Palermo - Mondello

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Molti di voi avranno gi?? sentito parlare della zona di Mondello, in quanto una delle pi?_ turistiche di Palermo e famosa per aver fatto da ambientazione al film ???Il Gattopardo?۝ di Luchino Visconti. Rimane fra le aree pi?_ affascinanti della citt?? grazie ai colori spettacolari che ci regalano le sfumature del mare e della sabbia chiarissima??_ in questa stagione primaverile il paesaggio ̬ dei migliori perch̩ la spiaggia ̬ ancora sgombra da ombrelloni e lettini che d?۪estate affollano questa zona rendendola quasi invivibile! Most of you have already heard about the Mondello area , as one of the most touristic place in Palermo and as setting of the film " Il Gattopardo " by Luchino Visconti. It remains one of the most fascinating areas of the city thanks to the wonderful colors given by the shades of the sea and white sand... during the spring season , the landscape is the best because the beach is still free from umbrellas and sun loungers that during the summer flock to this area making it almost unbearable!ImmagineImmagineImmagineImmagineImmagine

Se avete voglia di fare una camminata lungo-mare vi consiglio di partire dall?۪incrocio di Viale delle Palme con Viale Regina Elena e proseguire su quest?۪ultimo fino a raggiungere la famosa piazzetta! Guardandovi intorno, soprattutto verso l?۪entroterra, vedrete un susseguirsi di splendide ville in stile Liberty. Questo quartiere ̬ infatti noto per avere le residenze pi?_ prestigiose della citt??.

If you feel like having a walk along the seaside I recommend starting from the intersection of Viale delle Palme with Viale Regina Elena and continue on the latter until you reach the famous little square! Looking around, especially towards the inland , you will see a succession of amazing Art Nouveau villas . This district is in fact known for having the most prestigious buildings in the city.ImmagineImmagine

A met?? strada troverete il Charleston, il pi?_ antico stabilimento balneare costruito su palafitte. Al suo interno si trova anche un ottimo ristorante, ???Le Terrazze?۝.

Halfway there is the Charleston , the oldest seaside bath-houe built on stilts. Inside you will also find a great restaurant , "Le Terrazze".IMG_0392IMG_0520

Ci?_ che consiglio maggiormente ̬ fare un giro nella piazzetta, fermandosi magari a mangiare un buon gelato o una tipica "arancina" davanti alle coloratissime barchette dei pescatori e ai venditori di cedro!

What I recommend the most is a having a walk in the little square , maybe resting a while and tasting a deliciuous ice cream or a typical ???arancina?۝ in front of the colorful boats of the fishermen and the cedar merchants!IMG_0402IMG_0403IMG_0405IMG_0523IMG_0530IMG_0516

??_vi innamorerete della Sicilia!

??_you?۪ll fall in love with Sicily!

BFL

 

Madrid - A Secret & Colorful Corner -

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After having recommended hotels, restaurants, shops, parks, and sights to see in Madrid, I would like to to share one last thing; my favorite corner of Madrid, Plaza de la Cebada. One of the most historic plazas in the city, it is well known for it’s famous covered market. The market takes up nearly the whole plaza! This plaza is in the heart of the Latin quarter, in fact, easily reachable from La Latina station.  Next to the plaza, you’ll find many small bars offering tapas with some wine to wash them down. You’ll also find the famous La Latina theatre- they still host daily shows! While these are all interesting attractions, the reason I love this plaza is completely different. Very few people are aware, but there’s an amazing small courtyard surrounded by some rather dilapidated walls behind the market. At first glance, it might not seem like much, but once inside you’ll see that it is truly fantastic! The walls are full of colors and graffiti art. A band generally plays in a small outdoor amphitheater, adding even more ambiance to the whole scene. Everything is absolutly authentic. There are even some shopfronts that frequently host a wide variety of artists.  Before heading into La Latina Sunday market, stop a while to take some sun on a colorful bench . Between the improvised music and the mix of colors, you can’t help but feel some Spanish Allegria!

