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Martinica (Photo credit: Seven Days Blog http://appuntidiviaggio.sevendays.biz/)

Martinica, l’isola dei fiori (Italian only)

L’estate oramai iniziata e la voglia di mare e’ scoppiata! Ed e’ per questo che ho chiesto la collaborazione dell’amica blogger Sabrina di Appunti di Viaggio by Seven Days di farci conoscere un posto nuovo, lontano, incantevole, da sogno: la Martinica!

Ci sarei dovuta andare con una cara amica tanti anni fa’ per fare un corso di francese, almeno questa era la scusa eheh, ma poi ahime’ cambiammo idea. Per fortuna che c’e’ Sabrina che ci raccontera’ la meraviglia di questo luogo. Buona lettura!

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Uno dei miei ultimi viaggi è stato a Martinica, un’isola meravigliosa delle Antille Francesi, nei Caraibi.

Quest’isola è la meta ideale per rilassarsi e vivere a contatto con la natura. Non a caso è conosciuta come l’isola dei fiori ed ha una temperatura media di 26° tutto l’anno!

Martinica map (Source: googlemaps)

Martinica map (Source: googlemaps)

Il mio viaggio a Martinica  inizia all’aereoporto nazionale di Lamentin, dove affitto una macchina per potermi dirigere a sud dell’isola. A mio parere l’auto è il miglior mezzo per muoversi su quest’isola.

La mia prima tappa è Saint-Luce, un caratteristico villaggio di pescatori sul mar dei Caraibi. Il paesaggio qui è davvero incredibile: un mix di colori e profumi da far girare la testa! Anche la parte meridionale dell’isola stupisce soprattutto per le bellissime spiagge di Pointe Marine, Grande Anse d’Arliet e Anse Figuer. Sembra di essere dentro una cartolina: il mare di Martinica è cristallino e le spiagge sono bianchissime!

La spiaggia che mi ha colpito di più però è quella di Les Salines, dove si possono fare infinite passeggiate con la splendida vista delle palme di cocco che si affacciano sul mare dei Caraibi. Qui è possibile anche rilassarsi sulla spiaggia godendosi la vista del tramonto sul mare sorseggiando magari un buon Punch Coco, il tipico cocktail di Martinica.

Martinica (Photo credit: Seven Days Blog http://appuntidiviaggio.sevendays.biz/)

Martinica (Photo credit: Seven Days Blog http://appuntidiviaggio.sevendays.biz/)

Il sud di Martinica non offre solamente spiaggie bianche ed acque cristalline ai propri visitatori. Si possono scoprire villaggi caratteristici come i borghi di Sainte-Anne, Trois-llets e Diamant. Per chi ama le immersioni, il paesaggio sottomarino di questi luoghi è imperdibile!

A Trois-Îlets si può visitare il Musee de la Pagerie, la residenza natale di Giuseppina Bonaparte, la moglie di Napoleone. E poi è quasi d’obbligo fare un giro a Trois Rivières, una distilleria dove si può degustare dell’ottimo rum.

Una gita in barca che consiglio vivamente di fare è a Fonds Blancs, una traversata della pianura del Lamentin fino al François. Fonds Blancs è una specie di piscina naturale di sabbia ed è soprannominata “la vasca di Joséphine”,  in quanto si racconta che l’imperatrice Giuseppina Bonaparte fece il bagno in queste acque.

Durante il mio viaggio ho visitato anche la capitale amministrativa di Martinica,  Forte de France. Qui si possono ammirare in tutta la città le opere dell’architetto Henri Picq , tra cui spicca la magnifica biblioteca Schoelcher.

Un posto meraviglioso da visitare è sicuramente il giardino di Balata, dove si entra in contatto con una incredibile varietà di piante e fiori.

Fiore Martinica

Fiore Martinica

Dopo aver visitato la splendida città di  Forte de France, continuo il mio viaggio verso il nord dell’isola.Qui il paesaggio è più selvaggio grazie alla foresta tropicale e al monte Pelée, il vulcano che domina il paesaggio sfiorando i 1400 metri di altezza. Gli amanti del trekking trovano qui il loro paradiso: i Picchi del Carnet sono famosi per i numerosi percorsi da esplorare. Attraverso i sentieri disseminati nel parco si possono scoprire le cascate di Saut du Gendarme, quelle di Fond Saint Denis e i canyon nei Pitons du Carbet.

Tra tutti Fonds-Saint-Denis è stato uno dei posti che mi è piaciuto di più. Questo piccolo villaggio è completamente immerso nel verde si trova sulle pendici dei Pitons du Carbet.

