Your guide to planning a road trip in the UK

I truly believe that a road trip is an incredible way to see a country, that feeling you get when ahead of you there’s nothing but miles of empty road, adventure and freedom.

Travelling by car will also allow you to see places your eyes would have only dreamed of if the medium of choice was to travel via plane or train instead.  One of the best things about this wonderful country is the vast amount of diverse sights and landscapes that stretch the length and breadth of the island.

Having said that, a road trip requires many things to take into account in order to avoid unexpected surprises. So, here is my guide to planning a trip in the UK:

1.If renting a car, plan in advance your beginning and ending destination

It is generally cheaper to pick-up and drop-off a rental car from the same destination, so it is worth planning accordingly.

2. Use your Phone GPS rather than renting one   

If you don’t have cellular data, you can preload a route on Google Maps when you have wifi and use the location service to follow the route.

3.Know the rules of the road

If travelling from abroad just a reminder that in the UK they drive on the left side of the road and signs are in miles per hour for speed and miles for distance.

4. If crossing the isles…

Don’t forget about the ferry services when travelling between the mainland UK, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. There are convenient ferry services from a few different ports, including:

  • Holyhead, Wales to Dublin, Ireland
  • Cardiff, Wales to Waterford, Ireland
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland to Liverpool, England

5. If driving your own car get MOT testing

Make sure you are driving safely and that your car had a MOT test prior departure. Repairing fails also can end up costing a fortune, also MOT from professionals ensures that no aspect is overlooked and it also helps in overcoming penalties or fines.

Some good and cheap MOT service providers in London are DAT Tyre, Motnearme.

Or if you prefer going locally, many local councils have their own MOT testing stations for their own vehicles, such as buses or vans.

(This post was written in collaboration with DAT Tyre)
Lake District. Photo Courtesy: Telegraph

 

Lake District
Lake District. Photo Courtesy: Telegraph

 

 

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This is what an Italian Easter meal Looks like

colomba pasquale

If you’ve ever wondered what a typical Italian Easter meal looks like, you are in the right place. This article will guide you through the best bits of the Roman Culinary tradition.

A carefully chosen, well-mixed types of starters, mains and second main courses will be on the menu from early in the morning to fill you up until you really don’t need anything else (aside from dozing off). Might worth to note that each Region has its own peculiarities in terms of traditions, but we will find out what these traditions are in Rome, my hometown.

Easter in Rome: breakfast

Breakfast has been linked to Italian culinary traditions for centuries, however, the Easter breakfast might actually surprise you. The day will start with a meal consisting of unusual ingredients, on the table on Easter Sunday in Rome, in fact, you will not find either a brioche nor a cappuccino, but boiled eggs, offal, quiches, dove, salami, pizza pasqualina (a type of sweet and sour cheese bread) the ubiquitous chocolate, Easter pizza and  finally a nice frittata with either artichokes or spinach.

It may sound as a “challenging” meal to start the day with, however, this reflects ancient Christian tradition of celebrating the end of the pre-Easter fasting with all kinds of good things.

Easter in Rome: Lunch

For those who survived the breakfast, a round of starters, mains and second mains will be there on the table for the second round of glorious tastiness. Pasta, quiche, asparagus and the irreplaceable lamb with roasted potatoes.

The Roasted Lamb belongs to the Lazio culinary tradition and is the typical dish of the Easter period.
As per tradition, this is cooked with rosemary, garlic and a glass of wine, however, lamb can be offered in three (and equally tasty) variants: agnello alla cacciatora, agnello alla romana (full browned in garlic, olive oil, chopped ham  and roasted potatoes), or lamb chops.

Note: Lamb should be eaten with your hands, you don’t want to spoil the taste!

After the meal, each one gets its own easter egg full of surprises.

 

Buona Pasqua!    from…

A Roman In London

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My trip to India: Part 1 – PEOPLE

I have visited India a while ago, however, I do believe that it’s one of those trips that you’ll always remember and this is why I’ve decided to share my experience with you in case you’ll ever want to go, are already thinking to or simply interested in the matter.

I’ve divided my Indian Tales into 3 parts: People, Landscapes and Nature, and this one is dedicated to People. Because there’s so much to say (and see) in India, our Tour guide mentioned that at least 5 trips are needed in order to get an understanding of what it is really like their culture. I totally agree.

