leave my hole and fly to meet my little bear-sister in Barcelona!!!

We had planned the trip in a couple of days and now it was time to enjoy the sun, the food, the art and everything this city has to offer.
I think I watched Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona 10 times before going. I liked the movie, but the fact we were going there made the whole thing more exciting.

We met at the airport, then straight to the hotel and then ready to explore.
We enjoyed Park Guell and Gaudì Experiencia, under the warm sunshine and good smell of flowers.

Then towards the centre, we were always tempted to stop in a bakery or ham shop to taste a pastry or a "bocadillo": I definitely felt in love with Jamon, that I tasted over and over again at the Boqueria Market.

Between tapas and Gaudì architecture we walked on Las Ramblas, we visited Casa Batllò and the Sagrada Familia, went shopping, had an horchata to refresh, enjoyed the Ciutat Vella and its beautiful streets down to the beach at La Barceloneta, amazing at nights between boats and restaurants.

We left each others at the airport exactly where we had met at the beginning with the head full of images and inspiration and dreams.

We will definitely go again, sooner or later.

See you soon Barcelona! ¡Hasta la vista!

A day out in Kent: Chartwell and Winston Churchill House

When you want to take a break from the big city, Kent is just around the corner.
Actually, you can reach it with a bus trip, leaving the tall buildings behind while the scenario changes in front of your eyes on open blooming hills. the English countryside, its corners always different, the hedges and the trees surrounding the boundary lines between the fields.

I had heard about Chartwell and Winston Churchill House on the National Trust suggested destinations, and I was curious to visit it.

As I arrived, I immediately admired the gardens around the house. It was a fresh sunny day and colors were shining brightly.

But the real emotion was visiting the Studio. There, I could feel the magnificent meaning of Sir Winston Churchill as one of the greatest British politicians, the historical moments he faced and led, the decisions he had to manage.
The Studio reports a lot of old letters exchanged on War times and it is an amazing piece of real History you can witness.

All around, beautiful gardens and a park where families can enjoy peace of mind.

To increase the deep meaning of this place, a lonely chair placed under a tree in front of the pond. There you can still imagine Sir Winston, thinking about the next decision to take, the statement to release, the Act to approve or simply about the memories of his important past life.

sabato 21 maggio 2016

Croeso y Cymru - Welcome to Wales

Since this trip, whoever asks me about my favourite UK city after London, my answer is only one: Cardiff.

I think you fall in love accidentally, and you even don't know why, as there are a lot of lovely cities in Great Britain, but personally, I found myself completely happy and satisfied with Caerdydd (let's call it the Welsh way).

Maybe because of the weather, helping a lot, maybe because of the atmosphere. Don't know, but Cardiff has the perfect dimension of a big city and a kind of everything to feed your expectations.

So you will enjoy the Castle and medieval side (there was also a 2WW exhibition when I went, that was absolutely interesting, just a bit dark to give the impression of fear and instability of that time), the park next to it, so beautiful at sunset.

From the Castle tower, you can spot the surrounding hills and far away ancient castles that would be worth a visit.

You will spot also the Millennium Stadium, famous rugby and sport venue.

The city centre is a mix of traditional welsh streets, shopping galleries and pubs and a modern area with shopping centres and cinema.

If you have time, enter the Cardiff Museum, for a time journey on the city history from the first Roman fort.

Moving towards Cardiff Bay area, you will feel like a sailor ready to set the ship to new discoveries, enjoy the Millennium Centre and the bright and white buildings close to the sea, restaurants and bars where you can taste a real welsh cake with a cup of tea.

There is also a curious and nice Norwegian Church, which is an art centre actually.

I really recommend then to relax at the Alexandra Garden and admire the colors of the flowerbeds and the plants. In spring they are glorious.

Not far, there is the National Museum. If you love art, please go and stay breathless in front of The Kiss, by Auguste Rodin. 

Croeso y Cymru!