Guide to Gaping: In London’s Financial District

I mean where else might you gape? Though if you’re a gaper like me, you would find fodder for it most anywhere. There’s no harm really, except once in a while midges might make their way in and an odd fly or two. So if you like experimenting with bugs and beetles in Asian food markets, why just keep your mouth open and you can have them for free in your own city.

The husband works in the heart of the City. Right next to the Gherkin. On Friday evening, I sauntered into its shadow to meet him for drinks and dinner. Now, a prime area for gapers is within the bounds of London City, you know the Square Mile, which is supposed to be just 1.12 square miles in London, but as you walk around, it seems substantially larger than that humble number.

But first, whip back your lovely heads. Though I shall not and will not be held responsible for a crick.

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The Gherkin (aka 30 St. Mary Axe) looms above me.
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Standing tall at 591 ft. if contemporary architecture can woo you, The Gherkin gets the job done.
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The Walkie-Talkie (20 Fenchurch) stands tall too at 525 ft. 

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The Shard. The tallest in the hood at 1,016 ft.
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Even street installations loom over you.
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Straight ahead on the right hand side that weird steel structure, with its ducts and lifts sticking out in your face, is the home of insurance. Lloyd’s of London. You can literally see its bowels, the inner workings, so you would get the term ‘Bowellism’ and an example of a strange, modern school of architecture. It was coined by a British architect, Michael Webb, who got it from a lecture delivered by a history of architect in which that man said: “I saw the other day a design for a building that looked like a series of stomachs sitting on a plate. Or bowels, connected by bits of bristle”.
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Where Lloyd’s of London stands, there used to be located the ‘Old’ East India House (a late 17th-century Dutch print) which came up in the 1600s.
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This is the ‘New East India House’ that was built by 1729. It was the London headquarters of the East India Company that ruled British India till the government wrested power from its clutches in 1858 and took over the job of governing India.

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The Cheesegrater (Leadenhall Building) is 737 ft. tall and can you spot those lifts that are moving simultaneously in shades of neon orange and green? It is a fascinating feature.
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The 387-ft. tall St. Helens on the left, The Gherkin on the right, and in its shadow, bathed in the mellow rays of the setting sun is St. Andrew Undershaft, a 16th century Gothic church, that survived the Great Fire of London and the Blitz.

If you stepped back in time, this was Londinium, a trading port for and by merchants along the mighty Thames. It came up around 47 AD when the Romans ruled Britain and later was sacked by the tribe of Iceni led by their queen Boudica.

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All hail Boudica.

Now that I am done waffling, how about a pint or two?

Where to Drink:

Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch. This is an expensive affair but with a view of London’s skyline. You could be easily looking at £70 per person (totted up for the most expensive items on the menu which include starter, main course and dessert) excluding alcohol. A 5-course tasting menu is priced at £55 and for wine pairing add £42 more. If you are still game, you can book 60 days in advance because people do book it up weeks ahead. P.S.: Dress code is a bummer but there you are, no shorts, flip flops, sports gear, please.

Aqua Shard. Here’s another pricey beauty that will get you when the bill arrives, but hey, the views of the riverside loveliness of the city from the 31st level of The Shard might just make up for it. I would say pop in for a Champagne afternoon tea that starts at £58 per person. Nibble into dainty delicacies while sipping on some bubbly to numb the senses before the bill arrives.

Leadenhall Market: If you are fine with views of the city on the ground level, look no further than Old Tom’s Bar in this market that stands on grounds where trade has been going on since the Roman times. Potter fans, you have seen it in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Yes, I know that you know, yet the need to disperse Potter trivia…

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Follow me into Leadenhall Market? The 19th century Victorian market traces its origins back to the 14th century when it used to be a meat, game and poultry market within the portals of a ‘hall with a lead roof’. It has an ornate roof painted in shades of green, maroon and cream. 
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City workers hard at work on Friday evening. They stand in massive columns outside pubs with their pints. Soon those ties shall go askew, shirts protest their way out of trouser waistbands and the hair shall manage to look ruffled even with generous amounts of hair gel in place. For the bald, the last is not a problem.
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Where the husband leads, I follow.
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Next to roll down the stairs of the craft beer pub.
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Inside the atmospheric bar.
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And find delectable extra mature cheddar cheese that melts like cream in the mouth, paired with sourdough crackers and caramelised onion chutney. That Camden Pale Ale is precious.

