26 Nov '14
Post Title

A weekend in Amsterdam

A couple of months ago me and my lovely girlfriend decided to go somewhere for the October bank holiday, and we had a few options in mind: London, Lisbon, Porto, Paris and Amsterdam.
London is one of those places that I shamelessly didn't visit, it's so close, just 45 minutes of flight that you always think "I can go whenever I want, but another time is better", you simply don't go because it's too close, and the day I'll move somewhere else and then it'll be too far I'll regret about it. Lisbon and Porto, and Portugal in general I think it's a great place to go, I still have find one single person that says it's an awful place, or even an okay one, all the people I know that went to those cities they always report that they are simply beautiful. But in October, on a bank holiday weekend, it was hard to find a decent flight without taking an extra day off, and as the both of us started a new job recently, we simply don't have that extra day, so we had to turn this option down, at least for the moment.
Paris is Paris, some people love it, some other hate it, I'm kinda on the fence but I have plenty of pressures from my lovely girl to go to visit it one day that I'll have to do it at some stage of my life, but again prices were too high, for both the flight and hotels, that we have to turn down this options as well.
Then we were left with Amsterdam. I have to say it: I don't smoke and I don't drink that much, and I'm not even that much interested in the type of trade you can get in the Red Lights District, so this city it might not be as much as attractive compared to some other people with different interests, but, it seemed to be a very interesting city to visit, the canals, the history, the art, and all those things you can do it without taking any substances that can alter your perception of the world, the cost of the flights were a bit cheaper than the other places we considered and the flight times were very convenient that we say "why not?".

Now, I as you probably already have clear, I started with some pre-concept about this city, and while some of them have been confirmed, and actually they were a bit underestimated, some others were completely wrong.
After our arrival in the city we had to confrontate with what was our "ideal of Amsterdam" and what was the "reality of Amsterdam", as far I could see in just a weekend.

In my mind Amsterdam was a city without a car, where bikes and trams were the only ways to travel into the city.
The reality wasn't half right, and half, terribly, wrong. The city is full of bikes, possibly more than what I saw in Copenhagen, but while in the Danish capital they have specific lanes and most of the times bikers strictly stay on them, in Amsterdam is the complete anarchy. You can expect bikes coming from any directions, from any lanes, at some stage I was so terrified that I thought they could jump out of the canal to try to kill me, and more than once I saw the fear of some other tourists while some locals tried to dodge them in a very scary and dangerous way. You probably get used to it if you live there long enough, but for those 3 days I wasn't prepare for that.
Also the trams pass very, very, very close to pedestrians, especially in the city center, and I wonder what the death-by-tram ratio is in that city. Plus you have to add the cars, that yes, despite the fame of being a bike-friendly city, it's full of cars, which add an extra layer of danger to the streets of Amsterdam. To be honest, it was so messy, that I would hardly think to live in that city, at least in the city center.

Bike on Amsterdam

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15 Nov '14
Post Title

A day in Skerries

This weekend we, myself and my lovely girlfriend, decided to rent a car, as tomorrow I'll have a photo shoot far from the city center, in Lucan to be exactly, and today we spent the after going to the lovely town of Skerries, if you are in Dublin for more than a weekend, you must go there, you don't even need to rent a car to get there as you can easily take the train from Dublin, and it's a rather short trip.
We were lucky enough to get a couple of hours of decent weather before it started to rain cats and dogs, enough time to take a few shots and admire some brave irish men and women swimming in the Irish sea, which is not exactly the warmest place to swim, especially in November. But after almost 7 years of living here, I know that nobody can stop them to have a quick swim on the sea, regardless the season, the temperature of the water or the weather conditions.
Anyway, down here you can find some of the pictures I took this afternoon, nothing outstanding, but some decent shots.

Elisa

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22 Jul '14
Post Title

A weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark

I’ve always been a big fan of scandinavian countries, back in 1994 I was supporting Sweden at the World Cup (I still remember some players’ name). In 2007 I visited Stockholm, it was a great trip despite the fact it was freaking  cold, and it was May! Next week I’m going for a two weeks trip to another of the 5 scandinavian countries, Iceland.

But 5 years ago I bought the Lonely Planet Guide of Denmark, not because I was planning to go anytime soon to that country, but just because I knew one day I will. 
And that day arrived a couple of weeks ago, finally my first trip to Copenhagen! I didn’t really know what to expect apart from Lego and extremely beautiful people, I always heard different opinions about that city, somebody loves it, somebody else hates it. So far the closest encounter with that city was the airport back on May, but we did have only a couple of hours in between our flight connection, so we couldn’t really go anywhere, and you can’t judge a nation by just its airport, even if it might give you a rough idea about basic things, like the cost of the life.

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05 Nov '13
Post Title

The journey to home

After a week of proper summer it was time to come back home, in Italy. Unfortunately between Crete and "home sweet home" there were two airports, one of the worst airport in Europe, which is Rome Fiumicino, and its cousin, Athens Airport, which in only one hour, that was the time I had to transfer from one flight to another, made me reconsider if Fiumicino was actually the worst.
Why that bad? Well, for start, put a ticket control JUST AFTER THE ESCALATORS, and when I mean just after I'm not talking about 20 meters, I'm talking about 3 meters, 3 very short meters full of people insanely compressed while the people coming from the escalators scream "don't stop there!", but there's no space, where you can go?
Then you think you are sorted, right? Wrong. After 20 meters, they'll check again your ticket. What's the point of checking twice the ticket? And why just after an escalator?
Then, after a lot of swearing because you nearly died on that feckin escalator, there are the security controls. Obviously the queue was totally disorganized and way too long. If you are in rush, risking to miss your flight, well there are no priority lane, you are just going to miss it, that's it.
Then the security control space is extremely tight, I really don't understand who planned this place, plenty of room for shops, but no fucking space for the security control?

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03 Nov '13
Post Title

Day 6: Heraklion's old market & Matala

Last full day in Crete, so we spent the early morning by doing some silly shopping for my girlfriend, while I was taking some photos in the old market of Heraklion. I'm not really a big street photographer, I kinda like it, but not really into it, but I have to say that I took some interesting shots in that place.


So after my girlfriend fed the black market of counterfeit shoes and bags with good money, we headed to another famous beach in this island: Matala.
According to my girlfriend's cousin, who is living here for a few months, Matala used to be a famous place for hippies in the 60s and 70s, and they used the caves surrounding the beach as a perfect place to sleep after a long day of continuos copulations and song writing about flowers and other nice things.
Anyway, after Elafonisi, my standards regarding beaches suddenly became pretty high, and anything less than that reference would be "meh". Sirolo, one of my favourite place in Italy, once was cool, now it's boring.
To be fair Matala is really nice, but it's like a candy with a very nice package, but with a strange taste that you could like it or not.
The sand was full of of cigarette butts, and in my list of things I hate I can definitely say that cigarette butts are in the top 10. Also the sand has the same colour of an ash tray, and that didn't help, at all. I sincerely felt like I was walking on a big ash tray, and the other tourist treat it as a big ash tray, especially the british couple beside us.
Then the sea: the water was extremely clear, not like Elafonisi, but very very clear, but, it's very deep after a few meters from the beach, which is great if love to swim, but not so much if you can't, and that's my case. I never learnt how to swim and I will probably never do.

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