Places to visit in 2015

Places to visit in 2015

In 2014 I was incredibly lucky to travel to some amazing places. Some were cities I was visiting again, and others were my first ever experiences. In February I went to Paris with my University (I did not know at the time that I would soon be living there!), March saw a romantic weekend away to Edinburgh as a present from my boyfriend, July included a visit to Ireland for my cousin’s wedding and August saw me and my boyfriend going to Amsterdam. After officially moving to Paris in September, October was when my family and I flew across the Atlantic ocean to New York city for a week holiday, and just after then also went to Madrid to visit my boyfriend. Just writing and thinking about all these amazing cities and countries I’ve been to in 2014, makes me feel all nostalgic.

With the New Year here, I thought I’d create a travel bucket list of all the places I hope to visit in 2015 – let me know if you’ve been there, and some great things to see and do there!

Iceland

(Photograph from Black Tomato website)

‘The land of Fire and Ice’ – Iceland is a surreal, magical and sublime place; and it almost seems like something out of a fairy tale. There’s something enchanting about Iceland, and the more I see photographs of the landscapes and nature, the more I hope to go. My boyfriend Malek is currently writing a lot about Iceland, and his interest in the country has spurred on my own. So much that this year we are hopefully going to plan our own little trip there, with the aim of attempting to see as much of the beautiful country as we can. In addition to the national parks with their amazing scenery, and the relaxing hot springs – a must for our visit is to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, something which I have been eager to witness all my life so far.

Prague, Czech Republic

(Photograph taken by Miroslav Petrasko, accessed on Flickr)

I am ashamed to admit it, but before last year I didn’t really know much about Prague. Then, during one of my modules during my third year, I learnt a great deal about this exquisite city. Now knowing all about the Medieval history, I am absolutely desperate to visit Prague and see for myself all the things and places that I have studied. Top on my agenda would be to explore to Prague Cathedral, and to say hello to Charles IV!

Barcelona, Spain

(Photograph accessed urbantimes.co)

Known for its vibrant and avant-garde architecture, Gaudí’s many architectural ‘signatures’ around the city as well as the relaxing beaches and of course paella, a city that I am yet to visit and have always longed to, is Barcelona. This year may be the year I finally get to go, as me and my friend Kate a thinking of making a visit for our birthdays in March – fingers crossed! One specific place that I would love to see is La sagrada Familia – an icon of the city of Barcelona, as well as an architectural enigma – a must-see.

Berlin, Germany

(Photograph accessed from Telegraph.co.uk)

Berlin, the capital of Germany and home to a vibrant and cosmopolitan way of life, is a definite must on my travel bucket list this year. There is something about this city that has fascinated me for a long time, and I would love for the opportunity to visit the city for the first time. Having learnt a lot about Berlin in my many history lessons and lectures during the years, it would be fantastic to be able to experience Berlin’s history first hand. One of my closest friends is actually an Au Pair in Berlin, so hopefully this year I’ll get the chance to visit her and this beautiful city.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Sadly I am not free to celebrate Halloween this year, although I haven’t actually celebrated it properly since being a child. So in the spirit, no pun intended, I thought it would be cool to share some photos that I took whilst in New York. Whilst there, it was clear how seriously most Americans take the newly established holiday seriously. Many shops and houses were adorned with Halloween decorations, and it was surreal to experience this as the UK doesn’t really celebrate it on the same level. So behold, some Halloween photos! The first three photographs were taken from probably the best display we saw during our time in New York, and probably are overall within the city. The house in Brooklyn which displayed its magnificent Halloween exhibition has previous form, and such decorations have even been seen around the internet and on the TV!

Surgery gone horribly wrong...
Surgery gone horribly wrong…

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Those with Ebola have been quarantined
Those with Ebola have been quarantined
These little fellas report on the devastation to the right
These little fellas report on the devastation to the right

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Cute Halloween display in a food shop
Cute Halloween display in a food shop

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One house display for Halloween in Brooklyn!
One house display for Halloween in Brooklyn!

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Halloween cakes
Halloween cakes

Our New York Trip

Our New York Trip

What a week. Our time in New York has come and gone, but boy was it amazing. It seems just like yesterday we were stepping of the plane and heading into the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. For anyone reading who knows my family personally, you will all acknowledge that my parents are extremely organised and like to have the holiday planned to the tee. Although being in New York for just under a week, we managed to cram so much into these few days. Unfortunately, this meant that whilst there I didn’t have the time to write up any blog posts to update everyone on what we were up to, as whatever spare time we had was taken up my sleeping (!) Therefore, I have decided to just do a quick summary and include some of the photos that I took whilst out and about. There are a few things that I want to blog in detail, such as our visit to the beautiful Cloisters Museum (which was so tranquil, you would not think that you were still in New York), and I was lucky enough to go and see the Crusader Bible of King Louis IX that is currently on exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum. So keep checking out my blog for updates on those.

