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Work and Play

1:57 pm Tue, 7th August 2007

Wow it has been a while since my last blog entry. Where to begin? So much has happened in the past month or so. Most recently, I’ve just started my new job – it’s my 2nd week here now. It’s been pretty exciting so far and I’m based in Farringdon in central London (great location with heaps of good food around). The company itself is a leading international interactive agency, and has been described as “a recognised pioneer and innovator, their work is amongst the most influential in the world” and having “paved the way for many agencies and is considered to have “written the book” on digital marketing and e-commerce, without ever having actually written a book”. They have won heaps of awards for the work they’ve done, as well as general awards like “Creative Agency of the Year” or “Interactive Agency of the Year” and most recently awarded “Digital Agency of the Decade” by Revolution magazine. So… erm yeh.. that gives you an idea of how stoked I was to have been headhunted and hired by them!!! 😀

Ok work aside, I’ve also been away on holidays. I spent a wonderful 2 weeks with Kwai and my bro driving through Italy and Germany (as well as passing through Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and France). We started by flying to Cologne, hiring our car there and driving through Germany and Austria to arrive at Venice VERY late in the night. After 2 nights there, we drove to Florence (me and Kwai’s 3rd visit here!), and also took advantage of the Barberino Designer Outlet shopping village for some discount designer clothes, before driving into some proper tuscan countryside. We spent most of the holiday in Tuscany (oh how I LOVE that place) exploring the Chianti and Siena regions (stopping for lunch at the BEST restaurant of the trip in a tiny town called Lamole which is on top of a huge hill with amazing views over the whole chianti region as far as San Gimignano), then stayed overnight in a farmhouse overlooking the beautiful San Gimignano. After a brief visit there we drove down to the southern tuscan town of Saturnia (my favourite destination of the whole trip) for some absolutely amazing food (what is it about Saturnia and great food – incidentally they also produce my favourite olive oil) and much needed relaxation at the local thermal springs (at the Terme di Saturnia. Then we headed to the meditterranean coastal town of San Vincenzo and explored the nearby Baratti gulf (simply indescribably gorgeous – the clearest, bluest waters to swim in) and natural park of Rimigliano, and stopped off at a small town called Suvereto to pick up a WHOLE proscuitto at the local market (yes a whole one, bone and all, yes it was heavy – I think 5 kgs?).

Finally we drove up to our last destination in Italy to spend a few days in the Sestri Levante and Cinque Terre region, staying in a small town called Riva Trigoso. The first day in Cinque Terre, me and Kwai did almost the whole hike across the 5 towns (skipped only Vernazza to Corniglia but we did the hardest bit by far which was Monterosso to Vernazza – lots of steps and narrow dirt paths along the cliffside with AMAZING views!). We then spent the next day on hired scooters exploring the Sestri Levante to Portofino stretch… unforunately we only got as far as lunch in Zoagli before my bro had a scary accident where his scooter met a wall on a blind hair-pin turn along the windy, hilly coastal roads.. fortunately it wasn’t too serious as no cars were around and so no bones were broken – we did however get a ride in the ambulance to the local hospital in Lavagna where we spent the next 5 hours waiting before he was released with some painful looking scrapes) – it was dinner time by then so we decided to stay in Lavagna where me and Kwai took the opportunity to have one last swim in the mediterranean sea as the sun set behind the distant mountains, and then got some yummy takeaway pizza from the local piazza where there happened to be a music festival on and an awesome band played some really nice contemporary jazz mixed with tango/classical featuring a violin and piano accordion. Finally we bade a sad farewell to Italy and with heavy hearts drove that loooong journey up to Frankfurt, Germany (via some SPECTACULAR scenery in Switzerland – in fact we stopped in Switzerland for lunch in a town by a huge lake) where me and Kwai stayed 4 nights spending lots of time at the wonderful saunas and thermal pools of the Taunus Therme and also catching up with old friends of Kwai’s. Finally our wonderful holiday almsot over, we drove off towards London, our car loaded with olive oils from various regions throughout Tuscany and Liguria, some pasta, and that proscuitto ham.. only stopping one night in Brussels on the way.

And that was our wonderful summer holiday, planned 3 months in advanced, over. *sigh* It was wonderful and amazing and we had gorgeous HOT weather the whole time. And I can’t wait to do it again!!! I’ve noted places I wanna revisit, and learned things to do and not do the next time round. In fact I just wish I could move to Italy! I love the culture and life and land and food and everything there. I loved how we were able to avoid a lot of the main touristy things and go a bit “off the beaten track” into places visited only by local Italians, where we were the often the only foreigners (we got a few stares lol), where we were able to get a glimpse into the local culture and life… towns where families were born, raised, worked and lived for generations. What an experience it was.

(Lots of photos and videos to come).

Posted in Life, Travel | 4 Comments »

  1. 4 Comments on “Work and Play”

  2. Maria
    Aug 11, 2007

    Helloooo! I was hoping to find an update here and am so glad I did :-) I thought of you while you were away and wondered how it was all going. The trip sounded truly amazing. I’m so glad your brother’s injuries weren’t anymore serious than they were -phew! to that. I would have been the same coming home with oils and pasta and yes, prosciutto! In fact I have to promise myself to do that all one day. I go to Sydney and Brisbane and I come back with Olive Oil.. lol! Seriously I bought some Mountain Pepper Olive Oil at a deli in the Sydney Fish Markets.. ‘Gwydir Grove Olives’.. just delicious and I have since bought more via mail order! Then at the Brisbane Southbank Markets I bought a Lemon and Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil from ‘Brookside Olives’ (they had taste testing with ciabatta bread pieces). I can’t find these oils here locally. But the many I’ve tried at the supermarket disappoint me! I keep wanting to say your holiday sounded sooo lovely.. it’s the kind of ‘read’ that makes my heart melt. I will PM you with some extra news from my end. Congratulations on your new job -I hope you really go places with them and love going to work each day. From time to time try and share about some of those food locations and/or meals you’ve had there, I’d be really interested! Ok.. written enough now I think..haha! Take Care.

  3. Joanne
    Aug 13, 2007

    Hi! I’m from Canada and just wanted to say how I have enjoyed your site. I love to travel but haven’t made it to Europe yet. My sixteen year old daughter was fortunate to travel to Italy and Greece last Spring with her school.
    Anyway, thanks again for some great expressive, intelligent sharing!

  4. Mike
    Aug 13, 2007

    Glad to hear you’re having good times Kazz!

  5. JMaruyama
    Aug 17, 2007

    Hey Kazzart,
    Welcome back from your trip to Italy. We all definitely missed you. Sounds like you had a great time. Glad things are also going well at AKQA. I didn’t realize this but AKQA is based in San Francisco, CA USA (my hometown) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AKQA
    They also designed the player interface for the XBox360. Definitely am looking forward to you upcoming vlogs on your trip as well as your K.A.Q. videos. With your classes at Goldsmith, work at AKQA, breakdance lessons, and vlogs you are definitely one busy lady. I don’t know how you do it. Cheers!

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