Over two decades after the Berlin Wall tumbled down, the city of Berlin has become one of the best cities in whole Europe. Characterized by an artist-friendly Mitte, the town is covered by a distinguished creativity and architecture that rise only from a transition. War damaged building are mutating in fancy showrooms and architects seems to have found a limitless landscape where to build futuristic buildings. Yet, Berlin is a city to discover.Read more
Vienna, star of the fading glory of the "fin de siècle era", emerges amongst all European cities with it's magnificent Hasburg-era architecure and parks.
In the present day, Vienna is still evolving with dazzling renovated museums, hotels and a whole new re-invented nightlife.
Shonbrunn castle - Shönbrunner Schloßtraße 47
Built in the seventeenth century, and subsequently used as the summer residence for the imperial will of Maria Theresa Archduchess of Austria, until the fall of the monarchy in 1918. The palace counts 1441 rooms, 190 of which are open to the public as a museum. It is surrounded by one of the most beautiful baroque-style parks in Europe, with statues, fountains and an enormous gardens, among them a set of fake Roman ruins, a zoo and a maze. Since 1996 the palace and the garden have been declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
Die Rote Bar - Philharmonikerstrasse 4
Enjoy traditional classic Viennese specialities in this elegant and stylish restaurant where you can either sit in the black and white floor-tiled glass conservatory facing the Opera House or in the grand, dark red damask dining room with large oil paintings and crystal chandeliers.
Motto am Fluss - Franz-Josefs-Kai 2
Have a relaxing drink before bedtime at this bar. “Motto am Fluss” lies right on the Danube Canal at Schwedenplatz like a racy speedboat. Host Bernd Schlacher has created an extensive gastronomic landscape here on two levels that at first sight, might be confused as a boat.
Hofburg - Michaelerplatz 1
Built on a medieval castle, the palace, consists of a set of magnificent buildings, once home to emperors. The complex, built by Emperor Charles VI in the 17th century, houses the offices of the President of Austria, an international conference center, the Spanish Riding School, several official and private apartments, numerous museums and the state apartments. Here you find the collection of imperial treasures, one of the most rich and fascinating in the whole world. You can even have a quick glimpse to the Sissi Museum and discover that the princess wasn't that great woman everyone thinks she was...
Shopping time - Zentrum von Wien
Declared Unesco's historical and cultural heritage of humanity, the historic centre of Vienna is characterized by cobbled streets, narrow alleys, quiet squares, historic buildings and by the best restaurants, cafes and luxury shops in the city. While there, do not miss the St. Stephen's Cathedral and Mozart's House. If you have time, have a ride on a horse chariot for a relaxing and romantic timeout.
Cafè Sacher - Philharmonikerstraße 4, A-1010 Wien
Café Sacher Vienna offers the perfect chance to sample a typical Viennese coffee-house atmosphere and – of course – to treat yourself to a slice of the legendary Original Sacher-Torte. The Café Sacher, directly opposite the Opera House, is a popular meeting place in the centre of Vienna.
Vienna State Opera - Opernring 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria
The Vienna State Opera is a fascinating building with a history dating back to the mid-19th century. It is located in the centre of Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera. If you can, book a ticket for a once in a lifetime experience.
Restaurant Le Ciel - Grand Hotel of Vienna - Kaerntner Ring 9
At the restaurant "Le Ciel" the name makes the programme. Enjoy the heavenly view from the seventh floor of the Grand Hotel Wien and indulge in heavenly culinary art at the same time!
The restaurant "Le Ciel" meets the expectations of the most discerning gourmets: creative cuisine with unusual combinations of taste, an excellent, out of the ordinary wine list and professional, friendly service.
Kunsthistoriches Museum - Maria Theresien Platz
The building is an astounding mix of murals, marble and royal excess, but even more mouth-watering is the Scholls Belvedere, two facing baroque palaces surrounded by mesmerizing gardens. Inside of them, the collections are superb homing the biggest Klimt collection in the world, in which, of course, you can find international favourite painting: The Kiss.
When I first started to take photographs during my travels I soon realized it was wise to keep a travel journal. Emotions, non-framed events, further details went missing if I didn't religiously update my journal at least once a day.
But what's the best way to write a Travel Journal? I tried different approaches to this task. I decided to keep a separated journal for each destination. When I had some spare time, usually while commuting from a place to an other, or in the evening right before going to sleep. In time it has worked best to keep the journal private and the entries short. By doing so, once "home" I could browse through my notes, edit them and share them online with a related photograph.
