Tag Archives: journey

Packing tips

I always had difficulties in the preparation of my travel bag. Generally, I do it in the last moment, but often I forget something: the toothpaste, the sleepers, a pair of shoes and so on. Luckily for some of the things left at home the hotels can help me, in many cases they have toothpaste and sleepers, but for something else I need to visit local shops. Especially when it comes to clothes or shoes it can be hard for me, but in a while, I find the right mood. That’s why I prepared a checklist that I share with you together with my packing tips.

I like to travel with the essential, but especially traveling for business means to have elegant clothes. To be “perfect” for meetings. That is why when I forgot something at home I need to replace it, maybe because I do not have enough shirts or trousers… Why is it hard? Well, Italians are always research for fashion and to be trendy. I have to admit, I am a bit extravagant, so, despite the voluntary to be impeccable during my meetings. I do not always follow the rules of the color matching and I am quite open to some local clothes and habits. Now with the packing tips, it is easier.

Packing tips: why I use them

When I enter a shop the instinct is to search the Italian style. But in some towns, it is not possible, so I start to explore the local fashion. I experiment with a new international style. But this is another story, so it is better to go back to the main topic: the packing tips. So to be sure to make it right, I have my own list. What to bring to my destination?

First of all, I need clothes and I have to consider the season. Including the periods with climate changes. So it is the moment to be prepared for the cold and warm climate. Then I need shoes, it is better also to have sleepers just in case. I have to put toothbrush, toothpaste, and razor. This is the list, part of my packing tips, that I generally use to not forget anything.

Clothes and accessoires

The toiletry bag

It is generally good to add something for health, like:

As hand luggage, I have a small bag where I have, for short range, the computer and the different devices. This is part of my packing tips.

Technology

Books

In the luggage, I have always a couple of booksI try to read before to sleep or during transfers if I can. In my packing tips never miss the books. This time I will have with me:

Hamilton: The Revolution” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter (backstage of a musical)

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond (2017 Pulitzer Prize)

Documents

Last but not least, the documents. Important for the packing tips. So I have with me what I need to get the plane and to find my room…

  • Passport (in some cases with a visa)

  • Frequent flyer card and the others loyalty program cards to get point and benefits

  • Cash and credit cards

  • Health insurance card

  • Travel insurance information

  • Reservations of the plane tickets and of the hotels, of the transfers and of the rent a car

  • Local currency (when applicable)

Now I am ready to leave and to share, during my trip, about my explorations… I hope you will benefit by my packing tips. Don’t forget to check my guides.

It’s time to enjoy the trip!

Balkans, the culture in a book

My next trip is already on my agenda and I will go back to Balkans, an area where I have been different times in last years. This time the country to be visited is Macedonia, not the Greek region but the country that now is called Republic of North Macedonia. I will have some work meeting in different places, so I want to try to plan some time as a tourist and explore better also some towns where I have been without so much time to see the attractions and the curiosities.

In the years I bought some books to know better the history of Former Yugoslavia and go deep in the culture, but I continue to research to know more because those countries are reach of history with a lot of connections with Western Europe. I decide to read an old book of a travel experience published in 1941 that describe very well social, cultural and political aspects of that time.

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia is a travel journal with a specific analysis of the culture, the history and the politics made from an international point of view. It is not a history book, because all the elements are declined as in a diary, so easily explained from a traveller that is exploring the country. There is a meeting with people and a character that help the traveller to enter in Western Balkans world.

The brilliant observation written in the book helps me to enter more deep in the Slavic history and to learn more about the culture, step by step. Reading it I am living almost the same journey, even do it is a different period. In next days I will be again there and I will use what I have read to try to catch more benefits from my travelling in Balkans.

Stay tuned, I will post soon about my North Macedonia visits.

Anasa

Eat and sleep in Strasbourg

Now it is time to write about my accomodation in Strasbourg and also to share my experience in some restaurants, the ones I really suggest you to go. As you now I like luxury but especially to have some unique and comfortable experiences. You already know how I check the hotels and as always I chosen the structure considering the location in the city and the services provided.

 

The hotel

The five star accomodation is located directly on the river in Petite France neighborhood close to the half-timbered houses and to the most characteristic restaurants of the city. It is the best position to start the visit of the city and to enjoy a lovely view of Strasbourg. The Régent Petite France Hotel offer a restaurant with a terrace from where admire a great panorama.

The ideal place to visit the city and the proximity with the shops and the attractions are not the only strenght of the structure. The building was built in XIX century and it was an ice factory, not the shape is the same, but there are modern elements and especially inside the setting is modern style, in the lobby as in the rooms. Elegance is anyway the main feature in every corner.

Inside there is a spa and a fitness center, but I did not have time to use them, I preferred to go around in the city. About the rooms I can underline the big space and a contemporary style of the furniture and of the décor. The bathroom are made with marble and the suite has a balconie from were to enjoy the view of the Petite France buildings. The modern equipment helps the comfort of the stay.

