When around visiting a new city, I happen to focus on smaller things than monuments and historical buildings: I appreciate them as well, clearly, but I love to remember everyday-life details: a bakery, a school, how people tend to live their city. A few years ago I start focusing on street art; I noticed it tends to be similar everywhere; colours and languages may change, but it usually refers to solid problems that country faces everyday or, totally the contrary, tries to escape any reality; it’s extremely creative, smart and geniuously assembled. It can be just a couple of letters added on a wall or a huge drawing on a bridge. Is it art? Is it vandalism? I am no competent judge.
This is Paris, France
Let’s move to Cracow, Poland
Here comes Nantes, France
Pff, raining again and all I can do is thinking about is the holiday I spent deep South a couple of weeks ago.
Last year I published a post a lot of people liked and commented. Totally unexpected. I mean, I love South of Italy and in particular the area my dad is from, but I never thought I would get all those positive feedback. I am just a girl who posts pictures of her travels and stuff she loves to bake, I don’t get any money out of this blog and honestly I love to spend time and “efforts” without getting anything back. This is part of the fun. I already have a job, I want my spare time to be used on priceless stuff like baking, hanging out with people I love and enjoying books, nature, good music, movies, walking around my beloved city and, obviously, travelling.
Receiving all those thumbs up made me pretty happy: Italy is not only a bunch of beautiful and chaotic places. Though packed with problems (huge ones most of the time), my country is worthy a long and accurate visit. Many, actually. I see tourists coming to Venice just for a couple of hours or a day, thinking Venice is just Rialto Bridge and Saint Mark’s square. I know, the city could be expensive and not everybody has time (or feel like) to properly visit it, but as Roald Dahl said “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”; same for Venice: wandering aimlessly at night is magical and so charming (plus, nobody’s around). Take the time to give a look at all that surrounds you and give the city a chance.
As you seen, I take pride in my cultural heritage and all the history leaking out of buildings, monuments and even landscapes. Though our social and political situation is tragicly leading the country to a non-return death point, I still love living here. We’ll see what the future has in store.
Calabria is my second home. Though my grandparents are long gone, I still have some cousins there and I feel I belong to that place too.
Calabria is a problematic area. Local mob controls the local population in an invisible yet perceivable cobweb. Normal services like hospitals and public offices are not efficient at all, money gets wasted and bribes are a rule. It breaks my heart to see how those places are totally ignored by political leaders and kept uncared. I can only imagine how the locals would feel about this.
I love how wild and deserted those places can be, but I am aware of the many issues the population has to face daily.
So, last year I wrote about my holidays in South of Italy and lot of people told me about they loved the picture and how amazing that area seems to be. Well, it is.
This year I spent another 2 weeks there since, as I wrote before, my dad was born and raised there, so we both feel the urge to reconnect with our roots at least once a year.
I took tons of pictures with my new phone, some aren’t the best quality, my bad.
I decided to split the post in different ones: the first (this one) is about the little village my dad is from, Staiti.
Once home in Venice, I tried to explain my friends how small and lovely Staiti is. It’s kind of difficult for people living in my area to utterly understand how really small villages can be down there: no banks, no restaurants, no fancy shops; just a bar, two small shops where people buy milk or bread, a post office and a pharmacy. Nothing else. I ran out of contact lens cleaner while there and had to drive for 15 km to find a shop where I could buy some. The closest cinema is more than 30 km far from our house and the mall is around 25. Totally different from the Northern Italy reality I live in and almost impossible for people up here to understand.
Staiti, view from the cemetery
Staiti, narrow lane
View from our kitchen window
View from our top terrace, you can see the sea in the distance
The Tridetti fountain
I already wrote about our boat trips last year (here all my posts about Venice). A friend’s family of our owns a boat and is kind enough to let us use it, once in a while. I will never get tired of all this: how clouds combine and change the sky, how light reflects upon water, the St. Mark’s steeple in the distance, the smell of salty water and weeds while having a beer amid the islands, the seagulls’ crying and tohousands of flamingos (yes, we have flamingos as well!) gathered all together. I took all these pictures with my phone and unfortunately a couple of them are out of focus. As I watch them for the 10th time, I realize they just give an idea of how these places are. The real beauty of our lagoon cannot be fully expressed by simple pictures.