I discovered that by keeping the journal private, I could be truly honest about my day and feelings, adding great value to my entries. By reading my journals now I can learn more about my actual life and myself.
Writing short entries helped my focus my attention of what was really relevant. Write a series of short sentences similar to Tweets.
What to write
Be present, focus on the details, break the boundaries and look further. Write about your emotions, what you photographed, why did you photograph a particular object, who did you meet? How did he/she make you feel? What caught your eye? Why? Write about new tastes, sounds, smells...
Describe more than what your eyes see. Draw if you want! Before starting to write, stop a moment and meditate about the day. Meditation can unlock your best writing ideas.
"Don’t just write that a market is “bustling.” Describe the vendors vying for your attention, the noises, the smells, and the people who jostle against you. Avoid vague adjectives, and look for specific details that define a place’s character."
– Dave Fox
Make it a daily habit; don't just confine journaling during travels. As an iPhone and iPad power-user I use an app called DayOne. Most of my entries are written here now. And when I forget to write something new, the App sends me a notification, inviting me to create a new entry. It's a wonderful sensation to take some time and reflect on your life by reading a personal journal. Start today, life is a beautiful thing, if you can remember it.
In case you didn't notice by now, I simply love travelling. I travel as much as I can and in the past years I can firmly say that I've become a pretty awesome Weekender. Getting away for a long weekend recharges my batteries and as I said before fuels my creativity. But while being a spontaneous traveller has its advantages, be sure to do your homework and follow a few simple tips.
Plan ahead: Narrow down your destination main hotspots. I usually try to write down on my Moleskine the places I want to see or activities I want to do the most once there. I embrace the time constraints and do some research on the web. If I don't have enough time I ask my Virtual Assistant (http://www.brickworkindia.com/) to look for reviews on the highlighted venues I share with him. Another great tool are the Louis Vuitton’s City Guides. I recently discovered them to find the hottest spas, restaurants and nightclubs everywhere around the world.
Bring a pair of comfortable yet stylish shoes: Invest as much time as possible in the quest of finding the best pair of shoes for your trip. I like to travel classy, without compromising comfort. Stonefly, Clarks and Deichmann provide a large variety of fine quality shoes. I suggest you to buy a dark genuine leather brown pair of loafers (during Spring or Summer) or a pair of classic formal shoes that will always look well even in your favourite travel jeans.
Day-to-night jeans: Most checked bag limits are under 22 kilograms. For this reason you'll want to save as much space as possible and wear a pair of jeans you'll use the most. I found an elegant, yet comfortable pair of Guess Denims that pair well with a basic t-shirt for commutation comfort or with a fancy blazer for a night out.
Pack early: Have you ever noticed that for some reason your stuff will always take up more space on the way home? Try to overcome this issue by packing early and leave only the most vital things on the top layer. If you like me decide to take, every time you travel, advantage of the exchange rate and revamp your entire season wardrobe, this tip will be vital!
Travel soft: I hate rolling suitcases. I invested in a nice waterproof leather green and brown carry-on bag by Marbloro Classics. Soft bags have a lot of perks; they’ll stretch to fit your stuff, and you’ll have less trouble squeezing it into a crowded overhead compartment during your flight.
During 2010 New Years Eve, I travelled for a week in Egypt. I decided that the best way to experience it’s historical wonders was to go down the Nile with one of the famous cruise boats that navigate it’s waters. I wanted to highlight for you the main cities and temples you can’t miss while there.
Cairo, the Egyptian capital, with about 20 million inhabitants, is the largest city in Africa. Erected on the banks of the Nile, about 20 km south from the point where the river divides into two main arms, Cairo is characterized by great contrasts. This green valley that emerges in the middle of the immense Sahara desert will fascinate you. At any time of the day and from anywhere in the city, you can see the domes of many mosques, the tall buildings, broad avenues and beautiful gardens: let's not forget, that El Cairo was once described as the capital of the world.
The pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx, lying at their feet, were considered, in ancient times, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Placed on a platform of sand, the pyramids offer a wonderful and impressive view. Inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu a narrow corridor leads to a large room called "the King's chamber" where if you’re adventurous enough, you can find a granite sarcophagus and try to understand what went trough the minds of the slaves that built the structure. The giant statue of 20 meters high and 70 deep of the Sphinx, representing the body of a lion with a human face, is the most colossal statue that was ever carved by man.
Located at a distance of 27 km from Cairo, Sakkara is one of the most interesting attractions of Egypt. Once on it's lands stood the ancient city of Memphis, the capital of the white walls of the old Egyptian kingdom, and it was in this vast necropolis that the famous Step Pyramid of Sakkara was built about 60 m high, structured in layers with rectangular blocks of pure limestone. You feel immediately week once you start thinking that it was built about 5000 years ago with only man's wits and arms.
