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Golden Gate Bridge and Cavallo Point

30 Oct

On our way to Sausalito we had to cross one of the most famous bridges of the world: the Golden Gate, the bridge that connects San Francisco “City” with the Marin “County”.

I am sure all of you saw at least once in your life a picture of this amazing red bridge, the symbol for San Francisco and California.

While crossing the bridge to reach Sausalito I was looking out the window and got excited, having seen that setting many times in movies, books etc.

The ride was amazing, we enjoyed stunning views on the Bay; on the right side there was the impressive Alcatraz island with its famous lighthouse and prison (now it is only a touristic attraction because it closed in the late 60`s).

Sausalito is not only the name for one of my favorite cookies on earth, but also a lovely picturesque town situated about 15 kilometres from San Francisco.

We had a nice walk in the sun through its many local shops (mostly vintage and antiquaries), restaurants on the water enjoying a lovely view on the bay.

I loved Sausalito’s town, but we had lunch at a great place few minutes by car, suggested by Tosh’s mum, Sally.

Actually, I would not define it as an ordinary place.

Cavallo Point has been the U.S. Army’s base – Fort Baker – for more than 100 years, now converted into an extraordinary hotel/resort at the foot of the Golden Gate bridge.

All the buildings have been restored maintaining the original architecture and decorated in a clean and elegant style.

It is named like this for the wild stallions ( in Spanish caballos, pronounced cavallos) that used this beautiful bay to rest and feed.

Those animals were definitely farsighted, Cavallo Point is absolutely idyllic and I am not surprised that it has been named one of the top 10 new American landmarks.

We had a fresh lunch at the Michelin starred restaurant in the lodge, called Murray Circle; we sat at a table outside watching amazed the Golden Gate bridge cropping up over the hill.

That is one of those times you just desire to stop the world and enjoy life: a lovely waiter took care of us in a really friendly and funny way serving us amazing food

The menu was absolutely appealing, but I choose a smoked chicken with poached eggs and bell peppers with bearnaise sauce; I am sure it was a great choice, because the combination, quality and taste of that food was delightful.

At night it is possible to enjoy live music at the Cavallo Point Farley Bar, while during the day you can reward yourself in the prestigious Healing Arts Center & Spa nestled in the trees and provided with a heated outdoor meditation pool.

I am not surprised to see its many international awards hung on the walls.

Whether for a relaxing holidays, a honeymoon or a family vacation, Cavallo point is simply the perfect location that you will not want to leave ever. And if you have a mascot, this is again the ideal place since this resort is dog-friendly.

I have to admit that my sentimentalism made me dream of myself one day there for a romantic escape in such a cozy, elegant and refined place. Who knows, sometimes dreams can just become true.

http://www.cavallopoint.com/

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Angels and Sins. Los Angeles and Las Vegas

30 Oct

The drive to Los Angeles is one again like seeing it in a movie, with one of my favorite albums ever from Red Hot Chili Peppers “Californication”. Lana del Rey has also been a good companion for the trip.

We met Cecilia at Urth Caffé in  Santa Monica beach. Urth in welsh means earth and has a really good italian cafes and products and in the past has won number 1 Coffee Restaurant in Los Angeles

Cecilia came to pick me up there with a vintage Jaguar, she was just amazing, it was funny to be in that kind of cars you don’t really see often in Europe. Again times for goodbyes, those one I don’t really like. It was time to separate from  Natasha after 10 days living 24 hours a day a wonderful trip. She would take her flight back to chicago after few hours.:-(

Los Angeles was neither in the top of the places I wanted to see, and probably I would have never came if here wouldn’t have lived  Cecilia, my great friend I introduced in “Mind the Gap” article. She got married last year and lives in West Hollywood with her husband Tony.

We could finally have another large chat face to face, and after have driven half city I cooked pasta at her place for her, Tony and a guy who would be with us the entire time: Santi: A friend of Tony who just moved to Los Angeles for work. From now on I will call him Al Bottino or Al Boludo.

I came to  Los Angeles as I wanted to see where Cecilia lived, what she would do in an ordinary day. I was not particularly excited about seeing something in particular apart from the Hollywood Sign.

