Monday, September 28, 2015

London & Regalia

I first went to London two years ago but it was only for a couple of days, added on at the end of a trip to Berlin. It hadn't gone particularly well for a variety of reasons, but I enjoyed it enough that I wanted to go back again with better circumstances. Right when I was in the early stages of planning, I found out about Regalia and decided to plan my trip around that.

The hotel I stayed at was in Soho, which worked out perfectly for me since everything I needed was within a short walking distance (it's the type of neighborhood I would never want to live in, but it's great to visit for a week). I arrived late afternoon so I didn't have time to do too much on the first day, but I did walk over to the Lush Oxford Street store and bought a bunch of exclusive items (my favorite so far has been Hair Custard, I really hope they bring that over here before I run out).

For day two I went to the V&A Museum, which I think is my new favorite museum. I spent hours there and thought I had to have seen everything, but later realized I missed a few areas so I'll definitely be going back. Afterwards I went for a walk in nearby Kensington Park, I got caught in the rain for bit but it passed quickly and then there was an amazing double rainbow that seemed like it lasted forever.

The next day I went to the British Museum, which was fine but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the V&A. They had some nice exhibits, but knowing the controversies around some of their artifacts definitely put a damper on the enthusiasm I would usually have at a museum. I was pretty tired that day, so once the museum closed I went to get dinner at The Coach and Horses vegetarian pub (fun-ish fact, there are several pubs called Coach and Horses and they all seem to be unrelated, only one is the vegetarian one and I definitely went to a wrong one before I realized that). I wanted to get at least on traditional British meal on this trip, so I got the Tofush and Chips and really enjoyed it.

On Friday, I made my one mistake on the trip. I had really wanted to go to Eltham Palace, even though it was far enough out of the way it meant taking light rail for a bit. I had checked their site so many times while planning for London and somehow not noticed that they are not open on Fridays. And even in the morning before I left for the train, I almost double checked the hours and decided not to since I was running late and what kind of tourist attraction is closed on Fridays. Eltham Palace is, unfortunately, and I didn't realize it until I got there and it was closed (while I was walking there I saw two cars pull up to the gate, then get out and read the hours sign, so at least I'm seemingly not the only person who made that mistake). However, there was a walking path through some woods and fields that was a nicer way back to the train than the regular sidewalks I had taken to get there. It was pretty quiet -  I only saw two other people in a 20 minute walk, there were some horses and a nice view of the London skyline so it wasn't a total loss.

Since I suddenly had some more free time with no plans, I walked around the Trafalgar Square area and along the Thames for a while. Probably my favorite thing about London is the architecture, it seems like everything is a gorgeous historic building so I enjoy just walking around a looking at everything. I also did a bit of shopping, though I tried to keep it to things I can't easily get back home. I went to Cath Kidston and picked up a few cute things, then to Liberty and bought some fancy sewing supplies, then walked down Carnaby Street on the way back to the hotel.

Regalia! The next day was day one of Regalia and it was wonderful. The location was beautiful, everyone had amazing outfits, the fashion show was fun, I liked the q&a with the designer of Innocent World. I didn't buy too many things due to luggage space but I did pick up a few things, including a cute Metamorphose skirt, Lapin Agill capelet, and a brooch from Fantastic Grim.

Sunday was the Regalia Tea Party, again in a gorgeous location. It's always a little awkward finding a seat at a tea party when you're going alone, but everyone at the table I ended up at was super friendly, and I won a really cute necklace in the raffle. Once the tea party was over I had a bit of time before I needed to get back to the hotel so I went for a walk in St. James Park, which was lovely.

The tea party was on my last day in London, so the next day it was back home again. There are still so many things I'd like to see in London and places I'd like to go to again, I'm definitely planning to go back someday

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Green Gables, Prince Edward Island

I've always liked Anne of Green Gables. I read the series of books when I was a kid (and a bunch of other L.M.M Montgomery stories as well), loved the miniseries, and still enjoy both quite a bit. Over the summer I drove up to Prince Edward Island and visited Green Gables, as well as some other locations.

