My winter holidays (the only ones I can have actually) have been amazing. I visited so many beautiful countries I had only dreamed of going like in Myanmar and the Philippines. With my friends we had an amazing time exploring incredible places doing unforgettable experiences. Every great trip deserves a proper conclusion and since the beginning I knew that we would have split up and I reached Bali my magic place.
It was my third time there and everything was pretty easy thanking also to the suggestions from my Italian friend living there. I had eleven days in Bali and I decided to spend them all in Canggu just to relax and surf, as usual. The entire trip has been absolutely beautiful but pretty demanding, especially in Myanmar. Bali my magic place was the perfect spot were to end my journey doing exactly what I love more, surfing, sleeping, eating amazing healthy food, talk with smart and interesting people.
As soon as I arrived I slept a lot since I was incredibly tired from the flight Bohol-Manila-Bali. It brought me on the Island of Gods around midnight and the day after has begun an unexpected busy but pleasant holiday! I surfed in the morning and in the afternoon I met my friend Arianna that invited me to a boxe lesson at the Dreamsea Surf Camp where I met other people. Well, in a couple of days I had a lot of amazing friends of different nationalities. I knew them mainly at the Dojo, a beautiful co-working space where sometimes I spent my time too to work on my pictures.
Canggu is the place that I’ll love forever. The place where I’m always sure to go back if one day after #covid I’ll be able to reach Bali again. This is where everyone should go with someone special to share unforgettable emotions and experiences. Well, way better than Paris (my favorite city ever) but with completely different magical vibes. I'm looking forward to be there again in the "special" way..who knows.
I found my peace in Bali my magic place that too many people don’t respect enough. The thing that probably annoyed me more is the fact that among many that are there working hard being grateful every single day to have the chance to be there as digital nomads, there're too many wrong things. After three year I realized that the Island and Canggu in particular are ruined by aggressive tourism and hipsters, influencers or vloggers wannabe. A big bunch of people that have no clue about how lucky they are and that are there just to have the chance to say they have been in Bali. People begging for free stuff in exchange of the ridiculous visibility they can offer on their pathetic social media. I'm sure that Bali would be a way better place without them.
This is an island that can fully heal you through its magic. I found joy, sadness, a lot of great surf, beautiful people and amazing friends. Too much to talk me out of coming back to live my best life far away from problems and bad thoughts.
I saw sunsets from many different places around the world but Bali always offered me the most powerful ones. I loved sunsets at Pererenan beach, Echo beach, Batu Bolong beach, Seseh beach, Balangan, Uluwatu temple. I saw sunsets in Bali when I was happy, nostalgic, melancholy, sad, relaxed, while surfing (the best moment ever), alone or with friends. Every sunset was amazingly different, magic and emotional. The most important feeling was the sense of belonging to one of the most magical places ever that won’t never leave me.
Don't forget to surf in the sunset. The most fulfilling and magical experience you can try if you love the ocean, the Island of Gods and its amazing vibes. So learn how to surf, try at least, it’s difficult, it’s hard but when you catch the first wave it’ll be priceless and unforgettable. Do it because life is fuckin short and it’s not worth to miss any moment especially a memorable one.
This year I was more cheerful than the previous after a great trip around south east Asia. I enjoyed a lot hanging around with new friends and being busy. Don't forget to rent a scooter to be completely free to enjoy your stay going everywhere you want.
I was feeling home again, I didn’t want lo leave and when I had to, I was so fuckin sad. Not to mention the fact that as soon as I arrived in Italy I went straight to quarantine and lockdown. I spent the first 10 days home regretting not having stayed in Bali. I could have had the chance to do something good rather than to stay two months inside my apartment. But then the situation changed and my timing was actually perfect. Anyway I haven't given up the idea to meet my friends again all together as soon as possible. They are among my best memories, because knowing new beautiful people is always the best part of a trip.
After few quiet days in Bohol we decided to look for even more relax on another island. The trip and the first hours were terrible because of the heavy rain but as soon as the sun came out I went for a walk. I immediately recognized Siquijor as a paradise.
The accommodation was at Cliff Garden, an amazing small complex with 2 double small houses and the 8 beds cottage where we met a lot of nice french people! Yes we wanted to feel young again and it was simply perfect for that specific context. A tiny village on a cliff with a beautiful view for stunning sunsets. Amazing kind staff and relax 24/7.
all pictured by Riccardo Tosetto Ph
The first night we had no scooter and no near place to eat, really bad combo. Since I was the one with no stomachache I took a walk looking for a shampoo and some food.
It was noisy and trafficked due to a religious celebration but I found a small typical shop along the road and I asked also for something to eat or where to find it. The eyes of the lady lighted up and she brought me into a private house where an extended Filipino family welcomed me and offered me to eat a giant roasted pork with them! I enjoyed my time a lot chatting with incredibly kind and welcoming people. Later couple of guys brought me with them in the center and they also gave me some nice suggestions to enjoy the following days.
Waking up has never been so sweet and the feeling of Siquijor as a paradise couldn't have been clearer. Amazing sunrise, the sound of the waves on the cliff, the great relaxing playlist the girls of the staff were use to play, breakfast on the the terrace after snorkeling. A dream.
After all these beautiful things and a bit of reading, nothing's better than jumping on a scooter to ride discovering the island. Remember to rent a scooter (about 6€ a day) because it's the best option to be free to explore around reaching every place avoiding to bargain all the time for a tuc tuc ride. We tried to make a plan but we ended up literally riding all around the island, stopping pretty often because every place is a beautiful postcard.
There are many falls in Siquijor but we decided to go to the Lagaan ones thanking of the suggestions of the guys I met the night before at the celebration (both tour guides). I have to say that the place was pretty nice and we had also a lot of fun!
The place is relaxing and the "tour guides" extremely kind and available, a pretty beautiful break among the multiples rides around.
Our rides brought us on beautiful white and often secret beaches like Paliton Beach in San Juan. Quiet place with locals, music and drinks. But also the secret Compass Beach in Maria. Be careful because there's a pretty steep staircase to reach it. Places to simply enjoy the moment. Reading a book, drinking a beer or coconut water, obviously tan and clearly snorkel if you like to do it. Here you'll learn to love it.
Siquijor as a paradise has also a lot of nature to offer, and you'll find it everywhere just looking around and exploring while reaching random places on the map. We drove through the island right in the middle climbing with the scooter. We reached places offering a great views but we also found local villages and life.
The title suggests to think about Siquijor as a paradise twice. Why twice? Because if you love basketball you'll be gape. Ok, all the Philippines are pretty famous because of their incredible love about this sport, but on this small island there's an incredible number of basketball playgrounds. They are literally everywhere, among houses, next to every school and church, along the road, over the hills even on meadows.
Here Christianity is a huge thing, Filipinos are really religious people but basketball is definitely a second faith. I've never seen someone playing basketball so badly in my life, but with the biggest dedication possible. That's real passion. To persist in something trying to improve as more as possible, day by day, because you simply love it.
Philippines are an amazing beautiful country of south east Asia. Definitely not that developed, way less than Indonesia for example but pretty expensive considering what they offer. I noticed that prices in general are about (bit less) the double compared to Bali and without a real reason. Philippines were subjected to the American influence till the end of the WWII and it's visible in some aspects of their culture. Food, names, religion, music, language. They have been pretty westernized, so basically they learned how to make money and with mass tourism even more.
You are requested to pay pretty much to do everything, everywhere. Pay to park the scooter, often to enter a beach, to snorkel on a beach, pay a tour guide that does or say anything, to receive an nonexistent service at the restaurant. There's nothing bad in making money, don't misunderstand me, but there's no quality in return of the money you pay. Clearly they are perfectly aware about the beauty surrounding them and they know that people love it and love their smiles and kindness. So they perfectly also know that everybody will pay what they ask.
Speaking about this, bring a lot of cash. We went crazy looking for an ATM that accepted one of our cards. To exchange money is longer than a custom check in China, and definitely not convenient. Hostels and restaurants rarely accept cards (almost never), and if you need cash sometimes the only chance are the blue/yellow ATM that you find also in Venice. Well they apply crazy fees and clone your cards, like happened to us.
The stay in Siquijor was supposed to last four days but we felt at home and we decided to stay few days more. Getting used to the routine took about five minutes and there I felt sincerely happy and relaxed. Away from thoughts, problems, issues, Italy, corona virus and everything else. At he Cliff Garden we found basically home and meet nice new nice people. The last sunset was as beautiful as it was heartbreaking.