I had an amazing time in LA, but honestly, I didn’t like this city too much. I think it is one of those places you might like specially if you work in  Cinema, Art , but to me, it did not give me any emotion. And some of you might know that when a place, a song, or a person doesn’t emotion me in some way, there is nothing to convince me. But the biggest emotion ever was hugging Cecilia and spend time with her in her new life.

The big surprise of my stop in La was that we would go to Las Vegas. We departed early in the morning.

It was four, sorry, five of us. An Uruguayan wanna-be actor in L.A. who claims to be Italian, a bonkers Irish photographer who never stops telling funny stories, a gipsy doll willing to travel from New York to Rio de Janeiro, a classy Neapolitan gipsy tired of the American junk food and the Italian version of the typical alienated semi-desperate American housewife. No, this is just a joke. I am sure that when her husband will stop using all the glasses of the kitchen in a single day just to drink some water and leave them all over the house, she will be just a happy wife.

The trip itself to the City of Sin was an experience. Being in the car as old schoolmates, listening to music and recording videos, making fun of the crazy drivers, and of course looking at the desert and the mountains made us stop speaking for few seconds. And along the way we realized that, even if we all came from different places and stories, we did have something in common: Barcelona, the beautiful Catalan city where we all spent some years of our life, and we all first met as friends, Tony and Santi 8 years ago, and Cecilia and myself in 2009.

Las Vegas is known not only as the City of Sin, but also the city of fake. A fake statue of liberty, a fake Empire state building, a fake tour Eiffel, a fake Como Lake, a fake dream and hope of becoming millionaire in its smoky and crowded casinos, and so on. In Vegas there is also a fake sky. Those who have never been there may not get it. Yes, when outside the sun is shining in the middle of the day, you enter some hotel mall and its ceiling is a dark sky. Fake dark. Just like at the Caesar’s Palace, where even the floor looks slippery like it had just rained. You walk to the Strip for hours and wonder how it is possible that somebody got this bizarre idea of creating a crazy city in the middle of the desert and make it the icon of debauchery, the place where, no matter what you do, it stays there forever.

Abbi and Harry: great californian hospitality.

30 Oct

Good Bye San Francisco. Next stop: San Luis Obispo. The route 101 also called PCH ( Pacific Highway Coast ) is one of the best ever, but Natasha had wished to drive through Big Basin Redwoods Park and I was really excited to accompany her in this.

We passed through a lovely forest, and we bumped into beautiful and tall trees, a deer and lots of squirrels that reminded me of London, where you can meet them very often.I really loved that break from the city, crowd, lights and being in the middle of nature.

For lunch we stopped at Monterey, just on the ocean and headed to Carmel by the sea: very tranquil and tidy, famous for its golf fields and for its beautiful houses owned by international jet set.

At San Luis Obispo (SLO) we were welcomed by the sweetest dog ever: Abbi: a 3 years old Goldman retriever and even though I am not the biggest dog friend I fell in love with her immediately. Honey-brown hair and the sweetest look, very well educated and respectful.

She is as sweet as her owners, Sarah and Derek. I had met Sarah in Chicago few days before but she had invited us to stop at her place while driving from San Francisco to LA.

I loved her house with soft colours with personalized decoration and a cozy kitchen.

Our hosts took us to have dinner at a really cool restaurant downtown SLO called Cioppinot: fresh and tasty food as well as the cocktails and wine, but we decided to go for a dessert at Cold Stone’s, a famous ice cream chain in USA. The specialty is that you choose your favorite snack from the bar and they cut it in many pieces and mix them with ice cream on a metal surface. Delicious.

The following morning I went for breakfast with Tosh and Sarah at Starbucks before to go to Avila Beach for a couple of hours. We walked on the sand and then on the pier until the end and also took the stairs that bring into the water from there and I remember to have seen those stairs in Baywatch. We saw a big black seal floating but I couldn’t catch a picture unfortunately.

I didn’t know that San Luis Obispo is famous for its many wineries. We went for a wine tasting afternoon at Tolosa and Claiborne & Churchill

We tasted a few wines and watched some of its processes while talking about everyday life.

