[Video] My Croatian Days

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I sip my coffee and soak up this lazy early afternoon, while the scent of lavender and dry citrus zest from the local market tingles my nose. Dubrovnik is even better than I remembered. And what a fool I’ve been: I thought for a long time that I was only drunk in love when I was here last, six years ago… I was drunk on this stunning blue vault of sky instead, and on the green hues of this sea. “Croatia redefined the colour blue”, I write down on a paper napkin: I guess this would make the perfect caption for one of my Instagram posts.
I’m sitting here at a bar in the old town, gathering my thoughts about the few days just spent in this country, exploring and discovering gems I hadn’t even heard of before.

Starting with the village of Trogir, Unesco World Heritage site since 1997, sitting on a tiny island on the Split riviera. Minuscule and still so enticing, built almost entirely with a particular, precious kind of limestone that looks like marble. A strong wind called ‘Bura’, typical of this season, cleared the sky completely and created a crisp and inebriating air that married the bright sunshine perfectly, reminding me of those early October Sunday mornings of my childhood in Rome.

The perfect symbiosis between the ancient and the new was the element I liked the most in the renown summer destination that is Split, along with its beautiful waterfront and its cheeky cocktail bars.

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The biggest surprise for me was definitely the island of Hvar, with its luxuriant green mountains and rustic villages (like Starigrad and Vrisnik). If you visit Hvar you definitely must experience a Croatian Konoba: a typical family ran tavern, where to enjoy authentic olive oil, home-made cheese and ham and delicious wine (the rosé I tried in Vrisnik had a silky aroma of chestnut honey and fruits, and tasted heavenly). Highlight of this gorgeous island was the view from the top of the Spanish Fortress (‘Spanjola’), which is a silent and peaceful place, rarely invaded by big groups of noisy tourists and therefore really enjoyable.

At last, I’ve spent a beautiful morning in Rovinj, having breakfast by the pier where boats and yachts shelter in the sunshine, and exploring the stunning rocky coastline that peeks between this city’s colourful buildings, creating sudden glimpses of infinite blue.

My coffee and cake rest now peacefully in my belly, as I look up to the clock tower and smile lovely Dubrovnik goodbye, until we meet again. And for all you Wanderers, here’s my little video diary divided in two parts, so you can see the beauty of Croatia through my eyes… I hope it makes you feel the itch to visit this awesome country, because I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.
Enjoy all this fantastic blue, and see you again soon!

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[Video] Hiking the Hill of St. John in Kotor, Montenegro

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Hello Wanderers!!!

Here I am back on these pages, ready to collect and share new adventures and travel stories! I apologise once again for not having posted lately, but I was extremely busy rehearsing and setting up all the shows I will perform on Silver Muse until March 2019 🙂 The adventure on board has started and so far it was really rewarding, in terms of performing and ports of call we were able to visit.

After a lovely little time in Italy, where I’ve enjoyed great Limoncello in Sorrento, walked along the streets of my grandma’s childhood in Palermo and soaked up the eternal beauty of Venice’s canals (see my Instagram for shots and stories!), I’ve ticked off another country from my list: Montenegro! One day only, spent in the city of Kotor.

Kotor is considered a UNESCO Heritage Site, and you can trace back its history from the Roman Era (although the fortification that gives the city its charming character started in the early Middle Ages). After a walk in the city, my friends and I went for the number one must-do things in Kotor: we hiked the Hill of St. John to the top, following the impressive fortifications that include gates, towers, ramparts, bastions, a little chapel and even a castle! All beautifully preserved and in communion with the surrounding nature, offering the tourists breathtaking views of the panorama, below and all around.

Who knows me knows that I’m dramatically unfit for any kind of sport activity, but I decided to go for the hiking and take pictures and videos, so that you can all see me struggling and panting all the way through the 1355 steps and steep slopes of the hill. Here’s a little video I’ve put together just for you Wanderers! I hope you enjoy it, and if you are in Kotor and want to go for this I suggest you to carry a light backpack with plenty of water, sunscreen and… a raincoat! (Yes, we were caught in a rainstorm on the way back down and I even slipped and fell with my bum on the floor, so please wear shoes that have a good grip because the steps become slippery 😉 ).

