Lavazza – Museo

Wednesday, 25 October, 2018

I’m continually surprised by the amount of history in this underrated and ‘invisible’ spot in Italy. Sure, there’s the Roman origins, but it goes on through its royal presence, its significance in the unification of the country, its entry into industry with chocolate, coffee, and automobiles, and its love affair with innovation.

Woke up to this weird red sail sunrise
Woke up to this weird red sail sunrise

Innovation is a strange word in Italy, where things seem set in stone. ‘We always do this.’ Tradition is everywhere. I see the people dancing, listen to the Klezmer-like songs at Balon, watch the pageantry of the markets, eat the food that’s been the same for centuries and tastes the same wherever I go.  Sometimes it feels quite stiff. And yet there’s also a passion to come up with something new. Maybe this is why Turin has been so immersed in industry – to produce and develop things that led the way.

I’ve watched them building the new Lavazza headquarters over a few years. The company has always been in this area of town, so it made sense that they’d stay more or less put and create the ‘Cloud’ complex. The way it’s all put together, you can really feel the pride. Finally on Wednesday I made the time to go to the museum inside the complex.

On the way to Lavazza, the mountains were the clearest I've seen them this year
On the way to Lavazza, the mountains were the clearest I’ve seen them this year

So far, Turin museums have been formal and old fashioned. I’ve not felt the need to linger. Even in the Egyptian museum last year it was the size and not the contents that kept me there so long. The Lavazza museum is quite the opposite. Apart from the Ontario Science Centre, which broke away from the traditional when it opened, I haven’t been as immersed or impressed. It’s innovative and so it seems was Luigi Lavazza, the founder. Continue reading “Lavazza – Museo”

Saturday markets and Lavazza

Saturday, 8 September, 2018 28C

I’m going to start recording temperatures, for the record.

Saturday was another hot day. And, although we prefer to stay well away from the market on Saturday, there we were. And while we went there for four things, we came back with about ten. No big surprise there.

The market spilled over into Balon., where they were having a flea market. The photo I missed was the woman carrying a rather enormous package on her head. Well, I thought I got it, but it was one of those photos where you can’t see for the sun and your shot is of something entirely different. Missed!

The market spilling into Balon
The market spilling into Balon
The farmers' market much busier than on weekdays, and 50-50% higher prices too!
The farmers’ market much busier than on weekdays, and 50-50% higher prices too!

We got bok choy, damsons, my favourite expensive olives, parsley, sesame grissini, two fresh goat cheeses, sparkling water, milk, tomatoes, russian salad…could that be it?

My favourite grissini, two euros' worth
My favourite grissini, two euros’ worth

On our corner is the very-popular Galina, a seafood shop and restaurant. However, at the outside wall of the covered market is another fish shop that sells fritti misti from a side window. It’s cheaper and I like it better. Five euros for a small, eight for a large. Krish queued for a large one while I tried to stay out of the sun, and checked the haberdashery stalls along the side of the road. I wish I could find a fabric one.

The goat cheese and olives made a lovely salad, and the fritti – well, it’s deep fried and yummy. What more can I say?

Lunch - goat cheese and beet salad, fritti misti!
Lunch – goat cheese and beet salad, fritti misti!

We moved the furniture around the way we had it last year. So much more homey now. Photo to follow. And we napped. Krish suggested a walk and, wow, I didn’t feel like it but I knew I’d be glad of it once we were out there, and I was.

We walked across the river to the Lavazza complex. They’ve done some work on regulating the flow of the river and I seem to recall some elaborate machinery there last year.

The Lavazza grounds (haha) were still underway on our last visit but now they’re all finished. It’s quietly stunning. I stole this next picture from the Lavazza site. Ssshhh. (Of course it’s greener and lusher than this, with summer in full swing and everything bloomed and flourishing.)

Lavazza Headquarters, Torino
Lavazza Headquarters, Torino

The complex on via Bologna, which includes the modern office building, is unusually shaped, the architects describing it as a ‘cloud,’ (Krish thought it might be a coffee bean and I like his idea better) and it’s flanked by some renovated buildings, one of which was a power station and now houses the bistrot and a convention centre. Around the perimeter and through the central courtyard are green spaces. They aren’t as people-friendly as I expected when I was watching construction last year – the central ‘parkette’ (Share) is pin-neat and greenery is contained within plant oases.

At the back of the building you can see the archaeological remains through a semi-basement window, and there’s a huge employee gym.

Looking towards the Lavazza Shop. In the window the Turin Eye is reflected
Looking towards the Lavazza Shop. In the upper window the Turin Eye is reflected so you can see how close we are to the headquarters
One view of the garden
One view of the garden
The garden I hoped would be more people-friendly. The converted power station at the back
The garden I hoped would be more people-friendly. The converted power station at the back
Checking out the archaeological remains through the window at the back
Checking out the archaeological remains through the window at the back

I’m not one for museums but ‘Museo’ is clearly signposted. I hope the remains are part of this, the way it seems to be laid out, labelled and with viewing platforms and stepping stones. I must do this really soon! Even the Shop looked intriguing. And, even though Krish wasn’t keen, I think I’ll head back to the bistrot and join in on this ritual too.

But there’s one thing the literature doesn’t tell you. This place smells amazing! Two areas had a strong spicy smell – reminded me of sea minerals, and another was strongly floral and vanilla-like. Each time, I tried to figure out the source of the aroma and failed. I need a Scent Detective!

