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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”

Oh, Vienna

Today we are up before it’s light, only slightly marred by the effects of last night’s wine consumption, to head to the airport and jet off to Vienna.

Austria’s capital is our chosen destination for celebrating the baby bro’s 30th birthday, and as none of us have even been before, we are all pretty excited (despite the hangovers).

It’s a short two hour flight and we take off as dawn is breaking and land mid-morning – the whole day still ahead of us. The airport is in the industrial outskirts of the city and so we hop a cab to our hotel which is central.

Once we leave the smoky chimneys behind we are greeted by strange trees whose leaves grow in little blobs, reminding me of a child’s painting, and apartment blocks in varying shades of cream and yellow, their windows framed by ornate stucco trims. keeping us company on our ride is the great Danube river, not so blue today, but rather a murky green.   Continue reading “Oh, Vienna”

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”

Drops of Jupiter

Today is our first (and only) full day here in Milan, and so we rise early to make the most of the time we have. Continue reading “Drops of Jupiter”

Marco…Polo.

It was a hot summer’s night. The temperature here in London had soared into the 30’s during the waking hours, bringing with it a dense heat usually only found on the continent.

Continue reading “Marco…Polo.”

The importance of being Aubergine.

The other day I had a craving for the humble aubergine. In a ‘first world problems’ scenario my local supermarket was bereft, so I called and asked my father to grab me a couple since we were due to meet up after work anyhow. Continue reading “The importance of being Aubergine.”

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