domenica 5 settembre 2010

Touring the USA (June 2010): New York

Here we are on the third and last step of our USA tour, the big Apple.
I shouldn't waste my time describing the "obvious" of a town which is over-exposed by thousands of movies, images and stories that comes to us through television or books.
Neverthless, no matter how much you've been told about a place, monument or even a woman, the real beauty is always surprising you somehow.
New York is not beautiful in the sense you would describe Rome, Prague or Paris, it has the beauty of being real till bones.
It surely wraps you with its skyscrapers, parks, sparkling lights, infinite and straight roads , but it also shows you the dark side of its face.
Million of hard workers walks the elegant streets of Manhattan, either in lousy clothes or nice suit, black people, asian faces, thousands of other faces that draw no clear limit between tourists and inhabitants.
If you are in New York you are a number among millions and if you are a number you can feel as alone as in a desert or you can just feel as free as a bird.
Either you feel alone or free you may want to see the art all around, between museums and squares full of musician, you may want to have a run along the Hudson river or have a seat in some very nice pub or restaurant.
You may want to do all this, or just have a rest after a long day of work.
If you are not the lucky one, you normally have more than one job to survive the expends of an expensive town, where millions of spanish words (so many from the Central/South America !!!) are filling the air of every hotel, shop, restaurant.
If you are like me you would like to live in a place where jumping from a metro station (as old as efficient) and walk to destination is the only way.
If you are like me, you'd keep this town as a black and white picture (so dear to me :-) in your mind, the picture of a town where everything is possible and it never seems to catch up with things to do and see.

lunedì 26 luglio 2010

Touring the USA (June 2010): the West Side

As we left San Francisco, we rent a car and drove east side with the only real goal to catch a plane to Mexico from the LA airport.
What to do in the middle ?
Planning on the go we drove through:
- the Yosemite National Park, with its long trees and very beautiful iced Lake.
- the red-hot Death Valley, a western movie taste with its 50 degrees and desolated roads
- Las Vegas
- Grand Canyon
- Los Angeles.

Very briefly into the last 3 mentioned:
Las Vegas is almost intentionally ugly, kitch and very hot during summertime, if you like to play (I 'm not very fond of it) it may be very funny, if you don't it's a waste of time.
The Grand Canyon is breathlessly beautiful, you don't see it until you get very close at it, then all of a sudden you realize there is a huge hole in the middle of the forest and the visual impact is astonishing.
If you go during the early or latest hour of the day, it's a mix of shining red colours coming from its rocks carved by the wind.
Los Angeles it's like a beautiful and empty woman to me, sparkling everywhere you look at it but lacking a real soul.
Nice houses, gardens, bodies, faces gave me the sensation of being into the "American Beauty" style life, where showing off is the primary thing and the real life lies underneath...somewhere !!!.

Travel Informations:
Nothing particular to remind, the Aria Resort Hotel in Las Vegas was worthing the while but I guess every hotel is as nice as cheap through the whole city.

martedì 20 luglio 2010

Touring the USA (June 2010) : San Francisco

I got Married.Stop.
I spent one month on Honeymoon.Stop.
I travelled, we travelled A LOT !!! Stop.
First step of "on our own" travel, San Francisco.
When you imagine a place and it's like the way you imagined it, sometimes can be a let down , sometimes you love it.
I loved it.
"The Frisco Bay" it's like you paint it in your thoughts, uphills and downhills all the way through, a strong visual impact almost from every spot, allowed and free to be who you really are, whatever you are, wherever you are.
The book guide says: San Francisco was since ages the town where every "rejected" from society could find its shelter, since then this spirit of embracing people from every spot has been kept, you'll easily find people ready to help you as soon as you'll look in trouble".
Thought it was only a book guide advertise, I had to reconsider it and believe it's true, no way of puzzling on the town map without someone stopping and offering to help (for free).
I don't know whether this spirit belongs only to "Frisco", neither I could tell what of this city belongs to Americans, I only got the clear impression I was inside of a meltin pot of cultures, a worldwide mix of faces and styles in the same place.
At the end we spent 3 days in town, loving the long walks through it's straight paths, enjoying the lovely temperature (it will be the best through the whole USA tour) and even appreciating the fresh food from the Fisherman Wharf.
Would I ever live there ?
Yes indeed !!!

