Quick break in Devon: Exeter and Teignmouth

I loved every minute of my quick break in Devon. England is such a beautiful country, especially when it’s sunny! 🎡🇬🇧☀️

Loving every minute of my quick break in Devon. England is such a beautiful country, especially when it's sunny! 🎡🇬🇧☀️

Husband and I went to visit my sister in Exeter—the University of Perugia sent her there for about a month to do some work for them. We’ve been in Exeter also during the Rugby World Cup 2015, and we loved the city and its vibe. This time we saw the city as it is, with no RWC shenanigans.

We managed to visit many places within the few days we’ve been in Exeter. Here’s a quick review of our break in Devon.

The Roads

Last year we traveled to Exeter by air, flying Flybe from/to the City Airport. This time we rented a car, and we didn’t like the experience. It took 4 hours to go to Exeter!
The roads are just okay. I personally expected a motorway or a road with 4 carriages, instead we ended up hitting a road with 3 carriages, with the middle one is used alternatively in both ways to pass the slower vehicles. If you’re get used to Italian Autostrada and other European motorways, you could perceive it as a bit unsafe and weird. Eventually we managed to make it there and come back home, so not a big deal.

Teignmouth

Teignmouth is a hidden (at least for me!) gem located a few miles south from Exeter.

We missed the experience of reaching the town by train. On the other hand, my sister, who did it, told me that the railway runs very close to the sea, so the view is amazing.

Teignmouth is the typical town on the sea where people go to have a break and spend some quality time relaxing. Family and dog friendly, there are playgrounds, a mini golf and many other entertainment facilities, all located a few steps from the seashore. The promenade is lovely, and develops exactly along the railway.
I touched the Ocean’s sand and felt that’s pretty different in texture from the Mediterranean sand I’m familiar with! We had lunch in a cozy tavern named The Ship, where we had a very tasty tuna steak.

Exeter

Exeter cathedral - break in devon - exeter cityIt’s in Exeter that we spent the majority of our break in Devon. Exeter is such a nice and serene city. We got blessed with an amazing weather, so we managed to walk a lot downtown.

I also needed to do some work, and I found out that the wifi at coffee shops (the big Costa on the main road and Boston Tea Party, to mention a couple) is reliable and stable.

Point of interests I suggest to visit in Exeter are the wonderful Cathedral, the St Catherine’s Almshouses with its Roman ruins, as well as Piazza Terracina and the Quay, where you can have a nice walk in the gardens and fields around.

the quays exeter, piazza terracina exeter, break in devon exeter

The Quay offer a variety of things to do, from eating and drinking to sports and music/art. If Exeter downtown is more commercial, with a series of shops of any kind, the Quay are the heart of the local entertainment.

Due to my sister’s working duties we also managed to visit the Exeter university and campus, which left me amazed.

The campus is a very big complex of buildings that includes a number of facilities such as theatres, pools, sports facilities, dormitories, pubs, markets place, coffee shops and so on. A real mini-city for students. Impressive.

Where to eat in Exeter

glorious fish and chips in ExeterTaking a break out of the city means, for an Italian like me, eat, eat, eat (and drink). We know it’s all about food, don’t we? :D

We had meals in some places. The following ones deserve a special mentions.

The Prospect Inn: a traditional English pub at the Quay where I had a superb fish and chips. I haven’t had fish and chips in months, and I’m glad I had it there! Staff was absolutely spot on and extremely kind and polite.

Kangaroo steak in exeterStarz: a steak house in the city centre. Warm and welcoming staff, and good steak in cut and size. Prices are also okay. Apparently, it’s a popular place for birthdays—we’ve been there twice and both times there were a lot of birthday celebrations going on :D

Walkabout: an Australian sports pub where we had a delicious kangaroo steak. Prices are good if you consider that you have meat you normally are not accustomed to. The kangaroo is also worth all the noise of the Saturday’s disco pub event!

What we didn’t quite like

Unfortunately we also stumbled upon some places that didn’t meet our gracious thumbs up. These are:

– The Exeter castle: a bit meh from the outside. A very few part of the original castle is preserved.
– Caramello ice cream bar: ice cream was just okay, coffee was not the best I had in my life.
– On the Waterfront: overpriced and food not good. Plus, they kicked us out of the restaurant in a very rude way when it was 10.20pm.

Overall we loved Exeter, and we are looking forward to take another break in Devon, as I’d like to visit Agatha Christie’s house in Torquay! :)

Pics taken at Teignmouth Seafront and Exeter
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Phenomenology of a coffee addiction

As Chase Williams always says: I can’t have a decaf, I’m a cop ☕️🍪 This is coffee addiction, people.

coffee addiction, caffeine problems, writers and coffee

SPOILER ALERT

This is not the usual post about writers falling in love with the IDEA of coffe.
This is a post about coffee addiction.
There’s something deep and sick between coffee and writers. Coffee helps writers to stay up late at nights to finish their stories. Coffee, like tea, is a confort drink that keeps company whilst writing. The gesture of sipping a warm coffee merges with the gesture of moving the fingers on the keyboard.

Yeah, I wish it was just that.
It becomes an habit, people say. It’s a bloody addiction, I say. And that goes beyond writing.

I’ve got a serious coffee addiction – and this is my true story


The first thing I do in the morning – the very first thing – is to switch the coffee machine on. Then I can go wee, have breakfast, salute my husband, etc.
I can’t do anything else before having my shot of caffeine in the morning. My brain just doesn’t respond to any input that is not hitting the button of the coffee machine.