Fortunately we enjoyed the last night with beautiful people and two amazing girls of the Cliff Garden staff among Filipino people at Czar's Place. The morning after I was about to cry because actually I would have stayed there forever but fortunately another amazing last place was waiting for me.
Here we are, after the more than pleasant layover in Kuala Lumpur, finally in the Philippines, Bohol, relax time among its beauties. After a night in Cebu, the day after we took a boat to reach Bohol first and Panglao after. At the harbor we had our super kind friend Allen (@boholisawesome) waiting for us.
Despite of the rain he immediately took us for a ride to check some spots that we wouldn't have never be able to find without him. The same happened the following days. Our place was in Panglao, the small beautiful island connected to Bohol, close to Alona Beach. Nice area full of restaurants, bars, night life and a crowded but beautiful beach where we enjoyed our time a lot just eating, sleeping, lying on the beach! It was simply time to relax.
In the Philippines, Bohol obviously I would say that it's mandatory to to snorkel. Even if you have never done before, just do it, you'll simply love it. Next step will be to become a diver because underwater the world is beautiful. Allen brought us to Napaling , in particular at the Molave Cliff Diving Resort (check the link for more specs), on an cliff with a stair bringing to the water.
Well, unfortunately his GoPro had some issues and I don't have pictures to show, but it was amazing, simply. The reef is beautiful and there are a lot of different fishes. You can stay hours in the water exploring and swimming with schools of sardines that surround you all the time. Don't miss the chance and go!
We took also a boat trip with Allen and his amazing family and it was a great chance to enjoy the beautiful nature of this country, its crystal clear water, its beaches and its fauna. Obviously we snorkeled and enjoy the beautiful environment and after we had a delicious homemade filipino lunch by Allen's mum.
pictures by Allen Trottier (@boholisawesome)
Then we took a particularly nice walk together on the Virgin Island. The sun was burning as hell but is was absolutely worth it to enjoy that unique place.
Philippines, Bohol, relax time but also one of my favorite places that Allen showed us was, Loboc River. We went there to enjoy a tour on a paddle board along the river and its nature. The Fox and the Firefly cottages was organizing this service and upstairs there's also an amazing restaurant were we had breakfast before. It was a great experience, I'm so happy about that! I had never paddled before and doing it there was particularly beautiful and relaxing. Paddle, water, palms, nature and a swim in the river..what else?!
I enjoyed the time in Bohol so much and I'll always be grateful to Allen. Without him it wouldn't have been the same for sure! Exploring places with a local is always the real plus to every trip, what allows you to save time, money and get the best from your travel experience!
So remember to check my tours and come to visit Venice with me to enjoy the best of my city with me and live it like a local, a real Venetian!
But first Siquijor!
This time we learned the lesson, we booked a nice night bus by ourself and we reached Yangon. After a short rest we reached the airport for the second part of the trip. Around midnight we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Remember that the fixed price to reach the city with a taxi is 60MYR (12€). Don't take the train, faster but way more expensive! In fact after the train we have been forced to take a taxi to the hotel. Arriving I forgot about everything else and looking up I realized that I was finally going to enjoy KL and its architecture.
After an amazing breakfast at the Concorde hotel we started to explore the city. It was my first time in KL and I wanted to stop there before going to the Philippines. I'm super happy about my decision because the city gave me a new energy that Burma drained completely.
It's clear that it's not a regular city in south east Asia. It's modern, functional, extremely clean. Like a friend said, it's a midway between Bangkok and Singapore.
After an amazing breakfast at the Concorde hotel we started to explore the city. As I said it's super clean, ordered and organized, not everywhere obviously. A multicultural city with three communities. Founded by the Chinese, that were representing the biggest part of the population till few years ago. The biggest community nowadays, the Malaysian one and the one represented by Indians. Kuala Lumpur means "muddy confluence" because it has been build as a village in the beginning on the confluence of the two rivers Gombak and Kelang.
Now it's a modern cosmopolitan metropolis, evolving continuously, among the jungle. Obviously there's also the battered a shabbiness of the huge cities in this part of the world. Sad public buildings, electrical cables everywhere, bad condos. So there's the old typical KL with its markets and the ultramodern one.
Finally, after a long walk we arrived where I enjoyed KL and its architecture at its best. The Petronas Twin Towers. I've always dreamed to see them in real life. I've always been amazed by architecture in general but those tower fascinated me since I was a kid. First watching "Entrapment", then when Sepang became the new circuit of Formula 1 and Moto gp races.
The Petronas Twin Towers are impressive. I have never seen the Twin Towers in NYC unfortunately, but even after my trip in NY, couple of months before, I've to say that they are better than any other building, speaking about skyscrapers.
Inside there are offices and a huge mall, but most of all a lot of air-conditioning. The most useful thing to enjoy a long wait. Before to reach a friend we also took a walk around KLCC Park. Then we had a drink in the most underrated place in the area, the Traders hotel. As I always say, there's nothing better than to explore a place with a local! It changes your stay, entirely!
The bar with the pool on the top was unexpectedly empty and quiet. Perfect chance to talk, relax and taking pictures of the Twin Towers with the beautiful sunset lights!
Then our friend Ong brought us at Lot 10, an amazing place where to enjoy Chinese/Malaysian street food. A huge variety of choices of amazing food. It would have been impossible to find it by ourself. Then our other friend Saran took us for a nice night walk though the authentic city and gave us some nice tips! It's amazing meeting great people around the world!
If you are in KL Batu Caves are a must do in the city. Take a Grab (extremely cheap here) and enjoy the famous colored staircase. I have to admit that I thought it was way more steep than I experienced. The climb was super fast and easy but the perk was not as good as I imagined. I mean I thought it was less touristy but anyway nice and worth it. Anyway once there there's a nice view and the funniest animal ever, a lot of monkeys. I could stay hours staring at them.
Once back I took a walk around to discover a bit more about Kuala Lumpur. I didn't have precise stop or aim, just a random walk wandering around. Getting a bit lost you always have the best chance to find some nice spot or interesting glimpse of urban life.
Then it was absolutely necessary to take advantage of the amazing and cheap hotel we have been able to find and chilling at the pool with a great Petronas view. The best way to forget for a while about our flight back to Italy cancelled due to the Covid_19.
The last night we met our amazing Japanese friend Natzukioro after meeting in Tokyo a month earlier. I saw more often her than most of my friends in Venice in the last four months! Then I wanted absolutely to take some pictures of the Petronas Towers. Since I decided to travel with a super light luggage I didn't have a tripod but my Canon EOS R and my steady arm helped me a lot. Even with high ISO the result was great to me. Finally I had the picture of my favorite architecture ever.
In the morning, learning from our mistakes, we booked a Grab for the really long way to the airport. I spent just couple of days here but I've been positively impressed by this city. KL and its architecture are what I've always dreamt to see, but I loved the city in general. Its life, the energy, many different people, cultures and food. I am sure I will come back here sooner or later. However now it's time for Philippines.
After we changed our plans deciding to skip Hsipaw we made another big mistake, we trusted in the staff of the reception and we booked a van that should have brought us from the hotel in Mandalay to the new one. We were definitely looking forward for a beautiful Inle break before a different Asia. Well the van cost 8,5€ and we stayed on board almost 7 hours. We stopped several times because the driver needed also to deliver packages. The road was crazy while climbing the mountain and 3 burmese ladies vomited all the time due to that situation. But ok, no bid deal, we were just thinking about our new accommodation dreaming about a nice rest.
Once we arrived about 20km far from the new place the driver stopped and left us on the side of a big road, telling us that he was going to the city center not to ur resort and consequently we should have taken a taxi. Coincidentally along that road there were 5 taxi drivers (all his friends) asking us if by chance we needed a ride.
After paying 30€ for a 15 minutes taxi ride (twice as much as the 7 hours trip) we finally arrived at the Inle Resort & Spa and we spent the 4 more relaxing days in a paradise for a super convenient price. The better spent money of the whole trip! The place is huge and immerse between trees and palms. There’s an amazing silence and simply beautiful quiet atmosphere, here you can do nothing but relax. Above all the place is on the lake and the best thing to do is to lay on a bench chair and enjoy the sunset on the dock on the lake. I just wanna cry thinking about that.
