Saturday, 5 October 2013

Bastion.



Wearing: Lover dress, ASOS heels, MNO.logie clutch and Michael Kors watch.

When planning my return trip to Europe earlier this year, the first city I decided I 'needed' to visit was Budapest. Despite having no significant historical past, The Halászbástya or Fisherman's Bastion is one of the most incredible places i've visited to date. Sitting between the columns, watching human doings across the Danube and appreciating the historical buildings present along the banks makes the city feel as historically rich as Berlin, whilst the early morning fog over the neo-gothic and neo-romanesque style terrace and turrets, makes the city feel more romantic than Paris. 

Although not the cheapest hotel in the Budapest city centre, the Hilton Budapest Fisherman's bastion has got to be the best and is worth splurging on for at least a one-night stay. The hotel is located at the top of the Budapest castle district and practically a part of Fisherman's Bastion. Although a long climb up and down from the main city and bridges, there are so many different paths to explore and if you're feeling lazy it's a mere 5 euro taxi right to the hotel from the Chain Bridge. Perhaps you'll get a taxi driver as lovely as the one I happened upon, who took it upon himself to provide me with a little tour (including narration!) of the castle district for no extra charge.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Izmailovo



I discovered Moscow's lesser known Kremlin (the Kremlin of Izmailovo) on a whim when browsing google images for the beautiful and world famous Moscow Kremlin. I fell instantly in love with the Disneyland yet traditional Russian appeal of the little fortification, and highlighted it as a must see for my trip to Moscow that I can now only look upon in hindsight. 

Built in 1998, the Izmailovo Kremlin is nowadays used during the celebration of different city holidays, festivals and fairs. The Kremlin is also a highly popular setting for Russians wanting to celebrate their weddings according to the oldest Russian traditions (I saw three weddings occuring in the Kremlin within the 30 minutes that I spent exploring within its walls!). Although the site has no historical value and is purely a charming sight for the eyes, as it is only a 15 minute metro trip out from the Moscow city centre, I'd definitely recommend a trip here.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Postcards from Barcelona







1/ Views over Park Güell 2/ A sample of the mosaic tiles decorating Park Güell 3/ La Sagrada Familia from Park Güell 4&5/ More Park Güell 6/ Barcelona rooftops from atop la Casa Mila 7/ Strawberries atop Park Güell 8-12/ Exploring la Sagrada Familia 13-16/ La Casa Mila 17-22/ La Casa Batiló

I think it is fair to say that Barcelona charmed the pants off of me. During the span of my 48 hours in the Catalonian city, I must've taken more than 800 photos and smiled the equivalent of a years worth of smiles as I became entranced with the creative world of Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi and the charming people who greeted me everywhere I went in the city; whether to ask for directions or order fresh fruit.  You would not believe how hard it was for me to mull down my photo album to these mere 22 photos to encapulsate my 2-day trip.

Before my flight to Europe, I spent many hours watching documentaries and reading up on the Gaudi and his many works scattered through the city of Barcelona. By the time it was time for me to fly over, I had already pre-purchased my tickets to all of his buildings, not wanting to miss an inch of his architectural detailing. I definitely did not regret this pre-preparation as every single site I visited inspired me to a degree that only reading the writings of Richard Brautigan or staring at a Van Gogh painting was able to previously; not to mention the 3+ hour line for people wanting to buy tickets to enter into Gaudi's most reknowned work, la Sagrada Familia. What follows is a little insight into my favourite sights of Barcelona.

Park Güell -
Perhaps my favourite site of Gaudi's is not only free monetarily speaking but is also free of any line. Within the public garden complex of Park Güell one can not only navigate through 17 hectares of green land complemented by the modernist architecture of Gaudi, but can also visit the home where Gaudi moved in with his family. Although no line or fee, the site is a bit of a hike and incredibly hard to move around in during the summer months with thousands of tourists being constantly snap happy. This being said, there are few fonder memories that I have than treating myself to arguably the best fresh strawberries and mango pieces atop the main terrace of Park Güell and looking back over the physical journey I had overcome to get there.

La Sagrada Familia - 
My hotel was literally around the corner from la Sagrada Familia, so it was naturally the first and last thing I went to see. The incredible line of people waiting to enter the church was so overwhelming that I did not expect to find a place to myself where I could take some photos and just enjoy the façade of the building. However, after spotting a fresh fruit stand in a park across the road from the Nativity façade of the building, I found that the park not only offered perfect views of la Sagrada Familia across a small lake but was more or less empty of tourists. I don't know why more people didn't seem to know about this park and its aesthetic benefits but I was not going to complain. If you ever visit, hopefully the word hasn't caught on and you can make like me and get some fresh fruit and sit and enjoy the view and peace from the park. (See more in my previous posts here).

