Camogli, Liguria

Camogli  is situated in the north-west Italian region of Liguria, between Genoa and Portofino. It is a fishing settlement rather than a beach resort.

Camogli  is only a short drive from Pisa. I arrived in Camogli  by car with a friend of mine, and I definitely was able to relate to the ‘hidden’ part. I parked at the top of the town and explored on foot. There is limited access to vehicles in the town itself. As I  descended from the car park towards the town Camogli was really  pleasant ,  the seafront area was lovely. I fall in love with  the harbour and the seafront, attractively surrounded by tall pastel-painted  houses . There were lots of cafes and shops all around that diverted my attention!

The origins of Camogli  date back to the prehistory. Around the year one thousand, when the village was property of Milan Diocese, Camogli  started to be known as a maritime hamlet, keeping this characteristic over the centuries, under the dominion of the Republic of Genoa

In 1797 Camogli  was included by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Tigullio Gulf Department, with Rapallo as county town. After the Battle of Abukir, where the French fleet was totally destroyed, the Camogli  ship owners began to pour money into new merchant ships, receiving many requests by the main European governments.  In 1856 the Camogli fleet counted on about 580 ships which were all booked in the local “Mutual Maritime Insurance”. In that period this company was the only one of that kind in Europe and Camogli one of the most powerful marine cities.  At the end of 19th century, with the rising of steamboat sailing, Camogli main activities turned into fishing and tourism.

Camogli is a a true hidden gem of Liguria.  The little colored houses face the sea and the sun shines on them. I enjoyed the Camogli’s picturesque setting. It was simply stunning. I was amazed by the blue colour of the sea,the seafront is essentially divided into two parts: the eastern section with a beach and promenade, and the western part with a harbour. The beach is of stone and pebble rather than sand, and very popular in summer. From the beach area where you arrive you can stroll along the seafront promenade as far as the small Dragonara Castle. It  dates from the 15th century and now holds occasional exhibitions. Also on this headland is the other important historical monument in the town, the Basilica Santa Maria, which also overlooks the harbour. Originally dating from the 12th century, the basilica has been substantially modified over the centuries and now has an interior in the baroque style and a neo-classical facade.n the town behind the harbour, many of the houses in Camogli feature various decorative and Trompe l’Oeil effects – often painted seashells.

 

The best part of the day was my lunch at “La Piazzetta” offering a  unique views of coastline

You’ll find the most regional specialties here cooked to a very high standard including trofie al pesto, lasagna al forno con pesto, fresh calamari and many dishes involving anchovies. I had a grilled fish with potatos and the best White Wine in Liguria the so called “Pigato”. “Pigato” is one of Liguria’s most important grapes. Its wine is part of the denomination Riviera Ligure di Ponente, a DOC from western Liguria and the region’s biggest. This is one name you’ll want to keep an eye on when perusing the wine menu, if you’re lucky enough to find it. “Pigato” wines of Riviera Ligure di Ponente are, in their best form, aromatically complex, mineral, long-lived, and with a saline touch that comes from the nearby coastline.

All in all, Camogli, Italy is worth the visit. Here below an useful link about what to do  in Camogli for the would-be traveler:

Enjoy it!

Stefania

Valencia with my family

By far one of the most beautiful trip was the one in Valencia with my family. Valencia was a perfect place for our summer vacation and had a lot to offer ! Thanks to its dynamism and geographical location, the charming city of Valencia is the ideal destination  for all ages and tastes! Valencia has it all: beaches, parks, and great food. That’s pretty much everything you need to make your trip perfect, right? The best advice, I  can give you is: plan ahead!

In the vast country of Spain, Valencia is adorned to be the third largest city. It is one of the autonomous communities of Spain, being part of the “Comunidad Valenciana” which consists of three provinces namely: ValenciaAlicante and Castellón. It is a port city located in the east of Spain about three miles from the Turia River and is flowing directly to the Meditarranean Sea. Valencia is comprised both of natural landscapes and man-made architecture. Mostly, Valencia is composed of mountainous peaks, fertile valleys, terrains and marshlands. What gives Valencia a remarkable sense of beauty is: its Mediterranean climate, lot of palm trees, flowers and fauna everywhere in contrast with its  fountains, buildings and cobbled streets.  

