What a day yesterday! What an adventure! What an amazing guided tour we had!2015-07-01 10.34.44

I chose Sheffield from my list of cities-to-visit because of a friend living there that I have not been seeing for ages and I thought it could have been a good idea to meet. But we didnàt manage, so I probably need another trip to Sheffield later on.

I spotted few days ago that some guided tour were organised (with no booking, so if you wake up one morning and ddecide to visit Sheffield, no need to pre-book), starting from the Tourist Office, which is quite handy as you are already there to ask for information.

Mark Newton (Sheffield Walking Tours is his website) comes from Sheffield and has a real passion for everything that is history, culture and outdoor activities in and around the city. He was such a good guide! With other 3 young foreign people, he took us on a 90 mins walk around Sheffield city centre, showing us around all that this city has to offer. Who would have known that Sheffield was a mix of culture (tons of theatres, libraries, plays, without mentioning the important Engineering Colleges or the Irish/Italian and other communities that came in the city), economy (it was a really wealthy city back in the 1980s, and it has a past in heavy industry, coal, steel etc.), history (some of the buildings in the city date back to the 12th Century), religion (the oldest free Catholic Cathedral in England is in Sheffield, along with Methodist, Anglican, a Sinagogue and other smaller churches) and I could go on for hours.

Did you know that Sheffield has a ‘Walk of Fame’? Well, it has. Just in front of its Town 2015-07-01 10.55.13Hall (which is worth a visit, just for the collection of steel products, 100% made in Sheffield), you can admire some of Sheffield VIP people, known all over the world (from sport, cinema to Literature, music). And did I mention that Sheffield City Hall is a Grade II listed buolding? It would take me ages and more than one post to write all about Sheffield. The best thing to do? visit it! Maybe with one of those tours (Mark is really great and helpful: he gave us every bus/tram line we might need to go here and there, to visit this and that, to eat in that or that pub etc.), that are definitely worth the £5 you will spend. Otherwise you will just miss the best of Sheffield.

The proof of the pudding!

Discovering Stafford

Today, I thought it would have been a good idea to have a small road trip (or better a “bus” trip) to Stafford. I spotted some good places on the internet the days before my trip that seemed to be worth a visit. And they were. I went for a very relaxed day with very few things on my to-visit list, as I didn’t want to go home more tired than when I left.

So, back to our visits, the bus to Stafford left me really close to the city centre. Nice and small, it was full of local, charity and coffee shops. People walking around, having their breakfasts at the local Costa or doing some shopping. A quick window-shopping through the high street, near the theatre, the college and other main building, put me in the mood for one of those relaxed walks as tourists do. For once, I was in no rush, enjoying the town (unfortunately the local market was not there that day 😥 ).2015-05-13 11.40.52

After the high street, the Victoria Park was my next stop. And it was absolutely stunning. The ducks swimming here and there in the canal, people feeding them, children playing, cyclists coming out from the near forest, grandpas playing pétanque… just the perfect location for a quite lunch at the riverbank.

Next and last stop of my day? Stafford castle at just 30mins walk from Victoria park and Railway station. Easy to find, easy to discover. There are signs everywhere, leading you to the very top of the hill, where the castle has been built. At the entrance gate, on the left, a Medieval garden has been created, with lots of herbs and plants, perfectly well-finished and watered by the wise hand of the gardeners. 2015-05-13 12.26.13Peace reigns in this place and you feel it everywhere. How can I visit the castle, then? Well, easy. You follow the 15 signs and panels spreaded all around the castle and in the forest just underneath the main hill and you will discover the history of the castle itself, the villagers, the day-to-day life and local animals. Squirrels running freely from one tree to the other. Pure and simple happiness. Back to our 15 panels. If you carefully follow them, you will start a gentle climb to the highest hill where the castle is. If you feel lazy, then go for the main path, but the suspence will blow away in few seconds.2015-05-13 12.31.14

From the castle, the view is stunning. Forget of the tall trees in front of you and the near counties are all there under your feet. Stafford, Stoke, Cheshire, Shropshire all the local towns etc. Once you reached the top, you can also enter the ruins of the castle and have a look around, think about living in the castle at those times, the banquets, the music, the daily life. Impressive.

If you are around, it is a MUST to visit. Cheers 🙂

3 Things I Have Learned This Week

Do not think I will write about something philosophical or with a deep meaning. This first week at work taught me few interesting things that I wanted to share with you all.

1 – Picmonkey and Constant Contact. These are 2 of the programs that we normally use at work. They are largely used to prepare our weekly newsletters. I could play a bit with both of them and I must admit that they are quite interesting. Constant Contact is basically another MailChimp (probably more famous than Constant Contact), with the same functions and tools. Picmonkey, on the other hand, is an online program (no need to download it, it is possible to use it directly from the website to modify your pictures. You can creat banners, collages, add texts to your pictues etc.

2 – Not everybody thinks like you. I have already learned this lesson but I keep forgetting it. I re-learned it from work, home, friends, life in general. You always have to keep in mind that people are not you, they have their own lives, experiences and opinions. That is why the world is such a wonderful place. If everybody thinks the same, it will be toooooooo boring.

3 – Payday is the 2nd sweetest word in my vocabulary, just after Gewurztraminer. When you are given a true, material reward for your work, it feels so good! Do not get me wrong, compliments are a fair reward too, but once I heard from somebody that he never congratulated his employees, even if they did a great job because it would have boosted their ego and made them boasted about their abilities, losing their concentration. Maybe never is unfair, but it is true (at least for me) that if somebodies congratulates you, you start losing your ability to work effectively and efficiently somehow.


Just that. Leave you now, dinner is ready! Cheers everybody 🙂