SUMMER MELANCHOLIA

Hello! How are you? I never thought I would be absent from the blog for all August, but between work and finally the summer holidays, time just flew.
In these days I’m just trying to recollect emotions, images, faces, scents of the places we visit in the last two weeks in Thailand.
I’m trying to put into words all the sensations, the emotions that this trip has given to me, and I’m realizing that it’s a difficult task.
Because Asia has a special charm. It bewitches and enchants you, with its own strenghts and its flaws. Asia has so much to teach every time you meet it: always new knowledges, new flavours to absorb. Asia is the land for discoverers “par excellence”, the country where to get lost and then find yourself.

20160819_155426

Even now, with enchanted eyes, I’ll tell you about “my” amazing Thailand, so stay tuned and get ready to leave with me! Cris

LONDON: A STROLL IN KENSINGTON & NOTTING HILL

Hello! In recent days we heard a lot about UK and its particular situation, after deciding to abandon UE. For me it’s still hard to imagine Great Britain no more part of Europe, but i can only assume that we’ll “absorb” what happened. Today more than ever I feel close to Londoners and I feel nostalgic about the beautiful City of London.

mappa londra
This post is about the trip of my last time in London, in January 2015, and today I’ll bring you in two well-known areas not to miss if it’s your first time in the City. Today we start our stroll from Brompton Road, to take a quick look at Harrods, Mecca of the shopping centers. I’m not that passionate about department store, so I didn’t head out on the long queue at the entrance, but if you love shopping sure this is your place.

20150104_114055

20150104_112424

From here you can venture into the heart of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, immediately west of the City of Westminster, real nerve center of modern London. The Borough of Kensington and Chelsea host several museum (like the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum), universities, embassies,  and lot of exclusive residential areas of the City. Continuing towards South Kensington, you could stop by the Royal Albert Hall, one of the most famous concert hall. The busy Kensigton Gore separate the Albert Hall from the Albert Memorial, another building in honor of  Albert Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria.

20150104_115740

20150104_120209
In 1851, the Great Exhibition (for which the Crystal Palace was built) was held in Hyde Park. The exhibition was a great success and led Prince Albert to propose the creation of a permanent series of facilities for the enlightenment of the public in the area, which came to be known as Albertopolis. The Hall was constructed mainly of red bricks, with terra cotta block decoration. The dome on top was made of wrought iron and finally glazed.

20150104_120135

Before proceeding, you should go back to the City of Westminster and pay a visit to Buckingham Palace, residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of UK. If you’re lucky enough you could be present for the daily ritual of the Changing of the Guard; take a look also at the waving flag on the rooftop: when the Union Jack is lifted, the Queen isn’t in the palace: if not, you’ll see the Royal Standard flag.
During XVI/XVII centuries, Buckingham Palace was only a rural area of the city of Westminster: purchased as hunting lodge, successively it was used for the silkworm farming with King James I’s patronage. In 1700, it becomes property of Duke of  Buckingham, from which it derives the name. He builded a first abode – Buckingham House – where nowadays lies the residence. The first king to come into possession of the House was George III in 1762. The arch of Triumph, (today Marble Arch) was the entrance of the Palace: at first it was where now there is the exterior facade, but it has been removed under Queen Victoria to make some room for the enlargement of the Palace. Queen Victoria was the first to live there together with her husband, Prince Albert, and the 9 sons starting from 1837. She added new rooms, among which the Ballroom, and a brand new wing. At the death of the husband, when the court entered  a perpetual mourning, the works stopped and haven’t been completed.

20150104_125750

20150104_125909

Returning in Kensington Borough, you sure will notice many residential sections – with beautiful pastel coloured houses -, of which Notting Hill is maybe the most famous; it “starts” from Notting Hill Gate, (also name of its Tube station) until Portobello Road, where takes place the characteristic market. The street took slowly its shape during XIX century, settled between the two big areas of Notting Hill and Paddington. Thanks to the rich middle class of the City, its shops and marketplaces rapidly flourished.

20150104_144800

Portobello Road especially owes its fame to the daily market which encourages a lot of tourists, in particular on Saturday, when also many antique dealers are taking part in it. The scenery is really cozy and familiar, thanks to the abundance of tiny shops and the Victorian architecture of the buildings.