Un altro paesino affascinante è Saint-Pierre, l’antica capitale di Martinica. Nel 1902 la città è stata distrutta a causa dell’eruzione del vulcano del monte Pelèe. È da quell’anno quindi che Forte de France è diventata la capitale.

A Saint-Marie, invece, si può visitare il museo del rum, per scoprire tutti i procedimenti ed i segreti sulla lavorazione e sulla produzione del più classico dei liquori caraibici.

Per quanto riguarda le spiagge, quelle del nord di Martinica sono diverse da quelle del sud. L’origine vulcanica dona alle spiagge del nord il loro rinomato riflesso argenteo.

Uno dei miei passatempi preferiti in vacanza è provare la cucina locale dei posti che visito. Devo ammettere che i ristoranti di Martinica offrono dell’ottimo pesce fresco. La cucina creola poi è decisamente saporita. Tra le specialità creole, consiglio di assaggiare sicuramente il Matoutou, un buonissimo piatto a base di granchio di terra e riso.

Martinica, cucina creola (Photo credit: http://www.martinica.in/mangiare_bere.php)

Martinica, cucina creola (Photo credit: http://www.martinica.in/mangiare_bere.php)

A Martinica ci si può davvero rilassare: è un’isola molto tranquilla e non ci sono animali pericolosi, anche se è bene avere con sé un buon repellente antizanzare. Se non è la fauna è però la flora ad essere pericolosa: esistono infatti degli alberi velenosi che contengono un liquido tossico e corrosivo. Per fortuna questi alberi sono segnalati da una vernice rossa proprio per evitare di toccarli e di usarli come riparo dalla pioggia.

Quello che più mi è piaciuto di questa vacanza a Martinica è sicuramente il fatto di aver goduto della bellezza di paesaggi naturali mai visti, del profumo dei fiori e della buonissima colazione a base di goyave!

Martinica (Photo credit: Seven Days Blog http://appuntidiviaggio.sevendays.biz/)

Martinica (Photo credit: Seven Days Blog http://appuntidiviaggio.sevendays.biz/)

Martinica è un’isola che stupisce per i colori, i profumi e la natura incontaminata. Ed è una vacanza che soddisfa le esigenze di tutti: dal bisogno di tranquillità alle attività in mare fino alle escursioni nella foresta.

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Milan Triennale: design & food (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

3 x 3 tips on where to have breakfast, lunch, aperitivo and dinner in Milan!

Ok, June has started, so it’s supposed to be good weather, right?! But for some reason it’s not always the case. So what about a city escape to another city? And what about Milan?!
Since after the Expo Milan has been in full bloom! The city looks spectacular: lots of renovation and works to improve the city, new restaurants and bars openining up at every corner, new shops as well as new museums and new exhibitions spaces to visit! So while you wait for you seaside escape, try Milan!

New Garibaldi area, Milan (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

New Garibaldi area, Milan (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Here are some spots you’d want to check out, assuming you already know Milan. Otherwise I’ll provide some tips in another post.

Art, food, design and the likes

Fondazione Prada (Photo credit: www.documentjournal.com)

Fondazione Prada (Photo credit: http://www.documentjournal.com)

. Fondazione Prada – contrasting opinions about it. Some say it’s cool and worth a visit because it’s Prada, some really liked it, some really didn’t. The cafe’ is interestingly decorated. See for yourself!

Simply room design at Milan Triennale (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Simply room design at Milan Triennale (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

. La Triennale Museum – a museum mainly dedicated to design, architecture, jewellery and space, which a very interesting location itself with a garden where there often outdoor exhibitions, a terraced restaurant and a very yummy bistrot. Here are the current exhibitions: http://www.triennale.org/en/categoria_mostra/in_corso/

. Nonostantemarras, the space of Antonio Marras, which looks really inspiring

Nonostantemarras (Photo credit: www.italianways.com)

Nonostantemarras (Photo credit: http://www.italianways.com)

. Museo del Design 1880 – 1980 (Design Museum), which had a preview during the Milan Design Week, and was originally founded in Ravenna in 1988, but now permanently opened in Via Borsi 9 in Milan, to give the chance to a greater audience to visit it.

 

Bars & Restaurants

Giardino Verticale skyscraper, Milan (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Giardino Verticale skyscraper, Milan (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

. Bio – a very nicely decorated restaurant below one of the “Vertical garden” skyscrapers (Giardino Verticale), in the newly reformed part of Milan, which is definitely a destination if you are visiting the city! A seasonal menu with interesting and uncommon dishes’ proposal and with everything rigorously “bio” or better organic. Nice presentation, not each single dish is close to perfection, but definitely an experience to be made!