Travel informations:

- Restaurant Pompei's Grotto:
As matter of facts, any restaurant at Fisherman Wharf should be as reliable as not cheap, we just tried this one and it offered really tasty and fresh crabs, as well as other seafood.
- Hotel Le Meridien San Francisco:
- This was an excellent hotel and very well located (close to Battery Street), honestly it was on a honeymoon budget, therefore a bit expensive for a normal traveller (which I am in most of my trips:-)

venerdì 21 maggio 2010

Morocco 2009: part 2

The rest of our trip starts from Marrakech and it cross the country in a sort of circle route that ends in Casablanca again, but everything on the way is as breathless as susrprising.
I 've always heard, from various travellers that Morocco is a great place to visit but I realize I had never known why, until I could drive along the way and see, and I have seen:
green, REAL green fields mixed with red ground rocks, covered in snow mountains, long stretch of infinite landscapes and lonely road through them, the desert with its silence and its million stars above it, free children all around the place.
What I can clearly remember is having a stop after miles of driving and just stand there to stare everything around, sometimes in the middle of nothing but nature.
It might have been the Grand Canyon, it might have been Switzerland, it might have been everything but my idea of Morocco, at the end a multiple faces and costantly changing colors country.
I could write more about it but I'll probably be boring and too long, hope then photos may give a better idea more than my words are doing so far.

Travel Informations:

- Guest House Dar Qamar (Agdz):
this guest house is managed by French people and really is in the middle of nothing, but as you get in it's totally another world.
Clean, silent, comfortable, cheap (around 70 euro per room) great and natural food with an excellent swimming pool.
Women may like to know that Brad Pitt and all the staff have slept there while shooting Babel :-)

venerdì 14 maggio 2010

Marrakech Express (2009) : Morocco Part 1

One of the most exotic trips I've ever done, it started on March the 7th and for 9 days it took us around the Central part of Morocco.
Four person, no real plans, a car rented and some book guide, we immediately left the horrible, dirty and industrial Casablanca (landed and took off from here) to drive to Marrakech.
I guess people is expecting Marrakech as the most exotic place in the world, but from my point of view, as like as my travel mates, surely over-rated.
The big and very famous Market plaza, the Medina, is full of colors and people dancing or playing all the time, but the more you get into its narrow streets the more you face the bad side of this culture : DIRTNESS.
I don't feel comfortable in labeling a country like that, but it's something that comes out from every spot and that, with all respect, you notice it's part of their culture.
Then, as the strangest thing, right in the middle of this market mess and through its narrow streets walls you open a door and find the other world: the Riad.
This tipical oriental and luxurious guest house is something that European, mostly French, have arranged to offer a comfortable and exotic stay into town, a door that separates two worlds, so close, so distant.
After some day into town we started what we consider our real trip and our real knowledge of the country (in the map Below the track of our route).
P.S. I had to post it a year ago but I forgotte it somehow :-(

lunedì 12 aprile 2010

To commute (Vita da pendolare)

It seems it wasn't enough my sentimental life as a Commuter, better said "weekend lovers", that I had to experience a real commuter working experience.
After ten years of glorious "maximum 15 minutes distance to work", I've been sent to the other side of the town for some meaningless and totally unuseful (that's normal in IT environment) consultancy period.
Drive the car to closest metro station, jump the first train, switch to another train line, get the final stop and take a bus to final destination.
All in all, 1 hour and plus minutes from house to job, all in all, not so bad.
I mean, there is a lot to gain being close to work, especially in Rome, on the other side there is a lot to gain being in a seat, book in your hand and music in your ears.
No traffic jam, no screaming at improbables drivers, no danger, time to read, time to stare and to study people around you.
I know, it may seems meaningless to stare at some other people, but i find it interesting somehow.
Life sometimes pass just through people eyes and tells you a lot of a moment in time, I look at them and I see black and white pictures in my mind, faces that I would like to print in a photo and let them speak through it.
Time to read, time to stare, time to practice some street (metro) life picture.


mercoledì 7 aprile 2010

Quote of the day

Oggi l'Italia è una democrazia della televisione che si fonda sull'immunità della classe dirigente
(Nichi Vendola on "L'Internazionale" )

Improbable English Translation:
Today Italy is a television democracy based on the immunity of its governing board.

