Sunday, 17 October 2010

Travel Diary, Entry 3

Sunday 8th August-
Continental breakfast of Nutella croissant (!), a plum and grapes and a heavenly chocolate cappuchino, 9.30am. Took the bus into Firenze's centro storico. 1st stop- Basillica della San Giovanni. Domed ceilings, heavenly frescos (literally) and a few of the most beautiful mosiacs I've ever seen before. As we emerged, we could see the Duomo's Dome jutting out over all the other buildings. We strolled out into the piazza from the narrow street and my jaw dropped to the floor with a resounding clunk. The awe-inspiring white and jade tiled exterior was so multi-faceted it became hard to look at very quickly; the mind just couldn't take in all the intricate detailing all at once. Martin and I joined the mid-length queue and snatched glances at the over-whelming sculpted entrance whenever we dared let our mind wheel with giddyness. After a while, we noticed the queue was going down substantially ever 5 minutes or so and upon reaching the front we realised why....the dome didn't open until 1.30pm....and it was only 12 o'clock. Because there was a queue, everyone assumed it was open. We tried to tell a few people behind us but the queue was massive by then and there were still people there when we walked past half an hour later.

We found our way eventually to the famous leather markets, full of hawkers of trashy tack and stall holders that jump on you as soon as your head turns in their direction. After being very rudely spoken to when declining to buy a hat from one of the vendors, I decided to only buy from stalls where I could browse unobserved.

After a quick sandwich, we ventured down to the notorious Ponte Vecchio, the house-holding bridge, and across the other side of the river, to gulp down a long overdue Bira Moretti and rest our aching feet.

After a lovely meal of Ravioli alla Pecorino e Pere in walnut sauce, and many cheeky snatched mouthfuls of Martin's Spaghetti alle Cozze (mussels), we drove down to see Michaelangelo's David and the stunning view over the twinkling city at night.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Travel Diary, Entry 2

Saturday 7th, early hours
Arrived at port 2:45am. Drove through the dark until sunrise. Watched sun washing French fields in a rosy morning glow. Crossed over border into Switzerland around 11am. Beautiful country. Giant hills loom like black shadowy giants to the left and right of us. The contrast between these sleeping mountains and the golden green fields is stunning. Stopped at the nicest service station I've ever been to: vegetable garden complete with grape vines, mini hedged maze, crescent moon of picnic benches where we met two very strange long-legged birds; sort of a cross between storks and flamingoes, very shy and jumpy but too fond of crusts and crumbs to stay away.

The Alps were breath-taking- you can't imagine the haunting heights of these snow-capped mountains until you've been dwarfed beneath them in your tiny, vulnerable tin car, straining your neck peering into the clouds. Through Gotthard tunnel- 17km- the 2nd longest in the world. Nearly died of claustrophobia! Took us 15 whole minutes before I beheld blue skies and open air once more! On the other side we crossed into Italy on the sparkling shores of Lake Como- lucky Mr Clooney to have a villa here!

Getting quite tired now, felt like it's taken an age just to reach Bologna. Slept for
a bit and when I woke, we were heading towards Firenze Sud (south of Florence) and trying to work out where in this huge city we were staying! Rosary Gardens was a very nice hotel. Never stayed in a room with champagne and a safe! Bed rock hard (Martin's idea of the perfect bed, my idea of a good brick wall) but thumbs up for sheer size; boiling hot shower was the most incredible experience after 28 hours of driving! Before bed (or rather, passing out), went for dinner at a restaurant next door the hotel. Had my fave pizza, quattro stagioni (four seasons), unfortunately senza alichie (or however you spell anchovies in Italian!). Bed at 11.45. Crash.

Travel Diary, Entry 1

Friday 6th August
Set off from Holmfirth for the port of Dover at 3.45pm. After a 6 hour drive, with thankfully hardly any traffic, we arrived well ahead of time and took our place at the front of the cue for the 11.55pm ferry to Calais. While we waited, we (I say we, I mean the 'men') puzzled over how/where to position our headlight stickers and GB sticker, as our Renault Megane Hatchback was nowhere to be seen on the list of hundreds and hundreds of European cars!
Ferry= huge. Funny to think that there were at least 10 or so big lorries in the car hold! Definitely don't have sea legs. I'm stumbling around like a drunkard with little yellow birdies flapping round my head. Shops very nice but duty free still expensive. Must sleep to prevent being sick. Hopefully.

Warehouse Weekend

For the last few days, weeks, months I've been working alongside my associate theatre company Threadneedle to find acting, writing and designing talent in and around Huddersfield to take part in the first ever Huddersfield Arts Festival, the Warehouse Weekend. As the name suggests, the event took place in a mill, a huge concrete and breeze-block environment that complemented Threadneedle's ethos very well- taking theatre out of the theatre and encouraging un-arty types to get involved. We had an amazing day, constantly being surprised by the sheer amount of hidden talent in Huddersfield. There was a lounge area created by the Fresh Kids where you could make your mark in black paint on the white panelled walls, a light bar made of huge water canisters that changed colour using a touchscreen on the bar, a stunning bamboo maze, a theatre and film corner featuring experimental film, physical theatre, dance and mime, an exhibition of 1000 hand painted beermats and so much more! Thank you to everyone who took part and those who came to show their support, you really made the day wonderful.