Spring is here!

Spring has definitely come to London and with the cherry blossom blooming, I decided to step away from the books and head out into the sunshine.

Of course my little walk had to include some architecture/educational element 😉

This is St. Mark’s in Primrose Hill. It looks like a little chapel on the outside but is quite spacious inside. The local community host regular classical music concerts here, and there is a beautiful eighteenth-century Italian organ inside. I like.

St Mark's Church, Primrose Hill

St Mark’s Church, Primrose Hill

St Mark's Church, Primrose Hill

St Mark’s Church, Primrose Hill

 

The Lion of St. Mark

The Lion of St. Mark

This picture takes me back to Venice, with its Lion of St. Mark symbolism scattered all over the city.

Lotta from Stockholm

Lotta from Stockholm

Sun’s out and so are the toes. Ripped jeans and Lotta from Stockholm’s Swedish clogs.

Pastel Primrose Hill

Pastel Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill becomes a world of its own in the Spring with its paint pastel houses. Regent’s Park Road is probably one of my favorite streets in London. Often walk towards Regents Park daydreaming, in another world where I’m a millionaire, which one of these houses would I call my own?

Juliette Balcony

Juliette Balcony

Walking down Chalk Farm road, towards Camden Market from Chalk Farm, on my right was Harmood Road. What might appear to be just another street, in another town, happens to be a lovely little road with probably one of the best second hand bookshops I have seen in London. These guys have a phenomenal selection of second hand Philosophy books from Socrates, to Descartes, Aquinas and Kant. They also have impressive poetry, fiction and arts sections. I got myself a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy (seeing as my tutor has mentioned it on numerous occasions now). Don’t go anywhere else, come here!

Walden Books

Walden Books

 

 

Check out Walden Books here

Lotta from Stockholm here  (In serious need of a third pair…)

 

An Education in French Queens

Forgive me, for it’s been over a month since I last blogged. My mind has been engulfed by postgraduate studies at the Courtauld Institute of Art! Finally I have 5 minutes (more like half an hour) to myself, which means… well deserved precious blogging time. Autumn has to be my favorite time of the year for all it’s golden leafy glory (plus it’s birthday season for me) and so I present to you, an autumnal beauty, Jardin Luxembourg, Paris.

Jardin Luxembourg

Jardin Luxembourg

 

Marie de Medici

Marie de Medici

Florentine born Marie de Medici, queen of France, true to her Medici blood, she was a major patron of French Arts

Marguerite d'Angouleme

Marguerite d’Angouleme

 

Mathilde

Mathilde

Here’s where nations unite, Mathilde was the consort of William the Conqueror

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots

Yes even the Queen of Scots has her French affiliates

Jeanne d'Albret

Jeanne d’Albret

A saintly figure…

Saint Genevieve

Saint Genevieve

And Delacroix!

Delacroix

Delacroix

Oh and if you’re under 4ft tall you can ride on one of these babies

cute

cute

Something Wonderful

Today I discovered something that has changed everything. After months of what has felt like a rather bumpy car ride, I have received a letter from my university stating that I will in fact be receiving a full scholarship for the rest of my studies. I hate to say it but my mother was right, patience child, your heart is in the right place.

I am determined to make this coming academic year the best one so far. A Peggy Guggenheim Venice internship and the possibility of research in Italy feels that little bit more real to me now.

So along with academic merit comes financial peace of mind. I’ll be making a few Art Historical pit stops for my blog and research before the start of term. First stop, Denmark, to visit my artistically talented friend Mr. Huusmann.

Live and love people!

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Mountain Trip – Barcis, Pordenone

I have a fear of heights, don’t ask me how I managed to climb up to the Christ Redeemer (and take photos) in Rio, let’s just say I thank my friend Christina for “holding my hand”. When a trip to the mountains of Pordenone was suggested, my heart jumped to my throat. How would I feel all the way up in the mountainous landscape that I had recently discovered and snapped many ‘a Instagram pictures of?