See you soon with another post, this time dedicated to my days in lush Croatia!

A weekend in Bruges

 

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Oh, Bruges.

Definitely one of those cities that you can’t help reminisce about with a little sigh, a comma and its name. Oh, Bruges… (yes, feel free to add an ellipsis as well, for extra drama.)

Romantic European getaway, relaxing and unusual hen-do destination, family friendly location or lone traveller’s mind-clearing retreat, this Belgian gem of a city needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. First of all, it’s the perfect city to see in a two-days weekend (even better if you have three days, of course). Really, you don’t need more time than that to soak up all Bruges’ beauty. Choose springtime, because of the good weather and because it tends to be packed with tourists in high season.

Bruges oozes with character. Think of Venice meets Siena, with bold brushes of colour and a lot of chocolate. Tons of chocolate.

From London St. Pancras, Eurostar trains take you to Brussels (so, if you have time, you can combine these two very different cities in the same holiday and it’ll be totally worth it!); from there you can continue your journey on a national train and it’s only 40 minutes more. Although Bruges is not exactly cheap, visiting on a budget is still possible, taking advantage of the Ibis Budget Hotel (located just outside the station, a short walk to the city centre and a good abundant morning breakfast!) or opting for an Air BnB dig.

What to see –  Everything! Just walk and lose yourself, you’ll always find your way to beautiful views. One of the two main squares is Markt (Market Square), famous for its unique and colourful pointy roofed buildings and for the Historium, museum that offers virtual historical tours and a wonderful view from its rooftop. Burg, the other one, is more tucked away, but it’s home to the magnificent gothic City Town Hall. You probably have seen a place called Rozenhoedkaai in the pictures of all your friends who visited Bruges before: this famous photo-spot overlooking the canal, with a suggestive weeping willow and typical architecture as background, is the main area for cafes and restaurants, you are really spoilt for choice. You can also visit Saint-Janshospital, which is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe, with its own museum of artifacts not for the faint hearted. In the late afternoon (or at any time, really) don’t forget to have a long and relaxing stroll across Minnewater Park: expanding around what is known as the “Lake of Love”, this beautiful park will soothe your eyes and make you want to kiss a stranger on a bridge. Well, don’t. (Joking, follow your heart, sweetie).

What to eat  – You definitely should try the Flemish Stew (or Carbonnade Flamande), a stew of succulent beef chops slow cooked in dark beer and onions, served with crispy fries. Oh, so good. Or the famous Moules-Frites, delicious mussels cooked in wine, beer or cream and paired again with a rich side of fries. Fries and potatoes in general are massively present in Belgian cuisine, and you can try different kinds of mash as well as an alternative to the crispy sticks. Of course, being in Belgium, you have to indulge in the wonderful chocolate creations that this country provides. Go to Neuhaus (or to Elisabeth if you have time to kill when you’re in Brussels) and stock on the gorgeous assortment of lush pralines, truffles and bonbons that combine the finest Belgian chocolate with creams, fruit and nuts beyond your imagination. It’s pure sex. Another unmissable dessert in Bruges is Belgian waffles, fresh from the iron cast and topped with voluptuous mountains of cream, ice cream, fruit and/or flooded with thick melted chocolate. Delicious and quite filling. You can’t leave the Belgian border without having experienced a food baby from waffles. And of course be adventurous with the selection of crafted Belgian beers from the many beer bars in Bruges. I went for wine. I know: “Italians”.

What activities to do – Visit the many museums that Bruges offers! At the moment two big exhibitions of Picasso and Salvador Dali are snatching all the attention, but if you’re bored with Art you can find an Archeological Museum, a Chocolate Museum and even a Fries Museum! Pay a visit to the Brugs Biermuseum if you are fascinated by the whole process of creation of beer (and go wild on the sample tasting area!). Boat tours along the many canals in Bruges are another option that allow you to embrace the spirit of this lovely city. Or you can venture just outside the city centre and visit the windmills of Bruges, some of them still working and open to the public after three centuries.

