Reflections #1: Ancient Warriors & the Most Bizarre Hotel Room… Ever!

Pantonio street art Barcelona // Dutch Girl in London

My revamped monthly column with a recap of what I have been up in the past few weeks. From my personal daily adventures, travel stories to latest film tips, from now on you can find it all here in Reflections every month!

Hope you didn’t miss me too much last week as I skipped my weekly blog day because I was sick. I am now slowly returning to the Land of the Living after an intense virus-induced ‘beauty sleep’ last week, and happy again to share a bit of my life with you here.

Long-time readers might remember my quarterly arts & culture and travel recaps, but I stopped writing those a while ago as there was always too much to cram into one blog post. Just writing them started to bore the hell out of me so I can only imagine how much work it was for you to plough through them as a reader, haha!

‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’, but bloggers sure can get sick there

I guess my cold started when hubby and I returned from a lovely trip in sun-drenched Barcelona mid September and travelled from an agreeable 25 degrees to more autumn temperatures of about 16 degrees back home. After a few snotty days I thought I was on the mend again, but that reinvigorated feeling only lasted for about a week till hubby and I went on a spontaneous trip to Liverpool. We were there for 1.5 days during which it did not stop raining for longer than an hour on average and I haven’t seen much of Liverpool on this trip besides some exhibitions and the inside of my umbrella.

Reconstructing Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Arthouse Hotel Liverpool // Dutch Girl in London
My Goldilocks impersonation

We stayed at the Arthouse Hotel and our room called The Birds, named and styled after the Hitchcock film, was by far the most bizarre hotel room I’ve ever stayed at. Not only did we have a flock of beds (birds, flock, get it?) to choose from – which allowed me to do a reconstruction of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairytale – but it also had the weirdest bathroom I’ve ever seen! The shower consisted of just a shower head located right next to toilet, no shower curtain or screen to divide one from another which meant the whole toilet area would get entirely soaked. On the other hand, the hotel staff had been so considerate to supply a plastic shower seat in the bathroom. Judging by the vibe of the hotel and other guests I spotted, I guess their clientèle mainly consists of young partygoers instead of elderly and the shower seat is there not so much to support geriatric guests but rather to aid drunk or hungover guests. I could tell you more about my experiences at this hotel, but let’s leave it at this…

Oh okay, except for that after we booked the room, we received the ominous email offering special hen & stag party packages, and once there we discovered the option for connecting your own music devices to the room’s speaker system via Bluetooth AND the popular night club right underneath our window. Luckily my fever and a dose of Night Nurse knocked me out completely which made me totally oblivious to all the late-night shenanigans taking place within a few metre radius of me.

In September I also wrote the following blog posts

Overview blog posts September 2018 // Dutch Girl in London

The arty farty stuff

When hubby and I booked our last-minute trip to Liverpool we had clearly failed to check the weather forecast for those days. We were more focussed on snapping up the last available tickets for the blockbuster exhibition China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors at the Liverpool World Museum instead. To be face-to-face with the more than 2,200 years old terracotta warriors was quite special, although I realise that seeing the modest collection on display would be nothing compared to the impressive sight of the thousands of life-sized figures in situ in China. (Perhaps one day!)

terracotta warriors // Dutch Girl in London

At Tate Liverpool we visited the interesting show Life in motion: Egon Schiele/Francesca Woodman. While the drawings by Egon Schiele (1890-1819), Gustav Klimt’s protégé, didn’t especially rock my boat, I was fascinated to see the intimate black and white photographs by Francesca Woodman (1958-1981) in real life for the first time. Woodman started photographing when she was only 13 years old already and did some interesting experimental photography, making use of long exposures, focussing on abstract forms,  and often with her own body as the main object. I guess that if she would have been around today, her artistic selfies would have made her an absolute Instagram star. Unfortunately she committed suicide when she was only 22 years old.

Francesca Woodman // Dutch Girl in London

Whilst at Tate Liverpool we also popped in the free galleries to see some intricate colourful installations and artworks as part of Liverpool Biennial contemporary art festival 2018.
The free exhibition Double Fantasy – John & Yoko about John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s lives together at the Museum of Liverpool was a moving homage to an unusual love story. I had to wipe away some tears reading John and Yoko’s 5-year old Sean response to his father’s death a few days after the tragic event.

