Exploring Game of Thrones Filming Locations: Iconic Structures of Spain

Game of Thrones is full of medieval settings, and for that reason alone means it’s always on the lookout for locations that have the same look and ambience. Therefore, it seemed only natural that Spain would be chosen among some of the most prominent lands to feature in the show.

After countless hours of ocular visits, the show’s scouts saw just exactly what they needed. Now thousands upon thousands of people flock to the country to witness some of the most iconic films sets from the GoT series.

cordoba-817911_960_720
Dating back to the Roman era, the bridge of Cordoba seems to be the very definition of an ancient structure. Although it has undergone numerous restorations over the centuries, little has changed in terms of its oldly-worldly look.

According to Watchers on the Wall, it was closed for a quick shoot, but the scene it depicted on the show was crucial. The bridge served as Volantis, which was where the slaves were freed by Varys and Tyrion.

seville-106485_960_720
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alcazar of Seville is the physical culmination of the union of various cultures including Muslim and Christian. Its correct name is actually Los Reales Alcazares or Royal Palace Fortresses due to the fact that the complex is made of three main interconnecting parts. These sections were built by different monarchs who ruled the area over the years; hence the combination of several cultures.

The most striking features of the palace are intricately designed and coloured tiles, the gardens and pools, and the domed ceiling of the Ambassadors’ Hall which is adorned with shiny stones. All of these were showcased in the show as the site became Dorne, the stronghold of the Martells; a fitting match to the very nature and image portrayed by the family (at least initially) – romantic, sweet and gentle.

girona-1148129_960_720
Girona Cathedral is another iconic structure, built between the 11th and 13th centuries. Constructed in Romanesque and Gothic style, the cathedral houses the widest Gothic nave in the world. At 72 feet wide, its nave is the second widest in the world next to St. Peter’s Basilica, if the style of architecture is not considered.

The cathedral stood in as the infamous Sept of Baelor in the series which was (spoiler alert) blown up at the end of Season 6. It’s kind of sad that this majestic structure will not be shown in the series anymore.

Picture credit: The Telegraph

Castle of Zafra/Picture credit – The Telegraph

Out in the middle of nowhere within the Spanish province of Guadalajara lies the Castle of Zafra, a fortress constructed in the 12th century which now stands atop a sandstone cliff. The Telegraph mentioned that it had a strategic importance as a defensive structure and effectively withstood countless sieges.

This location was used in one of the most pivotal moments in the show, when the truth about Jon Snow’s parents was finally revealed. The production team did a wonderful job shooting one of the most breathtaking moments in an equally breathtaking location.

The Game of Thrones fever has truly taken over the world. In the span of a few years corresponding to its six seasons, the show’s fan base grew so much that there are people that travel just to track down and visit the show’s filming locations.

In a similar level of adoration, fans all over the world mimic GoT characters through costume parties and similar gatherings in much the same way as other classic shows and films. GoT outfits were all the rage last Halloween, and have become a focal point at most fancy dress parties.

On the digital side, apart from fan-made videos and parodies, Business Insider sampled what it described as the best Game of Thrones app ever, which reproduces the audio in one of the most memorable events in the show – the walk of shame. In case you don’t remember, it’s the scene where the nun rings a bell and shouts “Shame!”. Other digital iterations include video games, with gaming platform Slingo adding to its array of themed and tie up slot games with the Game of Thrones 15 Lines title which features the sigils of different families in the show such as the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens. Seeing all the different creative outlets tied to the series, it’s safe to say that the GoT phenomenon will not wither anytime soon, especially as fans anticipate Season 7.

For your next visit to Spain, be sure to check out these iconic structures. Because if you’re a diehard GoT fan then visiting the real life Westeros will be an experience you’ll never forget.

A story by Lena Andrews

img_20161204_152141_edit

Pierogi, Mulled Wine and Chopin

The first chemical element that Marie Skłodowska Curie discovered and isolated in 1898 was named polonium after her native country. The first woman to win a Noble Prize and the first person to win 2 Noble Prizes used to say that “a scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales”.

On the first day of spring of 1810 a prodigy child was born. His name was Frédéric François Chopin and he left the world with an impressive heritage of over 230 works all involving the piano. A romantic he used to say “Even in winter it shall be green in my heart”.