What’s Instagrammable – Basically the whole city. But if we want to point out some highlights from Bruges let’s say that your Instagram feed can’t do without

  • the doors and the houses (with infinite colour combinations and quirky decorations);
  • weeping willows (really, they are so poetic);
  • strawberries dipped in chocolate;
  • the thousand small statues that you can spot on corners of buildings;
  • Tintin memorabilia;
  • waffles, waffles, waffles like there’s no tomorrow;
  • you on a bridge. And of course you and your loved one with the backdrop of Rozenhoedkaai (not going to share that one with you, hope you don’t mind 😀

I hope this post and my photodiary enticed you into visiting and discovering this precious city, that surely will stay in your heart much, much longer after the chocolate praline box from Neuhaus is finished. (Which usually happens on the way back to the hotel, it rarely survives one day. Mine didn’t, ça va sans dire.)

Have you been to Bruges? What did you love the most?

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The wonders of Kaiyukan Aquarium in Osaka [Photogallery]

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Hello wanderers!

I was flicking through my photo albums from my time in Japan and I decided to dedicate a special post to one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had: visiting the Kaiyukan Aquarium in beautiful Osaka! If you are in ‘Japan’s kitchen’ (this is the nickname that Osaka has, probably because it’s a gourmand’s heaven) and like me you’re in love with the big blue ocean, then you really can’t miss it.

This breathtaking place is listed in the Top 10 of the largest aquariums in the world. Some numbers? 30 000 living creatures, 740 different species and a total water volume of 10 million liter!

Location – Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka’s bay area (near Tempozan’s Ferris Wheel)

Theme and concept – Designed by American architect Peter Chermayeff, the Kaiyukan (a japanese word that means ‘playing in the sea pavilion’) was based on the Gaia hypothesis proposed by Dr. James Lovelock: an ecological theory, according to which all the living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings (like volcanoes) to form, and function as, a single organism, maintaining and perpetrating the conditions for life on the planet.

In the Pacific ocean we can notice a curious and astounding overlap between the Pacific Rim volcanic belt (constantly shaken by eruptions) and the area with the most varied and rich biodiversity: the ‘Ring of Fire’ meets the ‘Ring of Life’, this is the concept that the Kaiyukan embodies.

Structure of the Kaiyukan – All the living species of this aquarium are organised in 16 different large tanks, each representing a specific region of the Pacific Rim and recreating its natural environment. Visitors can take a tour starting from the 8th floor and walking down the spiral ramp that wraps around the biggest central tank called ‘Pacific Ocean’. This tank is 9 metres deep, contains more than 5000 tons of water and is house to the whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world.

Not only fish – Amphibians, birds, reptiles, mammals, marine invertebrates, plants… The Kaiyukan composes a complete biosphere. Don’t forget to visit the more recent and new interactive exhibition area for a thorough sensory experience of the natural environment!

I’ll leave you with some more pictures I’ve taken of this dazzling place, enjoy!

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[Oh, jellyfish. I love jellyfish. I spent more than an hour staring at it, hypnotized. I just love jellyfish. Of course with a glass pan between me and it, otherwise “aaaargh, back off!”]

 

[Video] My Dublin Days – What to see, to do, to look for in Dublin!

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Hello Wanderers!

I’ve just returned after my four-day city break to Dublin (actually to Dundalk first and then Dublin)! My first time ever in Ireland, which means I can add it to my list of countries visited so far, reaching the count of 39 (applause, epic Oprah music, confetti shower, hand waves with teary eyes).

Dublin, a capital that is so full of character and so human-friendly, with a pace of life distant light years from rat-racey London. A city that maintains a village feel, with its buildings that don’t aim to scrape the sky, its evergreen pub culture, its coloured doors. Oh those lovely doors! History says it was a way for the residents to put their personal flair to the strictly structured Georgian constructions; legend wants that it was an easy trick to be able to find their house when drunk, on the way back from the pub.