Located about 600 km south of Cairo, Luxor occupies part of Thebes, the capital of the ancient Egyptian Empire. Amenhotep III in devotion to the divine couple Ammon and Mut and their son Khonsu, the God of the Moon, built the temple of Luxor, which lies at the heart of the city. The main feature of this temple is its colossal columns in the shape of lotus flowers. Not far away, walking along the Nile you'll Karnak, the largest temple of the god Amun, where you can admire the remains of a temple complex of exceptional beauty.
In the center of the city stands the temple dedicated to the god Khnum, characterized by his ram's head. Khnum was the God who created humans and animals, modeling them from the clay of the Nile. It is considered a rare example of greek-roman architecture.
Built on a hill 15 meters high above the Nile, Kom Ombo is the temple dedicated to Sobek, the Crocodile God and Haroeris, the hawk-headed God. The walls of the temple are decorated with astonishing reliefs and paintings. From the terraces you can enjoy a beautiful view of the landscape of the Nile.
Located on the left bank of the Nile, Edfu is the largest and the oldest of the Ptolemaic temples dedicated to the god Horus, the falcon-headed God. The temple, brought to light by Marriette, is considered one of the best preserved of all Egypt. The construction, which began in 23 BC, was completed only in 57 A.D. The decorations of the temple are exclusively religious-mythological.
The temple, dedicated to the worship of Isis, was once erected on the island of Philae, but now moved on the nearby island of Agikia at about 500m away, thanks to a massive operation conducted by Italian technicians. In 1902, the British completed the Aswan Low Dam on the Nile River. This threatened many ancient landmarks, including the temple complex of Philae, with being submerged. The dam was heightened twice, from 1907–12 and from 1929–34, and the island of Philae was nearly always flooded. It was postulated that the temples be relocated, piece by piece, to nearby islands, such as Bigeh or Elephantine. However, the temples' foundations and other architectural supporting structures were strengthened instead. Although the buildings were physically secure, the island's attractive vegetation and the colors of the temples' reliefs were washed away. Also, the bricks of the Philae temples soon became encrusted with silt and other debris carried by the Nile. The view from the temple is probably one of the best views I enjoyed in my entire life.
Since ancient times, Aswan was the natural center of trade in Africa. Today the city is a well-known winter resort due to its dry climate and clear air. Not for nothing, even Aga Khan had a villa here and a mausoleum in a spot where you can enjoy a wonderful view over the city and the dam.
With only a 20-minute flight from Aswan, you can reach the village of Abu Simbel on the banks of Lake Nasser, on the border with Sudan Wadi Halfa. Here, thanks to the intervention of U.N.E.S.C.O. and of superhuman efforts lasted six years, the two mind-blowing temples of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari, have been rebuilt stone by stone, safe from the waters of the Nile. When viewing the majesty of the temple of the Kings with its two 20m high giant stone statues you magically revive the atmosphere of ancient Egyptian civilization. It's truly a wonder, it feels like walking in a time warp, and it leaves you simply breathless. Smaller but no less beautiful Temple of Queen Nefertari dedicated to the goddess Hathor, whose facade is decorated by gigantic statues of the queen and her husband.
Ancient Egypt is a land of great wonder. Some of the most fantastic architectural achievements in human history can be found within its borders. Their architectural and engineering skills were so great that a large number of these monuments have withstood the test of time and can still be seen today, thousands of years after being constructed. Be sure to add Egypt to your bucket list, it’s history, it’s landscapes together with it’s rich and colorful culture make this nation a must-see, with no excuses.
I was there, in my tree house watching the sun sizzle on Cabarete, while kite surfers flew over ravishing waves. As I proceeded to save and send the business plan I developed during the last few weeks from my iPad, I saw a Dominican girl bringing me what appeared to be my Caribbean dinner and a cold Presidente beer. I felt great, and my project turned out to be one of the finest works I ever created.
I'm not trying to show off, what I'm trying to do is to make you understand that a vast part of my productiveness is inspired because of the traveling I so much love. Travel breaks my routine enhancing the fuel that keeps me going and helps me find the focus I so much need when developing a new creative project.
My Dominican experience led me to embrace the art of mini-retirements. An art that thought me to redistribute the usual 25 year retirement throughout life, instead of saving it al for the end. If you stop and think about it, it's a win-win way of living. Relocating yourself in another context, though it can be relaxing, is not an easy way out from your daily life, but as Tim Ferris says: “A re-examination of it – the creation of a blank state”.