Before I leave you, the shot below is from an obituary published on April 16, 1835 in The Times. The allusion is to Old Tom, a gander who had arrived in the City from Ostend in Belgium. He followed his heart (a wily female of the flock), and even though the rest of his flock became fixtures on dining tables, Old Tom somehow had people indulgently feeding him scraps. He made it to the ripe age of 37 till he died a natural death and was buried in the market. Below is a tribute to the venerable gander.

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Friends for Days

This is a tag that took some time for me to put up, but well here I am. The creator of the tag has the few words below for you:

“Dear bloggers, my name is Cheila and I blog at Pink for Days. I would love to get to know you and your blog, so feel free to stop by and leave a link. I would be happy to read your posts and to support you in any way I could.”

Cheila has a wicked sense of humour and blogs about her life, the stars of which are her dog Rosa and her partner Rui. She is also battling depression. This is her attempt at giving new blogs some lovin’ and old blogs an extra dose of it. Thank you for the thought, Cheila. I shall get cracking before my rambling genes unleash themselves.

The rules of this tag are:

  • Say who create the tag and provide a link to their blog;
  • Add this note with your tag:

“Dear bloggers, my name is Cheila and I blog at Pink for Days. I would love to get to know you and your blog, so feel free to stop by and leave a link. I would be happy to read your posts and to support you in any way I could.”

  • Do a blog post showing your tag;
  • Add the logo to the post;
  • Always thank the person who nominated you, provide a link to their blog and, if you like, say something positive and supportive about their blog;
  • Choose 5 bloggers that you don’t know very well or that are just starting their blog;
  • Go over to their blogs and read a few posts, like and comment;
  • Say 3 things you love about their blogs; (3 things for each blogger);
  • Those 5 bloggers are automatically nominated to do the same.
  • Nominate two bloggers who have been doing this for a longer time (you get 7 nominees). Don’t forget to let them know you’ve nominated them!

Newbie Bloggers 

Jen is one of my favourite reads. She is a Canadian who lives in Nagoya, Japan, while blogging about her life in that beautiful country. Often she takes you beyond its borders as well. She is also a black belt ninja, so beware if you take her on.

Lyz has a wicked wit, she is spunky and she promises to peel you off the walls if you ever dare to be a wallflower in her presence. At least that is what she said to me when I wondered about whether I might go a little sheepish on her if and when we meet. Do you want to make her peel you off the walls? You gotta hop overs to her then.

Caitlin was till recently a teacher in Indonesia, living up to the challenge of identifying all her students on a daily basis. She is a delight to read. Add these details that she is a ‘sloth enthusiast and a nutella extremist’ and you know what I am talking about.

Amy is a theatre artist and writer based in Chicago. She does some beautiful writing at her blog about anything that she takes an interest in – right from quilting to making coffee. Her posts are often contemplative.

Dave possesses a comic streak. Every post shall and will make you laugh out loud. He is a sitcom-writer who says that his ‘posts are the kind of things I can imagine people might like to read when they’re sat on the toilet, so perhaps it’s more bog than blog’.

Pro Bloggers

Ellen Burne is a midwife yet she travels like there is no tomorrow and she certainly can write. Hers is one of the first travel blogs I started following and there has been no looking back since.

Osyth is one of my favourite storytellers who lives in the mountains in France. One of her first posts that I read was about an English teacher called Mr. Clark who referred to her as ‘vacuous’. I could not stop the convulsions. No, I did not have an epileptic fit, thank you. You just have to read her posts to know what I am gabbing about.

Dolly is a storyteller who charms me with tales from yesteryears. The bonanza is that she whips up delicious recipes alongside to tempt you with and gives you a perspective on them that will want you to know more about what is going into your tummy. Her blog is a tribute to her supportive children.

Phicklephilly is about ‘dating from a gentleman’s point of view in Philadelphia and stories from his life including those around him’. This former musician-singer-songwriter-artist-banker-ad man shall surely bring forth a few chuckles. He is one smooth writer.

