Saturday, August 26, 2017

Lake Geneva / Lavaux

I went on a day trip to Lake Geneva last week. I wanted a change of pace because I knew I'd be working full time for the next couple of weeks!
I had actually forgotten how beautiful this part of Switzerland is. Well, I lived in Lausanne for almost 5 years but back then my attention was directed to clubbing and shopping and being young and not to hiking and sightseeing :-)

Luckily, it's never too late to go sightseeing and there I went, by train, to St-Saphorin (Lavaux region, UNESCO world heritage) where I started my walk (hike would be too big a word haha).
I spent a wonderful day walking along the vines, soaking up the sun and the energy of this wonderful region.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Conscious Writing and Speaking

I have been thinking about racism a lot these last couple of days. Not only because of what happened in Charlottesville, USA but also thanks to the many discussions I had with this friend of mine and her boyfriend (remember? The couple I went sightseeing with in Crete?). My friend's late father was from Ghana. Her mother is Swiss. So, she unfortunately knows about racism first hand.
Even though I am the daughter of Italian emigrants, I have never been a victim of racism. Nevertheless, I have been attentive to the issue of racism ever since I can remember thinking. In recent years, in countless discussions with friends and family (especially the part who lives in Italy), I started pointing out that when using the word "stranger" or "alien" they were talking about me and my parents as well.
Their answer? No! It's not the same!
My answer? Of course it's the same. Just because me and my parents and my brother are not strangers for you, we are in front of the law. We are part of the percentage of "alien citizen" they like to talk about on TV.
They meant no harm, I am sure of that. I just want to make sure that they never forget where I come from. Conscious speaking ... see below :-)
I, for instance, never forget where I come from.
But then, you wonder, I write posts like the one about my stop-over in Santorini?
Remember me complaining about the hordes of Chinese? Is it racist to say that?
No, I don't think so because the focus of my words was on my dislike of hordes/crowds and not on the Chinese people. It could have been hordes of whoever and you would have heard me complaining too. Hordes annoy me. Chinese people do not.
Should I have been more precise in my post? Yes, I should have and I realize that now. I promise to be more accurate in future posts!

Language is important. We all know about the power of words and even though free speech is our right, a right that many before us have fought for, don't we ever forget that (in other parts of the world, even in 2017, you get killed for what you say!), we should use our words carefully.
I'd say the best way is ... conscious writing and speaking.
Yes, I like that. Conscious writing and speaking. All part of conscious living :-)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Remembering Greece: Crete (and Chania in Particular)

Heraklion was chaotic and hot :-) Like Athens on a smaller scale. The Archeological Museum though was definitely worth my staying there for one night/one day. In the evening, I took the bus to Chania which was pretty cool because I got to see the countryside and the coast (it's a 3 hour drive!).

Chania was were the wedding took place. Such a cute little town. I loved it! I will tell you more about the wedding and there was also the horse riding we did, with a friend of mine and her boyfriend. It turned out to be quite the adventure and it deserves a full post! So, more to follow!

August in Crete wasn't the ideal month to do sightseeing. It was way to hot. One day, with said friend of mine and her boyfriend, we rented a car and drove around. We spent a good part of our day in a restaurant on the sea, eating Meze and talking :-) Which was pretty cool but not much about sightseeing! But then it's not always about sightseeing and I will have to visit Crete another time (not during summer time, that's for sure!) because there are quite some sites I'd love to see.
This time though I stuck to Chania's old town and the Venetian harbor. What a wonderful place! It felt a bit (just a tiny little bit) like being in Venice. The narrow streets were ideal for getting lost and you know how I love to get lost! Up and down, left and right I went, in an out the cute little shops!

