5 beautiful attractions to visit in Saint Petersburg (plus one!)

Have you ever visited Saint Petersburg? If not here is a list of the top 5 beautiful attractions to visit in Saint Petersburg (plus one!). Saint Petersburg is a planned city. It’s not built at a cross point of trades and cultures but built under the will of a Czar who had planned its topography well in advance. But when you first visit the city you won’t notice all this. You will surely love the opulence of its baroque palaces, the grandeur of its wide streets and imposing governmental buildings. Saint Petersburg is a huge city. If you don’t have

San Pietro Infine, the centre point of an epic battle

San Pietro Infine is a tiny medieval village in Southern Italy, almost halfway between Rome and Naples. It is uninhabited and completely in ruins. If you’re interested in history, you probably know what Cassino means in WWII. But does San Pietro Infine tell you anything? Probably not, even if it lies few kilometres south of Cassino. Centre point of an epic battle Because of its position, on the slopes of Monte Sambucaro, it was the centre point of an epic battle between the American V Army, and the German 29th Panzer Grenadier Division. Americans were on their way to Rome

On the footsteps of Quixote: beat down the windmills!

Do you remember the foolish stories of Don Quixote? Do you remember when he was battling against windmills? This is one of the chapters of Cervantes’s book I like the most and I have read it over and over. At this point they came in sight of thirty forty windmills that there are on plain, and as soon as don Quixote saw them he said to his squire: “Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our desires ourselves, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I

The Beginner’s Guide to Berlin Tempelhof Airport

Closed in 2008, Berlin Tempelhof airport was the main airport of Germany during the Nazi era.  It fights for the title of the oldest operating commercial airport and still is an iconic landmark. It’s one of the few airports in Europe still showing its pre-World War II architecture.   All the other classical airports in Europe have been demolished or refurbished. Think for example of Saint Petersburg’s Pulkovo 2 airport terminal. You can visit the airport.  There are regular tours throughout the year that show the visitors most part of the structures, from hangars to the hotel and offices. It’s

Santiago de Compostela and Some Weird Tangles of History

Praza da Quintana, Santiago Santiago de Compostela’s Praza da Quintana is not only a simple town square. Located at the back of the Cathedral, it’s one of the oldest and most historical squares of Santiago. The Quintana is physically divided into two parts by a large staircase. The upper part is called Quintana dos vivos. If you are at the top of the stairs and look down you see what is called Quintana dos Mortos, and was once a graveyard. Go there in the middle of the night and you’ll be able to see the dead, at least that’s what the legend

All You Need To Know About Camogli

Liguria, in North-Western Italy, is a huge rocky arch that stretches from Tuscany to the border with France. Almost at its middle, upon a small promontory, lies Camogli. Today a tourist destination, a few decades ago a fishermen village and earlier an important trade harbour. Camogli is a real gem of Liguria. The tiny harbour was once – around the end of the Middle Age – one of the most trafficked in Europe. Camogli was called the “city of a thousand white sails” because of the many ships that were always cruising through its port. The fake facades Today there

Bernina Express: Riding the Alps by Train – Part 2

The second part of my journey on board the Bernina Express, a lovely red train, popular with tourists, that crosses the Alps and connects Switzerland with Italy. Read the first part here Leaving Ospizio Bernina From Ospizio Bernina Station, we got the next train in our direction and continued our trip: the railway negotiates a difference in height of about 1800 meters from the summit at Ospizio Bernina to Tirano. And it does it in a beautiful way, through hairpin turns, tunnels, and bridges. And there are also wonderful alpine sights!… Well, at least someone says there are! But anyway, by

Bernina Express: riding the Alps by train – Part 1

Bernina Express the UNESCO railroad The Bernina Express is a lovely red train, popular with tourists, that crosses the Alps and connects Switzerland with Italy. The railway was built between 1908 and 1910. It’s operated by a regional company (Rhaetian Railway) and belongs since 2008 to the UNESCO list of the World Heritage Site, being both an old and very scenic rail route. I love trains and train journeys since the time of my youth when I travelled through Europe with an Inter-Rail card for one month every year. But those were times of short money in my pockets and

Safranbolu: Silk Road and traditions in Northern Turkey

When in Safranbolu, sip a cup of salep under a vine; the sun sparkles through the green leaves and the purple grapes. Around you are mosques and Ottoman houses, three caravanserais and the Arasta Bazaar. It once housed all the cobblers of the town and is now a gem of wood and peace, surrounded by vines, with a great bar that serves traditional Turkish coffee. Safranbolu, UNESCO World Heritage town In Safranbolu, the Silk Road was one step from its longed Mediterranean end. I can imagine how the caravans would welcome this green and shady valley just before the infinite