Tamara de Lempicka was an Art Deco painter and the first woman artist to be a glamour star. She was part of the bohemian life of the Roaring Twenties and friends with Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and André Gide and said “I live life in the margins of society, and the rules of normal society don’t apply to those who live on the fringe”. Her self-portrait in a Green Bugatti is truly charming.

What do all these people have in common you ask? Well they were all born in different times in the same city…Warsaw. And as you listen to this Spring Waltz – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmzFDEu2RoA imagine being a child and running around the streets of old times Warsaw. Choose your character, it may be a scientist, a pianist, a painter or it may be just any other child on the street. Once the wandering mood is on read away and let us take care of the rest.

img_20161204_152141_edit

Old City and Novy Swiat

The Old City of Warsaw dates back over 700 years. But its history hasn’t been smooth. Razed through the ground in the World War II, the Old City has been reconstructed from scratch as was the Royal Castle. The Old City is vibrant, with small streets and all sorts of squares, painted walls and restaurants. We visited before Christmas so the Christmas trees and the Christmas markets added even more glamour to the area.

img_20161201_085135_edit-2

The Old Town Market square founded in the 13th century was the venue of celebrations and fairs but also executions. Nowadays is surrounded by Gothic and baroque buildings, packed with souvenir shops and restaurants (one of them even exhibiting a Michelin star) and is home of the Warsaw Mermaid.

img_20161201_090211_edit-2

Legend says, she became so enchanted with the landscape that she decided to settle here. Local fishermen thought that their fishing nets have been destroyed by some predator. And so, they decided to get rid of the beast but they heard the beautiful voice of the signing Mermaid and fell over heels in love with the creature. One day, a wealthy merchant caught the mermaid but the sons of the fishermen hearing her cries managed to free her. In gratitude, the Mermaid promised the city’s residents to protect them in times of need. And so it stands here, in the Old Town Square, with her sword and shield to guard the city and its people ever since.

img_20161204_152222

Novy Swiat Street is packed with coffee places, restaurants and shops for all tastes. If you are in for some student vibe don’t miss entering the University Campus and if you are into some music watch out for the multimedia benches which will play a little bit of Chopin.

img_20161202_123918-2 img_20161204_130553

Royal Castle

The Royal Castle was a royal residence starting from the 14th century blown up by the Germans in the 1944 and opened again to the public in 1984 it is today a museum and a place for holding state ceremonies.

img_20161204_155402

Our favorite room was the King’s Bedchamber decorated with yew paneling and a turquoise colored royal bed.

img_20161202_132719_edit-2

Stacja Muzeum

Near Ochota there’s a railway related museum which presents the history of railway in the world and Poland in the inside exhibition

img_20161203_134139 img_20161203_133409_edit

and in the open-air museum in includes a collection of rail vehicles in Poland from different periods of the railway history including the Bierut’s Lounge Car, renovated baggage and postal car wagon electrical and steam locomotives. For more information visit http://www.stacjamuzeum.pl/en.

img_20161203_140250_hdr

Palace of Culture and Science

Somehow similar to the Romanian House of the Free Press the Palace of Culture and Science is an example of socialist-realist architecture which can be seen from every part of the city. The Palace is home to a cinema, 2 orchestras, 2 museums, 2 public libraries and the Warsaw Tourist Information Point.

img_20161203_125407

You can go up to the rooftop with an elevator for a view from above of Warsaw. Rumor has it that next door Marriott Hotel has a Panorama Bar where you can get for the same money a better view plus a beer.

img_20161204_120351 img_20161204_120753

Holy Cross Church

Near the Old City and on your way to Novy Swiat you come across the Church of the Holy Cross which in addition to beeing a spacious and impressive Baroque style church it also contains the urn of Chopin’s heart brought from France by his sister and immured in the left pillar of the main nave of the church.

img_20161204_125611 img_20161204_125723

Where we ate

Warsaw has plenty of options for food and coffee lovers. Our favorite restaurant was Podwale 25 Piwna Kompania and our favorite coffee place was Café Nero.

img_20161201_140623_edit-2

For more ideas on where to eat and chill click here.