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Immersed in tradition, but at the same time a city that is undergoing a huge development, especially in the zone around the Grand Canal Docks: after a long walk surrounded by red brick houses and swans gliding peacefully on the waters we reach an area that reflects (still in its own particular way) the structure of London docklands, with modern buildings of multinational companies and mirror-windowed offices, flown over by flocks of seagulls. The feeling is that, after the surely risky and clumsily conducted Brexit manoeuvre, many important international companies are now transferring their operational headquarters from the UK to Ireland, setting up the country to a huge renaissance in terms of jobs and economic opportunities.

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I want to thank my wonderful locally based friends Herachya and Gianluca, that made me feel at home and made my Irish days memorable, helping me discover the best of places, food and things to do. So, would you guys know what I saw and did in Dublin and what I recommend? Cool, first of all…

Trinity College

You really shouldn’t miss this. The University’s green and cobbled internal yard is luxurious (especially on a sunny morning, and I was so lucky with the weather on those days, can’t believe it!) and you can breathe in the magnificence of the elegant buildings where Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett have studied. The College’s Library treasures original medieval gospel manuscripts (go and see the exhibition about the Book of Kells! Entrance is 13 euro, but you can see the incredibly detailed creation process of the book, from the stretch of calfskin to create the vellum, to the decorating work), and one of the most impressive book chambers worldwide: it’s called The Long Room (long indeed: 65 metres) and it houses two hundred thousands original books. You enter the room and you smell history. And the jawdropping arched ceiling, raised in 1860, will allow you to take stunning pictures!

The Spire

I’ve asked my friend Gianluca “where shall we meet?”, and he promptly replied “where all the people in Dublin meet: at the Spire!”. In O’Connell Street it’s impossible to miss this huge stainless steel monument. 120 metres high, like a gigantic whale tooth that rises to the sky (not really matching the style of the surrounding buildings, to be honest, but it’s an interesting contrast), the Spire replaced Nelson’s Pillar, destroyed by an IRA bombing in 1966. The monument illuminates the night sky in Dublin… and its tip swings when the wind is strong, sometimes up to 1,50 metres! (It’s perfectly safe, I just wanted to scare you a bit). Oh, don’t even bother trying to take a full picture of it, if not from a ridiculous distance (and even at that point, it will just look like a random lamp post).

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Temple Bar

Temple Bar is the area on the south bank of the river where the most of Dublin’s artistic and cultural life takes place: live music, theatre, cinema and multimedia institutes and events, and a vibrant night life. Hallmark of this gorgeous area is of course The Temple Bar Pub , another to-go place in Dublin if you really want to get the feeling of the city.

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Statues of Dublin

Dublin is literally full to the brim of statues! It could be a nice game to play, walking around with friends and trying to spot them first. The James Joyce statue seems to stare at the Spire with a skeptical face, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find Oscar Wilde chilling on a rock in Merrion Square. Fun fact: Dubliners love to give quirky (and sexual) nicknames to statues and monuments, so that the statue of Molly Malone (heroine of a traditional Irish song) is often called “the Tart with the Cart”, James Joyce is addressed as “the Prick with the Stick” and the huge Spire column is commonly known as “the Pole in the Hole”, “the Stiffy at the Liffey” or even “the Erection at the Intersection”.

The National Gallery

What a gem! I highly recommend to spend a couple of hours admiring this amazing collection of the finest artworks by artists such as Perugino, Rembrandt, Degas, Monet, and of course some real Irish masterpieces by Jack B. Yeats. I was mesmerised by the colour tones of two of the big rooms (one red, one teal), and how this precious gallery manages to merge a stunningly modern architecture and overall concept with timeless art from the past. Absolutely beautiful and FREE ENTRY (subscriptions are of course welcome).