I stayed at a quaint B&B in Charlottetown. Although it was a bit of a drive to some places the island isn't that large and it was nice to be walking distance to a downtown area with restaurants, shops and other things to do. The first day I just stayed around Charlottetown and went to the Province House then took a tour of the Beaconsfield Historic House. I had dinner at The Gahan House, a brewery that has a beer I absolutely loved, Sir John A's Honey Wheat Ale. I wish I could find it here in the US since I miss it, but sadly it's not available outside of Canada.

The next day I went out to the first of the Anne of Green Gables historic sites, Green Gables itself. The house itself is nice, I also spent a lot of time walking around the grounds where there are trails through the Haunted Wood and Lover's Lane. I also walked over to the site of the house L.M.M. Montgomery had lived in, sadly now it's just an old foundation on a farm.

The owner of the B&B had also recommended the Prince Edward Island National Park. There is a floating trail through the dunes, since it was early in the season I was the only person out there. The dunes were gorgeous and I got to see a beaver close up, so close that it actually slapped it's tail on the water.

My last day in Prince Edward Island I went to the Anne of Green Gables Museum. While the Green Gables house is more official I maybe liked this museum a bit better. It has a collection of first editions of all the L.M.M. Montgomery books, the room she was married in, the cabinet that inspired Katie Maurice and few more personal items than Green Gables itself seemed to have.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cape Cod & Boston

The second trip I took on sabbatical was to Cape Cod and Boston. I got off to a late start, right when I was packing for the trip I realized my car's registration had expired so instead of leaving on time I spent a few hours at the DMV. I ended up not doing a whole lot on this trip since the weather was pretty awful, but I did do most of the things I wanted to.

First (and why I went to Cape Cod in the first place) was the Edward Gorey House. I love Edward Gorey, I grew up watching the Mystery! intro and this blog name is taken from a line in one of his stories. They have a lot of his original artwork on display and the tour is full of anecdotes about his life and work.

After that it was back on the road up to Boston. I've never really liked Boston, especially since last time i was there I got lost for 2 hours driving around (in the days before smartphones and cheap GPS). I stayed at a pretty fancy hotel for that night, The Langham. I had planned this trip way ahead of time and they had an early booking discount of 20%, so it wasn't really much more expensive than any of the other downtown hotels. The hotel was maybe a little too fancy for me, their bar was full of a finance-type crowd and I felt pretty out of place just generally (although my room was very pretty!).

The next morning it went out to do the one thing I had wanted to do in Boston, walk the Freedom Trail. It was unseasonable cold and raining and I gave up partway Massachusetts and went back to the hotel. I did at least manage to get some nice pictures and see some cemeteries.

From there I went over to Lowell, Massachusetts. Before this trip I knew pretty much nothing about it but it became one of my favorite places I went. I went there to see the American Textile Museum, which I did enjoy quite a bit. I'm not normally particularly interested in wedding stuff but they also had a (special?) display of wedding dresses through the years. It had a lot of the history of the dresses and the women who wore them, and I found it more interesting than I thought I would.

My only plans for Lowell were to see the textile museum, but I ended up spending a lot of time walking around and going to some of the other museums in the area. I had a passing familiarity of the textile mills, but never had an understanding of the scale. Most of the downtown area is just massive brick buildings, one after another.

The thing I found most interesting was the history of the Mill Girls. I've always loved history so I'm not sure how I made it this far without previously learning of them, especially given that I've lived in New England for most of my life. I highly recommend the Mill Girls and Immigrants exhibit if you're in the area, they had reproductions of the living quarters and as well as a history of the town.

I would have liked to stay longer and walk around more, but it was still rainy and even colder than it was in Boston, so I had to give up a bit earlier than I wanted and head home.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Philadelphia, in May

The first trip I took on my sabbatical was to Philadelphia. I figured it would be a good place to start for solo traveling practice since I'd been there before, it's relatively nearby, and there were some things I wanted to do that I missed last time.