Where we stayed

We stayed in Apartament Uniwersytecki at Krakowskie Przedmieście 20-22 m16, Sródmiescie. The location of the apartment is right next to the University 10 minutes walking from the Old City on one side and 10 minutes walking to the Central Station on the other side and the kitchen makes it so easy to have breakfast or dinner at home. There is a metro station a couple of minutes away and Nowy Świat is right there as is also a Carrefour Express 1 minute away from the apartment .

img_20161204_152605 img_20161203_194423_edit

img_20161204_152543 img_20161204_132009

img_20161202_130252-2 img_20161202_133523_edit

Food & Drinks Warsaw

Podwale 25 Piwna Kompania (http://podwale25.pl)

The restaurant is located near the Old City. Food is typical Polish (similar also to Romanian one), portions are huge and there’s also some live music. Preferably come outside the typical eating hours since the place is crowded you may have to sit in line for lunch but it is all worth it. Mushrooms soup was a delight and the honey ribs are a must try.

img_20161201_140623_edit-2

img_20161204_134648

img_20161204_140934

Zapiecek (http://www.zapiecek.eu)

You will find Zapiecek easy in the Old City and also on Krakowskie Przedmieście near the Old City. Traditional Polish food. You can get beetroot soup in a cup or in a soup plate if you want to try the version with pierogi. They have a wide variety of pierogi (some kind of dumplings), boiled or fried with different types of stuffing from cabbage, to meat and cherries. The mulled wine is also a must try with more spicy added by the ever present nutmeg. Mind the cue also for Zapiecek around lunch and dinner time.

img_20161202_145907_edit

img_20161202_153640_edit img_20161202_151857_edit_edit

img_20161204_132112

Green Café Nero (http://www.greencaffenero.pl)

This coffee place is everywhere in central Warsaw near the Old City. It has plenty of room to sit, chill, read a book, surf the internet, or just enjoy a big cup of coffee and some sweets. If you are a coffee fun you can find here also Costa Coffee, Starbucks and some small local coffee places.

img_20161201_155645-2

Fret a Porter (http://fretaporter.pl)

Freta Street at the end of the Old City is packed with all sorts of restaurants. We stopped in Fret a Porter. We tried the duck with oranges and it was very tasty.

img_20161203_175708_edit img_20161203_174237

Croque Madame (https://www.facebook.com/CroqueMadame41/)

If you like cakes than this is the place to be. The apple pie and the meringue and chocolate cake are very good.

img_20161203_160538 img_20161203_151249-2

img_20161203_150731-2

img_20170101_124228_edit

Rewind 2016

img_20170101_124228_edit

There’s a sweet noise on the small crowded streets surrounded by flats in all colors of the rainbow and there’s a smell of pizza and oven baked goods coming from all around and all you can hear is Italian words and the face of Gianni, that Italian elderly owner of a traditional pizzeria makes you feel strangely at home. We celebrated the coming of 2017 in Naples, Capri and Procida and as we look forward with curiosity and anxiousness to the year to come we look back with wonder and we are grateful for an incredible 2016

IMG_20160102_141127_edit

with leprechauns, Irish pubs and songs, Guinness beer and trips to the Titanic in Dublin and Belfast

IMG_20160102_140939

Scandinavian snow, perfect muffins, athletic people going out to ski by metro in Oslo

12744163_818590741602818_1679290715306204204_ntraditions, family time, colorful clothes, days of joy and celebrations at our best friend’s wedding in Jaipur, meeting up with old friends for precious stolen moments of happiness

img_20161115_152408_edit

Milan Duomo, pizza and pasta with a heavenly taste, espresso, chilling in parks, polenta, discovery of the Navigli area

img_20160520_152111img_20160520_191659wandering the shores of Como Lake and enjoying breathtaking views of Brunate in Comoimg_20160521_095903unexpected trips to Sighisoara and Brasov

img_20160507_211445_edit_edit1beer gardens, charming coffee shops, Berlin wall, relaxing parks, strolls amongst restaurants and pubs of all nationalities just to charm any food lover in Berlin

img_20160815_180024_hdrbeach days and live music at the Black Sea

img_20160730_163533_editday trip to Negotin, Serbia just to have one Serbian beer

img_20160722_142418pagodas, Shan food, night markets and organized street quarters in Yangon

img_0518img_20160918_122523_editboat trips, traditional rowing fishermen, floating markets and lifetime friends in Inle Lake

img_20160920_084311img_0533sunset, sunrise, pagodas, temples and history in Bagan

