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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A photo session in Turin

Turin is the first big Italian city coming from West.

I came from East, from the soulless, business-oriented region of Milan. The good thing to reach from one city to the other is to see the continuous groups of rice fields between them, separating their distant personalities. The trip gets a bit cathartic, like a silent, natural cleansing of your mind.

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Looking outside the window

Turin was the first capital in Italy, the first in many things. Was. Somewhere roaming around you can still feel it, in some other parts it still holds the crown of being the capital of local, even of lost.

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I remember my first time in Turin, maybe 15 years ago. I found it sad and kinda empty. I’ve changed my mind during the years… Turin has had a sort of newborn vitality, all around events, museums and arts. There’s one thing I’ve always loved loads of Turin though: la Mole.

For me, one of the most magical building men could ever create.

Perfection, anthropology and mythology together.

 

Well, I was in Turin for a reason: to learn about an artist. What I learnt from that day was much more, especially from his sons’ eyes and story telling. And while I was listening to them, I started remembering little things. The dynamics of a family, the smell of an Italian house, a wall by no reason left white, but filled with paintings, the little gardens with wild flowers, kids eating gelato, couples looking at the shop windows on a Saturday afternoon. Everything frankly so much more than my lonely life.

That day I also tried to switch camera, and left my beloved Titty to my friend. The pictures along this posts are actually his. Enjoy.

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August Highlights!

Hello lovely people.

It is, again, the end of the month. Almost the end of the Summer too, so double meaning.

New exciting times and changes are coming, more layers on too. I can’t wait for Autumn to start, maybe bar the rain, but I’ll live to moderately embrace that too. Bring it on! Under “Playlist” you can find a new fine selection ’bout what impressed me this month: flowers, movies, books, radio, etc.. We start with a brand new playlist.

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A very peculiar mix this month: I took some of my favourite songs listened on Youtube, (especially this lovely demo song by Henry Hall for a great Casey Neistat’s video – he’s a filmmaker from NYC, go check him out if you don’t know him!), podcasts like Song Exploder and This American Life. I believe it’s an interesting mix, let me know what you think. To start to listen to and read of other monthly favourites just click on the picture or directly HERE.

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

 

Val

Follow me on Facebook: Valanzo

July Highlights!

What is the best thing about the end of a month?

The fact that you will get a paycheck? Or that it’s the only day you are sure you have no new bills to pay? That holidays come soon? Wrong. You’re all wrong.

The best part of the end of the month is to get to read this post. 🙂 Cheeky me, I know.

Here for you a new selection over art, photography, flowers, radio, movie and tv-series reviews, plus a fresh yummy recipe, all starting from a new Playlist. Click on the picture or here to start a new journey!

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Full link: The Playlist

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

Follow me on Facebook: Valanzo

June Highlights!

Hello June, welcome Summer!

And hello to you, beautiful creatures here reading. June has come and gone, and now things are getting real: half of 2014 has happened already. Seriously. It was like a quick time-lapse movie, I know, but take this time to consider if, so far, you have done enough of what all the good new year’s resolutions?

I haven’t, but I am excited because on the good way, and not stopping. Join me on the positive vibes, now!

Let’s start with music and a brand new playlist:

Click on the picture now to start the playlist and see all the other monthly favourites!

Click on the picture now to start the playlist and see all the other monthly favourites!

 

What to expect more? Just few topics from my very personal list of favourites, selected and explained just for you:  Flowers – Film – Book – Radio – Tv series – Artist – Photo –  Food …

Just click on the pic/album to start!

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

 

P.S. Question of the month: who’s gonna win the World Cup???? Leave me a comment below if you want!

May Highlights!

Here we go friends, the highlights are here and for real! The weather this month across Europe has been ideal and inspiring, I got my groove back thanks with my shiny, now all fixed, bike and some new exciting activities at work. Good vibrations don’t come alone neither for you: stay positive with a brand new Playlist!

In it, a mix of love and wandering, a quite British one, with some old classics plus new entries from my beloved Damon Albarn (did you know he was my first teen crush? Read “Maybe kinda obsession“), Bombay Bicycle Club…have it a go!

On my monthly highlights, some juicy favourites, like a Kiwi tv-series you might not know, an iconic picture I snapped with my mobile camera, a new cake and many many others. Come on board, just click here to the right page!

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always. Val

Oslo treasures: Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri

Raise your hand if you want a fresh cold beer right now!

For a quite unusual morning i went to visit Schous Bryggery (visit schouskjelleren.no/about/ to get more info about) in the lovely and “multikulti” neighbourhood of Grünerløkka , Oslo and I had the pleasure to see the entire plant and meet the people behind that great Beer. This before 8am. Call me devoted, please.

Brewery in Trondheimsveien 2, since 1873

Brewery in Trondheimsveien 2, since 1873

So Without further due

Here a selection of pictures I took with my low-quality, not-so-smart-at-the-end phone, cheers!

The simbolic front building

Entrance to the pub (it’s underground!)

