A weekend in the windy city {Dublin}

I know, I know, okay? When people refer to the ‘windy city’, they mean Chicago. But when we visited Dublin last month, Ireland’s capital made a very serious case for claiming the title. It also drizzled very lightly the entire time. It is not an exaggeration to say that even when it was sunny it was drizzling. But despite the adverse weather conditions and the almost knife fight which we witnessed outside a pub (I wish I was joking) we had a lovely time.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the north of Ireland – it’s where my mum is from – but very little in the South (the Republic). But one thing that all of Ireland has in common is that it feels its history very keenly. I think this probably has to do with the fact the violent events which have defined the country’s history are not long over. And sometimes the odd headline reminds you that those issues are not entirely laid to rest. So you cannot visit Dublin and avoid the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent fight for independence from Britain. Photographs of the revolutionary leaders adorn pub walls; songs tell old stories of national pride. The bullet holes from 1916 still pepper the walls of the General Post Office.

Here are a collection of photographs from the city – I hope you’ll enjoy flicking through. Oh, and if you need a soundtrack, the first picture is of folk heroine Molly Malone, her statue stands in Grafton Street.  Here is The Dubliner’s version of the wonderful song about her.

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Molly Malone, Grafton Street

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The Guinness Factory

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General Post Office, O’Connell Street

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Pint of Guinness

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The Old City

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Temple Bar

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Light bulb moment

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Cream bicycle on cobbles

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The River Liffey

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Irish election poster

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Deli

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O’Neill’s

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Dublin Castle

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Ocean currents

© Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

Wanderlust {Warsaw}: painting in the street

While I was in Warsaw I took a lot of pictures of walls, and a few of the ground. Luckily I wasn’t just going mad — the walls and the floor were more interesting than they are in most places. That’s the round about way of saying that there was a lot of street art around and about, and here are some photographs of it. Enjoy!

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We saw this as we arrived, and it warmed my heart 🙂

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Red balloon

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Why is the sky dark at night?

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A bit of a scarier one

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Lady in pink

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Blue bird, umbrellas

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Godzilla?

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Warsaw, what you’ve done to me

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Yes, Beyonce

All images © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

Foodie Adventures {Warsaw}: a whistle stop tour

What do foodies do when they go on holiday? It’s honestly not a trick question. They eat. And we certainly made the most of our time in Warsaw last month, eating in as many different places as possible all over the city. Here is a whistle stop tour of some of the best.

Cheesecake Corner

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We spent several lovely afternoons watching the world go by from a cafe on Krakowskie Przedmieście, one of Warsaw’s prettiest streets. Cheesecake, a good book and a healthy dose of sunshine-soaked people watching — it doesn’t get much better than that, does it? This Oreo cheesecake was delicious. Creamy and rich, but not too sweet. The view from the white wicker chairs outside wasn’t bad either. Their website is here.

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Tapas Gastrobar

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This was a little way away from our hostel, but very much worth the walk. The decor was just up my street: white and blue dominated, combined with geometrically patterned tiles and vintage posters in shabby chic frames. The food was exquisite and the service was fast and friendly. A highlight was the salted pork belly – hot and delicious. The cold potato salad smothered in aioli was a little unexpected, but worked perfectly. Check it out here.

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Ceprownia

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The guidebook hit the nail on the head when it described Ceprownia as ‘hearty shepherd’s fare’: this is where we got our first taste of Polish food when we first arrived in Warsaw last year, and it’s the first place we visited when we returned this year. Homely stews, potato fritters, amazing fried goat’s cheese and more pickles than you could shake a stick at all consumed by lamplight in an interior made mainly of wood, this is Polish food at its most uncomplicated. Special mention goes to the creamy salad dressing that came with every dish. We had dinner there on our first night, and went back for lunch on our last day. Visit their website here.