img_0869img_0884gold leafs, temples, the best Shan food, monks, longest wooden bridge in Mandalay

img_20160924_141903img_20160924_172918the Grand Palace, new friends, live music, sweet memories, Same Same t-shirts and the best foot massage in Bangkok

img_20160926_135550_edit_editdays of shared thoughts, incredible views, swims, beach strolls, Rum Cola in the charming solitary Duli Beach resort in Philippines, El Nido

img_1254img_1294days of chilling and relaxing in Jaipur and Delhi making plans for future adventures

img_20161114_231850_editRoyal Palaces, Christmas trees, pierogi, beetroot soup, large café latte, Christmas markets in Warsaw

15349820_1019346348193922_3613498593471740022_nChristmas market madness in Bucharest with the view of the Parliament House, hot spiced wine and the best atmosphere to wish for

15380714_1020952261366664_6606025568305505877_n15492319_1025481797580377_6451251349531931751_nChristmas parties with memories of childhood and priceless friends

 15337529_1025171017611455_5783832348673760968_n

family and friends time colored in green, flowery, sunny, snowy surroundings to adapt to the seasons but at all times packed with an overload of joy and happiness to last for a lifetime

 img_20160618_170717_edit

Past year has thought us that we are never alone as we carry with us all the family and friends, present or past, imprinted on our skin and it takes nothing more than closing our eyes for one second to feel them all around us. We’ve lost good friends and gained new friends and family just to remind us one more time of how precious every day we receive is and that it’s up to us to not let it waste and fully live every single second of it. We hope in a happy and peaceful 2017, a year of expressing less and feeling more, of being true to ourselves and the others, of taking leaps of faith without a net, of putting dreams into reality today rather than tomorrow, of carefully using the chance given at each and every new day, of still wondering at everything around, new or old, beautiful or less beautiful, of searching for more balance in life, of still believing.

Letters from Myanmar – Nyaungshwe and Inle Lake

You can hear the sound of the engine as you get settled in and all comfy in your wooden chair on the boat that is about to take you on a journey through Inle Lake. The sun is burning and all you can see around on both sides is water and hills. As you exit the canal leading to Inle Lake there is a particular smell of wet soil and grass and the fishermen boats are starting to pop out here and there.

img_0533

Fishermen have a special way of rowing in Inle Lake, standing on the edge of the boat and using one leg to row while using the hand to throw the net and balancing the body in the same time.

img_0560

img_20160920_084311

This is said to allow more visibility to the boatmen over the vegetation in Inle Lake and is used only by men; ladies row in the classical way by sitting on the edge of the boat. The fishing experience is also unique, two fishermen each in their own boat would lay the net and then start beating the water with sticks to scare the fish away into the net.

img_20160919_160111

As you move further into the heart of the lake boats with people gathering vegetation from the lake appear and the unique floating gardens. Layers of vegetation are pilled one on top of the other until they create a compact layer on which the people plant mostly tomatoes. The plantation on floating gardens is so spread that it covers a significant part of the country’s demand of tomatoes.

img_0582

Villagers rely on crops for their day to day leaving. Sometimes an entire floating garden may be transferred from a village to a different village by slowly moving the entire floating layer of vegetation with boats.

img_0572

And one by one the houses on poles appear. There are around 70,000 people leaving on Inle Lake in houses mainly having one big room to accommodate everyone.

img_0613

People move around using small boats by rowing or for longer distances by using motor boats.

img_20160920_090014

Some houses have electricity from the nearby electrical power lines or use solar panels. Small shops care for the basic needs of the people leaving here whilst for more products a trip to the on ground houses and villages would be required.

img_20160920_092621

One of the pole houses is particularly flooded in front with boats and people waiting in the boats. It is afternoon and the villagers are waiting for their kids to finish school. There are classes in different rooms depending on the year of the children. Windows are widely open and you can see the kids dressed with white shirts and green skirts already getting agitated. Classes would usually be spread over the course of a day with classes in the morning followed by a lunch break and classes in the afternoon. Education is free and for primary classes kids are provided with one uniform and the necessary books.

img_0616

Industries on the lake are also varied.

img_0623

You can find weavers (including bamboo thread weavers), cigarettes and cigars producers, pottery makers.

