The Palermo Affair…

As I self-describe myself, I’m a Nordic creature. I am very used, and much in love, with the peace given by following the rules, getting all tucked up in layers, and being surrounded by green and blu sceneries, especially if gifted, from time to time, by white snowflakes.

I know, I sound like a broken record and every time I travel south I start blabbering about it, but desert somehow makes me uncomfortable. I have, anyhow, found the perfect balance when I travel during autumn and winter time to southern locations, such as I did with Palermo.

It turned out to be a delightful weekend, marked in my memories to come “The Palermo Affair”.

So much to tell. First, people are vocal, loud and generally happier than the people I met in northern Italy. How come, since the city is, in fact, a tropical mess? The walks ups and downs the city center made me believe that it’s a mix of factors, such as the sun – less aggressive this time of the year – and the food that make the difference.

Hey, it’s for sure not roses and unicorns, lots of houses and streets are just broken and decadent, you can tell the majority doesn’t live a pretty rich life, and some parts leaves you with a sense of unsafeness, but for some aspects, it looked a nice place to spend holiday, maybe also to live for a bit.

Second thing, the landing was in one of the most impressive set ever, between a mountain and the sea. So peculiar, so lovely.

Another thing I noticed was the unusually high number of shops for male clothing, that you can combine with the fact that men are quite attentive – and again vocal -to women, you get the idea that Sicily is still pretty much a male-based community… I can hear Trump cheering.

On the bad note, I spoke with some of them, especially at the restaurants where I had incredibly-good-but-overpriced fresh fish, and they all told me I do not look Italian. So they were applying the price for foreigners.

Anyhow, I spent two days roaming around the streets, visiting the x wonderful baroque churches, visiting the street markets, eating yummy fish and soaking up under the sun at the harbour. It was a positive getaway weekend, indeed.

Remember me to go more often to a seaside city. The sea is food for soul.

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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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One side

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!” 🙂

Ecstasy of the Senses in Grand Palace, Bangkok

If everyone visits the Grand Palace at least once, it means it’s good, right?

Spoiler: It is.

But it is also overcrowded as f… People are everywhere. Yet, tourists can’t be not enough beautiful, or interesting, to overshadow those stunning buildings. After the first steps in a courtyard, I thought of how much engaging craftsmanship was used to create all that incredible horror vacui filled with gold. Another impressive thing is how asymmetry plays a big role in perceiving the space and in a certain way in making pondered the eclectic styles. The different designs and colours, impressively enough, don’t clash with each others.

I wonder how this place, all set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards, looks like when it’s empty. I wish I could visit at the dawn, when nobody’s already there. I bet it’s breath-taking. But, you know, being a tourist for a day you get what you pay for. Good news is that if you play it wisely, you can almost avoid big crowds an get some incredible shots of details. Not enough to cope with hoards of tourists, but enough to get a glimpse of royal Thailand.

So, what’s left from that visit? Tons of photos. Some of those I leave them here for you, enjoy.

  1. Surroundings:

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    2. People at the Grand Palace:

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    3. Details:

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HK – take one

We will be landing soon, look out it’s very steamy outside.” So the captain said.

Steam. I instantaneously think of the industrial revolution, of dirty workers steering some steel bars, working on wool machine: steam clouds and Dickens’s miserable children are populating my imagination. I think I know what steam is, I have experienced it, it’s like humid, but more.

I was so wrong. Outside the airport the steamy weather, that incredible creature, punched me right there, a full fist of inexplicable, warm, wet ‘compactness’, something never felt before. It was like hitting an invisible wall every step taken. The steam was the imminent impact of the arrival, of this area. A significant entrance to another gravity.

Welcome to Hong Kong.

I like contrasts, I like looking for harmony in what it seems not appearing like that. This is why I was sure I would have loved HK.

My first chat with a local, our taxi driver, dismantled two pillars I had built the weeks before: my five sure sentences in Cantonese – shut with a ‘we locals don’t speak with those words, it’s more in Singapore maybe’ (I adored the polite maybe)- and the fact that everything you want to eat, especially crazy stuff, you’ll find it here, when the driver told me that the best food he could suggest to try was McDonalds. Doh. Or as in Germany we might say ‘komisch’.

Light rain, outside the taxi, not freshening up our tired bodies. We are guide-wised ready to find the smallest room ever built by humans, on the contrary the desolation of the buildings along our street, tall, a bit crusted –dirty? hard to say in the darkness-, weird but incredibly poignant monsters leads to a lovely big big twin room. Again, I bless my urge of travelling, to constantly tear off every cliches everywhere I go. Hong Kong’s building are like meant to give misery the best luxury state of mind.

Now, that rain brings to a tropical storm all around our first day: the sound of the thunders, right in the middle of Hong Kong Island are phenomenal. People stop during storm, often wait silently. Groups of students grabs a soda and watch the deluge. It’s still warm, actually heating up, we can feel it on our sticky skin. A remedy is to visit the financial area in Central from the inside, putting your confidence in those crazy clouds.

Well, hello finger!

Rain’s gone, but my eyes are still wet. Of wonder, of excitement. And of jet-lag, but whatever. Light now is very bright, my camera settings go bananas. Jewels of architecture around mangroves and exotic flowers, one of the best way to explain why humans should always try to improve and build and progress themselves, with a bit more respect of the nature. The payback of years of colony, invasion, economy and finance is explained in these skyscrapers. Breathtaking.

 

Another good point of stamina comes while taking the train to Victoria Peak. Around us, the childish joy of every tourists, and the click-click-click of cameras in every language comes to our first bench, first line of the train. See, HK is crazy in every possible way, and I like the fact it does not hide, instead enhances it: it may be my European point of view, but that helluva slope was impossible for humans and machines, too pendent and slippery. But we made it, and we found a great view. There, one of the most graceful thing I have seen: not the city view, yeah incredible, yeah let’s take one billion pictures and bla bla tourist stuff, but the contrast between the area around the harbour, the crazy diamond in the rough, and the green wild forest on the other side of the hill.

Right in the middle, I felt in peace.