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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Postcards from Bruxelles

I really wanted to vent about Bruxelles, city I didn’t like and could not wait to leave, but in the end I found out I had few nice shots of the capital.

So here’s a selection of the snaps taken by my trusted LX100, dedicated to Fabio.

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And b/w
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I went for Bruges, I found Ghent.

I was reading a novel on the plane, there was a love story involved. I knew it would have ended well, so I was keeping reading it to soak in the energy, and get the best of the trip, planned during – I would dare to say – the most uncertain time of my life, my trip to Belgium.

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Bruges when the sun decides to come out

 

Talking about uncertainty, the Belgium weather was the worst frenemy ever. It was like that adorable friend of yours who is also a total jerk. The result is a constant change of light, fear of water getting into my precious camera and a never-ending struggle adjusting the lens for pictures. Yet, there is an adorable part, and it’s called Ghent.

Bruges is a gem, but Ghent is the real deal. Especially at night, the all those beautiful white and brick houses reflects on the canals. So dreamy.

So, in the end, what matters if it rained all day? Those 30 minutes of sun and the evenings were just perfect. A perfect travel love story.

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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!” 🙂

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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Lübeck on a rainy winter day

It might not sound all that ideal, a trip to a city when you know the weather will be a scary mix of winter-in-Northern-Germany horror deluxe: Böen winds, possible fog, possible rain, possible snow. A delightful mix for your hair and the impending cold you feel growing inside.

Fizzy hair, don’t care. Cold, too. Train, here I come. Lübeck, see you in a bit.

First impression: Red bricks and houses that reminds me of Amsterdam. And Copenhagen. It’s like Amsterdam is, in fact, set in Cop. Pretty inception, I must say. It gets prettier when you realise that, despite being on German soil, the Old Town is a bit on sweet hills. Details are the interesting part of this trip.

Bar the rain, it was a pleasure to capture the silent streets, tiny alleys, beautiful houses and the small harbour. The pictures I took end up being quite dark and contrasting, catching the light was a bit difficult, but I might say I enjoyed some of the results

I would also get an extra side of rain for the fish I ate there. De-Li-Sh. I recommend you Kartoffelkeller >> www.kartoffel-keller.de/ 🙂

Following, snaps from the city.

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And the view from the harbour:

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I particularly liked the houses and the small, unique alleys spread around the city. Here’s some examples.

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I have other 50 pictures I would like to upload, but I’ll stop here. 🙂

See you soon.

 

25 Hours in Bratislava

One of the perks of living in Europe is the endless possibility to visit unique places within a few hours, all around you.

One of perks of living in Berlin is the fact that you are perfectly in the middle of this amazing continent. That sounds the perfect deal to weekend getaways… I picked Bratislava to be my January’s escape. Why?

Pocket-sized Old Town + nice Opera + a castle + good food + beer. Too good to be true!

The first stop was a night at the Opera. A great excuse to dress up elegant.

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The National Opera

 

A quite nice choice is also enjoy a feast of beer and goulash or halušky, sheep cheese dumplings. You can’t say no to beer and local delicacies! I recommend the beautiful Pilsner-Urquell pub for the evening (conveniently closed to the Opera, and they don’t mind if you’re overdressed for a pub).

 

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Even if all the shops are closed on Sunday, the city center is quite lively and rich in tourists. There are, however, some quite street, perfect for taking pictures. A trip to the castle is essential to have a better grasp of the city.

What strikes is to see how small the old town is, and how different it’s from the new part of the city. And even striking feeling comes when you look at the other side of the river, and see coloured block: Communist architecture excels in Bratislava, indeed.

 

Small peak to the Old Town from the Castle

Small peak to the Old Town red roofs from the Castle

 

And the view of the castle from Old Town.

And the view of the castle from Old Town.

Here some postcard-perfect snaps of Old Town. So charming!

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to the main square

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A special thank to the brutal Communist buildings. And the UFO Tower on the bridge. 🙂

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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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first 2

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