17 April 2016

one reason to get out and about this april

April has well and truly arrived. A bit like an express train! Where is the year going? Here in the UK the weather has warmed up just a little and the hint of Spring we had in March has now fully arrived, all be it with plenty of rain showers. The clocks recently went forward too, so with the evening light lasting longer its now a great time to start getting out and about. So this month Sketches gives you just one reason to head out and about this April.


B is for Bluebells - Yes its that time of year when our woodlands turn a shade of blue or is it purple? So why not take a walk into your local wood and see these most beautiful of flowers. They've just started so you'll have a few weeks to see them. Last year Sketches did a post on bluebells calling for people to enjoy them by having picnics, with the hashtag #bluebellparties. Similar to the way the Japanese celebrate the Sakura season. So why not give it a try? Although please be careful not to damage these flowers. Just enjoy them. Oh if you would like to read the original article here is the link, enjoy Bluebells Forever

Bluebell parties 
So what are you waiting for? If you're visiting the UK in the next few weeks, visit one of London's main parks. Or if venturing further afield, say into the countryside, you're certainly get a glimpse of them. 

10 April 2016

4 tips to help you pack for a trip

We have a guest post this week from journalist Jose Gonzalez. So want to know some key tips to packing for your next trip? Over to Jose to explain.
Why does one travel? Is it to seek solitude? Is it to find oneself? There can be many reasons. But, one thing that is common to all travel is packing. You cannot be comfortable unless you learn to pack things the right way. Imagine being on the airport to some foreign land and it takes you 5 minutes to locate your passport. It would not only be embarrassing but also look suspicious. And with how the things are these days, you do not want to make the LEAs suspicious on an airport.
So, what can you do to avoid any such fate? The answer is quite simple: learn to pack efficiently. This is especially the case when your trip involves hiking or camping. There is a bare minimum that you need. Firstly a tough backpack, which can house some toiletries, emergency supplies and your sleeping bag. This is followed by a good pair of sneakers to get you through the rough and tough. We would recommend something from The North Face or similar, you can use these North Face coupons to bring down the prices. The toiletries should be in a sealed plastic bag, to protect the other items in case of any leakages.
Weight management is of absolute importance. You want to stay comfortable, but if you are supposed to be carrying the stuff on your back, then we would suggest keeping the weight to a bare minimum. If the initial part involves an airport, it may be beneficial to include a vertical trolley bag. And if you plan to make some pit stops and do some shopping at the destinations, then remember to have some extra space for all the souvenirs you will buy.

There is a whole methodology to packing efficiently. We have compiled it in detail in the following infographic. So, enjoy your travel and thank us later.



4 April 2016

the best of sketches in travel march

Cappuccinos and cafes - Italian Diaries Part 5


Is there a better way to reflect on a trip than sipping a cappuccino in the sunshine at a quiet cafe in the heart of Florence? I'll let you ponder that one. Although this is a review of March its also the conclusion to our Italian Diaries, and what a trip its been. Culture, history and some good food. New cities explored and far too many espressos consumed. What fun has been had though. So firstly we take a final peek at Florence, the city of chic and the Renaissance movement before summing up our eventful March.

When you have a couple of hours spare before being transported back to a cloudy England (as it turned out) a whistle stop tour of the city was required. Stopping briefly for mentioned cappuccino. I decided to concentrate on the statues and buildings, rather than the shops. So it was with no particular agenda we "wondered" around the streets. Florence has some amazing architecture, but it was the Roman figures that adorn many of the squares and the entrances to churches and museums that really caught my eye. Powerful figures, showing their dominance and in many cases manhood! They are incredibly striking; the figures not their manhood. The precision is something to behold. You could easily stare at them for hours, working out the story or their significance. If time and queuing patience had allowed we would have explored the famous Renaissance masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery (next time for sure.) But time was short. 


If you had to sum up Florence then you would probably say its a city for art and culture vultures. When wandering the streets you are in awe at its beauty, the buildings, the sculptures and the fact that everyone looks so chic! Puts me to shame anyway. I was walking around in t-shirt and scruffy shoes! You need a good couple of days to really explore it before you should head out either into the Tuscan hills or visit other cities in the region. I loved it and hope to return for more exploration in the future. Ciao Italy; for now. You are truly a magnificent country to visit.  

Inside the Cupola
The Best of March
So that was our Italian diary. If you have missed any of them or would like to catch up on our adventures then the other posts with links are below. Sketches is off on further adventures this month so be sure to look out for them in the coming weeks. Thank you, as always for your support. It really is appreciated.

Italian Dairies Series 
Part 1: Outbound to Venice - Italian Diaries Part 1
Part 2: Getting lost in Venice - Italian Diaries Part 2
Part 3: Florence bound - Italian Diaries Part 3
Part 4: Pisa and Lucca - Italian Diaries Part 4


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