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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Industries on the lake are also varied.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Addicted to happiness, a story about Crete

I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.” is what Nikos Kazantzakis was saying in Zorba the Greek. And if you read the words below from our friend Cristina Mihalachioiu we can’t promise you won’t fall in love with Crete and go searching for happiness…in the small details.

“First time I was in Grece, I went to Crete. I stayed in a tidy hotel with a sea view, located on the bar street of what I think to be the liveliest city in Crete: Hersonissos. I could smell the sea from the balcony and stare at the mountains from the window.

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The beaches are not the widest, to say the least, but the sun is welcoming and the waves are hugging you into a cameleonic embrace. There were many days, during my other visits in Crete, when the sea literally changed color from green to turquoise, from blue to black. It’s especially magic during the spring, as it is quiet and controlling. It has a life of its own this sea and it is simply surprising.

Now that I told you about my big love, the Aegean Sea, I’ll tell you also about my other love, eggplant burekakia. It’s an amazing dish – I don’t know if it’s Cretan or Greek, never cared – based on eggplants and feta cheese (I know the entire recipe, but I’m keeping it for myself 😊). This I discovered in a magnificent restaurant called Argo. I think it was there were I fell in love with Crete – they say: “there are people coming to holiday in Crete and there are people coming for holiday in Argo”. I’ve met a lot of the latter and became myself one of them.

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But this piece is about Crete and how amazing Crete is. You see, we’ve come to such a strong bond, that Crete has slowly became a part of me.

The sea is not what Crete or Hersonissos is all about; while the port side is better known for its tavernas, but especially for the bars and clubs along the sea, there is also Hersonissos village, up towards the mountains. It’s pretty traditional, there are special nights and tours organized for tourists. But what I recommend is for you to rent a motorbike and ride it up the mountains. And then stop. Stop to gaze at the sea from above. And now you’re addicted to happiness…

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Coming back to another type of happiness – nightlife in Hersonissos, I think even Greeks find it the best. You have to see it for yourself and not forget to stay responsible. You’ll see you’ll find it extremely difficult with all the joie de vivre around yourselves, but you have to. Otherwise, you risk staying on a bench in front of the hotel for three hours because your friend has the room key, she doesn’t answer her phone and the reception desk opens at 7:30 a.m. :p

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And if you get to Crete you must not miss Matala and Chania and for history lovers Knossos.

Matala is in Southern Crete and has this amazing silver beach, with weird pierced rocks around and used to be a place where the hippies would gather back in the days. You travel there through sloppy roads in the mountains, through olive trees plantations and red lands and it’s worth it every minute of the journey.

Chania is the second largest city in Crete (after Heraklion, the capital) and has this amazing old harbor area very well preserved which deserves at least one afternoon of doing nothing and just enjoing the food in the tavernas around.

Knossos is very well preserved and recommended to ancient ruins lovers only. Otherwise, it’s very hot in the summer and if are not a fan of the type, you would be annoyed.

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Bottom line – the sea, the sun, the food, the Cretans, just amazing and you can only see by yourselves.”

(Story and pictures: Cristina Mihalachioiu)

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Puglia region and the love for the South

There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life”. As you hear these words of Federico Fellini in your mind your feet are carrying you on cobblestone streets and you enter this labyrinth of creamy houses, flowers, stairs…clothes and bed sheets hang from windows or in front of the doors right there on the street…it smells like freshly baked bread from that focaccia in that small shop on a street corner…voices accompanied by hand gestures cut the air around in the port area and the fish smell doesn’t bother you at all…pointy rooftops of trulli houses surround you…a well-practiced movement of hands piles up those Italian pastas you just heard about… orecchiette…someone is talking to you in Italian comfy and relaxed like you naturally understand every word and the thought of sharing a coffee on top of the streets of Matera with that nice old lady that would tell you the most amazing stories makes you feel sad you have not learned Italian yet…

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Where are you might you ask? Well, you are just cruising around Puglia region in South Italy. The Adriatic Sea is right there in front of your eyes and the heel of Italy’s “boot” will unveil in front of you small cities filed with stories, history and the Italian passion of life. Oh yes…of course…and loads of focaccia and seafood to shift your appetite and make you crave for something so simple as bread and tomatoes.

