Autore: Paola

I write. I read. I cook. Whenever I can I travel.

Flower power

Unfortunately Naples, although beautiful, lively and very rich in culture, is not a city that makes you think of large green spaces and pure air to breath, but in the heart of the historic center, on the edge of a gray and busy street, there is a wonderful park full of history and rare plants: the Botanical Garden. In May it also hosts Planta, a market and exhibition dedicated to plants of all kinds, the rare ones, the exotic ones, those typical of the Mediterranean area and so on. Even on a rainy and windy day the colors of the flowers are vibrant and magnificent and it is wonderful to see the people happy and smiling for something as simple as a flower.
I was lucky, the whole time I was there it rained only ten minutes and the uncertain weather also discouraged the large crowds typical of Sunday afternoons. The next edition will be in a year’s time. What a pity! How wonderful it would be if an event like this was organized more often, especially in the city, where it is most needed.

By the way, this is my little purchase. I couldn’t buy more mostly because I didn’t know how to carry heavy vases at home all by myself. It’s an Albuca Spiralis, it comes from South Africa so I guess it should find itself at home in the south of Italy too. It’s pretty, it should have small flowers too, and quite low manteinance, perfect for my not so green finger.

Is traveling to Russia dangerous?

Hint: NO

I’m writing this because not so many days ago a friend of mine asked more or less this same question. And I won’t lie, I asked myself this too when I was planning my first trip to Moscow/S.Petersburg. Back then I knew almost nothing about Russia, apart from the things you can usually read in history books and that they have some amazing novelists. Anyway, what I found on the internet wasn’t always encouraging, especially if you are a woman. Most people were just as enthusiastic as I felt, but every now and then I came across people who suggested to only go with tour operators so that they’d take you to the main attractions and pick you up soon after (boooring!), even in the main cities. They also said to not wander the streets after the sunset (!), to not look at the policemen too much (!!) and stuff like that.

Now, since I’ve always been in love with Russian culture of course I decided to go and ignore all the scaremongering. Plus I’m from a city that sadly has a quite high crime rate so it’s not like I’m a naive woman who can’t tell a bad neighborhood apart from a good one and I’ve been to almost every big town of Europe so I know how it works.

Granted, the very first thing that happened right after getting on the train from S.Piet’s airport to the town’s center was that my friend got robbed! Anyway, at home I was robbed ten meters from my own house, I’ve witnessed bag-snatches in Lisbon, Paris (twice), Madrid. Bad things happen all over the world and big towns are almost never entirely safe.

Apart from that single episode on the metro my (our) perception of danger has been basically non-existent. Moscow and St. Petersburg are two incredibly beautiful cities, full of history and life and also quite tiring because of the long distances, so make sure you have very comfortable shoes. It is enough to use common sense and the normal precautions that would be used in any other huge city. I mean, I wouldn’t go and stare at policemen anywhere. Even traveling on the night train that connects the two cities, in second class, was fun and safe and as comfortable as it can be. Actually, the beds are even a little wider than those I found on other trains in the rest of Europe.


When I left Moscow it was dawn, the sky was pink and the city lights were still on. I swallowed my tears because I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of the taxi driver, but I miss Russia so much, and I’m planning to come back soon, probably for a trip a little more focused on natural landscapes.

Is solo traveling the recipe for happiness?

The last time I was in Milan, a few days ago, I went with some friends. A small group of four people that I feel great with. We are soulmates, or something like that, literally on the same wavelength. We had fun, we laughed, we basically lived in symbiosis for four days. It was great and I wondered more than once how fun it would be to go somewhere together, for a longer period. Then I realized that with three of those people I have already traveled on several occasions and it has not always been easy. Indeed, sometimes it was really difficult and this is one of the reasons why in this phase of my life I tend to want to travel alone. Except when I do it I really feel guilty toward others, the friends I left home. Maybe they wanted to come too? Maybe they’d have enjoyed this place or that even more than me? Also I feel like I am missing something, or rather someone, with whom to share my emotions, or simply a table in a restaurant. What I really wonder now is if I am in a transition phase, one in which my tolerance for people, even those I love dearly, is getting lower for some reasons. Or if we all simply changed a little bit so that we are not 100% compatible anymore. Or, again, if it is really so difficult to find good traveling companions but somehow I never noticed before.

A few months ago I also tried to make a little trip with complete strangers and it was tragicomic. I have to admit I have good memories of that trip, especially since in the end the tragic parts were tragic to the point of being funny. After all life should always be lived with a smile, right? Anyway, as silly as it may seem, I’m almost scared to leave town with someone else, but loneliness is not an option that makes me perfectly happy either.

If and when I find a way to solve this dilemma I’ll share my wisdom, that’s a promise!

I miss you, Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo

Sometimes I feel randomly nostalgic and today it just happens to be one of those days. Maybe because I recently met some of my old and best travel buddies, who I miss all the time since we are scattered all over Italy, or because it’s been a while since my first time in Japan. Or simply because I enjoyed Tokyo so much a bit of nostalgia was to be expected anyway.
I can’t honestly say that Tokyo was a place where I was extremely happy. There have been other travels, before, where I felt more at peace with myself. Anyway I loved that town, I still do, it made me feel small but at the same time protected. And I never felt lost. Now I long for the huge neon signs, for the crowded metro, for a language I can’t understand but I love the sound of.
Maybe because it’s a city with two souls, as cliché as this may be, an old one and a modern one, both wings and roots, just like me. I’m convinced there are places we share a connection with, every single one of us has a few even if sometimes we don’t notice it.
Tokyo may be just one of those places for me.

Let’s begin with Portugal

Ok this is waht happens when my poor skills as a photographer meet my cheap phone’s camera: a very lucky shot that looks pretty decent despite everything. By the way, I know how travel blogs work, but don’t expect to find many outstanding pics here, as stated before, I sorely lack the due technology. Anyway, I honestly find sea life sort of hypnotic. I could spend hours just looking at algae swinging by the sea current. I can’t possibly be the only one who finds it a bit romantic too, right?