Chania seen from afar

Chania's lighthouse

the old town


the port

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Remembering Greece: Stop-Over in Santorini

With a heavy heart I left Milos after only two days. It wasn't enough. By far! I want to go back and have a much closer look. Rent a car and visit the whole island.
I took the ferry to Santorini, had a 5 hour stop-over there (that became a 4 hour stop-over because the ferry was one hour late - Greek time, my dears!) and then continued on to Heraklion, Crete, in the evening.
I had heard many things about Santorini. All kind of things. From very good to very bad. I had even read a newspaper article describing the hordes of Chinese that apparently were fond of the island. As usual, I listened to the reviews only halfheartedly because I wanted to form my own view!
Oh my.
How should I put this nicely?
After Milos ... it was a shock! Hordes (like HORDES!) of tourists. Many of them (like MANY!) were Chinese. Every third or so restaurant was actually Chinese.
To say it in two words: Big Chaos
I was in over my head. Totally overwhelmed.
I have to admit though that once I got over the hordes of people, I came to appreciate the views. What a place this must have been, say 10 years ago? Absolutely breathtaking.
Santorini shows the bad side of tourism. Many Greeks I've met after having visited Santorini told me that, in their opinion, "Santorini sold its soul". Gotta love the Greeks for their theatrics!!
The Cyclades made it to my travel bucket list but Santorini and Mykonos won't be part of that future trip, that's for sure!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Remembering Greece: Island of Milos (Cyclades)

Milos made it to my top 10 list of favorite destinations and I will definitely have to go back. Absolutely. Two days was not enough. By far. Whata wonderful place. It was like living in a poetry.
Even the ferry trip to Milos was exciting. I left the port of Pireaus early in the morning and was happy to discover that we were allowed to stand on the upper deck where the view of the sea and the islands was fantastic!
The ferry stopped at Sérifos and Sifnos before arriving in Milos. That's when I started falling for the Cyclades (Sérifos and Sifnos were actually on my list of places to visit but in the end I choose Milos. I did good because Milos is the biggest of the three and for this trip it was the best place to visit. Next time though I will visit them all, with more time on my hands!).


Then we arrived in Milos and I fell in love immediately. The white houses/churches. The blue windows/doors. The dark blue see. Friendly people. Easy going life.
What not to love?

Church in Adamas

Adamas (on my way from the port to the hotel)

Plaka, the capital of Milos

I had dinner in a restaurant and this was the view (view from my table)


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Remembering Greece: Athens

Prior to my departure to Greece, I had been excited and worried at once. Excited for the obvious reasons and worried because of that whole high season/size of crowds thing. I feared that it would somehow spoil my time there.
I shouldn't have worried. Well, high season was certainly not the best time to take off to Greece (or any other European destination actually) and the crowds were quite impressive (apparently, Greece is expected to welcome 26 million tourists this summer!).
The places though were so magical, the people I met so nice and friendly and funny that I totally forgot about the crowds!

I started my trip in Athens, as you may recall. What to say? The city was chaotic and the temperatures were hot (OMG, you have no idea how hot!!). I loved walking around the city and being surrounded by 2000 and more years of history felt wonderful to me. I visited the Akropolis museum (it didn't exist the last time I visited) and I avoided the Akropolis itself (the line was too long for my linking and in this heat? No thanks). I walked around the Roman Agora and the temple of Zeus, I strolled the small streets of Plaka (old town) and Monastiraki (another cute part of town).
By the end of my first day in Greece I was already in a totally relaxed and feel good kind of mood. I knew then that this trip was going to be wonderful!

Don't let the clouds deceive you - it was hot! Akropolis seen from below

I loved the houses

Temple of Zeus

Acropolis again - seen from the other side

houses, house and more houses

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Being Back From Greece

What an intense trip this has been! So wonderful. Magic. My head is still spinning. I will need a couple of days to sort it all out (starting with all the pictures I have taken!).

I was looking for some words on Pinterest to describe what I felt this morning on my first day back from heaven. I couldn't have said it better.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Greece Update

Wow. What a trip this has been and still is! I'm at the swimming pool of my hotel in Chania (Crete) and keep thinking, wow, what a trip. I've seen so many places, talked to so many people, my head is spinning actually. I can't seem to find the words yet to describe everything but they'll come to me. Once I'll be back home. Once I'll go through all my pictures. Once that everyday liife will help me think in a structured way again. Because, honestly, these days I'm in a kind of "I feel good, life is so good" bubble that all I want to do is enjoying the flow! You'll get the words and the pictures later on, I promise!
Kalispera everyone