And here is what impressed me about their culture

  1. Their dedication to crafts and art. Intensely colourful, delicately ornate and immensely varied India’s produces such a wide array of crafts and these are incredibly inexpensive: textiles, carpets, fabrics, paintings, leatherware, jewellery etc. If you’ll be travelling on a tour like I did they will surely make you aware that you see the most of it.
  2. Their dedication to Religion: four out of five Indians are Hindus, and Hinduism permeates every aspect of their life from the daily life up to politics. After Hinduism, Muslims are the largest religious group followed by the more recently established Sikh faith. The latter was founded in reaction to the caste laws and observances of Hinduism and is now growing at a large scale. Other professed religions are Jain, Buddhism, Christianity or the Zoroastrian.
  3. Their Music. India is home to a staggering variety of musical traditions, ranging from the archaic styles of Hindu devotional chanting or the more modern and contemporary Bollywood‘s huge treasury of film songs or theatre shows. A MUST SEE if you go there.
  4. Their amazing food. Indian food has a truly deserved reputation of being one of the world’s great cuisines. You can find everything there: from the stereotyped curries to amazing sweets. Food culture varies from region to region but particularly from the North to the South. North Indian food is the style which is generally found in Restaurants abroad and is characterised by its rich meat and vegetable dishes in thick tomato, onion and yogurt-based sauces accompanied by bread. South Indian Food is almost exclusively vegetarian with spicy chilli and coconut flavours and lots of rice. All served either in its natural state or made into large dosa, iddli and uttapam.
  5. Tea is a whole chapter itself :). Had my first taste of proper Chai there and absolutely loved ALL their teas.Tea is usually made by putting tea leaves, milk and water in a pan usually with ginger and cardamom.
  6. Their clothing. Indian are very conservative about the way they dress. I couldn’t resist buying one of the silk sari (picture below) however from the way they were giggling at me I have the slight suspicion I might have wore it in the wrong way… There’s a whole procedure needed to wear a sari which I was aware of but perhaps I came to the conclusion that I was just looking funny in it!
    The traditional Sari is a female garment that consists of a drape varying from five to nine yards in length and two to four feet (60 cm to 1.20 m) in breadth that is typically wrapped around the waist, with one end draped over the shoulder, baring the midriff. There are various styles of sari draping, the most common being the Nivi style, which originated in Andhra Pradesh. The sari is usually worn over a petticoat, with a fitted upper garment commonly called a blouse (ravike in South India and choli elsewhere). The blouse has short sleeves and is usually cropped at the midriff. The sari is associated with grace and is widely regarded as a symbol of grace in cultures of the Indian subcontinent.’Aside from the above what really impressed me about the people there is their strong empathy and lust for life. Always ready to welcome you with a smile, regardless of their situation. Some of them struggle to live decent lives but their beliefs their hard-core sense of responsibilities makes them capable of all the beautyness I was able to see when I got there. I tried to capture the feelings through my camera, however you should really visit to get a sense of what I’m talking about.
People portrait India
People Portrait India. Photo by Roman In London
Photo by Roman In London

 

Photo By Roman In London

 

Photo By Roman In London

 

Photo by Roman In London

 

Photo By Roman In London

 

Photo by Roman In London

 

Photo by Roman in London

 

Food Market. Photo By Roman In London

 

Photo By Roman In London

 

 

Photo by Roman In London

 

Woman in a village, India. Photo By Roman In London

 

City Centre. Photo by Roman In London

 

Woman at a food market. Photo By Roman In London

 

Photo by Roman In London

 

Photo By Roman In London

 

Photo by Roman In London

 

 

Photo by Roman In London

 

At the Taj Mahal.

 

Photo by Roman In London

 

people portrait india
People Portrait India Snake . Photo by Roman In London

 

And that’s it! Hope you have enjoyed the first chapter.. stay tuned for the second!

 

A Roman In London

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A day at the Museum of Modern Art in Rome | GNAM

GNAM is the acronym for Galleria Nazionale D’Arte Moderna (National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rome) and is located in Via delle Belle Arti in Rome.

The Cesare Bazzani-designed neo-classical building is known as Palazzo delle Belle Arti (Palace of Fine Arts) and it was completed in 1915.

