sabato 24 dicembre 2011
Hilton Kensington located in Holland Park, that I found on a last minute deal at a very convenient price, The Commodore Hotel in Lancaster Gate, situated in a lovely square just two minutes away from the Tube, and the best of all London Lodge Hotel a beautiful little hotel just off Cromwell Road in the Earl's Court area. Coming to food what can I say? I can't really suggest anything : there is everything you want in London and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING. As far as I am concerned there is a certainty when I go there, and that's called WAGAMAMA. This Japanese noodle reataurant was in Tottenham Court Road once and I remember that my friends and I used to queue up for what seemed to be hours to be seated at one of the long communal tables where we would eat the best noodles of all times in giant bowles of soup. Now it's all over the place :there is a Wagamama in every corner including Heathrow Airport. Roka in Charlotte Street which I recently discovered, or Benares a fusion Indian restaurant where chef Atul Kochhar prepares his delicious inventions. Speaking of Indian food though, London is the place where to find the real thing and for me this was Khan's in Bayswater (the best Korma)or Lahore Kebab House actually Pakistani, in the Whitechapel area . I remember it to be the best curry in town. Otherwise if you care to venture there are many places in Brick Lane which is now the place to go to on Saturdays and Sundays instead of Portobello or Camden Market (which are still exetremely crowded though). It could be also called little Bangladesh given the predominance of Bengalese people in the area. When I went there they was a big celebration for the Bengalese New Year.That's when I discovered that just off Brick Lane there is a little farm where to play with lambs and ducks called Spitalfields City Farm where a big group of farm animals live freely in a little piece of nature in the middle of the neighboroughood. Wong Kei our favourite Chinese restaurant in Chinatown near Leicester Square famous for the good(and cheap) food and the very rude waiters is still there and I heard that hasn't changed; neither has Bar Italia, the historic coffee place in Soho where we would go and drink giant cappuccinos while partying in the middle of the night before heading out to other destinations. It was more a place of aggregation than a coffee shop itself and it was famous for the fact that you could meet a lot of people including celebrities maybe just gone out from a jam session at legendary jazz club Ronnie Scotts. Lush cosmetics ? I bet all of us have once in their life bought one of those lovely parfumed bath balls or cake -like soap or even just entered into a shop because of the perfume coming from it. Now this is the thing: there are many Lush shops all over the world but there's only one spa and it's in London. It's always packed but I was lucky enough to find a cancellation in the week I was there. Amazing experience. Trust me: you definitely wanna try it. Alchemy in Camden town and most of all you should take a class with my dear friend Alessia who is a renowned teacher there. Thames clippers and go from Tower Bridge or the Docklands to Southbank to the National Theatre, the Tate Modern or the London Eye. Very impressive if I think that out on that bank there was basically nothing when I was living there...
mercoledì 21 dicembre 2011
In a way this post is connected to my ex boyfriend whom I spent six years with, both for the video of U2 which not only is set in Fes where I spent the last few days of my vacation but also because some lines of the songs are very true " Only love can leave such a mark. Only love can leave such a scar". and for the fact that when I arrived to Marrakech a few years ago on the first day of the year i had just broken up with him for what I then found to be one of 100 times until the definite break up six months ago. Well although I wasn't in a good mood I was staying in one narrow alley in the casbah in Marrakech and I immediately liked the atmosphere and the peculiar smell of leather and spices which was in the air almost in every corner of the city. My sister joined me after a few hours and in the meantime I slept in the peace and quiet of my room in a very nice Riad out of the touristic area. The good thing is, that as a matter of fact you can still be in the casbah but surrounded by typical houses and locals and not by tourists when in this very pretty riad: (A riad (Arabic: رياض) is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard- Wikipedia) Riad Sidi Ayoub. Very pretty indeed as you can see by the website. The day I arrived was the day after what they call the Sheep's day but should be called the Not the Sheep's day since it is the day that according to the Coran an animal has to be sacrificed in order to accomplish total submission to God. Well I can only say that if I had been there that day I probably