Blossom in Kyoto

I took quite a while deciding on our places to stay while in Japan but quite a few were booked by chance because of good offers on at the time. One of these hotels was for our stay in Kyoto, it was a little out of the city and near the International Conference centre. When we arrived at the metro station I realised that this was the place where the Kyoto Protocol was signed. Not only a place of huge international significance the area was lovely. There was a park nearby that was so quiet and tranquil it seemed a million miles away to the chaos of Tokyo train station where we were a few hours before.

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto JapanWhenever I think of dreamy landscapes it is this kind of mountain silhouette image I think of.

Kyoto Japan

Views from Akihabara

Yes, we are still working through the Japan photographs from earlier this year. It’s still going to take a while but I now at least have a folder with the ones I want to share on the blog. Today it’s some of the views from Akihabara in Tokyo -an electronics and collectors paradise.

If you like Japanese anime you should probably pay a visit to this place.

Akihabara Tokyo

There were so many computer games and console shops around here too. Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

I loved taking pictures at road crossings in Tokyo – I should really put a post together about it.Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara Tokyo

So much colour! Something I had to get used to in Japan was how in most buildings there would be different stores on different floors and it was important to look up. Akihabara Tokyo

Akihabara TokyoWe were quite restrained in this area – I could have bought a rather large amount of Totoro related souvenirs, and I was very tempted by some light saber chopsticks, but we settled for a coffee and some window shopping.

Natural patterns

I’m not a big fan of spiders but I am fascinated by spider webs. I think they are incredible creations.

 

spider web

Believe in yourself

A message from Selfridges in London. Sometimes important to remember on a Monday morning…

Selfridges London

A familiar view

Every year I see so many different meeting rooms in many different places. Sometimes, this becomes a familiar start to my day…

Office view

Kettering: Wicksteed Park in the Autumn

We’ve been here before: this is Wicksteed Park, in Kettering. It’s a wonderful place in all seasons, but I think that a cold, crisp Autumn morning sees it at its better:

Tree Kettering

One of the band-stands in the park. I remember having a very welcome warm coffee by the fire under one of these in London, last year. It was just as blue and crisp, but significantly colder!

_DSC1462Some detail of the structure of the band-stand:

_DSC1463

Monotone Florence

To complement the full colour view of Florence from my recent work trip I also took a few black and white shots. As I mentioned in the previous post, I didn’t have a lot of time before I had to catch my flight home but I made the most of it and managed to see quite a bit of the centre of the city.

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

There is no question, we will be back in Florence to explore properly soon.

Three hours in Florence

So on my way back from Prato I had a few hours to spare in Florence (either that or sit in the airport), so I decided to make the most of it and explore the city. This is a bit of a long blog post – I actually ended up taking a lot of photographs despite the short amount of time.

IMG_8064

Florence Italy FirenzeThe crowds of tourists soon began to gather in the square by the cathedral. This was actually when the city was quite quiet, when I passed through here at about 11am later that morning it was actually quite difficult to move across. I would definitely recommend starting early if you want to avoid the crowds. Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

 

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the main cthedral in FLorence is beautiful. It’s not difficult to see why the centre of Florence is UNESCO World Heritage Site. Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

There were so many places with amazing biscuits, cake, pastries and a whole host of other sweet treats. I’d already bought a rather large amount of biscotti from Prato so I resisted buying more from Florence too. Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

I remember when we were in Rome that there were often a lot of road signs which had been amended with various artistic interpretations – this time with a pigeon.Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze


Florence Italy Firenze

Since I had a limited amount of time I got hold of a map and planned a route that I thought would take me about an hour to walk  – from the main train station to Piazzale Michelangelo. This took me past the main cathedral, over the river Arno and up a steep hill to get a great view over the city. 
Florence Italy Firenze

There were quite a lot of steps up the Piazzale Michelangelo, but it was definitely worth it. Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

And this was the view. I would love to have been here to see the sunset over the Tuscan hills.
Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Of course there was also the obligatory tourist souvenir sellers more or less everywhere near the tourist sites – although some of the artists in this area did produce some beautiful paintings. Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Italy is famous for its gelato. I tried the one on the right in this picture, with a waffle cone. This was by far the nicest ice cream I have ever had. This ended up being my lunch! Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze Florence Italy Firenze Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy Firenze

Florence Italy FirenzeI may only have had a short time in Florence but I managed to see some of the many beautiful sights. I have already told Carlos that we will have to visit Florence properly in the future!

 

 

Monotone Prato

Following on from the previous colour photographs from Prato in Italy, this post has some of the black and white shots.

The view as I left my hotel and headed into the town centre – complete with some interesting street art.

Prato Italy Black and White

Prato Italy Black and White

And other interesting street art… I never worked out what this sculpture was supposed to represent, or where it was from.

Prato Italy Black and White

Prato Italy Black and White

It was great to wander among the streets in the centre of the town which were all a bit like this. Prato Italy Black and White

Prato Italy Black and White

Prato Italy Black and White

Looking down on the world below. Prato Italy Black and White

I wish I’d had more time to take photographs in Prato. It’s a good excuse to go back. I did however get a couple of hours in Florence before I went back to the airport, and there will be some photographs from that morning in the next post. 

 

Travelling in Tuscany – A short stay in Prato

I’m lucky that in my job I get to travel to interesting places. This month I had to travel to Prato in Italy to give a presentation in a seminar. The down side of travelling to interesting places for work is that often I don’t really explore them fully because I need to work, either in a hotel somewhere, or wherever the event is being held. This was definitely the case in Prato, but I still managed to have a wander around before and after the sessions.

Prato Italy TuscanyThe weather was certainly a pleasant change. Prato Italy TuscanyThe view from my hotel window was lovely. I should have taken a photo of this at sunset, the colours were beautiful. Sounds like a good enough excuse to go back.  Prato Italy TuscanyI was tired on the first evening and didn’t feel like sitting in a restaurant to eat so I went for a quick walk and found a place that did takeaway pizza. This was one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had (and it was only €6).

Prato Italy TuscanyI love taking photographs of reflections. The water here was so still and the colours were contrasting enough for this shot  to work pretty well.
Prato Italy Tuscany

 

Prato Italy Tuscany

Prato Italy Tuscany

Prato Italy Tuscany

Prato Italy Tuscany

Prato Italy Tuscany

Prato Italy Tuscany

Prato Italy TuscanyOn the last evening as I was beginning to pack my things ready for leaving in the morning I noticed this rainbow over the hills. I already miss this view. Seems like a good enough excuse to go back.

Prato Italy TuscanyI’ve experimented a little with black and white photographs for some of my other shots of Prato. They should be available in another post soon.