Archivi tag: london

Why London, why NOW!

One of the main manifestations of my personal MAD (Missing Anywhere Disease) is longing to go to London in Autumn, Again.
I did it 3 times. Never enough.

I’ll tell you why:

– For an Italian woman (South Italy), it’s easier to accept some slight rain in October. Mainly if in London.
Come on, the rain in London makes sense!  

– It’s the very first time I can wear the sweaters I’ve bought on sale one month ago, and in my city I’ll have to wait until December to put it on.

Gallery-Food14– London Restaurant Festival. From 8 to 27th of October. Kind of a huge celebration of eating out, eating well, eating exotic, veg and traditional.

– Halloween @ Theater.
If you are an Halloween fan, over than joining one of the private or pub(lic) scary party, why don’t you choose the theather? They are definitely 2 very londony experiences. The Arts Theatre proposes the scary show directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman Ghost Stories.

girl london sabrina

1916534_1315677174827_945650_nSome other random good reasons:
dry leaves, the National gallery [again&again], the free make up @ Harvey Nichols and Harrods(Knightsbridge) or Mark & Spencer in Oxford Street or Benefit Cosmetics, long coffee in Hyde Park, Soho at night, squirrels.

 

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Why Prague is like the sugar cube in a black coffee

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Prague is silent and sweet, dissolving and giving a better taste to a coffee, black like its mysterious night.

It melts away soon in the tales of travellers, that will keep on talking about other big capitals while Prague will emerge in their memories while talking about another (higher) level of beauty and other trivialities… like these:
sabrina a praga 1

More than Paris and Dublin…
No need to tell you those truths that the most of you already know, like ‘after you see Prague you’ll realize Paris is not the most romantic city in the world, nor in Europe’.
No need to tell you that, in Prague, beer costs less than water and is eventually drunk more than it.
Now, let’s focus on some other things that made me change the perception of travel destinations after I visited the capital of Czech Republic.

Like London…
First of all, it’s addictive: I have been there 3 times. Just one time less than London! So, this dreamy east Europe capital is competing with London among the cities where I ‘casually’ have to go every now and then. Another thing it has in common with London, getting even over it, is the local relation with Theaters. Maybe you didn’t know that in this city with about 1,2 millions inhabitants, there is an amount of 3.4 millions seats in theaters. Almost always busy and booked.

More than Scotland…
The area of the Castle of Prague, over 7 hectars wide, is the widest in the world. Moreover, the Czech Republic is one of the countries with the highest density of castles in the world.

Just like Prague…
There’s plenty of things to see, live and breathe here in Prague. What you won’t find in many guides is the Marionnettes shops and galleries. Someone might be scared by them. They’re colorful and smiling but mysterious as well. They represent mainly the characters of the local folklore, their wizards, fairies and legends.

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Some of these shops:
Obchod loutkami (The Puppet Shop), 
on the top of Nerudova Street in Lesser Town. Two other locations are at Jilská 7 and Jilská 22 in the Old Town, not far from the Old Town Square. Then see also Truhlář Marionety, Galerie Marionette and Marionette Shop on Golden Lane.

If you are not amazed/scared enough, you can visit the Toy Museum

This collection of toys in the Prague Castle is the second largest in the world and goes from the ancient Greece to the present days with toys from all over the world. The toy museum is spread over two floors and includes a large exhibition of Barbie dressed up by famous stylists.

One last thing that will change forever your perception of Czech Republic: we owe them the invention of the soft contact lenses and of the microwave oven.
And… of the sugar cube, in 1843.

Flights for a September week end (Autumn is amazing there, but it lasts very little. In October you’ll find the snow):
From Milan, RTwith Ryan, abt 80 euros
120 euros from Roma Ciampino (abt 100 with easyjet)
100 euros, always Ryan, from Bari and 150 from Palermo.
A bit too much (abt 200 euros) from Pisa.

Art-street gallery

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Something more to show about the BEST STREET ART I’ve ever seen in all my recent travels.
And what about yours?

M.A.D. Palliative methods for an incurable disease

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DEFINITION: MAD
(Missing Anywhere Disease), is an incurable disease that affects one crazy traveller out of three.
It occurs through several symptoms at different residential stages of compulsive vagabonds. In its less severe forms, it occurs  with an irritating feeling of nostalgia for the visited places.
In the more acute forms, the nostalgia occurs even for the places not seen yet.
To be clear, during the more severe forms, you’d bump into such dialogues:
‘I miss Elsinki so much, at this time of the year’
‘Oh, when have you been there?’
‘Never. In fact, I miss it’.

For those aware to be affected by this disease, it’s useless to say ‘I haven’t made a stroll around for too long’. There will always be someone ready to remind you that you’ve come back from ‘Somewhere’ hardly one month ago, not realizing you’re just  in the midst of a crisis.
Here we go with three of the most common symptoms for which there are only palliative remedies. No authorized and definitive care.

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  • SYMPTOM 1
    association of unfavorable weather conditions with cities in which it would make sense to live them: eg. torrential rain in London, Dublin, Amsterdam and so on. and / or
    Association of favorable weather condition with cities where it would be particularly lovely to (re) experience them: eg. soak up the sun on a bench in Central Park.
    Association of the most beautiful (and, for sure, bizarre) dresses  with the cities you’ve worn them in, without any hesitation. (eg studded boots with the 50’s style dress you wore  in Budapest, grunge sweatshirt  you had along the streets of Berlin, jeans with pink stars in Malta, etc.)