It’s actually incredible how fear can quite easily dissolve, like an aspirin in a glass of water, at the sheer sight of nature at it’s finest. The ascent was barely noticeable as we passed through various small villages and tunnels. As we drew nearer and nearer to the mountains, the sight of colossal evergreen trees and snow peaks put my mind at ease. I was close to nature, I was safe.

Barcis, Province of Pordenone

Barcis, Province of Pordenone

Barcis is situated in the Province of Pordenone, a 45 minute car trip from Sacile train station. The ride there and back is highly recommended for avid cyclists. Pack yourself a decent lunch of cheeses, meats, bread and wine, take in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine and prepare to be enchanted by the emerald green lake – the Lago de Barcis.

Lago de Barcis

Lago de Barcis

Swim with the fishes and observe the elegance of the swan. Peace rules at the lake. I can only imagine that the inhabitants of this region must be laughing at those of us who choose to live in cities, just the color of the lake is enough to leave me completely mesmerized.

Lago de Barcis

Lago de Barcis

Plan your trip on a weekend and walk up to the village where they hold summer fetes and stalls. Here you can find homemade soaps, olive oil, wine, honey, pastries and liquors in every flavor under the sun! My personal favorites being amaretto, coconut, hazelnut and of course the Italian limoncello (lemon) liquors.

What's your flavor? Italian Limoncello

What’s your flavor? Italian Limoncello

Home made soaps

Home made soaps

A day to remember. Hire a car or a guide from Pordenone or Sacile. Other notable mountain villages to visit includes nearby Aviano.

The village at Barcis

The village at Barcis

Colossal Trees. Barcis

Colossal Trees. Barcis

 

 

 

Foodie in Italy

It’s not everyday that I get excited about visiting the supermarket. I could easily spend an unnecessary amount of time in the vegetable section of an Italian grocery store.

Locally sourced fresh vegetables at the supermarket in Perdonone

Locally sourced fresh vegetables at the supermarket in Perdonone

 

Zucchine, Italian staple food. It's in most dishes and grows everywhere.

Zucchine, Italian staple food. It’s in most dishes and grows everywhere.

Humongous apples that actually smell like apples!

Humongous apples that actually smell like apples!

Italians love their apricots and so do I

Italians love their apricots and so do I

This one's for the cheese lovers everywhere

This one’s for the cheese lovers everywhere

It doesn't get better than this

It doesn’t get better than this

Sweets for my sweet

Sweets for my sweet

Coffee culture

Single espresso

Single espresso

Cannoli, a deliciously sweet and filling Sicilian pastry dessert.

Holy Cannoli

Holy Cannoli

And vegetarian pizza for dinner.

Italian pizza. Words cannot express how I feel about this.

Italian pizza. Words cannot express how I feel about this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ride a Bike in Fontanafredda, Italy

In the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, a one hour train ride out from Venice, we discovered Fontanafredda in the province of Pordenone. At the foot of the most northern Italian mountains lies this quaint little town. I had the pleasure of calling this safe haven my resting place during my week long trip in northern Italy.

IMG_8217

Fontanafredda

The nearest train station to Fontanafredda is Sacile. Trains run through Trieste, Pordenone, Treviso and Venice along the Venice-Udine railway line. Grab yourself a bike and go for a ride around the countryside. Soak up the sun, take in the beautiful scenery of corn fields and vineyards, visit old churches and markets. I love Fontanafredda.

Fontanafredda

Fontanafredda

Beautiful Shrine

Beautiful Shrine

Italians and their vintage bikes

Italians and their vintage bikes

Catch a perfect sunset

Fontanafredda

Fontanafredda

 

I HEART Camden Town

Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been over a week since I last posted on my blog.

I have to admit that I have been busy with ‘other preoccupations’ including preparations for various trips such as my return to Italy in a couple of weeks. I have also been ill. I am very much bunged up with a cold which I assumed was just hay-fever. This hasn’t stopped me from venturing out and doing what I love most, which is a combination of discovering new and beautiful places as well as fine dining.