img_0646 img_0647

For cigarettes and cigar producers workers would usually be paid depending on what they are able to produce in one day.

img_0741 img_0638

Where we ate

There are plenty of options for eating or just having coffee like Aqua Lilies, The French Touch, Min Min’s, Mr. Chef, Ever Green…We however fell in love with Zizi and her small restaurant and we came back two nights in a row for the amazing food and company. Zizi has moved to Nyaungshwe together with her mother and started a business all alone in a domain she had no clue about four months ago. She cooks Myanmar food and a little bit of European food all made by herself like she says in a “home style”. Food is cooked from the heart; there is no menu (yet), no rules apply. You just have to trust the hands of Zizi, give her a few pointers on your preferences (spicy, not spicy, vegan, non-vegan) and she will just create a special experience for you.

img_20160919_190659

In a developing country, more opened to the foreign eye than ever, with a sense of freedom circling around and the people becoming more and more courageous to speak out loud every day, in a business environment dominate by men, Zizi leads with her heart and passion, she is a road opener, leading by example and with a strong will to prove that she can make it in the existing environment and empower other women in her community to follow their dreams.

All of Zizi you can find on her Facebook page here or on Trip Advisor. Do visit her when you are in Myanmar, she is the kind of person that makes her home feel like your home and there’s just no such other equal feeling when travelling in a foreign land than the feeling you have when meeting a homey heart.

Where we stayed

We stayed at Royal Inlay Hotel located close to the boat boarding area and walking distance from the main road and the shops and restaurants area. The hotel serves breakfast on the rooftop with a selection of American breakfast and Burmese style breakfast. The canal going to Inle Lake can be seen from the rooftop. Rooms are spacious and clean, staff is nice. They have somewhat of a SPA (more of a massage room) but you can get a massage in other part of Nyaungshwe also for cheaper prices and probably better quality. WI FI works fine.

img_0753 img_0648

 

Click here for some Tips & Tricks of Inle Lake

Click here for our Top 10 experiences in Inle Lake

For more photos of Inle Lake just click here for our Facebook page.

Tips & Tricks Inle Lake

Tips & Tricks Inle Lake

  • for the boat ride make sure you use sunscreen lotion; take a sweater because it can be cold during some parts of the trip due to the speed boat and the wind; use a cap or a hat to protect from the sun or if you ae not a fan of either just use the umbrella that you can usually find on the boat for protection from the sun;
  • expect a diverse weather on the boat ride; during the same day it can be sunny, rainy and cloudy; raincoats and umbrellas should be available on the boat (just ask when you board);
  • boats on Inle Lake are not particularly big; they fit around 4 – 5 foreigners sitting on chairs and the boat driver; careful when stepping in and out of the boat so you don’t fall;
  • there are at least 2 Agoda Bank ATMs; an ATM easy to find is the one in front of Cherry Queen Hotel which one step away from the street going passed the area for boarding the boats;
  • no need to buy the products in the pottery, weaving or cigarettes shops; places on Inle Lake have a tip box for the ladies showing you different processes so if you want just drop a tip in the tip box.

Top things to do in Inle Lake

Our top things to do in Inle Lake

  1. Boat ride on Inle Lake;
  2. Gossiping with Zizi and eating her amazing food (you can find Zizi of her Facebook page Cooking with Zizi and also on Trip Advisor here);
  3. Pottery making;
  4. Watching the cigarettes making process;
  5. Wandering through the city market especially if you catch the fifth day circling of the markets around the area in Nyaungshwe when the market is busier than usual.

Guest post – A Hidden Gem: Why Ghent Is the Best Place to Visit

Ghent is not the first name springing to mind when it comes to places in Belgium to explore – and quite frankly that’s criminal. This Flemish city is a gem which has gone hidden for too long. Here are five amazing reasons why you’ll want to visit Ghent in the near future.

1. Rebel

untitled

Source

At a time when tyrannical leaders seem to be continuously rising to power, it may be pertinent to take a leaf out of the Ghent history books.

Having grown tired of the regime of the Roman Empire and the Spanish King Charles Karel V, in 1539 the people of the city rebelled against their rulers in an attempt to take the city back.

Okay, so maybe they failed (and were promptly paraded through town in their undergarments with a noose around their necks), but you can’t fault their underdog mentality. Inspiring stuff.