Once there I thought that I wouldn’t have used my camera at all but the spot is too pretty and I didn't resist, so I took some pictures with my Canon EOS R and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and thanking to that I was able to achieve pretty nice pictures even without a tripod since that camera has a great noise management at high ISO.
We spent our days between the swimming pool, the restaurant and the pier on the lake simply enjoying the sweet doing nothing, recharging batteries after the previous days that we spent mostly on transportations.
We decided also to take a bicycle ride to the city center to explore a bit but it was an exception! A lucky one anyway because since we stopped for a massage we found also an organized boat tour of the lake the day after. Certainly the best chance to discover the beauties of Inle Lake!
Early in the morning of the third day we had the pick up and we were just 3 people on the boat. The trip is noisy but relaxing and along the way there are beautiful landscaped and scenarios with the local’s daily life
Along the way we stopped several time to appreciate local markets and amazing locals handcrafted activities, first of all we enjoyed the silver manufacturing
another stop was dedicated to the textile manufacturing of the precious silk extracted from the lotus flower
furthermore we appreciated the ability of those ladies at the loom,
and finally we saw the tobacco manufacturing, also the flavored one
We also stopped to see some pagodas and local life around them. Even more the trip on the way back gave us the chance to appreciate beautiful glimpses of Inle's life on the lake. That one was a thing that I liked a lot considering the amazing scenarios with houses on the water and the quiet around.
Finally, back at the resort we used the time simple being lazy to continue the beautiful Inle break . We also to book the night bus back to Yangon. I took some time to enjoy the last sunset in one of the best places I’ve been during the trip. I seriously was almost going to cry thinking about leaving the day after. I seriously had a beautiful Inle break before a different Asia
The last day we enjoyed every second after the check out. We stayed at the pool simple waiting to leave and reach the bus on our road to Yangon. This time bit more afraid (without a real reason actually, just bit psychotic) about corona virus, to enjoy the turning point of the trip.
How can't you be skeptical about a 12 hours trip on a bus in Myanmar? Well we had the most comfortable experience on a bus ever, for real. Not many seats but large, extendible, with blankets and snacks. In a moment outside the sun was rising waking us up and still dazed we catch a taxi (on't even try with Grab here, it doesn't exist) the ridden us to the archeological area. We stopped to pay the entrance to the area (about 16€/25k Kyatt for 5 days), inn beautiful Bagan, looking for magic!. We had the coldest ride ever since the windows of the van were nonexistent or broken.
After the check-in and breakfast we needed to find some cash because in Myanmar in most of the places, even in very nice hotels, they accept just cash, and the atm was the only solution but with big commissions. We found a super kind man renting electric scooters (3,5€ per day) along the road and we finally started our adventures in Bagan. Scooters that are definitely not fast but eco friendly and in a archeological park like that it's actually a great idea.
The first thing to do is to download the app maps.me and the Bagan map that first of all is pretty accurate with many pagodas and temples indicated and also many nice view points. We tried to make a day plan starting from the Swezigon Pagoda and then going down but it's useless.
The best thing to do in Bagan is to wander around discovering always new sites among the more 4000 pagodas and temples. Some spots are hidden and adventorous to find, others are more touristy. Around a big pagoda there's always a sort of market with locals selling souvenirs and local products. Sometimes they are pretty insistent, but bargaining a bit you can find really good deals.
Wandering around we bumped into many amazing hidden spots, with nobody around, peaceful areas where it’s also nice to stop. There you can relax, read, meditate if you prefer. It’s possible to enter in every pagoda and temple but, like everywhere in Myanmar, you need to take the shoes off, so remember to bring disinfectant tissues to clean your feet every time.
Once in beautiful Bagan looking for magic, sunset is a great moment on maps.me there are many places to check but most of them are well known and touristy. So we checked few till we find a quite one with less people, the others are almost immediately crowded and reached by busses with a lot of tourists. In our case Chinese ones because we were there during the Chinese New Year, so it was basically impossible to take nice pictures.
The day after we decided to check other sunset spots. We spent most of the time on the Bagan Viewing Tower because in the morning at the ticket office they reassured us about the fact that there wouldn’t have been chinese people since it was the NYE for them. Well, there were just chinese. A huge crowd of people screaming and I didn’t move all the time. It has been pretty hard to find a spot offering a good chance for pictures, personally I elbowed in a lot!
You can’t go to Bagan without waking up early to enjoy the sunrise. Anyway it’s about being lucky because the lights are not aways amazing as expected. In our case in fact the sunrise was nothing special. The sky was not colored as I hoped and it was bit foggy and misty, that could be fascinating but not spectacular.
maps.me gives also spots to enjoy it, plus pagodas to climb, but it’s forbidden even if there’re locals bringing tourists to climb some hidden ones to raise a bit of money. If you find a good spot anyway you can appreciate the spectacular view of all the pagodas that creates the best background for the hot hair balloons flying over Bagan. In case someone’s interested they cost 300€ per person!
Both days have been long and exhausting because there are no roads among the temples. Just trails and a lot of dust going inside your eyes, your nose, your mouth..everywhere. So remember to bring a mask and sunglasses otherwise it starts to be seriously annoying. During the day is always hot but towards the sunset the temperature starts to drop significantly so bring a light jacket with you.
As anticipated, bring a lot of cash with you to avoid high commission at the atm. Furthermore they don't accept all the credit cards, we had an hard time there! The country in general is still developing (their PIL is increasing 8% a year) but for many aspects they are not ready yet to host mass tourism properly. Not many people speak an understandable english, not even in big structures.
Bagan is definitely not a party town and it’s definitely better to enjoy the peace offered by the context, also to recover energies for the next days riding around. On the road from New Bagan to Old Bagan there are many places where to stop to eat and drink something. The first area is the one with a bit of life, some bars and restaurants, but New Bagan is perfect to have a drink or a quick dinner before to go at the hotel to rest.
I was wondering about this place a lot months before to start my trip and Bagan is a real highlight. Stunning and fascinating, became part of UNESCO World Heritage list just in 2019 because the SPDC was restoring the monuments without using the original techniques and not using proper materials. Furthermore the locals are incredibly kind and welcoming, the atmosphere is magical and there’re amazing vibes wherever you go. Once in beautiful Bagan looking for some magic you realize that you are gifted for the simple fact that you are there. You feel that you need to be respectful toward everything’s surrounding you and those feeling won’t never leave you.
It’s time to move now, and with great expectations and an uncomfortable trip we reached Mandalay.
#bagan #myanmar #asia #pagoda #temple #scooter #electric #archeology #unesco #ostellobello #hotairballoon #sunset #sunrise #dollars #streetphotography #landscape #eosr #canonphotography
We left, happily speaking for myself, Bangkok to reach Yangon, city of The Pagoda in Myanmar. Once arrived it taken a while in order to have our visa (sticker on passport), remember to bring american dollars, it costs 50 and be sure that those dollars are recent and PERFECT otherwise they won't accept them. Not just at the airport but everywhere they ask you or you have the chance to pay with dollars, and in Myanmar happens often.
Once at the hotel we checked-in and took a walk around just to take a look and eat something. The first impression was that this is the less developed country I've visited even if it's among the ones developing faster, its Pil increases 8% a year. Anyway it has some characteristic areas but nothing "exotic" like we were expecting. Impression confirmed the day after during the morning walk during which we saw the center of the city the Independence Monument, a white obelisk in the center of Maha Bandula Park. Later we reached and walked through General Aung San Park before to stop for lunch there in a really cute hidden spot on the lake.
Then with a Grab we reached the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda. In the title I called Yangon city of "the" pagoda because after this one, among the zillion we saw, it was very very hard and difficult to find another one that could have been even just comparable to that.
Here is nice to have a tour guide that explains a bit of the history of the pagoda and some interesting curiosities. In Myanmar there's a strong belief in astrology. Mahabote divides the week in eight days (Wednesday, when Buddha was born is divided in two) and the eight corners of the Pagoda are represented by eight animals , eight planets and eight cardinal points. I was born on Sunday so mine was the garuda, Obama's was the guinea pig. The practice consists in pouring water on the symbol and on the Buddha's statue.
The tour ended toward the sunset, the best moment, remember about light in south east asia?! Then once free I walk around the beautiful pagoda and the chances for nice pictures where multiple speaking about people and architecture. Close to 6pm operators prepared several oil candles for the evening celebration with thousands votive candles and people started to turn on incense and to pray.
We had to leave to be able to reach on time the bus to reach the most spiritual place in Burma.
