Friends

Markets and streetlife in Saigon

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was chatting with my friend S. on Skype this morning.
We started talking about our upcoming, long-waited, almost totally planned, supa-dupah trip (no spoilers), while mumbling to myself “just a few more weeks, a bunch of days, so many seconds.. I can do it”.
Though April is almost at its end, weather here is disappointing.
Rainy. Cold. Just sad. To whoever believes that Italy is sunny and warm all year long. AH. AH. AH. No. Nope nope nope. Reconsider, guys.

Thus, holidays are definitely on my mind, all the time. As my friend A. says, the only way to deal with an ended holiday is to have another one to look forward to. Check šŸ˜‰

So we were chatting about everything we are going to visit in a while and planning all the stuff we still have to do before leaving (I am the anxious one, must confess that); then we changed subject slowly and slipped back to Vietnam. We started recalling single, framed, sweet moments of those days. We got nostalgic right away and I started listing all the unforgettable little thingsĀ made us smile or even shocked us for a second.

Like..

…waking up in the morning due to all that traffic noise (mopets honking all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.)

DSC_0173.JPGThese lovely ladies smiled the second they spotted me taking this picture. Most peopleĀ travel on mopets (and transport any kind of stuff)

…people shocked at our request for bread in the morning. No soup. No eggs. Just bread, butter, coffee and some fresh fruit.
“No eggs?? You mean, no no? No soups?!”
“Yes, bread only..”
“No meat? No fish? Is everything all right?”

Ben Thanh Market 9

Ben Thanh Market 10Ben Thanh Market, Saigon

…a sweet old lady who helped us crossing a 4 -laneĀ road safely after ages of us tryingĀ not to be hit.
… young people stopping by just to have a quick chat, ask where we we from and wish us a good time.
..street food everywhere. And I mean everywhere, everytime.
…huge and crowded markets filled with tons of stuff. With a temple inside, if necessary.

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DSC_0352Oh yes, I definitely have a thing for market and everyday life pictures.

DSC_0072Ben Thanh Market 11Ben Thanh Market 5Ben Thanh Market - dintorni 1

DSC_0384Probably the hardest part is spotting the wire to fixDSC_0448I so love their traditional folk costumes and those hatsDSC_0106DSC_0054Pictures of nature always call me down. And I love these colours

Berlin, nochmals

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Yeah, I know. I should probably stop posting pictures of the same 3 places and start sharing something else.
But I really can’t help it.
Today I was checking the last folds I created in my laptop and, obviously, Berlin was one of the them. (All my previous posts about Berlin here).
As usual I spent my birthday wandering around that city but this time, it was definitely over the top. One of my best birthdays ever.
There was seven of us, no wait! 8. 4 of us flying from Venice, 2 from London, 2 currently living in Berlin. It was one of the best get together ever. No matter the chill, the rain, the stomache that beat me up badly one day. One night we stayed up until 5 a.m. playing cards (ok, fancy cheecky cards I may or may not have received as Christmas present after 2 months…this I won’t say) and laughing. I can’t even express how much I feel blessed right now for having those people in my life.

Though it was meant to be a relaxing holiday, we still didn’t want to miss the chance to visit something new or see again something we loved (typical of me).

This is the Schƶnhauser Allee Jewish Cemetery. You really don’t wanna miss it next time you are in town.
The visit only takes an hour or so, if you wanna walk around and have a look at the old tombstones andĀ takeĀ a couple of pictures.
It’s definitely worthy your time; I love how after a minutes you walk its paths on its lenght, you can’t spot the entrance if look back. The silence, the colour of trees perfectly combining with the stones and, most of all, the history of this place.

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This the huge Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (yes, I’m into Jewish culture a lot)

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The Trabant, symbol of the city especially during the division era

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Vivid colours can be spotted everywhereDSC_0145.JPG

and if you look for a simple for of art and happiness, you won’t be disappointedDSC_0270.JPG

Hanoi, Vietnam

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My last post dates back to February. My bad.
Well at least I have a lot to say, after months of absence..

February. Those days I was booking and getting ready for the farthest I have ever been.
My first time in Asia. My second one outside my comfort zone aka Europe.
About time.

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copyright for this picture: my friend Sara. It was the only one in this post not shot by me.

When I came back everybody asked “How was it?”. All the time.
First thing first: Hot. Extremely hot. And humid. Far more than I could ever expect and I currently live amid water. We were sweating more than our t-shirts and shorts could bear.
We were literally dripping. Every second we spent outside. But it was worthy.

Here is beautiful Hanoi.

Streetfood is basically the only food for themdsc_0515A lovely young ladydsc_0630The Hanoi Social Clubdsc_0563A barber shop (can you spot me?)dsc_0519 A moment of relax: coconut milk coffee (addictive!)csc_0011The smith streetdsc_1071dsc_0932

Amsterdam

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After months of planning, booking and waiting, finally December has come.
I honestly couldn’t have waited any longer.
A Florence and the Machine concert combined with a trip in a wonderful city was all I could think of lately.
Since August, 10th (the day we decided we would leave and attend the show), we booked the flights, a flat, bought the concert tickets, collect info regarding places to see and museum we wanted to visit.

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Those days arrived and passed in a blink of an eye. All I have left is happiness, deep inside, worn and dirty shoes and tons of pictures.
I can still hear Florence’s voice in my head and feel her arm on my finger.
I still get emotional when talking about this 4-day trip.

I have recently got a Nikon D3300 as birthday + Christmas present and I couldn’t be any happier. I am honestly unable to express how good that camera is. I’m still a newbie, but I’m trying to learn as much as possible by practicing almost every spare day.

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Birthday cake.. Again

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35th birthday calls maybe for a special cake? Mine wasn’t.
It was small and made with love, this I can say. I was completely absorbed in the making and really committed to be as precise as possible, for a decent outcome.
Was it good? Definitely, my friends asked for a second slice and that’s how it should be, honestly šŸ˜‰
Apart from that, it was a simple day I spent with people I care and want in my life again and again.
This the recipe I followed, just halved.

Whole grain chocolate chips cookies

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Why cookies? You probably mean, why not?
Cookies to me are a way to pamper myself and people I love in a simple, obviously sweet, preferably healthy and chocolate-y way.
Tonight I’m attending a dinner at friends’ and I wanted to bake something to show one of my best and oldest friend, how much it’s precious and valuable the time we spend together. After losing one of my girls a couple of years ago, I feel I have to let people I love Know hiw much they mean to me. Baking is definitely a way to express all this affection.
So I looked through the recipes I had saved in Pinterest.
This is it.
I doubled the amount and got these cookies.
Crumbly but still soft in the center, sweet but not too much. With a hint of chocolate that doesn’t cover up the other flavors.
My parents were my Guinea pigs and loved them. Out of the oven šŸ˜‹
I love how you can taste the three different flours (I actually didn’t blend the rolled oats) in a perfect mix.
Here they are

Recipe in a Jar

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My first present-in-a-jar.
A lovely, cheap, easy, fast and customizable idea for a nice present homemade with love.
A colleague/friend’s birthday is the occasion. She loves to bake too, she has a sweet tooth (not as big as mine though) and deserves something straight from the heart.
So after a quick research on Pinterest, I found this.
Here the result

Recipe in a jar