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 ).

Madrid - Vamos A Bailar? -

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Of course, I must also write about Madrid’s nightlife; how can I leave out "la movida" and the nightclubs? Where to go dancing in Madrid!?

Always a difficult question with such a vast array of options catering to almost any taste in music. Especially given that most nightclubs are so much fun!

The following is list of the best:

KAPITAL

Kapital is among the most famous and iconic nightclubs in madrid. Build on 7 floors, the first three overlook the main dancefloor, above that there is a rock’n’roll floor, followed by a floor playing latin-american music. On the roof, there is a wonderful terrace, perfect for a drink under the stars. On the second floor, there’s even a room for karaoke, and among the many bars, one even dedicated solely to Bacardi. Cover charge is between 10 and 15 euros with one or two cocktails included, depending on the night. The music is quite mainstream, but the choreographed performances, dancers, light shows, and acrobats swinging accross the ceiling are what make it truly special. This is without a doubt, my favorite party destination. Dress to impress, the doormen can be quite picky, and for boys, avoid shorts at all costs!

GABANA

The Gabana is currently one of the most “in” nightclubs in Madrid. It’s right in the center, in the Salamanca neighborhood. The doormen are very very picky, I suggest making a table reservation or making friends with someone who works there. As a nightclub, it is much smaller than Kapital, but still, you are guaranteed a fantastic night.

FABRIK

This nightclub is definitely a household name, it can easily accommodate 10 thousand people. It is often the venue of choice for very famous DJs. This is the perfect place if you lost electronica, house, and techno. The only catch here: it’s situated a little far from the city center, the best way to get there is by car or taxi.

 

 

 

 

 

JOY

Joy plays many genres of music and is centrally located on Calle del Arenal, a few steps away from the Opera metro station. Very popular for Erasmus university parties.

FORTUNY

Fortuny is a very posh club. It caters to an older clientele than the previous nightclubs mentioned. This is the place to be if you are looking for somewhere to be seen.

MOMA 56

Similar to Fortuny, this club is also quite exclusive, enjoy a meal here and then dance the night away.

SALA MARCO ALDANY

The Sala Arena, also known as the Sala Marco Aldany, hosts many smaller spaces where DJ’s frequently host concerts. It is located right in Plaza de Espana. There is always something different depending on the night from pop to techno. More often than not, you’ll hear some alternative or punk rock. The Smashing Pumpkins and Lagwagon, among others, have played shows here.

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!