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Embrace the pub culture to the fullest

Basically all the blogs and guidebooks list a visit to the Guinness Storehouse as a must-do thing in Dublin. Well, sure, if you are interested in seeing the whole process of preparation of this iconic beer it might be a nice experience, but tickets are quite pricey (around 18 euro) and it would take a chunk of your time in the city that you might prefer to use for other activities on a budget. What I suggest you is to scrap the Guinness Storehouse, and instead have your dinner meals at pubs that brew their own selection of beers: don’t miss for example the pubs of Galway Bay Brewery Company , that offer a delicious chocolate stout and vibrant red ales, along with finger licking pub food. If you have the chance (and if you feel young and reckless) sign up for a pub crawl. Pubs tell you a lot about the spirit of this city, the big heart of the people who live in it and the traditions of the whole country.

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And a few more tips:

  • Stroll in St. Stephen’s Park – it’s a gorgeous green space, and if you’re lucky with the weather it would be one of the most pleasant moments of your holiday.
  • Churches and Cathedrals – they are fantastic, I wish I had more time to visit all of them properly…
  • Enter Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre – the interiors of this mall look like a giant liberty style train station. Very Instagrammable.
  • Support local art – I already mentioned live music and theatre events, but if you want to bring home some exclusive pieces of Irish art & design I suggest you to visit the Jam Art Factory in Dublin zone 2, where you find fine art prints and decorative objects for a very affordable price!
  • Go for one-day getaways: Dublin is the perfect starting point to go and explore other marvellous areas in Ireland, reachable by train in one hour or so. The stunning Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Galway City, Glendalough, Newgrange… If you have more than three days to spend in Dublin you might consider a day for one of these trips, you’ll be rewarded.

And this is all for now, but I can’t leave you without a little video-diary I’ve prepared for you while walking up and down the city. I’ve chosen to accompany the images with the voice of the extraordinary Dolores O’Riordan, Irish icon and one of the biggest idols of my adolescence, with a song that would give me the same shivers it gave me when I was 15, even if I listened to it thirty years from now.

Enjoy and… visit Dublin!

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[Video] Lumiere London 2018: second edition for this exciting light-art festival!

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Hello Wanderers!

A new year has started and I’ve been searching for ways to try and beat the winter blues (I’m a summer child and I haven’t decided to live in the sunniest city in the world, let’s say it), until I discovered that Lumiere London, the festival of art installations where the creative use of light is the key element, was due to return for a thrilling second edition!

For four nights (18-21 January), artists from all over the world have reimagined London’s architecture and streets, creating an open-air modern art gallery. I’ve defied the glacial temperatures (believe me, my forehead was frozen and I couldn’t raise my eyebrows anymore at some point, like after a botox procedure done in a butcher’s stockroom in Pattaya), and I’ve put together a little three-minute video that collects some of the highlights of this year’s edition!

I did my best to give you an overview of all the six areas where the event took place, but unfortunately I couldn’t explore the King’s Cross locations properly, due to shortage of time and hallucinations of polar bears dancing on pink strawberry jelly, product of the hypothermia I was going through. I hope you forgive me.

So, here’s the video, sit back and enjoy!

 

[Video] London Xmas 2017: a view on this year’s lights and decorations!

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Hi everyone!

Here I am, with too-much-mulled-wine hiccups to show you a little 5 minute video I made just for you Wanderers: I’ve been walking and walking and walking around London, putting together some images of the most lovely Christmas decorations that this city prepared for the year 2017! Street lights, window settings, hanging props, glitter and sparkles… a feast for the eyes and a warm hug for the heart! Because yes, we can be grown ups, cynical and disenchanted as much as we like, but there will always be a part of us that gets excited for the approaching of this time of the year. That’s why I decided to give you a little glimpse of London’s Xmas and I really hope you will like it for what it is, me walking around with my nose up and starry eyes like Macaulay Kulkin in New York in “Home Alone 2”, enjoying the spirit of the festive season along the city streets. Enjoy!

Oxford Street has been covered with 1778 golden and silver baubles, and the lights have been switched on by popstar Rita Ora. The street teamed up once again with NSPCC and Sky Cinema for the campaign “Light up Christmas for Children”, raising money to give a brighter future to children in need. Covent Garden went for the traditional display of giant golden baubles and mistletoe, and Regent Street organised a beautiful promenade of angels and canopies of lights, symbolising the “Spirit of Christmas” (even though my favourite Regent Street Xmas lights remain the ones from 2015, with suspended metal cogs and wheels changing colour, thanks to a continuous animated projection system).