2. Uniqueness

What other cities in Europe can boast a shop which sells wallpaper from the past five decades? That’s right, we didn’t think you’d be able to name any.

Ghent is host to a bevy of different, incredibly unique, stores where both locals and visitors alike will be able to find all sorts of bizarre oddities.

Vintage antiques stores are also common, but arguably the must-see shop of the region comes in the form of Bloemenijs – a florist which also serves ice-creams flavored with rose, jasmine and cherry blossom.

3. Atmosphere

untitled

Source

With a staggering 65,000 students in a population of just under a quarter of a million, it’s perhaps no surprise the vibe is buzzing in Ghent.

Alright, nobody wants to be walking around in some kind of constant party zone – and don’t worry, you won’t be – but it’s nice to know there are places you can go if you’re looking for a wild night out.

With 250 different brands of beer on tap across the city, you’ll certainly be able to find a brew of your liking to get the juices flowing.

4. Understated

Bruges has become one of the most frequented cities in Europe across the past few decades – and, in truth, that’s ruined the tiny and picturesque locale somewhat.

You won’t experience any of that in Ghent, with this hidden gem currently remaining for the most part untouched by the hordes of tourists who clutter the Bruges streets.

That’s not to say you won’t also find plenty of visitors here – but the key difference is they don’t outnumber the locals, meaning the city retains a lot of its natural heritage.

5. The Sites

Untitled23.jpg

Source

Aside from the contemporary reasons to visit, Ghent also has a varied number of historical features which will lure in anyone looking for a splattering of culture.

Churches are a particularly affluent feature, with castles also playing an important role in the history of the city.

For anyone with a strong stomach you might even want to check out the torture museum located within the famous Gravensteen castle – enter at your own risk, however.

By now you’re probably starting to understand why Ghent is one of the most underrated cities in Europe. The next time you’re in Belgium, why not take a trip and see for yourself why this majestic locale deserves more love?

Sources:

 http://www.gutenberg.us/articles/revolt_of_ghent_(1539)

 https://www.1cover.com.au/secret-traveller/disappointing-tourist-attractions/

 https://visit.gent.be/en/ghent-statistics?context=tourist

 A story by Andrew Luke :p

 

Guest Post – Liguria, an experience of a lifetime

camogli

Camogli

Liguria is a coastal region in the North-West of Italy. Once in Liguria, your only issue will be deciding where to go first. Liguria is very generous in cities and villages creating a magical environment, so take your time visiting it, experiencing it, living it.

 

I will start by saying that I have never felt so alive and so aware of my existence than in Liguria. The seaside position, the history lying beneath, the cuisine, the sky, the stars, the architecture, the nature, the colors, everything around you creates the impression of another world. It’s not just another Italian spectacular land. In Liguria, with every step, you run into an unique place or building or view or experience.

portofino

Portofino

 

My first time in Liguria, I went to Genova, but I didn’t have the time to visit much for the time being and I only enjoyed the old harbor and the amazing cuisine. And then I kept coming back and started discovering the city, without any plan or guide, just wandering through the streets, taking a trip back in time at the times of Columbus and of the great navigators.

Genova takes you back to your childhood, when you first learnt about history and sea travels. Genova is just that city which you have always imagined as a start of big sea adventures and development of maritime commerce. It’s it, you’re back home, in the memories of your imagination about history in the Middle Ages.

genova

Genova

 

Leaving Genova behind and moving to the riviera may generate a contradictory feeling: while you’re leaving behind such a special city, the wonders of outer Liguria start to show off and you won’t be able to choose a favorite place. For example, Liguria is host of amazing Portofino and Cinque Terre. Being there, in either of these places, it’s like walking into a photo or a painting. There is no list of things to do there, just be, just let them conquer you, just live the moment and your memories will thank you for ever.

camogli_2

Camogli

 

But there is more about Liguria than Portofino or Cinque Terre or Genova, in Liguria there are Rapallo and Santa Margherita, the sisters of Portofino, both underestimated due to their vicinity to Portofino. But they’re beautiful and they offer amazing views of the sea and the sky, making them part of a movable existence, making them become part of your existence.

rapallo

Rapallo

 

Your trip shouldn’t stop there. You should try also Chiavari or Camogli or Sestri Levante or Bonassola or Framura or Alassio. Ah, che bellezza! You’re in a book you once read or in a photo you’ve dreamt of.

