London is predictably hectic but it’s nothing compared to my parents’ life in Beijing. So whenever we’re reunited, Nathaniel and I try to take them somewhere peaceful, green and slow. Back in 2015 we all spent a glorious week in Tuscany. I tried hard to minimise time spent on digital devices, even when it came to photography. As frustrating as it sometimes became, I lugged around and shot on an old-school SLR (my Contax 645) and rekindled my love for film.
And then… London life got in the way again. For two years these rolls of film sat in my fridge, half-forgotten, until my friend and fellow photographer Chrystal kindly offered to develop and scan them. I’m so happy with the results!
Every time I receive a set of scanned film, I’m reminded of the magic of the whole process. Nowadays I shoot on various digital devices (Canon 5Diii, a Sony a7rii and the Google Pixel) but it’s worthwhile to slow down and think through each click, rather than blinding shooting 10 in a row with a “I can fix this later” attitude. Quality over quantity, always.
Chasing the last light of summer, I escaped for a weekend to the hills of Tuscany to celebrate my birthday with a few friends. We stayed in the breathtaking Vita Nova Casa Vacanze, chilled by the pool and ate way too many platters of Tuscan antipasto misto. We also participated in a truffle hunt with Pedro the Lagotto Romagnolo – organised by Mugello & Tuscany – along with a pasta masterclass to cook with our haul.
Disclosure: I was invited on this trip by Eurostar.
What kind of traveller are you? Do you like to research meticulously, create extensive lists of unmissable things, and book everything months ahead? I am definitely not in this category, choosing instead to go with the flow and plan as few itinerary details as possible. Who cares what everyone else is doing or seeing? My favourite travel memories are those moments reached by spontaneous decisions and serendipity. These values align perfectly with Interludes, a new concept launched by Eurostar.
When we stepped on board the train, we were handed an envelope that revealed: the hotel we would be staying at, the museum exhibit we were given a pass to, and (most exciting) the chef whose home we would be dining in that evening. Breakfast was served by a collaboration between the chefs at Honey & Co in London and Mokonuts in Paris. After checking into our hotel, the day was spent exploring and getting lost by foot around the beautiful streets of 3ème and 4ème arrondissements.
The best part of our Interludes adventure was dinner at the home of chef Taku Sekine for conversations over an unforgettable feast. As the wine flowed, we got to know Taku a little on a personal level as we chatted of politics, happiness and more. Even in his third language, Taku managed to convey such deep and wise thoughts… I really wished I could speak Japanese so we could talk even more!
If you’re interested in attending a future #InterludesByEurostar trip, sign up here to be kept in the loop!