Palliative remedy: do things that you would consider normal in a place where you don’t know anyone, but for some reason never do in your city. eg. Read a book sitting  alone in a bar, just as you would in Paris,  wear a strange hat as you would in London or NYC.
Bad News: Even in your city people will ignore what you do. You can also read alone wearing a hat with feathers, you will not be disturbing anyone because no one looks after you.
Good news: Even in your city people will ignore what you do. You can also read alone wearing a hat with feathers, you will not be disturbing anyone because no one looks after you.
You are a free person, subject only to your personal taste. Just like when you travel.

giorgia

  • SYMPTOM 2:
    you look into the mirror and wonder why your skin is so yellowish while, when you travel, capillaries on the cheeks seem to burst like during a ‘love at first sight’ attack, or immediately after a glass of  vodka (or during a love at first sight attack after a vodka).

Palliative Remedy: forget the beauty centers, it’s all crap. Go to the website of your trusted travel agent or the one of your favourite low cost airline. You have two alternatives. If the MAD crisis is strong, just book a flight. The cheapest, no matter if the departure is after more than 3 months.
Your muscles will relax, a bit of endorphins will flow through your veins and anxiety will be less. Along with the fear of the future, of the taxes, pay-late clients, the fear of the ozone hole and of the invasion of the aliens. This is caused by the awareness that, go as it goes, in a while you have another appointment with the world, so for a while it’s worth holding on and surviving.
If the crisis is not too acute, you can also just take a look at the cheap flights available. It’s a bit like when you run away from the city just to see the sea. Just to remember that there is a point where the earth has a limit, and that you can’t go beyond anymore. You remember that it’s there, you touch it to be sure, you feel free knowing there is always a limit, and go back home to resist for another while.

  • SYMPTOM 3:
    Recurrence in car key/home key loss. And heart and brain loss. Search for the car all along 3 blocks until you remember you’ve left it in the garage or that you don’t have a car at all. No appetite. No sleep.  All this, given the awareness that, as you travel, you have a perfect organized bag, you walk anywhere as if you were a resident, being able to fall asleep no matter where you can sit.

Palliative remedy: look for a place in the surrounding of your city that you hardly know, at least 60km away, where you don’t have any connection. Leave with the idea of ​​staying at least a day and a night, but do not book anything. If you can, go to by the regional train and not by car. The search for coincidences with the consequent risk of sleeping in a country station, the on-site search for a place to sleep, the desire to fill the time looking for what that is worth… all this things would switch you in the traveling mode, giving you a higher level of efficiency. You can interact with the natives in a common language and ask them what to see.
And you will find out (or pretend) that you don’t need a plane to go away and that a trip is not only made of (large) distances.

Science Vs aesthetics. Researchers Vs travelers.

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I see plots.
I think there is a more or less unconscious lobby with the aim to turn all of us into terrible people. They just give us, every day, new justifications to our meanness in opposition to our own worst judges, ourselves.
They are slowly trying to widespread the idea that it’s no longer worthwhile to smile, to be courteous, to be honest, to pretend to be in a good mood just not to spoil the day for others. They frequently start their new attack with the words: ‘a research of a famous American university’.

From ‘Who drinks beer is more intelligent’ established by the University of Illinois, after a thorough study on 40 men that, after the second beer, became more creative (I wonder if the U.S. universities cost so much to finance it all…);
To the Harvard University, which established that those who have a bad character, have a more developped personality. Certain that the research has more details and explanation than what was reported by journalists, and leaving out the years of study by Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer about emotional intelligence, I remain convinced that it is not necessary to be assholes and irritable to have a critical sense.
I close with a brief overview of Keele University (UK), that recently stated that swearing makes people more confident and improve their mental condition. Not hard to believe, since the bad words are taboos, and challenging such a little taboo make us forget for a while that we are not victims of our overwhelming superstructures.

My personal researches, with much more than 40 samples collected say:
– If you drink a lot of beer you’re often drunk. And you’ll have much less taboos. But only for a little while. It seems that it also causes bloating but on this I have my strong doubts. I will conduct further studies on the subject.
– If you have a bad temper … you’re insufferable. That’s it. And people will break their own taboo covering you with bad words. Even at your back.
– If you say bad words, Mama scolds you.
Why just my research should go beyond the obvious?

Let’s go back to travels: I have conducted further studies, as a traveler and a linguist. My research, gloriously conducted at the University of  Duckburg and Mousetown, through a transdisciplinary study, found some aspects about language learning:

– After the first beer you start to speak a foreign language much better. I always make my students drink before the lessons of conversation. Communication is like happiness, and it depends too much on alcohol to be taken seriously.

– Many have observed that, when talking in another language, people use more bad words than what they generally do in their own language. It is certainly not a sign of greater intelligence only in speaking the foreign language. This is the so-called ‘de-empowerment’. Our language are tied to our values ​​and therefore also our cultural structures, which are often a constraint during the interaction. When speaking another language, we get rid of some of them, entering a new cultural universe … and feeling freer to express ourselves.

However, as we get rid of some cultural taboos just speaking in another language, we also get free of some of our small neurosis that we believe we have to show up to deserve living.  And so, suddenly, in another country, people always seem pleasant, sociable, cheerful, polite.
The ‘scientific’ explanation is simple: when we go for a stroll in another place, we are, without realizing it, tbetter people: sociable, curious, solar, even polite. And the environment responds in the same way.

1384255_10201625331148028_1971503905_n– I conclude the list of good scientific reasons to be better persons with a beautiful phrase from a friend, an anthropologist, currently in Cambridge (Massachusetts). Phrase which I believe should be taken much more seriously than science, at least because of the fact that Giovanna is beautiful, the science … only sometimes and up to a certain point.
‘I hardly ever get angry. But not so much for an ethical matter, but for aesthetic reasons’.

Beauty, not science, will save us.