Wednesday 17 April 2019

Wanderings Lately :: March 2019

March felt like a very long month, packed full of travel, outings in London and getting ill abroad. This post in incredibly late, mostly because I was not feeling great and in the past month I've only been at home for one week. 

I love travelling. I've made it a priority in life (when money allowed) for the last 10 years or so. It's the reason I started blogging all those years ago to let everyone at home know what I was up to in China. But my last two trips with work were probably the most stressful, and un-enjoyable I've ever had. Firstly I had to rearrange my first trip to Moldova very last minute because my passport had not yet been returned from the Russian embassy (having applied for a visa to visit in April). I therefore missed the beginning of the interviews where I was supposed to sit on the panel. I had to take an overnight flight to Chisinau, transferring in Istanbul and then go straight to the interviews practically from the airport.
I caught a cold from one of the other panel members, which got steadily worse and after a 6 hour layover in Istanbul again on the way to Tirana turned into a flu bug that knocked me out the first full day in Tirana. I have not been that ill for years and years, and to feel so bad but not be at home or with any other people was horrible. I tried to see a doctor but that was impossible and I managed to get some medication but it wasn't particularly effective. I spent the following week feeling totally rotten with a terrible cough and blocked nose - not brilliant for concentrating for six hours a day in interviews.

Once home, I had a full on week seeing a few friends, with family and preparing at work for the next week of travel whilst catching up from the two weeks before.

I'm now in Moscow, which has also had its challenges. Being able to travel for work is a privilege, and I am grateful for a job that allows me to experience a little of places that I probably wouldn't have visited otherwise. But after these last couple of trips, all I want is to get back to my familiar routine at home. I wouldn't mind a cup of tea either.

Spring Sun

The Saturday that I should have been travelling to Moldova, was spent instead at Wisely RHS Garden. It was the beginning of some sunny weather and spring arriving in the UK. Even Victor seemed to enjoy wandering around the gardens!

At the beginning of the month I took an afternoon trip to Birmingham to see my uni girls. I didn't really see much of the city, but it's always a fab time catching up with the girls and especially when we are all about to make it. Life often gets in the way, but those long-lasting friendships are ones to savour.

The filigree girls also had our first outing of the year to the pub is London with the best views but worst service. Sitting by the river, in the sunshine with a cider was a nice afternoon in London.


The weather in Tirana was amazing. I didn't see much of it, but I could see out of the window that the sun was shining! One afternoon I managed to wander around for an hour or so. My impression of the city was pretty good. Lots of cafes with outside space where the young population were sitting out a socialising. 

There was a huge. derelict pyramid. Previously the headquarters of the NATO operations during the Kosovo conflict. although originally built as a museum. I feel it could make a great home for a swimming pool.

Other things I noticed in Tirana; all the electricity boxes were decorated with street art. I went past a piece of the Berlin wall, and war time bunkers dot the city.


I really liked Chisinau. It's very small, and easy to walk around the city. I visited a museum which was pretty terrible, noticed many of the buildings are run down and the pavements are awful (this is the same in all the non-EU eastern European cities I've so far visited). But Chisinau had a charm about it. There were lots of little cafes and the walk to work for me was through two large tree filled squares. 

Moldova is an established wine region (who knew!) and there were lots of opportunities for wine tasting. Unfortunately as I was feeling grim I didn't bother to spend money on any whilst I was there. If I managed to get back in the future I would definitely do that though, and hope to have time to take a day trip out to one of the wine groves as well.

Chisinau charmed me, despite it being the source of my cold and miserable visit in Albania!


Finally, I went to the Dior exhibition with my mum just before the end of March and it was excellent. I really liked how the exhibition was displayed and although it was very busy - took us a while to even enter! It wasn't too overcrowded inside.

I definitely preferred all the Dior originals to the later designers who took over after his death, although this red coat was from Raf Simons and I loved it! John Galliano's designs were definitely not in keeping with the originals, and the current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri seemed to have some nice designs and vision more like Dior.

We also went up to the members' room for lunch after the exhibition, which was also incredibly busy. It wasn't the greatest of experiences - I think the British Museum is better - as the room was cold and they had no provision for dietary requirements. I had been trying to eat a vegan diet but they had nothing on the menu that was vegan and when I asked what options they could provide I was offered an artichoke sandwich - not very appealing! Definitely could do better in the members room. The other main cafe is a wonderful space though.