would have stopped eating meat earlier and would have fled the country. Narwama Restaurant a moroccan-thai bar restaurant owned by a very friendly local man who speaks perfect Italian since he worked many years at RAI National broadcasting before the Berlusconi era. There are two other places to go to for dinner in my humble opinion and they are all very fancy: Le Fondouk a really beautiful place in the heart of the Medina and Le comptoir a huge place in the new part of the city with a nice bar where to enjoy the local nightlife. Having said that keep in mind that Marrakech is not a cheap place and in fact it can turn out to be quite expensive. As far as sightseeing is concerned there are a lot of old palaces and the big mosque in the main Square but the main thing is to walk around the Medina and as I said you can wonder there for hours. The climate can be very mild during the day in winter but at night it is quite chilly so you need a jacket in winter at al times. It is quite useful also for the wind you will find in Essaouira a nice place on the coast where we took a day trip. This is a very interesting city made of blue and white houses and fishermen's huts. The place is famous for having been the set for Orson Welles movie Othello. La Mer where it seems to go back in time . It has this nostalgic elegant atmosphere with waiters in a white jacket and black bow tie all speaking French to the many French expats as well as to the locals . It is a very refined place and the food is wonderful. Speaking of food I have to say that Morocco can be very difficult if you are not a meat eater like myself. The specialty is tajine so called for the earthenware pot in which the food is cooked. Usually it is a chicken or meat dish with vegetables and fruit for example meat with prunes and almonds or chicken with lemon and olives. Another one is the pastilla a meat pie made of pigeon or chicken, cinnamon, sugar and almonds. Not exactly my taste not even when I ate meat but many people find it delicious.
mercoledì 30 novembre 2011
Hilton Izmir. You can go to visit the market which is one of the main attractions and it's worth seeing (even if the heat there can basically kill you) and going to one of the only original buildings in the city called Asansor which is a tower where you take a lift and go to the top where you can have a nice view of the city. There is also a nice restaurant where to have lunch. When the heat cooled down I took a stroll on the promenade by the sea where there was a very pleasant wind and had dinner in Deniz one of the most well known restaurants. Well it was one of the best dinners I've ever had believe me. Check out the review I wrote on Trip Advisor. For a cheaper alternative you can go to Kirçiçegi where you can have wonderful pides (local pizza),soups (try the lentil one:it's delicious)and kebabs for very little money. Alacati on Travelmind. We stayed in a very pretty guesthouse called Adacati guesthouse which is a great bed and breakfast (and what a breakfast that is: see for yourself). Travelmind Karaburun.Sarniç Beach a very nice place with a good cafè. In the afternoon they also serve Turkish tea and cake for all guests. In Gumusluk there are plenty of places but we chose one which was very well advertised (by themselves) in a very funny way. It's a quiet and cozy place right on the sea. The peculiarity of the town is an island in front where you can walk to in the sea. So you will see a line of people just walking to the island and back like a pilgrimage. Flora Hotel, a very funny place where the owner has a eco-project and takes tenants into the forest to go bird watching. I had been in Oludeniz in 1995 and what I found was not at all what I remembered. I guess back then it was just starting whereas now it is a booming place with loads of people mainly British. You an get that from the menu in all the restaurants where they serve Yorkshire pudding and steak and kidney pie(!). Also Oludeniz can get unbearably hot and steamy especially in summer so to refresh yourself you can go to the fabulous Blue Lagoon which now is a natural park where you pay an entrance fee and you can find sunbeds and umbrellas kiosks and bars. I have to say that even if it's not just a free beautiful beach anymore and is built up it still has that natural spot flare. Another thing you can do is to go to Butterfly valley by boat which is very beautiful : it's a basically a semi-incontaminated beach situated in a valley where if you like camping you can also stay the night in a tent or a bungalow in a very hippy -like atmosphere. I actually don't particularly like it so we were staying in probably the nicest hotel amongst the medium price range (compared to Italy I would call it low) which is a little oasis in the crowd and the noise. It has bungalows in beautiful garden hidden from the street and it also has a very good restaurant. I would surely go again there if back in Oludeniz. Oba Motel