A few years ago I got one of my favourite birthday presents so far. Obviously it came from someone who knows me deep well. It wasn’t particularly pricey or hard to find, it was just the right thing for a girl who’s always on the road (or would like to be when home) like me: an updated, brand new travel guide.
The destination matters, quite clear, but the idea itself is winning for me. That time it was Lonely Planet Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all together in one handy and bag-friendly book.
It arrived from my Erasmus partners in crime, G and M. After more than 10 years, I can state our friendship really evolved and, though one of us moved to Berlin a few years ago, we developed a bond I would call rare and precious.
So, I got that guide but didn’t use it for a while. Time passed and once in a while I would spot it amid all others and think “one day, soon”. Until, finally, it happened.
In 2011 I made up my mind and headed to the travel agency. Since the flights were kind of cheap, I decided to travel by plane only. Though tiring, I still think it was a good idea on one hand: the Baltic capitals are not close one another and the public transports could take too long and be a mess. On the other hand I would have spent a few more day in Estonia and visit the Tallinn surroundings. I guess I will have to go back one more time. Or many times 😉
Time for me to leave, then. It was mid July and I had been planning that journey since Easter. I couldn’t wait to visit those countries, basically still unknown not only to me, but to all the people I spoke with too. Many asked me “why visit those countries?”. Ok, this is a question I really can’t stand. The same I was asked when in 2012 I visited wonderful Crakow. I’m convinced every country in this world deserve a visit. I’ve visited almost every state in Europe and still haven’t found one I totally disliked. Some are better than others for me, but this is just my opinion and my personal point of view. I happen to prefer Northern Europe and its nature, old cities and history but hey, I don’t say no to a relaxing beach and palms!
So, to me it’s not “Why visit a country?” but “When? What next?”.
Last week I put up my mum for a few days while dad was away. We had a grand time together and finally catch up on family news and stuff.
On Friday night we went to La Fenice (Literally, the Phoenix), the well-known Venetian theater, where it took place an event about Venice and its origins.
This ancient theater dramatically burnt almost 20 years ago during its renovation, but it has been totally re-built years ago. First it went aflame in 19th century, but nomen omen, they say. The phoenix rises again from its own ashes. And, once again, it did. I was 16 when the whole city was in shock. La Fenice is a symbol of the city and our pride. A building of history and culture, and was gone in hours.
Fortunately it’s now “on its feet” again, still beautiful and fully operative. Take a look
Walking back home after the event
We heard the Lutheran church was open so, why not? (I honestly had no idea there was any in Venice. My bad).
The more I see and get to know about my city, the more I fall in love with it. It’s amazing how many tons of things I didn’t even imagine we have here. I can’t wait to discover more and more and hear about our legends, oral traditions and historic events!
While travelling around New England a couple of years ago, we stopped at the Bear Mountain State Park.
We were driving from New York city to the Catskills and had planned a visit to the park to relax, take a look at the lake and surroundings and enjoy the country life, even though for just few hours.
When there we found out the Octoberfest was taking place, yu-hu! We had a beer, took a few pictures and finally breathed the long-dreamed USA atmosphere.
Wow, take a look at the sky. I have a huge passion for clouds and blue skies. When living in Eire, I used to tale a picture of the sky every night. But this is a story I’ll tell another day. We stopped for lunch at Phoenicia Diner. At the till the owner told us they had just opened after renovation (if I’m not mistaken) and I liked how he made sure we had a good experience and enjoyed good food. It was very nice of him and we found out his family has Italian roots! I know Italians scattered everywhere in the world, but I feel a tiny bit at home when I talk to someone who shares my origins. After lunch, just a few kilometers far from the Diner, we bumped into a hail storm.
It was a matter of seconds. The police made all the cars stop since the street was totally covered in hailstones. 5 minutes later, everything was fine and we could leave.
Basically, a hail flash mob 😀