Cluny Museum, Paris

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Flying anywhere from Australia takes forever, arriving in another world before the break of dawn. It was still dark when the plane landed, and the train from the airport sped through unseen suburbs and endless tunnels. Even the Left Bank was still asleep when I emerged from the metro at St-Michel. Naturally, my hotel room was not ready. A light autumn rain fell, and cars splashed through puddles as street lights glowed in the mist. Tattered posters for jazz bands flapped in the breeze, and well-dressed Parisians hurried past on their way to work or else sat in cafes watching the rain.

For a little while I did the same, in the well placed Café St-Michel. Un cafe au lait, un croissant, and fresh butter to die for. I couldn’t believe the taste – such a rich, creamy fullness I needed only a little. So completely different to what passes for butter back home (although I do think my coffee is better). Continue Reading →

Unusual And Different Things To Do In Florence

The Arno at dusk

This is an extended version of a guest blog I wrote for mytravelintuscany.com – the rest will (eventually!) follow in another blog

 

See A Painting Finished By An Angel

The Piazza Santissima Annunziata is one of Florence’s most picturesque squares. It was designed by Brunelleschi, who also designed the two main buildings, the Spedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents) and the Bascilica della Santissima Annunziata, the mother church of the Servite order. In the 14th C the Servites commissioned The Annunciation from the Dominican friar and artist Fra Bartolomeo. A master of sfumato, Fra Bartolomeo combined his religious beliefs with a fresh realism and emotional depth, and during his lifetime his paintings decorated churches and monasteries across Florence, Venice and Lucca. Continue Reading →