[Video] Video-diary of my weekend in Brighton!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Hello Wanderers!

I know, it’s been a long time since my last post, but life got a bit in the way 😀 But I’m finally back with two brand new posts! I’ve spent a lovely weekend in Brighton some time ago and I’ve prepared this little video-diary to show you some highlights of this awesome UK city, perfect in the summer but fantastic all year round. If this video tickles your curiosity then you absolutely should check my list of…

31 things you’ll find in Brighton that will never make you want to leave!

You’ll find pictures, useful links, tips and suggestions about food, places to go and things to see!

But now it’s time to press play and see me loving my life by the seaside 😀 Enjoy!

 

IMG_20190603_081802_493 (1)

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

20180924_150012_edited

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!

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

PhotoGrid_1518257374105

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.

doors.jpg

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.

swans

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).

PhotoGrid_1518203783133

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.

IMG_20180209_200135_203

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).

IMG_20180208_154010_022

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.

27946121_10215048831959198_457358320_o

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!

27951305_10215048832639215_337124988_o