Yesterday I spent a sunny afternoon in my local area, Camden Town. Here are some things I love to do in Camden.

Let’s get the food part out of the way.

Market Food at Camden Town Lock Market

Market Food at Camden Town Lock Market

I love the Lock Market, especially the food court on the weekends. Nations unite as market stalls produce Latin America, Caribbean, Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Italian, British and other such world foods. My favorite has to be the stall that sells corn bread wraps. I love the black bean, meat and plantain wrap. It’s fresh, homemade, wheat free and delicious.

Savoury snacks and a coconut smoothie at Made in Brazil

Savory snacks and a coconut smoothie at Made in Brazil

Brazilians have quite literally taken over the gaff. Camden Town has a growing Brazilian population and with that comes fine dinning and food stalls. I love Made in Brazil on Inverness Street. This restaurant has been here for quite some time now though I am yet to be bored of their menu. Brazilians are big on savory snacks, yesterday I sampled their bolinho de bacalhao (salted fish cakes), coxinhas (chicken parcels) and cassava (manioc) chips. These were all watered down nicely with a fresh coconut smoothie. For mains my friend had the feijoada, the national dish of Brazil and I had the moqueca, a  fish dish from Bahia in the north.

Moqueca, a fish dish from Bahia, northern Brazil

Moqueca, a fish dish from Bahia, northern Brazil

After wolfing down our food we went in search of shoes (any excuse to go for a brisk walk in order to digest our heavy meals). I love shoes and especially shoes from Author. Author have recently branched out with stores in central London, East and in West London’s Portobello Market. They also have a cute little boutique in Camden Town. Yesterday I fell in love with these babies by MTNG Originals. Classic and perfect for the summer.

MTNG Originals Sandals

MTNG Originals Sandals

If I could spend a warm summer’s day anywhere in London, it would be on Primrose Hill. Primrose Hill is a little world away from the world, a hill of a park in Chalk Farm that connects Camden with Regents Park. Many a fine summer’s days have been spent in Primrose Hill with friends and picnics. Check out the amazing view of the London skyline from the very top!

Primrose Hill

Primrose Hill

 

Catch a sunset on Primrose Hill

Catch a sunset on Primrose Hill

Regent’s Park and the Canal. My sister and I regularly walk down the canal. We love to check out the little boat houses that stretch down the canal from Camden Market to Little Venice in St. John’s Wood. I also love checking out the mansions in Regent’s Park, we walk past picking out our future homes for when we’re rich and famous. My current favorite is this one:

My Home (one day, hopefully, one day, probably not.)

My Home (one day, hopefully, one day, probably not.)

Regent's Canal

Regent’s Canal

Regent's Canal

Regent’s Canal

 

Boat Houses on Regent's Canal

Boat Houses on Regent’s Canal

Not Holland, Regent's Canal

Not Holland, Regent’s Canal

So if it’s a summer’s day, without a cloud in sight, visit Camden Town for some fine dinning, alternative shopping and a walk around somewhere quite nice.

 

 

 

 

City of Gold – Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

When most people think of Brazil they immediately picture the sandy beaches of Rio de Janeiro, carnival and beautiful women. Having spent a year living in Brazil, I must say that Rio, Brazil’s most popular holiday destination, is somewhat overrated. During my stay in Brazil, I stretched out my time (and energy) over four states and 9 cities. All equaled in beauty, though the most fascinating place I had the pleasure of visiting was Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais.

A view of the town from a church bell tower

A view of the town from a church bell tower

I had previously seen examples of surviving colonial architecture in Rio, though when I found out that there are whole colonial towns scattered around Minas Gerais I had to explore them. My first visit to Ouro Preto is the most memorable. I flew into Belo Horizonte, the main city in the state of Minas Gerais and drove out to Ouro Preto. Along the way I discovered a different face to Brazil, one which I don’t think most travelers get to experience. I learnt about the Brazilian ‘sertão’, Brazil’s back lands and mountainous landscapes. It was fascinating to see the geography shift from tropical sunset to rich and green countryside within hours.