. U Barba – a traditional Italian restaurant with Ligurian cuisine. Not in the city centre, but in an area that is slowly been renovated and recovered, located in an old “Bocciofila” (the place where you can play “bocce”), which is being kept, finely decorated, you can taste tasy dishes of Genoan heritage, among them focaccia, farinata, pansotti alle noci (a typical sort of ravioli with walnuts sauce), troffie al pesto, but also great meat & fish options and dessserts. I really recommend the “Fior di latte” (literally milk flower, a milk based gelato flavour) ice-cream served with different types of nuts as a topping. Also good wine, I’d suggest Vermentino or Pigato, typical of the region, for a first visit! They also offer take-away options in the store next door.U Barba Restaurant, Milan ((Photo credit: www.andreaco.com)

. Cascina Cuccagna – thinking of having an aperitivo in the countryside, but you can’t actually leave Milan? Well, Cascina Cuccagna is the perfect place as you’ll find yourself in a garden, almost in the city centre, with a relaxed atmosphere, thinking you’re definitely not in Milan! It’s also a place where you can have a bite or do different types of activities, as they frequently organise markets, yoga gatherings, etc…Visit the website for more details.

Cascina Cuccagna, Milan (photo credit: www.artribune.com)

Cascina Cuccagna, Milan (photo credit: http://www.artribune.com)

 

Cafes

Swiss corner (photo credit: www.nuvolablognews.com)

Swiss corner (photo credit: http://www.nuvolablognews.com)

. Swiss Corner – an elegant cafe with a big dehors where you can stop for a coffee, a freshly squeezed orange juice or also lunch or even aperitivo. Living now in Switzerland I couldn’t really miss this spot! Very conveniently located, next to Via Manzoni, not too far from La Scala and the Duomo.

Pasticceria Marchesi (Photo credit: www.corriere.it)

Pasticceria Marchesi (Photo credit: http://www.corriere.it)

. Pasticceria Marchesi in Corso Magenta – this is the original Pasticceria Marchesi, not the fancier one in Via Montenapoleone, which for sure it is appealing, but I’d suggest to visit the real one first (or afterwards). It’s a piece of jewellery both in terms of heritage and patisserie. You can’t really miss it! If it’s too crowded, most probably, you can pop to another recently opened cafe, just a few steps away. You’ll see it, it’s white and pink and with a French name.

. Biancolatte – a very nice space to enjoy basically all day, but especially for breakfast or lunch. Their offering of “salty Crepes” is just amazing and they are delicious! I’ve been longing to go for years, since I was living abroad and I finally did…well, it was up to my expectations or it even exceeded them! Definitely pay a visit!

Biancolatte cafe, Milan (Photo credit: www.it.topbrunch.com)

Biancolatte cafe, Milan (Photo credit: http://www.it.topbrunch.com)

Well, it was a 3 by 3 sort of post. If you have a few days, these tips should help you out in the dining scene and I always think that you should always try something out by yourself, not to loose that “Adventure spirit” that for sure is in you!🙂

Buon appetito!

 

Schlossplatz Stuttgart (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

All the green of Stuttgart: at least 8 reasons to visit the city (English only)

Hello! I’ve been enjoying the fantastic weather, also in Germany where I recently went for a weekend to visit a couple of my husband’s friends. We went exactly to Stuttgart, probably not top of mind when visiting Germany, but I’ll give you at least 8 reasons to pay it a short visit.

1- If you are a car lover, well you can’t really miss Stuttgart (together with Munich) as it is home to Mercedes and Porsche. You can in fact visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum, which is celebrating its 10 years of opening, and the Porsche Museum.

Around Stuttgart (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Around Stuttgart (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

2- It’s relatively a short trip from Zurich, just over 2 hours, (and also from other cities/countries) and it can be an addition to your cheaper shopping trip (vs Switzerland) with actually visiting something on top of doing your grocery/other shopping. There’s a small, but very lively city centre, especially on a sunny day like we had last Saturday, with music playing in the streets and a flower and fruit&veg markets in the morning. Don’t miss Schlossplatz! Even if almost everything has been rebuilt after the war…

Markthalle, Stuttgart (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Markthalle, Stuttgart (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

3- There’s a covered market with gourmet specialties coming from allover Europe and maybe more at fairer prices (vs Switzerland). It’s called the Markthalle. Although I didn’t try the quality, everything looked pretty good at a first glance! It’s usually open from 7:30am till 6:30pm Mon-Friday and 7am-5pm on Saturday, it’s closed on Sunday.

Markthalle gourmet food, Stuttgart (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Markthalle gourmet food, Stuttgart (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

4-its museums, especially the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (the State Gallery), which has one of the best art collections in Germany and the Kunsthaus, a very well rated contemporary art museum.