 

 

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art “GNAM” Time is out of Joint Exhibitions. Photo by Roman in London

 

Amongst all the paintings and sculptures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, you can also find artists of the likes of Antonio Canova, Giorgio de Chirico, Amedeo Modigliani, Giacomo Manzù. The museum also holds some works by foreign artists, among them Braque, Calder, Cézanne, Degas, Duchamp, Giacometti, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Monet, Jackson Pollock, Rodin, and Van Gogh.

 

Cafe’ at the Museum. Photo by Roman In London

 

Suit
Details. Photo By Roman In London

 

Business suit
Details. Photo by Roman in London

 

Sneakers
Details. Shoes

 

 

Museum of modern and contemporary art in Rome
Details. Photo by Roman In London

 

I was very impressed by the exterior of the building and the dialogue between modern and classic also highlighted by the current exhibition theme Time Is Out Of Joint – that is displaying classical Roman statues with modern and contemporary pieces of art.

 

Photo by Andrea Castellani

This a  selection of some of the things I’ve seen that grabbed my attention.

Hall of the Museum. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Sculpture
Photo by Roman In London

 

Joan Miro’. Photo by Roman in London

 

Photo by Roman in London

 

Self-portrait “suspended” Sam Taylor Wood #getaway #romaninrome #art #gnam #galleriaartemoderna #roma

Un post condiviso da Giulia (@giulia_a_roman_in_london) in data:

hall of the museum
Photo by Roman In London

 

Door
Details. Photo by Roman In London

Hope you have enjoyed it, in case you’d like to visit it, here are the info.

Information:

Address: Viale delle Belle Arti, 131, 00197 Roma, Italy
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 8:30 am to 7:30 pm
Last admission 45 minutes before closing

Closures Every Monday, 1st of January, 1st of May, 25th of December

Phone: +39 06 322981
Founded: 1883

 

 

A Roman In London

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A Weekend in Rome

When it comes to travelling to my hometown every excuse is a good excuse, really 🙂

A Weekend, a whole week or even a fortnight, regardless of the amount of time I spend there, every time never really seems to be enough. On the other hand, I can’t really complain, Italy is only a couple of hours flight away from London and offers a plethora of opportunities and places to go depending on the season.

My favourite, though, is…

Spending a Weekend in Rome

Sunset nearby Largo di Torre Argentina. Photo by Roman in London

Here remnants of the Empire meet Renaissance masterpieces, cobbled piazzas and wonderful churches, it’s all thrown in with an increasingly cool contemporary art, food and drinks scene.

But since you’d need an actual eternity to see everything in the Eternal City, I’ve shared with you some pictures I’ve taken while walking around Central. It took me a couple of hours (with something like 300 stops to take pictures) to walk from Piazza del Popolo to Largo Argentina.

During this short walk, you can see the major landmarks: Piazza del Popolo, via Del Corso, Piazza Di Spagna and the famous ‘steps’, Pantheon, Galleria Colonna, Fontana di Trevi, Piazza del Parlamento, Altare della Patria and Largo Argentina.

History is around every corner of Rome. From the Pantheon and the piazzas to Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel, the ‘Eternal City’ is one of the world’s most historically significant destinations.

In fact, in Rome, classical ruins and early Christian places of worship stand just next to Renaissance palazzos and Baroque fountains, but also to great – and contemporary – neighbourhood trattorias, quirky shops and a crowded aperitivo scene. Happy hour for us is a way to meet with friends, have a glass of wine (or two) and eat some starters from the buffet.

The city’s mild Mediterranean climate is another persuasive reason to visit (aside from December – February that can get a bit chilly there too).

Piazza del Popolo. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

A private Courtyard in central Rome. Photo by Roman In London

 

 

Via del Corso. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Corner of Via di Gesu’ e Maria. Photo by Roman in London

 

 


 

 

Details of a post box. Photo by Roman In London

 

Bakery Sign. Photo by Roman In London

 

Private Courtyard. Photo by Roman in London

 

Old Metropolitan Cinema. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Piazza Navona. Photo By Roman In London

 

“M’hai provocato e mo me te magno!” #hometime #romanholidays #romaninrome #getaway

Un post condiviso da Giulia (@giulia_a_roman_in_london) in data:

Some information:

Visitor passes

The Roma Pass (romapass.it) discount card, currently priced at €36 (three day) or €28 (two day) and available online or from tourist information offices, gives free entry to two museums of your choice and reductions for many others, plus unlimited use of citywide public transport.

