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).

 

Beer

 

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:

first

nice

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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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Brackets: Shutters of Bangkok

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Dog?…

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…Or cat?

It appears that metal gate doors are still a big thing in Bangkok.

Every place, house, shop, restaurant in Chinatown rocked it, usually in different colours. Nothing is better, for one with a huge passion for framing like me, to take pictures of every different shutters. Coincidence, these ones were all in the same street, Tri Mit Road.

Which colour do you prefer?

shop blue

shop mattone

shop green

shop grey

shop tomato

First Impressions of Bangkok

Let’s state the obvious: first impressions matter.

We get influenced easily, especially while travelling. Impressions turn in conceptions about the surroundings, to simplify the travel. We have, after all, a simple mind. But during my first day in Bangkok, I tried to hold the thought and every impression of the city: my cuz was ill, and needed to rest. We based our stay in Chinatown, where we knew we could trust in good food, less tourists and Chinese indifference.

We read incredible stories about how tourists were squeezed to the extreme in Bangkok (latest revealed all true: scammers, screamers, sellers are constantly trying to get money from you) and we just wanted, at least for a day, to rest. So we found our little peace in the little streets of Chinatown, that lies between the main train station and the river. We took a train from the airport, and experienced a third class ride; of course as in other intended moments, we were the only Westerners.

1 train station

2 train

People were kind to us, but quite alarmed by my camera (and the big luggage). I was able to snap a quick shot of the toddler in front of me, and it’s actually one of my favourite pictures I have ever taken.

3 baby

In the late afternoon I went out for a photo session around the neighbourhood. I loved the vibes, the humid weather, the food stalls, and the general buzz. I ended up in temples, dark alleys, street markets, and then the riverbank, all without a map/phone. It was a nice me-session, where I was able to capture my personal first impressions of Bangkok’s Chinatown. It’s similar to many other Chinatowns I have been, yet different. I particularly loved the jungle trees growing everywhere around the small, cute, decadent houses. I leave you some pictures (that means many, since I couldn’t pick fewer) here: get your own impression, and enjoy.

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11. chinese temple

4. generator

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12. chinese market 1

8. building

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12. chinese market 3

6. river

 

 

Brutally Patong

Patong is pornographic.

It is, believe me. It’s a clash of buildings, wires, market stalls, vendors, screaming trucks, tuk-tuks, drunk people, young tourists and people who want something from you. All.The.Time.

It’s ironic that such a carnival-type-of-place is in the middle of a beautiful green island like Phuket. But it’s a great place for backpackers and people who are not in the mood of relaxing holidays. Also perfect for a night out of the resort.

Want to know more? Here are 10 snaps of the place, enjoy!

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nice

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The Wire – Phuket Version

A bit of digression from the usual travel story-telling this time.

I am preparing the first chapter about Phuket, and while watching back the pictures I took I got hooked up by one of my photo obsession: wires/electricity.

Since I started taking pictures I have been attired by some particular topics:

  • Posters
  • Convey Safety Mirrors
  • Phone Boxes
  • Janis (my dog sister)
  • Electricity (Wires, Power and utility boxes)

As soon as I got to Thailand I noticed how electrical safety has not the usual common European standards. Or any standard at all. Sometimes I was a bit freaked out by the warmth and buzzing sound they were emitting, but I must confess they were great fun to take pictures at.

The following series comes from Patong, enjoy.

wire 1
wire 3

 

wire 2

 

wire 4

 

wire 5

 

wire 6

 

wire 8

 

wire 9

 

Phuket and Patong chapters coming next!

 

P.S. Even in this blog post I managed to create a list. My mind is that list-oriented. 🙂

Don’t Mess with Malacca…

…or with Melaka. 🙂

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No jokes, no mess. Malacca is a great city.

The people, the neighbourhoods, the food, I enjoyed everything about it, even the massive tropical thunderstorm in the afternoon, after hours of sun (and haze).

Few highlights and reasons to visit:

  1. It’s an easy, cheap ride from Kuala Lumpur, around 2 hours away. Perfect timing for a nap, or some quality podcasts.
  2. People are more laid-back then KL, they don’t harass tourists so much, they don’t need it, there are already plenty of them. In fact, Malacca City is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and former Portuguese, Dutch, then British colony.
  3. Due to its intrinsic multiculturalism, the food is great. I ate superb Chinese Malay food in Chinatown. By the way, there is a significant number of Chinese, immigration started in the early 15th century!
  4. The central area is quite pocket-sized, divided by the Malacca river in Chinatown and Dutch Town. Both are great to walk around, and full of restaurant and shops.
  5. If you have time go check the harbour, now a bit modern part of the city. In the middle between the old town and the harbour, there are residential areas that looks quite interesting too, especially to eat ‘like a local’.
  6. Temples, churches, mosques. Beautiful to find them all together, for once.
  7. Mine was a day-trip, but I saw some quirky, cozy hostels while walking around, and also some nice bars and cafes, so it must be really nice to spend a night out too.

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Rain stopped the wander, but not the wonder. It’s indeed a special city.

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I was almost forgetting: I had a makeover! I became a Chinese princess for a good 15 minutes. It was boiling in that dress, but a fun experience.

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See you next time, Melaka, it’s a promise, rain or shine.

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