20150104_151054

20150104_151414

20150104_153316b

to be continued..

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RECIPE: PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI BLOSSOMS

Hello! Finally a bit of time to write about yummy recipes!Rarely I can cook and post the recipe right away, so this is the dish of last Friday : I remake it twice just to participate to Fiesta Friday!This is the first time for me trying this combination of ingredients, and i totally love it, I saved the recipe for other times.

20160602_125023

INGREDIENTS (4 persons):

– 350/400 gr pasta (any kind)
– 18-20 zucchini blossoms
– 1 zucchini
– 1 carrot
– Tropea onion (some slices)
– 6-8 thin slices pancetta (or bacon)
– extra-virgin olive oil
– salt&pepper
– sweet paprika (optional)

PREPARATION:

20160602_123604

Start the preparation washing and cutting the vegetables: once you have washed the zucchini blossom, let them dry on paper towel; in the meanwhile, cut into small pieces the carrot and the zucchini.
At the same time, in a large frypan put some extra virgin-olive oil and the slices of Tropea onion, and let it warm up a bit (without overburning the onions); then put the carrot and the zucchini already chopped into the frypan; add salt, pepper and a sprinkle of sweet paprika if you like it, and let them cook for a while on low heat. In another small frypan, put the slices of pancetta and let them go till they become crunchy: then remove them from the stove and put the roasted slices on paper towel.

20160602_122546
20160602_122552
In the meanwhile, you can start cooking the pasta putting it in a capacious pot till boiling; now cut the zucchini blossom, previously drained, in slices and add them to the other vegetables.
When pasta is ready, transfer it in the frypan together with the vegetables, melting very well for a few minutes. As final touch, add the crispy pancetta/bacon (I crumbled it to distribute it better).

20160602_124827
20160602_125027

Buon Appetito!Cris

POSTCARDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD: ROME

I love Rome. I really never heard someone bringing back a negative memory about this beautiful city.

I’m always astonished by the magnificence of its monuments. So many centuries of history enclosed into few kilometres walk.

I’m always overwhelmed by the warmth of the people. Romans are open, cheerful, even a bit “caciaroni” (that means noisy), yes, and i love it.

Rome is romanticisme: walk on sunset following the Tevere River, take dinner in one of the tiny restaurants in Trastevere: is just the perfect way to end the day.

I love Rome from above: go up to the panoramic viewpoints on the Roman hills and enjoy beautiful views.

Rome is perfect just in the way “she” is, with its chaos, its imperfections, its contradictions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 ”How is it possible to say an unkind or irreverential word of Rome? The city of all time, and of all the world!”
  Nathaniel Hawthorne (American novelist, 1804-1864)

SALONE DEL MOBILE 2016

Hello!I’m so sorry for the absence during this last month, i couldn’t even read properly the other blogs I follow… phew! I was really busy with work, and had no time to report anything. During April, as usual, took place in Milan the “Salone del Mobile”, one of the biggest display of interior design, as you sure know. It’s always a funny experience, I love to have the chance to see on preview what will be “trendy” for the home one year later.

20160413_163524

20160413_163530

20160413_163631

This year the leading role was for the kitchens, with EuroCucina, that take place every two years. The real innovation for kitchens will be the games of simmetry/asimmetry between the elements, as well as the modularity: every company is moving in the direction of giving to the customers the possibility to “invent” their own kitchen, mixing two/three kitchen types where before was inconceivable. Another original idea is the chance of personalize cabinet doors with your own drawing/photography: doors are literaly “printed” just like a wall being covered by fancy wallpaper.

20160413_163013

20160413_140202
20160413_140358

Something new is evolving also for the bedroom: before there was a clear division between wooden and upholstered beds: nowadays, these two typologies are melted together, with wooden panels supporting the cloth-covered ones, creating really uncommon effects.

20160413_122606

20160413_122144

Seeing these beds I can’t help quoting Le Corbusier: “L’arte del decoratore consiste nel fare nelle case altrui quello che non si sognerebbe mai di fare nella propria.” (that is – The decorator’s art consists in doing in other people’s homes what he would never dream of doing in his own. -) Hilarious way to see an interior designer, isn’t it? See you at the next furniture exhibition!

