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aimeebynight

tales of travel, inspiration and adventure

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Forging a Dynasty

It’s our final day here in Vienna and we are heading slightly out of the city to visit Schönbrunn Palace. Referred to as ‘The Summer Palace’, it’s where the Habsburg’s spent the warmer six months of the year when they were not holding court at The Hofburg.

After a hearty breakfast, we take a cab past the industrial and more run-down outskirts, to what would once have been considered countryside and where it would have taken about three days to reach by horse and carriage. It takes us only 20 minutes by car, and as we round our final turn, suddenly there it is – lit up in all it’s glory by the mid-morning sun.
Continue reading “Forging a Dynasty”

A Viennese Whirl

It’s a beautiful, crisp cloudless morning and we opt for omelettes at breakfast time in a vain attempt to soak up some of last night’s alcohol, but everyone is still feeling pretty delicate as we head out into the early-afternoon sun.

We amble along just behind the town hall to a quiet little row of buildings where the Rueff Dance School is located. We head up a  stone spiral staircase and are welcomed into a lovely little studio with a colourfully decorated waiting room. There’s a waggy-tailed dog who comes to greet us and collect some belly rubs, her affectionate nuzzles helping a little with the hangovers.

There’s no-one else here save us, for our activity today is private Viennese Waltz lessons.  Continue reading “A Viennese Whirl”

Walking in a Wiener Wonderland

It’s a couple of degrees colder this morning and we’re all slightly shivery as we arrive at The Albertina to begin our walking tour. Our guide today is a lovely gentleman named Wolfgang (yes, like Mozart) and he begins by taking us up onto the roof of the gallery so we can look out across the city of Wien – what the Viennese call Vienna in their native German tongue. He points out the famous Vienna Opera House, which was built around 150 years ago and was the first major structure to be built on the now-busy Vienna Ringstraße, which also plays home to the Civic Hall and Parliament building. This boulevard was where the old city walls used to stand before being torn down by Emperor Franz Josef, Vienna’s longest reigning Emperor, and part of the Habsburg Dynasty that ruled over Austria for over 600 years. Continue reading “Walking in a Wiener Wonderland”

A Lady Like THAT

It’s a balmy Wednesday evening here in Manchester and I’m heading to The Castle Hotel, an intimate live music venue hidden away on Oldham Street, to watch Ingrid Andress play.

The small back room is already filling up nicely with eager patrons, eerily lit by the hot blue lights coming from the stage where instruments await their players.

Suddenly there’s a rush of movement cutting through the chatter as a young woman weaves her way with purpose through the crowds to the front before hopping on the stage and grabbing a waiting guitar. Continue reading “A Lady Like THAT”

The Great Crusade

Today is our first full day here in Venice and we wake to the sound of church bells mixed with the low rumble of boats passing beneath our window.

Breakfast and coffee consumed in the little pink and green panelled dining room worthy of a Wes Anderson film, we venture back to the Piazza San Marco to further investigate what Venice’s famous square has to offer.

We head straight to the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, originally build around 830 AD, and dedicated to Saint Mark the Evangelist after merchants stole what was thought to be his body from Alexandria and brought it back to Venice. The cathedral is the most famous of Venice’s churches and a stunning example of Byzantine architecture –  with an Italian twist. Continue reading “The Great Crusade”

This must be the place.

When I woke up that Tuesday morning, it was, to all intents and purposes, an ordinary day. Except of course, It wasn’t. Continue reading “This must be the place.”

The Pursuit of happiness

A few weeks ago I dropped my oyster card onto the tube tracks. Berating myself for clumsiness, feelings of annoyance and upset creeping in, I actually contemplated climbing down to get it. I checked the time before the next train, and even ran through it step-by-step in my head: jumping down, grabbing the damn thing, and clambering back up before being hit. Continue reading “The Pursuit of happiness”

Last night a Reacher saved my life.

I love Jack Reacher. Fact. When the world is a sad, bad, scary place, I feel reassured just knowing that he can come along and kick some ass for me.

Solid, dependable, and analytical to a flaw; there’s still light at the end of the tunnel as long as Jack Reacher walks this earth. Jack Reacher might just be my spirit animal. His preference for solitude, uneasiness around staying in one place too long, and almost phobic response to commitment are things I completely identify with. It may not be everyone’s ideal, but to me, Jack Reacher’s alienation represents the ultimate freedom.  Continue reading “Last night a Reacher saved my life.”

Black Beauty

Today it’s time to head out to wine country. Luckily for us, Alba is not only home to amazing food, but also happens to be located in the Piedmont region, whose hilly area, the Langhe, is a major wine production province. Yesterday we dipped our toe in the water with Barolo, which left me slightly underwhelmed, and so I am pinning all of my hopes on today to be completely wowed by what Italy has to offer when it comes to wine. Continue reading “Black Beauty”

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