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Cafe Vincent

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This was our favourite breakfast spot: a French- style patisserie on Warsaw’s main street. They had row upon row of every baked good you could think of, fresh from the oven, and a nice selection of drinks to go with them. We enjoyed the madeleines (already explored on this blog, here, and the boy’s favourite) and I had one of the best lemon tarts I’ve ever had! Very lemony, and the perfect level of intense tartness. I love breakfast on holiday… Cafe Vincent don’t have a website that I can find, but you can visit them at Nowy Świat 64, 00-357 Warszawa, Poland if you happen to be in the vicinity.

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Lots of our recommendations of where to eat came from the ‘In Your Pocket’ city guide, which was invaluable as we hurried about Warsaw. You can download it for free here – we loaded the PDF version onto M’s Kindle, which was super handy.

Listening to Kaleidoscope Heart by Sarah Bareilles, Apple Honey by the Woody Herman Orchestra and Take me for what I am from RENT.

© Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The Friday Frame {16} Blooms Ahead

The clue is in the bicycle’s cargo: ‘kwiaty’ is Polish for ‘flowers’, presumably 50 metres further on. This bicycle was on a backstreet in Poznan; we discovered it during a very early morning wander: we were up at 6am in an effort to avoid the heat of the day. It’s such a beautiful signpost, how could I not take a photograph?

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All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The Friday Frame {13} From the ground, up.

The understated grandeur of the painted fronts of Poznan townhouses almost made the unbearable 35 degrees centigrade heat worth it. When we told people we were going to Poland in July, most people suggested it might be a little chilly: we took coats. They were so incredibly wrong (and we were, evidently, so incredibly gullible for taking their word for it!) Of the four cities we visited, Poznan was the hottest — after the first day we took to going out at around 6.30am to fit in sightseeing before the hottest rays hit. By around 10am it would be searingly hot, sending us fleeing back to the hostel to lie around in very little, trying desperately to cool down and resolving to return to Poland only in the dead of winter. Beautiful buildings though.

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Townhouses in Poznan, Poland, Summer 2014.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The Friday Frame {12} Up the Wall

A mural on a backstreet in Warsaw. There’s just something about this that I love; it’s on the one hand very realistic, on the other strangely surreal. It’s also just amazing to create art on this scale, and in this environment —  I couldn’t help stopping for a few moments to gaze in wonder every time we walked past.

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Street art in Warsaw, Poland. Summer 2014.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

The Grand Budapest Hotel: A Review

This was my first experience of Wes Anderson’s direction, and he certainly left an impression with his tale of the adventures of Gustave H, a hotel concierge, and his trusted friend Zero. I was immediately captivated by the cardboard cut- out world which he had created so painstakingly,  and which resembled the inside of a Parisian patisserie. From the icing sugar- dusted mountain tops of his fictional Europe to its outrageously colourful inhabitants, this film was certainly a joy to behold. I felt the urge to freeze each frame in an effort to drink in all of the detail, and to appreciate for a few moments more the beauty and drama of the quirky composition and eye- watering pastels. Accompanied by a staccato soundtrack, the actors moved with a kind of lyrical synchronicity which gave many scenes the feeling of a bizarre dance, and snappy dialogue brought wry smiles and deep thought in equal measure. A fabulous ensemble cast including the likes of Jude Law and Bill Murray elicited chuckles of recognition at every turn, and Ralph Fiennes was perfect as the charming and whimsical Gustave H.

But this film was not entirely style without substance: beneath the confectioner’s pastel we glimpsed the underbelly of this alternate but chillingly recognisable Europe: newsprint declared the coming of war, soldiers stood starkly at checkpoints and demanded documents, and grey flags were unfurled in the opulence of the hotel’s lobby.  But despite the darker elements, the story remained charmingly bittersweet. The characters were funny, they were clever, and they were likable, and most importantly they went on a good old-fashioned romp among the mountains of Wes Anderson’s imagination. There were cable cars, murders, a missing will, a chase down a snowy mountainside, a stolen painting, champagne, a prison break, a love affair and exquisite patisserie: what more could you really ask for? Extremely enjoyable and visually stunning, the Europe of The Grand Budapest Hotel is certainly a continent to visit.

All content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2014, apart from the film poster, which is from the movie’s official website.