Have you been hibernating for the Winter? Well, Spring is here!

Have you been hibernating for the Winter? I have. There’s this general apathy I’ve felt for the last few months. And I just can’t seem to shake it off. Do you feel the same?

Firstly it was Xmas, and New Year, and evaluating travel prospects for 2017. Early in January I had a feeling this was going to be a year of beginnings. And I still do. But I’m getting impatient waiting for them, though… (note to self: have to work on my anxiety control capacity)

Secondly, some annoying budgetary constraints made me give up (for now) on my travel project for February. I didn’t tell you about it as it came crumbling down pretty early in the beginning of the year. It was quite the bummer as I had completely set my mind to it. Oh, well… It got shoved back into the drawer, waiting for better days.

But now, Spring is finally coming! Hurrah!

And, although my budgetary constraints still bug me, the monsoon is beginning to drive me once again.

In other words, my wanderlust is calling, loud and clear.

Yet I’m still divided between some other emerging interests – which have taken up most of my free time lately – and the call of the “road”.

Unfortunately I don’t have any vacation days until the end of April.

On the other hand, I don’t need vacation days to explore my surroundings, right? There are tons of things to do, not far from home. And I tend to neglect that.

Plus, the last weekends have been rather rainy and I don’t feel like getting out of the house.

But I really must put a stop to this hibernation mode. Enough is enough! I’m usually not this lazy!

So, I’d better get started planning, don’t you think?

Any suggestions?

London Photo Gallery

As I haven’t done any abroad travelling for the last 3 and half months, I’m getting pretty restless. And there’s nothing else but remembering last years trips.

Here’s some of my London 2016 photos. (more…)

A weekend at lake Maggiore - Photo Gallery

Browse through my lake Maggiore photo gallery and discover the Italian and Swiss beauties of the lake. (more…)

From Italy to Switzerland: Riding the Centovalli train to Locarno

In October 2014 I spent 3 days in Lake Maggiore, Italy (read about it here) and took the opportunity to ride the Centovalli all the way to Locarno, on the Swiss part of the lake. It was a magic ride.

The Centovalli Railway is a panoramic train that connects the Italian city of Domodossola to the Swiss-Italian city of Locarno, by lake Maggiore.

It crosses the Hundred Valleys’ region (Centovalli), passing deep ravines and narrow viaducts, up in the mountain tops.

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Georgian religious chant, in Aramaic language

Why did I fell in love with Georgian culture?

Here is one very good example…

Georgian polyphonic religious chants were originated in the IX and X centuries. Usually the highest voice provides the melody and is supported by two other voices.

A curiosity: in the district of Mtskheta (a few kms from Tbilisi) there is a big community of Christian Assyrians, who still speak Aramaic.

 

Lake Maggiore on a rainy day

I visited lake Maggiore, in northern Italy, on an impromptu decision, in October 2014. And it rained the entire weekend.

Early that year, in January, me and my better-half had spent a weekend in Milano. And, since that weekend, I was curious to visit the lake region.

So, when I had the chance to get away for a long weekend, in early October 2014, I chose one of the lakes.

My choice was lake Maggiore, on the south side of the Alps, one fifth Swiss and four fifths Italian. It felt less trendy than its most famous counterparts, lakes Como and Garda. Yet, there was plenty to see, including two islands with Renaissance and Baroque fairy-tale Pallazzi (palaces) and a panoramic train ride across the Alpine mountains.

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Layover in Athens: tourism inside a bubble and the effects of the crisis in Greece

Last year, on my way to Georgia, I had a 17 hour layover in Athens. And I didn’t like it the least bit!

Of course there were some interesting things. But, all in all, I didn’t like the experience. I won’t say I was disappointed, but that’s just because my expectations were low. I had heard so many conflicting opinions about the city that I didn’t dare expect too much.

But I will let you draw your own conclusions. Here’s what happened…

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"The Knight in the Panther's Skin", by Shota Rustaveli - Georgia's nostalgic soul

The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” is one of the most amazing medieval epic poems I’ve ever read (yes, I’m a nerd, I read medieval epic poems).

When I visit a country (specially if I know nothing or very little about it) I always try to buy books by local authors. It’s a way to continue my education about the country’s History and Culture.

During my visit to Georgia, last year, I heard this book mentioned, several times, specially over my tour of the Vardzia caves (read about it here). And I was curious.

This epic poem was written by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli, by the end of the XII century, beginning of the XIII century, during Georgia’s Golden Age. The same time Vardzia prospered under Queen Tamar’s rule.

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Conímbriga: Roman ruins in central Portugal

I’ve loved the Roman ruins of Conímbriga since I was a child.

I first visited when I was about 6 or 7 years old and I’m hooked ever since. I’ve returned a couple of times in my adult years. But my last visit was over 10 years ago. It was time to go back.

To all of you unfamiliar with Portuguese geography, lets find out where Conímbriga is.

Zoom in on Portugal. Now zoom in roughly on the center of the country. Somewhere around there, you’ll find a city called Coimbra. You’re almost there. Conímbriga is in Condeixa-a-Velha, approximately 16 km from Coimbra.

Conímbriga was a provincial Roman city, in the western limits of the empire, a place of no consequence. But life was good in this small town…

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2017: a year of beginnings

Since New Year’s Day I can’t shake the feeling that 2017 will be a year of beginnings. Why? I don’t know.

I don’t know if there’s any relation, but this one episode, in Georgia, last September, keeps popping into my head: out of the blue, in the unlikeliest of places (a modern art museum), a Georgian Orthodox priest blessed me.

Say what?!

That’s what I would say if you were telling me this story (well, most probably I would go with a “wtf”, but let us keep this all ages appropriate, shall we?).

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