I was planning on having a quietish year this year, and I didn’t take every travel opportunity I was offered for that reason. But I did still go a few places. Some I loved, some I hated, some I barely saw beyond the inside of my hotel room. Read more
I recently went to Italy for the first time. I landed in Bologna, got on a bus to Modena, felt very excited about the trip… and then was intensely disappointed when I discovered that Modena is a shithole.
“What’s wrong with me?” I wondered. “Do I just hate Italy? Am I in a terrible mood for no good reason? Is it because it’s my first time abroad in over a year?”
None of the above, as it turned out. It was just Modena. When I went to Florence a few days later, I discovered breathtaking views, rolling countryside and delectable cuisine. Read more
I have several favourite wine shops in London, and unfortunately Jeroboams just opened a new branch on Kensington High Street, which means I’ll have to split my loyalties four ways instead of three. Currently they’re divided between Huntsworth Wines on Kensington Church Street, The Good Wine Shop in Chiswick, and Your Sommelier, who get bonus points because they’re an online shop who deliver to the door.
Tastings-wise, I normally stick with La Cave à Fromage in South Kensington: they pair excellent cheeses with good wines. Their truffle cheese event a few weeks ago was epic.
I hadn’t been to a tasting at The Good Wine Shop before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I couldn’t resist something that used this as their event picture, so I signed up and went along. Read more
I grew up in French. It’s my mother tongue, my first words were in French (“non” and “cheval” if you’re interested), and for about ten years I lived at least 70% of my life in French.
But I’ve never been to France. This is particularly ridiculous because I live in London, and I’ve been on the Eurostar several times, so I’ve been through France on my way to other countries on at least six occasions, but somehow I’ve never stopped off there. Read more
I was in Florence for work recently, and boy did I fall in love with the city. Beautiful architecture! Ornate antiques everywhere! Excellent food! A café that specialised in truffles! Fine wines! Scenic views! A quiet river just outside the city where I could sit and chill out undisturbed!
…but don’t stay there longer than a day, it’s surprisingly unpleasant.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Italy for DFRWS, a digital forensics conference. The conference itself and the work surrounding it lasted 4-5 days, but I tagged on a couple of extra days either side.
The conference was in Florence, but when I googled that I realised it was close to Modena, where they famously make balsamic vinegar. You can only buy proper traditional balsamic in Harrods here in London, so I thought it might be fun to tour a real balsamic vineyard, and probably cheaper to bring some back in my suitcase than to buy it here. I was right on both counts.
I also imagined that Modena would be a pretty city surrounded by beautiful countryside. I was wrong on that one.
I am currently in Modena, and later today I will be going on a tour of a traditional balsamic vineyard. I will then spend all my money on balsamic vinegar despite only arriving yesterday evening, and will have to stretch out about €10 to last the rest of the time I’m here. Read more