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Australia, Melbourne- NGV triumphs again with its new Triennial – who needs Venice?

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So lucky to get a sneak peak at the brand new NGV Triennial . It is superb. All the fashion designs of Guo Pei are breathtaking – and it is the first time she has shown all her work in one place.

And I loved the interactive Yayoi Kusama- the dot artist that some of you will know I’m somewhat obsessed with. The display is a complete apartment with flower stickers that each visitor can stick wherever they like (mine’s on the kettle as I couldn’t find a champagne bottle!). By the end of the exhibit in a few months’ time,it will be covered in flowers so everyone will have completed their own Kusama experience. Brilliant idea.

Then there is the room of human giant skulls – confronting when you come across it unexpectedly upstairs.

Can’t wait to go back and see it again — and it’s free!

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Italy, Milan

Long time since I was in Milan. Had forgotten how stylish everyone looks here. No- one would walk through the city in shorts, or gym wear or track suits or cropped tops. They do chic casual very well – including the men. I like that as I’m not a big fan of over casual except on the beach! (Ok – I’m showing my age!)

Always good to visit the Duomo. This time I went up to the roof which was spectacular. I took the lift option but you still have to climb

loads of stairs at what you think is the top just less than if you climbed from the bottom – worth it though as you see a completely different perspective.

The Duomo from the grand. Magnificent is not an exaggeration.

Duomo from the roof

And I know I’ve gone on about ceilings in Italy but they also do good doors!

Last day in Italy tomorrow and summary of my most (and least – and there are not many) liked aspects of the country.

USA and Canada – All things native Alaska and Canada 

Managed to see a lot of native and traditional indigenous art and culture in both Alaska and British Columbia. These totem poles are very old but still great pieces of art and they stand about 20 feet high. 

Totem poles – very old ones

And here are some nightmarish masks to keep away marauders and unwelcome visitors – not to mention providing a few nightmares. 


And below are some much friendlier welcomes from two Mounties on Prince Rupert Island, BC. 

Australia – Adelaide – “the little city that can”

Two days in Adelaide to sleep in a “non rattling bed” after three nights on the train. I slept very well. 

As I know the city quite well I signed up for a foodie tour which had me trying four different restaurants for savouries and a final creperie for dessert. Very enjoyable as the group was fun – and included locals too. My favourite was the escargot en gratin at The Delicatessen so had to go back today for lunch so that I could have a full plate that I didn’t need to share with anyone! (I’m an only child!). Followed by one of my favourites – steak tartare.  Along the way (back on the foodie tour) there was a nice selection of street art in the Laneways which are being developed to look a bit like the Melbourne scene – so far so good. I think it will be really helpful to keep central Adelaide vibrant at night. 

Foodie tour in Adelaide that of course started outside the Haigh’s chocolate flagship shop.


After an evening of food tasting it seemed appropriate to end my visit with a day of wine tasting. This one focussed on the nearby Adelaide Hills and was using a company called Hills Luxury Day tours so only five of us which made it more leisurely. I especially enjoyed Pike and Joyce’s gurner veltliner and Goldings Shiraz so although I’m trying to reduce my wine collection pre moving from my apartment I bought a bottle of each. 

Wineries in the Adelaide Hills


Back home for a couple of days and then away for another long trip. 

Watch this space. 

Malta, Gozo and last observations

On our last day we visited Gozo, the small island about 20 minutes by ferry from Malta. I’d heard mixed reviews from previous visitors – some really liked it and others weren’t too bothered. Maybe because the sun was shining and the sea was sparkling I actually liked it a lot. It is small and quiet and not changing as rapidly as Malta is – that is probably what I liked most about it – it is not full of new or being built high rises. While there we visited the GGantija Temple which is actually older than Stonehenge – who knew and also saw the many salt flats where salt is extracted from the ocean using very old methods – I will never think of sea salt in quite the same way again. All in all a nice day out in the sunshine

FINAL OBSERVATIONS

The old parts of Malta – Valletta, Mdina and others make this a special place to visit. Equally I worry about the massive construction going on as more and more foreigners flood onto the island both to holiday but also to live and retire (it is a relatively easy place to move to for retirement). The cost of living is low, the crime rate virtually non existent, the water is clear and clean and the sun shines a lot too. I look at the photo below and hope the top section remains the norm, rather than the bottom.


Next stop – home in Melbourne for a while but off again mid June.