A Day at Horniman

Sparkling sunny weekends are a rarity in our part of the world. If the week shall go in a sunny, breezy mode, Friday rolls in and the clouds declare their presence, often not in a I-am-billowy-and-pretty-just-like-that way. The weekend did start on a cracking note and the sun did power its way through Sunday. So the British have declared summer. Over the last two days, men have been spotted in speedos atop caravans, women have been noted to drive in bikinis and others have been sitting in barely-there-shorts in the backyards.

On Friday, quite early in the morning I had work in London – which meant I had the whole day to myself after. I made my way to the Horniman Museum. The fact that it was free added a spring to my step. But what I had overestimated was my power to get lost. I Will get lost. No matter how many years I have been living in a country. My teenage years in Calcutta were spent regularly landing up in odd places and an irate father coming to the rescue. Once after a date, I took the wrong bus and reached another part of Calcutta quite late at night. I was invited by an old man to his terrace home – when I look back I am astounded at my calibre for silliness. I did go up to the terrace with him and make an SOS call to the parents (who could not believe their ears). As it happened, it was new year’s eve, and my uncle and his family were visiting us from London. The whole family came to get me back home. Suffice it to say that the evening is etched in my memory.

It took me two hours to get to Forest Hill from Baker’s Street by tube and overground trains (when it should have taken me all of 50 minutes). I do not know where I went wrong except that I did get on and off a few trains and stand at stations where I should not have. In the meantime, the person who was getting steadily worked up through watsapp was the husband. He had visions of massive charges on the card because of all the overground trains I was changing.

But I did reach Horniman. I have proof of meeting the in-house walrus.

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Walking beneath the cherry blossoms of Forest Hill take away the sting of goofing up.
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Beneath bowers of cherry blossoms who can be woeful for long.

Our Walrus is an unusual taxidermy specimen, it appears stretched and ‘over stuffed’ as it lacks the skin folds characteristic of a walrus in the wild. Over one hundred years ago, only a few people had ever seen a live walrus, so it is hardly surprising that ours does not look true to life.

The name Horniman is owed a great deal to by tea lovers. Today it is owned by Douwe Egberts but the founder of the eponymously named Horniman’s Tea was a trader called John Horniman. He had started the tea trading business in the small but beautiful Isle of Wight in 1826 and had also changed the concept of selling of loose leaf teas which were often adulterated with dust and hedge clippings by unscrupulous sellers (horrendous, right?). He sealed his packages of tea thus ensuring that authentic tea leaves reached the customers sans the extra ingredients. Even our much-touted philosopher of profoundness, Nietzsche, deemed Horniman’s to be his preferred brand of tea. Who likes the great outdoors (apart from the leaves) in his tea? Well, the great majority clearly gave John a thumbs up, so his company did become the largest tea trading company in the world by 1891.

The museum however was not his idea. It was his son Frederick’s brainchild.

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Portrait of Frederick John Horniman

Thanks to the country’s passion for tea, Frederick had enough moolah to indulge his passion for collecting. Everything from natural history to musical instruments and cultural artefacts. This museum of his has a sum total of about 350,000 objects. As a tea lover how could I not see what tea had wrought?

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Meet the walrus of Horniman’s. He is a celebrity, okay? He was possibly sourced from the area around Hudson Bay in Canada. Queen Victoria too had visited our tooth-some friend.
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If he looks unnaturally fat, blame it on the taxidermist. He/she overstuffed him. So there are no folds on his skin.
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Meet the three long-eared owls. I took to them. I mean, just look at them. Especially the look of the third fellow on the extreme right.
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Look at that beak of the Crowned Horn Bill. Solid as a curved piece of wood, you think?
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Iridiscence. Beetles and bugs.
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Scarlet Ibis
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A Central American beauty. 
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Merman. ‘WHAT’, did you say? In the early 18th-19th centuries, mermen were brought by sailors to Europe. They were believed to be real for centuries, inhabiting the oceans around Asia, till it was discovered that they were indeed products of man’s genius for imagination. They were found to have been the head and torso of a monkey put together with the tail of a fish. Man is a genius. Fraudulent ones, more so.
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Golden-headed Trogon
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Philosophising orang-utan. He has the stance and stick of a hermit.
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Be kind to my special friend, the red-howler monkey. He belongs in the treetops of Brazil. I am sure he thought, ‘Oh no, am I in the Blighty?’ and that priceless expression was thus frozen.