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Intrigued? Take a sip of espresso, heat that oven and throw in a pizza and while is baking read away…

Bari

Bari is an amalgamation of modern and old greeting you with streets for shopping and relaxing while tasting cakes and coffees or just wandering around for window shopping while in the same time teasing you to wander the old city with small streets, churches in unexpected corners, twists and turns, old city walls and small restaurants catching your eye with those traditional Italian plates the most famous of which are Patate, riso e cozze (potatoes with rice and mussels) and all sorts of orecchiette.

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The port area in the morning light with the calm Adriatic Sea, the fish all laid down on tables and those mid-age Italian men having their coffee, drinks and playing games or just gossiping with lots of hand gestures it’s a must.

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And if you are really lucky you can also see in the morning old Italian ladies preparing the homemade orecchiette and knowing this lovely Southern people one might actually invite you in to take a sit and learn some of Italy’s traditions.

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Matera

Matera is home of the Sassi a charming historical centre dating back over 7000 years with dwellings carved in stone, cobblestone streets inviting you to get lost and sometimes running on top of other houses just to make the wandering even more spectacular, churches, archways, stairs running up and down, terraces and corners to stop for incredible views.

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Once you exit the Sassi a new city lies ahead with souvenir shops, small terraces where Italian ladies enjoy a quick espresso perfectly going with a smoke and some gossip, focaccia from the street shop eaten with your hands with a better taste than anything else, a guy signing his guitar to make some extra money or who knows maybe to get noticed…Matera is, no wonder, a favourite spot for filmmakers and soon to be European Capital of Culture.

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Alberobello

Beautiful Tree” (if you guys want to translate it) is a small town with just about 11,000 inhabitants famous for its trulli. What’s a trullo? Well it’s a small house with a conical roof made out of stones piled up one on top of the other. The origins of the design seem to be linked with the high taxation on property people of Puglia used to pay and this dry wall constructions where created to allow dismantling when the inspectors were in the area. Some of these elf size houses have particular symbols painted on the cones including a series of Christian symbols.

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And if you get in the area of Trullo Sovrano there’s this cool trullo house home of a shop of Italian food products where this nice gentleman will tell you a few words about the trullo home and its rooms and invite you to taste all types of Italian liquors you are in the mood to try on…we promise the taste is so precious that you will be tempted to ditch the clothes you carried in your backpack and fill it up with liquor bottles, packs of orecchiette and biscuits.

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Locorotondo

The “Round Place” has a circular historic centre.  The village is considered amongst the most beautiful places to visit in Italy with a labyrinth of white alleys, white houses with the most beautifully decorated numbers graciously showing details of the street where the house is located.

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No cone roof tops in the historic centre (you can gaze at them from the viewing point looking towards Locorotondo countryside) but you will find here the special pitched roofs called “cummerse”. And if this doesn’t convince you know also that Locorotondo produces some good white wines still or sparkling.

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Martina Franca and Trani

Martina Franca has a historic centre surrounded by stone walls with remainders of Baroque and Rococo styles to be fund in the gates, the piazzas and the churches. The streets are small and picturesque and the place is also renowned for white wine.

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For a different view of Puglia you can try Trani a fishing port, historic buildings and boats in the harbour playing around with the sunset light to give you enough time and space to breathe and dream.

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You can reach Puglia region by plane to Bari and from Bari you can easily take a train (under 2 hours) for all the above destinations.

For more pictures from Puglia check out our Facebook page here.