5-the Hauptbahnhof (Central station) building, although now in the middle of works.

View towards the Central Station (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

View towards the Central Station (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

6-The “Unterer Schlossgarten i.e. a city park, that starts just behind the central station. It is not very large in width, but still pretty big. An oasis of peace for everybody seeking relax. You’ll find people grilling on a sunny day, lots of entertainment for kids, kiosks to enjoy a drink or a bite, etc…

7-The Baden (the thermal baths), with thermal water and open-air swimming pools in summer, some not far from the city park.

Baerenschloessle (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Baerenschloessle (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

8-The Bergensee or Baerenschlossle, a day or half day trip towards one of Stuttgart’s hills where you can do hikes or just enjoy the view of a small artificial lake, the breeze and the shade on a hot sunny day, an a good German barbie if you feel hungry coupled with a great cold beer!

Modissa rooftop bar view (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

2 Rooftop bars I recently tried in Zurich…and they’re worth it! // 2 rooftop bars che valgono la pena a Zurigo!

It’s been a while I know, but with this changing weather, cold and even snowy a few weeks ago to make you unwell and then such beautiful sunny days that really push you to enjoy life outside in the open air, and of course a bunch of other stuff… well time flies!

As what it concerns going out, I’ve done a bit of this lately, I have two rooftop bars to suggest in Zurich. Yes, rooftop bars are a thing also in Zurich and I’d say a reasonably big thing🙂

If you want a classy, trendy place with an indoor and outdoor, to enjoy a great drink either with or without alcohol, do a bit of people watching (if you are into that kind of things), just relax, chill out, especially when the sun is out to finish well the day, watching the sunset with a view on the city. And also have the option to dine or listen to some live music on some days, well “George” is the place for you! In the city centre, next to Sihlstrasse, so very conveniently located.

Unfortunately I was so much enjoying the atmosphere and my “aperitivo”, followed by a fun dinner, that I forgot to take any photos, but here’s the website. And then at least there’s a bit of suspense and curiosity to fulfill!😉 Better make a reservation for dinner, at least!

The second one is “Modissa Restaurant” right on Bahnhofstrasse, not far from the HB train station and also quite busy, so you better be early, like 5.30ish pm or otherwise reserve a table. Here everybody is planning, everybody reserves their table. The peculiar thing is that it’s part of a clothing shop and you need to go into the shop to get access to the rooftop, at least meanwhile the shop is open. The terrasse is very pleasant, especially on a sunny day, if you find a spot, otherwise you can also stay inside. Their hausgemachter iced tea (housemade iced tea) was a bit surprising and let’s say interesting…it was blue, but I saw a lot of interesting cocktails coming out of the bar.  You can also order something to nibble on, such as an aperitivo plate, dumplings or chinese rolls…for sure there’ something to feed your appetite!🙂

Blue Hausgemachter Iced Tea_Modissa Restaurant (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Blue Hausgemachter Iced Tea_Modissa Restaurant (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Well, enjoy Zurich!

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E’ passato un po’ di tempo dall’ultimo post, ma con questo tempo che cambia continuamente, quando fa’ freddo e nevica come qualche settimana fa’ e ti fa’ ammalare, quando invece c’e’ il sole che non riesci assolutamente a stare in casa, i ponti in giro per la Svizzera o altrove, studiare tedesco, lavoro, ecc… beh ecco perche’ non ho avuto tempo di scrivere!

Ma torno proponenedovi 2 rooftop bar da non perdere, soprattutto ora che inizia (a parte i prossimi giorni) la bella stagione e di occasioni ce ne saranno!

Il primo e’ “George“: molto classy, trendy, ben arredato, con vista su entrambi i lati del locale, ben frequentato, dove si beve bene, anche gli analcolici, dove ti sembra di stare in un’oasi di pace, in vacanza, soprattutto dopo una giornata di sole quando puoi goderti il tramonto! Un posto dove si puo’ anche cenare, ma dove si deve prenotare anche un mercoledi’ sera. La gente qui, soprattutto quando fa’ bello, esce tutte le serate anche perche’ non si sa’ mai quanto durera’ il bel tempo! Si puo’ fare people watching”, per chi e’ interessato al tema, o semplicemente godersi un drink o una cena con amici. E’ centrale, vicino al fiume, Silhstrasse, sopra il casino’ e facilmente raggiungibile. Mi sono lasciata talmente coinvolgere dall’atmosfera rilassata, vacanziera e dalla serata super divertente che ahime’ non ho alcuna foto, ma almeno vi ho forse un po’  incuriosito e comunque potrete sbirciare il sito!