I had the perfect excuse not to get too drunk since I had promised Sarah and Derek to cook for them for dinner.

The menu offered one: bruschetta with cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil, pasta with zucchini, ham and Parmesan and a Tiramisu for dessert and because the following day would be Sara’s birthday.

We had a lovely night, I also had the time to write a little bit on the blog and I liked it; I found that it is very relaxing and I am excited to think that wherever I will be, whenever I will want, I will be able to read it from any device.

Sarah, Derek and Abbi were great hosts; there are no words for thanking them.

She warned me that her brother Brad, who would be our next host, would keep the flag of hospitality high as well.

We just stop in Santa Monica for lunch and we get to Ventura to visit Brad and his lovely wife in the early afternoon.

We found another nice hairy guest:  Harry. I really can’t remember what kind of dog it is but he was really funny. He welcomed us together with Brad at the back of the house. An amazing house in a beautiful area. We got comfortable, had a Pacifico beer, had a chat with Brad and waited for his lovely wife to come back from work. In the meantime, Brad was preparing the barbecue.

Jennifer, Brad’s wife arrived around 6 pm and we started a nice chat, played with Harry and had an awesome barbecue with roasted potatoes and broccoli, accompanied by a delicious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by 2008: Stags’ Leap.

The company, the weather, the environment and the food was just exquisite, I really would like to thank these two cousins of Natasha with their partners, who made this Californian adventure authentic, genuine and absolutely fantastic. I felt at home at anytime.

If there is something I would have never imagined to do in US and that was probably a wish when I saw Tom Cruise in Top Gun is visiting a  military base.  Thanks again for adding this amazing value to my trip adventure.

San Francisco

28 Oct

I really appreciated that Natalie spontaneously offered herself to wake up at 5 am and take me and Natasha to the airport of Chicago since we had to fly to San Francisco at 8 am. Thank you again Nat!

It was the first time I flew Virgin America. Wow. Purple lights, brand new aircraft, nice  hostesses and stewardess. Every seat had an interactive screen. You can order food, drinks, and shop and listening to whatever kind of music, select artist and genres and also you can buy movies and watch them. I couldn’t resist in buying lovely fuchsia earphones onboard for just two dollars.

When the steward said to the microphone referring to the passengers: “good morning folks, thanks for waking up early to come with us onboard” I thought that this company was so cool. Could sound normal, but I had never heard it on a plane although I took many early planes in my life.

During the flight I wrote on my Ipad some parts of the blog even if it was extremely difficult, I don’t know how you like the ipad, but writing with this tool is not the most comfortable thing. In the meantime I listened to some music, and was inspired from this singer with an Italian name: Anna Calvi. I clicked on “play”and I was immediately fascinated by her voice and rhythm.

She gained the place in my favourite play list for this trip, especially Suzanne and I, No more words and Desire.

We went to rent a car for our trip to Los Angeles and a funny and chubby man from Indiana entertained us during the boring process. He told Natasha she looks like Kate Hudson, and it was something most of people who know her would say. And I do agree, she is so similar! So, Kate and me hopped on our WV Jetta and started our new adventure throughout California.

The weather was foggy in San Francisco, this is why is known as The Fog City but the road from the airport was fascinating and looking at the colored houses from the car was nice. It is often foggy just in the morning, actually after few hours the sun was shining incredibly

The ride was amazing, but I remained speechless at viewing the Bay Bridge, very similar to the Golden Gate. It is Grey, a little bit less famous than his red brother, but still amazing and huge. I had never seen something so huge that would connect two opposite parts of a bay. Wow.

While getting to the hotel we got to see some beautiful parts of San Francisco, passed through China Town and Little Italy where the main street is actually called  Corso Cristoforo Colombo. Many Italian flags surround all that street lamps and it is full of italian restaurants. I saw a grocery shop called Molinari, like my favorite drink ever: Sambuca Molinari. It is the only drink I really enjoy to drink since quite a few years now. I enjoy it on the rocks, or better say “con mosca”, which in English means “with a fly”. You basically add ice and few coffee beans to the sambuca and it looks like there was a fly inside.

