Monday, 31 July 2017

Finestrella Of Via Piella

How many of you knew Bologna has canals?

That magic window of Via  Piella! The finestrella of Via Piella is a small window to the canals of Bologna. How many of you know Bologna has canals? Probably just few of you have heard about this because Bologna's canals are not famous, infact many of them were covered in the past and later buildings and roads have been built over them, leaving most of these canals hidden from view. While walking around in the city center I saw people queueing in a nonsence place, I couldn't understand the reason until I saw through the magic window. I was really surpriced to see that Bologna lays over water! Don't expect something impressive, specially if you have already visited Venice, it is just a very small and picturesque window where you can still see one of the very few canals of the city.  Very cute and romantic! Nice to see if you are nearby and definitely you should try this corner postcard while already in the city center for any other reason. I learnt that day that in the 12th century canals were built on the city's major rivers, Savena and Reno. This network was extensive, spanning more than 50 km. The waterways were used for transporting goods, specially silk and people as well. Across the centuries, as the economy declined due to the french competition, the canals were progressively covered. Today only few meters remains open as a memory of the old history of the city and it is visible through the Canal Window of Via Piella. Remember that the waterways are completely dried up if not rained, so you won't see the Venice effect.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Tracing the origins of Sri Lankan tea pickers

Would You Like A Cup of Sri Lankan Tea?

Tea lovers already know that Sri Lanka is world famous (world’s No. 2 exporter) for its tea and the tea production is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for the country itself. The country has six main growing regions, each with its own weather patterns and unique geographical features. Lowland teas may be found just inland at elevations beginning at 1,500 feet above sea level, while highland one are situated as high as 8,000 feet. The consistently warm climate, heavy rainy seasons and the high humidity lead to almost nonstop tea production along the year. No matter where they are grown, all tea leaves are brought to the capital city of Colombo to be exported around the world. This is all already well known to everyone, what most of the people still don't know is the backstage of the workers in this industry:  they live in poverty and their lives are getting tougher. When you cross Nuwara Eliya or other tea cities you can see from the street the tea pickers at work. Tourists and travelers often stop by the road just to take some good photos of the labors at work and nobody goes walking deep inside the paths to see what's really happening there. Men and women, work from dawn to sunset in order to collect more possible leaves (only the first three leaves). Seems like they harvest around 18 kg per day to earn not more than 3 euros; they have to work quickly under the hot sun to fill their baskets before their takings are weighed and added up at the end of the day. The tea labors are immigrant Indians brought from South India by British plantation owners in the earlier 1850s to work on their tea estates. Until now the community is very closed with poor connections toward the rest of the country. If you take a walk among the plantations you can see their hidden villages. Their houses are small and essential with a roof made of iron sheets weighted down with few stones. According to what they said it seems they don’t get enough money from their hard work to get to eat a full meal. They have no electricity, they have no running water in the houses and the only toilets are outside for common use. Their poor life condition is the reason why when they are photographed by tourists they ask money. They are not getting any help and it seems that the government is not giving any assistance to this people in order to provide their development. It should provide at least a better education for their children which could be an only way to raise them up from their life conditions. So it is not only about the picturesque scenery by the street but it is much more!!!


Monday, 17 July 2017

Me, my car, Krafla and Iceland

Want to feel like in a different planet? Then here is place for you: Krafla Volcano! It is a most spectacular and active volcano of Iceland. It is situated on the northwest part of the Island called Mývatn. We all already know that Mývatn is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland for both foreign and domestic tourists so it is well connected by road. You can easily reach the place without a 4 wheel drive. Once at the spot, it takes only a few seconds to walk from the parking lot to the rim. The lava is still steaming in places; you can see the smoke rising around you. Take your time and walk all around it on paths, including right up to the cinder cone. Most people stop at the wooden viewing point near the rhyolite hill but believe me that hiking to the top is really worth! The walk takes you up to a dark, still smoldering pit of lava. It is such a unique place, I have never seen something similar in any of my travels. We wandered around for almost 3 hours admiring the raw power of the earth. We stopped at every single corner to admire the different geological textures all around. Has been an excellent experience, the landscape was really like from another planet. There are good photographic options but remember that the photos just don't do justice. Just amazing!!!


1.    Use good hiking shoes as the lava rock can be hard on shoe tread
2.    If possible avoid during heavy snow because it will cover up the sceneries
3.    Be sure to have your wind gear, as the winds here can be very strong and cold.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Things to do in Rio Lagundo when the rain tries to ruin your day

We had this trip planned months back and finally that one day arrived! Hotel has been booked and paid already so our only choice was going even if the weather report said that it would rain! Upon arrival, at the reception desk of the Hotel Garni An Der Leit, we received the "AlgundCard" which gives free access to many benefits like public transportation, museums, cable cars, and discount on bike and ski rentals and so on. That was absolutely fantastic! We used it for going up to Rio Lagundo. When I saw the price board at the cable car station I had idea the price we'd pay without AlgundCard! The round trip cost €9.50. There were of course extra charges for pets, bikes and children. As I told you first guest with the Algund Card can travel with the cable car for free. Rio Lagundo is a small mountain village placed 1360 meters high to Lagundo. From July 2017 this idyllic village can be easily reached by a modern cable car from the Rablà station (525 meters high) which is open from 8.00 am to 7 pm. Their lunch break goes from 12.30 to 13.30. During the warm season, the village seems much appreciated destination for trips since it offers pleasant excursions both by walk and by bicycle. We planned to do a lot in Rio Lagundo but when we reached the place the weather was slowly getting upset. We had a quick walk around and we decided to have lunch before doing any other thing! The restaurant Gasthaus Aschbacher Hof was the one close to the cable car station. There was nothing to say about its location! It was of course breathtaking! The offered traditional dishes in the large garden in front of the mountains. Everything looked just fantastic. They had a farm with rabbits, cows, goats and hens. Marvelous area for children as well. Unfortunately we didn't notice the size of the portion before ordering so each of us ordered a single plate. Only when the food arrived to the table we realized that the portions were very very big. One plate would have been more than enough for two. When we saw the piece of cake that the waiter was serving to the lady on the table next to us I decided against it! It was enormous! Out of this everything was perfect, the staff was friendly, the food had a homemade aspect and the price very reasonable! Meanwhile the sky was getting darker and darker! We started to realize that probably hiking up to S. Vigilio might have been impossible! In fact heavy rain came down the moment we ended up with our lunch! Even though we didn't want to give up, we waited some time to start our walk at least just around the village before getting back to the cable car station! Thanks God the rain stopped for a while!!! We could then have a rapid turnaround! We visited the lovely church of San Mary of the snow and the cute little village itself! This is all we could do due to the rain. I loved that peaceful place! Would love to go back!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A small piece of Provence in Bologna

Lavender Valley of Rodiano (Lavanda Val di Pozzo )

It is located just some km from the city of Bologna and it is really interesting for those ones with photographic interest. Azienda Agricola Val del Pozzo has started cultivating lavender some years ago and they now produce oils and soaps to their visitors. We went there on Sunday evening. Sadly there are no boards or signs with indications so we had to stop several times in order to get the correct direction from the people around. For this reason it took a while to reach the place but was not difficult at all. At a certain point we had to leave our vehicle, we walked about 1 km through the unpaved road until the valley. There were plenty of people there! Some of them with ceremony dresses and shoes in order to take a great profile picture for their Facebook page. So many photographers taking pictures here and there. It had been a pleasant way to spend a different evening. If you are living close to Bologna you should visit this place during its flowering days which goes from the first to the fifteenth of July.




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