Valencia is a large and sprawling city. So if you have a limited amount of time and would like to soak up some of the history of the city, it is best to book an accomodation in the old town like we did in Plaza del Ayuntamiento. This area is exciting , it’s not only full of nice restaurants, shops and pubs, but it’s also the home of important historical buildings we visited. Come with me! 

Top Buildings to visit in Valencia

Valencia is one of Spain’s most important cities and it boasts a long and interesting history. Its influences are taken from a variety of sources including the Moors, Christians and Romans. This is all reflected in the architecture and atmosphere of the city. The Golden Era of Valencia is said to be during the XIV and XV  centuries in Valencia. This was a time when the economy flourished due to agriculture and maritime trade. This meant that lots of emblematic buibuildings were constructed during this period:

Another period that is of significance to Valencia history is the creation and continuation of Modernism. This is an architectural style that was pioneered by the likes of Gaudi in the XX century. It can be distinguished by its use of organic forms (many influences are taken from nature) teamed with Art Nouveau styles. Valencia is one of the Spanish cities with a fair number of Modernist buildings. Buildings that are of note include: 

Last but not the least! 

In our list of planned things to do

  • “Bioparc”  Valencia: great ZOO that’s not too small or too big ;
  • the “Oceanographic”: Europe’s largest aquarium. More than 45.000 species from the sea: belugas, penguins, seals, and sharks live here; 
  • the” Malvarrosa”: it  is a typical family beach with numerous activities to choose from: playground, volleyball, showers, car park, shops, and restaurants;
  • the “Garrofera”: it is  a quiet beach- secluded with not many facilities – so don’t forget to pack juices and snacks!

 

Valencia, the Food & Wine lover’s paradise

There’s something for everyone in the Spanish city of Valencia. It’s   also a Food and Wine lover’s paradise: restaurants and bars fill the city’s streets and the markets are a destination in themselves. You can find all the  tipical dishes in “El Mercado Central”. It is located in the  Old Town, and i’ts the biggest market of fresh products in Europe,  where a lot of the city’s inhabitants buy their groceries. Relax and imagine to taste all these tasty specialities: 

It’s difficult to eat badly in Valencia, frankly. You could eat different dishes every day in Valencia . As well as rice, a fabulous range of vegetables is grown in the countryside around the city, so you get great local produce in restaurants. And being right on the Mediterranean, the fish and shellfish is really fresh too. My favourite local  restaurants are: 

This city is gorgeousIt’s warm and it’s beautiful and it’s interesting. It’s historical and filled with culture but also modern and filled with young creativity. I knew the city was in Spain and something about Valencia Oranges  And that’s it. Yep, that’s everything I knew about Valencia. If I knew what I know now I’m 100% sure I would have come sooner. Valencia is gorgeous! Valencia is my kind of city. It’s small enough to walk or cycle around but big enough that there’s a long list of things to see and do. There’s something photogenic at every turn. Sometimes it’s an incredible monument, a beautiful bridge, a spellbinding church, a colourful market, a delicious meal, cool street art or simply an old bloke drinking his coffee and looking so impossibly Spanish.I think one of the reasons I’m loving Valencia so much is because I hadn’t expected it to be sobeautiful. 

A special thanks to my Mam & my Dad for these unforgattable days ! 

Enjoy it! 

Stefania 

Alghero: a DiVine Trip

“…L’ Alguer de sempre se vanta
de ésser país català,
la ginqueta me vol recordar,
a mi ella me canta…”

 

There are places where I want to go without knowing why. Alghero, in Northen Sardinia, is one of these. 

It all starts out with an urge to be somewhere that I’m  not. I travel for several reasons, but even just a short vacation to the beach or an unfamiliar city can serve as a  kind of escape.  I often loosen up, allowing for  learning. I push myself forward in new cultures, try new things, get myself into uncomfortable situations, and find out the best part of me. It is easy to get high off the sense of anonymity that can be experienced while travelling. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a weekend  or a year long trip, if nobody knows me, I  often feel free to break out of my  shell.

I remember when I started planning my first trip to Alghero, which is only 40-minutes flight from Pisa on  Ryanair , I had no idea what I was doing! 