Seljalandsfoss: waterfall of legends

When I was a child and my parents told me tales before sleeping, the treasure of the elves was often hidden behind a majestic waterfall. Well, if there’s really an elve’s treasure, this must be the place where it’s buried! Seljalandsfoss is the waterfall of legends. It’s also one of the most beautiful and famous waterfalls of Iceland.  It is formed by the river Seljalandsá that, almost at the end of its journey, drops 60 metres (200 ft) from over the cliffs of the former coastline. Nowadays between the cliffs and the sea, there is a vast lava plain created

Wroclaw’s bridge of love

Tumski Bridge is Wroclaw’s bridge of love. It’s a steel bridge over the north branch of the Odra river, at the entrance of Cathedral Island. At night its structure is illuminated by powerful spotlights. The view is impressive, with the spires of the cathedral behind. Walking on the bridge at night is even more impressive: the gas lamps of over a hundred years ago are still in operation. If you’re lucky enough, you can meet the gaslighter either at dusk or dawn. Here lovers promise each other eternal love. Love padlocks And as a mark of their promise, they lock

Alle porte di una terra di nuvole e streghe

Qui c’è lo spartiacque tra l’Oceano Atlantico e il Mar Cantabrico, è il punto più alto delle montagne circostanti, bruna e cupa, la terra punta a Occidente. (Cees Nooteboom, Verso Santiago.) Quassù, a 1.300 metri di altitudine, c’è il regno del silenzio e delle nuvole. Questo è il loro capolinea; provengono dall’ Atlantico, si sono nutrite della sua umidità ed hanno percorso tutta la Galizia distribuendo pioggia e fertilità. Arrivate a O Cebreiro scaricano tutta l’ acqua che rimane. E non è poca. Dall’ altro lato delle montagne inizia l’ immensa ed arida meseta. Ma le cose vanno guardate al

In the land of Pallozas

O Cebreiro Cebreiro, the land of Pallozas, is the gateway to Galicia for those who follow the Way of Saint James. They climb from the Meseta up to over 1.300 metres in height, the highest point of the surrounding mountains, dark and gloomy. This is also the “rain divide” between the wet Galicia and dry central Spain. Here the clouds stop their ride from the Atlantic ocean. They’ve been pouring water over the whole Galicia and the last drops fall here. Well, they aren’t really only drops. It rains cats and dogs very often. Pallozas It is also cold, up

Kulusuk Football

Taiga, steppe, tundra: when I was at school, geography was my favourite. It was the right time to dream on the green and brown pages of the world atlas, on the strange and fascinating words of the textbook that reminded me of the adventures that one day I would live. Tundra, steppe, taiga: the sound of these words repeated in my mind gave me almost a physical sensation, the harbinger of a smell that I imagined was typical of those places. Anyway, the tundra doesn’t smell. And it is also very quiet: no trees, no leaves, no obstacle to the

Ikateq, population one

Roughly diamond-shaped, Angmassalik island, off the coast of Eastern Greenland, is 40 km long and 30 km. wide. It’s a mountainous island of granite polished by ice, with many small valleys modelled by the glacial erosion. Only the tops of the mountains are often sharp. Obviously, in the past they were Nunataq: this Inuit term refers to a mountain peak that rises from the ice sheet. And even to an evil person. The sea that separates Angmassalik island from the mainland creeps in form of fjords of various sizes. By sailing with a small boat, it takes a whole day to make the tour of the island. First, you

Hejaz Railway: un sogno nel deserto

AGGIORNAMENTO e SPOILER Questo articolo è stato scritto prima della guerra civile siriana. La stazione Hejaz di Damasco è stata seriamente danneggiata durante i combattimenti e non so in che stato si trovi adesso. Non ho informazioni, ma è verosimile che anche la linea ferrata nella sua tratta siriana, verso Amman, sia danneggiata. Qualcuno ebbe un sogno, e riuscì anche a realizzarlo: viaggiare da Parigi ai luoghi santi musulmani con soli due cambi di treno, ad Istanbul ed a Damasco, ed un breve viaggio in vaporetto per attraversare il Bosforo. Erano i tempi del mitico Orient Express e la realizzazione

Jambiani, il battito della Natura

Dire che in Africa la vita è modellata sul ritmo della Natura suona ormai come un luogo comune; ma ci sono posti in cui la primigenia verità di queste parole ripetute troppo spesso si mostra in tutta la sua evidenza. Jambiani è un villaggio di capanne e case costruite con legno e corallo fossile, in un angolo della parte sudorientale di Zanzibar. Da qui in poi ci sono solo piste di sabbia dove arrancano ciclisti scalcagnati ed il Dalla-Dalla numero 309 che in un paio di ore effettua il viaggio di una quarantina di chilometri per Stone Town. I tragitti