Storms and Italy

We had a very exciting day last week when the storms came – we’ve been looking forward to the next lightening storm ever since moving to our crows nest flat. It started at the end of a full day of bunting making and we all dashed out onto the balcony and watched the skies above London erupt. It went on for an hour or so and stretched right across London from East to West, focusing particularly above the centre.

We took lots of photos and were completely delighted with this one which I sent in to the BBC – lo and behold they published it in their Your Pictures section! Very exciting (fame at last).

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I’ve also been meaning for the last month to tell you about Italy! A few weeks ago we went on the most wonderful Holiday; me, Nick, my parents, my brothers and Bru’s girlfriend Julia. As a family we aren’t very Holiday focused, in fact until last year when we all went away with my cousins we hadn’t been on a holiday together since childhood! Last year’s jaunt to Spain was such a success that we got a taste for it and so to celebrate my Dad’s 70th Birthday we went for a week to Italy; three nights in Florence and three in Baratti – a tiny place on the coast.

We had a string of disasters in the first 24 hours ranging from a trip to A&E to not being able to get our hire cars because we didn’t have the right card.. but when we finally arrived at our destination (having got trains and buses and then battled through the pouring rain for twenty minutes) we found ourselves in the most wonderful place. We had booked an airbnb called Elegance which had looked almost too good to be true; in reality it was even better! It was in a really good location and the flat was just stunning, covered in frescos and furnished brilliantly. We were all on a high from that point on and fell completely in love with Italy. In Florence you can wander happily for hours; around every corner you’ll find yet another beautiful church filled with wonderful frescos. All of the buildings are stunning, even the pavements are lovely! One of the things I loved most were the intricately carved and painted ceilings of which there were so many, I came back wondering why on earth we don’t make the most of our ceilings in the rest of the world!

We visited the Uffizi and the Bardini museum both of which were wonderful. The Uffizi is an incredible collection (and again the ceilings are unbelievable) but it is SO vast, SO busy and SO saturated with wonderful things that you can’t really give any indidvidual item it’s due, it’s also pretty exhausting – especially when you take into account the enormous queues to get in. The Bardini on the other hand is the perfect size and when we went we were the only visitors. It is such a lovely museum – a really varied collection of sculpture, art, achitecture (doorways, ceilings etc.) and even weapons and ceramics. Here I realised that what I loved most out of all the art we saw in Italy were the painted wooden sculptures, particularly the busts which I hadn’t ever come across before.

 

Baratti had a whole different feel to it, we were staying in a holiday home of a friend of Julia’s which we loved – it reminded us all of caravaning by the sea in Cwmtydu in years gone by. The Sea was so close that you could walk through the fields full of poppies to a more or less private beach, then from there it was about an hour to walk into Baratti itself, which seemed to consist of one very good sea food restaurant and very little else. We saw fantastic lizards everywhere which caused much excitement for some of us!

Julia’s Birthday fell on our last full day out there so we celebrated by taking a ferry over to the Island of Elba where Napoleon was exiled to in 1814. It was roasting hot and the sea was a fantastic blue, we had a picnic on the beach, swam in the sea and then walked around the town – ice cream in hand. OH and the ice creams! It’s worth going to Italy for the ice creams alone, they are unbelievably good.

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