I wanted to get lost in Alghero, but at the same time, I didn’t want to miss the most beautiful things of this unique pearl of the “Coral Riviera”. I thought it might be impossible for me to arrange everything  by simply  following  my guidebook for two days! I had to try something different. I searched the Web for information about Alghero. I just needed someone special to hold my hand and show me the way.  That’s why my first choice was Valeria Crabuzza, Managing Director & Founder of  Alghero ConciergeValeria was the first person I turned to for tips and information about Alghero, and she was always prepared to offer help and understanding. Before my departure for Alghero, I contacted Valeria by mail and then by a phone call. Valeria provided me with outstanding concierge services creating my tailor-made holiday in Alghero. She provided me  with  free advice on accommodations, holiday activities, cultural events, archaeology sites and  other services.  Thanks to Valeria, I saved a great deal of time and effort researching and comparing on the net. I simply told Valeria my  preferences and I packed my bags!  Valeria was my Good Angel in Alghero , a paradise just a few steps from home! Valeria made me fall in Love with Alghero . Now I long to return to this enchanting place!

1st Day, Tuesday , 12th June 2018

I landed in Alghero’s Fertilia Airport on the 12th June 2018.  There were only 6 kilometers from Fertilia Airport to the city centre, a short trip of less than 15 minutes drive. The airport is  well connected with the major Italian and European airports with low cost flights the whole year round. If you don’t want to drive or if you don’t want to rent a car, the city has an excellent transport service to and from the airport. 

It was lunchtime and I reached Alghero’s Old Town  where I met Valeria at Alghero Concierge, her  Holiday Counsultancy and Tourist Services Office in the heart of the city. Valeria was my “Welcome to Alghero” , the best a traveller can wish.  Valeria was charming-a true Mediterranean Beauty. The gentle nature of her soul, was reflected in her love for Life and for the History and Tradition of her beautiful Island.  After my arrival in Alghero at midday and my interview with Valeria, I was excited to  uncover and bring to light  what she reserved . It was incredible, and  Valeria did an incredible job to ensure a perfect vacation in Alghero which covered all my requests. First of all it was very easy for me to visit all the best parts of Alghero , because Valeria booked a nice room  for me in  the b&b “Benebenniu” in Via Carlo Alberto,70,  the carrer major of the medieval town: it was a Bed & Breakfast nestled in the heart of Alghero’s Old Town.  It was in a very  central location  in Alghero among its cobblestoned streets (no heels, but comfortable shoes!), few steps away from the picturesque Sea-Front Promenade, the Bastioni and the Towers. Bus station, harbour, city beach, all the best bars and restaurants were all in the immediate proximity.  After having unpacked my bags, I walked around Alghero’s main streets, having all its Beauty around me , just in the area where I stayed.  I took terrific photos of all that drew my attention and sensitivity . I explored each corner  of Alghero , in any direction from the bottom towards the top and the from left to right! I went on strolling till the afternoon, when Valeria picked me up by car , leading me out of Alghero toward a breathless itinerary : from Punta Negra, Bombarde, Lazzaretto, Cala Dragunara to the final and gorgeous destination of  the Protected Area of  Capo Caccia. I enjoyed the awesome scenery and admired the spectacular landscapes of the -North-Western tip of Sardinia. I was enough lucky  to watch the sun dipping down in the blu sea among its impressive cliffs and to hear the seagulls crying out . As soon as I ridiscovered Nature in all its glory,  Valeria remembered it  was time to go away!  On the road back to Alghero, while I was thinking about that dreamy holiday,  Valeria explained the value and the importance of those places and the story of her life!  

Valeria was born her in Alghero  where she spent the first nineteen Years of Her Life before travelling abroad to work in Hospitality.

