We spent several days in Milan. The city is a mixture of celebration of the Roman Catholic faith and honoring the dead. The Milan Cathedral is a magnificent example of Italian Gothic architecture. In 1386 the church was started and was not finished until 1965. It is the largest church in Italy.The main doors outside the cathedral have wonderful bronze sculptures that illustrate the bible stories designed by Italian sculptor Ludovico Pogliaghi .
Joseph and Mary marry
So many exquisite works of art inside the cathedral like these marble saints.
And the body of St. Carlo Borromeo who was the archbishop of Milan in 1564 to 1684. It is in a crystal coffin in the crypt of the church. It is the site of pilgrims who come to pray for the saint’s help.
His face is made of silver
The monumental cemetery in Milan is one of europe’s best. The sculptures and grave stones are artistic and creative. This is one of my favorites; a woman expressing profound grief.I will say that the majority of the statues are women expressing grief at the passing of their husbands. Though there were some honoring women and children who have passed.There is also a sense of deeply felt faith even in sorrow.
And this grave stone which is an abstract.The city is a combination of faith and death.
We have been so busy here in Ealing because we are only 25 minutes outside of London by using the tube. The museums here are mostly free so you can go back when you cannot get to see everything in one visit. I have been to the Victoria and Albert Museum two times.The Museum of London, which has excellent exhibits on Roman London and the middle Ages in London.
Remains of the Roman wall in London
Model of the Rose Theater
Then there are many interesting art and theater events to see. Here I am at Shakespeare’s Globe, where I saw an excellent production of Othello.
The Globe Theater with the groundlings
We went to see the Old Operating Theater that was opened in 1822 to do operations on poor women who were in the St. Thomas hospital. This was done before there was any anesthetics. There are exhibits of the primitive tools used in this theater to train new surgeons. I could almost hear the screams of the poor women who were treated in this place. It was closed in 1862.
The wood chips under the table was for the blood
Now to end this blog post on a more pleasant note. We stopped by the glass blowing studio featuring Peter Layton’s latest works called Homage. Mr. Layton was in the studio and we got to talk to him about his remarkable work.
Artist Peter Layton next to one of his glass art works
Glass artist blowing and shaping an art work
London is a wonderful city to explore and discover and it does not have to cost you a fortune.
When I am traveling, there is never enough time to make entries in my travel journal. I want to do at least a bullet journal of what I did that day, tape in some receipts, and stash any brochures in my journal. I find I cannot remember specifics even with the photos of the events. Where did we eat, how much did it cost for that museum, and how did we get there? These are some of the questions I will want to remember and to share with my family and friends when I return home. The way I have learned to take care of this is to prepare my travel journals before I leave home. I thought I would share how I do that with you my dear blog readers.
I buy a large blank page notebook whenever I can find them on sale. I found these at Walmart for only $2 each (a stunningly low price) and purchased 3 of them.Since the paper is kind of thin, I glue 2-3 pages together to make a strong base to paint and to eventually staple and glue the memorabilia from the trip.Then I make the cover using mixed media products, stencils and paints.Now I am ready to start painting or using watercolor pencils to prepare the blank pages to write my journaling, and to attach other items I want to save from the trip. I normally add stickers and colorful borders to the pages as I prepare them. I sometimes draw light pencil lines since that keeps my writing easier to read later.
I will add some envelopes and glue two pages together to make a large envelope to stash larger items. Recent feedback from one of my travel journal customers, add more envelops to store items.Finally, I will put together a traveling art kit that includes; pens, water coloring pencils, a ruler, tape, double sided tape, a paint brush, a stapler with staples, a big glue stick, liquid glue, and a small pair of scissors. [Use short, blunt scissors and omit anything liquid if you plan to put the kit into your carry-on.]
Now I am ready to quickly journal by either writing out a narrative or using bullet points to summarize my day. Here is a bullet journal sample from a day that we spent in Paris last year.
- went to the Louvre (got there early and there was not much of a line)
- saw the Mona Lisa, so many people around it, hard to get close
- went to dinner at small outdoor cafe at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (romantic)
- back to the apartment by the metro
I also will purchase postcards, cut up the photos and add them to the pages. I also leave some blank pages to add my photos when I get home and have them printed.
I hope this tutorial helps you prepare for your next travel adventure and makes it easier and quicker to write down some precious memories from these fleeting moments in your life. If you use this idea and have any comments about your travel journals, please let me know.
We have mainly been staying at home and taking care of the guinea pigs and cooking because it has been raining almost every day.
Waiting for their home to be cleaned
But we have found some good weather during part of the day to do a little exploring. We went to Clandon Park, a home owned by the National Trust. It is an early 18th-century Palladian mansion. It caught fire in 2015 and the entire inside was destroyed. The Trust has decided to restore this mansion to its former glory. But right now you can only go in to see it with hard hats and a tour guide. They have photographs of what the inside looked like before the fire, and you can see what a precious historical house looks like now.
Marble hall before the fire
After the fire
Here are some other photographs of the damage that the house sustained.
Some wall paper made it through and will be copied for the restored room
A marble fireplace that is still there
A bedroom window
This statue must have fallen into the ashes (notice her broken knee) and was put back up into her niche with wooden safety bars.
You have to applaud the grit of the National Trust to tackle this extensive restoration. It is also important for people to see what happens to historical buildings when fire rips through them.
We also had time to go the the Watts Memorial chapel in Compton. This is an extraordinary example of Art Nouveau version of Celtic Revival style in the village cemetery. It was designed by Mary Fraser-Tytler,
the wife of the artist George Fredric Watts.
Outside panel of terracotta reliefs
Amazingly, “A group of local amateurs and enthusiasts, many of whom later went on with Mary Fraser-Tytler to found the Compton’s Potter Guild, constructed the chapel from 1896 to 1898; virtually every village resident was involved. ” ( Wikipedia ). I think it is an incredible example of the Victorian sensibilities around a craft movement to inspire social improvement by using creative craft arts. Here are some of the angels that line the inside of the chapel.
These are all made from clay that was found on the Watts estate and hand crafted by Mary and the villagers. They painted and gilded the work in gold leaf. It is a truly stunning example of what ordinary people can do when their creative artistry is unleashed.
So we are here in Europe for an extended period with very little luggage and just a few art supplies beside my smash book / travel journal that I brought from home. We have been touring so there is not a lot of time to play with art journal techniques. I have had to be inventive and use very basic techniques and supplies to make my travel journal interesting and quick.
Here is my clear packing tape image transfers using free antique images . I found this old paperback book in Florence that a book seller had left in a box on the sidewalk for free. There were some antique images in it and I thought the images would work in the smash book. I bought some $1 clear packing tape at the 1 euro store ( yes, they had several 1 euro stores in Florence but none here in Lucca) and went to work in my apartment’s kitchen sink. I pressed down the tape to the images with a rolling pin that happened to be in the kitchen and put these babies into some warm water to soak in the sink. Turned them over and carefully rubbed the paper away from the back side of the tape and dried it off. Then I used them in my travel journal in an appropriate place for the image. As you can see it gives another dimension to the travel smash book / journal and it took less than 30 minutes to make 4 of them.
I am experimenting with other papers and have discovered that you can do an image transfer with this lovely Florentine paper. The paper on the side of this photograph. I will do a quick tutorial about that in the upcoming days. It is amazing how inventive you can get when you do not have all of your supplies and cannot even find them in the stores. I really miss my distress inks. Hope this helps. If you have any questions or comments about your own travel journal ideas please leave a comment below. Happy travels