Il secondo invece e’ il “Modissa Restaurant” che si trova al 6* piano di un palazzo dove su strada si trova il negozio di vestiti Modissa e dal quale dovrete passare per accedere al rooftop, almeno mentre il negozio e’ aperto. si trova su Bahnhofstrasse, non lontano dalla stazione centrale, quindi molto comodo e con una parte interna ed esterna, super carina in una giornata di sole, ma dove e’ anche difficilissimo trovare posto. Quindi o andate molto presto, verso le 17:30 e gia’ sara’ difficile o vi converra’ prenotare. Qui tutti prenotano, pianificano e per questo tutto va’ liscio…certo comporta un po’ di lavoro di preparazione in piu’…ma ci si abitua o si puo’ comunque sfidare la fortuna😉 I cocktail sembrano tutti interessanti, il te’ freddo fatto in casa e’ sicuramente e decisamente interessante…e’ blu! De gustibus… ahah

Modissa rooftop bar view (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Modissa rooftop bar view (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Comunque gia’ 2 opzioni per la bella stagione a Zurigo! Ovviamente quando passera’ sta pioggia…ma il tempo per riflettere e’ sempre utile. Io comunque sono in infradito ancora😉

Oster Torte Sprungli (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

What’s the typical Swiss Easter cake? Here’s the recipe!

Well, it’s time to get local again in Switzerland and more specifically in Zurich.

As Easter is approaching, actually 4 days away, patisseries, supermarkets and and the all lot are already full of Chocolate Easter eggs, but mainly chocolate Easter bunnies even more, but also the traditional Swiss “Oster Torte” i.e. the Easter Cake.

Well, since this year Carlo’s birthday was just a few days before Easter, I decided we should give it a go and have a taste of this traditional Easter Cake, which usually has a bunny designed on top. My choice fell on Sprungli as it’s a patisserie and chocolaterie I can trust. So I gave the traditional Easter cake a new role: a birthday cake for Carlo!

This cake is made of rice and raisins mainly. It has a delicate taste and I think I liked it although it isn’t one of those cakes to die for, but it’s good to taste at least once and, with being a cake, it’s a healthier option than many more other chocolate and cream ones.

So here’s what it looks like as a birthday cake😉

And here a recipe I found online. Well, either try to bake it or just buy it and enjoy it!🙂

osterflaedli

osterflaedli (Photo credit: Official Switzerland website)

Apparently there are more recipes, but here’s one from the Swiss tourism portal http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/osterrezepte/easter-cakes-for-12-molds-9-cm-in-diameter.html

And another one with rice, which is probably similar to the one we tasted sourced from the local.ch

Bunny on Easter cake (Photo credit: www.local.ch)

Bunny on Easter cake (Photo credit: http://www.local.ch)

RECIPE

Tools:
Tart pan, 24 cm (9 to 10 inches) diameter

Ingredients:
500 ml milk
60 grams sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
120 grams rice (e.g., Camolino rice or risotto)
30 grams butter, melted
2 eggs, separated
about 320 grams prepared pâte brisée (i.e., shortcrust pastry or pie crust)
100 grams apricot jam
powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

1. Stir together the milk, sugar and vanilla paste in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then add the lemon zest. Stir in the rice. Simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes until the rice becomes tender. Set aside to cool.

2. Place a piece of parchment paper in a tart pan, and then lay in the prepared pâte brisée. Trim the sides, if necessary. Prick the bottom with a fork in several places. Spread the apricot jam evenly on the prepared crust.

3. Melt the butter, and stir it into the cooled rice mixture. Separately, beat together the two egg yolks, and then stir them in as well, until combined.

4. Separately, beat together the two egg whites with an electric mixture until they form stiff peaks (it can be done by hand, but it takes more time and energy). Gently fold them into the rice mixture. Take the rice mixture and spread it evenly over the apricot jam in the prepared crust.

5. Bake the tart for about 40 to 45 minutes at 180C/350F until it has set (it doesn’t wobble when you take it out) and it’s lightly browned.

6. Once the tart has cooled, sprinkle with some powdered sugar (Please note: I made a quick bunny stencil with a sheet of paper. I held it down against the cake with some dried beans and sprinkled the sugar over it to make a pattern on the cake).

Bear in mind, I just tasted the cake yesterday, so I haven’t had the time to try myself at baking it😉

Happy Easter!!!

The Dunes at Porto Pino, Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Tips on One of the Multiple Paradises in Italy, South of Sardinia (English only)

It’s been a long time since the last time I’ve been to Sardinia, probably 7/8 years. Often I dreamt of coming here while living in Australia, which has indeed beautiful beaches. But the Mediterrean is something different, unique with its vegetation, its rugged coastline and crystal clear water. And Sardinia is just a paradise!