The restaurant of the hotel, Le Pont Tournant, offers the traditional cuisine in a light version, with an innovative touch. To accompain the meal there is the riverside terrace, a nice environment especially for dinner. The menu is seasonal made. The Champagne Bar is always ready to give drinks and some snack as steak tartare or club sandwich. Last but not least it is the breakfast, prepared as a big buffet with cold and hot dishes and a good variety of cheese, cold meat, toast, fruit and sweets recipes.

 

The restaurants

The first one that I want to mention is called Au Crocodile, the name is quite original, meanwhile the menu starts from the tradition with some innovative creation that offers delicious tastes obtained by selected local and seasonal ingredients. The elegance and the impeccable service are the elements that make the restaurant a must for who wants to have a unique gastronomic experience. In the desserts list there is a space dedicated to the cheeses, with a selection of Alsace and French best products. Oh, I forgot to mention that it has a Michelin star.

A bit hidden from the street, in a Petite France courtyard, the restaurant Perles de Saveurs proposes a setting made by artworks of some loal artists and it has a typical French menu. The tradition let the space to contemporary recipes, always connected to the country cuisine. The fish dishes are superb and in this case I suggest to taste the lemon cake (tarte au citron), in my opinion very delicious. Maybe you can skip the cheese.

A small restaurant managed by a wife and an husband represent a small Alsatian jewel. La Cuiller à Pot offers regional cuisine with traditional dishes prepared at the moment. The quality of the ingredients is very high and there are homemade specialties. Among the special dishes there are the escargots, but since I do not like them I can not express any opinion about them. Anyway the various choice is able to delight every person. If you like cheese, just ask to them and you will taste some of the most delicious products of the Alsace.

Not far from the cathedral there is the restaurant Le Clou, a bistro typical of France with an old but elegant and characteristic decor and furniture. The regional recipes are served with professionality and the ingredients used are coming from a quality selection of the local products. They have of course a good cheese to be tasted after the second course and it is a must since it is one of the strenght of the French cuisine. The staff is very kind and the prices are quite cheap compared to what is offered.

 

Bars

I can not recommend specific bars, but going around Petite France you can find squares full of places where to drink something in the evening and have fun. The city has a lot of offers for all tastes and you can find also various types of music and entertainment, also because Strasbourg is a tourist destination and headquarter of the European Parliament, so open to people from all around the world with different cultures and age. I suggest you to try to enter in more bars, so you can experiment the different atmospheres.

Safety

There are no specific tips regarding the safety, it is a well protected city, of course it is good to pay attention, but it is full of young people quite open minded but at the same time serious and friendly, as people in general are, because they are used to meet foreigners.

Just an episode that happened to me during one of my visits to Strasbourg. Close to the cathedral a small group of drunk guys were trying to approach people and disturb them. In less than one minut the police, by bike and by walk, came and surrounded the group. They checked those guys and took them away. The police was not standing in the square, but somehow they are always around and ready to act.

Of course it is the main part of the city, the heart of Strasbourg, but in a very discrete way the police is always present, so be careful if you want to be drunk 😀

Anasa

A book journey

I am preparing my last article about Strasbourg, where I am writing about the accommodation and the restaurants where I have been and where I had a very good experience. I am reading my notes, but before I thought to share something that I prepared before. I want to share with you some titles of the book that I have read about travels. Well, these books helped me a lot in my learning process, especially making a connection between life and travels.

The first one is “On the road” written by Jack Kerouac. The famous writer propose a novel about his trip around the USA, made together with his friend Neal Cassady. It was published in the ’50s, so everything goes around the Beat Generation, but also reading it now it has a lot of sense because the story is a travel around the big American spaces moving between the West and the East Coast, but also into the society to explore the values, the strengths and the weaknesses of the American community. There is the real essence of the journey.

Another great book that mixes the travel around a country and a trip into the society is “Notes from a Small Island” written by Bill Bryson. It describes a journey around Britain telling the main features of the modern community of the UK. There are nostalgia, humor and also a precise analysis regarding the inhabitants’ habits and way of life. It underlines how important is to catch the culture and be in touch with the population to know the country visited.

A few years ago I missed the chance to go to Barcelona and I have to visit it yet, the city is on my future destinations list, but meanwhile, I decided to read “Homage to Catalonia“. The author is George Orwell and it is a book that includes some history and it is focused on the role played by Orwell during the Spanish Civil War. There is a good description of the relations between Great Britain and Spain and as well of the local population. To know the history of a place helps to understand better the society and the country.

This choice is even more personal than the previous ones because I am fascinated by the Middle East and one of my dreams, that will become reality one day, is to travel on the Orient Express. Anyway my suggestion concern “The great railway bazaar: by train through Asia” by Paul Theroux. The journey around the Middle East and Asia, starting from Europe, it is a chance to meet different passengers with a various origin and with a big variety of jobs. There are the theatrical agent and the drug dealer. Reading it is like to be on board…

The last book that I want to mention in this article is about one of my favorite cities: Venice. I love so much the Italian town built on an island because of its architecture, its art and also its particular atmosphere. Maybe you know it, but if not you can read “Venice” written by Jan Morris. It is a complete journey into the city, exploring each aspect, including the local society. It can be an inspiration for your next tour.

