Shanghai - Tianzifang, Pudong & The M1NT

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Let's start another day in this amazing city! We first visit the district of Dapuqiao and in particular the Tianzifang, an area among Sinan Road, Taikang Road, Second Ruijing Road and Jianguo Middle Road.You can take the metro to reach this area and get off at Dapuqiao stop.The Tianzifang is a kind of market that is articulated within numerous alleyways. The shops were originally artisan shops and I recommend you to get lost in the alleys and, if it's lunch time, to stop at one of the many restaurants. For example, I've been to Teddy Bear and found it very nice (ask specifically to have lunch on the little terrace on the top). Alternatively, there is a very good thai restaurant, Tai Thai Cuisine & Lounge.Concerning the shopping in the Tianzifang, you can buy typical objects such as chopsticks, hand-painted fans, tea sets or the classic qipao, the traditional chinese women dress of Shanghai. I've bought one of them in black and white at the Shanghai Han Ming Industrial.
 

Then we head to the district of Pudong, the area opposite the Bund where you can see the famous skyscrapers. For lunch we stop at Element Fresh in Lu Jia Zui inside the "Super Brand Mall". It is a chain that offers fresh and tasty salads and sandwiches, perfect for those who want to get away for a moment from the oriental cuisine!In the afternoon we visit the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, which is located at the base of the Oriental Pearl Tower. In my opinion there is nothing special but it's fun to walk inside the shark tunnels! Next to the aquarium there are two other museums: a museum of insects, the Wilde Natural Insect Kingdom and a museum on the sexuality of China, the China Sex Culture Exhibition.If the weather is nice and not foggy, I highly recommend you to climb on top of the "corkscrew", the Shanghai World Financial Centre, and stop at the bar for a drink with a view!
 

In the evening, after a super dinner at the thai restaurant Coconut Paradise, we go dancing at M1NT, one of the most famous nightclubs in the city!
Check out here the list on the best Shanghai nightlife! ;-)

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 ).

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!

Marrakech - Useful Info -

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If you live in Europe, Marrakesh is the perfect destination for a long weekend or quick getaway. Although it is a very lively city, here you will still have the chance to unplug and escape hectic day to day life back home.

Marrakesh Meanara airport is quite near to the city, only around 10km. This makes transportation to and from the terminal rather quick and efficient.
Taxis should be relatively cheap, even for trips within the city. From my personal experience, they can also be wildly inconsistent.  When I took a taxi from my hotel to the airport, it cost me only 2€, meanwhile, my trip from the airport to my hotel came out to 27€.

When it comes to overnight accommodations, you must have already heard of the famous “Riads” of Marrakesh. These are traditional Moroccan style buildings with internal courtyards that usually house a swimming pool or a hammam. I absolutely recommend spending some time in one of these. As for neighborhoods, there is no doubt that the Medina is by far the best. The Medina is the historic heart of the city surrounded by the ancient fortifications. It is made up of winding alleys and lanes that make up an impressive labyrinth.

The Aya Riad is an excellent choice for those who want a little peace and quiet while at the same time not compromising on location. It is a few steps away from the chaotic markets of the old town! The Riad is composed of 8 rooms decorated in traditional Morrocan style surrounding a courtyard and a spectacular terrace. The terrace is the ideal place to have breakfast while taking in amazing views of the famous rooftops of Marrakesh or the breathtaking sunsets. Sofia, the manager of the Riad is very friendly and organized. She can be reached by email at: riadaya.marrakech@gmail.com - tell her that Giulia referred you!