Embracing mini-retirements I aim to experience the world while re-filling my creativity with new petrol. In fact, rather than "switching off" when I'm abroad, I tend to be even more overwhelmed by new ideas and solutions helped by the sense of adventure and the search for new experiences.
You don't need to travel far, to the other side of the world, sometimes all it takes it to look for a new sanctuary right around the corner. For example, for me, living in Milan, a quick escape to Tuscany to enjoy some mouth-watering wine while reviewing a project remotely does the trick.
Living slower and taking mini-retirements can be possible by anyone thanks to the digital nomadic lives we all can afford.
Each "way out" is a priceless investment, good for your soul, your health and your business. Thanks to modern technology, today we all live in a, sometimes toxic, hyper-connectivity status, so it's up to you understand how to acquire the luxury of a flexible job becoming a digital nomad. The key is to understand the positive results you will achieve in doing so. If you are an employee, ask for a "Test Drive". If someone is hesitant to buy an expensive car, just offer them a test drive and if they aren't satisfied with the vehicle they are free to take it back. Get your foot in the door and say "Le'ts just try it once". Your vastly improved productivity will convert your and your bosses doubts about this radical lifestyle change.
Remove yourself as a gear, and you'll become the machine.
In May 2010 I had the wonderful opportunity to make one of my dreams come true: visit Tokyo. Even though I spent only 24 hours(yes, 24 hours) in the Shinjuku area, I had an amazing experience. I warmly reccomend you to stay at the Park Hyatt Hotel (you probably know it from the movie "Lost in Translation"). Tokyo is indeed a city of wonders, and, as an european, you feel as if you were in an other planet.
I would like to share with you a couple of glimpes dated 3 years ago of my favourite city in the world.
Is it possible to visit London in 48 Hours?
But the true question you should ask yourself is: "Am I ready for it?"
Visiting London can be an exhausting but rewarding experience if you, like me, are a weekender that wants to see and enjoy as much as possible in a small amount of time.
To achieve the best experience during your stay, you need to plan every 30 minutes of the day.
In this post, I'll try to give you the low-down on how to see all the major places and landmarks of interest of Western Europe's largest cosmopolitan city in only a weekend.
It is possible to become familiar with the capital relatively quickly. Travel with an A-Z map book, or even better, download an App like Maps2Go and Tube Map, pack your Passport and a good pair of walking shoes and your set to discover the wonders of London.
If you're visiting just for a weekend, try to get to London Friday evening (if you can) and leave Sunday in the late evening. Find a Hotel or an apartment somewhere central such as London Bridge.
London is very pricy regarding hotels but you can find wonderful cheap and well-located apartments with AirBnB.
Once left your room or apartment, you can do as I did. Start your visit with what is usually the final act of a vacation: shopping.
Spend a few hours wandering around, Piccadilly Circus and Soho and you will get a real sense of the colorful life in the city centre, especially in the evening.
Carnaby Street, the Brewer Street Markets, Regent Street and of course Oxford Street can fill up your entire trip if you love shopping, and empty your wallet in less than a couple of minutess...
I suggest you to visit the Burberry Flasgship store in Regents Street.
Taking over two years to complete, the colossal 44,000 sq ft space is an enveloping experience that blurs the line between the physical and digital, effectively creating an virtually-enhanced experience in store. Don't forget to walk down New Bond Street too!
After a good breakfast, roughly at 10.30 am, start central: St James's Park station or Victoria Station for example and you can get around some of the major city sights as they are within easy walking distance of each other. Arriving to St. James Park you'll be already in the heart of Westminster. The lake in the centre casts a viewpoint left up towards Buckingham Palace and right towards Whitehall.
11:00 - Every odd day, at 11am the Queen's regiments perform the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Wellington Barracks. After warming up the troops and the band march around the parade ground before heading over to Buckingham Palace. Toward the end they're joined by the Horse Guard arriving from the Mall from St James's Palace.
To the right of the Palace you'll see Green Park, so named as the legend tells that Charles I's wife, after seeing her husband picking flowers for his mistress, stage actress Nell Gwyn, she ordered all the flowers beds to be removed from the Park. Walk down towards the gates of St James's Palace, near the Clarence House. Prince Charles, when in London, resides in the Palace, while the Queen mother resides in the Clarence House.
12:00 - Now walk towards Westminster Abbey. It was begun by Edward the Confessor in 1055 AD. Edward, obviously having something to confess, began constructing the Abbey but died before its completion. William the Conqueror continued the project in 1066 and had himself crowned inside. Every monarch has since been crowned in the Abbey.