#myanmar #yangon #asia #pagoda #eosr #canonphotography #streetphotography #travelordie #travelphotography #trip #friends
Once in good shape again and ready to change idea about Bangkok south east Asia icon again. We started from visiting Wat Pho around 2pm. The place and the context are nice and the quantity of buddhas it's impressive, the architecture and its colors inside are beautiful but again the light was terrible. I wasn't really feeling to take pictures because nothing was seriously inspiring me. Moreover people inside were there just to walk directly to see the giant statue of Buddha to take the same pictures.
As anticipated, this year I left with a different mindset speaking about photography. I decided to take less pictures, focusing more about what was surrounding me. As I always thought anyway but this time with more dedication. I always preferred to enjoy first, to get involved with the context to understand what was really interesting me. What was seriously catalyzing my attention and that I would have been happy to edit in order to avoid to waste a lot of hours in front of the screen. Basically I was looking for more quality, for pictures that I would be happy to see and print. Well in Bangkok has been easy, because the research of beauty could be endless.
In this case my Canon EOS R helped me a lot, easy to carry even if the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 II USM is pretty heavy. I was also able to control the exposure quickly and directly from the EVF thanking to the control ring mount adapter. I'm still using the same SD card!
In that place, like in many others in Bangkok, I had the impression that it is an extremely touristy city. I felt there was no much authenticity unless you bumped into it.
After that we crossed the river (just 4 baths, 0,12€) to see the Wat Arun. Well known as the Sunrise Temple but way better during the sunset if smog is not so terrible. It closes early, about at 5:30/6pm and it was not allow to climb it. So we took a walk in the area behind the temple where we had a taste of the real city far from tourism.
Once back at the temple, it was nice with the lights on it and when we crossed the canal again we immediately regretted for not going there later than 2am. The light was amazing and the place had a totally different allure, from the outside at least.
So basically in this area of the world you should have the double of the time at your disposal to visit attraction just toward the sunset! The day after, in fact, we stayed at the hotel till 4pm to enjoy the swimming pool during the hottest moment of the day. We reached the Wat Saket temple, trusting in Google that says the temple closes at 5:30pm, not true, it closes at 7pm. The place is pretty nice and from the edge is possible to enjoy a beautiful sunset, but still, the pollution is crazy so there's a lot of haze compromising or making more fascinating the landscape, it's up to you!
If you want in 2 days you can see pretty much everything touristic relevant in Bangkok south east Asia icon again. Anyway take your time, don't rush and book a nice hotel with the pool. Prices are really really good and it's definitely worth it considering temperatures and air pollution.
For the last day we decided to escape from the city to breath some fresh air and and enjoy some peace visiting Ayutthaya...
#streetphotography #architecturelovers #urbanphotography #jungle #eosr #canonphotography #bangkok #thailand #asia #landscape #igersthailand #igersbangkok #igersbkk #bkk #watpho #watarun #watsaket #sunset
We arrived for a mandatory stop in Bangkok after 48 hours with no sleep due to the loudest flight of my life. The first stop in Shanghai, a day there and the second flight to destination. After 14 hours sleep (with a breakfast break) we recovered immediately from jet leg and we decided to take a walk around. The subway is brend new, super cheap but with just two lines. The other common way to go around Bkk is Grab, the risk is to be stucked in the traffic for a looooooong time.
Bangkok is hot and humid but most of all polluted, shamefully polluted, so bring a mask with carbon filters. The others are simply useless. The city is a real jungle, crowded, full of traffic and people everywhere, with a urban structure completely incomprehensible for europeans, but it's a personal opinion. There're no squares, but areas characterized by big shopping malls. They are used by many locals as meeting points, aggregation areas also for tourists curious to discover the consumer side of the city.
During the firsts walk from the early afternoon I learned that my camera would have been useless till 4pm. When the sun starts to go down the atmosphere gets better. On this side of the world, from 9am there's the worst light possible to take pictures. It's extremely strong, dazzling and annoying.
The next day we started to explore the city. Usually I'm always exited and fascinated about a new place or city that I visit but this time not too much. We decided to visit the Jim Thompson's house during the hottest hours, really nice stop to consider! Later we came back to the chaos and I took time to find interesting subjects, some modern architecture in particular like the King Power Mahanakhon. Bangkok is developing continuously and some new building are coming.
I needed more time to familiarize and get tuned with the context probably because I was also annoyed by the bad and strong smog. I have to admit that after a while I saw some nice glimpses. Actually with the right light Bangkok south east Asia icon, reveals itself as a pretty interesting place for urban photography with its lights and atmosphere.
Later we arrived in China Town and there things changed completely. The area, despite being a real mess, is definitely interesting and curious, an incredible place for street photography. Neons, banners, stands with several varieties of food, people everywhere, a crazy area.
We stayed away from street food, our stomach are not strong enough and the smell wasn't so good everywhere. I still don't understand this thing of a mandatory stop in Bangkok as a capital of street food. We chosen a place that was actually nice but...I spent the next 32 hours lying in my bed at the hotel walking just to the bathroom.
I'm pretty sure it wasn't the food (I was the only one sick) but probably the criminal air conditioning in the subway that blocked my digestion. Man A/C in Bkk is seriously crazy, don't try to be brave like me. Bring always something to cover you while inside there, taxis are well refrigerated as well, so be prepared!
While recovering we made a plan dedicating the next days to something topically touristic and something bit off the beaten track walking randomly. I'll tell you about this in the next chapter.
#streetphotography #architecturelovers #urbanphotography #jungle #eosr #canonphotography #bangkok #thailand #asia #landscape #igersthailand #igersbangkok #igersbkk #bkk
I decided to approach the day 3 rushing a bit to be able to see few thing without bothering nobody. After an amazing breakfast at home in Brooklyn I took the subway for a long trip. That day I decided to bring my Canon EOS R and just a lens, the 17-40 f/4 because I knew that I would have spent a lot of time in a place that defining amazing is still reductive! I was going to have a breathtaking photography experience
I had a specific plan that I have been able to follow thanking to the great app City Mapper that offers ALL the transportations and time schedules around the city, public and private ones. My aim was to take a look to the Grand Central Station and to continue. Since I was in the area, I enjoyed also the Public Library and I took a beautiful walk around taking advantage of the spectacular sun and blue sky of that day.
Then I moved to the Upper East Side to enjoy the view and the architecture, even if just from the outside. One of my favorite building ever, designed by the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. The one that I studied with more passion at the high school and at the University while studying art history. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Since I was there I couldn't give up to a walk in Central Park!
From there I went down to enter the Rockfeller Center to go up to the panoramic terrace which I booked 2 days before. Remember always to book, it's easier and faster. I spent a lot of time there, about 3 hours, but on purpose. When I went there the first time the Top of the Rock was fully booked because I arrived there just one hour before the sunset, the most popular time, but It was a good thing!
I booked online for the time slot before sunset, which is more expensive but I can understand why. I would suggest to book at least 2 hours before the sunset, you won't get bored. Inside there are many controls before and after the elevator that brings you up in just 43 seconds! As soon as you have the first view you can realize that you spent 40$ ticket in the best way possible and the breathtaking photography experience begins.
I turned around many times, changing different floors to capture different perspectives. From Downtown to Central Park with the new sky scrapers that lop over it
Then, minute after minute, I realized the chance that I had to take so many different pictures that I should have selected once at home. But the variety of different lights made the process way easier and not too boring. I mean...
Again, thanking to the Canon EOS R and the control ring mount adapter the capturing process has been extremely easy and fast. I have been able to do not too many shots and pretty much all of them characterized by the correct light. Moreover no need of stabilizer even when the light was going to disappear.
These pictures, the last one in particular, are the result of a patient process because the terrace started to be overcrowded. Making it super difficult to find a spot where to be able to be static and take the best pictures through the big glasses. Officially tripods are forbidden (even if someone had really small tripods, but with the crowd is really difficult to arrange it) and I didn't bring anything, not even the gorilla pod, and the pictures I took are all freehand.
I can easily consider the Top of the Rock the highlight of my trip speaking about attractions in general, a breathtaking photography experience. I know it's pretty touristy but it's truly breathtaking and I consider it the place that you can't miss if you are in NYC.
I was there on a Friday, which means free entrance at the MoMa, the longest line I have ever seen in my life but also the faster one. Clearly the experience is not the best possible considering how many people there were inside. Anyway it was good enough if the time that you have in the city forces you to make choices!
