Posts Tagged ‘walk’

Flanders trip – Ypres, the ramparts

Ypres. 6am or so but the sun is already burning bright. I wander in the still sleeping city, the air filled with viennoiseries and brioched bread aromas form the boulangeries. Passing by the Flanders Fields Museum, I notice a golden medieval character on its roof, holding a cat. The story? Well, black cats were considered a sign of black magic at the time, no surprise here, but were also thrown from the belfry… A cat festival is still held in the city every three years with a parade – a nice, cat loving event, I promise.

I walk instinctively towards the Menin Gate. Complete silence but the trumpet call from last night still resonates in my ears. I expect it always will. Stairs on the side guide you to the top of the ramparts, created by Vauban to fortify the city. Somewhere under my feet are arches and the Kazematten brewery visited the day before. This is a real countryside haven, an almost surreal green as the sun pierced through the leaves, birds singing, answering each other from one side of the river to the other. A few sculpture, a birgin, a few dried flowers, oddly touching. And a military cemetery, the white crosses facing the water, lilies, wild irises. I can only hope these soldiers have found a well deserved peace somehow…

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Cornwall – Mawgan Porth coastal path

Sunny Cornwall makes you want to spend all your days on the beach. But a few clouds, a little greyness has its advantages: it’s time to step away, see more of the region, a real paradise for walks. Countryside and quiet roads. From Mawgan Porth beach, you can take the coastal path over the cliffs, heading towards the Bedruthan Steps. Stout shoes required. It’s perfectly fine for beginners (like me, I’m an urban walker, mostly) but forget buggies. Children will get tired pretty fast.

This is… another kind of beauty. More authentic, rough, real. The elements against stone, chiselled, sculpted, sharp and round angles, insular rocks, puzzle pieces torn away from the coast, waves lashing against them. You will barely meet anyone. It’s ever so soothing – no noise pollution, just the sea, a few birds. You can hear yourself think, find your soul again, free from anything else, the wind in your hair, salt on your lips, fresh air. Sometimes, that’s all you need to be happy.

Coastal path –  Mawgan Porth to Bedruthan Steps

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There is more to Richmond than the famous park and the deers… Walk along the Thames, rent a boat, discover the old part of town with its adorable narrow streets, the names bringing a smile Maids of Honour row or even The Wardrobe, indulge in a chocolate-rosemary ice-cream at Willam Curley, discover the poetic universe of the Petersham Nurseries, read along the river and watch the parakeets fly above you…

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A week-end in London: June 21-24, 2012

Behind stern buildings can often be found luxurious, soothing, green havens. At the Chiltern Street Studios, the tiny courtyard offers a transition between two worlds, details of another era, keys opening invisible doors, ivy like necklaces around vintage glass bottles. A welcoming chair, a bird singing cheerfully. Funny how a few square meters can be such an escape from the wild wide world outside. Do you have a secret garden in London too?

That’s art baby:
* After the elephants, the eggs… 75 phone booths have been redecorated and scattered around town. Happy hnting, until July 18!
* It is spring on the new facade of the Whitechapel Gallery – worth seeing.
* Yoko Ono opens her show at the Serpentine.

Take the little ones along:
* An architecture festival dedicated to kids? What a fabulous ideas. Look at the program for great workshops.
* Are you hunting the BT Artbox phonebooths around town? Now this one, with a knitted monster should really wow them.
* Cupcakes bloom in sweet bouquets at Mulberry Teacup – deliciously beautiful!

Music, Maestro!
* Musicals fan? Come sing and dance on Trafalgar Square this week-end.
* Exhibition Road has a fabulous musical day planned on Saturday -  check it out!
* Spitafields too celebrates music, with a street party on Saturday.
* Walk through Camden in the most musical way.

Out of the ordinary:
* On Thursday, watch Royal Ascot on the big screens at Canary Wharf.
* Kensington Palace will be open late next Friday for the most enchanting evening.
* Watch the sumos race.
* Fancy walking on the roofs of the O2?
* The Old Vic Tunnels turn into a holiday camp for adults this week-end – give it a try!

A week-end in London: April 19-22, 2012

Seeing this installation in the Fortnum & Mason’s windows, I immediately thought of Postcrossing. In a world where we all tweet faster than our shadow, this excellent website put postcard, pens and stamps back on the table. Set up your free account and you will get the address of a total stranger, a few lines describing their hobbies. Write a kinf note a little hello, good wishes for the day, a quote. Some time later, you will in turn receive a card from another total stranger. So much nicer than ads and bills when going back home…

St George’s day:
* Not to be missed on Saturday. For St George’s day, Trafalgar Square turns into a garden for an afternoon. Bandstand and 3D effect included.

Big screen:
* A movie? Yes, but with style at One Aldwych, martini included!

* Or see Hitchcock classics in London churches.

* Try Bugsy Malone at the Troxy. Not just the movie, the setting and the atmosphere. A fantastic experience.

Take the little ones along:
* On Saturday, ride on a vintage bus.

* Meccano fans, feel like a child again at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

Out of the ordinary:
* Have lunch at the Hackney homemade food market.

* At the Horse Hospital, play with the strange and the occult.

* Go for a romantic walk.

* A new exhibition space is opening in Covent Garden, dedicated to movie stars. Amazing iconic pictures -  a must see.

* To celebrate record store day, independant shops are planning free concerts and nice workshops. Have a look here.

