Twenty-Fours in Brighton-Hove

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I guess we go through phases of sudden waves of creativity where the list of things to talk about seems endless. Other times, we go through draughts of mundane daily activities where nothing seemed interesting enough.

Nevertheless, that season is over and I’m kicking things off with a video from another recent day-trip to Brighton! Spent the Summer in London and this was just a snippet of a little day-trip out of the city. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Brighton

Not too long ago, I took about an hour drive out of London to visit Brighton. I have heard so many amazing things about it, from their brightly painted houses and shops to their famous Brighton Pier. Not forgetting this is YouTube royalty grounds. I knew that the opportunity to visit this amazing seaside place must not be missed. Parking right by the pier, my family and I took a stroll on the boardwalk. Taking in the view of the Pier, Brighton Wheel and the many seagulls around. The beautiful weather gave my visit a touch of perfection. Being by the seaside would not have been complete without some fish & chips. Thus, that was exactly what we treated ourselves to. After that, we went to do some window shopping and walked about The Lanes before indulging in a proper lush haul. Lastly, ending our day by taking a walk around the Royal Pavillion where we made friends with the squirrels.

Having had only a few hours to visit this city, I am determined to come back and soon to really soak in all of its beauty and whatever else Brighton has to offer. This well-balanced town of seaside and city has already inched it’s way to one of the top of my list of places I have visited.

Crème de la Crème of Sunset Views

Another ticked off the bucket list as I watched the sunset from Oia in Santorini, Greece. I don’t think there will ever be a place on earth with a more beautiful view of the Sunset.

I arrived in Santorini and was greeted by wonderful weather. It was a perfect balance of the heat  from the blazing sun accompanied by cooling winds from the sea. Houses were painted pearly white with sea-blue dome ceilings. The roads were long and winding; the cobbled streets filled with marks of where the donkey’s trotted up and down the uneven paths.

Having arrived towards the end of winter, many of the shops were closed and the streets were quieter than I expected it to be. Nonetheless, I embarked on the adventure of visiting every landmark on this island. Thus begun my drive from Amoundi Bay right down to  the Red Beach.

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I have not seen whiter walls and bluer skies

Drives along the Long and Winding Roads

This road-trip was nothing like any other road-trip I have ever been on before. The winds were coming in at 40-odd km/h or more. I could feel the car shake from within it and see the windows fog up as we approached peaks of the island.

Prior to this  ridiculous wind, we drove up to Oia and watched the ever-beautiful sunset. The blood orange sun reflecting against the pastel colored walls of the buildings that all had a sea-side view. I swore there was nothing more beautiful. Making my way to the top, I found a nice spot, set-up my tripod and recorded what was to be the Sunset of all Sunsets. As  I hid under my hoodie and watched the sunset, my fingers were numb from the cold but it was well worth it.

Creme de la creme of Sunset Views

Creme de la creme of Sunset Views

The sun took quite awhile to set in the initially 20 minutes, but once it kissed the horizon it was within a couple of minutes before the sun was completely out of sight. Those few minutes were without a doubt The Golden Hour. 

Having not been able to head out to sea due to the wind speed that made the waters choppy, creating violent waves. We visited the underground winery, red beach, lighthouse etc. Each spot encapsulated with its own beauty.

Definitely making Santorini a place to visit on everyone’s bucket list.

 

All Things Greek

After the Italian escapade, I jetted-off from Rome headed towards what was anticipated to be the highlight of the trip; Greece!

Greece was a place I have never been to before but have dreamt of for a long while. It’s beauty and stories hidden in their Greek Temples or what remains of em’. Growing up watching movies like Hercules and Percy Jackson, I have always been fond of the mythology that accompanied these sites. Thus, I was beyond eager to finally visit this country.

First stop: Athens. 

Athens 6

This capital of modern Greece is still home to many famous landmarks that have been around since 5,000 BCE. Upon my arrival, I was inundated with rich sights. Right opposite where I stayed was Zeus Temple and just to my right I could see the Acropolis of Athens in all its glory.  The excitement in me grew in volumes and I was ever-ready to put my bag down, head out and explore what this city had to offer. The culture, the landscape, the people, everything.

I took a map from the reception, marking out all the landmarks I wanted to see and planned my next 48 hours.