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After all the walking and the videoing it’s time for me to give my personal Awards!

The winner in the category Street Decoration goes undoubtedly to Carnaby Street! Clearly inspired by the Carnival of Rio, these decorations are the most colourful, less serious and most dynamic ones of all.

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The Best Shop Window Setting goes to Debenhams on Oxford Street! Their fairy tale theme is enchanting, luxurious and sparkly pink!

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Best Selfie Spot With Friends goes to the silver and blue bauble on Tottenham Ct. Road! You can pose underneath the gallery inside the bauble and Instagram yourself as much as you like (tip of the day: print the photo on card and send it to your family as Xmas card!).

That’s all from London, for now. Yes, because I’m sure there’ll be more posts about this city’s festive events, and I’ll do my best to keep you updated with detailed reportages!

See you later, Wanderers!

 

 

 

Memories of a city – Rio De Janeiro [Brazil]

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November-December 2011. I struggle to believe it’s been already nearly six years since that trip that meant so much to me. It was a holiday, a mad act of love, a journey of self-discovery. I was answering a calling from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but most of all I was following a voice from inside of me. My voice, finally.

I said “a mad act of love”. The day before my flight to Rio, Rome (I was still living in Rome) was ironically hit by a sudden, unusual and sensational SNOW STORM! It snowed all day, and Romans can confirm that our beloved city is totally not prepared or equipped to face that kind of emergency. The result was that a lot of flights were cancelled, all the buses were stopped and you could barely see a car circulating (let alone a taxi). I spent the night attached to the computer screen, praying that my flight would not be cancelled, with my parents not understanding why was that trip so important to me. Surprisingly my flight from Fiumicino Airport remained confirmed, so the morning after (at 5.30 a.m.) I left my house and dragged my heavy suitcase in the snow, walking for one kilometer to reach the nearest tube station. Buses were still down, so I had to catch two trains, praying to make it to the airport on time. On my phone some of my friends were rooting for me via sms. I made it. I checked in and I flew to Rio.

This is a photo album with some beautiful memories of that holiday and that fascinating city.

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The exhibition “India!” at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil was the first event I attended upon my arrival in Rio, and it was spectacular. It surely triggered my interest towards exploring and getting to know Asia, the cultures and traditions of that part of the world that was unknown to me. The exhibition included interactive and musical lectures about Hinduism and Buddhism, and rooms of marvellous contemporary art.

I can’t quite describe the feeling I had when I walked along the seaside at Ipanema and Copacabana. I remember that for the first couple of days the sun was pale, and the sky was a bit cloudy and misty… The beach was enveloped in a magical halo, and I experienced a sense of total freedom and fullness. It was like walking on air. Was it the love high? Sure, that played a big part, but the scenery I was surrounded by was mesmerising.

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There’s a rock formation that separates the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, and if you climb to the top you can have probably the best view of all the surrounding area.

When I took the following picture I knew immediately the title I would have given to it: “Listen”. That was the moment I finally realised the importance of listening carefully to ourself, to our inner voice. Never leave it unheard.

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Brazilian people are probably one of the kindest people you would meet in the world. Much alike us Italians, they open their heart easily and they love to make you feel at home. On sale along the street in Copacabana I saw this t-shirt saying “Gentileza gera gentileza” (“Kindness generates kindness”). It doesn’t happen always, unfortunately, but we should never give up on this idea. We should generate the change that we want to see around us, everyday. More kindness is what we need.

“Pão de Açúcar” means “sugar loaf”: it’s the iconic cone-shaped mountain you see in many pictures of sunsets over Rio. The summit is reachable by a cable car system that stops halfway on top of the shorter peak Morro da Urca. On the top of Pão de Açúcar the vegetation is flourishing and you have the chance to spot many little monkeys jumping between trees (it was basically impossible for me to take an unblurred photo of them) and tiny colourful parrots. Heavenly place.