Shops and restaurants on Corso cristoforo Colombo were all nice but the one I most liked was one called Panta Rei. Now, you might know I love this word because it is not only my favorite thought and favorite tattoo, but also because it is the title of this blog. And I found it quite special to find a place named like this.

After checking in at our hotel in Fisherman´s wharf, we walked to one of those really touristic places in the harbor. We were so hungry but Natasha was super excited for seafood and we went for it. We walked alongside the ocean, bumped into many souvenir shops, restaurants and bars, and I noticed one called Gigi & Rose, that made me think about my friend Gigi in London.

San Francisco is incredible, you drive up and down the steep rolling hills and some of the roads look quite scary to drive, it somehow reminds me of the one in Naples. There are nice old cable cars that go up and down the city at all times full of excited tourists. By the car it is beautiful going up to the hill and from there to see amazing views, trees, water and colorful buildings. And then go down again and get to see another beautiful spot.  We saw the Painted Ladies: very colorful and Victorian houses and a popular touristic attraction in San Francisco.

The most popular and photographed is Lombard Street. It has eight sharp turns that have earned the street the distinction of being the most winding street in the world The switchback’s design, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill’s natural grade which was too steep for most vehicles.

We drove a little bit the area of Castro and we ended up in Corona Heights, a lovely dog park with amazing views. The air there was fresh and intrigued by flowers and pines.

I had read somewhere that San Francisco hosts the largest chinese community in the world outside China, but I was surprised to see Japan town, also known as Little Osaka, which is as well the largest japanese community in US. Of course the streets name were written in Japanese.

For dinner we decided to try Panta Rei restaurant just for its name, and we found out that this was a good and well-known Italian restaurant. Staff was mainly Italian as the owner, a guy from Rome. When I told him I loved the name of this restaurant and showed him my tattoo he was so happy and amazed that asked to  take a picture of it and invited us for a drink.

I had a delicious spritz. Food was really good, it is good to feel at home sometimes, the burrata and lasagna were delicious and the handmade pasta with pesto was really good too. We had a quick chat with Andrea, a lovely guy from Turin who was working at the restaurant.

He said he was missing Italy after two years living in San Francisco and that seeing family and friends just through skype was becoming tougher and tougher for him. I am a gipsy born, but when roots call, the only thing you can do is thinking about coming back. It is good to live far away from family if it really worths though. Sometimes I think about the immigrants who took a ship from Naples and other European cities looking for a better life in Americas. They did not have skype, or mobile, and I am sure they had toughest times to get to live a new life without their beloved knowing that they would probably never see them again.

We are a different generation, most of the times we go abroad looking for inspirations and new excitements, not too often for a need. I got a little  melancholic (again) after that chat but then we left the lovely restaurant and went for a drink at the Clift, a lovely boutique hotel part of the Morgans Hotels Group. There is an historic bar in the lobby called “Redwood Room”,  very elegant and with an enormous bar  which, legend says it was carved from a single redwood tree.

Its lounge furniture was designed by Starck and  throughout the room are hung displayed  digital artwork on plasma television.

Before to hop on a taxi to the hotel we decided to walk a little bit those  steep streets and it was funny. My first impression on this city was really positive.

Good night San Fran ( this is how locals call it)

La Sirena Clandestina

24 Oct

Brazil and Argentina are two forthcoming visiting countries after Mexico and USA and I was so happy to find one of the best restaurants ever that would mix mainly these two cuisines together with other Latin culinary masterpieces.

La Sirena Clandestina has opened just a week ago in the West Loop, but me and Dino from outside we immediately understand that place would be special since it was packed, and with really nice people too. Staff was  adorable, it was  nice to see the chef coming out with his just made dishes and taking them to the tables. There is kind of a good vibe in this place, ” buena onda” I would say.

The ambience is quite dark, with floorboards taken from an Evanston church and 1940s chairs taken from old schools and a Brigitte Bardot picture on the wall.

While waiting to be served we had some fries and I asked for a Negra Modelo, which is among my favourite beers ( they are all mexican though)  and then we took a look at the menu, where there was evidence of south america melting pot.