Initial economic hardships during her childhood didn’t stop Valeria cheerful and strong  temperament, but strengthened her character and  her spirit of adaptabilty. Valeria reflected on  those hard days with a smile, because they made her grow. Valeria has got a brother, Francesco, and a sister Claudia , who eventually became a very well-known Italia songwriter. Claudia Crabuzza won the prestigious Music Award  “Targa Luigi Tenco 2016” (Minority Languages Category) for Best Album in “Algherese” Dialect . She  worked  as author and interpreter with many famous national artists such as the most popular Sardinian ethno-rock band Tazenda, Pippo Pollina, Mirco Menna, Il Parto delle Nuvole Pesanti, and others . Valeria graduated from the professional hotel school of Alghero and started working in the field of tourism in Italy, Switzerland, Egypt and on  Canouan Island (Eastern Caribbean). She was inevitably drawn back to her native land . Valeria  wished to combine her experience, her local knowledge and love of Sardinia, her passion and her positive attitude to best welcome and assist anyone coming to visit Alghero and the north-west coast of Sardinia. On her personal note: she is married and had two wonderful children. The love story with her Egyptian husband  Ehab Rashwan , a pro-active hospitality professional with over 25 years in the hospitality industry , is another incredible and long chapter of her life ! I hope you will have the chance  to listen to it , when you are her guest! 

That one hour drove to Alghero with listening to all  Valeria‘ s tales  astounded me, because it seemed so familiar. 

The  sunset was unforgettable . The artificial lights of the lamps adorning Alghero transformed this noble city in an elegant living room. The closed shops were making the way for the night-loving people. I felt the infinity poetry which emanated from this peaceful and ordered city, but at a certain moment all that enchantment was suspended by my rumbling tummy that looked forward to the dinner time. Soon after  Valeria and me seated  comfortably on a terrace of   the casual “La Botteghina” restaurant . She said it was the right place for tasting local fresh Food &  Wine and it was true!   A friend of Valeria, Carlo Deffenu, a very polite person did the honours. He was a lovely worker there and an Italian writer as well, who proposed a vast range of pleasures! I had typical Sardinian Food & Wine:  a sparkilng  “Vermentino” called “Sessantaquattro” paired with a mussels soutè,  “fregola “ (it’s a type of semolina-based pasta) with seafood,  and “culurgiones” (pasta filled with boiled potatoes, extra olive oil, pecorino cheese, garlic and  mint ) with tomatos sauce and parmisan, best new dish I ever had in the last period! The night was flowing slowly while Valeria was entertaining me with all her knowledge  about Alghero . I was totally immersed in all those stories: a journey in the past of  Alghero, and an understanding of its present, a multifaceted world of an island within  the island that is trying to grow and to improve despite the cumbersome Italian Political system and the closed-shop mentality of the major part of its  inhabitants. By the way, I realized  that Alghero  is considered one of the most charming towns of Sardinia. Ryainair flies  at least here twice a day. Take this as an opportunity to explore some of the amazing Art the city has to offer. Alghero is the perfect blend of History, Gorgeous Beaches, lovely Food & Wine, Traditions and so much more. The town provides excellent hospitality for a constant flow of tourists, with a range of entertainments, facilities and nightlife that is ideal for young and old alike. 

Alghero was inhabited since prehistoric times, and  was founded by the Genoese in the 11th century. For many years, it was controlled by the dynasty of the Doria family, despite a brief period of Pisan domination in 1283 and 1284. Many different conquerors launched assaults on Alghero  until the Catalans expelled everyone in 1372 and created a home away from home. From then on, the town came to be known as “Barceloneta”, or “Little Barcelona”, and maintains its Catalan identity to this day. Control of Alghero passed to the House of Savoy in 1720 and this marked the start of a long period of steady decline. This continued right up until the Fascist Era which resulted in heavy damage to the town during Italy’s participation in WWII. The removal, from the surrounding countryside, of malaria in the 1950s and the growth in package holidays during the 1960s saw the start of a transformation in the fortunes of Alghero. A large number of hotels and restaurants have been built on the investment in the town and development has spread northwards alongside the city’s sandy beach. Today, tourism has not completely overtaken Alghero and the town still retains its distinctive Catalan identity with the local fishing industry an important contributor to the local economy. 