The drive to Ouro Preto was long and bumpy. I felt lost and disorientated as we ascended into the Serra do Espinhaço mountains and away from civilization. As the mountain roads became smaller and winding, I began to ask myself what exactly it was that I had gotten myself into. Finally I spotted the peaks of roof tops and church towers. It was more than I could ever imagine. Here was a town that had literally been frozen in time. Vila Rica de Ouro Preto, as it was called, translates to ‘the town rich in black gold’. It was founded in the seventeenth century when the Portuguese discovered the gold that lay hidden deep in the mountains. Soon after Ouro Preto began to produce an incomparable amount of wealth for the town and the Portuguese crown. I was excited.

The sheer wealth of this mining town was to be expressed in the care put into building exquisite Baroque churches. If you are, as I am, a big fan of history and architecture, you will fall in love with Ouro Preto. The first thing I noticed was the peace and tranquility in the town. Here are some features of the city that I discovered and loved:

Architecture: The only other city in which I have seen as many churches is Venice. Ouro Preto hosts some of the earliest churches in Brazil. My favorite is a small chapel by the name of Padre Faria. The chapel exemplifies the earliest architectural style for churches in Brazil. Padre Faria is located some 10 minutes away from the historical centre in Alto da Cruz. Nearby is my favorite church, the church of Saint Efigenia of the Blacks. It takes its name from the patron saint of the slave community that once populated this region. Legend has it that an African king, Chico Rei built the church with the gold he extracted when he was enslaved in the gold mines. The church may not be as rich in gold as the churches in the historical centre but it is rich in history. Other churches to visit in the historical centre include Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Saint Francis of Assisi and Nossa Senhora do Rosario.

The Chapel of Padre Faria, Alto da Cruz

The Chapel of Padre Faria, Alto da Cruz

The Church of Saint Efigenia. Alto da Cruz

The Church of Saint Efigenia. Alto da Cruz

Beautiful church interior

Beautiful church interior

Museums:

The Museu da Inconfidência houses important religious artifacts including some rare slave material objects.

The Oratory Museum – I am yet to find another museum that houses as many religious artifacts in such a small space

Food:

Minas Gerais is famous for its cooking. There are various ‘pay per kilo’ restaurants that serve typical Mineiro food. Feijão tropeiro is the Mineiro interpretation of Brazil’s national dish feijoada. Qeijo Minas, a soft, white cheese from Minas Gerais is the most popular cheese in Brazil, it’s used to make pão de queijo (cheese bread) which is another typically Brazilian food that anyone who visits Brazil should taste! Try walking down Rua Conde de Bobadela, just off the main square for some authentic Mineiro restaurants.

My favorite restaurant is O Passo Pizza Jazz, a Brazilian-Italian restaurant that boasts balconies looking out over the town, live jazz music and the best pizza I’ve tried outside Italy!

http://www.opassopizzajazz.com/cardapio/

Shopping:

Ouro Preto is the place to go for souvenirs. To the left of the Museum is the famous soap stone market, to the right are various jewelry stores where you can buy exquisite jewelry and precious stones. I would suggest visiting the Perola Ouro Preto boutique inside the local cinema where you can buy natural soaps and beauty products made by the students of the Federal University of Ouro Preto, all proceeds are donated to charity!

Ouro Preto can be reached by coach from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (a two hour bus ride) or from Rio de Janeiro’s main bus station (approx. 7 hour’s bus ride).

Other notable towns in Minas Gerais include: Diamantina, Mariana and Ouro Branco.

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Nossa Senhora do Carmo

www.whatalicedidnext.com – I’ve moved!!!

Hi everyone I’ve finally made the leap of starting a blog with my own domain name. It’s been a bit of a hectic move, almost as hectic as moving house but I’ve finally done it.

You can now find me at www.whatalicedidnext.com it’s the same URL but without the ‘wordpress’ in the middle. Exciting stuff so make your way over to my new blog and follow me there (if you dare). There’s already a new post up! x

Alice2