To complete the day being in that area there's no better choice for an hamburger than the Burger Joint. Small place hidden behind a red curtain inside a fancy hotel. There's always a long queue but not slow. The inside is pretty cozy and nice with many posters and items directly from the 80's/90's and the hamburgers are pretty good!
Stay tuned for the next chapters. In the meanwhile check my website looking for the best options to explore Venice with me during your next trip!
Here we are for the second day exploring around the most incredible city ever. This time from Greenwich Village first, then Harlem, going to Downtown to enjoy some of the unmissable attractions of NYC. Actually also something definitely not touristy but extremely important and famous for a niche of lovers of the game and I was able to take the pictures I've always dreamed of. I was lucky to be with Geneviève that was pretty patient with me, a local willing to bear my excursions to these strange places around her city where she has never been before!
I was obviously with my new Canon EOS R and my Canon 17-40mm, extremely useful during a long day walking around thanking to the lightness they offered. I won't never be tired to appreciate how easy was to take pictures with this combo plus the control ring mount adapter. All these components make you forget about the battery that doesn't last that long due to the EVF and new electronic components!
First stop was at West 4th Street Courts, one of the most popular playground in NYC. If you are not in a rush, just eight minute far there's Murray's Bagels where you can try the best bagel in town. After a good coffee you can happily reach the subway to Harlem.
I reached Harlem specifically to see Rucker Park, a sort of Mecca of street basketball. Named after Helcombe Rucker , a teacher that in 1950 started a basketball tournament to help less fortunate kids and to keep them away from the streets. Most players coming here in summer are well known just among the street basket world. But Rucker Park hosted also famous NBA players like Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant and the most venerated one around here, Julius Dr. J Erving
I have always loved basketball, since I was a kid, and as every kid I started to play on the streets and at the outdoor playground with my friends. All along the year with all the different weather conditions. Street basket is different, harder, intense, more real, less rules, more respect, it's something that you bring inside you forever. I discovered Rucker Park following my favorite basketball blog and FB page ever, La Giornata Tipo. Once in NYC I had to visit this place in the heart of Harlem, a sort of sanctuary for me, the only one possible actually. Here I had the chance to take the pictures I've always dreamed of.
The feelings were great and I'm so happy to have seen this place that for many people is just a playground, but to me was a sort of end of a long path. Not finished a finished one yet because next time I want to be there during a tournament to feel the real vibes that this game can give.
After the Rucker Park we moved down to walk a bit inside one of the most famous city parks in the world. Clearly my time was not enough to walk through all of it and the weather was not the perfect one for my purpose since it was freezing. Anyway I've been able to enjoy the atmosphere and the beautiful autumn colors that Central Park can offer! This one is another spot that I'll visit again for sure to see the spots recounted in my favorite book The Catcher in the Rye , the movies Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Batman Returns. Unfortunately here I didn't had the chance to take the Pictures I've always dreamed of.
Right on time we reached one of the places that I have always wanted to see since I was able to turn the tv on on the 80's:
If you can reach the Brooklyn bridge around the sunset time. If it's not crazy cold, early in the morning, that is probably even better because nobody's supposed to be there! The sunset time was perfect and magical tho. Be careful because there's the real risk to take too many pictures because the light is growing better minutes after minute.
Most of my picture here were great thanking to the Canon EOS R in particular. Even when it was getting darker the results were still coming, so I can say that I didn't miss the stabilizer at all. Since I started to take pictures in my life I had the stabilizer just on couple of lenses. I can say that in some conditions the IS can help a bit, but it can't change a picture, if it's ruined, it's ruined, no stabilizer can prevent it. Clearly if your goal are videos the story changes, in that case the IS is way helpful, anyway not my case.
The Brooklyn bridge offered several beautiful point of views and gorgeous landscapes and skylines. If you concentrate and focus a bit, into that incredible sunset there's also the Statue of Liberty. I saved it for the next trip. We walked so much that day and after crossing the bridge to Brooklyn I was super tired but I can say that it was definitely worth it!
In the next chapter other great views from my favorite place of the trip!
#nyc #midtown #tribeca #soho #chelsea #hudsonyards #highline #hellskitchen # #igersnyc #igersnewyork #nyprimeshot #cityscape #nyc_highlights #manhattan #streetphotography #urbanphotography#canon #canonphotography #eosr #nightphotography #ramen #1740f4 #brooklynbridge #sunset #greenwhich #ruckerpark #harlem #lagiornatatipo #basket #playground #streetbasket #nike #nikebasktball
NYC finally! It was my first time there and I was super curious to visit the most famous city in the world. Since I was a kid New York was THE place of multiple movie spots. The city where Michael Jordan offered the best performances of his career at the Madison Square Garden. The temple of modern architecture and a street photography paradise.
A city that I always wanted in my pictures, a street photography paradise. The place where I dreamt to be sooner or later in my life. To reach my aim I brought with me my new Canon EOS R , a Canon 17-40mm f/4 and a Canon 50mm f/1.2, the perfect combo talking about weight and performances. An amazing chance for me to catch huge buildings, street photography and enjoy the city.
I stayed there 5 full days, clearly not enough to see everything. You could easily spend more than a month there and there would be still something left for sure. Anyway enough to feel the vibes of an incredible city that has a lot to offer. As soon as I started to walk I have to say that I was less overwhelmed than I thought,. Probably because I saw it so many times on tv and books that it was exactly like I imagined! In few minutes anyway NYC unveiled itself as as the street Photography Paradise I was expecting!
I started my long walk from Midtown to Downtown messing completely with my original plans. So missing a few things, but I can say it was worth it. Despite of the cold, it was a beautiful sunny and clear day, with a lot of contrasts and the colors. They were simply amazing and offering me the perfect chance to try my Canon EOS R. I was a bit hesitant to pull out my camera, I was already late, I was freezing too. I looked around, I noticed many things and I stopped being a tourist. I immersed myself in the atmosphere appreciating the most quiet areas through Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Soho.
Walking in this street photography paradise, arriving to Lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center you can immediately recognize the Oculus designed by Santiago Calatrava. It identifies the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, representing a dove freed from the hands of a kid. This suggestive architecture is right under the Freedom Tower. The name changed in One Word Trade Center, from the original project of Daniel Libeskind.
The atmosphere changed once at Ground Zero, maybe it didn't change too much but I felt it was appropriate to approach that place respectfully. Obviously thinking a lot about what happened there but I realized that all in all everybody were relaxed and the spirit around was good. Looking at the place where once lopped the Twin Towers I felt the power in the air, inevitably.
In that jungle of skyscrapers the wide Canon 17-40mm was simply perfect to catch everything those architectures had to offer. It gave me the chance to create strong impact images. I have also been able to manage the exposure easily thanking to the control ring mount adapter, the best tool to pair to the Canon EOS R. The process is way easier and there's a reduce mistake margin, so less mistakes, less pictures to select, more space on the memory card.
After this loooooong walk, I went back first to take a must look to the house of "The Cosby Show" in Greenwich. Then the aim was to go up to The Top of the Rock..but it's another story...(next chapter!)..so since I was close by I decided to try the most famous banana pudding in the world at Magnolia Bakery according with the suggestions of my two favorite travelers ever Fedo and Emma. Well...huge experience
I took a walk around Midtown where the jungle of buildings offers views that I loved. About the Empire State Building in particular, my favorite architecture so far. While waiting for a friend, since I was close, I decided to take a look to the Mecca for every photographer, B&H. Man...if you are looking for something..well.. you are going to find it there! I was so overwhelmed about the huge variety of stuff they had inside that I forgot to buy the only thing I had in my mind. If NY is a street photography paradise, B&H is simply a photography paradise! I just didn't like the fact they had many cameras, I don't know if second hand, repaired, to be repaired, but with the sensor at the open hair. I forgot to ask why. You know I was busy and shocked wandering around!
I've been suggested to visit the Hudson Yards and a friend brought me there. I was pretty happy about it, the area is new and pretty nice with its symbol, the Vessel or Social Climber. Then we took a walk on the High Line, a park and footpath built on a disused raised railway. I would have really wanted to explore this place during the day but hey, NYC it's huge, too many things to see..next time for sure!
Here the combo Canon EOS R + 50mm f/1.2 was great, this camera gave a second life to this great old prime lens!
