I didn’t expect flamingos

Being a tourist in your home town is something we don’t do very often, but when your chosen home is London, you are definitely spoiled for choice. It always surprises me when I hear people say they’ve seen all of London. After 12 years here, I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface. So, when an opportunity arose to meet an old friend, who has recently relocated here, we spent the afternoon as tourists (hat tip to Facebook that allowed us to keep in touch, it’s close to ten years since we last saw each other).

I highly recommend the London Walks as a great way to see unexplored avenues of London -I always discover something new that I haven’t seen before, new aspects of history of which I was previously unaware. I think most Londoner’s would find something to interest them as well as first timers to the city.

And today was no different. We went on the Old Kensington walk, starting at High St Kensington. First stop, the Roof Garden, with 1.5 acres of planned gardens, all on the 6th floor roof of the building now owned by Richard Branson. The story goes, that he purchased the building in 1981 with his newly acquired riches after being refused entry to the famous night club on the premises,  back when he was a mere Mr.

As we were walking around, it was impossible to tell that we were on the top of a building. The landscaped gardens -complete with live flamingos and ducks – are an oasis in the middle of the bustling city.  I think I’ll have to find an excuse (even a flimsy one will do!) to go back for a drink on the terrace and enjoy the ambience on a summer’s evening.

What are your favourite or secret places in your home town? Why not take a day to be a tourist in your own city? You might just discover a new favourite place to enjoy, and if you’re really lucky, there might even be flamingos.



In the shadow of Mt Fuji

On a clear day, Mt Fuji dominates the skyline – it has so many moods. In the 6 weeks I’ve been here, I’ve seen it change from snow-covered peak to a dark green looming presence. Many Japanese make it their hobby to photograph Mt Fuji, taking pictures over days and years, because it’s never the same from one day to the next.  Some have even set up permanent tripods at some of the more popular lookout points. We had the privilege to spend a small amount of time on the mountain itself, driving up to the 5th station.  In one direction, it’s all volcanic rock with a stark outlook, but if you go to the other side you’ll find yourself in thick forest before emerging to an entirely different view. Fjui and watermillFuji 5th stationJapanese drummers

Home from Home is currently a short walk from Lake Yamanaka. The other evening, we went for a walk at sunset – I wanted to find the ‘golden hour’. Not only did we have a glorious sunset, but it was so peaceful down by the lakeside- a gentle breeze and the company of a couple of swans – it was the kind of evening that you don’t take for granted; one of those precious moments of peace that elude us all too often.

Yamanakako pier sunset

Welcome to Japan

Don’t you just love that feeling – stepping out of the airport gates, into a brand new country or city, just waiting to be explored?  I arrived in Japan yesterday, and taking advantage of a disturbed sense of time, headed early in the morning to the Tsukiji fish market. If you’re going to do anything in Tokyo, I think this has to be close to number 1: The freshest sushi (for breakfast!) that you’re ever going to find. I’m here for two months, so you will be getting lots of photos of Japan here.  I hope you like them.

xxKTTsukiji fish market