International dialling codes

0039 06 for Rome numbers from abroad
06 from inside Italy
00 to get an international line

 

A Roman In London

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36 Hours in Bilbao

bilbao

 

Bilbao, in the heart of the Basque Country in Northern Spain, has become more and more famous through the years with the opening of the Guggenheim in 1977. Aside from its notorious titanium-clad museum, Bilbao is also well renown for its fine gastronomy. Food is, apparently, a religion in the Basque Country. Art & Food, do we need anything else?

We stayed at the NH hoteles a hop away from the centre, a very convenient and a short walk and we were able to reach the top attractions within a maximun of 30 minutes walk.

 

 

 

Bilbao
Photo by Roman in London

This is Frank Gehry’s masterpiece.  Stunning from the outside but also houses some of the finest art in Spain. The entrance is guarded by a Puppy made of flowers, a creation of the American artist Keff Koons which has become practically, the mascot of the City.

 

Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

The interior of the Guggenheim is just as amazing as the exterior, where the contours are made of fish like titanium scales.

 

Richard Serra’s ‘The Matter of Time’ Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

Richard Serra’s ‘The Matter of Time’ is made from 1,000 tons of weathered steel and is designed for visitors to move around and through each piece.

 

Photo by Roman in London

Coming from London we were delighted to find a ‘warmish’ almost spring couple of days of sun.

 

Guggenheim. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Roman in London

 

The food is amazing, many places to eat and Micheline’s starred restaurants but no tapas here, Pintxos instead. Fine, delicate but epic in taste. I’ve tried the classic montadillo con jamon serrano and queso, chorizo and tortilla as I’m a creature of habit..but there’s a lot more that tempted my palate so I’ve basically spent most of the 36 hours bar crawling between pintxos cafe’, a ritual known as a txikiteo which involves lots of pintxos with your kuadrilla (group of friends) and xakoli, the local white or rosé wine.

 

A bar at Plaza Nueva. Pintxos. Photo by Roman in London

 

Street art. Photo by Roman in London

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

Once, an industrial City, now it’s 19th Century facades have been renovated and give colours and add prettiness to the City. The Gran Via is a mix of old and new and there are lots of green areas.

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

 

 

Bilbao architecture. Photo by Roman in London

 

Bilbao at night from Mount Arxanda. Photo by Roman in London

As a conclusion of the trip I recommend taking the Funicular to Mount Arxanda as the view is breathtakingly beautiful. From Bilbao to the middle of nature.

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Oslo: a perfect winter break

 

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View from the Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London

 

If you are looking for some ideas on where to get to for a short winter break, don’t look any further as I have some advice for you. Oslo, in fact, is a perfect place for a winter getaway.

Although is very well known for being quite expensive (and yes, I can confirm that it is) you can still manage to avoid spending a fortune. I spent a total of £75 for both plane tickets (Ryanair) and accommodation (Airbnb). However, I did spend roughly the same amount for breakfast grocery shopping at the local supermarket…

When I got there last January though, the atmosphere was absolutely magical and definitely worth it. The City was covered by a sheet of white snow that made me feel cosy and festive even though the Christmas season was over.

Street arts, culture, and a picturesque landscape make Oslo a unique place to visit. Easily explorable by foot, a good start is to visit the Fjord on the waterfront, where the Opera House is located. The Opera House is the home of the Norwegian Opera and Ballet and it is a truly amazing structure made of granite, marble, and ice and it resembles two blocks of ice.

 

 

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Snøhetta’s landmark. Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London#

 

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Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London

 

 

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Opera House. Photo credit Roman in London

 

For a cultural day, you can start by comparing modern and traditional Norwegian art and architecture, visiting the newly reopened Kunstnernes Hus, an artist-run space. Then walk down the hill to the Norwegian National Gallery  to see the work of Edvard Munch where The Scream is on display.

 

 

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National Gallery. Photo by Roman in London

 

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The Scream, Edward Munch. Photo by Roman in London

 

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What to pack for your summer holiday

packing list
by Roman in London

Whatever your plans are for this summer, it’s always good to be wardrobe ready for every occasion. This is my list of staple items for this summer 2016.