2nd Day, Wednesday , 13th June 2018

It was late in the night. I opened the window of my room that overlooked one of the main square of Alghero

There was nobody outside, but few tables scattered among cafes and restaurants and a  silhouette of a  bell tower that raised above the rooftops of houses and churches. My thoughts wandered and I couldn’t sleep for the excitement of what it happened, but I was tired and I fall asleep. The following day I woke up late in the morning, and the weather was awful.  I thought it was  perfect to visit Wineries in Alghero.  I sat down at my table for eating something.  I took a look  in blogs and travel forums about  all the Top Wines. In the meanwhile ,  Valeria and her friend Katya attended my breakfast with  a  homemade lemon cake, hot coffee and orange juice. Katya is another fabulous character of this Sardinian Novel. At first sight Katya, so pretty with big green eyes, seemed to be an easy going person. Actually, Katya is a  romantic bohemian, a very deep fellow, a strong worker with the soul of an artist  in sewing technique. She said she was from Pesaro, Marche. She met Valeria on the Caribbean Resort 20 years ago. Since that time they were not only colleagues , but above all close friends. After having travelled a lot,  with a long stay in Peru, that changed her mind placing greater emphasis on the “being” and not on  “having” in this life, Katya wanted to help Valeria in her aim to create something unforgettable in Alghero, with the intent of promoting this area in Italy and abroad. What a marvelous and spiritual conversation! Katya withdrew, bidding me farewell, and saying I was in  a good service with Valeria about my trip in Alghero. Of course she was right! I glanced at the clock on my phone and a last great moment awaited me to complete my journey: visit the best Wineries in Alghero. The weather promised to get worse, far more than I could expect! Never before had I seen so much rain in summer . Before my  appointment with Valeria and with the divine nectar of Sardinia in the early afternoon , I had little time to visit the old churches of the historic core, that provided sufficient protection against rain and wind: “San Francesco Church”, the Alghero’s  Cathedral, and the  “San Michele Church”. The churches were unadorned, the simple churches of a simple  fishing village. I liked these types of churches- built solely as a religious sanctuary for the towns people with no more boisterous intent. Alghero’s Old Town was large enough to be interesting and small enough to tackle in a day of exploring. Walking around Alghero, I didn’t feel like I was in Italy, but in a foreign land with such an atmosphere you had to live. Colorful facades, an almost derelict elegance , all complete with beautiful sea views from any given angle.

It was lunchtime and to my surprise,  Valeria came to take me to a luxury Hotel called “Carlos V” in Alghero to attend a Wine Tasting organized by  “Tenute Delogu “ .  

The  terrace of  the 5 stars Hotel  “Carlos V was magnificent , it  afforded panoramic views that encompassed everything from the Capo Caccia promontory (which has a silhouette resembling a sleeping giant) to the costal road that conceals the town of Bosa. The grey of the sky made visible exceptional views that resembled a Monet canvas,  with a mix of rough and soft colours and sparse and evanescent  brushstrokes. That landscape inebriated my senses just like the Top Wines  did in the tasting room. A  light seafood buffet accompanied the Wine Tasting that included the best labels of the  “Delogu Winery”: “Die”, “Ide”, “Geo”, “Ego”, “Cagnulari”, and  “Chelos”.“Tenute Delogu “ extends across approximately 60 hectares, encasing a modern Winery, vineyards, a prestigious Wine Resort and dining options. Amongst palm and olive trees, the vineyards are immersed in Sardinia’s Mediterranean scrub. This is where the “Tenute Delogu “ arises and from where its Wines derive.  I had the honour of knowing personally the owner of the “Tenute Delogu “ Mr Pietro Delogu. Pietro was present at that event to increase potential with his own customers . He was busy to give interviews to the Japanese press about his Wine production, then he was able to spend a little time  with us. We had lunch in that exclusive hotel and talked about that pleasant moment relaxing over glasses of his bubbles. After a while  Valeria had to go away to  collect her children from the residential home and Pietro invited me to spend a couple of hours at his estate “Tenute Delogu “ . We arrived there after an hour’s drive under that heavy rain! Pietro was very proud of all he did in his life, and this was the feeling I perceived during our conversation before to reach his estate.  Finally we arrived at his  “Tenute Delogu “, and we  had no guided  visit from outside due to the standing rain.  We took  refuge in the estate’s restaurant , where he  made me feel at home. That place was lovely and the grey overcast made us long for drinking good Wines! At the very moment when Pietro was describing last lable of his Wine collection, foreign clients entered the reception despite it being closed. As an Islander and a business man, Pietro opened the door . I helped him with attending to them. He regarded my attitude  as polite, but I explained it was a pleasure for me.  It was also  a way to thank him for his dedicating time to me.  We ended our time in the barrique cellar of his Winery , where I finished my friendly interview writing down as much as I could. Pietro’ s passion and love for his job and land emerged from his words.  Pietro wants to pursuit his dream to get better and better.  If only one day the Italian government , in Sardinia as in the rest of the nation, could provide financial and legislative  support for the development of enterprise policies. Pietro and Valeria are strongly attached to their  native land but open minded by nature . I hope their courageous choice to invest all the necessary efforts in ensuring the implementation of their projects and ideas   will find support in a fair and  effective  policy  at local and national level, as soon as possible.  His was the sort of honesty  speech that does one good and it was lightened with a glass of Canonau . Valeria returned to take me back in Alghero. So, I said goodbye to Pietro, a smart and multi-faced man. I knew that this was not a farewell. 

