Shanghai - Xintiandi, Yu Garden & the Bund

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Here I am in Shanghai! I landed at Shanghai Pudong from Malpensa. The city has two airports, Hongqiao and Pudong, and the latter is connected with the city center through the Maglev train that, in less than 8 minutes, brings you to Longyang Road station with a speed of 430 km/h. The price is 50 RMB, about 5 Euro. From there you can take a taxi, they're really cheap!
I highly recommend you to bring with you the destination address in Chinese because many taxi drivers do NOT speak English!!! You will see how difficult it is to make yourself understood in this city!
 

After settling in, I started to explore the city from the neighborhood of Xintiandi, characterized by old Chinese buildings made of red brick, called "shikumen". It?'s a very nice area, full of shops, bars, restaurants etc ...I stopped for lunch in a very famous Chinese restaurant that I recommend you for its tasty dim sum, Din Tai Fung restaurant, located inside the Xintiandi Style mall . A good alternative on the same floor of the mall is the Crystal Jade! Then you can have some shopping in the mall, it's worth it!
 

Then it's time for Yu garden. I recommend you to buy the ticket (price 30 RMB) and get inside. It is lovely! A few steps from the garden there's a tea house, the Huxinting House, where you can do tea-tasting of various types of tea. In this area you can also find the Yu Yuan Bazaar and many souvenir shops.
 

We then walked along Fangbang Road, a street full of chinese shops, until Zhongshan Road, that runs along the Huangpu River and leads into the famous "Bund".
Walk up to the Monument to the People' Heroes, in memory of the revolutionary martyrs, and enjoy the amazing view ofered by the riverside... On the other side of the Huangpu river there's the district of Pudong and the skyline you see from the Bund is breathtaking!
Among the most famous skyscrapers there are the Shanghai World Financial Centre also called "corkscrew", the Oriental Pearl Tower and Jinmao Tower. Furthermore, it's almost completed the construction of the Shanghai Tower that will be the second tallest skyscraper in the world (632m) after the Burj Dubai Khakifa.
 

The best way to end up the afternoon is an happy hour on the terrace of the House of Roosevelt!
 

For dinner I went to Haiku. It's a Japanese restaurant in the French Concession, a very large and famous district, known for the presence of many international restaurants and shops. There are, in fact, restaurants with cuisine from all over the world: Greece, France, Spain, Italy... It's a very lively area and it'is inhabited by many westerners. Haiku is located near the Shanghai Brewery, a very famous brewery in Shanghai mainly frequented by western people and it's a short walk from Henshang Road, one of the main streets of the French Concession. Enjoy! :) The night ended up in a club, The Apartment, very nice both for a drink on the outdoor rooftop and for dancing downstairs (commercial music ).

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

 

Budapest - Ristoranti & Gastronomia Ungherese -

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Dopo varie richieste ho deciso di fare un post riassuntivo dedicato solo ai cibi tipici ungheresi ed ai ristoranti in cui mangiare a Budapest! Innanzitutto ai primi posti nella cucina tradizionale del paese ci sono il gulasch, la famosa zuppa a base di spezzatino di carne, patate, carote, cipolla e paprika, ed il pollo alla paprika. Quest'ultima ̬ infatti una spezia tipica che viene venuta in moltissimi negozi e si tratta di un tipo di paprika dolce, non super piccante come si pu?_ pensare!

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Altri piatti salati tipici sono:

- gli involtini di cavolo farciti con riso e carne - lo spezzatino di maiale con i crauti - i "galuska" che vengono tradotti come nooldes ma non hanno nulla a che fare, sono piccoli gnocchetti irregolari fatti di pasta all'uovo e spesso abbinati al gulasch o alle zuppe - il szal??mi, ovvero il famoso salame ungherese - il l??ngos, una sorta di pan fritto che pu?_ essere condito con il salato (formaggio, cipolle o salumi) oppure con il dolce (cacao, miele, marmellata).

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Parlando di dolci, invece, il pi?_ tipico ̬ il "k?_rt??skal??cs" noto come chimney cake per la sua forma a tubo. ?? il mio preferito! Si tratta di una semplice sfoglia arrotolata intorno ad un tubo ̬ guarnita poi con cannella o zucchero vanigliato o cocco o cacao oppure nocciole. C'̬ poi il "bejgli", un rotolo in una variante con le noci oppure con i semi di papavero, il r̩tes ovvero lo strudel ungherese e la torta Dobos, fatta di pan di spagna, cioccolato e caramello. In molte pasticcerie o chioschetti troverete infine i dolcetti di marzapane.

