All posts tagged: Photography

From My Holiday – The British Museum (and, a little about The British Library)

The day after my adventure in the rain, I made a trip to The British Library, which wasn’t so much a trip as a stroll across the road, as my hotel was basically right next door to the Library. I’m nothing if not an efficient planner of accommodation in relation to tourist spots. The Magna Carta exhibition was on while I was there, which was to celebrate 800 years since the Magna Carta was first agreed on June 15, 1215 (which just so happens to be my birthday) (the June 15 part, not 1215, in case you thought I was a vampire or something). It was an amazing exhibition to see, which included two of the four original Magna Carta documents, as well as Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence and one of the original copies of the US Bill of Rights. How many times do you get to see all of those things together? Apparently once in a lifetime according to all the signage. But though that exhibition may now be over, I can still …

From My Holiday – Getting Caught In the Rain and Visiting Shakespeare’s Globe

My first full day in London was probably my favourite whole day in the entire trip. I’d been to the Charles Dickens Museum that morning (my post about it) and after stepping out of there I was met with a drizzle of rain, which I expected and was prepared for because it’s London and that’s what happens in London. I was heading to the Imperial War Museum, which was about a 30 minute walk away. That 30 minute walk was turned into a roughly 45 minute walk by the torrential downpour I got caught in and which I had to take shelter from more than once. But even though the rain made it very difficult to navigate in a foreign city, it was just the best. Here are some photos I took on my walk, the mostly grey one is the view as I walked across the Thames: The rain had eased up by the time I reached the War Museum. I won’t be doing a full post on this as I didn’t really get …

From My Holiday – The Charles Dickens Museum

After my final wander through Paris, I hopped on the Eurostar and set out for London. The Eurostar was so great. The trip lasted for a little over 2 hours, the majority of which was spent travelling through the French countryside. As I was holidaying on my own, I thought I’d splash out and buy a standard premier seat (which is the next level up from the cheapest seats). In these cars you have your meal brought to you and there are sockets for charging your electronic bits and pieces (if you desperately need to). The meal I got was pretty great – it was a selection of cheeses with an onion relish, a bread roll, a passionfruit tart, and a little bottle of wine. And then another little bottle of wine. The time really did fly, even that spent in the darkness of the Channel Tunnel. When I arrived in London it was surprisingly warm. Luckily my hotel was just around the corner from the St Pancras International train station, but after walking 5 minutes …

From My Holiday – Searching for Quasimodo

On my very last morning in Paris, I woke up feeling sad that I had to leave but happy that in a few short hours I’d be on the Eurostar to London. But before I left I had one more VERY important thing to do – visit Notre Dame Cathedral. So after a hurried breakfast I made my way down to the Seine and over to the Cathedral. If you’re ever in Paris I can highly recommend staying at the Hotel Abbatial in Saint-Germain – the Seine is roughly a 5 minute walk and all of the other major attractions are no more than a 45 minute walk away. And in my opinion, walking really is the best way to see the city. Although I visited Notre Dame on my last trip to Paris, I really wanted to go again as it’s so magnificent. It’s probably one of my most favourite places I’ve ever been to. Last time I was there I lined up at the entrance with all the other tourists, had a walk through and then …

From My Holiday: Visiting the Musée de Cluny

After wandering around the Musée d’Orsay for a couple of hours, Nat and I hopped on a bus and headed down Boulevard Saint-Germain to the the Musée de Cluny. This is one place I was really excited to visit, as it’s all medieval stuff. It’s also one of the few museums in Paris that Nat hadn’t been to so it was great to see it for the first time with her. This place was a proper looking castle and is formed by two buildings – the Thermes Gallo-Roman baths that were built at the end of the 1st century (yes, 1st CENTURY) and the Hôtel des Abbés de Cluny that was built at the end of the 15th century. The jewel in the crown of this collection is the series of six tapestries known as ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’. You probably think you haven’t seen it before, but it’s one of things that you’ve probably seen or read about without even realising. It was really amazing to see the tapestries and they are just as beautiful in real life as in pictures. …