Dishes were divided into De la calle, De la Casa and Al lado. We ordered empanadas and provoleta first: typical argentinian food:  I have been many times to Argentina, and they were exactly like those I had tasted outhere; my lime and coriander risotto was delicious and delicate, even if Dino wouldn’t like it so much as he is not a big fan of Coriander.. Picanha was tender and juicy, pao de queijo was spongy and tasty and i was finally enjoing a meal in all its species.

I heard ithat the chef John Manion strictly used local ingredients while being influenced by the flavors of Latin America.

De La Calle features more typical South American street food, like daily fresh ceviche and empanadas that will always be baked and not fried and this is specified into the menu.

De La Casa section will have larger plates like a pork loin Milanesa. It is what in italy call Cotoletta alla Milanese, a typical dish from that city.

Al Lado section is for  sides and salads because that’s what comes with the food.

I liked the fact that in the menu I found easy and simple dishes, not fashionable  nor too sophisticated but those that you would eat at home.  I think there is more and more need to be back at tradition and simple things and this restaurant interpretaded this need at his best, as for the warm welcome to the guests, recicled decoration and mama’s cuisine.

Don’t miss it when in Chicago, it is in the West Loop and the address is:

954 W Fulton Market (at Morgan) Chicago, IL.

You might need this number to get information about opening times or other requests, but at La Sirena Clandestina it is not possible to book a table.

Telf: 60607 312-226-5300

official website  www.lasirenachicago.com

Safari dentro la mia testa

24 Oct

How lucky I am! I was visiting Chicago just during  Lorenzo Cherubini, aka Jovanotti’s concert in the “Windy City”, last 17th October at a very small theatre, “The Vic”.

I had met few days before a friend in New York who had been to  Jovanotti’s sold out concert at the Teminal 5; he had told me it had been incredible, and I was so looking forward to attend as well!

I would have gone on my own if my friend Dino living in Chicago offered himself to come with me. I really appreciated it since he told me he was not  a great fan, but he was sure we would have had a nice time, and actually so it was.

Jovanotti in Italy is a star, he normally plays in huge places with millions of fans. This time it was weird to understand he would play in a small theatre for  a small audience like he would be an emerging singer.

Natalie took to the venue by car, crossing the whole city during the rush hour traffic; we were getting a little stressed and afraid not to make it but it was nice to have a chat with her meanwhile.

I finally arrived on time;  Dino was stuck in the traffic as I had been, so I bought a quite bad beer and had a tour of the theatre on my own. I wandered through the little theatre full of Italians for one night. It was nice to feel a little bit at home so far away and surrounded by compatriots.

When Dino arrived we searched for the best spot where to enjoy the concert, we cheered up with our Corrs beer and suddenly Lorenzo appeared on the stage, flesh and blood, thinner than ever  in a flashy red suit.

He played quite a few  songs, we  danced so much wearing  a cool hat that my twin sister Rubina had given me before to leave: white with a big red written “JOVA”. She he had bought  it few months ago at Jovanotti’s concert in Rome.

I  enjoyed singing the songs I grow up with. Actually, Lorenzo 1994 was the first cd I bought in my life,  containing masterpieces like Serenata Rap , Penso Positivo, Piove and Io ti cerchero. Some of the songs that most reminds me of my adolescence.

After the concert, Dino and I went to a 24 hours dining room in perfect Pulp Fiction style called Clarke’s. It reminded me of the first scene of Pulp Fiction, when Pumpkin and  Honey Bunny  decide to rob the diner where they were having breakfast.

I was glad that Dino did not think about saying: “Everybody be cool, this is a robbery” like in the movie, but he just ordered pancakes with maple while I went for a delicious hot dog and fries.

I went to sleep with “Safari”‘s lyrics on my mind: Safari dentro la mia testa ci sono più bestie che nella foresta. From italian: safari, inside my head there are more beasts than in the forest , and probably it is just the truth.

I think in this trip I will have quite a few chances to make a chat with the “beasts” in my head. At least that’s the plan.

Authentic american experience in Michigan City

24 Oct

Among the plans for sightseeing in Chicago, Natasha organized a little tour to Michigan City, her native city and where she spent most of her life. Natalie also came with us to spend the day. I told her I was absolutely happy to see it and go a little bit in the deep of American culture, far from skyscrapers and tourists. And I had a lovely day there with all her beautiful and big family.

