I’ve been busy eating Gelato


So here I am.
Well. In that photo I’m in Venice. It’s sunset on a chilly day just two days ago, and I’m standing near the Piazza San Marco. I’m blisteringly happy. Can you see that?
Right now, right this second, I’m in a hotel room in Florence. Craig is futzing about and I can hear … a dump truck? Some sort of vehicle lumbering and reversing outside the window. I am blisteringly happy.

This trip has been amazing. Astounding. Everything I hoped it would be. Things have gone wrong, naturally, but they’ve almost added to the charm.
Everywhere has been cold. Apart from Prague which was so hot I had to panic-shop for shorts & shirts as I thought I might die. Of course the next day it was freezing in Venice and it has been pretty temperate ever since. So I guess that shows me. The days of rain in London and Berlin and the ice-wind of Edinburgh in-between left me with a raging head cold. But I bought German medication (I have my fingers crossed it contains pseudoephedrine but it’s all in German so old be anything!) and have coughed & hacked my way across Europe. Charming.
Internet has been pretty non-existent (in NZ we may have ridiculous speeds and data caps but at least we have near ubiquity) but honestly I’ve been rather busy with the food and the drink and the touristing.

I think I hate Florence just a little (not really! Love you Florence!) for being our penultimate European stop. I am not ready to get back to ‘real’ life*. But this trip is incentive for saving. I want to get back to Europe as soon as I possibly can. NZ may have my roots but I left my heart over here years ago.

Tomorrow we have a date with Michelangelo’s bibliotheca, the Uffizi, and, if we have time a taxidermy museum near the Boboli Gardens … What? It’s not that weird.

Oh but when I get back to New Zealand and get my head back together and unpack (oh god, the unpacking) then there will be stories and photos. Oh yes, there will be many stories and many many photos.

The Church of Our Lady before Tyn, Old Town Square, Prague

* nor am I ready to work off the metric tonne of gelato-weight I am sure to have acquired.


London has left its mark: my swallow tattoo

So today, this happened:

Tattoo by Andrea Giulimondi, The Family Business

I have to admit, I was terrified. But G, the artist, made fun of me ever so slightly, and that made everything better. Adorable Italian men can do that to a girl.

He also talked me out of going for outline only. I’m ever so pleased I listened to him. Yet again the artist knows best.


The swallow tattoo was a symbol used historically by sailors to show off their sailing experience. Of British origin, it was the image of a Barn Swallow, usually tattooed on the chest, hands or neck. According to one legend, a sailor tattooed with one swallow had travelled over 5,000 nautical miles (9,000 km); a sailor with two, 10,000 nautical miles.

It is also legend that if the sailor drowns, the swallows will carry their soul to heaven, representing freedom and hope. So that’s good?

Swallows migrate between hemispheres throughout the year but always return home. They also mate for life. Well, kind of. They are genetically polygamous but socially monogamous. Which is quite interesting in a ‘sex at dawn’ kind of way

The swallow also represents love, care and affection towards family and friends, showing the loyalty of the person always returning to them.


It was important to me to get a tattoo in London. Especially so after this last week. A week of terrible and changeable weather which has done nothing but reaffirm my love for this beautiful and difficult city. I will always be a New Zealander but I can’t help but feel that London is also my home.

Of course it could always be that, in the words of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia, all I did was ‘put a bird on it’.