From My Holiday: Visiting the Musée d’Orsay

After some very much needed sleep (after the Louvre and being hungover the next day), I met up with Nat again and we hit a couple of museums – the Musee d’Orsay and Musée de Cluny (I’ll write about Musée de Cluny in another post). We had a really great day together and it was nice just to hang out and do some more catching up. It was the most perfect weather as well, and after walking through the dimness of the Musée de Cluny, we grabbed some iced beverages and pastries, and sat in the sunshine in a little garden near the museum. Then I waited with Nat for her bus and we said our goodbyes. I was heading to London the next day and we wouldn’t be able to catch up again before I left. It was sad to say goodbye – but I know I’ll see her again in the near future because I actually can’t stay away from Paris! In terms of the actual building itself, the Musée d’Orsay is really beautiful. It has a …

From My Holiday: The Louvre – Decorative Arts and Napoleon’s Apartments.

The Decorative Arts galleries and Napoleon’s (the III – not THE Napoleon) Apartments were probably my favourite parts of the Louvre. Not having a lot of money to spend on furniture, I’ve never really thought of it as art – I generally consider it firstly based on price, then functionality, then how it looks (unless it’s something I really REALLY want, like my cosy red armchair). Needless to say after wandering through these galleries my mind has been completely changed and I now have a greater appreciation for the beauty of furniture.Words such as sumptuous, decadent, luxurious, and opulent are the only apt ones to describe these rooms. Decorative Arts Furnishings While the Louvre is perhaps most famous for its paintings, the Decorative Arts galleries are no less amazing. The collection is made up of a wide variety of objects such as “jewellery, silverware, enamels, ivories, bronzes, semi-precious stone work, ceramics, glassware, stained glass, furniture, and rugs, and spanning the period from the early Middle Ages to the first half of the 19th century” (louvre.fr). While …

From My Holiday: Inside the Louvre

Last time I was in Paris, I saw the outside of The Louvre. If you’re into buildings that alone is almost enough, as the home to perhaps the most famous art collection in the world is a piece of art in itself. The Louvre Palace dates back to the late 12th century and was originally built as a fortress; the original foundations of the fortress are still visible in the lower ground of the palace which was pretty amazing to walk through. Over time it was extended to become the palace that we know today. It was the home of many French kings, perhaps the most notable – for me anyway, purely for literary reasons – being Louis XIII and his son, Louis XIV (the rulers of France in the Alexandre Dumas novels The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask respectively) and was the royal residence until the latter Louis moved his court to Versailles in 1682. From that point the palace began its transformation from palace to museum, but its status …

From My Holiday: Exploring the Panthéon

On my first full day in Paris, I took a walk to the Panthéon. It takes about a day to travel from Australia to Europe (actually, it takes forever to get just about anywhere from Australia, even other parts of Australia), so thankfully it wasn’t too far from my hotel as I was pretty tired from the flight. I’d walked past the Panthéon when I was in Paris last time, but from memory it was closed for renovations so I didn’t get to go in. I made the most of it this time around, and I was in there for at least 2 hours. I can highly recommend getting the audio guide if you ever visit (I got audio guides just about everywhere) as you can learn a little bit more about pieces of art and the building itself. And now, a little history lesson courtesy of some scribbled notes and the souvenir guidebook I picked up: With foundations dating all the way back to 496 (yes, that’s a year with only THREE digits), the Panthéon has a very …

Stuff I Did – Shackleton Exhibition

If you’ve been clicking on this blog for a while, you might have seen me gushing about my love for the Antarctic, and all explorer type things related to it (see here, here, here, and here). So I was REALLY REALLY EXCITED when I saw news of an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum here in Sydney, which was to be all about Sir Ernest Shackleton, and his ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914-1917. I won’t go into too much detail about it here, otherwise I’ll never get this post finished, but the long and the short of it is that the expedition was a complete disaster. The ship was caught in the ice and eventually crushed to pieces, and the men of the expedition were forced to live on the ice for months until it began to break up and they could attempt an escape. Eventually the crew made it to a small island, and from there Shackleton and five of the crew members sailed 800 miles (1,300 km) in one of the ship’s lifeboats to …