Ljubljana, Slovenia

Slovenia turned out to be the best option for a quiet, yet insightful, weekend between the feasts of Christmas time and NYE. I drove for about 4 hours on a sunny, cold day, enjoying the view I have in front of me. From North Italy to Slovenia, passing by Trieste and its crazy wind, the panorama changed drastically: from a sleepy countryside, to rocky sweet hills and then mountains, valleys and villages with a red-roofed church nestled in the snow.

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My first surprise was to realise how versatile Slovenia is. I only knew it for the short coastline, similar to Croatia. It’s, instead, a delightful mountain country, similar in some ways to Austria with balkan accents, running to the Mediterranean Sea.

Check MUST-SEE PLACES IN SLOVENIA, as perfectly summed up on TRIPOSO

The time frame to visit Ljubljana, a pure gem, in a weekend is simply perfect.

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You get the time to explore the centre, the castle, its museum and the panoramic tower, to eat in some delicious restaurants ( I personally recommend Julija Restaurant and the über-romantic Restavracija Špajza), and enjoy the spas.

Many hotels offer swimming pool and saunas, if you are on a more low-budget there is a public pool and sauna not far away from the city centre called Atlantis (in Summer Ljubljana’s water park).

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Don’t forget to have a boat experience, it’s a 30min ride for 5Euro, great especially if the weather is not the best (and to chat with locals).

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… Slovenia, I’ll be back, for sure.

P.S. I still need to solve the problem of my broken camera, ending up being the idiot who takes picture with a crappy mobile. My apologies. And yes, I do accept donations to buy a new camera.

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Sticks and Stones, an intervention

I took some time yesterday to say goodbye to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. No, I’m not planning to move away, but there will be major renovation works soon, so the New National Gallery will be closed from 2015 for several years.  Several years, what an awful news.

Albeit the loss the city will face in terms of contemporary art offer, if you are in the city head there, and just enjoy the wonderful installation designed by British architect David Chipperfield. After the great renovation made at Neues Museum in Museum Island, he worked in the open glass hall of the New National Gallery by displaying 144 impressive tree trunks.

David Chipperfield, Sticks and Stones, intervention, installation view

Official Picture from the Museum website. © Photo: David Becker

I was blessed with a beautiful sunny day and the reflections of the light, the rays trespassing and the shadows produced were stunning. The synergy created between place, materials and light was the highlight of my Sunday. Additionally visitors create beautiful interactions by touching the 8m tall trees, by moving around, by creating new shadows.

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Toddler playing

Toddler playing

The exceptionality of living this open space in such a different way is striking if you are usually used to see it as a blank canvas, with no pillars sustaining its free floating roof. Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the space to be widely open, an interaction of granite floors, steel columns and glass. The introduction of wood on the granite, literally stick and stones, adds new meanings to the space itself: it gives a natural support to the roof, that for all this years; it gives also a sense of closure, anticipating the structural works the museum is about to undergo. An English nursery rhyme says “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I saw this installation also as a wish, to avoid cracking the soul of the New National Gallery with the upcoming works.

Sony Center in the background

Sony Center in the background

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The exhibition continues downstairs until December 31st, if you have no money to pay the ticket just go there and enjoy the forest in the hall, it is for free and really worth a visit.

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P.S.: as you may see the pictures were taken with a mobile phone. I had no power to control light and sharpness. At the end, I quite like the rough result this time.

 

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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

December, end of the journey.

The last month of the year was about going back to my roots.

It was an unexpected, lovely month, started with bad news, ended with good hopes. When I was there to write about a trip I programmed, I was blocked by snow. A December with snow sounds both magical than inspiring, and puts you on the right track for the holidays..

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Frankly, it has been a quite difficult year for me, as I experienced the hugest-for-humans amount of nos and disappointments, which put me poorly in a miserable state all the time; the snowflakes spinning and spinning over my thoughtful head could have been seen as another impossibility to move, to improve, to heal. Au contraire, I read it as a “take it slow, have a break” epiphany. That was the best choice, so to be able to enjoy the cold weather, take some quality time for photos, Christmas lights, markets and presents. Loads of presents for my family and friends (the secret is to wrap everything!).

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After several years I celebrated with my family, back from where I started with the dreams. I managed to clean up my old room, finding treasures from my teenage messy period.

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It was overall a feeling of tenderness, a sweet way to keep going and doing. Because. Because I’ve done a lot to get where I am now, because there are so many things to do and experience, so many words to find deep inside yourself.

Snow in Berlin, fog in North Italy. That cold Winter holidays time reminded me to find my own way to move, keeping my existence in action.

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Viktoriapark in the snow, Berlin

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Ponte degli Alpini in the fog, Bassano del Grappa

2013, I salute you with a smile, we’re going to do great things together. Onwards and upwards.