Su Giudeu Beach, chia Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Su Giudeu Beach, chia Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

In case you’re already thinking of planning your next spring or summer holidays!😉

There are many spots to visit throughout Sardinia, but this time I’m bringing you to the south, not far from Cagliari where you can fly to, for example, with Alitalia, Meridiana or Ryanair from Milan or Bergamo, if leaving from Italy.

Sunset, Chia Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Sunset, Chia Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

We’re staying at Chia, part of Domus de Maria, not too far from Pula. There are different accommodation options here:
Aqua Dulci, a 4-star hotel, where you can enjoy a very comfortable stay and beautiful food, but that doesn’t come cheap
Hotel Spartivento Resort, which is a bit further up on the mountain, but that offers you an uncomparable” view over the sea. The staff is also very friendly and rooms comfortable and spacious. Food probably is not its main appeal, but it’s close to Chia Laguna Resort Hotel where thee are a couple of shops, and then to a small supermarket and restaurants just across the road, walking distance.
–  Chia Laguna Resort Hotel, a much bigger hotel, less cosy and with frequent business conventions taking place.

View from Hotel Spartivento, Chia Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

View from Hotel Spartivento, Chia Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

BEACHES
Su Giudeu, this is the closest beach, walking distance if you are staying at Aqua Dulci. There are bits of free beach as well as equipped ones (beach umbrella, etc…) as well as “chiringuitos” to have a bite or a drink and sport equipment. If you come in the low season, some of them will be already closed.
Cala Cipolla, just next to Su Giudeu, a bit further. It’s a much smaller bay with crystal and calmer water, because less windy. You have to bring your lunch as there are no cafes, but it’s definitely worth while. You can also walk up to the lighthouse, still working, and now also a luxury hotel. For now, if you’re not staying there, you can’t stop for a drink, but the view from up there is simply rewarding!
Porto Pino and the Dunes, you have to drive more or less an hour to get here. Until roughly mid September, but it’s always better to check, you can explore the military preserved area. You can get through via a gate you’ll find on your left before reaching Porto Pino, and a 5€ euros fee and drive down to the beach. Otherwise you can reach Porto Pino and walk all the way there or stop half-way. You can choose to just lay on your towel or to pay a bit for more comfort (roughly 20€ for 3 beds) until at least the Beginning of October, it might be more expensive during high-season. You can have a bite or a drink at one of the many kiosks or try homemade “malloreddus” or “culargiones” at the Delfino equipped beach. They are both Sardinian specialities, one it’s pasta although called “Sardinian gnocchi” and the other ones are ravioli filled with potatoes and Sardinian pecorino. Well, especially the latter, to die for!

Ravioli with a view @ Porto Pino, Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Ravioli with a view @ Porto Pino, Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

the beach next to the Chia tower, smaller and usually less visited. Walk up to the tower, you’ll have the view on the four bays.
La Tuerredda, a beautiful panorama and sea will await you. Roughly until the end of September you’ll have the choice of 2 restaurants.

Sardinian crystal clear sea water, Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Sardinian crystal clear sea water, Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

RESTAURANTS
Da Basilio, we haven’t had the chance to try it, but it was highly suggested to us for seafood, despite the “crazy” owner
Spartivento Hotel, nothing particular, but if you’re staying there one dinner it doesn’t hurt. The Sardinian dinner is ok, especially the ravioli.
Da Giorgio, not easy to spot, on the way to Chia on your left. It’s an open space just behind a house that can be a bit chilly at the end of September. An option for dinner could be ” Spaghetti alle vongole”, a good “Salsiccia sarda”, great, tender meat such as the “costata”, fried calamari and a seadas for dessert, a typical Sardinian dessert made of a dough, melted cheese and honey.
Il Panino Giusto, a good choice for a quick bite in the evening or a very good high quality sandwich for lunch, also delivered to the beach during summer if you’re one of the Baia Chia Resort’s guest.
Da Angelo, better to book here, it’s a simple trattoria, always busy and family owned and managed. They feature both specialty from the sea and the land, but fish and seafood are definitely their “forte”, although the meat is really good like, for example, the “tagliata with radicchio”. As for the fish, one of the sons will bring you a tray with the fresh fish to choose from. You can start, for example with a tuna or swordfish carpaccio, continue with “linguine alle vongole and then grilled fish. As for the dessert, try the roasted pecorino with honey (delicious!) or the seadas. Good value for money.
Mirage Ristorante – Pizzeria, definitely probably the best restaurant we’ve been here. There’s a pleasant environment, you can order an aperitivo while you wait for your table and the staff is very professional, but friendly. You have a large choice, especially if you are after seafood. You can also opt for pizza which looked really good! If you order the “spigola al sale”, your palate will be delighted as well as your eyes as its preparation will be a show. We enjoyed a good vermentino “Giunco“, so you’re covered as well for wine!