As an end of a long and freezing day I couldn't have hoped for a better place than Totto Ramen, great place in Hell's Kitchen where I tried one of the most amazing ramen ever. It's crowded probably everyday, since I was there on a Wednesday and I waited for more than 30 minutes, anyway don't miss it! I'm not going to talk about food on every chapter, just sometimes, but I particularly love ramen, I couldn't help it in this case!
Great first day in NYC. Just the beginning of an amazing trip discovering one of the most fascinating places in the world, more pictures are coming with more stories about them.
#nyc #midtown #tribeca #soho #chelsea #hudsonyards #highline #hellskitchen # #igersnyc #igersnewyork #nyprimeshot #cityscape #nyc_highlights #manhattan #streetphotography #urbanphotography #oculus #oneworldtradecenter #freedomtower #canon #canonphotography #eosr #canon50mm12 #nightphotography #ramen #1740f4 #bokeh #bokehkillers #littleitaly #chinatown #magnoliabackery #bananapudding #ramen #thecosbyshow
The big unbearable, annoying August crowd is basically gone. Temperature starts to be more pleasant, but the most important thing is that September and October are coming! The most amazing months of the year are going to give us the best lights ever to make Venice even more magical and enjoyable. The perfect chance for early birds Venice magic pictures. Why so exited because of two months that are also giving advance notice of the end of summer?
As you can imagine because of great chances for photo shootings and amazing portraits. Obviously there are moments like early mornings and late afternoons that are always good for shooting sessions in Venice... but man..those months are magical. At least for me because of my amazing memories and vibes about them. Before the awful foggy winter, during this golden period they offer unique things and chances fo the Venice magic pictures.
Sunrise is a great moment for a photo shooting. It's the real unique one to enjoy the beautiful moments that this city has to offer. I love it because it's possible to take pictures pretty much everywhere, there are no people, absolutely no crowd (that could be shocking in a positive way if you are used to walk around in the day). Especially in one of the most crowed places on the earth! Visiting the Square is never a good idea if you wanna really enjoy it, but sunrise changes everything, workers (not all) are still sleeping. Tourists are still recovering from the day before, so couple of hours are just for the romantics and the braves that want to fully enjoy the heart of Venice.
As I mentioned before the all city is beautiful and amazingly empty so it's just about to decide where to go. The results and purposes will be reached and respected. Speaking about this, another amazing spot where to enjoy a great photo shooting is Punta della Dogana. One of the most stunning places of the city despite of the light, but unbelievable with the right one!
So, yes a sunrise shooting session is possible even in St. Mark's Square and it's beautiful having (and shooting) portraits next to the greatest example of bizantine, gothic and islamic architecture example ever. The Doge's Palace is stunning thanks to the sunlight that passes through it and thanks to the calm before the city wakes up. The architecture, the perspective, the angles, the art all around with the sun rising behind offer the best blend ever to achieve beautiful results.
Especially if it's the first time ever in Venice, waking up for the sunrise is difficult, terrible, almost unbearable because, hey you're on holiday right? So why suffer to see just another place in the world? You can have your pictures in another moment, maybe another day. I can promise you that once there you will be happy of your choice. You won't fell sleepy anymore and your only thought will be focus on the wonder in front of your eyes and you'll be so happy to have the chance to create a book of your best memories in Venice after the portrait session with me.
Ok yes, you need to wait just for the second part of this article, but hey, don't waste your time in the meanwhile. The best moths are coming, check the link, contact me and let's create the magic together in one of the most amazing place in the world!
I know it's been a while but life sometimes if full of glitches that give you a lot of thoughts. People let you down, work overwhelm you an so on. But now here we go again, new website, new contents, new stories, new pictures and 10 amazing Canggu spots to enjoy food !
New memories too. Bali is far but not its memories, and now that many of you are probably going to be there for the summer holidays I'll be happy to share some suggestions to enjoy the local cuisine in Canggu, probably the best place where can stay!
I tried many places, and the list is a compromise between the fancy and the super traditional ones. The important thing to remember is that all the places that I'm going to mention are all characterized by healthy, fresh and tasty food. Incredibly cheap prices, from 25k and 110k Rp. (1,60€-7€) and of course by an amazingly kind and polite staff, always ready to give you a great smile changing your day or making it way better than it was!
I love surf so my favorite daily destination was Batu Bolong Beach and on Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong you can find some of the 10 amazing Canggu spots to enjoy food. So let's start!
On the left of Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong, in Jl. Canggu Padang Linjong there's probably the most the most popular place in Canggu. Crowded from 6am to 4pm. Same price (45 or 55k Rp.) for every beautiful and incredibly tasty course from breakfast bowls, salads, breakkies, tosties, smoothies, chia bowls. Yes I said beautiful because their dishes are exactly like this, and the Crate Cafe is also the most instagrammable place in the world!
Super cute cafe in the beginning of Pantai Batu Bolong Street. Many different options among sweet brekkie, salads, burgers, pasta, veggie and vegetarian options as you can check on the manu directly from the website . This place is incredible also because if you are a fitness lover, here you can create your meal plan and also have nutrition consultation. Of course many healthy options speaking about smoothies and juices. Here you can't miss the Mega Chicken Salad, one the most both delicious and healthiest thing than I have ever tried. Just remember to be patient, nobody here is in a rush!
A lot of green is welcoming you here and protecting you from the traffic of this crowded road. Great place for smoothies and a really good coffee. Speaking about instagrammable places, also Cafe Organic has an amazing Instagram page! So if you are looking for a relaxing breakfast before to start your day this place is strongly recommended.
One of my favorite cafe, probably my favorite in Canggu! The Betelnut Cafe offers the best choices before you morning surfing session and also the afternoon one. With a fulfilling breakfast with eggs, rice, tofu, beans and steamed vegetables and incredible smoothies after lunch. The best one is for sure the Super Smoothie with milk, banana, honey, peanut butter and almond milk,. The thickest and most delicious thing ever!
The first Bali avocado bar, if you like avocado you can't miss this small cute place on Jl.Tanah Barak. Here you can enjoy avocado in several, amazing, tasty ways. Bit more expensive compared to the other places that I mentioned but totally worth it because in every course there's a lot of work, fantasy and love! The Avocado Factory will let you think about this fruit from a totally different perspective!
Moving bit far from the main road to Batu Bolong Beach there are other nice authentic places among the 10 amazing Canggu spots where you can feel real balinese vibes:
Far from any crowd, in a small village called Tumbakbayuh, you can find the best nasi goreng of the area. Cozy and quiet place frequented mainly by locals, with crazy cheap prices and incredible kindness. Take your scooter for the ride that let you feel how real Indonesia tastes!
Along Jl. Raya Canggu there's the best and most classical warung on the road. Here you can custom you dish or your take away meal with rice or noodles or both as a base and then you can add everything, preferably fried! Shrimps, prawns, squid, soya, tofu, peanuts, potatoes, vegetables, with 1,5, maximum 2€ you can eat till you are stuffed!
Yes we are in Bali and yes we are in Indonesia, but if you want a taste of Thailand you can't miss the Deli kitchen! The owner's wife is Thai and here you can try the best pad thai in Canggu. Obviously many other Thai and Indonesian courses, everything going with an incredible kindness that makes you feel home immediately!
If you are coming back from Panatai Pererenan after an amazing sunset you have to stop along Jl. Pantai Pererenan to enjoy a great dinner at Born Bright. Based on gorgeous hamburgers, with fish, vegetarian and vegan options, tasty salads and other courses with fresh and organic ingredients. Perfect place also for breakfast and breaks along the day before your surf session!
Coming back from a day in Seseh Beach this place is perfect to try street food with exotic vibes, I mean not properly Indonesian! On Jl. By Pass Tanah Lot Sizzle Wraps offers an amazing Mexican option going with the freshness of the local food and obviously the smiles of the staff. As soon as you seat down the guys there offer you crazy good and tasty chips with their home made sauces that you can enjoy while they are cooking in front of of you. Super recommended!
Well obviously this one is just a small selection of 10 amazing Canggu spots to enjoy food that I liked more among the ones I had the time to try. My memories are right there with all the sunsets and the good vibes that the magic island has to offer. Writing this article I can't deny that a huge nostalgia embraced me all the time! In Bali there are obviously many more places to try, to explore and enjoy. Healthy, fresh and tasty food are among the main and best guarantees that this place has to offer all year long!
So what are you waiting for? Book your flight and enjoy!
