Category Archives: Europe

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Memoires from St. Petersburg

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(Early morning scene from Helsinki – St. Petersburg train) (Melancholy in St. Petersburg) Just one year ago, Shabby had told me to do this trip to St. Petersburg. I didn’t want to travel anywhere. I was in a middle of … Continue reading

Mostar – Old Bridge


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On the way to Mostar, you can witness to the natural beauties of this country: on a beautiful spring day, everywhere is colored with every tone of green. You start to be immersed to this natural beauty until you suddenly realize a mass grave with its snow-white gravestones; and then, another one, and then another….all showing the same year, as the year of death: “1993”. From Sarajevo on the way to Mostar, you should not expect to see flower fields….

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But you should see Mostar absolutely. It’s easy to go there by bus: you can find almost every hour a bus going to Mostar. The old Ottoman stone bridge, which resisted to all kinds of natural disasters for about 400 years, could not stand to the attacks and was demolished by the Croatians. This is one of the important symbols of Bosnia and the war…In 2004, the restored bridge was opened…..and the Old Bridge of Mostar is now listed on the Unesco World Heritage List.

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Mostar is a small but “picturesque” town; you can see the small stone bridges dating the 16.- 17. Centuries, admire the Neretva River and the beauty of the town from the top of one of the hills; take a rest on a bench in the middle of mass graves (yes, the death and the life are intertwined here, you should get used to it!), or to join to the happiness of a new-wed couple reminding us that the life still continues for who survives….

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Sarajevo Triste!

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(The bullet holes – everywhere in the country, keep your memories alive….) I remember to the war in Bosnia, happened more than 20 years ago. In those days, I was living in Italy having a lot of friends from Bosnia … Continue reading

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Finland Before Winter

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It may sound a bad idea to go to Finland at the start of the winter. But it has many advantages. First, there’re not tourist crowds like in the warm countries or in other big cities of Europe. Second, everywhere … Continue reading

Once More Paris…


“You can kiss your family and friends goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you don’t just live in a world but a world lives in you.”- Frederick Buechner

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Once more in Paris…. Just after the snow storm, a couple of chilly but sunny days in Paris….To welcome the spring time of the year (yes, I’d been there on the 21st of March!!!)….To meet with new people and new places again…..

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Here are what I had discovered this time in Paris!!!

– I’d spent most of my time in “Salon du Livre“….the final comment: Parisians like to read books, but are still distant to the new technologies….

– I’d tried again and again the breads of Eric Kayser

– Everywhere in Paris the Californian (precisely the Hollywood) style dominates:  in the small caffés there are “chocolate cookies” being sold, there are new opening “burger houses” (tasty? debatable!!!), but the best of all is the promotion of Californian Almonds on the streets of Saint Germain….

– Tried with my friends the famous “La Coupole” in Montparnasse, a legend in Paris with its “celebrity” guests….my favourite plates were rather the desserts made with Valrhona chocolates!!!

– But I would give all my marks to “Les Puces”, a classical French bistrot, where you can have a big plate of salad and delicious desserts (as you may find in any Parisian bistrot as always)…and I discovered les Batignolles, a “bobo” area of Paris as my dear friend Linda told me….I asked her what does “bobo” means, she told me that this is the modern-bohemian life style of Parisians nowadays. This district of Paris, believe me, is an area where you see more Parisians and less tourists…. Worth to have a visit to its bistrots and bars!

– And a gourmet visit to “La Grande Epicerie de Paris“, a big “charcuterie” selling food from all around the world. I discovered this place by chance, when I had headed to Le Bon Marché

– I had revisited again “Marais” district on a very beautiful, and very romantic and sunny Saturday; but the big surprise of that day was the ringing of the bells of Notre Dame for almost half an hour. Emmanuel bell, which is the biggest one was in restauration; and on that saturday the ringing of the repaired bells was a beautiful ceremony for having them again in their places after a long period! 

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And some souvenir of my last Paris visit

From “Salon du Livre”

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Paris remains Paris aas usual:)

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And my “Poisson du Jour” (fish of day) at La Coupole

At "La Coupole"

At “La Coupole”

Recommendation for a friend who wants to visit Barcelona


She wanted from me some recommendations for places to see in Barcelona. She’s young and she aspires for travelling. I believe that she’ll be a real traveller one day, she’s really idealistic for that…

So while I try to spend in peace the last hours of this year, I thought to prepare this small guide as a gift to my friend. I hope that what I’ll remember about Barcelona , this lovely Mediterranean city, will guide you my friend… It was good to get lost in the Mediterranean sun, even if these are thru words!

“Las Ramblas is the main street where you can walk and enjoy some street performances. Nearby here go to Mercat de la Boqueria, one of the central markets of the city, with plenty of smells of famous Spanish ‘jambons’, fish and cheese. If I remember well, it was built on top of an old monastery.

Continue on the Las Ramblas, and you’ll see the Music Museum and Opera where Montserrat Caballe, the famous opera singer had her debut. (You may enjoy the small museum shop too!). Have a coffee at the local cafeteria nearby!

You can reach the Marina if you continue down La Ramblas, where you can maybe enjoy some seafood in the closed hall there. In the middle of the way, you should stop and pay respect to the Statute of Colombus and especially to men and women who are the pioneers of their time!

By the way, you should taste some ‘tapas’ in local tapas bars. If you get a drink, one or two tapas plates are gratis. In some tapas bars, you can choose your plates and pay for each plate very modest amounts. Don’t forget to taste the typical ‘whole grain bread with tomato purée, garlic flavour and real olive oil. And I really suggest you to buy some olive oil, you will see the difference in the quality. And also try “paella” if possible with sea food. It’s good and you will like it probably if you know ‘Italian risotto’. ‘Spanish omelette'(omelette with potatoe ) is also worth to try.

Back to the streets, I remember that the district Barri Gothic is the oldest part of the city (the other oldest part is l’Eixample) where you’ll spend most of your time by strolling in the narrow streets, between local boutiques and calm ‘plazas’ in front of old churches. In this district you will see the Cathedral of Barcelona and the Church ( Santa Maria del Mar) which columns inspired Gaudi for his La Sagrada Familia.

Don’t miss Passeig Gracia, a chic boulevard where you will find many luxury stores (Adolfo Dominguez is one of my favorites!) and surprisingly the ‘Casa Batllo’ designed by Gaudi.

And, yes, this the city of Gaudi. You should visit absolutely Parc Guell, it’s a fabulous place, as if it’s from children’s tales. But also the unfinished La Sagrada Famiglia will show you how genious was Gaudi and how he was beyond his time. He’s the inventor of arches used in this church (before only Roman or Gothic style arches were used) and this is the tallest unfinished church of the world. (And it always reminds me a castle in sand done by a small boy!). If you have time, read the sad life story of this architect.

And if you’ll still have some time, go to Montjuic, the hill of the city where you can have wonderful views of the city and where I had, once, sweet memoirs of my youth (the last ones belong to almost a decade ago!)

Have a wonderful trip my dear friend, enjoy Barcelona!”

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Around the world in the last days of 2012

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Shabby feels not good for a while, I’ m telling him that we shouldn’t be unhappy especially in the last days of the year where we’re preparing ourselves for the surprises of the new year. The world is small and … Continue reading

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Paris as always the same!

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I’d been in Paris for a couple of days. I left the sun of my city behind me to meet with the melancholy of Paris under a cloudy and rainy day. Paris is always the same. Or at least it … Continue reading