SOME ALTERNATIVES TO BEACH LIFE
– San Sperate, famous for its artists, read my post about it here https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/san-sperate-a-hidden-gem-in-sardinia-8-reasons-to-visit-it-san-sperate-e-uninesperata-gemma-campidana-sardegna-8-ragioni-per-visitarla/

"Murales", San Sperate (Photo credit: http://www.lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

“Murales”, San Sperate (Photo credit: http://www.lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

– Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, which I visited many years ago and remember it as a beautiful city, full of history and overlooking the sea.
– Visit Pula, especially the town centre, and the archeological site of Nora.

Pula, Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Pula, Sardegna (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Volare (Source: www.viveremeglio.it)

Tips on when to buy your next flight // Quando e’ meglio comprare un volo?

Sorry, I have been silent for a while, but I’ve been very busy tackling new frontiers🙂

I have been reading though an article about buying patterns when booking a holiday. Things are changing and you’ll find interesting to read this article published on Expedia. You’ll find tips, for example, on when it’s the best day to book a flight. Wouldn’t it be nice to know?

https://viewfinder.expedia.com/features/air-travel-trends-for-2016/

———- //———-

Volare

Volare

Scusate l’assenza, ma sono stata veramente presa, impegnata verso nuovi orizzonti. Comunque volevo condividere con voi un articolo che ho letto su Expedia qualche settimane fa’ che parlava del comportamento dei consumatori alla volta di acquistare i biglietti aerei, dove il prezzo diventa sempre piu’ importante. Ma no, davvero?! Scherzo, e’ sempre meglio che le sensazioni siano documentate! e’ interessante perche’ troverete interessanti spunti su quando, per esempio, acquistare i biglietti aerei. Non male, no?

Buona lettura! …in inglese!

https://viewfinder.expedia.com/features/air-travel-trends-for-2016/

I'm a superman!

I’m a superman!

Punta del Este Uruguay_Source Lonely Planet

Top 52 Places to Discover in 2016 according to the New York Times // 52 destinazioni da scoprire nel 2016 secondo il New York Times

TheNew York Times has published a list of the 52 Places worth visiting in 2016. Many of you have probably seen it flicking through your FB updates, but if you did not pay attention or you just looked into some of the destination, I’d suggest you to have a closer look at the full list. Despite agreeing or not with the ranked destinations, I think it’s really well presented! You’re presented with an amazing shot on one side and if you want to know more about that place, you can just click on the photo and discover more in general and of recent events or facts, at least on your phone, on your computer the description is just below. Many sites present it similarly, but somehow I find this list of the NYT more elegant and more impactful. It’ll be a very good photograph or just its image quality, the fact that some photos are half videos or the usually non-banal descriptions, I don’t know. Anyway, why don’t you just take a 2nd look!

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/07/travel/places-to-visit.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

How many did you visit already? And how many would you like to visit this year?

I still haven’t planned my 2016 and I have no clear idea of where I’d like to go, apart from the destinations I’ve been longing to go for a long time such, as for example, Argentina or Japan, Stockholm or Edimburgh, but I’m definiteley intrigued by many of the list e.g. Uruguay for example!

My score is 12/52. Still a lot of work too do!😉

———- // ———-

Turin, the only italian destination among the 52 in 2016

Turin, the only italian destination among the 52 in 2016

Avrete sicuramente visto, facendo scorrere FB, la lista delle 52 destinazioni da visitare nel 2016 pubblicata qualche giorno fa’ dal New York Times. Se non avete aperto l’articolo o se lo avete letto/guardato sbadatamente, vi conosiglio di ripescarlo e guardare attentamente le immagini. Potrete essere d’accordo o meno sulle destinazioni ed oscuri sono anche i criteri di selezione, pero’ rimarrete sbalorditi da immagini stupende, delle quali alcune in movimento, che cattureranno la vostra attenzione! Immagini insolite, impattanti, di alta qualita’ e che sono semplicemente un piacere per la vista! Se leggerete l’articolo sul vostro telefono, noterete piacevolmente che potrete scorrere velocemente le fotografie, ma se per caso foste intrigati particolarmente da un posto, potrete cliccare sull’immagine e leggere alcune informazioni generali ed alcune piu’ recenti. Penserete che molti siti sono cosi’, ma forse per la qualita’ delle immagini, e per cio’ che vi ho scritto prima, mi sembrano decisamente piu’ allettanti ed eleganti. Comunque, opinione personale.