Sardinia is an island that strikes its visitors with natural contrasts, the lights and colors of a region that boasts old traditions and a wild and pure nature.  Sardinia is a land full of archaic Wine Traditions.  Sardinia offers fascinating Wines, it merits to be considered as one of Italy´s most unique wine regions.  There are international varieties and  indigenous grapes, such as Bovale, CagnulariMonicaCarignano, and others. All this  makes it worth to go for a Wine-Discovery tour as I did  at “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” .

“Tenuta Sella & Mosca” was a nice place to visit, they offered a free tour in their estate and I liked it a lot despite the rain. “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” was  founded in 1899 and it is the second largest contiguous vineyard in Italy and one of the largest wineries in Europe – it is a 1,600-acre property with more than 1,200 acres of Wines. From vibrant whites to nuanced reds, “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” has a Wine for every mood and meal. My favourite one is Torbato: a grape originally from Spain with only about 200 acres left in the world. Torbato produces refreshing, pale-straw wine marked by white flowers and hints of sea minerals. The sparkling version is a must as an aperitif but there are also still versions–ranging from gentle, mid-low body to richer, creamier versions. All are definitely worth trying with light fish appetizers, oysters, and clam spaghetti! 

 

For my last night in Alghero , I spend long hours meditating the goods things in Life with Valeria, then after a drink  and an appetizer in a bar , I went to bed .

When the alarm clock rang at 5 o’clock in the morning, I realized I had to leave Alghero. Before to get the airport, I relaxed at the harbor edge while I was investigating  the best picture angles for my  last photos. As I sat on the bench gazing at the rocky faced hills across the harbor, a local fisherman jumped down from his boat and strolled past. His nutty brown skin indicated a life on the sea, his complete lack of self  consciousness as he sang aloud. I lapsed into a fantasy of a  simple  village life. Give me a week here, and I’m quite sure I’d sing along!

I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s safe to say this city far , exceeded my expectations. 

Ti amo Alghero.

Enjoy it !

Stefania

Thanks to the  travel writer Paula Cullison for her precious help

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanià, Crete

I know Greece as that ‘postcard perfect’ destination where all travellers dream to go to at least once in their life. 

But there’s quite a lot more to it. Greece is actually at the intersection of Europe, Asia and Africa. While it is popular for its stunning beaches and shorelines, it is important to note that Greece is 80% mountainous and semi – mountainous, so there’s much more to see in this country than just beaches and clear blue water. I was in the charming city of Chanià for a weekend in May 2018 , which boasts a unique charm to its visitors.  It is beautiful – that is to say much of the Chanià you will want to see is clustered close to the harbour – old buildings, museums, churches and crafts shops (some with genuinely interesting and sometimes local, products on offer).  Chanià is also surrounded by numerous rich options for sightseeing, exploration and discovery . The atmosphere has a touch of Florence and Venice (a few years ago when those cities still had some room to walk), combined with the culture and character of Cretan people and traditions . Chanià is  known to be the multicultural place in Crete as the Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Venetians, Ottomans and a whole lot more came here and left their own piece of culture behind. 

Chanià, can be reached by air as it has an international airport. The airport is situated northeast of the city,there’s one small and simple terminal. The distance from Chania Airport to the centre of Chanià is 15 kilometres

There are two transfer options to get from Chanià airport to its city centre: taxi or bus. The bus –Chania Airport transportation-is the cheapest but slowest transfer option. It costs only 2.50€ for a one way ticket, but it takes 90 minutes, including waiting time. Taking a Crete airport taxi will only take 25 minutes, but costs a flat rate fee of 30€. It’s easy to fall in love with Chanià. This Cretan harbour town has a lot going for it: small local shops, waterside restaurants and lots of little alleys to get lost in. The best part is the historical old town as most of the sights are located there.