Athens 2

However, having arrived pretty late, I left the exploration for the next few days. Instead, I decided to have a chill night instead. I strolled around Plaka which was the old historical neighbourhood. Home to many little cafes and stores including Brettos Bar.

Athens 3

Athens 7

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The next day soon arrived and off I was exploring as many historical sites as possible. The weather was amazing and that made each site look a 120% more beautiful.

Athens 8

Acropolis of Athens

Acropolis of Athens

Panathenaic Stadium

Panathenaic Stadium

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus

Athens 10

After which, I visited Piraeus, which is a port city of Athens. With the skies and sea looking so blue, it was breath-taking.

Piraeus 4 Piraeus 3 Piraeus 2Athens 9

Athens is simply lovely with its rich culture and sights. Alongside, their food like gyros and greek yogurt. Overall, leaving a wonderful impression on me!

The Italian Journals: Rome (Part 3)

Como e’ bella ce’ la luna brille e’ strette
Strette como e’ tutta bella a passeggiare
Sotto il cielo di Roma

Rome 1

On An Evening in Roma by Dean Martin and the scenes of The Lizzie McGuire movie played in my head, on replay (Yes, that movie was THE movie during my adolescence before I discovered High School Musical and then I found another movie to play on repeat till I remembered every dialogue) as I passed by each beautiful historic site on the city sightseeing bus.

I couldn’t believe it. After thirteen years, I am back here in beautiful Roma! And I could not be more excited than I was to explore and as they say, do as the Romans do! I don’t think I can put  into word the beauty of the architecture, the richness of this city’s history and culture (and of course how could I ever forget the variety of Pizza and Pasta available for me to indulge in) as I visited places such as The Trevi Fountain, The Colosseum, Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum, Altar Della Patria, Castle Sant’Angelo, Spanish Steps, Largo di Torre Argentina, St.Peter’s Basilica, The Sistine Chapel  etc. The list could go on and on but instead, I will leave you with pictures of this amazing city as ‘a picture paints a thousands words’ blahblahblah. And yeah Rome is just so freaking, bloody, i-wish-there-was-such-thing-as-teleportation-so-I-could-go-back-at-any-point-of-time beautiful.

The Vatican

The Vatican

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

Altare della Patria

Altare della Patria

Castle Sant'Angelo

Castle Sant’Angelo

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica

Rome 2

This is the last of the Italian Journals and I miss Italy already.

Tornerò!

(Is that right? who knows but it is suppose to be “I will be back”, in case you wondering!)

The Italian Journals: Florence (Part 1)

Veni. Vidi. Amavi.

I came. I saw. I loved.

Florence 2

The last time I set foot on Italian soil I was barely past a meter tall. Clad in pink from head to toe with all sorts of floral pattern and lace. Essentially, I could have looked like a living breathing garden and I would not have known. I visited sites and famous landmarks that many would have jumped at the opportunity to see but for my 6-year-old mind, it’d probably was just a pretty building. Completely ignoring the historical value of the cobbled street that I stood on.

14 years later, I have returned. Matured and filled with eagerness to let my mind grow with knowledge, to re-visit and visit new places and meet new people.

first stop: florence
day one.

I like Florence. the old architecture of buildings, the cobbled and narrow streets has a Tuscanian touch that has appealed to me.

My family and I arrived in Florence a little after sunset which meant that by the time we reached the apartment, everywhere was dark. This apartment was situated just by the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria. This beautiful tower was visible from my bed with its bells ringing every hour on the hour. As I trudged along the cobbled and uneven streets, dragging along my bags that contributing to noise pollution that could essentially have waken everyone up, I finally reached the foot of my apartment and when I unlocked the heavy wooden doors, I was welcomed with a horrific sight. Flights of stairs. It definitely did not help renting the apartment right at the top.

After a good sweat out of carrying the bags up, I entered into a very old and true Italian home. This apartment was three stories high with tiny wooden doors and flooring, brick walls and stoned staircases. Initially, my senses were knocked with a touch of eerie feel as it was dark and an unfamiliar sight. However, this fear did not last long. After unpacking the usual, which I have grown to realize has become second-nature with all the practice I have acquired over the years. This apartment started to feel more cosy and grew on me. It soon became impossible not to fall in love with it.