Se vi ho convinto ad aprire nuovamente questo articolo, ve lo propondo qui sotto: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/07/travel/places-to-visit.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

E ditemi, in quanti posti siete gia’ stati? e in quanti vi piacerebbe andare, magari quest’anno?

Io per ora ne ho visitati circa 1/4, cioe’ 12/52. Beh, non male comunque anche se c’e’ ancora molto lavoro da fare!

Non ho ancora pianificato il 2016 e non ho particolari destinazioni in mente, tranne quelle che mi accompagnano da vari anni tipo Giappone o Argentina, Stoccolma o Edimburgo, ma sono intrigata da alcune della lista, tra le quali l’Uruguay… vedremo dove mi portera’ il cuore!🙂

Samoa horizon (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

There is something about Samoa: an Introduction to this Paradise (English only)

Before defintely leaving the Southern hemisphere at least for a while, we decided to enjoy a short break in the Pacific islands and this time we chose Samoa.

Where is Samoa (Source google maps)

Where is Samoa (Source google maps)

Why Samoa?
Samoa is just under 4hours from Auckland, our previous location, and it is still quite unspoilt and underdeveloped in terms of tourism. Let’s say it’s still authentic!

Samoan vegetation (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Unspoilt Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Where to stay?
There are different options on the 10 Samoan islands, but don’t expect the variety or the standard you’d find in Fiji. We stayed at the Sheraton Aggies Grey’s Resort and one of the reasons for this is because my husband is an SPG member and you are usually sure of their standard… it was really advantageous for us. It’s definitely quite a nice resort, with some room for improvement, due the fact that Sheraton started to manage it only recently and because Samoans are not used to mass tourism and they take their time to do things, but usually always with a smile on their face. So you’d need to take this into consideration and just relax yourself and make the best of your Samoan stay.

Aggie's Grey Hotel, Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Aggie’s Grey Hotel, Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Other options I’d recommend at least for one night, are the “Fales” (typical Samoan huts), especially the ones at Lalomanu beach, where the beach and the view is simply amazing. If not staying there, at least make a day trip there. You can also have lunch or drink something there. It’s about 1hr30 from Apia by car.

These accommodation options are all on Upolu island where flights arrive.

Nature, Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Nature, Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

How to reach Samoa?
Not many airlines fly to Samoa, but for now you get to choose at least among three:

– Virgin Samoa, from Auckland NZ
– Air New Zealand, from Auckland NZ
– Fiji airways from Nadi Fiji

View over Lamomanu beach, Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

View over Lamomanu beach, Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

What is to experience in Samoa?
A lot, but here are at least 3 things:

1.- SEA – Definitely the sea life and snorkelling, although you’d expect to access more beaches, but sometimes there’s just no beach or there are houses on the shore. Sometimes you might be asked to pay a small fee to bathe in the sea. Samoans will share that money with the rest of the community.

Samoan sea (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Samoan sea (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

2. NATURE – both close to the to the beach and inland, where you can see lush vegetations, beautifully kept gardens, a variety of plants, flowers and fruit, and waterfalls.

Samoan vegetation (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Samoan vegetation (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

3.LOCALS – if you manage, interact with the locals. They are all very nice and always nice. Some of them, not used to tourism will try to take advantage of the fact you’re a tourist, but I guess this happens a bit everywhere.

Inland Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Inland Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

And then just relax, enjoy the nature, the slow paced life the Samoan way “Fa’asamoa” and take it all in!

Us in Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

Us in Samoa (Photo credit: https://lavaleandherworld.wordpress.com)

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La befana vien di notte … anche in Australia! / Ephiphany & the ‘Befana’ Witch tradition in Italy / Hoy llegan los reyes, a Melbourne también!

E la befana e’ quasi arrivata anche quest’anno!

La Vale and Her World

La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
con le toppe alla sottana:
Viva, viva la Befana!

Ma questa è solo una delle versioni della filastrocca per il giorno della Befana. Qui ne troverai altre: http://www.filastrocche.it/nostalgici/natale/befana.htm

E qui una inedita, o almeno per me!

La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte E se trova un fanciullino Che nell’ombra sta a guardare, sai che fa’? Prende e se ne va’!

E così l’aspetteremo per l’anno prossimo!  Mentre gli spagnoli festeggiano il giorno de Los Reyes Magos, cioè dei Re Magi. Normalmente i doni non arrivano ai bambini il giorno di Natale, ma il giorno de los Reyes, quando anche i Magi portano i doni al Bambin Gesù. Anche se, in molte case, la tradizione sta cambiando e si è spostata verso il Natale. Tipico dolce de Los Reyes, è il Roscòn de Reyes

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