Not convinced? Here are a few things to do in Chanià:

  • Visit the Maritime Museum of Crete: the Nautical Museum of Crete exhibits just about anything related to life at sea from the bronze age until the present. The collection includes ship models, nautical instruments and photographs, among other things. It’s housed in the Firkas Fortress, on the opposite end of the harbour from the Venetian Lighthouse;
  • Go shopping at the market hall:  if you’d like to try out some more typical Cretan food, head to the Market Hall. Here you’ll find olives, meat and typical Cretan pastries like ‘kalitsounia’, a salty or sweet cheese pie;
  • Visit Tabakaria a district with old leather processing houses found on the rocky eastern side of the city of Chania; 
  • Visit the Greek Orthodox Cathedral: the Greek Orthodox Cathedral at Plateia Mitropoleos was built on the same spot where a Venetian church used to be. When the Ottoman Turks invaded Chanià,, they’d turned that churched into a soap factory. Nothing was saved, except for one statue of the Virgin Mary. It may have been karma or not, but the factory went out of business. When it did, the owner decided to give the building back to the city of Chanià, and a new church was built, holding the Mary statue from the original church. The Cathedral is also known as the Panagia Trimartiri because it has three aisles, one dedicated to the Virgin Mary, one to Saint Nicholas and one to the Three Cappadocian Fathers; 
  • Walk along the Venetian Harbour: the Venetian Harbour was built by the Venetians between 1320 and 1356. It doesn’t serve as a port for the large ships anymore now, you will find only fishing boats, yachts and sailing boats. There are many restaurants and cafes around the harbour where you can sit and enjoy the breathtaking sunset; 
  • For beautiful photos: it’s best to walk to the other end of the harbour, from where you have a great view of the Venetian Lighthouse;
  • What to buy: for local food products like cheese, honey, olives and olive oil (Crete is famous for its olive oil) you can pay a visit to the market hall. From the numerous shops around the alleys, you can buy traditional local products like pottery, Raki (traditional alcoholic drink), leather goods and knives (many shops can engrave whatever you want in your traditional Cretan knife) and any kind. of souvenir.
  • Where to eat in Chanià
    • Arismari Cretan Creative: best greek breakast I have ever had in front of a deep blu sea with cofee, orange juice, fresh bread and local honey and marmelade! You will find it at Akti Kountourioti 55
    • Tamam :  nice restaurant squeezed in an alley behind the Venetian port serving traditional food from Micra Asia and Crete. You will find it at Zampeliou 49
    • Enetikon Restaurant: beautiful atmosphere and above all excellent grilled octopus with Whan ite Greek Wine, at  57 Zampeliou Str
  • Where to sleep: there are different kind of accomodation in Chanià, the easisest way to find the best one that fits your need is to book on booking.com. There are lots of nice hotels in the Old Town, that is the best area where to stay because you have all around

Greece has a way of capturing my heart! 

Enjoy it ! 

Stefania

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

 

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”― Plato

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

I love French Cheeses and Wines and thanks to them I started a love affair with Paris  !  had dreamed of taking this trip foa long time:  for seeing Paris before I die and for changing my mind about "the snobbish French"  who look down on anybody! I do not  know If that  happened. I need to come back and to spend more than 5 days there ! That's why I realized I have never been to Paris yet!

Paris, 7th Arrondissement: 1st  Day

Last Easter I visited my lovely friend Debby who worked in a delicious restaurant near Notre Dame de Paris called "Il Ristorante di Como".  I landed in Beauvais–Tillé Airport . After 30 minutes by bus I reached my hotel in Rue Daguerre, where I stayed only for a night, because my friend's new apartment, where she had to move the same day I arrived,  wasn't ready to be used. I will remember  my  glass of Poully Fumé (purely Sauvignon Blancforever, my favourite  French White Wine , paired with oysters, but I will forget my stay in that accomodation for its stuffy smell and a shared shower I never reserved it at all ! So average prices in  Paris is not, however, a guarantee of quality! I was sure of being able to recover myself the following day with my friend.