Once, talking about trips, a friend told me "Bali is always a good idea". I was late deciding something about holidays in 2019, so the budget was reduced and while I was checking randomly for flights I "accidentally" found this one with a ridiculous price. After booking, my friend Margherita gave me some awesome suggestions about where to stay and here we go, so...Bali again, always a good idea! My return in Venice will be characterized by a seriously busy agenda till next November. Due to this I needed a safe, quiet and relaxing shelter, the best I know.
I booked in October because I knew that February would have been a bad month in Venice for my job and I didn't hesitate. Few things changed in the meanwhile and I know I am going to miss someone. I also know that the magic island will make me a person even more awesome that I'm now, can you believe that?! So I will be back regenerated.
My only aim is to rest, relax and surf a lot, to do some meditation to free my mind and to find new inspirations and be prepared to face the new season in the lagoon and everything else. Everybody can find all these things in Bali, the most spiritual place in the world. Yes, Bali again!
This doesn't mean that I won't take pictures. There are places that I didn't explored yet. I'll take it easy and I'll go with the flow, following my feelings with no pressure enjoying the good vibes (only good vibes right?) that people there always have to offer!
So if you want follow what will happen on this blog and in the meanwhile start to plan your trip to Venice and check one the Shooting Different - Venice Photo Tours !
I was just reordering pictures on my phone and I remembered that one of the things that I liked most during the trip in South Africa was the chance to take real stunning panorama pictures, and even if I used just my iPhone 7 (not the best one in terms of quality) the effect is pretty pretty good.
So I just wanted to share some of these and sweet memories with you!
That's it for the moment, not bothering you with long speeches full of mistakes!
I just came back in Venice from an amazing trip with good friends and it clearly means great memories, but there's something that I will always remember like something different and unique, however not less remarkable and it's something that I want to face first on this blog. We decided to attend a city tour with several stops to learn as more as possible about Cape Town and actually it was the best decision because we had the chance to listen and learn a lot and get out the bus and explore different areas.
While going around we noticed that one of the stops was at Imizamo Yethu, a township like many others in Cape Town and around South Africa, and that the company was supporting the initiative and so that community through a tariff to pay to a local guide of the township. Once there we didn't have the time to investigate where those money would have gone and how they would be used, we just hoped that they were truly useful to help that community. Our guide was Africa, a skinny and funny local tour guide that led us inside Imizamo Yethu explaining a bit about the situation showing us how his people was living.
Before to arrive in Cape Town I read that the population is about 3,5 million people, and I was not able to understand where all these people were, than driving around we realized that outside downtown the city is huge, and also other townships were huge. Once there it was clear that there were a lot of people living inside many metal sheet shacks.
I have never been a fan of taking pictures with poor people and neither to go in some places like going at the zoo to satisfy my curiosity, but I wanted to understand, being humble, how people can face that kind of life. I admit that I was not immediately comfortable with the situation, even if we were on guided tour with a local guide, but I think that it was mainly a personal thing. I immediately asked to Africa if it was possible to take some pictures and he said that it was perfectly ok, anyway I decided to take just a few. I was a bit tense because it was clear that we were completely extraneous to that context, likewise it was clear that some people were happy and curious to see us, some other not that much. Once inside I was definitely more relaxed, people were welcoming and kind, they proudly showed us their houses and they were happy to meet us. Anyway is was strange walking through this maze and look how babies and kids are force to grew up and Africa seemed first upset and then resigned to the situation and what he told us more frequently was "..you know..life goes on..", and it's exactly like this. After the WWII and with the Apartheid these people have been forced to live in this areas but here they always helped each other, they work, kids go to school and for all of them every morning life is a gift that they love to enjoy even if they don't live in a "normal" place.
The guide brought us also in the bar of the township to drink some beers, there we felt definitely observed but immediately we realized that there was a great energy, people dancing, listening to music and watching football, happy to see us and curious about us. Then we didn't drink because the card reader was broken (I felt immediately at home again) but we had fun in any case.
Sure, being on holidays means to have fun, not to think about your job for a while, being carefree and don't care about pretty much anything but how to spend your time in a lazy way or deciding what to visit the next day, where to go to eat and what, and so on.. But going in a country like South Africa I felt that it was right not to ignore some situations. Walking in Cape Town is nice, the city is beautiful and its people are amazing, but comparing it to another big european city (even if it's clearly european) you can feel that there's a big difference, because poverty is huge and everywhere and it's not right to ignore it. Exploring, talking with people you know that a big part of there 3,5 mln people are in townships, and they are there because of history, negative facts that condemned them to a life that they don't deserve, because nobody deserves to live like that, but it's important to go there, with the right attitude and respect (again, not to go there like you are going to see a show), to understand why. It's important to go there because those situations on Facebook, Instagram or on Tv mean nothing, it's too easy to feel ephemeral sympathy from a couch or a desk, and I'm not considering my self a better person because I was there. I just think that it's important to go to understand how life is important and precious, how some people appreciate that gift everyday despite all the adversities, it's important simply to understand how our daily complaints are useless, stupid and superficial.
So don't be scared, if there, go to visit a township, bring your support and help to someone that really deserve it and learn from them how we could be luckier if we would appreciate more what we have everyday.
I just want to thank Africa for the opportunity and the amazing people that I met inside there because this one was definitely one of the highlights of my trip among all the natural beauties that this country offered me! Talk to you about in the next posts!
here we go again, nine months since the last trip, and now finally, after a full tourist season, that gave me the chance to meet a lot of interesting people, I can finally enjoy my freedom and be one of them for the rest of the month!
New adventure, same travel buddy, Fedo, that is also my favorite colleague, this time direction South Africa, Cape Town. I'm really looking forward to visit a place that always fascinated me and I'm ready for new adventures but mostly to relax, to surf a lot and to enjoy the best of the local culture, to be ready to re-start again for the short slow winter season in Venice!
I won't leave you alone, don't worry, follow the blog and the many stories on instagram (@shooting_different) to discover Cape Town's surprises! Now I'm ready to fly and eager to take my camera and take great pictures of a stunning place.
See you soon with the winter edition of Venice Photo Tours, play nice guys!
We are having a particular week here due to the high tide causing the so called phenomenon "acqua alta" (hight tide), so the city floods and water is pretty much everywhere, a big surprise for many tourists here, friends and people around the world that are clearly not familiar with this and they are comprehensibly surprised and sometimes worried! It's obviously strange and bit scaring to arrive in Venice and be involved in this situation:
Ah for most of the time it rains! Pictures about this were all over the internet, newspapers all over the world spoke about it, friends wrote to ask if I was ok, and safely from my couch I was reassuring everyone. This phenomenon happens every year, especially between the end of October and November and then in winter, sometimes early spring, always according with the moon phases and the warm wind Scirocco. Actually this year the situation was exceptional, with a weather alert also because it was pouring down and because of the strong wind, so we had the 4th "acqua alta" ever, 1,56cm for the first time after 10 years. So the concern, for someone who doesn't live here and sees pictures on the internet or on the news, is more than comprehensible.
Anyway there's nothing dangerous if you watch your step and take care about where you are walking.... (thank s to "Venezia non è Disneyland" for the link), but yes it's annoying if you work here and most of all for the ones running an activity.
The ones with they shops spent the worst 24 hours possible, pumping the water off the shop with pumps and buckets but also cleaning everything pretty carefully the day after, because no, this water is definitely not clean! (sorry for the your heroes diving in St. Mark's square!). For tourists well....it depends, if as a tourist you are already here, maybe couple of days before you will have time be prepared, buying rubber boots or covers for your shoes (if you take a proper tour you will also learn the meaning of this blazoned brand) and ready to enjoy one of the most unique experiences ever! It you want the premium experience buy the high rubber boots that cover the entire leg so you will be able to walk in the most amazing square/swimming pool in the world.
If you arrive in town the same day instead, be prepared for an unexpected walk in the water carrying you luggage over your head and one of the most annoying experience ever tried!
October is an amazing month to visit Europe and Venice as well, but the end of the month is not always great, obviously it depends about your aims and expectations, so remember to check the forecast (unless you booked six months earlier!), ask, inform yourself and download the app hi!tide (apple - android), nothing won't scare you!
Just remember, don't stop to ask for directions to locals while busy throwing the water off their shops, they won't be polite and that water could arrive really close to you!
It's not that common but sometimes my clients prefer the lights of the sunrise to the fascinating venetian darkness, and even if I find extremely difficult to wake up, being a night crawler, I always appreciate their crazy requests.