Walking along the Thames – Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is much more suprising than you expect. Have a look around -  plenty of fountains and modern sculptures there -  then walk along the Thames towards Tower Bridge. Ever so soothing, far from the crazy rythm of Oxford street. This will sometimes follow the river, sometimes take you to parallel streets and you will be amazed by the buildings  that used to store spices and silk and have now been renovated into offices and flats. You knew there were there but never expected so many. As in Hammersmith, there will be plenty of pubs with a view on your way. And if tiredness strikes, just jump on a Boris bike – the streets are so quiet around here and it is definitely the best place to enjoy cycling.

Walking along the Thames – Hammersmith

Get out of the too touristic Southbank. On a sunny day, walk along the Thames but around the Hammersmith Bridge. You will glimpse rowing boats racing by and will fin plenty of pubs with a view (like The Dove) along the way…

Quarter Bar at London Bridge Hotel

A fantastic tweet-up. Chats bout cameras, pictures, recipes, food, travels. A historical walk along the Thames, a journey through time thanks to Context London who told us fascinating stories and many smiles. We dreamt of the frost fair, which took place on a completely frozen river. We listened, delighted, to passages of classics who brought a brand new vision on familiar buildings. Their range also includes suprising thems such as this one for runners. Or that one on fashion from Tudor splendot to Vivienne Westwood punk approach. If you are a foodie, you are sure to go for the gastronomical one (unless you’d like to throw a little art in it too).

Then, cheeks all pinked up, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the Quarter Bar, nestled in the London bridge Hotel – ideally situated between the Shard and the Borough Market. A beautiful contemporary space, wide palette of colours, warm and welcoming, design touches such as those fabulous decanter lamps by Lee Broom (In love with them? They will be on sale on Dalani on Feb 06!). We sipped on a delicious martini made with organice apple juice (so healthy, right?) and realised winter felt suddenly very far away. The Quarter Bar was extremely generous and had prepares mini versions of some of their dishes: melt-in-the mouth dim-sums, sliders with juicy meat and onion marmelade, tender keftas fragrant with herbs, parmesan tiles shaped as cups holding a salad, addictive fish croquettes, sweet treats that would make a French pâtisserie proud (including perfect tartelettes and exquisite raspberry-pistachio cubes)… A very precious address after a long walk, the perfect place to stop for a bite, share a drink, catch up, wait for the rain to stop especialy as it is away from all the way-too-touristic places along the Thames. Or why not come for an afternoon tea? They serve it with one of my favourite tea brands, Tea Forte always decorated with a leaf…

Huge thanks to Magellan PR, Context London and London Bridge Hotel for organising everything and spoiling us!

London Bridge Hotel and Quarter Bar
8-18 London Bridge Street
London SE1 9SG UK

A week-end in London: Jan 13-15, 2012

Ah, how lovely to walk through Shoreditch again, such a familiar neighbourhood but with the constant surprise of street art. Keep your eyes open (and down) – there are still some of Pablo Delgado’s miniature works around… What are your plans for the week-end? None yet? Then scroll down…

That’s art, baby:
* Pretend you are Mime Marceau.
* This ice-sculpting festival should be pretty cool.
* Let’s be serious – Sky News and the Somerset House have put together an impressive collection of pictures.
* A colorful and fun exhibition that should delight curious minds -  at the London Transport Museum.
* find your luck at the Wellcome Collection.
* Love the glass sculpture at the entrance of the V&A? Why not go and see what else the artist can do?
* And from the first floor of your double decker

So British:
* Warm up in front of a lovely chimney fire in a pub.
* Or listen to classic albums there.
* Or enjoy a traditional treat.
* Get to know everything about gin with this craze walk.

Take the little ones along:
* And rediscover Quentin Blake.

Yummy time ahead:
* Cheers to you!
* Dine in a cinema.
* Fancy a squirrel pie?

Out of the ordinary:
* Take those ice-skating shoes and dance.
* White your thank you cards at Tatty devine.
* Lord of the rings will take you through the night.
* Sing a cappella.
* Sip a drink in a tipi on a London roof. You read that right.
* Try this Pay what you want guided walk.
* And now, you can even personnalise your soup tin.

A week-end in London: Jan 06-08, 2012

Another page turned. Good resolutions taken in the warm cocoon of the festivities. Good resolutions shaken hard by the first day back to work, sometimes even lost on the way there, we’ll pick them up again on the way back home. Sigh, cross out 2011 and write carefully, 2012 each time we write a new date. Such a feeling that everything would be brand new and be slightly surprised that nothing has changed, still lost in the magic of December.

Well, sometimes, the best resolution is to get lots of sparkles of your own, those that will make your eyes and your nails glitter, hypnotise the gaze. What a better way to shine through the day, even when wind and rain threaten to take your umbrella away?

* Drink to the spirit of our beloved Dickens.

* Nothing stops a taxi driver. Not even the cold.
* Do you quidditch?
* Art beats the winter blues in the Tube.
* Chips with that?

Yummy time ahead:
* Hélène Darroze will be offering her delicious Galette des Rois, the traditional French cake eaten to celebrate Epiphany, as part of the Connaught‘s afternoon tea. It will also be for sale at the hotel for people to take back home. Give them a call!
* Have a bite at the it/eat address of the moment, the Delaunay.
* Deal. Remember The Rosendale and The Avalon -  delicious (and kids-friendly) gastropubs. You can eat there for half the usual price till the end of the month!

Out of the ordinary:
* Have a closer look at the Olympic Games area.
* Fall in love with short films.
* Disco, karaoke, bowling and garden gnomes. We’re not joking.
* Dream in a London garden.


This Week End in London

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