• #SINEQUANON,  fantastic journeys

    SINE QUA NON: AMALFI COAST

    ONE: RAVELLO This will be a surprising no. 1 for most, as the usual day-trippers and ‘effective’ travel guides will skip it altogether. And that’s a good thing, because the crowds make it difficult enough to reach and enjoy in all its haughty splendour. Ravello is in fact not on the Amalfi Coast, but hanging uphill, just on top of Amalfi. It is spectacular, noble and expensive, and worth it. The narrow road leading to Ravello is cut in the rocky mountain like an initiation path and is called, quite evocatively, the Valley of the Dragon. Ravello is small, which adds to the feeling of exclusivity, especially off- season or…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: NORMANDIE

    MONT SAINT MICHEL The only possible number one. Although is closer and more intimately connected to Bretagne, it will be top-of-mind for any escape in Western France. I wrote more about “the wonder” here. THE ALABASTER COAST AND PAYS DE CAUX La Cote d’Albatre is the French counterpart of the famous white cliffs that are the picture-perfect signature of the English Channel coastline. It makes for a great roadtrip, with its towns and villages of quaint charm and the often striking beauty of the high falaises. Stop in Etretat, Yport, Fecamp, Veules-les-Roses, Dieppe. Etretat has the most beautiful cliffs, Fecamp is a jewel of a town where you cannot miss…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: ROME

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s not to visit in a day. Follow #vacanzeromane to see how endless and timeless Rome really is, but if you have but a weekend or a few days for the città eterna, this is what to absolutely do and the “grazie, però no”. ONE: THE SPANISH STEPS AND TRINITA DEI MONTI Piazza di Spagna is high on the must list, but what you are really looking for is the scalinata (the Spanish steps) in fiore, and the classic climb up to Trinita dei Monti. Take your time in the Piazza della Trinita dei Monti and then some more time to visit the…

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    SINE QUA NON: VENEZIA

    ONE: OFF-SEASON VENICE Off-season Venice: by all means, travel outside summer season or Carnival week (unless you have tickets to one of the official balls, then you simply have to throw it all in). Venice is so full of tourists that you can hardly call any time of the year “off season”, but I discovered that La Serenissima is only serene in winter, and maybe some blissful days in early spring or late autumn. Check this out for Venice in winter. The wind in the lagoon may be chilly at times, but you’ll discover a truer, more fascinating face of Venice. TWO: A ROOM WITH A VIEW A room with…

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    SINE QUA NON VERONA

    The city of Romeo and Juliet can become a love story, and not necessarily a tragic one.  Of all the things to love here, the house of Giulietta and the famed balcony are the least lovable, while the tons of heart and Cupid and flashy red souvenirs are maybe the only real tragedy  that happened to this place.  So forget about that story, and bear in mind that Shakespeare wrote two more Verona-related plays: Two Gentlemen of Verona and the wonderful Taming of the Shrew.  I very much  wanted to see the house where Katherina was tamed, but no reference to that, I’m afraid. There is still the house of…

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    SINE QUA NON: FIRENZE

    There are only 9 absolute musts, but thousands of other reasons to Florence ONE: The view from San Miniato al Monte Let everybody else stop at Piazzale Michelangelo for the view over the city. While a very good spot for the pics, it is basically an over-crowded parking. Go uphill, Via delle Porte Sante, to San Miniato al Monte. This is the church with the most beautiful view in the world. TWO: THE ROOFTOPS OF FLORENCE Flirence has a magical skyline to dream on to. The miraculous dome of the Duomo, the unmistakable tower of the Signoria, the tiled rooftops, the marbled facades and the Rennaissance palazzi  create an immersive…

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    SINE QUA NON: VALENCIA

    Last day in Valencia and here are the likely and unlikely musts in this gorgeous and happily (and thankfully) underrated city – besides paella and the old city center. ‪Random order, you really have to try them all 1. Bioparc – you can call it a zoo, but you’ll be grossly inaccurate. This is the most wonderful “zooimmersion” you’ve seen. The concept of immersing the visitor into the animals’ habitat – and not the other way round, the way a classical zoo does – is magically re-creating  Africa in Valencia downtown.

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    SINE QUA NON: TOSCANA

    Take two weeks for it. You will want it to last forever anyway. There are places you can fast forward, and there are places you can resist the temptations that come along the way. Toscana is not one of them. You have to take it in, breath it, live it, not just visit it. You have to have the time to: ONE: Rent a car and discover the countryside. Toscana has the most beautiful medieval castles and villages in the world, and the most wonderful country roads. If you don’t have the freedom to move between vineyards and take in the iconic cypress tree lined landscape, don’t even say you’ve…

  • #SINEQUANON,  fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP

    SINE QUA NON: ANDALUSIA

    She may appear to you as a mala mujer or a bruja (witch), and she will not be tamed. Andalusia will paint your fantasies hot, the color of those wretched blood-boiling impulses. ONE RONDA TWO STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR THREE CADIZ FOUR GRANADA FIVE SEVILLA AND CORDOBA SIX  LOCAL TRADITIONS: corrida, Andalusian horses, flamenco Andalucia is no place to go with a purpose or a timeframe. Don’t ever judge her: it is as intense as its flamenco rhythms and as savage as its corridas. It is also mute and dry at times, but at those times so are you. A world so simple and powerful with such a tremendous pull that is able…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys

    Vacanta in Portugalia sau Mai e timp pentru revelatii

    Soare. Vant. Plaje  salbatice, nesfarsite. Oceanul cel mai albastru, rocile nepamantene, hipnotice. Un inegalabil sentiment al libertatii. O revelatie categorica si iremediabila a lucrurilor esentiale. Portugalia devine repede o istorie personala. Nu va fi un concediu, va fi o vacanta. Nu va fi all inclusive cu trei mese, pat si plaja cu sezlong, ci va include tot ce nici macar nu iti dadeai seama ca iti lipseste.  Nu va fi doar o calatorie intr-un loc frumos, ci un voiaj uluitor de firesc inspre tine insuti. Si nu va fi descifrabil pentru amatorii de cinci stele la resort, pentru ca aici oceanul, soarele, stancile si vantul au darul sa te dezbrace…