La Casa Batiló and la Casa Mila - 
Right from the façade la Casa Batiló made my mind explode out of sheer architectural delight. The entire façade is tiled with mosaics of glass pieces and ceramic discs. The building only gets better on the interior, with constant mosaics, stained glass windows, chandeliers and staircases that appear to come from no where. The owners of the site's webpage do not lie when they state that la Casa Batiló is a 'universe of symbolism, a canvas of marine inspiration, a dream world, which evokes nature with its organic elements and is suggestive of fantasy'.

Although the interior of la Casa Mila is not so creatively overwhelming as la Casa Batiló, the rooftop with its many surrealistic colourful chimney is truly delightful to run around (you can observe how happy I was in image 6) and provides breathtaking views over the rooftops of Barcelona. Both la Casa Batiló and la Casa Mila also offer summer night visits where you can watch the sunset from the rooftops of either building whilst enjoying live jazz and drinks!

If you are sitting on the fence about a visit to Barcelona, I say just "Go, go, go, go!"

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sultanahmet


Wearing: Stylestalker dress, Urban Outfitters top, MNO.Logie clutch, ASOS heels, Michael Kors watch and miscellaneous hairbands that I forgot that I had on but that definitely came in handy later in the day :)

Since returning home from Europe, when asked the question, "Which city did you like the most?" my answer is invariably Istanbul and Barcelona (exclusive of London, of course). My experience in Istanbul and the nearby destinations of Çannakhale and Gallipoli managed to mark more things off of my bucket list than I knew was humanly possible within the span of a 4-day trip. Not only did I get to wander through the city of Istanbul itself, but I was also lucky enough to visit the archaeological site of ancient Troy, frolic through numerous fields of human-sized sunflowers, explore the battlefields of Gallipoli by land and sea and snorkel in the northern beaches of Gallipoli over a shipwreck. 

In the months leading up to my European escapade, I was so excited to visit Turkey that I had planned every inch of the adventure down to appropriate outfits. It is no secret that my wardrobe lacks post-knee lengths skirts and dresses, so on my search to find a maxi dress appropriate to the soaring summer weather in Istanbul, when I came across this Stylestalker piece for only $30AUD on eBay it wouldn't be a hyperbole to say that I was quite ecstatic. Not only is it suitcase friendly (weighing only 80 grams and folding up into a pocket-friendly size), but the lightweight material makes it the coolest option in the 30+ degree days I was greeted with in Turkey and the post-knee length makes it appropriate for exploring the various mosques. Teamed with a top that I picked up from Urban Outfitters a few months ago to cover my shoulders and chest, I was ready to explore the Blue Mosque. :)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Eiffel.



During my last 24 hours in Europe, as I paid a final visit to all of my favourite little spots in Paris and London, every thing made me cry as I knew how far away I was soon going to be from it all. Simple things like catching the London underground or people (and dog) watching in parks have me more nostalgic then ever since arriving back home. 

I spent my last night in Europe split between Paris and London. I took in the views from Montmarte and enjoyed a crêpe from my favourite Parienne crêperie alongside La Tour Eiffel before catching the Eurostar to London, where purely walking the streets brings the dumbest smile to my face. For such a special night, I was delighted to finally get a chance to pull out this Zimmermann number that I had stored away in my suitcase. The 100% silk fabric and perfectly tucked draping made me feel as specially dressed as I felt the evening was special to me. I really cannot wait to catch up on all of my university workload so that I can share my photo diaries from all my cities and reminisce.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Acropolis


To me, standing atop the Acropolis is equivalent to a mountaineer standing atop Mount Everest. There is a monumental feeling of achievement that comes with being face to face with the stunning monuments of Greek history that are spread throughout the Acropolis, as well as the incredible panorama that the plateau offers visitors. I only wish entry into the Parthenon and other monuments was currently allowed. Although I have three days in Athens, I decided to complete the Acropolis hike first thing on my first afternoon here. My two days in the city since have offered me more ruins, adorable animals and incredible food than I could hope to encounter in any city. 

Flying from Santorini to Athens the morning of my Acropolis hike, I chose this dress for two reasons - firstly, for it's convenience for flying with its slim fit design that doesn't blow up in the artificial wind created by the aeroplanes; and secondly, as it mimics the colours of the houses of Santorini and the Greek flag. I overheard a fellow ferry passenger mention that the reason for the white and blue houses along the Santorini caldera was that Greeks were forbidden to fly their (blue and whiteflag, so as an act of defiance they painted their houses blue and white. I don't know how true this is but the fun fact inspired my attire nonetheless. 

A full Greece photo diary and recommendations list will be coming soon!