The real Devil’s Bridge

Back in June I wrote an essay about my first 6 months spent in glory 2016. I wrote about my journeys, physical and emotional ones, from winter to early summer, and this summer -let me tell you- has been quite a ride too, that I’ll write down soon (very soon, promise).

One of the best moments was when I rented a car and drove with two old friends somewhere in Germany, at the border with Poland, to see a bridge. Now, it may sounds strange that three individuals go to see a bridge, none of them super particularly interested -nor expert- in architecture. But believe me, this daily trip to a random town was special. That small town has a park, in it there’s one of the weirdest bridges ever built.

Its German name is Rakotzbrücke.

What makes people want to go there is its reflection, more than its construction. The bridge can create a perfect circle when it is reflected in the waters beneath it, and believe me, it’s magic to look at. Yes, it’s an illusion, I am aware of it, but having to walk around made me appreciate the moment so much, and it wasn’t an illusion, it was a connection.

Was it the Devil’s outcome, then?

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Everybody is wondering and wandering in life. Us three wandered around the park, and wondered. I kinda feel like we all three walked that bridge, somehow. Three completely different stories, yet all poignant. Being there together was such an unique moment to share, and I humbly felt happy to rekindle our friendship with that road trip. Devil’s trick, for sure.

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From behind

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Of course, that bridge was too yummy to not filter it

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Special thanks to…

ale

andrea-paparazzi

 

And by the way… “OH MY GOD this is my favourite song ever!”🙂

Mdina, pure magic

Of all the places visited in Malta, Mdina was the one that struck me the most.

I knew that everybody was saying it was beautiful, but it was more than that. It was such a slice of ethereal Malta. I loved everything about it: the enchanting little alleys, balconies, and stunning flowers on the walls. It was pretty much a paradise for photo lovers, or to say it in a more modern way, Instagram goals.🙂

A trip is made of small moments, thoughts, revelations, laughters, all together, some at the same time. I had many of those during my Trip to Mdina. I also knew that the main reasons why I loved it were:

– because there weren’t so many tourists;

– because it was finally almost warm;

– because my cynic spirit for once was wrong, since it wasn’t expecting Mdina to be truly that beautiful;

– because something beautiful becomes even better when shared with others.

There, I’ll say it. I found it was a special, magic place, that sunny afternoon.

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Valletta at dusk

A windy evening of May, I landed in Malta.

The first stop, after copious raining, was a wet and charming Valletta at dusk. The city was empty, colourful, fascinating.

Upper Barrakka Gardens are the perfect point at sunset, they give you a glimpse of the contrast between the walled city and the sea. Be sure to head there once, you won’t be disappointed.

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While strolling, I remember thinking how Valletta looked like an infinite catwalk. The street are the perfect (red) carpets, ups and downs of baroque charme, old houses and the walls to frame the scenery. There I wished I was a fashion photographer, taking pictures of beautiful people at every corner, every street. I ain’t a photographer, yet I had however, my trustful camera, to capture the vibes of the place, and a handsome fella, to explore arm in arm: the odds were in my favour that evening.

The city is anything but luxury, yet it has that certain rich appeal that only a Mediterranean city can pass to you. And I was content with that, with that shots, with that trip.

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Can we agree to say that quietness looked so strange? There, there were some cats, soaking up the last ray of sun in the evening. Quiet, posh, and avoiding in every case your attention. Or the camera… paparazzi style…

… That’s right, at the end of the day, Valletta, so empty, looked like an old Hollywood movie.

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Hello, Malta

The Mediterranean colours called, in May. Hello, Malta.

What an excitement to go for a little adventure, especially during low season, especially if it involves the sea and the perfect month to enjoy the good weather without a scorched skin. Yet, the weather was rather unpredictable…

MY FAULT:  I was asking for beautiful sunny-but-not-hot days and karma graced me with unchangeable, sunny-but-pretty-cold weather. Bar the complaints, its landscape was stunning.

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I am a nordic creature, amazed to see how many shades of brown and yellow an island down south can have. I’m used to green, but I liked what I saw, especially from the boat. There’s something magic with floating on open sea, and navigating around islands and its cliffs. And I felt light, kinda dreamy.

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With only 2 full days and no car, you got kinda limited time to visit all.

The plan was to divide and conquer: the most famous cities Valletta, Mdina; a day in Gozo, mixing Victoria with some beach time (my tolerance once with a swim suit lasted exactly 1:22 minutes but hey); smaller but charming places, like Sliema and the fishing village of Marsaxlokk (where I ate the most delicious grilled octopus ever). Props to the bus and ferry system, quite good and easy to use (and a tip for you, get the 7-Day Explore Card!!).

I leave here few snaps of the places visited. Enjoy.

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Sliema

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Marsaxlokk

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Marsaxlokk

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Victoria, Citadella

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Victoria, Citadella from the roofs

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Exploring Gozo

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Cliffs in Had-Dingli

 

 

 

Bangkok’s Top Places and Things

1) Get involved in a tuck tuck scam

You might want to believe that drivers in BKK are not trying to squeeze money out of you but they just really want to show you the city, but it’s of course not true. The most active ones are around street waiting for youngsters to jump on, especially for a temple tour that you pay at the end or not pay at all if you don’t mind visiting a tailor and tourist shops full of crap from China..The tour is actually nice, if you are able to breathe during rush hour (conveniently at every hour in Bangkok) and to avoid the shop assistants trying to sell you everything from a true silk tie to their passports. The best part for us was to be dumped at the last stop of the tour, where another driver was “miraculously” waiting for us…to get paid. We blissfully ignored him and took a bus instead.