Usually during my Venice Photo Tours I'm focused on the client, to assist him or to teach him something new and I usually don't have time to take pictures for me, but the last time I did' resist...
Those colors are crazy, they wrap and cuddle the city during its most quiet moment making it even more magical and most of all they let you forget how crowed it could become after a couple of hours!If you really love Venice, sunrise is the moment.
So don't wait, it's September and it's amazing here while going towards fall, visit the website and decide if you want to wake me up early or let me go to sleep late and book your favorite Venice Photo Tour!
There is nothing in Venice that attracts tourists more than the most famous tour in town, the Gondola ride. Yes sure, it's touristy and expensive but it's that thing that you do once in a life time and one of the few traditional activities left in Venice, so why not? The choice is wide, 433 are the gondoliers registered with official license in the city of Venice, but the prices are just two for the regular tours, the day and the night one, that last 30 or 35 minutes. I now it's not a long ride, but enjoying the city from that perspective is something unique, so even if just for 30 minutes relaxing on a gondola it's pretty cool.
Being special, people choose the gondola ride for different purposes, chilling, drinking on a romantic boat, making cool pictures or videos that will appear on they instagram accounts, doing it because they think that it's a must do, or for a marriage proposal, like Mark did! When I met this super nice an kind guy, that asked me to take some pictures of him and his girlfriend on a gondola, he was pretty nervous and I didn't understand why. Then he told me that he wanted to propose to Christine and I realized the big responsibility that he gave me, so I didn't hesitate to give him the best option.
A legend , that also inspired the movie "A little romance", says that if the two lovers kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge of Sighs as the bells of St Mark’s Campanile ring out, the lovers will be given eternal love and happiness. Mark was pretty exited about it and we reached St.Mark's square right on time, the only place where you can start a gondola ride that goes under the Bridge of Sighs. Good manners are definitely not a prerogative of all the gondoliers (and I realized it also towards the end of the tour), in fact they let us wait without a real reason for a while, but who cares, Mark had something important to do, and he did..
..and most of all she said YES! Looking at them I realized how real happiness could be
Nevertheless choosing the good gondola ride could be tricky, it's not just about jumping on a typical black boat, it's important to choose the area, the good gondolier, the best spots and moments, obviously tourist's traps concern also this topic. So if you want to get the most from your venetian holiday visit the website and book your favorite Venice Tour and discover also the secrets and tips useful to choose the best gondola ride! If you want your best memories from the most magical city in the world contact me for your Venice Private Photo Shooting Tour and keep them with you forever!
Thank you Mark and Chris, best wishes for your life!
Yes, St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) probably the most amazing in the world, the favorite place among Venetians and where their attitude is perfectly fared, the soul of Venice, and sometimes the nightmare of many tourists of every nationality. Not for you of course, if you keep reading!
Sometimes it happens that some indignant tourists complain about the crazy prices that they are "forced" to pay in this amazing place. The fact is that if they have those prices it means that people sit down to spend their money, and if those bar are always crowded it means that people are willing to spend 10€ for a coffee, so probably they could ask even more. In Venice there're many tourist's traps, but I can promise that St' Mark's Square is not on the list, they are honest, definitely expensive but honest. The prices are all visible on a menu so you know first what you are going to spend, then it's up to you, also because a cocktail have the same price that you can find in a nice hotel or at Harry's Bar, but with a beautiful view.
So folk, remember, it's always important to know something about the place that you are going to visit, this city particularly, it's on the water, it's unique, it's crazy! Remember, Venice is a super touristic city and it's obviously government' s fault, but you can do something to enjoy this amazing place, be informed before to arrive, try to know something about the local life to try to get the most from your experience. Venice is not just St. Mark's Square and despite so many tourist attractions, it could be an awesome city if you try to approach its authenticity, its local life. Among many tourist's traps there a lot of wonderful, cute and welcoming bars, restaurants, osterias, bacaros where you can enjoy life with Venetians! What's better that discover them for an unforgettable holiday?!
Are you lazy but do you want anyway to discover how to manage your holiday once in Venice? Curious about how locals live in Venice and you also want to know some of them for real? Would you like to know tips and suggestions useful to avoid tourists traps and fall in love with the authenticity of this city incredibly full of history and traditions, while saving money and knowing how not to waste them?
So if you are eager to drink a really good Spritz or a cocktail in a beautiful hidden and off the beaten track place saving a lot of money and you wanna spend your time in Venice intelligently, visit the website and book your favorite Touring Different -Venice Tours to discover the secrets that will allow you to enjoy the perfect holiday.
Do you like also photography? Great, at the end of the trip your wallet will be full of money and your memory card flood with the best memories of your trip, choose your favorite Shooting Different - Venice Photo Tour and come to discover the real Venice with me.
One of the best goals in life is when you're able to turn your passion and hobby into a job, but it's even better when you meet amazing people as your clients.
About two weeks ago I was leading a tour in Venice and I had the pleasure to meet these two great guys, Jennifer and Jule from LA.
I immediately noticed that they were particularly interested about what I was saying, curious about Venice, its stories and beautiful spot and they also perfectly got my message about sustainable tourism in a unique city like this. After the tour I went home and couple of hours later Jen wrote me an email asking information about a Venice Photo Tour with me. I was so happy about it and the day after a met them again.
Jennifer is a freelance writer &a social media manager, Jule works as video assistant and we found many mutual interests, so the tour has been great. I love to explain technical things about photography and cameras to my clients and realize that they improve their skills in the end of the tour, and I love to bring them off the beaten track to show them places that they wouldn't have found otherwise, and doing it with clients like them is like to do it with your friends!
The thing that impressed me more was how they approached Venice, maybe it was because of Jen's italian roots, but they have been two of the best tourists that I have met. They showed a great respect about the beauty of this delicate city, that is rare to find nowadays (not even in the locals), a genuine interest about history, local traditions and set of problems that affect the city, and they truly liked the spots and glimpses that I let them discover during the Venice Photo Tour.
In the end i'm doubly happy because Jennifer wrote about me and Shooting Different in her blog writing also about how visiting a city with the help of a local makes the difference. So don't miss her article if you want to know a useful and positive way to visit Venice!
What are you waiting for? Do like Jen & Jule, visit the website, contact me and book your favorite Shooting Different - Venice Photo Tour!
Thank you again guys!
Clearly if you decide to live in Venice you need also to deal with the fact that there are tourists, they will always be there. Without them the city dies.
There's no point in the useless daily complain of local Venetians that dream about an empty Venice because it won't never be like this.
There's a point instead in asking for rules and regulations to preserve an ancient, delicate, precious, priceless environment. The example should be Iceland with its about 300.000 residents and 2,3 millions visitors (2017). The government started to raise the prices, to preserve a particular context and to allow to visit the country just to the ones that are really interested in.
In Venice happens the opposite, 53.000 residents and 30 millions visitors every year, everyday in Venice there are more tourists than locals, in a city that is smaller than a neighborhood of London.
Why? bad government and bad residents that think they can to whatever they want just because they are Venetians but they're more than often worse than the tourists.
Savage Airbnb, number of the cruises increased, locals that sell their places to Chinese people for a lot of money (but then they are the ones complaining because there are too many Chinese, but complain with the pockets full of money is way easier).
The result is the almost complete loss of authenticity and tradition in the most beautiful city in the world and the daily damage of an amazing palace.
Why? Because too many cruises create an invasion, Airbnb and new hostels create an invasion making affordable to everyone to visit Venice, selling places creates an invasion making affordable to everyone to stay in Venice trying to spend always less and less. Invasion means damages to a delicate city that was born 1597 years ago, invasion means a lot of garbage, invasion means that nobody can really enjoy Venice.
This is simply crazy because in other cities like London, Paris, New York it's necessary to pay even for the air that you breathe, Venice instead became one of the cheapest city in the world (if you think the opposite you should reconsider your ability as a tourist) and it should be the opposite.
It would be possible to speak about this for hours but no. The only thing that i'd like to say is to respect this place, walk on the right, don't jump in the water, remember that there's a real life going on and this is not a luna park, come to Venice if you can afford it and if you can support the local traditions and economy and please, be better than the locals, so don't always scream and don't soil everywhere but also respect them and their activities.
Listen to Lorenzo Quinn with one of the most significative art pieces for Venice
If you want a good taste of this amazing reality through you hobby and passion, visit my website and contact me to enjoy your favorite Venice Photo Tour to bring back with you the nicest memories of your trip