• everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Opera itineraries for thehappyfew

    If you’re a classical music enthusiast or an opera lover, you must have been to the Covent Garden or Scala once or twice. But I discovered something that beats even the gilded interiors of Opera Garnier: the exterior. Dream big: ancient theatre with view of the volcano, a huge lake stage or a musical terrace where you can see the sun rising 315 m over the sea. Set in breathtaking outdoor locations, here are my favorite concert halls: Teatro Greco di Taormina Classical music but also rock concerts are taking place in the ancient theatre of Taormina, Sicily. A large crack in the original arena wall offers a magnificent view…

  • fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP,  Uncategorized

    Mont Saint Michel, legend of tides

                Is it a castle or an island? Is that the desert or the sea? Is it Bretagne or Normandie? Each day, this castle becomes an island, then the sea withdraws to leave treacherous sands behind. Meanwhile, a whimsical little river draws the border between the two realms, making Mont St. Michel part of Normandy. The mountain has always been a place of awe; beautiful and inaccessible, it caused many to perish at the mercy of tides. And as it happens with so many places of awe and beauty, it has always been a site of worship. In the early days of Christianity, monks were…

  • fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Peniche

    One more stop he said. We were chasing daring lighthouses, pure beaches and wild coastline, as usual. It had been a very hot day in August, the kind of day that makes everything quiet and brings out the light in everything, white houses and white sands surrounded by a shimmering halo, people scarce and wrinkled by sun and dry winds. Coming down from Nazare along the coast, we had taken a scourging trip inland to see Fatima and Batalha, and were heading to Obidos for the night. Tired with heat and long drive, I was looking forward to the cool walls, green ivy and refreshing chatter of the Obidos fortress at night.…

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    RONDA

    Andalusia is one of thehappyfew’ s favorite realms, a true kingdom of Moorish adventures, of wonderful and often dramatic findings and hot temper. It is a country and a culture in itself, and its thrills are downright endless. And still, if I was to pick one place on the map, for a one-time escape, I would pick Ronda.

  • THE TREASURE MAP

    Portugal: beaches for thehappyfew

    The treasure map for thehappyfew discovering the coastline Costa de Prata (between Porto and Lisbon): from Porto / Vila Nova de Gaia – Dunas Sao Jacinto – Nazare – Obidos – Baleal – Peniche, Praia da Mexilhoeira – Foz do Sizandro – Sao Juliao – Magoito,  to Aguda, Adraga and down to Guincho. Infinite white beaches for surfers and lovers of the immense blue, and secret coves that are hard to find and even harder to leave. Algarve: mainly the Lagos – Sagres  – Cabo Sao Vicente area.  Probably the most beautiful beaches in the world, an incredible scenery created by the famous red rocks that take fantastic shapes and hide…

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Outside Valencia: PENISCOLA

    Who was first? The Knights Templar or the dragons? The must escape is yet to come, and, as any proper magic, it should last three days. You simply must go to Peniscola. Take Costa del Azahar north from Valencia towards Barcelona on either the highway or the national road, if you want to make some stops along the way.

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Got locations: Meereen

    Game of Thrones lovers, don’t just sit and watch in awe: follow the sneakers and go to Meereen. The sneakers walked with Tyrion and Missandei and Varys and lingered on the streets haunted by the Harpies – so can you. The dragons are still there, remember? Season’s 6 Meereen was filmed in Peniscola, Spain, and this is one of our favorite escapes to wonderland 🙂

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Istanbul survival guide: some snobbish advice

    Some snobbish warnings and some tips: Thehappyfew may often find Istanbul noisy, chaotic and insalubrious. The permanent feeling of being in a cheap, overcrowded bazaar will become quite a nuisance if you don’t have a backup. In Istanbul the backup is an oasis of comfort and peace, namely a very good place to stay and a few getaways far from the madding crowd. Choose a good hotel and don’t even think of looking for accommodation in Taksim or Istiklal The main hotspots in the old city are see-and-flee; there is no reason to linger (or find hotel, God forbid) in Sultanahmet, Topkapi, Grand Bazaar, Suleymanyie, Sirkeci, Eminonu. Some restaurants are…

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Supernatural

      Rich, old and full of charm. Toscana is where legends are at a standstill. Time is slow, it simply flows right into history. The most perfect landscape rolls into the richest vineyards and the noblest cities of art in the whole wide world. Honestly now: if you were a supernatural being, where would you live? Father of Chianti Classico, reveal your presence! Ricasoli is the oldest winery in Italy. Winemakers since 1141 when the family acquired the magnificent Brolio Castle and the surrounding vineyards, the Ricasolis had the nose and the palate for creating good wines.  Talent and erudition run in the family, culminating with the one and only…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Val d’Orcia and the ideal city

    One fine day, the Architect looked out of the window to see the future; he saw a utopian landscape of pale green fields and pure skies, rolling into forever. Then he took a brush and four colors and started painting: pale yellowish green for the fields, dark green for the cypresses, blue azzuro for the skies and warm brown for the roads and the farms. You think I’m being rather corny, poetic with a touch of mysticism. I can be all that, but today I’m merely factual. The Val d’Orcia, another world favorite of the happy few, is a region of perfect landscape south of Siena, included in the UNESCO…