I moved to London at the beginning of the year and I’m still very much adjusting to this busy city. Haven’t doodled as much as I’d like to but here are a few I managed to squeeze in. I’m hoping to find some interesting drawing classes, really want to draw dancers and costumed performers, figured London is bound to have something like that!
Views from Castelo de Sao Jorge - one of my favourite attractions of the weekend, the views alone are worth it!
These viewpoints are scattered throughout Lisbon, particularly in the Alfama area. We were honestly lost and then BOOM we came across the viewpoint above. Definitely take the time to get lost and just explore the area.
This is the view from across the river to Cacilhas. It's just a short and very inexpensive ferry ride across. The area itself didn't have too much to explore but there are a couple of riverside restaurants which we unfortunately didn't get to try due to bad timings. Glad we crossed for me to snap this pic though!
I loved every minute of my time at the Studio Ghibli Museum - this is a must visit for every Studio Ghibli fan. It was simply magical, like going to Disneyland or Harry Potter world. I was giddy like a little school girl!
If you don't fancy a little wander to the museum you can get the Neko bus from Mitaka Station.
You have to book your tickets months in advance, the official website will point you to an official ticket seller for foreigners. This was a Sunday though but I suspect it does normally get this busy on a weekday too. I would have loved to explore this place on a quiet day, it would be such a lovely museum to relax in!
There are sooooo many little details to this museum, really take the time to absorb it all in, especially because there is a very strict no-picture policy within the museum grounds, even in the cafe we could only take pictures of our table.
Quick sketch of the Laputa Robot on the roof. I would have loved to doodle some more inside but it really was just too busy. There were so many incredible displays inside and plenty of artwork from the movies. There was an incredible life size cat bus to sit in, I think that it is only there for a limited time, and the wonderful thing about the museum is that they have exclusive short films created just for the museum. The film we got to watch was about a lovable dog called 'Koro'.
Of course the museum shop carries all sorts of exclusive souvenirs, it was so hard not going crazy in there!
We had to wait at least an hour to get into the cafe but again, I'm glad we did, the interior is so charming! I could happily spend an afternoon sitting there drawing or reading a book.
If you are a tea lover then don't get the milk tea! Thankfully they don't serve it to you with sugar but they frothed up the milk, a big no no in my books.
Honestly the cake wasn't the best sponge cake either but it looked so darn cute!
Any trip to the Studio Ghibli Museum should include a little wander in the park that encloses the museum - Inokashira park. Perfect around Autumn and I imagine it would be lovely during cherry blossom season.
We spent a full day at the Ocean park and I'm pretty sure I could have spend a couple of days exploring the place - I LOVE aquariums and lucky for us the weather was brilliant. In fact I intentionally chose Okinawa for some fun sun times, even though November is one of the cooler months, the temperature was still pushing 30 degrees which is heat wave temperature in my books!
In order to get to the Ocean Expo Park from Naha, you either need to take the bus or hire a car. We took the bus route as to avoid driving with some severe jet-lag, otherwise from what I saw, driving around Okinawa should be fairly simple, highways don't get too fast and they drive on the same side of the road us so definitely a good option for next time when I decide to take a longer relaxing holiday there! :D
The quickest bus is the Yanbaru Express Bus - there is no English on the website but I used google translate to find times and prices, it took us roughly 2 hours to get there and it cost us 1900 JPY per bus ticket (about £14).
We went to the Churaumi Aquarium first, it was already busy at 9 in the morning, albeit it was a Saturday but definitely I hope to go back to this aquarium on an off-peak day. I imagine it would be a rather relaxing place when its quiet.
After walking through the ticket gates, like a child, I ran straight to the tank of star fish, of course I was surrounded by school kids, and stuck my hand in the water to touch and poke at all the poor sea life. It is genuinely not as gross as you would think it'd be.
Some quick sketches of the sea life we got to see. It was very busy so I had to do quick little drawings and then move out of the way for all the other tourists, again another reason why I'd love to go back when its quiet, so I can then draw for hours.
Now this is main reason for any trip to Okinawa, the showstopper of the entire Ocean Park! The tank carries roughly 9000000 litres of water and 26000 creatures. There is a fantastic seating area and a cafe round the other side of the tank for you to marvel at the sea life for as long as you want.
Fun family food is all you'll really find at the Ocean Park, not that I'm complaining, and the lunch I dug into was a Taco Rice. It is precisely what it claims to be - a mince taco filling with lettuce, cheese and salsa, topped onto some Japanese sushi rice. This is an Okinawan dish derived from the American/Mexican influence. I was expecting to enjoy it for the junk food that it was, followed usually by that yucky feeling of regret afterwards but this actually tasted really good. It's definitely a recipe I could easily replicate at home and of course a hot day at the park wouldn't be complete without some ice cream - mango flavoured on the screen left, purple sweet potato on the right, another Okinawan specialty.
Of course the Dolphin Show is a must.
Okinawa Ocean Expo Park is a LARGE park. Between the Aquarium, Museum and Tropical Dream Center, take the time to just wander around the park. The whole area is surrounded by the ocean, which means every view is a stellar view.
In Okinawa November to February/March is 'winter' season so not only will there be a lot less water sports available but beaches in general are closed. Emerald Beach at Ocean Park is not technically closed to the public, however swimming and entering the water is prohibited, which means that the beach is as good as closed. Not of course for beach-deprived old me - it was an afternoon of lounging around on a gorgeous DESOLATE white sand beach.
Quick sketch at Summerlee Industrial museum. That's me getting back into more location drawing again, I can't quite brave the cold yet but Summerlee was a place that I hadn't been to since I was really wee. Once it warms back up again or atleast not freezing cold then I'll go back to draw around the builing, it's a great building.