1.The hat is from LOTUS FOEDORA By Janessa Leone

2. The swimwear is from bikini.com

3. The watch is Larsson and Jenkins

4. The dress is from TOPSHOP

5. Adidas Stan Smith

6. Zara Multicolor Pompom Embellished Leather Sandals

7. Trousers from Finery London

Hope you like it!

 

 

 

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Tuscany’s Monte Argentario getaway weekend

Tuscany
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Photo credit By Roman in London.

 

During my recent trip to Italy, I’ve decided I needed a proper break from the hectic City life back in London, and, Tuscany  seemed the best fit so, I’ve made my way to Monte Argentario.

Monte Argentario is in the Maremma area of Tuscany, a former island turned sort-of-peninsula, with two stretches of land connecting it to the Italian mainland. Porto Ercole, the town where I was staying, it’s only a couple of hours drive from Rome and it definitely gives you the feeling of leaving everything behind.

I managed to book my stay in a beautiful hidden gem, the beautiful Relais ‘La Mortella’. Even though at first I thought that I ended up in the middle of nowhere, it actually is located at a very convenient distance from both the beach ‘La Feniglia’ and the harbour where all the night life happens.

 

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Relais La Mortella. Photo by Roman in London
Toscana
My Room. Photo by Roman in London
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My room. Photo by Roman in London

Before dinner my friend and I decided to take a stroll at the harbour and to indulge with a before-dinner ‘Aperitivo’ while watching the sunset. (Aperitivo hour is a sacred hour and basically means a cocktail or a glass of wine with some nibbles on the side).  After one too many Mojitos we had dinner at ‘Pizzeria El Pirata’, located at the harbour which offers a lovely view. Although, I must say,  the food wasn’t exceptional.

The next morning after an awe-inspired look outside of the amazing view from the window we headed to the breakfast patio.

Breakfast is usually my favourite meal of the day. Having a sweet tooth, I must admit, there’s nothing better than a meal that can potentially include all sort of sweets. The breakfast at ‘La Mortella’ definitely didn’t disppoint me on that perspective. It included yogurt sourced locally from Maremma, same with the honey and jam,  home-made apple pie, croissant, cakes etc. An absolute joy for my eyes and my palate.

 

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Breakfast! Photo by Roman in London

 

After a sumptuous meal we headed to the beach.

One of the most charming beach of the coastline is ‘Le Viste’.  Located between Forte Stella and Rocca Spagnola, also known as Spiaggia delle Suore ‘Nuns Beach’

 

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At the beach. Photo by Roman in London

 

In love with Tuscany 😍

Una foto pubblicata da Giulia (@giulia_romaninlondon) in data:

 

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Photo by Roman in london

 

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Photo by Roman in London

 

QUICK DETAILS

 Distance from Florence to Monte Argentario, from 2 1/2- 3 hours. 193.1 km,  via Raccordo Autostradale Firenze – Siena and SS223.

 Distance from Rome to Monte Argentario, from 2/ 3 hours. via Strada Statale Via Aurelia E80

Where we stayed: Resort la Mortella:

Country Relais La Mortella is surrounded by the splendid 18 hole golf course of the  Golf Club Argentario, offering not only beautiful views but a great experience.

Surrounded by the Argentario Sea, with its little harbours, hidden coves and rocks, Orbetello lagoon with the beaches of Giannella and Feniglia, and the Parco della Maremma offering itineraries for enjoying natural beauty, culture and adventure. Via dell’Acquedotto Leopoldino, 54
Loc. Terrarossa – Monte Argentario
Grosseto

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Day trip to the village of Calcata, near Rome

Recently, my friend Laura and I, decided to head to Calcata for a short end-of-the-summer day trip.

The village of Calcata, is situated near Rome, in the outskirts of the Valle del Treja Natural Park (which is an easy 40 km drive from Rome – storms and hailing we`ve experienced apart).

The village is a large castle that is perched on top of  a volcanic plug. The fortifications, especially the gate passage, are extremely well-preserved and the entire village is worth exploring. Described by the New York Times as the “grooviest village in Italy”.

The population consists largely of a community of artists, bohemians, hippies and New Age types, with their associated galleries and cafes.

 

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It is a great day out (especially if you combine it with a local sagra), and often hosts various events such as piano recitals, poetry and art classes.

We absolutely loved its quirkiness!

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