It took about one hour to get there by car, and our first stop was at Tosh’s mum place, Sally,  a lovely house in the middle of the green with a great flag outside and 3 tremendous rot-wailers inside. Of course they all decided to jump at me when they first saw me. Sally had decorated her house in a proper Halloween American style. I liked it so much and she told me she had pumped up a little bit this year because it was the last year she would have the last kid at home. Her youngest daughter, Sidney, would leave soon for University in California. “Best Witches” on the wall, pumpkins everywhere and spiders and spiderwebs ( fake of course) making this house a witch one. I adored it!

We also took a look at the city, passing through Tosh’s father house, office, Tosh’s school and of course she showed me around in her childhood place. That was nice. If it was not for her I would probably not have visited this city again, and the day was so funny dealing with all this big family issues. We had lunch on the lake, at a place called Swingbelly, with all locals and had a proper hamburger. It felt good to be in that place, I really felt like a gringo among all americans. After lunch we took again the car and drove to Garwood’s Orchard, a family run farm established in Michigan City since 180 years. This place is very well known for its apple trees, and for the trade of apples and for producing one of the greatest culinary discovery in US: apple caramel topped with peanuts. Delicious. In US is quite popular but I had never had one. We wandered around the farm, in theis time of the year full of pumpkins outside and also bought some delicious candies to bring at Natasha’s Grandpas.

It was again very sweet to be in the middle of nowhere, in the house of two 80 something lovely couple, exploring their house full of family pictures and listening to their funny family stories. It is beautiful when you get into another culture, another country house, especially because you get to see things you might probably seen only in movies. Tosh’s grandmother is amazing, very funny and despite the age she looks very bright. I saw again Hailey, Tosh’sister, which I had met in Naples 2 years ago. Patrick is the only male cousin so far, but he is so funny and nice, and with the dream to come to London soon. There was also Sarah, another cousin that I would meet in California since she would host me and natasha there.

After Michigan city is time for another great moment of the trip: Jovanotti’s concert. I have been so lucky to be in Chicago just during one of my favourite italian  singers’ tour in US.

Aside

The city that never sleeps

18 Oct

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Nyc is just fascinating, when you walk those streets looks like all the songs come to your head and want to go through the mouth and shout them loud. I might sound weird but i walked and i suddenly wanted to dance, and sing, and  – talking about dancing-  i saw a pub a sign on the wall that said: no dancing allowed. No, it is not a Joke ! is it not too funny? i though bout Sandrine, my partner in crime, who with i love to dance. i couldn’t imagine to be there in that pub and not be able to dance.

And i have seen things i had never seen before in any other city. The smoke coming out from the ground in the middle of manhattan sounded quite weird to me

This city spreads out smokes and energy in such different ways, and probably this is one of those.

New york is pure energy, flavours, cultures, surprise, life, music, movies, but it has also somehow disappointed me as i found it quite dirty, specially the subway even if I really like the silver color and the shiny American flag on it. On NYC subway passengers have to guess at what time it will come the next train and guess which is the next station unless you don’t want to go very close to the small indication or listen to a crazy subway driver who shouts which is the next stop. One day it was really bizarre, he kind of started to sing when we arrived at times square, everybody started to laugh of course.

That is nice in new york, people interacts, smiles if you look at them, helps you if you need them. That is something i don’t often find in london, but i dont like to generalize nor criticise, probably i have been just lucky to find 99% of the people extremely friendly.

You just ask for a street direction and they start a conversation, no matter if banal or not. There is a lot of contact in ny, physical and mental. I love it.
My first morning in NYC has been really nice, and the waking up funny. Maurizio was wearing a freeze blue mask which he believes is a good anti hangover. Its therapy remedy doesn’t really convinces me, but at least makes me laugh. Plus, with the mask he decided to imitate the statue of liberty just on the window with all the buildings behind. This guy is so funny. I laughed again. Around noon, me and Maurizio joined Jo Anne in the west village and we walk through that area that i really liked a lot. On the street there was a funny photo shooting with a girl crossing with a bizarre pink flower hat and with a fake dog . It might be ordinary in this area but I found it quite funny. We went for a brunch at Tartine, a nice french bistrot on 253 W11th  between 4th St. and Waverly place . I asked  – as usual for brunch for eggs Benedict since they are my favourites.