Other exhibitions and works I’ve seen this month outside of Liverpool

  • The Clock at Tate Modern: by collaging together approximately 12,000 clips from film and TV shows featuring clocks, Christian Marclay created an intriguing 24hr-long film which, despite the lack of a plot or main protagonists, draws you right in.
  • Jenny Holzer exhibition at Tate Modern: showcasing some of her LED installations and more of her other works.
  • Space Shifters at the Hayward Gallery: an engaging and very photogenic show which I highly recommend, even if it’s just to see Richard Wilson’s installation 20:50 for which the artist flooded one of the galleries with engine oil leaving one narrow passage for viewers to appreciate this mind-bending artwork one at a time.
  • Black Light: Secret traditions in art since the 1950s at CCCB Barcelona

This month I’ve watched and rewatched 18 films and series!

Recommended new films

The Happytime Murders
Blackkklansman
Searching
A Simple Favour

Ugh, not the best use of my time…

Searching for Fellini
Lost in London
Je ne suis pas un homme facile

Good chick flick movies when you’re not feeling well

Bad Moms
A Bad Moms Christmas
Bridget Jones’s Baby

Good arthouse films

Nightcrawler
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
The Glass Castle
Leave no Trace

Series on Netflix

Benvingut a la Familia Season 1
Dark Tourist Season 1
Kath & Kim Season 1-4
Da Kath & Kim Code (actually a film, but part of the Kath & Kim TV series)

Finally: September told in some pictures

On Sunday 2 September I decided to climb up the 133 steps of Monument, the commemorative 62m-tall structure built between 1671 and 1677 in remembrance of the Great Fire of London in 1666. It wasn’t until I overheard the family on the viewing platform with me that I realised I coincidentally chose to visit the Monument exactly 352 years after the disastrous fire had started. (The Great Fire of London took place between 2 and 5 September 1666).

I bought a combi ticket for Monument and Tower Bridge (top right photo) for only £12 and will write more about these visits in a separate future blog post.

Monument-Tower-of-London-

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Hope you’ve all had a great first day of the week! As the temperatures are dropping, I sorted out my wardrobe and found out this pair of heels. I’m rather a sneakers girl than heels, but should wear these shoes more often as they’re surprisingly comfy (I danced in them all night on our wedding day!) and look so much sexier than sneakers 😉 • • • #heels #leatherlook #sexy #sexyshoes #shoes #girlnoir #noirgirl #zwartwit #blackandwhite #blackandwhitephotography #amateurphotography #zwartwitfotografie #schoenen #dutchgirlinlondon #girl #woman #feet #donethatbeenthere #bestoftheday #instacool #instafashion #instashoes #shoefashion #fashionpic #monochrome #fashionphotography #walkingonair #clarksshoes @clarksshoes

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When I searched for ‘most beautiful places in Barcelona’ online last week, the top suggestion in a Time Out article mentioned Carrer de l'Allada-Vermell. So we made a small detour to find this street and eventually found the very same spot as pictured in the article. Very pretty sight indeed, but not sure how this particular location was different from so many other picturesque streets around the city. It makes for a good photo on Instagram though 😉 Happy Wednesday! We’re almost halfway the week now 🙂 • • • #barcelona #visitbarcelona #bcn #mostbeautifulplace #timeout @timeoutbcn #travelblogger #reisblogger #travelphotography #prettystreets #pretty #picturesque #travelphotograpy #spain #plants #green #prettyhouse #reismeisje #dutchblogger #londonblogger #bestoftheday #instacool #dutchgirlinlondon #donethatbeenthere

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On the last day of our Barcelona trip a few weeks ago, we climbed up to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya contemporary art museum on Montjuic Mountain to see the Gala Salvador Galí exhibition. During our walk up we took in some great views of the city but finally arrived at a closed museum door as we then discovered it’s not open on Mondays… After a few minutes of feeling quite disappointed, we crossed the road and suddenly found ourselves at the Olympic Park. In the photo here you see the front of the Olympic Stadium. Behind the beautiful facade hides a big stadium which can now seat 65,000 visitors and is where big events and concerts take place. The original Stadium was built in 1929 for the World Expo. It was also supposed to host the People's Olympiad, an international sports event with 6,000 athletes from 22 nations in 1936 as a protest against the Summer Olympics held in Nazi-controlled Berlin that year. Unfortunately, Spanish Civil War broke out just before the planned event. Eventually the Stadium Park was renovated to host the Olympic Games in 1992. Nowadays you can visit the park for free and it’s a wonderful quite abandoned site in the otherwise busy city with some great architectural features. • • • #barcelona #visitbarcelona #montjuic #estadiolimpic #olympicstadium #travelphotography #history #worldexpo #olympicgames #olympics #cultureblogger #travelblogger #reisblogger #reismeisje #travelphotograpy #dutchgirlinlondon #dutchblogger #donethatbeenthere #bestoftheday #instahistory #architecture #whpmatching

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What did your September look like?
Feel free to share a little anecdote or tell me about something you’ve done or seen!
Until next month,
Zarina xx