It's been brought to my attention that I'm back on the travelling bandwagon after being put off the idea of long flights and traipsing around with a small child. Last year we took the 6 year old to the US (not planning to head over there this year...) and discovered that long flights aren't really much worse than short ones!
So, while thinking about ideas for this year, I started raking through the old photos and realised that I've been jolly lucky to visit so many really inspiring places. Here are just 10 of my favourite cities/places (where possible I've narrowed down to an actual gallery or museum but I haven't always managed it! I could write separate posts about each one...).
1. 798 Art District, Beijung
This one was a long time ago - 10 years in the autumn. The 798 Art District utilises old industrial buildings and warehouses and forms a series of galliery spaces over quite a wide area. We had a bit of an adventure getting there (any taxi ride in Beijing is an adventure, unless you can speak Chinese of course) but absolutely loved it once we got there. Recently I was reminded of this area when I went to Hull as the new art district there has a similar feel (albeit much much smaller).
2. Paris Metro
OK, EVERYTHING in Paris is inspiring (pretty much) but I love the Metro. Living in London I really appreciate the uniformity of the London Underground, the design of the roundel, the Beck map, but Paris' quirky stations are just so much fun. I love the silly plastic chairs spaced out across the platform - the fact that every station is different but they all smell the same.... I'm a bit odd I know.
3. Houses in Reykjavik
Painted wooden houses on every street, street names you can't pronounce, pretty rooftops.... Reykjavik's architecture is a Scandinavian feast for the eyes. Definitely somewhere I want to go back to.
4. The Atmosphere in Berlin
I can't narrow it down to any one spot in Berlin - the place just felt different. Nothing like anywhere else I'd been. Creativity on every corner but not always obvious - vague I know but you need to trust me on this one! Somewhere I could see myself living if I could brush up my GCSE German...
5. Parc Guell, Barcelona
Another city where every corner is stuffed with inspiration and gorgeousness... Parc Guell is a little like a Gaudi theme park without the rides though so that's why I've included it here. I'm not normally into mosaics but I was on this trip (and drawing them for weeks afterwards). The added bonus of Parc Guell is that you have to climb up such a massive hill to get there (great view though) that you get to collapse in a sweaty heap with a sense of achievement!
6. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Again, living in London you're kind of spoilt for amazing gallery spaces but I loved the Stedelijk. This spot above was my favourite, but the art was amazing too (which included a great textile art gallery when we visited - not sure if it was permanent). It also has a wonderful shop and I defy anyone to come out empty handed.
7. MoMA, New York
Can't miss this baby off! Probably my favourite gallery in the world. The only place we've been to every time we've visited New York (and it looks lovely in the fall - I took this picture back in November). I always forget how huge the place is and that you could spend all day and always discover new (to me) artists.
8. Japan (yes, generally)
So like Berlin but a lot bigger!!! A trip to Japan is non-stop sensory overload. Almost too much to take in. The modern architecture, the history, the lucky cats... I must go on about it quite a bit as the little man keeps asking us to take him there (apparently the fact that he was there last time, albeit in bump form, doesn't count!) and I'd love to go back, if only to be able to eat raw fish this time!
9. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
When I put out a call on Twitter last autumn for Boston recommendations this place came up time and time again. Helped by the fact that the garden is undercover (and we visited on a very nasty wet and windy day) it was a wonderful oasis. Pretty sure if I lived in Boston it'd be my equivalent of Tate (even if the contents are a little different - wonderfully eclectic) as in I'd be there all the time - I expect they have some kind of a membership option.
10. London's South Bank
And back home. Despite travelling around a fair bit I really don't think anywhere beats London. I could write a weekly post on inspiring spots! But when push comes to shove you can always find me on the South Bank, and not just because it includes my favourite buildings (National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall). I like being by the river, walking through the little avenue of trees, seeing the book stalls, visiting Tate Modern and then roaming around Borough Market. In fact I'm getting the urge to pop into town right now...