After Tartine we walked towards soho,  stopped through Magnolia cupcakes, this one in particular famous for having hosted some episodes from Sex and the city. We pass through a street full of italian restaurant, bars and tricolor flags. There is even a school called lady of Pompeii. I went to the real Pompei few weeks ago, and i remembered of an expression you say to someone who really wants something in life: go to lady of Pompei by foot, and you will get it! It is kind of peregrinage thing.
 
After have walked through soho we decided to go to Midtown, together with Chris as well, who in the meantime had joined us after the brunch. He is a funny guy from london,  a colleague of Maurizio; i will always remember him for his polite sentence: “has one ….”

We walked all the popular streets with important griffes and labels, the Trump tower, Tiffany& co, Bergdorf godman and I enjoyed the Apple store a lot, especially the entrance, its stairs and elevator.

Central park is another place i had imagined quite a lot. I liked the contrast of the green tall trees and the silver super tall skyscrapers in the background. We sat down for a while  and then I said them good-bye and  did what i was dreaming of doing a lot lately… walking on my own through the streets and avenues of new york, discovering some new corners and getting a little bit lost.
I walked down the 57th and didn’t even look at map, i decided to follow the road i liked most and i walked right and left and then… And then there was Times Square in front of me. This place symbol of the big apple, icon of the most advertised squares in the world..it was breath-taking, i don’t know why. Then I kept walking towards 34th street and Penn station, did some shopping and  realized it was time to hurry up and join Maurizio and Chris for dinner.

In the tube i bumped into a guy with a 80’s style jeans jacket with white wool inside. I dont know if it was made by him. But on the back there was a picture of a young and quite beautiful lady with the following sentence: ” r.i.p. mum” with the date of born and death.

Now,with all respect, i don’t know if it is more bizarre if the guy made it himself to commemorate his mum, or if he bought it and it is one of the many fashion bizarre trends.

Maurizio was already at his friend’s flat, he had promised her to cook pasta. I arrived there around 9 pm and there was already a lovely smell of a lovely handmade pesto sauce. While Maurizio with the help of Chris was in charge of the pasta, I had a nice chat with April and her two friends. I talked about my trip and as everybody so far, were so excited for me and encouraged and support the choice by giving me tips and energy for my trip.

That upper east side penthouse was really amazing, with an incredible roof terrace with stunning views. I remained on my own up there looking at the high ends of the buildings. I love this city. It makes my heart beat.
Although people looked very friendly, they had all early night plans, and so i decide to join  Ivan on my own.  We had planned to meet for some drinks. Ivan is a school mate i probably had not seen for 12 years. It was nice to update each other with the little news we respectively had about the rest of the school mates. I felt a little bit old remembering teenager moments with him that looked so far away. I joined him and some friends at Pravda, a subterranean Russian speak easy/caviar bar in Soho, at 281 LaFayette street;  You can taste over 70 different Vodkas in this place but I had one of the few ones I really like, the cranberry one.

After few drinks at Pravda we headed to Boom-Boom Room, on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in Meatpacking.

Stunning views, a quite bad Sambuca and nice environment. Ivan left pretty early, and so did the others, but I decided to stay.

It was my last night in New York and didnt want to go back home, so I stayed.  As I was fancying a cigarette, I went to the top and i passed through a crowded place full of very young excited and drunk people, and when i finally got upstairs i had my cigarette and talked to different people, a guy from chile, a girl from Sweden, another from Latvia and some people from Ny. It is nice to talk to strangers, have a chat and just leave it there. It was so freezing and windy at some point so I decided to leave and go to sleep.

I love NY at night, there is people everywhere at all times,  it is so true that it never sleeps!

Labels and Love in NYC

17 Oct

 

While going for a ride on a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty on a tranquil Sunday morning on my own, I  read on a paper that in 1626 a Dutch settler  bought Manhattan from the native americans for goods valued at 24 $.

The name Manhattan comes from the Lenape language  and means island of many hills.