Marrakech - Something Special -

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Looking for a few ideas outside the box and to beat the crowds at the usual tourist sights?

For those who decide to stay in Marrakesh for more than 4 days, there are some interesting options for spending relaxing days or even trying having a very strong olfactory experience...read on to understand.

A REGENERATING HAMMAM

You can’t leave Marrakesh without having visited a hamman, either in your riad or one of the many spas such as the one in the Les Jardins de la Koutoubia 5 star hotel. This spa is sponsored by Clarins and offers a vast array of treatments. There are no doubts that this is among the cleanest and most hygenic spas in Marrakesh. Relax and let yourself be pampered!

NIKKI BEACH LE PALMERAIE

Of course, there’s even a Nikki Beach in Morocco. It is located a little ways out from the center in the Palmeraie area. This beach hot-spot is 15km from the the airport and easily reachable from the Medina in 10-15 minutes by taxi.
 

VISIT THE TANNERIES

As you may have learned, I love to go from one extreme to the other. This experience is not for the faint of heart, and I must warn those of you who have a hard time with strong odors. The tanneries are located on the eastern outskirts of the Medina in order to be in close proximity to the waters of the Oued Issil. Local guides are easily found as they tend to hang out near the tanneries, although, they may not be required. You’ll be struck by the strong smell of the skins, especially the excrement used to soften and lighten them. In fact, The processing and treatment is all very natural...the skins are immersed in pigeon excrement to soften them before proceeding to be colored using natural pigments from saffron and poppies. Once colored, they are put out to dry in the sun.

Marrakech - Majorelle Garden -

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By now, you must have seen photos of the famous blue gardens of Marrakesh. These are in fact the Jardin Majorelle. The gardens are very touristy and anything but peaceful, however, its electric blue colors and blue majorelle are worth the visit. The Jardin Majorelle is located in the modern neighborhood of Gueliz, easily reachable by taxi or on food following Avenue Moulay Abdallah. Upon the death of Majorelle, already a famous artist, the gardens were purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. This is the reason you will now find a memorial to YSL and a museum featuring traditional North African tribal arms, jewels, and leathers. The entry cost to the garden is 50 Dinars, exclusive of the museum.

Marrakech - The Souk & Place Jemaa-el-Fna -

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The souks, or suqs, are the typical covered markets that you can find scattered throughout the Medina. They are one of the main attractions of Marrakesh. As soon as you enter, you’ll get lost in the small alleys full of tiny shops, colorful stalls, exotic smells, sounds, and the loud voices of the merchants trying to tout their wares- all sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitors. Remember the golden rule in Marrakesh, NEGOTIATE for EVERYTHING! The market stretches from the Ben Youssef Mosque in the North to the famous Jemaa-el-Fna square in the South. It is organized into areas dedicated to specific goods and activities: leathers, wool, jewelry, produce, lanterns, apparel, dried goods, spices etc.. Take a break afterwards in one of the many terraces to sip on a mint tea and admire the sunset.

Of the souvenirs available I suggest: some small bottles of argan or rose oil, spices (curry, turmeric, etc), the famous black soap used in hammam for a quick scrub or the iconic Morrocan slippers worn by none other than Aladdin.

Jemaa-el-Fna square is the true epicenter of all the chaos that is Marrakesh. During the day, you’ll find snake charmers and stalls selling dentures (yes, you read correctly, dentures), street artists, monkey trainers, henna tattoo artists, horse drawn carts, and vendors selling dates and freshly squeezed orange juice.

By night, the market makes way for stalls serving up fresh local cuisine. It is definitely worth trying at least once! Although there are seemingly an infinite number of stalls, they are all in fact numbered which is helpful to find specific ones. The most famous that I tried was the“Aicha N°1” read here to learn more!

The square is dominated by the Koutubia mosque, the tallest in Marrakesh. A few steps from the mosques is the Cyber Jardin on Avenue Mohammed V, and L’Embsemble Artisanal, a sort of artisans quarter where prices are fixed and there is no bargaining. It seemed a little too touristy for my liking.