Paris, 7th Arrondissement: 2nd  Day 

My first morning in Paris was nicely framed with a dark coffee , an unforgettable butter croissant and my thought fixed in meeting my friend Debby and relaxing myself  in her flat in the 7th arrondisement late in the evning after my visit at Louvre!

Debby's flat was so messy -previous homeowner's fault-that I kissed my appartament's ground as I was back home! My reward was not only my time with my friends, but Paris as well.  I can’t tell you if Paris , this magic city by the Seine, was hot or cold that day while I was walking towards the desidered goal.  I can’t tell you if it rained. All I know is that I loved it! It made an impression on me. I was thoroughly taken with the big, gothic churches, the wide, tree-lined boulevards, the museums, parks, and brasseries. Definitely, I had the right quantity of energy  for  the Louvre, my favorite museums of all time.  The Louvre Palace  is a former Royal Palace located on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. Originally a fortress built in the medieval period, it became a royal palace in the 14th century under Charles V  and was used from time to time by the kings of France as their main Paris residence. Its present structure has evolved in stages since the 16th century. In 1793 part of the Louvre became a public museum with an exhibition of 537 works of art. Its collection steadily grew throughout the 18th and 19th century, but ultimately slowed during the World Wars. Luckily, much of the art in the museum was moved and protected during the wars and most of the truly important pieces were saved. In early 1945, after the Liberation of France, the works were moved back to the museum. There are eight categories of art in the Louvre; Egyptian Antiquities, New Eastern Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, and Prints and Drawings. The museum is spread out over 60,600 square meters.  I knew the 7 hours I planned to spend there wasn’t going to be nearly enough. But I never thought I’d walk away after seeing something for 7  hours feeling like I saw nothing!  The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world with thousands of square feet of space and millions of exhibits. It houses pieces from classical times to the 19th century. Even with  maps, I got lost wandering the hallways. The museum is just too big!  There are nearly 400,000 objects in the museum, separated into eight different categories that include 35,000 works of Art.

My art interests laid in three places and some must-see works :

There were such  astonishingly beautiful things to see, but just walking the full length of all the galleries, without stopping to look, took me  the best part of the rest of the day!

 

Paris, 7th Arrondissement: 3rd Day, 4th and 5th days

Top 6 things to do in Paris in my last 3 days : 

  • Eiffel Tower : this is without doubt the most iconic landmark in Paris (if not France!), and a visit here is a must for any visit to Paris. There are a number of ways to enjoy Eiffel Tower. First, you can just enjoy the views of the tower, which we think are particularly good from the Trocadero Gardens across the river, or the Champ de Mars gardens behind the Eiffel Tower. You can also go up inside the Eiffel Tower to one of the different floors, for expansive views of the city.
  • Notre Dame:  it is the major Catholic Cathedral in a Seine river cruise. Construction of this magnificent building took nearly two hundred years, and was completed in 1345. Entry to  Notre Dame is free, although you do have to go through security, and lines are sometimes long.
  • Arc de Triomphe: it's a key place of major national eventsWanted by Napoleon in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in 1836 by French king, Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. The Unknown Soldier was buried at the base of the arch in 1921. The flame of remembrance is rekindled every day at 18:30.
  • Montmartre: it is  one of the prettiest parts of Paris, built on a hill on the northern-most extremity of the city,Montmartre stands out from the rest of the capital, visible from afar and topped by the Sacré Cœur basilica. Its winding maze of sloping, cobbled streets and steep staircases give it its own distinct atmosphere and, at nearly every turn, reveal stunning panoramic views of the rest of Paris and lovely expanses of sky.
  • Musée d'Orsay : before you get here, you’re going to take a walk along Paris’s iconic left bank, from Notre Dame to the Musée d'Orsay. This isn’t too far, but you’ll see the booksellers and get a feel for this part of town.
  • Cafè de Flore:  is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris celebrated for its famous clientele, which in the past included high-profile writers and philosophers.
  • Night cruise on the river Seine: Treat yourself to an unforgettable night in Paris with a Seine River Cruise.

This was a great choice! I  think that was  the perfect amount of things not to miss giving me the chance to see many of the top sights and attractions of Paris and really got a feel for the city. Of course, if you have longer, that’s even better, but 5  days is certainly enough to see a lot!

Enjoy it! 

Stefania