Enjoy the reading!

Strasbourg: from the past to the future

Time to time I go to Strasbourg. The reason for my visits is business, but luckily I always have some free hours to discover something of the city. I saw the main attractions and the beauties of the city. There are of course some places that must be seen for a traveler. But also some less known places that are amazing. I spent there only a few days. Luckily I had enough time to see what I wanted and also to go a bit outside Strasbourg.

You maybe have already read my previous post about the curiosities of Strasbourg, meanwhile, in this article, I describe some of the attractions that I visited on my last trip. More I go there and more I fall in love with the capital of Alsace, really an amazing area in France, close to the German border.

 

 

The first step in Strasbourg: the island

From where to start a visit? The Grand Île (it means large island) is the historical center of the city and it is under Unesco Heritage. It has a particular atmosphere because the buildings and the streets are kept like in the past and it helps the visitor to jump in the past. There are beautiful buildings that remind the German style and many lovely bars and restaurants.

In the main square of the Grand Île, there is one of the main attractions of Strasbourg: the  Notre-Dame de Strasbourg cathedral, a marvelous example of Gothic architecture. There is no entrance fee, except for the platform to go up. Climbing the 332 stairs the visitors can arrive on the top to admire all the city. The sun must enjoy the panorama. The church has a large rose window on the main facade and there is also an astronomical clock: every day at 12.30 pm it turns to show the various ages of the life using the parade of apostles before Christ.

                                     A particular of the Cathedral’s facade

Walking in the area it is possible to see four medieval churches and St. Paul. Among the medieval churces. I liked very much  Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune because inside there are a lot of frescos realized in XIV century. That art is great and it is very interesting to go deep into religious history using the artistic representations of the ancient time. The religious buildings are not the only one to be seen.

The square that hosts the cathedral, called Gutenberg, is amazing, maybe not too big but with all impressive buildings from different ages, starting from the medieval age to XVIII century. The best idea to see the different constructions is to seat in one of the coffee shops present in the square and take a look with tranquility.

In the area, there are three interesting museums, all of them located in Palais Rohan: one dedicated to archeology, one to fine arts and the last one to decorative arts. They deserve a visit and you need not less than half a day if you want to see the collections. Moving through the prestigious palaces you can reach the most characteristic area, almost intact as it was when they built it.

                                                             Unesco Heritage

The French village in the city

Petite France (Little France) is a picturesque neighborhood of Strasbourg, where in the past the fishermen and the workers were living. It is close to the water and made by half-wooden houses well preserved and protected against humidity and water. A trip with the boat on the river is a good way to explore the city. You can pass from the old part os Strasbourg to the modern buildings, main occupied by EU institutions. It is almost like start the journey in the ancient time and arrive directly to a future era.

The element that I adore about the modern architecture in Strasbourg is the glass that offers great reflexes of the ancient buildings, of the water and the sky, especially during the sunset time. During the trip on the river, it is easy to catch the shape of the city and to see the location of the main attractions. I think the boat can be even the starting point of the trip, so from there you can decide what to see and when.

                                       In the Orangerie Park

Crossing bridges and walking in the park

Who loves the architecture can’t miss the covered bridges, built as part of the fortification to defend Strasbourg by the attacks and to guarantee the movements of the inhabitants inside the city. To find them you need to follow the river around Petite France. Some restaurants offer a great view of the river and its ancient bridges, so you can taste the local food and admire the architectural works.

To walk around nature there is the lovely Orangerie Park, there are many varieties of flowers and trees but many locals and tourists are going there to practice some sport before to start the day or just to keep themselves in form and playing together during some daybreak. It is quite big, so there is a lot of space to use without disturbing each other and find a space full of quiet in the middle of Strasbourg.

The park has some direct connections with the river, so it offers nice corners with a nice view. If you like to take special pictures of the river and mixing the nature and the buildings, the Orangerie is the perfect location, you will stay there for hours, maybe also to have a break during your tour and take some fresh air after a visit to the local museums.

                                       The European Parliament

Present and future

The modernity is represented by the European Union buildings. The main ones are three: the Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. The first one was built on a corner on the river where the boat tour finish. And it is full of glass there, so the sun and the sky are always visible on the palace windows. It is different from the typical architecture of Strasbourg, but this is the charm of these constructions.

I had the chance to be inside and what impressed me is the natural light that enters in corridors and different rooms. But also the luxury of the setting and the floral decorations that come from the top of the internal walls. The spaces are so big. But this is not related to my tour in Strasbourg.

                                             Inside the European Parliament

I still have to see many things, but I hope to do it in my next trips, as to go out from the city and to see the castles, there are some not far from Strasbourg. I suggest you also to go to Eguishem, a small village a few kilometers far from the city with half-timber houses full of flowers on the balconies. It is the only place outside the urban area that I visited.

                                             European Parliament hall

Plan the trip

Now it’s time to put Strasbourg on your agenda. Plan a trip there. You can find a mean of transport on the Infobus platform that offers the best deals.

If you want more tips and ideas check out the destinations section of the blog. Then subscribe to my newsletter to get updates. 

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