martedì 9 marzo 2010

Prague 2010

As my girlfriend has bumped into a very convenient offer, 200€ for flight + 3 nights, we overcame our mistrust in agencies offers and decided to seize the opportunity of 3 days in Prague.
Result: no complaints at all.
Some inexperienced traveller may not know Prague is considered by many reports, the most beautiful town in the world and, from an objective point of view, it may be true.
Take the tube, get off any central metro station, enjoy a breathless impact to a first sight to the town.
You may not like a Bohemian style, you may want to experience a more "lived" town but you just can't avoid to see beauty all around and appreciate how a walk between its narrow streets just brings you to fairy tale sensations.
The same question again: would I ever live there ?
Not really.
I mean, if Berlin got a good point of being Cosmopolitan, Prague it is not.
Despite the astonishing beauty of its architecture, the transports efficiency and a general cleanliness of all its spots, I take a step backward from its cold weather, an useless (at least to me) idiom and some very personal incompatible lifestyle, as food or cold-actitude.
Neverthless, this was my second visit to the town and I don't regret a single moment I've seen it again.
Travel Informations and photos will be following.

Travel Informations:
- Hotel Ibis:
just average hotel, well located but still Prague can offer much better locations at cheaper prices.
- Restaurant Kolkovna: (
good and typical food at good prices. Excellent Beer. Recommended
- Restaurant Bellevue:
Location with an excellent view, it's all it can offers. For a romantic dinner I've been robbed with a HUGE bill, receiving just average food and wine.
Professional stealers and ABSOLUTELY NOT RECOMMENDED.

martedì 23 febbraio 2010


I know I might seem pathetic and repetitive about Radiohead and everything turns around them, but I feel like to express my feelings about it today.
I've passed through several different musical moments in my life, most of them related to "easy targets" like Beatles (that's when I was 15), like some Italian group or very classical "teenager" Duran Duran.
I've passed through the Depeche Mode fashion or a long lasting U2 love (what a disappointment today !!!), more or less all disappeared in the mist of my 40 year old age.
As matter of facts, I've never been an open-minded listener, someone who is longing to experience new sounds and search for new groups, I'd rather say I've always been a chance listener that every once and again happened to be surprised by a voice or a song.
So I still remember the day I did receive a tape on my lousy walkman and played that music in a dark room at night time: Radiohead live at Glastonbury (1997), OK Computer tour.
I got chills.
It's probably Thom Yorke's voice which is able to reduce you to tears, it's probably their constant research for new sounds and new style, maybe their ideas about politics and environment or their way of never being commercial or "stars", fact is, I never got sick of them.
13 years later, in front of my laptop, trying to survive to the boreness of my Job I still have Radiohead on my less-lousy iPod and among 1000 of different tracks, new groups on the tryout playlist and a growing need to experience something new, they're a sort of homecoming anytime they "show up".
Following an emotional extract (unfortunately not excellent quality video) of that Glastonbury 1997 first approach of mine to them.

venerdì 12 febbraio 2010

White White Rome !!!

There were "rumours" about possible snow falling in Rome this friday, something I had never experienced in the capital during the last 10 years.
There have been rumours already in the last decade, but people here really doesn't believe it cause a white Rome is something that happens once in twenty years.
Well, when this morning I absent-mindedly pull up the curtains, here you are how everything looked to me:

venerdì 8 gennaio 2010

Berlin 2009

Coming back from this third and finally "deep into" experience, a sort of strange sensation arises leaving Berlin: am I currently living in the jungle ?
I'm aware I keep on being too ironic about the Italian lifestyle and I also guess these times they do demand for it, but I believe there is something more than the usual Italy vs Europe fight, with all pro and cons it is made of.
Berlin it surely has all the "cons" of a north European town: cold weather, polite but unfriendly people (Germans...OF COURSE!!!), a made up mind, unhealthy food.
It surely has the known "pro" as well: efficiency, cleanliness, order.
What more about the well known?
It costs nothing, probably the cheapest capital in Europe.
It is Spacious with its wide squares, large streets and huge stretches of green.
It's modern, a costant growing wave of wonderful designed buildings with Potsdamer Platz (years ago completely desert) and the German Parlament (Reichstag) above all.
It's well connected with a very branched subway, cycle tracks everywhere and no traffic jam at all.
Is this all suficient to believe am I living in a jungle called Rome ?
Yes it is, the most beautiful Jungle perhaps, a place where eyes are rapt by such a magnificence every single day, where sun is often shining and people can be as unpolite as really friendly, where food is special as well as the whole Italian fashion.
Would it be so Fucking difficult make a first damn step to civilizations ?
My bicycle is set and waiting on the balcon to climb a metro station for the first time in its life :-(
P.S. Travel Information, we liked our stay in the Leonardo royal hotel ( ) , 70 euros per night the whole room, close to Alexander platz, clean and well designed location.