Turin Eye from Lavazza
Turin Eye from Lavazza
I've seen very little wall art ar all this year. This was near Lavazza
I’ve seen very little wall art ar all this year. This was near Lavazza

Shoreditch walks and Supper Clubs

18-24 June, 2018

The tree is growing more leaves from the stumps daily. I’m taking a Monday photo each week to show its progress.

11 June
11 June
18 June
18 June
25 June
25 June

On Wednesday we walked to Shikumen in Aldgate. It was a long, meandering walk and sometimes it felt like we looped too much and came back not so far from our last point. I should try to map it. Just behind Broadway Market there are some interesting art pieces. I know I’ve seen this area before but not sure if the art is new. Probably not.

Repurposed phone booth
Repurposed phone booth

When we reached the top end of Brick Lane, we bumped into Rosie from Krish’s volunteering. We had a brief chat and then moved on.

The walk was a bit of a struggle and, at the end, our favourite dish at Shikumen the crispy prawn with garlic, chili and cashew.

Friday after the Falls Prevention exercise class, Lisa and I went to Palm Vaults, which is a vegetarian/vegan coffee shop. It’s so girly in there! I had an iced coffee and sweet-talked my way to getting half a salad. At Palm Vaults, which also has a Soho branch, there are absolutely no dairy milks for coffee and it’s card only. This is becoming more common – shops that don’t take cash. And the drinks are inventive and trendy – beetroot, lavender, rose, turmeric, teas I’ve never heard of….at a steep price!

When I was a teenager, my parents were in a supper club. In those days it meant that a group of friends, and friends of friends, got together in one person’s home once a month or so and that person would cook the meal. It seemed a great idea at the time. In London the concept of supper club is somewhat different. Continue reading “Shoreditch walks and Supper Clubs”

Off to the doctor, Shacklewell, and another doll

Monday 5 March, 2018

I went to the doctor early in the morning. Doctor appointments in London are ten minutes long. It’s very short. Today I pushed my luck and got a few extra minutes. My original plan was to get some referrals to other areas but suddenly at the end of last week I got a very itchy rash over my whole trunk and one arm. I looked like I had measles. The doctor told me that the rash was a usual thing after a bad cold or cough and gave me antihistamine pills and ointment. Instant relief! The rash is still there but fading slightly. I’m a hypochondriac. I had ‘given myself’ several serious illnesses before this benign diagnosis.

Around by the clinic, there are some brick-cobbled streets filled with terraced cottages. I would love to see inside them. I have a romantic dream of having one become available to me…somehow. The cottages were built in 1881, 1882, and 1884. How do I know? It says so! (Hmm, are there some from 1883?)

Just around the corner from the doctor and through the rows of cottages is a lovely little coffee shop, Mouse and da Lotz. I somehow imagine this being the names of two Australians having an adventure in London! Don’t ask me why. They make lovely coffee!

A great coffee with white chocolate and raspberry loaf
Mouse and da Lotz counter
Mouse and da Lotz counter

There are still quiet hours at home. And time to make another doll!

Sunny day for the robots and the unfinished naked doll
Sunny day for the robots and the unfinished naked doll
A saucy doll with some detail to show the bloomers!
A saucy doll with some detail to show the bloomers!

Hackney Road and agoraphobia

Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

Yesterday I had a plan – in my free time I wanted to go to Hoxton and along Great Eastern Street to check out any new street art. I also thought about having lunch and making the most of the three of four spare hours. But when I got out, the plan collapsed.

From the age of seven, I’ve had agoraphobia. I was twenty-seven before I had a name for it but it was instantly clear that’s what it was when I read a newspaper lifestyle article about it. This was me! It’s too long a story but the short version is that I pushed and pushed to get someone to agree to my self diagnosis, and then I found the doctor who knew how to assess and treat it. It was hard work but I now consider myself recovered. Recovered like an alcoholic is recovered, only one step away from relapsing!

I cope day to day and am generally proud of myself. Then every now and again I have one of those days. Like yesterday.

Standing at the bus stop to go to Hoxton, I faltered. Butterflies in my stomach (which I know now are ectopic heartbeats) lightheaded, shakiness, feeling of fear and doom. I wanted to turn back for home but, after a good talking to myself, I decided to jump on the bus anyway and see what happened.

Bus stop at Hackney Town Hall, with the Hackney Empire behind me
Bus stop at Hackney Town Hall, with the Hackney Empire across the road

I made a compromise with myself. I’d go to the Cambridge Heath station stop and walk along Hackney Road. Having a plan (and a parachute in the form of my bus pass, mobile phone, and friendly camera) off I went and off I got at the promised spot. Once out of the bus I knew what I wanted to do – walk down one side of the road as far as Hackney City Farm and then up the other.

It was a deal! And here follow the photos.

Loretto Queen and Corgi street art
I’ve seen this Loretto from the bus many times and this is the first time I’ve stood next to it and taken the photo
Cambridge Heath graffiti alley
This alley beside the railway tracks is rich in street art but today I was alone so didn’t go down

Hackney Road street art
Hackney Road has a huge amount of street art

Hackney Road oddities
Along the way some interesting things to look at. A florist specialising in cacti and a pawnbroker’s sign outside what is now a corner bar

Continue reading “Hackney Road and agoraphobia”