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Yummiest Chinese Treats

We are happy to the sky and back to be sharing with you our first guest post and we send all our love to the amazing Agness from www.eTramping.com who has agreed to share with us some insight views on the Chinese sweets.  So here we go:
Got a sweet tooth and China is next on your bucket list?  I have some good and bad news for your then. The bad news is that Chinese sweets are not very sweet. In fact, they might be a bit tasteless for those who love sugary desserts. The reason being, Chinese try to be healthy and stay slim so they avoid sugar. They prefer spicy food over sweet treats so most of Chinese desserts are savoury and contain red bean filling. The good news is that you can treat yourself with many different goodies here without gaining any weight. Guilty free pleasure! Moreover, you can discover many different flavours of fruits, veggies and a great combination of fresh ingredients.
Chinese locals snack a lot on fresh fruits, jelly, red beans, bread and cakes from time to time. They eat everything in moderation so they stay healthy and slim all year long. The list of all my favourite Chinese desserts is way too long to share it with you here, so I decided to pick up the most delicious ones you should definitely taste when you visit the Land of Dragons:
#1 Street donuts.
Street donuts are obviously sold at the street food vendors, but you can also get them in big supermarkets and most of local restaurants. They are deep fried and look exactly like the Western donuts, but they are filled with red bean jam and honey, thus they are much healthier and not that super sweet. Chinese do not sprinkle them with caster sugar, they use coconut powder instead. Having one is a must when visiting Beijing. In order to make it even more tasty, you can order a local flavoured yogurt served in glass jars. 

Donuts
 
#2 Dumplings filled with fruits.
Fruity baozi are extremely delicious and they can easily satisfy your sugar cravings for all day. They are filled with strawberry, peach, raspberry or blueberry jam and honey and steamed so it’s a light snack to have on the go.
Baozi

Fruity baozi

Chinese dumplings
 #3 Candy fruits.
They are called tanghulu and you can spot them everywhere in Beijing, Shanghai or Guilin. Shiny and long candied fruit served on bamboo skewers can certainly be a yummy dessert. You can choose your fruits from blueberry, pineapple orange to grape and cherry tomato. Healthy, affordable and sweet – what else could you ask for?
tanghulu

tanghulu
 #4 Sweet bread.
Chinese are obsessed with sweet bread and buns. They like it steamed and filled with custard, mung bean paste or jam. My favourite one is sesame bread with pieces of raisins and nuts inside. So delicious!
Sweet bread

Sweet bread
#5 Ice cream.
Chinese ice cream dessert cannot be compared to Western styled goodies – way too watery, but if you feel like having something fruity as a snack and you don’t fancy eating sweet things, you should definitely have one scoop of them – strawberry and banana flavours are the yummiest. 
Ice cream
  #6 Pumpkin cake.
Pumpkin is eaten all year long in China, not only for Halloween. Therefore, some locals come up with various pumpkin cake recipes each year which are healthy, nutritious and yet slightly sweet. Sweet Chinese fried pumpkin glutinous rice cake is definitely my favourite one. It’s soft and it has a jelly texture that melts in your mouth. Surprisingly, it’s sold in the street hot and sprinkled with nuts. 

Pumpkin cake
#7 You tiao.
You tiao are traditional fried breadsticks – one of the best breakfast options on the cheap in China. They have golden brown skin, they are deep fried and taste awesome with some sesame oil or melted chocolate.
You tiao

You tiao
#8 Sticky rice in a leaf.
In China, it’s very common to have glutinous rice filled with chicken, Chinese mushrooms, Chinese sausage, red bean paste and nuts for your dessert. Steamed sticky rice is wrapped in a lotus leaf wrap, it’s soft and extremely delicious!”

Sticky rice in a leaf

 

Sticky rice

 Agness and Cez are best friends and travel companions from Poland. These two are sharing their budget travel tips on how to travel the world with $25 in your pocket. Since 2011, they have been travelling the world while teaching English in different Asian countries such as China, Thailand or Cambodia. They are both photography passionate obsessed with Chinese cuisine and culture. More about them on www.eTramping.com

Agness and Cez of eTramping – Da Lang, Dongguan, China
 
 
More pictures of Chinese treats below:
 
A local rolling a cake
Bakery display
Cake shop
Chinese tea
Chinese teahouse
Jam filled dessert in Beijing
Chinese Herbal Tea
Jelly Cake
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cookies with nuts, sesame and dried fruits