Bitings on a Complimentary Basis.

February 11, 2015 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Annabel Lee, FOOD, LIFE, Restaurants, TRAVEL |

Get your bitings here

In 2004, while staying in a converted monastery in wild, windy, Avignon,  we read an invitation to “bitings on a complimentary basis” at 7pm . In some trepidation we donned evening garb, strung garlic around our necks and descended to  the ancient hall for what turned out to be “free nibbles” and not of the flattering, cannibal sort. The European grip on English translation had not improved by 2013, when, in the train station at Sorrento we read a sign which frightened and confused us.

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Melbourne & Victorian Bookshops

February 9, 2015 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | TRAVEL, Ulalume, WRITING & LITERATURE |

The Varnished Culture attended a book launch and signing in April 2017 and made two important discoveries. First, we rather like Albert Park, once an inner Melbourne ‘burb of faded grandeur, now a plush and trendy nook that is about to out-Toorak Toorak. And the Avenue Bookshop matches that vision – new books, great selection. They’ve sister stores in Elsternwick and Richmond but we’ll stick to Albert Park, thank you. Hill of Content, Hill of Content, Hill of Content. Perched on a real hill, hiding behind the trams and general horror of Burke Street traffic. It always makes TVC smile when we see that…

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Wagner, Verdi and Murano Bugs in Venice

February 4, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | TRAVEL, Ulalume, WAGNER |

2013 Our train from Naples was not direttissima but it sure was a case of molto ritardo.   An unexpected change in Firenze, back a couple of stops on a local caboose, onward through Bologna and finally, we were emptied out on a water taxi through the Grand Canal to Locanda Vivaldi (Venice being his birthplace).   We dined there on a lovely high terrace overlooking Canal Grande, heroically overlooking the warning note: A volte alcuni prodotti potrebbero essere passati per la catena del freddo which we translated as ‘Sometimes some products might be passed by the cold chain’ which we parsed…

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Dubai – Dawdling and Haemorrhaging Money

February 4, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Restaurants, TRAVEL, Ulalume |

The view from The Atlantis

2013 Wandering in foreign countries seems such a luxurious waste that it would shame P, as a working member of the idle poor.  Yet here we are, en route to Rome, stopping for a night in Dubai, described by some as Hell with air-conditioning.  Arriving at 5.30am, we are conducted through an enormous white entry and processing hall, apparently designed by the committee responsible for the repulsive Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. Officials in full Bedu garb loiter as we slowly file past and stare into the passport-face-recognition machines that struggle with asiatic eyes. Our modest hotel in an…

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Roman Guide – Pierfrancesco Vecchio

January 9, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, TRAVEL, Ulalume |

If you are new to Rome and can’t stay for more than several months, you would do well to see the Vatican chambers and the Forum Romanum (at least).  Best to do that with a learned guide.  TVC was lucky enough to have Pierfrancesco Vecchio, art historian and archaeologist, from Imago Artis. Francesco, who wears his deep learning lightly and with his trusty tablet at hand, knows just what to cover, what to pass by and he made our experience easy and fun as well as instructive.  Our concierge had recommended him to us and we thank him for that…

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