City Breaks

Renaissance Art

Renaissance Art

Want to brush up on renaissance art in advance of (or instead of!) a trip to Florence? We suggest checking out https://www.italian-renaissance-art.com/ where you’ll find the history and a timeline, loads of info on the artists and their work and even a special section on The Renaissance in Florence. So many lovely pictures …..

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City Break Idea: Gdansk

City Break Idea: Gdansk

Thank you to Art and Julie, who run a travel podcast (theplaceswherewego.com) and whose suggestion for a city-break idea we borrowed: Gdansk! ‘We fell in love with the history and the food’ they said. The history includes the Royal Way where Poland’s kings used to promenade, the huge outdoor WW2 museum and memorial at Westerplatte and the European Solidarity Centre in the city’s dockyard, where the Solidarity movement’s success in the 1980s led to the fall of communism. And the food? Think sauerkraut, beetroot, gherkins, sour cream, kohlrabi, mushrooms, sausages and smoked sausage.

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City Break Ideas

City Break Ideas

A crêpe fraise-chocolat 

What’s your top city break recommendation? Write a reply below and we’ll compile your ideas into a future episode. Where would you like to go and why?

Our own ideas include St Petersburg, for an evening of ballet at the Mariinsky, Munich for a tour of Ludwig II’s fairy-tale castles or Paris, just to linger over a crêpe at a pavement café in the Quartier Latin. How about you?

 

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A book for city wanderers

A book for city wanderers

If you like discovering cities on foot and are interested in the many authors who have done just that, then you’ll enjoy reading Lauren Elkin’s Flâneuse. It is partly about the cities themselves, partly about the authors wrote in them (think Jean Rhys in Paris and Virginia Woolf in London) and partly about Elkin’s own journey to becoming a writer. Wander via its pages through areas of Paris, New York, London, Venice and Tokyo and, the hint is in the title, meet some of the female authors who were inspired there.

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Gorgeous Georgian Bath

Gorgeous Georgian Bath

Today’s newspaper tells me that Donald Tusk, former President of the European Council, didn’t like the lovely city of Bath, when he spent time there on a language course. Not even the glorious Georgian architecture. After visiting the Circus, he complained that it was merely ‘a circle of boring, identical facades.’ We beg to differ. Bath is so spectacular that, when our Paris series ends, we have chosen it to be the subject of our very first UK series. Something to look forward to!

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Things you didn’t know you needed

Things you didn’t know you needed

Will you be dusting down your poshest knick-knacks for Christmas? Or re-gifting them, perhaps? Can you find anything to match two of our favourites from the Schatzkammer in Munich’s Residenz: golden toothpicks and egg-holder …. for ostrich eggs? Find out more in Episode 02 of our Munich series.

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Lost in Paris

Lost in Paris

The first episode of our new series on Paris will go out on December 4th. Since Paris is the city of ‘flâneurs’, what better time to recall the Paris-born writer Julien Green’s remark that ‘Unless you have wasted time in a city you cannot pretend to know it well.’? And where better to ‘waste’ time than Paris?

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Two Travel Books with a Twist

Two Travel Books with a Twist

Finishing off the Seville series with a look at interesting travel books, here are two which are a little out of the ordinary: Edward Lewine’s ‘Death in the Sun’ was written after a year following a well-known bull-fighter and his entourage round Spain and Jason Webster writes of the Arabic influences in Spanish culture which he uncovered on his journey across the country in ‘Andalus’. Both go far beyond the ‘here-are-some-things-I-saw’ approach and analyse a specific aspect of Spanish culture in fascinating depth.

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Gallery snobs

Gallery snobs

Are you ever annoyed by other people in art galleries? Can you match the snobbery of Sophia Peabody, the 19th century American art critic, infuriated by two hapless Englishmen visiting Florence’s Uffizzi gallery? She objected to their ruddy appearance, to the fact that they knew less about the paintings than she did and perhaps most of all to their ‘loud, lumbering voices, like sledgehammers modulated by a certain amount of civilisation.’ Ouch. Find out more in Episode 17 of our Florence series.

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Great travel anthologies

Great travel anthologies

City-Lit books, published by Oxygen, are such a good idea for anyone wanting to read a whole host of bits and pieces about the city they plan to visit. The Paris one offers extracts by ‘sixty dazzling writers’, everything from Victor Hugo at the top of Notre Dame to tips from Joanne Harris on avoiding the tourist bakers in Montrmarte and finding the ones where ‘the bread is better and the croissants are baked fresh every day’. Other cities covered include Berlin, Amsterdam, Venice, Istanbul, Dublin, New York, St Petersburg, and London.

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