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Per quanto riguarda i ristoranti, vi riassumo quelli migliori e fortemente consigliati!

- Hungarikum Bisztro, per pranzo - Karma, per cena - The Big Fish, per gli amanti del pesce, valido sia a pranzo che a cena - Una cena in barca lungo il Danubio con Budapest River Cruise - Gerbeaud, per una colazione o pranzo in stile Fauchon

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Marrakech - Restaurants & Food -

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The most typical dishes of this marvelous city include:

Cous cous: often the perfect companion to greens, chickpeas, or even chicken.

- Tajine: a dish that borrows its name from the terracotta clay pot that is used to cook and serve its contents. Typically, a tajine stew will be chicken, prune, or lamb based. This spicy dish is frequently accompanied by dried fruit, a key ingredient in Moroccan cuisine.

Pastilla: great as an entrée, is a sort of puff pastry stuffed with chicken or sea food. This delicacy combines both sweet and salty together; usually almonds and cinnamon are blended into the dough. The pastilla au poulet (chicken pastilla) is my favorite!

Patisserie Marocaine (Moroccan Pastry), is a sweet made with almonds and honey. It is always served with the world famous mint tea that I am absolutely crazy about.
 

As for restaurants, I’d like to list some of my favorites. These cover the whole gamut from the most spartan and traditional to the more famous and refined. The nice thing about Marrakesh is that you have an excellent selection of different experiences, all with their own merit.

Terasse des Epices, a definite MUST. This is one of the terraces i mentioned earlier, ideal to admire the red rooftops or simply to try some cous cous or tajine. This spot in Medina is steps away from the souk. I recommend it for a cute lunch or even some drinks and dinner.   

Cafe Arabe is very similar in setup: a typical Moroccan restaurant with a great terrace and view. Perfect for lunch and an afternoon break.

-  Le Jardin is another very cute bar also located within the souk. The only difference between this bar and the previous ones is the fact that it is located in a courtyard. You’ll be surrounded by greenery instead of perched on a rooftop terrace, afterall, Jardin is french for garden.

Tgi’in Darna is a bar positioned perfectly to admire the sunset in Jemaa-el-Fna square. Mint tea, and Moroccan bites...enjoy the sunset!

Al Fassia is known for the best Pastilla au poulet in Marrakesh. There are two locations in different neighborhoods, I suggest the one in Gueliz. This one is unique for its white motifs and strictly female staff. Best to make a reservation here:

The Kozy Bar is chic and refined nightspot in the Jewish quarter, Mellah. I would recommend it for anyone spending an extended period of time in Marrakesh who wants to try something other than local food. The Japanese chef makes excellent sushi. Enjoy a meal here with a great view of the old walls of the Palais el Badi and its stork nests.

- Saving the best for last, Jad Mahal is easily one of the most famous spots in Marrakesh. Restaurant, lounge bar, and disco: you must spend a night here. During dinner enjoy being interrupted by belly dancers moving from table to table; be careful, they may even have you try as well!

Madrid - La Latina -

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BY DAY

This is one of the most hip and lively neighborhoods of Madrid, however, during most days, there aren’t many interesting things to see. The Rastro, or Sunday market, is definitely the exception. It is easily the most famous weekend market in the city! Here you will find streets packed with people and vendors...lose yourself in the small alleys hunting for anything from vintage accessories, jewelry, souvenirs, posters, but above all great used furnishings!


BY NIGHT

The Latin Quarter (metro la Latina) is easily the night life spot in the city...hundred of little bars and restaurants; a little something for everyone. Below are two of my favorite places, but trust me, you will have no trouble following your nose to find any number of great little supper spots.

Cava Baja is the main road with tonnes of little bars and restaurants wedged together:

  • At 17 Cava Baja, you’ll find “Orixe”. Here you can sit either on a bench outside or within the restaurant (much more comfortable) and enjoy a tapas menu at 14€ including wine or beer. They take care to most stylish tapas I’ve ever seen, high points for presentation.
     
  • At 12 Cava Baja, “Posada del Leon de Oro”, is another very pleasant tapas restaurant.
     
  • La “Sureña”, at number 15 Cava Baja, is a very popular and well known bar specializing in beer. It can be super chaotic during peak hours. Definitely popular among the local Madrilenos.

Prepare yourself for waves of people- normally people have cocktails and tapas at around 8-9 pmand then head for dinner at around 10 pm. Sometimes you’ll catch people heading for dinner at midnight; especially on weekends!