Set aside plenty of time to visit the Royal palace and Wat Phra Kaew, it’s not just that this is one of the city's major tourist attractions and therefore full of visitors, but that there is just so much detail to take in.Your senses will be crowded with the vivid flood of colour from the fantastically decorated buildings and statues, the sound of bells along the rooflines and the smell of incense.The Emerald Buddha - a figure of great reverence in Thailand – dressed in one of his gold costumes (they are changed dependent on the season) is housed in a wonderfully decorated royal chapel.The palace, by contrast to the classical Thai architecture of Wat Phra Kaew, is almost a Western looking pavilion (it was designed by a British architect) topped with Thai spires. It is currently being renovated so any photo opportunities are rather scuppered by scaffolding.There is a very strict dress code for the Wat and palace complex. You should wear long trousers or skirts that are below the knee and shirts with sleeves (a shawl/wrap over a sleeveless top will not do). If you don’t adhere to the dress code you can borrow suitable wear from an office near the entrance.
Entrance off Thanon Na Phra Lan. Nearest Boat Stop: Tha Change. Open: 8.30pm-3.30pm. Entry Fee: 250 baht.
In a nondescript inner suburb of north Dublin, this is a truly amazing example of late Georgian architecture.It's not an exaggeration to call this one of the finest examples of late classical architecture in Europe. The casino, was in effect a private pleasure house for men only (the wife had the main house!) within a larger estate, which has now entirely disappeared. It looks small close up, a deliberate optical illusion. Inside is a stunning array of perfectly designed rooms.
Malahide Road, about 3km from the city centre.
This new development officially called Quartier Bloom, but universally called the Italian Quarter is a great little slice of modern urban development. It's a private laneway built by a developer called Wallace with an obsession with all things Italian - so he has stuffed it with some great little Italian shops, wine bars and restaurants. The Enecotta della Langhe is particularly popular for its wines and anti-pasta. It's not generic Italian, most of the units are run by people from one village in the Lombardy region, so the food and wines are all from that area. The giant mural along one side is now a favoured landmark in Dublin - it's a reproduction of da Vinci's Last Supper, but featuring people taken at random off the streets of Dublin - Jesus is an Indian student in Trinity.You can amuse yourself by looking for the secret code in the picture revealing the artist's favourite football team.
Just north of the Millennium Bridge on the quays. Close to the Jervis Luas stop.
Moore Street has become the centre of the new multicultural Ireland. There are lots of traditional old stalls (probably the cheapest place to buy meat and vegetables in Dublin), but there is also an amazing collection of shops and restaurants owned and run by the Chinese, Russian, and African communities.
Moore Street is just off Henry Street, leading to Parnell Street
The main centre for foreign and art movies in Dublin. The institute is in a lovely converted Society of Friends building and is a great meeting point for anyone interested in cinema. There are training events, movie seasons, a bar and specialist shop. A lovely place to hang out, although the food and service in the bar is a little substandard.
Eustace Street in Temple Bar
In the heart of the little streets that criss-cross the old town is a small museum to Picasso and contains much of his early work, donated by the artist himself in 1970. It’s fascinating to see the sketches and paintings he made in conventional styles, before he discovered cubism, and indeed how accomplished some of them are. The painting in particular of his sister’s first communion is quite superb.
Carrer Montcada 15 - 23; www.museupicasso.bcn.es
This bookshop is only a few minutes walk from the British Library in Bloomsbury, Central London. It has a great selection of books on photography and of photographers monographs. Also a good stock of books on fashion photography, photo journalism, travel, nude and portrait photography. There are quite a few signed books and rare first editions too. Unique for photography lovers.
Photo Books International99 Judd StreetLondonWC1H 9NEURL: www.pbi-books.comTel: 020 7813 7363Nearest Stations: Kings Cross, Russell Square or Euston Station
This splendid church has three of the most amazing Caravaggios, including the Calling of St Matthew and it is free.
The second find is the The Ecstasy of St Teresa di Avila by Bernini. It is carved of one solid piece of marble is is simply quite stunning and stirring.
Piazza di San Luigi dei Francesi near to the Piazza Navona
the Church of S Maria della Vittoria is close to Via XX Settembre near the appian Way
As you face the Spanish Steps, the house is at the bottom on the right. Keats spent his last days here, suffering from consumption, and you can see relics of him and Shelley in this memorial to the Romantic poets. When I visited, there was a shop next door named Byron, but I think this was purely coincidental.
Piazza di Spagna 26 00187; www.keats-shelley-house.org; Tel: +39 06 678 4235
The legend is that if throw a coin over your shoulder into the Trevi fountain, you will return to Rome! It worked for me! Eat an ice cream whilst sitting there. Famous for most celebrated sequence, Ekberg splashing in the fountain, in Federico Fellini's 1960 film La Dolce Vita.
Down Via del Corso follow the signs for Fontana di Trevi, it's to the right.
Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma
Directions: near Via Del Corso and Via del Tritone Underground exit: Barberini Buses 52,53,61,62,63,71,80,95,116,119,175,492, and 630 exit Via del Tritone
You always have to queue so get there one hour early and walk through all the rooms directly to the Sistine Chapel, ignore the rest or do another time; then you arrive ahead of the crowds able to glory in it without the noise and hub-bub. Many people take mirrors to look down into to save their necks.
Two hours by train, north of Barcelona, is the town of Figueres. In Figueres is the Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum. No trip to Catalonia is complete without a visit to Dali’s self-constructed museum which is a work of art in itself. His idea was to give the visitor an experience of the truly surreal (the word seems to be often misused these days) and the visitor is not disappointed.
The building itself is wonderfully outrageous, and the exhibits give a good insight into Dali’s way of working and sense of humour and you can even see the crypt where the man is now buried. This museum has nearly a million visitors a year, so join the queue and be entertained by the exterior and its adornments while you wait.
I am travelling around the world for a year and my first stop was Rio. I excitedly got chatting to some of my fellow travellers who challenged my misconceptions concerning the favela tour. A favela is like a shanty town on a mountain side, where the poorest people live, and I thought a tour meant staring at the streets from a tour bus, showcasing the locals in a horrible, vicarious way. My new friends informed me that it was actually a walking tour given by a local, and that the money we paid was used for improving the school and day centre.
The favela, Rocinha, had the welcoming atmosphere of real and honest people; innocent lives plagued with the volatility of the drug world. It was hard to believe that we were walking through streets that only four days earlier saw the killing of the top drug lord by police. In the three days to follow a further five people were killed as they fought over the prestigious position and the power it provided. The tours stopped during this time and this emphasised the danger and uncertainty with which these people lived.
Our guide, Luis, took us to the day centre where our money was to be used. Before Luis set up the organisation (www.bealocal.com), children went unfed for days and were forced to beg, three years later they are off the streets, given three meals a day and are taught various arts and crafts; they then sell their wares instead of begging.
Looking round Rocinha, I now feel I understand the people of Rio on a much deeper level; with a strong, unyielding community spirit, they share the difficult times and, slowly but surely, set out to improve their situation. The tour manages to obtain the perfect balance, between educating and spreading awareness and providing genuine benefit where it is needed most.
A definite must-do when visiting Rio, it will enlighten your life and provide a unique insight into a fascinating place.
Visit www.bealocal.com and book online, they will pick you up from your hostel/hotel and drop you off afterwards.
We loved this museum! It seems impossible that one man could have collected so much. While there is a great deal to see, one doesn't feel overwhelmed as in the British Museum. The Hogarths are wonderful. One of the staff, who obviously loves the paintings, spent a great deal of time with my husband and me pointing out and explaining the hundreds of details in the paintings. A most memorable afternoon.
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC
Free admission: a great benefit in a wonderful, but expensive, city
The Egyptian Museum, just across the road from Schloß Charlottenburg, has a superb collection of artefacts, but is worth visiting for one reason alone – as the home of the famous bust of Nefertiti. And nobody objects if you take your own photos of it either!
Schloßstraße 70, Charlottenburg, 14059 (3209 1261). U2 Sophie-Charlotte-Platz/U7 Richard-Wagner-Platz.
Less a museum in the British sense and more an art gallery, with a range or erotic work, from Japanese scrolls to pieces by Georg Grosz and Weimar-era pornographic cartoons that were used as political satire. Far more interesting than the Sex Museum in Amsterdam.
Joachimstaler Straße 4, Charlottenburg; S3, S5, S7, S9/U2, U9 Zoologisher Garten. 10623 (886 0666)
If you're low on cash and keen on jazz, this family-run community arts space - located in a converted railway arch under Herne Hill station - hosts a free jazz night every Thursday. The musicians - of quite a decent calibre - usually play from around 9.30pm to midnight. The studio also hosts poetry nights, like Penned in the Margins, which include open mic sessions. There's a little bar, local art and lounges.
Milkwood Road, Herne Hill
Train: Herne Hill station
Nearest tube: Brixton
This genuine 1950s coffee house has played host to Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon in its time, and it retains an artistic, bohemian buzz to this day.
The food is excellent, the atmosphere agreeably relaxed and the club beneath it has a huge range of comedy nights, poetry readings and live music. Highly recommended.
263-7 Old Brompton Road, SW5 9JA; Tel: 020 7370 1434; www.troubadour.co.uk
It may be a fair way out of London, but that tube trip to Ealing is well worth it to catch up with the new generation of British comedians at Ealing Live, a regular gang show about to go into its fourth season. The fact that it's already challenging the hegemony of the central London comedy clubs is testament to the kind of talent they've managed to attract in its fairly short history.
Tel: 020 8584 5282; www.ealingstudios.com/ealinglive
About 1 hour outside Dublin and older than the pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, and the lost cities of South America, Newgrange is stunning. Artistic, awe inspiring, and a mathamatical/astronomical marvel - do not leave Ireland without visiting this ancient structure. The construction itself is magnificant and a wonder even in these modern days. Entering into the passageways which were also used as tombs the atmosphere is perfectly dry. There are other passage tombs nearby called Knowth and Dowth.
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