Bicester village


          Another trip to Bicester had me wandering towards town from a Daughter’s house direction.   Through the retail shopping centre isn’t the quickest or most direct route, but the landscaping there is very pleasing to the eye so it’s usually the prettiest route.


          I very seldom shop at Bicester Village, most of the shops are aimed at a much higher price bracket than the one I generally live in, and as a rule, if you have to ask the price then you can’t afford it although I did spend a few very comfortable hours in the “Secret Garden Cafe” with friends a few visits ago and one “Fabulously British” shop draws me in everytime I pass it.


          There’s a sort of love/hate relationship between the Village and the townsfolk. Of course as with any business, Bicester Village is here to make money, and make money they do, plenty of it, but as with any big business in a small location, money talks, and it very often talks louder and quicker than the locals. 


          Lots of locals have found employment at the Village, the pay is generally pretty good, and the knock on effect has been felt by quite a few of the other retail businesses where they’ve had to increase wages to compete for employees in the town has been good for the employees too.


          The traffic, especially at busy retail times is a nightmare, but the Village has put funds into new road layouts and into the Bicester town station.  Which unfortunately then got renamed “Bicester Village” Station…  A very good financial move since the Village is advertised on the London Underground, but a disaster as far as a public relations exercise with the townsfolk.


         However, at quieter shopping times, if you can put aside the very apparent lifestyle difference between Bicester Village and Bicester Town, it really is a pretty walk through the main street, very pleasing to the eyes indeed, with lots of surprising smiles around most of the corners. 


          More from before : bits of “Bicester“.


Another sunrise

         Another sunrise… 




          More from before: Semi-retirement by the seaside in “Weymouth“.


DSC_1179. Moonshine gondolas.

         It’s almost impossible to think of Venice without a picture of a Gondola springing to mind.   I’ve been lucky enough to visit this beautiful city three times now and although I’ve had plenty of opportunity, I still haven’t ridden in a Gondola.  Looking back at the number of my photos they feature in, and the number of smiles they raise with the mere thought of seeing one, then I guess I should ask myself why I’ve not taken the plunge (figuratively speaking of course).

DSC_1204. Gondola Rialto.

          I’m the frugal one out of Hubby and myself, so is it the high price placed on such a short length of enjoyment which is standing in my way? No, I think not, I’ve demonstrated to myself on many occasions that I am more than willing to pay way over the expected price for something which to me would be worth more when counted in smiles as opposed to pennies, if I really wanted to ride in a Gondola then I would be quite happy to pay for it.

          I’m not at all romantic, so maybe the thought of sitting in a Gondola next to Hubby (my knight in shining armour) isn’t quite as exciting as it might be for the more romantic souls.  Within hours of our arrival this time we shared in the joy of one young couple as a proposal of marriage was offered and accepted in a Gondola and the wedding photos we saw being taken of more than one bride and groom set in such a romantic location will record their beautiful day for eternity. 

Watching gondolas.

          I have a vivid imagination.  I can imagine sitting back and relaxing on the luxurious seats, a large floppy hat keeps the glare away from above as the sunshine twinkles on the still waters.  The Gondola glides silently through the water which laps gently against the old stone walls and hidden doorways with no sound of a motor, is that opera music I can hear in the distance ? 

         Alas, the opera music is in the gondola along side me, it’s very seldom you see just one gondola at a time and even in the quiet smaller canals you’ll probably be watched or photographed by someone trying to catch a memory of their own of one of the main tourist attractions of Venice.  

          Maybe that’s it, maybe that’s why I haven’t been on a gondola yet, maybe my imagination is too good, and maybe I don’t want to risk spoiling the magical gondola ride in my imagination with a dose of reality.

60. Poinsettia.

          More from before : visits to “Venice” in Aug 2006, Jul 2013 and Jun 2018.

Rialto mercato

       “Rialto Bridge” is one of the main tourist attractions in Venice, but just a short walk over the bridge away from the San Marco direction brings you to the market.

          Rialto market is a covered market selling fresh produce from land and sea, in Britain it would be an indoor market, but with Venice temperatures they seem to have no need for walls and doors  instead the roof is supported by pillars and arches.  There were rumours around the time of our last visit that the market was going to close, but I’m glad that didn’t happen and it was still around for all to visit.

IMG_0411. Seagull shout.

          One of the market’s visitors was drawing a little more attention than others. Venice is a city, but its a city quite literally on the sea so of course it has seagulls and where else would you expect to see a seagull in Venice but at its famous fish market.

IMG_0415. Seagull arch.

          Seagulls aren’t shy creatures, and this particular bird had helped itself to a nice piece of fish, gobbling his prize down greedily and shouting in no uncertain terms at anyone who had any intention of taking it away.

IMG_0418. Seagull wallow.

          More from before : visits to “Venice” in Aug 2006, Jul 2013 and Jun 2018.

Ponte Vecchio sunset


          We went out for a quiet evening stroll, just in the area around the hotel, but when I saw the sun sinking behind the Ponte Vecchio I dragged Hubby to the next bridge where I had already picked my vantage point earlier in the day in hope a sunset picture with the bridge in the foreground.  I didn’t quite catch the light show I’d hoped for, but I do enjoy a good lamp-post shot too so I went away happy. 


          We headed back to the bridge and found ourselves a nice little spot to sit and listen to the local musicians while we watched the last of the daylight dissappear below the horizon. 


          After Florence, we moved onto Venice for a few days and at the end of our trip shared the Vaporetto with two young girls just setting off towards Florence.  On the crowded waterbus, I had enough time to pass on just one smile to look out for in Florence so I chose this one and suggested the girls bought themselves a picnic and spent an evening at Ponte Vecchio watching the sun go down. 

          More from before : a few days in “Florence” in June 2018.

San Marco puddles


          The puddles in San Marco Square don’t come down with the rain … They come up with the tide. 


          More from before : visits to “Venice” in Aug 2006, Jul 2013 and Jun 2018.