Another iconic peak, Corcovado. Where the statue of Christ The Redeemer welcomes all tourists and pilgrims with arms wide open and eyes of wisdom. We took the train through the natural park, then walked up to the top. I remember that the wind was so strong we had to grab each other arms and ground ourself to the floor. But how spectacular it was… The city from up there looked Lego made. And in my ears the lyrics of  that famous Antônio Carlos Jobim’s song called “Corcovado” were resonating so brightly:

“…E eu que era triste
Descrente deste mundo
Ao encontrar você eu conheci
O que é felicidade meu amor…”

And then there were beach days. And long walks drinking coconuts with a straw. Abundant food cooked with care. Promises for the future and life lived for the moment. And Christmas trees, because it was already Christmas season! So strange for me to see Christmas settings in a summer weather for the first time!

There was all this and much much more, in the space of ten days. There was Tay, who I’ll always thank for that little window of time when our paths have crossed, really. And there was Rio, with all its magic.

(Oh and we saw this live. Awesome.)

Photodiary of a weekend in Bath

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Some weeks ago I had the pleasure to spend a lovely weekend (despite the weather, it basically rained the whole freaking time) with friends in Bath, in the countryside region of Somerset (UK). It’s the perfect weekend getaway from London! Easily reachable via train (but we went by car, which is cheaper and gives you more freedom of course), Bath is famous for its natural hot springs and it still preserves a bath system built by the Romans in the 2nd Century! And every thing that the city has to offer is within walking distance from the station and from the main street. This is a photo-diary of those two days, enjoy and… go visit Bath!

The river Avon, which crosses the city and has a walkable promenade.

Parade Gardens, with a beautiful flower sculpture dedicated to the novelist Jane Austen, who spent in Bath five important years of her life and career. At 40 Gay Street you can even visit the Jane Austen Centre, a picturesque permanent exhibition where you can go back in time to the beginning of the 19th Century.

IMG_20170725_075549_831If you like whiskey you can’t miss this place called The Hideout, a stone-walled bar for real connoisseurs, with a warm and friendly atmosphere!

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Bath Abbey and the Pump Room, where you can have a good afternoon tea right next the Roman Baths.

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The experience of the Roman Baths is a must-do, especially in the evening when the torch lights enhance the magic of that place. The path describes very well the everyday life of the Romans, and you can see perfectly preserved objects and architectural structures. A company of actors recreate scenes from the Roman age and accompany the tourists on their walk.

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We stopped at Boston Tea Party for cakes, coffee and herbal tea, and it was very nice!

More views of the city, walking towards The Circus. The umbrellas installation is located just inside Southgate Shopping Center (Southgate St, Bath BA1 1AQ).

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Dinner time! Probably because of the Roman origin, Bath is full of Italian restaurants 😀 We chose Nonna’s Cucina Italiana, very stylish place and delicious food! I had Insalata di Mare (seafood salad) as starter, and a rich mushroom risotto, all accompanied by an Apulian wine called Primitivo. Highly recommended if you fancy an Italian dinner!

The morning after we had a good breakfast at Rosarios, and then we visited the Victoria Art Gallery . We crossed Pulteney Bridge and we went exploring the other side.

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We stumbled upon a rugby field! I thought it was a croquet field. I’ve never been too good at sports.

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What a great surprise was The Holburne Museum! Full of art and antiques, with a gorgeous park attached. We had a nice wander through the building and enjoyed the green surroundings… and we got caught in the rain again!

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I definitely want to visit Bath again soon. Probably in springtime, hoping to find a drier weather 🙂 On my bucket list for next Bath weekend:

  • Experience the open-air rooftop pool at Thermae Bath Spa
  • Visit Alexandra Park for more spectacular views
  • Have a traditional full afternoon tea

and….

…visit Stonehenge on the way back to London (this time it wasn’t possible due to limited time)!

Have you been in Bath? What are your favourite spots? And what do you suggest for my next trip?