Cris

CALIFORNIA OR … DENMARK?

United States are so big and variegated, you sure already know. Few years ago someone told us about Solvang, a small town in California, Santa Barbara County, really particular. Why? Because in this tiny pretty town you seem to be teleported in a Denmark village.

IMG_3825

Solvang means “sunny field” in danish. The city infact was founded in 1911 by a group of Danes who traveled west to establish a Danish colony far from the midwestern winters. The city is home to a number of bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark in California. The architecture of many of the façades and buildings reflects traditional Danish style. There is also a copy of the famous Little Mermaid statue from Copenaghen.

IMG_3839bb

IMG_3833

History tells us that, between 1850 and 1930, a considerable number of Danes left Denmark, which was suffering from poor economic prospects. According to some estimates, as many as one in ten Danes emigrated during this period, mostly to the United States. The most popular destinations for Danish settlers were States like Utah, Illinois, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

IMG_3842
IMG_3826

And now, let me tell you why you should visit it, maybe in a couple of hours, like we did. It’s true that it’s not a main attraction, but it’s funny to suddenly feel the sensation of not being in California anymore.
The architectures will surprise you: there are several windmills that have been converted into small businesses on many street corners. If you look carefully, there are storks perched above several buildings. Horse drawn carriages are a common sight in its streets. Businesses are linked close together and have wood trim on the facades, that are often in the form of a pattern, usually crisscrossed. This gives the city more character.

IMG_3823

If you want to taste something different, pastry shops and bakeries will be your main attraction: you’ll be pleased to find lots of Danish cookies and pastries to taste. If you love chocolate, you’ll find as well great shops: maybe a little pricey, but it’s normal for a touristic place, after all.

WEST COAST PARKS: GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

Have you ever been to West Coast? Did you ever made one of that famous exciting road trip across the neverending american desert roads? I can say: Yes, I did! And to me, this was a really special trip. And the first time i saw the vastness of Grand Canyon, I was simply… speechless. I just can’t describe the sensations of immensity and freedom that permeate you in front of such beautiful sight. After years, I look at the pictures I took back then, and  every time I’m still astonished. ‘Cause Nature always knows how to surprise us, with its suave majesty. Mother Nature makes ourselves well aware about how small we’re in this world. She always teaches us to be thankful for all the marvels that await us just around the corner.

6094312766_5ebbf77026_z

6134140992_56894592d6_z

6134183340_5451752501_z

6117260861_989c9c266b_z

“The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison – beyond description; absolutely unparalleled through-out the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”

Theodore Roosevelt

IMG_3235

CITIES OF THE WORLD: LUCERNE

Hello!Today we’re heading for Luzern: must say that it was the first time being there for me, even if this city it’s just few hours drive from Italy. It’ s a city in Central Switzerland, in the German-speaking portion of the country. Located in the canton Lucerne, is the most populous city in this area.

DSC01244

Due to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee), with sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists. One of the city’s famous landmarks is the Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke), a wooden bridge first erected in 1333 – the oldest covered bridge in Europe – although much of it had to be replaced after a fire on 18 August 1993, allegedly caused by a discarded cigarette. Part way across, the bridge runs by the octagonal Water Tower (Wasserturm), a fortification from the 13th century. Inside the bridge are a series of paintings from the 17th century depicting events from Lucerne’s history.

DSC01216

DSC01224

DSC01228

Since the city straddles the Reuss where it drains the lake, it has a number of bridges. Old Town Lucerne is located just north of the Reuss, and still has several fine half-timber structures with painted fronts.

DSC01238b

Infact the real charm of this city is a well-preserved medieval Altstadt (Old Town) and a reputation for making beautiful music: try imagine its streets with covered bridges, sunny plazas, candy-coloured houses and waterfront promenades: quite attractive, isn’t it?

DSC01251b

DSC01250

Finally, your attention will be surely caught by the twin needle towers of the Church of St. Leodegar, which was named after the city’s patron saint, sit on a small hill just above the lake front. Originally built in 735, the present structure was erected in 1633 in the late Renaissance style. However, the towers are surviving remnants of an earlier structure. The interior is richly decorated. The church is popularly called the Hofkirche.

DSC01198