Florence 10

Florence 9

Realizing it was dinner time, we entered a restaurant called Osteria all’ antics Vinaio which was merely a 3 minute walk from where we stayed. The food was as amazing as the staff in terms of their attentiveness to our needs. We filled our plates with pasta and cold-cuts. Which made our first dining experience in Italy all the more fabulous. After two and a half bottles of wine, a hearty conversation and a well-fed tummy, we headed back. Contented.

Florence 11

day two.

My family and I consider ourselves, walkers. Now you may ask what does that even mean, Rachel? Well, I am here to tell you that we absolutely love to walk ( a tad too much) when on vacation, Our main mode of transportation if possible would always be by foot around the city. Thus, it came as no surprise that when we knew Florence was a small old town, we decided that our feet will be our transport in bringing us all around.

We toured this historic city, visiting landmarks and sites that attracted many tourists just like ourselves. We visited the Florence Cathedral that from afar would like a paper house because of its fine and detailed carving of every wall. Accentuating these details with the dark outlining.

The afternoon beat on, and we continued to hit more sites barely stopping for even a lunch break (which you would come to realize in subsequent posts that had become a habit for us). These sites included Piazzale Michaelangelo where we saw the iconic terra-cotted-tiled dome, Palazzo Medici Riccardi,  Piazza del Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Giotto’s Campanile etc.

Blissed out and proud that my legs were able to bring me to so many places, I was completely knackered and famished by the time the evening rolled around. Without even realizing, my first proper full day in Florence had come to an end.

Florence 1

Florence Cathedral

Florence 7

Beautiful detailed dome of the Florence Cathedral

Florence 8

Crucifix

Florence 3

View from Piazzale Michaelangelo

Florence 5

Michaelangelo

Blown away by the beauty and historical value of this place, it left me fueled up and ready to take on the rest of my Italian Adventures. 

la vita e bella.

life is beautiful.

London Calling

londonphile; a person who loves the english capital city. 

London 2

It’s about my fourth or fifth time to London and I grown to love it more and more each time. My stay in London has been short having planned to visit other places around Europe, but I made it a mission to revisit all my favorite spots in the following 24 hours upon my arrival.

Parading from Marble Arche to Oxford Street. From Knightsbridge to Covent Garden. The tube had become my best friend as a means of transportation around this city.

My first stop was to have dinner at On The Bab at Covent Garden. It is a little cafe that sells Street Korean Food. Having been introduced to this place last June, I made it a point to return when I was back in town. This time, I ordered On the Bibimbap, On the Buns and On the Roll. They were a variation of dishes that ranged from a mixed rice to a “burger” and something similar to sushi, respectively. Each dish with their own acquired taste but scrumptious all the same.

OTB 4OTB 2

Soon came the hunt for all the items I have kept a list of since my last visit. Braving the crowd, I strutted down the hustling and bustling Oxford Street. Entering shops like Nike, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Topshop that were all around Oxford Circus, the heart of London’s shopping street itself. After which, I took a walk towards the as voted World’s Best departmental Store, Selfridges. I completely understood why it was given such a title because I found a wide variety of brands in there.

London 5

Shopping should definitely be a sport on its own. After all the walking between stores and floors within the mall. I worked myself up an appetite. Thus, I made my way to Ponti’s which was just opposite from Selfridge. It is an Italian Restaurant and sold quality food. Though it was a slight mistake on my part having not considered the fact I would be in Italy the following week. Allowing me to have Pizza and Pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nonetheless, I ordered a light meal of a Bruchetta and Pasta to share. Wanting to leave an appetite for Burger & Lobster, later on.

Bruchetta

Bruchetta

Pasta

Seafood Pasta

Next, I headed to Piccadilly Circus to buy myself some Nespresso Coffee before leaving the last stop to be Harrods. How could any trip to London be complete without heading there?

London 4

Ending off the night with London’s classic Burger and Lobster at Harvey Nichols.

Lobster

Lobster

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll

London will always be at the top of the list of cities that I love to visit.  From the architecture to the smallest detail of coffee art demands to be instagrammed or tweeted about. The accent of the people here never fails to makes me melt, making them all the more attractive than they already are. Most of all, the familiarity that I have built through my numerous visit has made me feel very comfortable and safe in this amazing city. Something that takes awhile to cultivate within me, having been a anxious traveller. Often weary of my surroundings.

Please continue to be this wonderful, London. I look forward to more visits in the future.