stories of life & wanderlust

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Scotland: Cruising Loch Lomond

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Between all the things that have been going on lately, I almost forgot that I still have plenty of pictures to share from Scotland. Posting about our travels there has brought me so much joy because I get to re-live all the beautiful memories – it is almost as if I’m standing at the shores of Loch Lomond again feeling the sun on my skin and the wind breezing through my hair.
 
There are a few different companies that are offering cruises across Loch Lomond, but as we were traveling during off-season (September) most of them had closed service for the year already. The Loch Lomond water taxi is a less fancy and more practical way to get across the lake (think Public Transport), but offers a great possibility to get from one shore to another nonetheless. We took the boat from Luss to Balmaha with a stop on the island of Inchcailloch (more on that soon) and had a really stunning view over the lake. Can I please go again?
 
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Thanks for stopping by!

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Linking up with Helene.


 

Helene in Between
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

High Fashion in Milan

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Milan is one of the most important fashion capitols and the industry has clearly shaped the cityscape. If you’re anything like me (that is, you love to obsess over Prada Bags) this city will be like paradise for you, even if you – like me again – can’t afford to wander into one of the plenty Dolce & Gabbana stores to purchase a pair of absolutely delectable shoes. Window-shopping is the thing to do if you’re an aspiring fashionista and with so many stunning displays around, you don’t need to spend a dime to get your fashion fix.
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The first place the probably comes to mind when it comes to shopping in Milan is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It’s located right next to the Duomo and is Italy’s oldest shopping mall. In my opinion, it’s one of the most impressive buildings in Milan (second only to the Duomo), but these days it’s more about beautiful architecture than shopping. In the centre, there are a Louis Vuitton and a Prada store and there’s also a Gucci shop with an adjacent coffee bar, but they’re probably more for prestige than for selling. There are also small boutiques which are more specific in what they’re selling – expensive fountain pens, fine English leather shoes, silk ties, you name it.
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The real shopping goes on somewhere else: The Quadrolato d’Oro. It translates to Golden Rectangle and names the area between four streets where Milan’s high fashion district is located. It’s packed with the most famous fashion brands in the world and I awed at all the marvelous displays. The most famous street is called Via Monte Napoleone, home to the likes of Dior, Gucci and Valentino, but the street itself lacked a bit of charm.
One interesting thing that I noted, though, was that there appeared to be quite a bit of people who actually did shopping there regularly (and by that I mean whole wardrobes and not just one bag you’ve saved up to for months/years) – it’s something that I in all the time I’ve spent in Paris have never really noticed.
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My favorite street was Via della Spiga. Though just as expensive as Via Monte Napoleone, it has a lot more charm and offers a more intimate and cozy experience.
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What’s the best shopping experience you’ve ever had while traveling?

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Linking up with Helene and Casey
Helene in Between
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

One Day in Milano


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Samuel’s mother graciously invited us to go to Milan with her for day and I was beyond ecstatic by the prospect. I hadn’t been to Italy in a while and just couldn’t wait to escape the dreadful ‘spring’ weather in Germany, so I experiencing la dolce vita – even if it was just for a day – seemed like an excellent idea.
I didn’t really know what to expect from Milan, but it certainly was a beautiful city. It reminded me a bit of Paris, though on a much smaller scale, but at the same time, it also had something quintessentially Italian about it. I can’t quite put it into words, but if you’ve been to both cities, you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s a perfect location for a day-trip (though you could certainly spend more time there) as the city centre is just big enough to keep you occupied all day, but not so big that you have to rush all the time.
I took tons of pictures and will share some more detailed posts in the days to come, but for now, here’s what we were up to. Milan in a nutshell, if you so will.
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First up was the Castello Sforzesco, a beautiful castle set right in the city centre. Not quite what you expect to see in Milan, but it’s those surprises that make traveling so rewarding. We were also more than happy to finally see the sun again.
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We also went into the museum of the Castello which wasn’t the most interesting one I’ve ever been to, but it did feature this famous piece: The Pieta is allegedly the last piece of work of Michelangelo and has remained partially unfinished.
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Next up, we headed to the heart of the city, the Piazza del Duomo. I’ve seen a lot of cathedrals, but I found this one to be especially impressive. You only really notice it when you see it in person, but the Duomo is incredibly wide. While most traditional cathedrals have only three naves, this one has five and makes the church gigantic. As usual, this cathedral is more beautiful from the outside, though the inside is impressive as well, be it just for its sheer size.
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We climbed up to the roof of the Duomo from where we had a nice view over the city.
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Right next to the Duomo there’s the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the first shopping malls in the world and quite possibly my favourite building in Milan.
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Inside, there are mainly the big brand names, but also some smaller old-established stores. It’s more about looking than buying obviously, but if you love window-shopping this is the gateway to High Fashion in Milan. And even if you’re not: The architecture inside is ridiculously stunning: Imagine Paris, but with a roof on top.
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I had a lot of fun taking pictures of myself in windows. This particular display was from Alexander McQueen and came with a price tag that was so high that the shock made me forget it immediately. My own outfit was decidedly less glamorous: I wore a Hilfiger blazer, light beige Wrangler Jeans, Chuck Taylors,  shirt from Banana Republic and my trusted Marc by Marc Jacobs bag.
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We walked through the Brera, the artistic quarter of Milan. This is the Pinacoteca, a public art museum and Academy of Fine Arts.
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The day ended with exploring the shopping district of Milan and taking more pictures of what must be the longest Dolce & Gabbana store I’ve ever seen.
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