Friday, February 24, 2017


Today, Jo lost her fight with cancer.  A very sad, sad day.  For one so young to be taken is cruelty in the extreme.  We are left with happy memories of our times spent with Jo, most notably our three week tour around the southern island of New Zealand where we enjoyed taking photos together.

Jo's New Zealand, South Island

2011 saw us playing with images in the Peranakan Museum in Georgetown.

And none of us will forget the visit of the three musketeers to Penang in 2014 when the heat got the better of us on the trek to Monkey Beach.

Penang Hill much better.  We five are now four.

Rest in peace Jo.

London's China Town.

Another trip down memory lane for Gek.

 Photo opportunity 1

Photo opportunity 2, with good friend Richard.  Return hospitality in The Valleys in the offing.

Somerset House.

This neoclassical building houses the Courtauld Gallery.

 Renoir's art to admire.

More for Gek to copy.

Return to London.

 De-training at London Bridge from Richard's place, we walked the embankment towards Tate Modern,

 under a couple of bridges,

before crossing the river to find the LSE's Old Building.  A nostalgic return for Gek since she graduated from here with a Masters in 1986.  My, how the years have flown by.  We dined in the student canteen, feeling a little like dinosaurs.

Milan Miniaturatlia

A week after the London Tower DH Fair,

we were setting up our stall in Milan.  The passersbys seem to really appreciate Gek's work, with many an unconscious smile followed invariably with a 'Bellissimo"

 New friends include Robin from San Francisco, he accompanies his wife here for the fair every year,

and Christian from Sardinia. Christ had worked in London for a number of years and was only too happy to practice his English with a native.  He also helped us market Gek's paintings.  Both lovely chaps.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Brera et al.

The Brera, the home of the prestigious Brera Academy (of Art).

 The building also houses Milan's collection of old masters, mainly nicked from Venice by Napoleon.

 Trying to find some modern art, we also visited the  Museum of Contemporary Art, only to find it not that contemporary.  Napoleon used to stay here after he made himselve king of Italy, well this northern part anyway, in 1805.

Apart from the obvious reason for me to take this photograph, the detailed carving of the net the lady is lying on was quite extraordinary.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


A visit to the National Science  and Technology Museum with every people-carrier between the ocean floor and the stratosphere present.  Steam is my thing.

Central station today, where 'high speed' trains come and go. Only in Italy

Milan has a very comfortably wide underground, powered by overhead cables.

Older systems include canals, this the Grande Canal reached Milan in 1238.  Most of the network has been built over, sadly, with only this short stretch navigable.  Very lively at night, apparently.

 Courtyard areas for the art, and a very nice restaurant we found here.

A short walk up the Corsi di Porta Ticinese from the canal basin to Basilica San Lorenzo.  The guide book says that, although oft-ignored "it is difficult not be bowled over by the jumble of towers, lodges, apes and domes".  I have to agree, throw out the aesthetics rule book, why not?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Milan Cafe

 Stopping to recoup with coffee and cake.

And yes, the ever present London bus adorning the wall.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Milan Castle

Work started on the build in 1360 and was used as a castle until 1862 but now the building houses nine museums, a few of which we visited.

 But not before we took a stroll in the park behind the castle,

and a spot of lunch in front of it.  You see, we were visiting on Tuesday, the day all the museums are free to enter after 2 pm.  Result.

 Art all over the place.

Michelangelo's last marble sculpture has its very own museum, housed in what was the castles  hospital.  Rondanini Pieta.

 He is reputed to have been working on it up to few days before he died in 1564.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Milan Tram

OK, perhaps someone can explain to me the fascination with the London Bus. No. 38 was spotted parked outside Milan's Castle (Italy) and 007 below was snapped in Hakodate (Hokkaido, Japan).
Mind you, I am fascinated by trams, trains and trolley buses, so who am I to judge? Milan has 110 miles of tram tracks which is near twice the length of the city's underground.

 There are now three generations of tram, but the first is still the prettiest.

Crossing the Grand Canal.

Friday, February 17, 2017


 The facade was in shadow, so no go for a photo.

 but these two images give you an idea of the statuary clinging to the walls of the building.

 Emanuele's shopping arcade. I know, I know, but what to do when you are opposite the Duomo?  Upstage it with an even bigger front entrance.

 Inside does not disappoint.  Met myself coming back.

Opened in 1877.  They don't build them like this anymore.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Off to Milan

On the way, we called in for a couple of nights in the Tower Hotel.

A bit of bother on the underground left us walking quite a ways to the hotel, with the opportunity for a few snaps on the way.

We had a room over looking the river.

The reason to visit, the Tower Hotel DH Fair.  A bit disappointing on sales but to compensate, we did make some new friends with Gary and Heidi who had the stall next to ours. 

And then on to Milan.