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2) Eat from vendors on the streets

Simple as. Nutrition on the go, a cheap alternative probably not the healthiest option, but especially in Chinatown if you pick one with only locals you might just enjoy it, like a lot, believe me.

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3) Get lost in Talat Noi

Probably my favourite area in all Bangkok. Talat Noi is an unspoilt part of Chinatown, its oldest one, and I was blessed to stay there during the Vegetarian Festival, and its final day was something unbelievable to witness. I need to write a blog post only about it, remind me of that.🙂 The people there -living quietly in all in garages facing the street, working metals and motors day and night-are kind and reserved, not pushy as in the other parts to get your money. Prepare to get lost, it’s impossible not to, and embrace it.

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>>Bonus: River View Guest House best chilled budget hotel in BKK!! And its terrace is to go ballistic!<<

4) Have some hipster downtime with a brunch in Ari

It’s still Bangkok with its alleys and mess, but it’s also a bit of Brooklyn and a bit of my Berlin. There are many nice cafes and restaurant, perfect for a flat while, a brunch or a more homie dinner.

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5) Take as many boats and ferries as possible

Because…breeze.

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6. Take pictures of all the people taking pictures at the sacred area

The buildings are majestic, see link, but how people are willing to sacrifice their lives and pose like demons to get the perfect shot is highly hilarious to watch and frame.

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7. Visit the parliament, highly underrated

The building and the royal collection….

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8. Find a terrace bar to take pictures of Bangkok in the night-time

It doesn’t have to be the one where the hungover was set (that is anyway a good one, aye), just pick one and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the lights and streets, really inspiring.

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Now time for some games for the last 2 ones:

9. Count how many rats hang out in the street during night

Ratatouille was a sucker compared to the colonies in downtown Bangkok! Maybe – maybe – that’s because of the rubbish left on the streets during night? Just a guess, mine…

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10. Counts how many taxi drivers can constantly honk you while you simply just walk down a street

…. Because it’s warm, you are a tourist and you should not want to walk. Your feet were not made to walk… Come on, giv’em dat money!

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After the top 10, do you think the city is something for you or you better go fishing? You can do that too, at your own risk… Bangkok, you’re quite something. See you next time.

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Pigneto, an alternative Rome

If you say “Let’s go to Italy”, Rome doesn’t pop in my mind to first place.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a magical city, but it’s certainly not my idea of Italian city. In fact, it represents more the idea of chaos in an Italian city. So when I was sent to Rome for work, I thought of taking advantage of it and I organised an event in Pigneto, a different choice than the usual-known noisy and touristy city center.

Why Pigneto? “Il Pigneto” is a quintessential neighbourhood, that both preserves the personality of the golden years of cinematography and hipster modernity.

The twist of modern times is shown in the unique bar and restaurants, but also with graffitis on the walls. It was the perfect choice for me.

Bonus point, the name of Pier Paolo Pasolini – director, poet, and much more – still echoes in there. It’s seriously the place to visit!

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Early evening in Pigneto

Props to Necci dal 1924, literally the place to enjoy life, with long history, great food and delish drinks… Salute!

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27 flights, 6 months, 1 heart. An essay.

It’s 27.

It’s really 27 flights, the number I reached in 6 months time, January to June 2016.

Never happened before, but I was secretly aiming to do it for a long time. Fun fact: I believe I’ve driven a car only a quarter (or less) of the times I took a plane. And by that I mean, I looove driving, but I was always somewhere else than a road. For stats lovers:

  • it seems it’s an average of 1 flight per week,
  • but it was more like coming and going, every 2 weeks;
  • the longer period I stayed home was less than 3 weeks, I believe 18 days;
  • the longest flight was 12h 30′ hours, HK to Munich in March with Lufthansa;
  • the shortest flight must have been Berlin-Paris, 1h and 20′.

What I have learnt so far:

  • people can’t pack, despite they think so;
  • people passing security have the ability of a red fish and won’t understand even their native language to follow simple instructions;
  • I don’t look nor sound Italian, at least the majority of people say talking to me;
  • the bra will always beeps in Europe. Use bralets and rock the nipples;
  • same as the bra, don’t be fussy and take off your shoes, it’s quicker;
  • even if you are tired, sleepy, sad or having a meltdown (and I’ve managed to be all the above) if you are super kind and friendly with flight attendants and people at the shops everything will run better up in the air and ground;
  • talking to guards and security makes you feeling safer and them useful, do it, don’t be only a stranger that passes by;
  • the duty free can be your best ally, especially during missions like “getting to the airport make-up free and boarding as if I was ready for a photo shoot” or “ew, I look like sh..eep”;

In a nutshell, it’s been a fairly crazy rollercoaster, full of iPod sessions, high hopes, waiting lounges and public transports.

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And it’s 6 already.

Yes, half of a year gone, another birthday passed away and I had the best NYE I can ever remember (thanks to a singing-in-the-car warrior). With temperatures spanning between a -23 in Vilnius in January to +34 in Berlin last week, it’s fair to say I had an intense time. Changing coats, changing hat, boots to sandals, smile to tears. Time spent working, time not spent blogging, time flying, time waiting, time following. I was mainly the one with the heart in a hand luggage. “High Hopes”, the motto of the year. And that brings to the third and last part of this essay.

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1 heart: Mine.

It’s got heavy, too heavy I fear to bring it as a hand luggage. I always wonder why people are afraid of explosions, when they should be scared of implosions. It’s such a more silent way to live in pieces.

I got told by a good friend that everyone has a big darkness inside, that many only show when they part ways. For me the aftermath has become a game of forgiveness and forgetfulness: I’m no longer sure I want to stay in that playground, but I kinda feel stuck.

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