12:30 - On the left side of Westminster Abbey lays The Houses of Parliament. They were originally named Westminster Palace. On the extreme left you can recognize the obvious bell tower called St Stephens. You probably better know this landmark as Big Ben, the name of the bell housed in the tower, named after Sir Benjamin Hall and is the one that sound the hours.
Next to the tower is St Stephen's Hall, the House of Commons. The Great hall to front was built by William the Conqueror in 1087, the walls are distinctly less ornate than the rest of the Palace indicating its older age.
Following on is the House of Lords, the seats held by nobles and members of the church. Finally stands the Victoria Tower, the House of Lords Record Office where all legislature is kept.
13:00 - Going ahead up Whitehall, you will reach one of the most known front doors in the UK. Number 10 Downing Street has been the official home of the Prime Minister since Robert Walpole in 1732. Once used to be open, the road was closed off for security reasons during the tenure of Margaret Thatcher.
13:30 - You'll probably be hungry by now. Move North towards Trafalgar Square. The focal point in the centre of the square is of course Nelson's Column. The statue on top of the plinth was erected in honour of Nelson's victory over Napoleon's fleet in the battle of Trafalgar, where the commander ultimately lost his life. Here you can look for restaurants or pubs in the nearby alleys and rest your probably sore and swollen feet.
14:30 - Keep going North. You'll reach Leicester Square. The playground for those living in the west. It had a seedier reputation in the 18th Century which has been replace over time as the place to go to and be entertained with stage shows, musicals, and relax.
15.30 - It's shopping time again, but this time, it will be a completly new shopping experience in a unique atmosphere. Take the Underground to Notting Hill Gate. It may be packed with tourists (like you), but Portobello Road Market is a London institution. It's crammed with antique dealers, vintage fashion stalls and retro memorabilia. My girlfriend went out of mind in a vintage fashion boutique where she was able to find Laboutain shoes for just 90 £. Spend some time wondering around Notting Hill and enjoy the architecture of the place. You'll feel as if you're in an other town.
19:00 - From Notting Hill, take the underground to Waterloo station and walk towards the Thames. You'll encounter a huge modern and vastly discussed landmark: The London Eye. I suggest you do the ride that lasts roughly 30 minutes, relax and enjoy the view of London in all it's splendor.
19.30 - Every taste can be satisfied in London, there is literally a restaurant for every taste imaginable in every post code. The ethnic diversity in London is truly reflected in the food on offer. But I warmly suggest to visit a traditional English pub food. Borough and the area of London Bridge have lot to offer in terms of restaurants and pubs. In this way you'll be also able to digest your dinner by going down the Queen's Walk, starting from London Bridge and ending at Tower Bridge. A breathtaking view during nightime.
22.00 - I recomend to go to sleep early. But if you're in the mood to live the nightlife in London try exploring Covent Garden or visit a club like Cirqu do Soir or the China White in the Area of Oxford Street. You won't be disappointed.
Morning - After a good breakfast you can choose wether to visit the South Bank Galleries that include the Saatchi Collection and the Dali Universe or visit is the Tate Modern Gallery. An other option is to visit They include the exceptional British Museum for artefacts from around the world. Another option is to visit one of the other famous museums in London such as like the Natural History Museum for nature buffs, or for more hands on and the chance to get back to being a kid again is the Science Museum.
Afternoon - I decided to visit my grandmother and my Aunty in the countryside. But you can enjoy The Tower of London. It can be visited in a few hours, including viewing the Crown jewels and weaponry. The Tower has been a fortified palace, prison and now a museum. Once ended the tour you can head back to Oxford Street to browse a couple of more stores if you didn't have enought time the first day.
As for the evening...well you do remember that you have a flight to catch right? You better start going!
One of the best perks of living in the fashion capital is having at your disposal a distinguished variety of luxury location that are opened as a refuge for your body and spirit. Placed in the centre of Milan, in a harmonious atmosphere that fosters the quest for balance, the Bulgari Hotel Milan Spa offers all the rituals of contemporary wellness in a sumptuous and elegant setting.
Rays of light filter through the glass walls and illuminate the pure gold tiles of the pool. The hammam, with its glass walls and benches in Afyon stone, evokes the image of a mysterious emerald set into a jewel of rare beauty. Five private rooms are outfitted for personalized treatments.
The finest Bulgari products are incorporated into every treatment, making your experience even more unique and exlusive.
For further information visit: http://www.bulgarihotels.com/.