The first thing I did was go to the Mütter Museum (no pictures allowed anyway, so at least there was no loss there). The Mütter Museum is a medical history museum, it's rather small but they fit a lot of stuff in. Fascinating but also morbid and creepy, there's a lot of skeletons, preserved body parts and some related miscellany (like doctor's books bound in leather made from human skin). It was one of those places I'm glad I went, but was also unsettled enough at the end that I don't think I'll need to go back again.

I then got lunch at a cafe that is also an Ethiopian restaurant, and then over to Eastern State Penitentiary (the pictures from here are the ones I regret losing the most). I'm not into audio tours but the one here is narrated by Steve Buscemi and I enjoyed it, it's like walking around with Steve Buscemi telling you about prison history.

After that I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, my favorite thing there was the Constantine Tapestry collection.

Description from the museum: In 1625, King Louis XIII of France presented papal envoy Cardinal Francesco Barberini with a series of seven tapestries, designed by Peter Paul Rubens and woven in Paris, on the life of Constantine, the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Upon returning to Rome, Cardinal Barberini established his own tapestry works and commissioned Pietro da Corona to design additional tapestries for the Constantine series.

By the time I left the museum it was evening so I went back to the hotel for a bit, then back out to get some dinner. I ended up going to the Khyber Pass Pub since they had veg-friendly food options and were walking distance from the hotel, I got the vegan BBQ pulled pork sandwich and it was pretty great. The music was also good, while I was there they played Carrie Anne by The Hollies. It ended up being the exact song I wanted to listen to, and I ended up listening to it a few times on Spotify at the hotel before deciding to just buy the album to listen to in the car on the rest of the trip.

The next morning I stopped by an amazing historic candy store, Shane Confectionary. I was lucky they opened early so I could make it before hotel checkout. I got some chocolate turtles and a bag of Mary Janes (one of my favorite old-timey candies, sometimes I feel like the only person under 60 who likes them).

After that it was time to check out from the hotel and then to Longwood Gardens. I had originally planned to just stop for a bit on my way home but I liked it so much that I spent about 4 hours there, even getting lunch in the cafe. This is the other place I'm sad I lost my photos of, but at least here I have a few since I had also brought a film camera with me (I posted a few already here).

Since I spent so much time at the gardens I was both sunburnt and didn't get home until around 10pm, but at least I had The Hollies to listen to on the drive.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Film photos from Maine

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me and photos. I brought two rolls of film in for development and one of them was from my trip to Maine last fall, not the pictures from Arizona I was expecting (it turned out those were still in the camera). Not that it's bad to have these now, but a bit disappointing they've been sitting around undeveloped for that long and also that I had to make a second trip back to the Lomography store for the Arizona ones. I also discovered that I somehow lost all my digital photos from my trip to Philadelphia. Pretty sure it was a botched import since they were the first batch with both my new camera and a new laptop, but they're nowhere to be found on either my computer, external drive or my camera. While much of that trip wasn't very photogenic, it does mean I'm missing the rest of the Longwood Gardens photos and everything from Eastern State Penitentiary.

Anyway, since I have the Maine photos now I figure I may as well go ahead and post a few. These are from the trip I took to Maine last fall, taken with the Zeiss-Ikon around the 1920's inn I stayed at.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Photos from the Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex

And it's once again been a while since I updated. I've had a lot of work things to deal with so I've been lacking in both spare time and motivation, but things seem to have settled down for now.
One of the first things on my todo list was to try out the vintage camera I picked up a while back. It's a Zeiss-Ikon Ikoflex, I think it's an Ikoflex I but I'm not sure. They apparently both used the same model number for different cameras, and had multiple styles with the same model number. Regardless, it likely dates from 1939-1951 and the lever focus makes me think it's on the earlier side of that range.
The good news is it still works! I like that it takes 120 film instead of the 620 that my other vintage cameras take so I don't have to respool film for it. It's metal which makes it much sturdier as well, but it's also a lot heavier (while looking for Ikoflex info I came across a site that listed "Dimensions and weight: A brick", which is pretty accurate). I went to the local waterfront park, I use that a lot to try out new cameras since it's close by and has good lighting. I didn't spend a lot of time composing the pictures since I wasn't sure if it even worked, but a few came out kinda nice anyway.