Archive for the 'Europe' Category

postcards from gran canaria: playa del cura

It’s been a week since we were at Gran Canaria, where we spent lazy days under the sun. No work, no worries, no winter. Jetting away in January is such luxury. Suddenly, winter got shorter. Skins got darker. Souls got lighter.

After seeing the other places around Gran Canaria, we were happy we made the right choice with our hotel. It’s nestled at the quiet resort of Playa del Cura, on the southwest coast of Gran Canaria, with a beach cove and a relaxed atmosphere. Our hotel, Sunprime Riviera Beach & Spa is a designer property that’s sitting right on the beach. Marketed as a child-free hotel, one’s guaranteed quiet and peace. There are a variety of sunbeds and fringed parasols around the hotel’s two pools. A few steps away and one can enjoy the revitalizing waters of the Atlantic. Our suite, located at the topmost floor and on the edge of the hotel, afforded a sweeping view of the ocean. Every afternoon as the sky turned golden to crimson, we got to admire the sun disappearing into the horizon.

Oh how I miss thee!

Welcome to Sunprime Riviera Beach & Spa!

Once you enter, you are greeted by these lovely lilies and a great smelling reception lobby!

Reaaally good mattresses, these ones. How thoughtful that our robes and towels were of differing shades of green, no mix-up!

Yes, that’s an open shower right there!  LOL.

This view greeted us every morning as we ate our breakfast on the balcony.

These fringe pool parasols were fabulous! And that’s our balcony right on the edge, where we watched the beach life unfold from down under.

The rugged terrain of Gran Canaria serves as a picturesque backdrop to the hotel pool.

Even Edward got to soak in some rays.

Weeee! Let’s get soaking wet!

Life’s a beach.

The final sunset over Playa del Cura. Oh how we will miss thee!

in transit: hola, gran canaria!

With temperatures dropping down to -15° celsius in Oslo, we’re getting away in search of warmer climate and a place plenty of sun, sea and sand.. Dropping our trip to Brazil, we’ve moved a bit north, to about 150 kilometers off the northwestern coast of Africa. We’re going to Gran Canaria, part of the Canary Islands straddling on the Atlantic Ocean! We’re spending a full two weeks there.

An island of volcanic origin, Gran Canaria is called a “miniature continent” due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found – from long golden beaches to endless sand dunes. While most tourists flock to Playa del Ingles on the south coast of the island, Knut and I are staying at the small, quiet holiday resort of Playa del Cura located  on the southwestern coast.

We’re staying at the fabulous looking Sunprime Riviera Beach & Spa that’s situated directly on the beach of Playa del Cura. It’s recently opened and is designed for adults holidaying without kids. The designer suites and bungalows were designed to meet discerning travellers. We also look forward to treat ourselves with spa treatments and some great Spanish cuisine.

Until I see you all again! Be good. ;-)

eurovision 2010 theme art and slogan revealed

Long time readers of my blog would know that I’m a huge fan of the Eurovision Song Contest – that annual musical extravaganza wrapped in glitter, glamour and grandeur where nations and artists across Europe come together and compete to bring home the victory. Next year, it will be extra exciting as the the contest will be held in Oslo, Norway! In the lead up to the ESC 2010, the organizers revealed yesterday next year’s theme art and slogan – SHARE THE MOMENT, created by the award-winning Norwegian design firms Gosu, Handverk and Snøhetta.

About the concept:

More than a hundred million people are watching the same show at the same time, in millions of living rooms. They rejoice with the winner and weep with the losers, investing a wide specter of emotions in the show. Imagine Europe by night, seen from high above. All you can see is the light from all the cities, towns and villages. This is Europe, as a whole – with no visual borders between nations, cultures or groups of people. Now, imagine these flocks of lights not only representing different groups of people, but they show how big and magical a moment can be when we all participate and come together. We lift those lights, we make them elevate and fly, we gather them and make them come together in giant flocks of light spheres which merge, dance and play. It is a magnificent display of thousands, millions of individual elements coming together and participating and sharing the moment. The overall visual identity of ESC 2010 in Oslo are these light spheres, operating in different manners. They spread out to form our slogan, they come together in huge, colorful flocks, they race through the night, they float together in patterns.

The flocks of light spheres are developed also with other types of media and expressions in mind. They are easy to reproduce for usage outside the print and screen media, they can take different sizes and they can easily be put together as flocks in different shapes, or used individually.

Only a few more months to go! I’m so excited.

Concept text and images taken from Gosu Design.

postcards from milan

View of the Alps

Approaching Milan, the majestic Alps appears outside my window.

Duomo at Night

I first saw the Duomo and its iconic spires at dusk. The intricacies of the facade was a sight to behold. The night quickly fell over the city, and the Duomo turned gold.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II

From one house of worship to another, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II next door is a church for worldly desires.

Via Monte Napoleone

My second day in Milan started with a stroll along Via Montenapoleone. The most revered street on the city’s “Golden Square”, the brands housed here can blind you – from Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, to Ferragamo, Valentino and Versace.

Balenciaga

Off Via Montenapoleone on a street named Via Santo Spirito lies the Balenciaga store. The interior is amazing and going through the racks of clothes and displays of its famous leather goods is an experience on its own.

Via Santo Spirito Irongate

On the same street we found this beautiful iron-gated building, such a perfect backdrop for a photograph. Shot a la The Sartorialist by my friend Maureen.

Via Santo Spirito Doors

Opposite is the Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi with its gorgeous heavy doors. It now houses one of the finest museum homes in Europe.