It was three years ago this summer that I was lucky enough to go to New York with my Auntie, and whilst there we managed to also see most of the sights. However, we went during the height of a summer heat wave, and it was incredibly hot – not very nice when you want to walk around and see the city. Plus, due to the nature of it being the summer season, this meant that we were not the only tourists in town, making it slightly more uncomfortable as you waded your way through the crowds of people. However, this time around was perfect. Overall the weather was brilliant, except for our first day when we were greeted by rain and wind. The following days gave us sunshine and heavenly blue skies. We spent the first three days completing my Mum’s intensive itinerary, which included going to Ellis Island to see if we could ‘feel’ the spirit of my great-great-grandfather there (turns out he didn’t come to Ellis Island as it wasn’t open when he came, oh dear!), paying our respects at the World Trade memorials, climbing (not literally thank goodness) to the top of Rockefeller Centre, exploring the exquisite Central Park, walking across the High Line, took a water taxi from Brooklyn to Manhattan which revealed to us the breathtaking views of the city at sunset, taking a ghost tour around Wall Street and so much more! We also enjoyed leisurely strolls through West and East Villages, NYU campus and checking out various places in Brooklyn and Williamsburg … plus so much more. Even though we managed to see and do a lot, there is still a considerable amount that we sadly didn’t manage to experience. What can we say? We must leave some things for the next time we come back to New York.

I had an absolutely unbelievable time, and cannot thank my family enough for taking me as my 21st birthday present. It’s safe to say that we all had an incredible time, and still can’t believe we were just there! Here are just a few of the photos taken during our vacation.

The One World Trade Center hiding in the clouds
The One World Trade Center hiding in the clouds
The Registry Hall in Ellis Island
The Registry Hall in Ellis Island
View of the new One World Trade Center
View of the new One World Trade Center
Names of those whose lives were taken in 9/11
Names of those whose lives were taken in 9/11
A view of the city from the High Line
A view of the city from the High Line
Amazing artwork on the side of a building seen on our walk on the High Line
Amazing artwork on the side of a building seen on our walk on the High Line
The Naked Cowboy entertaining the crowds...
The Naked Cowboy entertaining the crowds…
Exploring Brooklyn
Exploring Brooklyn
Washington Square Park Arch
Washington Square Park Arch
Dinner time!
Dinner time!
Cake for everyone
Cake for everyone
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Brooklyn Graffiti
Sundaes, shakes and cones
Sundaes, shakes and cones
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
West Village
West Village
'Friends' anyone?
‘Friends’ anyone?
A rainy night in Times Square
A rainy night in Times Square
Watching the sun set on New York
Watching the sun set on New York

One week till New York!

One week till New York!

I cannot believe that this time next week I shall be on my way to New York, hell yeah!  Just over three years ago (wow, I feel old writing this) for my 18th birthday I was given the trip of a lifetime to stay with my Auntie in Chicago. Whilst there, we had a little vacation to New York to see some family and friends, and I absolutely loved it. The only negative part about the trip to NYC was the weather. We travelled there during the peak of a heat wave, and it was just way too hot to do much. So, this time round, my Mum was adamant that we went during a ‘cool’ time of year, and October seemed perfect! I cannot wait to go there! I really do love America, and perhaps could see myself living there for a year or two in the future.

I’m not too sure what we’re going to get up to, although I do know that a must is a visit to the Morgan Library and Museum to see the Crusader Bible exhibition (see here). How typical that I can still manage to fit some medieval orientated things to see and do! I studied the Crusader Bible last year in my ‘Death and Devotion’ module, and thought it was beautiful, so I cannot wait to see the real thing in person. I’ll definitely be blogging whilst I am there, and before going about the potential things that we will get up to. If you have ideas, or know of anything cool taking place in New York in late October, leave a comment below!

Also, I found some photographs that I took last time I was in New York from the top of the Empire State building, aren’t the views amazing!

A picture I took from the top of the Empire State Building
A picture I took from the top of the Empire State Building
A view of below from the Empire State Building
A view of below from the Empire State Building
A glimpse of Central Park
A glimpse of Central Park

MET: ‘Radiant Light Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral’

Jared (detail), 1178–80, Canterbury Cathedral © Robert Greshoff Photography, courtesy Dean and Chapter of Canterbury
Jared (detail), 1178–80, Canterbury Cathedral © Robert Greshoff Photography, courtesy Dean and Chapter of Canterbury

Between February 25th and May 18th the Cloisters Museum at the MET in New York is hosting an exhibition presenting stained glass from England’s historic Canterbury Cathedral, dating from 1178-80. I find this concept quite unusual I’m not going to lie, as the exhibitions features six Romanesque-period windows that have never left the cathedral since their creation. Bringing stained-glass from the Cathedral to the MET – why when you can just go to Canterbury itself? I guess through bringing the glass over the pond, so to speak, allows more people to see the beauty of Canterbury’s windows. However, I feel that taking such works out of their religious context renders them almost ‘dumb’ in the sense that they’re not functioning in the religious manner that they should be. I guess times have changed so much anyway, that perhaps the religious function of the stained glass windows are becoming more over-looked and less part of their identity. Having studied Canterbury Cathedral last term, I fell in love with it. I have never been there myself, but having seen and learnt about it through images and online 3-D tours I would love to visit.

If anyone is feeling incredibly generous and would like to provide me with tickets (and travel…) to go to the MET to see this exhibition I will love you forever!

For more information and beautiful pictures of the stained glass on show, visit the MET’s website here: http://www.metmuseum.org/en/exhibitions/listings/2014/canterbury-stained-glass

Also, Apollo magazine (who I interned for during the Summer) have created this awesome article showing some of the best examples of stained-glass across the world, check it out! https://www.apollo-magazine.com/stained-glass/