Sunday, 26 September 2010

Best Walk - Prague

This is probably my favourite walk in the world - from Pariska (main shopping belt of Prague) to Prague Castle (as shared to me by good friend and colleague Ben, who worked and lived in Prague for a few months).

Step by step...
From Pariska, walk towards the InterContinental and cross the bridge and river towards the metronome monument.

Keep left and keep on walking up the hill towards a pavilion, enjoying the incredible view along the way.

Keep on walking, sticking to the edge of the hill, always keeping left.

You will reach a park with playground, cross the small bridge.

Again, keep left and stick to the edge, walking till you reach a larger pavilion style building. (you will feel like you have lost your way because it's so quiet and untouristic, but you are on the right track).

Along the way, you may chance upon a small Julius Caesar monument by a small pond.

Walk along a large beautiful garden, passing an old terrace with domed window frames, as well as a metallic green house. You'll see the castle on your left.

Keep on walking until you reach a bridge on the left that leads to the castle.

Enter St Vitus Cathedral (there will be a queue, to avoid it, visit as early as possible)

Then explore the rest of the castle, and head down the crowded tracks towards Lesser City

On the way towards Charles Bridge, drop in St Nicholas' Cathedral.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Sushi Oishi

I love sushi.
I'll always remember queuing over an hour for a seat at Daiwa Sushi, one of the best sushi restaurants in Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo. It was worth the long wait.
Sushi Bar Makoto in Chiswick, West London, serves the best sushi I've eaten in London. It's a really small sushi bar with three small tables and bar seating, run by a husband-and-wife team. Don't expect chatty service, just really good sushi in a very humble setting.

I always go for the Sushi Makoto Platter. GBP18.50.
Sushi Bar Makoto
4 Devonshire Road, London, W4 2HD
Tel: +44 20 8987 3180

Saturday, 11 September 2010

DIY chandelier

My home-made tree branches chandelier, inspired by this Apartment Therapy blog post. (Of course, Kevin's version is a lot more impressive.)

Shade from Habitat sale
Branches from Ikea
Cost: Under GBP25
Time: 10 minutes on a grey Saturday morning

Holland Esquire

I've always been a firm believer of tailored suits, but this off-the-rack from Holland Esquire is one of my favourites right now.

Their new website is launching soon. Can't wait.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Borough & Parliament

If you like food, architecture and history, a Borough Market/Houses of Parliament combo might be the perfect Saturday.

Borough Market
Meet at Monument Station by the foot of The Monument to the Great Fire of London. Walk across London Bridge towards Borough Market. Don't forget to have a wallet full of cash... there are two Natwest cash machines near Stoney Road.
We tried the following sequence today and it worked well:
1) Queue for Monmouth Coffee
2) Grab chorizo, Navarrico piquillo & rocket sandwich at Brindisa
3) Explore the market - my favourite shop is Turnips greengrocers. Don't miss the old schedule of rents board.
4) Grab toasted cheese sandwich from Kappacasein
5) Wash down with a cup of fresh smoothie from The Natural Smoothie Company - I recommend Paradiso, which is a blend of strawberry, mango, banana, yoghurt, gingko biloba, apple juice and orange juice
6) Explore Jubilee Market
7) For dessert, go for Cinnamon Tree Bakery chocolate brownie. Pair it with salted caramel ice cream from Real France. While you are there, stock up on Echire Butter (salted, of course!)
8) Utobeer... my favourite beer shop in London

The George Inn
You will need to sit down after all the walking, queuing and nibbling. Cross Borough High Street to The George Inn, the only surviving galleried London coaching inn. They have a house ale called George Inn Ale.

Tip: Use the upstairs loo, just so you can walk along the rickety old balcony on the first floor.

Houses of Parliament
Walk back to Monument Station and take the District/Circle line to Westminster.

Take a tour of the Houses of Parliament, which is open for visits during the summer. Check here for dates and details.

Stop by at Victoria Tower Gardens for a quick stroll before entering the Houses of Parliament. You get a great view of the building, and of London Eye across the River Thames. It's also a good spot for post-Borough picnic.

My Houses of Parliament favourites:
1) Westminster Hall - completed in 1099, it has the largest surviving single span medieval timber roof in Northern Europe.
2) The Lord Speaker's seat in the House of Lords
3) The Central Lobby chandelier

Last stop of the day: Salad and Dessert at Princi on Wardour Street.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Notting Hill Carnival

Snapshots from the biggest street festival in Europe.
Wish I could share the smell of the jerk chicken...

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Italian grocery shopping

Franchi/Castroni in Prati, Rome (above), is my favourite food shop in the world.

I came across this blog post by Colorado-based travel writer Lisa Bergren (@theworldcalls), on how to grocery shop in Tuscany. My favourite tip: "If there are plastic gloves, wear them to feel the fruit! Otherwise the Italian mamas will scowl at you…"

Then Elettra Fiumi (@EFiumi) told me: "Bread in Tuscany is a religion. Know how to ask for the best ("basso e cotto bene a legna") and know where to find it."

I guess I need to make a trip to Tuscany soon.