Fiat Planters

These Fiat Planters along Via Montenapoleone are awesome. These are fiber glass versions of the Fiat 500 C model. A “green” car? Definitely.

Armani Manzoni

The Armani flagship store on Via Manzoni is a multi-concept store that covers an entire block and offers the requisite Armani clothing along with chocolates, food, books, and homeware and furnishings.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II

Hungry past lunch-time, we headed to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II where I saw in brilliant detail its beautiful arcades and glass dome. We settled for the restaurant across the Gucci Cafe. I had asparagus risotto with scallops.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II Arcade

The obligatory Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II shot.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II Prada

In front of the Prada store. I got myself a souvenir from here. The paper bag carries the Fratteli Prada (Prada Brothers) label.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II Louis Vuitton

And the Louis Vuitton store. Surprisingly, I did not enter here. A mistake?

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II Windows

Amazing details on the interior facade.

Autumn in Milan

Stepping out of the Galleria, we viewed the world famous La Scala from this patch of autumn leaves.

Piazza del Duomo Maureen Mark

Maureen and I decided to go back to the Duomo, where I was to take the lift to the rooftop.

Duomo View

8 euros and a short lift ride after, I was treated to views of the city from above.

Duomo Gargoyles

The Gothic cathedral took 500 years to build and is often described as one of the greatest churches in the world.

Duomo Roof Mark

The cathedral is adorned with over 3,400 statues.

Duomo Spires

And 135 spires.

Duomo Details

Everywhere you look is simply breathtaking.

Duomo Piazza del Duomo

The view of Piazza del Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II.

Duomo Roof Sunset

The best time of the day to go up the roof is towards dusk, as the setting sun romances both spires and spectators.

Corso Como Outlet

I visited the Corso Como outlet on Via Tazzoli on my third day. Tucked within a discreet building, last-season goods from the world’s most exclusive men’s and women’s fashion brands are sold here. This day they had discounts on Balenciaga, Burberry Prorsum, Pierre Hardy and Prada, in addition to the already reduced rates on men’s fashion, accessories and shoes. I got something here, too. The nearby 10 Corso Como store, on the other hand, is a class on its own complete with a bookstore and a cafe.

Navigli

For dinner, we headed to the Navigli District that is famous for its canals.

Officina 12

I had the rich Osso Bucco meal at Officina 12, a great looking place that serves classic and regional dishes. There is also a bar that looks happening.

Dedic Anno

Porta Ticinese with ionic columns and bearing the words Dedic. Anno. 1815.

Grom Gelato

To end this trip, a gelato was in order. We headed to Grom where I had the creamiest and smoothest Pistachio ice cream I’ve had in my life. Ever. It was so good.

Moon over Milan

Milan is as beautiful after dark as it is in daytime. And on my last night, the moon was peeking from behind the clouds. Casting its light to this wide-eyed wanderer. Buona notte Milano.

in transit: ciao milano!

Milan Duomo

Milan Last Supper

Milan Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

After a tough and extremely cold day shooting by the sea, it’s so nice to know that by tomorrow noon I’m already in Milan, where the temperature is warmer. I’m staying with my friend Maureen until Monday. It’s amazing to be in a new city and have a local tour you around. This should be fun!

Feels like this trip has already started. I won something Italian at an auction tonight, something I’ve been drooling over since it appeared in the runways of Milan. Le sigh.

Have a great weekend everyone!

postcards from delos

It’s been almost three months since I was in Greece and the sacred island of Delos, just off Mykonos. The trip to Delos was a journey back in time, to a place that the world seemed to have forgotten. It is fertile with stories to tell of the glory of the Greeks amid the arid, abandoned expanse of the island. The birthplace of the gods, here, no one can be born and no one can die.

Delos Island Approach

Delos Island Columns

Delos Island Jars

Delos Island Lady

Delos Island Phallus

Delos Island Temple

Delos Island Lions

Delos, if you would be willing to be the abode of my son Phoebus Apollo and make him a rich temple –; for no other will touch you, as you will find: and I think you will never be rich in oxen and sheep, nor bear vintage nor yet produce plants abundantly. But if you have the temple of far-shooting Apollo, all men will bring you hecatombs and gather here, and incessant savour of rich sacrifice will always arise, and you will feed those who dwell in you from the hand of strangers; for truly your own soil is not rich. – Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo.

a greek holiday: postcards from mykonos town

The heart and soul of the island, pedestrianized Mykonos Town is a beehive of activity where the world comes together to sample Greek dishes in the many tavernas and topnotch restaurants, to shop local wares as well as luxury timepieces and fine jewelry, to appreciate and acquire art from the galleries, and when the night falls party like there’s no tomorrow.

Mykonos Town has a myriad of tiny and charming alleyways. In every corner you turn, you’ll find a sight that’s postcard pretty. Bursts of color, from potted plants to bougainvilleas lazily hanging from balconies, appear among whitewashed houses. Following the breeze, you’ll find yourself in one of the island’s main tourist attractions – be it the famous windmills, Little Venice situated dramatically on the edge of the sea, the Paraportiani church with its insurmountable shape and structure, or the friendly town mascot Petros the Pelican spreading its wings at the Old Port.

Here are my postcards from Mykonos Town.

Mykonos Town House

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town
Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Town

Mykonos Paraportiani Church

Mykonos Town Window

Mykonos Town Little Venice

Mykonos Town Little Venice

Mykonos Town Windmills

Mykonos Town Windmills

Mykonos Town Windmills

Mykonos Town Windmills

I hope you’ll find yourself here one day, too.


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