When I move to the UK, I hated any kind of coffee but the beloved Italian espresso*. I just couldn’t have any of them, they weren’t real coffee to me. I figured out very soon it wasn’t about me being picky, it was a physiological matter. The espresso coffee contains a different amount of caffeine than other types of coffee (ie French pressed, instant etc.). The precise amount of caffeine my brain have been needing to function since I was 13, or 14.

Since there was no moka around to make an espresso, I had to have instant coffee only, which have a less amount of caffeine than an espresso. After a few days, my mood changed dramatically. I felt blue all the time, our efforts to build a life here in the UK looked nonsense and I felt hopeless and ready to sob at any time. Plus, a constant headache was killing me. And I mean it.
I didn’t think it would cause by the lack of caffeine.

I had my first British espresso 8 days after I landed in the London. After 30 minutes, I started seeing rainbows and lollipops again. The miracle of the caffeine struck back.

The power of coffee while writing

Forget the stereotype of the writer comfortably sat on a swing chair in the patio, in front of a silent lake, sipping a cup of coffee. That’s really cool for your Instagram stream.
Just picture me on my only day off of the week, crushed on my living room couch, a miserable cold weather outside, my pyjamas on, husband watching football on the other couch (and commenting aloud!) and the kid upstairs never stopping to run on my head the whole day.

  • I need to focus.
  • I need to not lose my train of thoughts and the complicated plots I’ve created for my new Chase Williams’ mystery story.
  • I need to pretend the kid upstairs is not running like a herd of gnus.
  • I need to perceive my husband’s voice like white noise
  • And yes, I’m wearing earphones with some music, but this music is too good that it’s distracting me, I have to change it
  • OK, this music is OK, but I can hear all the loud-making mentioned points above

In this context, the coffee is vital. It helps me stay focused and ignore the rest. I can leverage my coffee addiction to boost my grey cells. It’s like doping. Well, caffeine is kind of a doping substance. Guh.

So, forget the bucolic idea of the writer sipping a lovely mug of coffee in peace because there’s some writing in progress. Writers use coffee because they’ve got a coffee addiction, they can’t work without coffee. It’s more like a need than a pleasure. It’s a pleasure because we need it, and life’s more colourful when the caffeine flows in your veins.

You’re not alone – and you don’t want to give up your coffee addiction

This is my story about the relationship I have with coffee. The society wants us to know that coffee addiction is bad, but we know it’s not. It’s a blessing.
I’d like to meet people and writers with a coffee addiction like mine. So, if you dare, leave a comment below and share your story :)

Taken at London Bridge

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*I’d never thanked myself enough to have moved outside Italy also for the coffee thing. I luckily had an open mind to taste different types of coffee, and I found out that they’re all pretty tasty. Each of them have to be tasted and ‘used’ depending on my needs and situations, but I do love all the coffee in the world, even the cold brewed one (which, if you have a coffee addiction, you should totally try out if you haven’t yet)! ❤️

Practicing photographic skills at sunset

practicing photographic skills at sunset #lovelondon 🌲📷

The day my husband woke up and wanted practicing photographic skills at sunset.

#lovelondon 🌲📷 #latergram

Taken at St James Park, Buckingham Palace

 

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It’s my birthday! (again!)

It's my birthday

It’s my birthday today, and it looks like my husband knows how to wish me #happybirthday on Instagram #luckygirl 🎂

This is the text @franzvitulli Instagram post @franzvitulli with @repostapp.
・・・
The kind of wife that cooks the best carbonara in the world, manages to stay super-fit yet eating 3 pizzas in one go whenever she’d like to, watches superhero / sci-fi / tarantino-y movies (to name some) with you instead of those BS romantic comedies, can talk about Star Wars plots and implications for hours, would rather have a rare florentine steak instead of cake (or instead of “just a salad”, for that matter), and never says ‘no’ to a double scotch. Everybody deserves someone like her in their life, but sorry, good luck with your search, this one’s taken 😎 Happy birthday, @eraniapinnera!

Taken at London, United Kingdom
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My grandmother’s birthday is an example of freedom

Today is my grandmother’s birthday, and this is a story about valuing the freedom of expression.
my grandmother’s birthday, voting, freedom of expression

The lady in the pic is my grandmother (my mother’s mum). Her name is Ida, and she turns 91 today.
This pic was shot this morning in Nuoro, Sardinia, where my grandmother lives. She stands in front of her polling station (the closest school from her home), as today in Italy people are called to express their vote for a referendum.

Despite her age and the fact that it’s her birthday, she wanted to go and vote. She’s never missed one single election or referendum since she had the right to vote. This lady has lived dark times–during the Fascism and during WWII, when people and women can’t express themselves– se she know what it means to have something to say and can’t say it… because if you speak, you’re dead.

In Italy women granted their right to vote in 1945. Since the very first election day open to women, my grandmother expressed her vote every single time she was asked. She didn’t matter if for many years, due to the endless Italian redtape, she had to go from Nuoro to Cagliari to vote. She had to, she had to go and vote, because she was happy and grateful she could do it.

Mrs Ida values a lot the freedom of expression we sometimes take as granted. My grandmother is an example for us, and I wish her to keep inspiring me for many many other years ahead.
Love you grandma ❤️

Taken at Nuoro City
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