Lest you think that strange stuffed animals is all you shall get to see, there is also the wonderful park and greenery around you on a fine summer’s day.

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Horniman gardens
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Views of London’s skyline (you can just about make out the silhouette of The Shard on the horizon)
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Conservatory at the Horniman Museum
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When you leave the museum, you might just be rewarded by a Mr. Whippy.

So, the question is that if you are in London, should you or should you not head over to Horniman’s. I would say give it a go if you feel like turning into a child all over again. And do remember me if you meet the walrus and the red howler monkey.

Torcello

“Don’t look now,’ said John to his wife, ‘but there are two old girls two tables away, looking at me all the time. I don’t like it. There’s something very strange about their eyes.’

The wife, Laura, turned and saw what she saw and laughed as she commented that they were two men actually.

He said: ‘…You mustn’t laugh. Perhaps they’re dangerous. Murderers or something going around Europe, changing their clothes in each place. You know, sisters here in Torcello this morning; brothers tomorrow, or tonight, back in Venice.’

We walked past a trattoria where Daphne du Maurier’s John and Laura might have sat as they demurred about the identity of the two women in the supernatural thriller ‘Don’t Look Now’ . 

Cross the commercialism of Murano, get past the chirpiness of Burano , and you find yourself on this tiny, once-abandoned island (about six miles off Venice) where tranquility has taken up residence. Most people would skip Torcello of the shy personality. You have to look beneath the reserve and maybe, just maybe, you will fall for Torcello?

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The vaporetto from Burano dropped us at a small pier where a Madonna with a child is carved into a niche on the walls. A stone tablet above confirms that you are indeed in Torcello. Past a curiously stagnant and winding river, framed by droopy willows and scraggly trees, you walk into the island. Red and green colours pop up along the promenade that leads into the heart of it. A small bridge straddles it with no protection on its sides. If you wobble on it, you would be in the river surely. Though I would not risk those waters. They lie strangely still and the weeds in them look like the life has been sucked out of them.

Plus the bridge was built by the devil himself in one night to win a bet. Then you have tales of unlucky lovers, the heartbroken heroine of the tale consorting with a witch (who you know is hand in glove with the devil) to bring back her dead lover to life, and then, the devil being the devil claiming the souls of children as his gift. The witch, however, died midway. Did the devil get his fix of dead children’s souls? Who knows. I climbed gingerly up that bridge and stood looking either way, staring at the lonely campanile sticking out above the pastel coloured house fronts, and wondered about Torcello’s ‘haunted’ reputation.

A handful of people live on it – the maximum number is possibly 20. A deep irony given that it was the first island to be inhabited in the lagoon, by the Romans of Altino who were fleeing marauding Huns. It preceded Venice. At the height of its glory when 20,000 people are said to have lived on it, Torcello acquired a utopian renown through the words of a 6th century writer. This man, Cassiodorous, wrote: “There is no distinction between rich and poor. the same food for all ; the houses are all alike and so envy – that vice which rules the world – is absent here.” Possibly laying the roots of for the democratic Venetian Republic that came up by and by. Torcello was eventually abandoned because malaria struck along with other problems. Now there are just two churches, a museum and a handful of eateries.

At an unpretentious trattoria called Locondo Cipriani, Ernest Hemingway spent four months in the 1940s as he wrote his book Across the River and Into the Tree. It is easy even now to slip into that world of Hemingway. Little would have changed since on this desolate island of reeds and bracken, where time tends to float by as if in a dream.

Get Your Pert Behind to Torcello:
Hire a private water taxi (if you are willing to fork out the big notes) or better still just board a regular ACTV waterbus from Venice. If you are working your way through the various islands, Torcello is a short boat ride from Burano. Vaporetto line 9 makes half hour runs between the two.

Where to Stay:

If you want to brood and contemplate upon the vagaries of life on the island of Torcello, do it like Hemingway and stay at Loconda Cipriani (www.locandacipriani.com). A double room is priced at €110 per night.

What to do:

You do not have much to do on the island – which is the delicious beauty of it.

Torcello’s Byzantine-Gothic cathedral, Santa Maria Assunta. Climb the 11th century campanile for views across the marshy island.