framura

Framura

 

I cannot describe the feeling of the sun caressing my head or the perfume of the sea in Liguria, you just must go there and see by yourself that this cannot be put into words, but just felt and lived and kept safe in your soul.

framura_3

Framura

 

I have dispersed memories screaming of happiness: a walk on the beach at Sestri Levante, a bite of focaccia in Genova, a sip of wine in Portofino, a taste of pesto in a restaurant at Santa Margherita, the seafood in Rapallo, a feeling of chill on a bike through the tunnel in Framura, there rain on my face during a picnic in Bonassola, the feeling of a swim on a hot summer day at Porto Pidocchio, a trip by boat to Vernazza…

I am stopping here, I’ve said enough. The rest, I’ll keep it for myself. Go there and start an experience of a lifetime!

(Story and pictures: Cristina Mihalachioiu)

alassio

Letters from Myanmar – Yangon

This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about” Rudyard Kipling, Letters from the East (1898)

Myanmar is referred to as Amarapura, the Land of Immortality, Yadanarbon, the Land of the Gems and Suvanabhomi, the Golden Land. And we are off to discover how each and every of this skilfull names suit Myanmar and breathe from each of its corners. First stop of this ride Yangon.

img_0484

What we did

Shwedagon Pagoda

The Golden Pagoda dates back to 588 BC and it is said to be the oldest stupa in Myanmar if not the world. The complex o Shwedagon Pagoda is accessible on four majestic stairways. The stupa is 99m height and is encircled by the sequence of the planetary posts each representing a day of the week along with its associated heavenly body and animal (in Burmese astrology Wednesday is divided in two, thus resulting eight “days” in total). Around the terraces you will find a replica of the Buddha’s Tooth (a copy of the original held in Kandy, Sri Lanka), the Magic Ruby Enshrined Buddha, the Child-clutching Brahma, a reclining Buddha and plenty more.

img_0509 img_0435 img_0486 img_0428

Sule Pagoda

Sule Pagoda is right in the centre of the British style organized streets in Downtown Yangon. Local tradition says that the pagoda was built during the lifetime of the Buddha himself. The pagoda is reachable on four staircases located on each cardinal point. Entrance for tourists is 3 USD and the view is especially beautiful in the afternoon when the sun sets.

img_20160917_162421_hdr img_20160917_162359_hdr img_20160917_164718_hdr

Downtown Street Wandering

Downtown is a display of colonial architecture with entire streets and houses all lined up like in the 19th century.  There are shops and street vendors on all the streets between the 19th Street and the Pansodan Street.  In the evening street food stalls and street “restaurants” with plastic tables and chairs are lined up on both sides of Mahabandoola Road and the streets between 32nd Street and 18th Street with all sorts of barbecue, noodles and fruits.

img_20160917_184555 img_20160917_184435 img_0400

Bogyoke Market

Foreign-friendly market built in 1926 covering everything from souvenirs, gems, jewellery, clothing this bazaar looks like a must for shopaholics.

Where we stayed

We stayed at Clover City Centre Hotel Plus. Small entrance lobby with reception at the third floor but otherwise a great spot for a short stay in Yangon. Room was big and clean. Air-conditioning working properly; TV with a few channels, water and coffee complimentary and the well needed safe. Location is great on 32nd Street which makes you stay 5 minutes away from Sule Pagoda and walking distance to 19th Street (one one side) and 50th Street (on the other side).

Where we ate

We went to 50th Street for pies, Bar Book for coffee, 19th Kosan Street for beer, the Black Hat for dinner and live music and 999 Shan Noodle Soup for the best noodles soup in town. Click here for more details on our eating & drinking in Yangon experience.

img_20160918_122523_edit

What we think about Yangon people

We loved the people in Yangon. They seemed nice and honest and did smile a lot. Most of them wear the traditional longyi – the sarong like lower body garment worn by both women and men. Thanka (the bright yellow face paint) is also usual in Yangon. Kids are curious like in all places and do expect people in the pagodas to ask for pictures with you :p.

Click here for some Tips & Tricks of Yangon

Click here for our Top experiences in Yangon

For more photos of Yangon just click here for our Facebook page.

img_0481 img_0483 img_0465

img_0519