Schous – brand

Draft Beers Selection

Draft Beers Selection

 

Details

Details

From water to beer... it is kinda magic!

From water to beer… it is kinda magic!

Malt Milling

Did you know that there is also chocolate malt?…yum!

A collage of machinery objects, some of them look like faces too :)

A collage of machinery objects, some of them look like faces too 🙂

A big thank you to brewers Luca and Michele. I highly suggest this place when in Oslo, it is open after 4 pm, for more information check their Website  or Facebook Page for news, events etc..

Ha det bra!

A weekend in Paris -what to do-

How long can a person brag about his special weekend in Paris?

I have no shame answering “As long as you find good picture to post”. I can also play the birthday card too, so I am more than qualified and allowed to publish this post and then move on to the next trip/topic.

I had almost two full days ‘dans la Ville Lumière’ that is quite a decent amount of time for a getaway weekend on a low, low budget.

The first good thing to do is to jot down some places to visit/revisit and a mental plan where to go during the day, 3-4 spots to see, and keep it quite open to discoveries and adventures.

1) Paris is a great city to become like a spirited errant, to walk around and have a great time. Try it the most your feet can. I highly recommend if it is the first time to find a free walking tour of the main tourist attraction, just to have an idea of what you’ll see. This is me repairing from the wind at Pont des Arts, victimised by hundreds of so-called Love padLocks: It’s a nice amount of colours but I know the story behind so I am not really into it (that doesn’t explain completely my silly sleepy face, sorry)

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2) In a weekend you have the huge possibility to have a great dinner and a great brunch. I suggest to fill the gaps trying out local things, baguette, croissants, crepes..there’s loads, especially on the streets, so don’t get cut on leash by big chains. I don’t personally know where to eat, the key is to choose a vibrant neighbourhood, where for sure there are lots of good places. My suggestion? Bastille, but because of my sake, nothing more.

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Dinner at Le Chalet Savoyard, 11eme. Delicious fondue!

 

Indulge in a great Sunday brunch!

Indulge in a great Sunday brunch!

 

3) Go artistic. If unfortunately you don’t have time to visit a museum remember, there are some great art galleries where to wander for free in Marais, or some temporary expositions that would love to see you there (I suggest to check Centre Pompidou’s website or the Palais de Tokyo). You can find online also areas where to see great graffitis!

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Tourist bonus point: Place du Tertre and its “artists’ hangout, great for taking pictures, you won’t find great art masterpieces but above average quality  alternative postcard shaped on canvas (don’t make me call them painting).

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4) Find a panoramic point. Yes it is possible to find a panoramic point without paying. Paris is not really hilly, but I suggest über romantic top of Parc de Belleville… or the über über Sacré-Coeur Basilica at sunset or during a very sunny day

Lads

Lads

Another brilliant spot is at Trocadéro during night: you have la Tour Eiffel in front of you boosting everybody’s heart up, by blinking and intermitting that blue laser -that makes me think the Town Hall has been communicating with aliens, but this is just the pure bland truth, everybody knows and doesn’t say-.

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5) Enjoy the water! Nothing better for your soul to sit around a fountain in les Tuileries, or watch the boats or Jardin de Luxembourg. Quality time alert: hanging along the canals or river Seine is highly addictive! Pic-nic, or just a stroll, what’s better than this?

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6) Endorse enjoying breaks on a Café. Take it slowly, watch the people passing by, enjoy the conversation with your mates, have a sip, have a laughter, another sip, another laughter. Repeat it n-times. LUSH.

Santé!

Santé!

February Highlights!

Hello friends!

It is now online on its special page the complete February section of my monthly favourites! Link for lazy bums here

We start as usual with a music compilation, quite referring love, hope and patience:

Furthermore, I spoke about flowers, movies, artist, and also the  dish of the month, a pretty healthy one this time.

Thanks to your suggestions I also included some new favourites: book, radio program/podcast, tv series and photography (well, the best, or most significant, photo I took during Feb.). I hope to keep it sharp, inspiring and relevant. Oh, keep in mind that every section has a link if you want to know more about the topic. 🙂 Just click here…

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

January Highlights!

Hi!

It’s the end of the month, and as promised I started a new chapter of this blog, a monthly list I am going to post every 30 days from now on where I will tell you about my biggest favourites, starting with, as the name states, the music, but including also art, movies and more! (…suggestions are welcome too, if you want my opinionated fingers to write about something particular just leave your ideas in the comments below…)

You can start by looking at January on newly created section “The Playlist” that it’s next to “About” on the grid title above.

As a starter, I hope you will enjoy my virtual January mixtape, made with loads of love (and 8tracks).

Enjoy and bring joy with you, always.

Val

P.S. For my dear subscribed followers, the page is not actually a blog post so you won’t get a notification; I am working on moving my WordPress blog to somewhere more useful and open and funny but in the meantime I will post my favourites every end of the month so just pop over during those days if you feel in the mood, cheers!