Museum of Torcello. Look out for the Throne of Attila. Who knows if he sat on it or not, but the bishops of Torcello surely did.

Church of Santa Fosca which is said to home the remains of a 15-year-old martyr beneath its altar.

Glass for Princes in Murano

A mile north off Venice is the cluster of islands called Murano. We crossed in a vaporetto (water taxi) from Venice to Murano on a day that was joyously sunny. The kinds that come wrapped up in a bow only once during a few miserably cold and foggy winter days spent in Venice. When we got off the boat at Murano, the first sight that greeted me was that of a bearded local dragging a sizeable carton on wheels . He looked like a fisherman, the lines of the years marked out on his weather-beaten face.

A rustic, atmospheric introduction but what lay after was anything but unassuming. Workshops, boutiques and factories cropped up in a row, flanking the grand canal. Stepping inside them, my senses were dazzled by the rich colours of delicately designed glassware — and, may I add sheepishly, the prices.

There we were at the heart of it all – Murano thrives on the art crafted by the glass blowers of the island. They have been at it for centuries. Somewhere towards the end of the 13th century, the Doge ordered the glassmakers to move their factories to Murano. Now there is a bit of dilemma about why he did so. But it sways between two schools of thought – one that the Venetian authorities did not relish the thought of their wooden buildings exploding with the danger of fire at large, and secondly this that they did not want the craftsmen to divulge their secrets to outsiders.

The glassmakers achieved exalted status soon. They could carry swords, evade prosecution by the Venetian state, and by the late 1300s, their daughters could even be wedded into blue-blooded families. The only glitch was that the glassmakers could not leave the Republic. If a glassmaker had plans of setting up shop on lands beyond his own, it would mean two things for the fellow – he would either lose his hands (sounded to me like Shah Jahan’s edict for the workers behind the Taj Mahal had travelled far – the Mughal emperor was supposed to have had their hands lopped off so that they could not replicate the glory of his tribute to his empress), or, he would be killed by the secret police.

We had to watch one of the glassmakers at work. It is quite a touristy thing to do, yes I know, but sometimes I feel that you have got to be a tourist to the hilt. We marched into one of the factories and paid up about 8 euros each to watch a third-generation glassblower go about his job with incredible ease. Within the time that we spent gaping at him twirling a long pole, the tip of it encased in a glowing cone of fiery melted glass, he had moulded a handful of pretty pieces of coloured glass including one of a horse rearing up.

Veneto-Byzantine summer palazzos and cathedrals apart, I was taken in by the iridiscent blue sculpture at Campo Santo Stefano. It was a veritable starburst in glass. I gaped more – by which time Adi was fairly tired of sulking and being ignored while I kept staring at glass. To not have your sulk acknowledged is worse than your partner shopping on the sly. My husband shall confirm both. He does the first, I do the second. At that point of time he had made the transition to Mr. Grumps. He had not been fed gelato on time.

Off we went on a gelato hunt which concluded the visit to the island on a fairly satisfied note. Not to mention the few colourful pieces of suspended, ceiling lamps that we bought before boarding the boat to Burano.

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Baked and bearded Murano locals
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Grand Canal
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Boutiques that line the canal
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Glass blowing – at the very heart of Murano is this art.
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Inside a glassmaker’s workshop
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The focal point of this shot being the horse. 
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Emerald hues of the Grand Canal and cathedral walls looming alongside.
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Blue glass sculpture at Campo Santo Stefano, the 19th century clock-tower.

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Post mint chocolate chip gelato, all is usually well.
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Murano’s lighthouse made of Istrian stone.

How to Get There: Look out for Vaporetto 41 and 42 from Piazza San Marco in Venice. You can also stop at the cemetery island of San Michele, that lies between Venice and Murano.

Where to Buy Glass: Go with your instinct. We stopped at a shop that was quiet but the owner refused to haggle (which was a bummer) but the relief was that we did not come out with products made in China.

Where to Eat:

La Perla Ai Bisatei. An Italian eatery where I stopped for cappuccino and a spinach puff pastry that delighted my tastebuds with its flakiness. The food is supposed to be good here and the prices reasonable.

Osteria al Duomo (www.osteriaalduomo.com) is a family-run affair and known for the freshness of the locally-sourced food it serves up.

Chasing Clouds

Billows upon billows upon billows of clouds hung in the morning sky yesterday. We were in a Gainsborough painting. Driving through the Cotswolds and staring at the sky. Of course, I reminded Adi to keep his eyes on the road too or we would be looking down upon the countryside from the clouds. A bit too early for that. To keep his eyes in place was the yellow vista that comes up in April with timeliness. The rapeseed fields that spring up along the roads leading into the Cotswolds. They shall turn uniformly yellow in some time so much so that you cannot spy a speck of green amongst the sheets of yellow.

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“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.” Rabindranath Tagore
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“I know that I shall meet my fate somewhere among the clouds above; those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love.” William Butler Yeats
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“When I look up and see the sun shining on the patch of white clouds up in the blue, I begin to think how it would feel to be up somewhere above it winging swiftly thought the clear air, watching the earth below, and the men on it, no bigger than ants.” Eddie Rickenbacker
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“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” Edward Abbey
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“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” John Lubbock
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“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” Gilbert K. Chesterton

And before I leave you, I cannot make Sunday complete without browsing through the postcard collection, so here are a few below. Are you having a good day? I would love to hear about it. I am sitting in front of the telly (’tis the noble day to be a couch potato), munching on spicy French Toast, catching up with the final instalment of The Voice, a reality show, and wondering what to rustle up for dinner.

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Baptistery of San Giovanni, Firenze.
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The Baptistery, Firenze.

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On that oomph-y note, till tomorrow then, my lovelies.

Candy is Dandy in Burano

I have fallen for bright accents of colour on doors and windows of whitewashed stone cottages in Cornish villages, on the streets of Lisbon with the brilliant (and sometimes faded) blue of the azulejos, colourful house fronts and yellow, green and red vintage trams, in the gaggle of houses that climb up the cliffy villages in the Cinque Terre and then on the astonishingly vivid street in Stavanger where colours pop off wooden houses. But nothing had prepared me for the bursts of colour that greeted us in Burano.

The houses on the Venetian lagoon island had emerged out of a bag of M&Ms. The passage of time, I suspect, has faded some into pastel hues, but the lot of the buildings are Bright. All shades of blue, purples, yellows, greens, oranges, pinks. The Italian gods must have taken buckets of colours and poured them down with abandon.

In reality, the Roman residents of an ancient coastal town called Altinum, modern-day Altino, had escaped to the islands of Burano, Murano, Mazzorbo and Torcello seeking refuge from the attack of the Huns. That was in the 6th century when palafittes or pile huts were built on the islands on stilts to deal with the marshy quality of the land.

In times to come, the fishermen who lived here are supposed to have painted their stone houses in bright hues so that they could spot them from the lagoon when they were out fishing. If you land on Burano, you would know the improbability of the story because the houses flanking the green channel, which streams quietly through the island, cannot even be seen from the waters. Women, however, still sit in quiet corners and embroider lace and the random fisherman stands on a bridge contemplating upon the vagaries of life or why the fish are giving him the slip. Who knows? But you can certainly let your mind wander. There are no curbs there.

Add window sills with pots of flowers smiling prettily up at the sun and you know why Burano puts a silly smile on your face.

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How to Get There: ‘Cos it is only natural that you should want to get there. The public water taxis to the islands near Venice are the most cost-effective way to see them. Plus I do not like the idea of being tied up with a tour operator and not seeing things at my own pace. Are you with me? If yes, then the Venetian public transport company ACTV’s lines start from vertically opposite from the railway station of Venezia S. Lucia.

What to Do:

  • Stand next to the leaning campanile and lean alongside it? It is inclined at a curious angle.
  • Buy handmade lace because this is one of the best places to lay your hands on exquisite work. Women as far back as the 16th century were experts in stitching painstakingly by hand though today machine-made lace is more viable now.
  • Museo del Merletto is the lace museum on the island. It has some beauties in store for you such as pieces of lace dating back to the 16th and 17th-centuries. Entrance is reasonable at 5euros. Opening times: 10am-5pm (closed on Mondays).

Where to Eat:

Al Gatto Nero da Ruggero. Local eatery where fresh fish and pasta are dished up for a reasonable sum. Let this be your one stop on Burano. Later get a gelato or two from one of the few gelateria around the island (ref: my greedy husband guzzling two of them at one go).

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