But I like to believe another quite popular theory: that it comes from one of three Munsi words “Manahactanienk”, literally  “place of inebriation“.

Who has been in NYC and did not feel this feeling? Is it not a place you all feel a little bewitched?

I wonder if it’s  inebriation of those  who love New York as the perfect city for singles, or those who have watched too many romantic movies where it is conceived as the city of love.

Woody Allen might believe that NYC is a romantic city, in quite a few of his movies people found  love in the Big Apple, such as Manhattan, When Harry Met Sally and Annie Hall.

If you ever watched Sex and The City you might  think about NYC as the place for Love.

Actually, Carrie Bradshow, says that women go to NYC for two L’s: Labels and Love.

The large amount of advertisements and fashion label storefronts were just like you see in the movies.

Without wanting to spoil anything I decided to take this blog a different way, to the second part of Carrie’s tagline: Love.

There are some movie scenes which you would watch and imagine  thousand times.

For instance, if a stranger bumped into me and another stranger like Mr Big would help me pick my stuff up  from the ground that fell out from my bag.

Yes, I am talking about Carrie meeting Mr Big for the first time.

Every body has had or has a Mr Big in their life.  No matter if you are a loser or a winner in love, sometimes you have lived a relationship not with the same intensity of the other person.

Mr Big has been so far clearly emotionally unavailable, but sometimes you go with it anyway and deal with the emotions you may feel. Even when you know it will be automatically over when he kisses you goodbye.

No matter if you are in one of the coolest cities of the world, and the streets, lights and the people out here are calling you, the only thing you want is to  stop the world in four walls (either if you are in a basement or at the floor 50 something of an amazing building in Manhattan).

While planning my trip I had dreamed about the perfect night that consisted of hopping in a yellow cab with Mr. Big, ending up in a 30’s style restaurant, and enjoying a Sucker Punch cocktail before delighting in a delicious meal.

And of the perfect morning waking up with a Nespresso coffee in one hand and a heavenly Sausalito cookie in the other while viewing a private dance to a song like “Sex is on fire” by Kings of Leon.

I was fortunate enough that some of the things I dreamt of actually came true.

It’s an absolutely amazing feeling when your heart is beating. No matter for who, no matter with who nor where.

Living independently on how it goes afterwards is good.

It helps and it is worth making mistakes and risking, otherwise  we probably wouldn’t ever fall in love, we would not grow up and learn in life.

We wouldn’t know what makes your heart beat  and what leaves you indifferent. It can be a great discovery every time.

Ending my blog, I would like to quote some Carrie’s sacred words on relationships.

“Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the “YOU” you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”

New York is “Awesome”

16 Oct

Probably the word I have more listened to during my days in NYC is “awesome”   – and I liked it, maybe because it is not very common in UK. And probably also because I felt immediately that that adjective was the first one I would consider to describe this city at my very first second.

The first place I have stepped in NYC once out of the tube, has been the World Trade Center when I was heading at Maurizio’s place, where I would be staying during those days.

Might have been the jet lag or the fact I was distracted, but I didn’t recognize at first sight something I had seen  million times on TV; it took me few second before to realize I was walking by one of the places that would leave its mark on the entire world:  ground zero.

I felt NYC’s energy immediately, people walking fast, yellow taxi zipping through the wide streets, random people from any cultural background, colorful and shiny lights, high building  and all of that made me simply feel happy.

While I was waiting for Maurizio down his building to pick me up, a man came and say: Have a nice weekend. I looked at him a little bit surprised and he said again : just  have a nice weekend.

I was dazed. Sometimes the first feeling when a stranger talks to us is that we think he wants to make something bad to us. But it was not, he was just nice and probably seeing me with a luggage wanted to give me a nice word. I felt guilty for having looked at him as he was akward. Probably we just lost the habit of a simply warm speech with a stranger.

I unpacked my staff at Maurizio’s 19th floor lovely place, we had a quick chat and waited for his friend  Chris to join and we had few drinks before to go out.  I have such a funny video of that night. Despite my jet lag and tiredness, we went out  we were all full of energy. And for those who know me or Maurizio, it might not sound a surprise.

Just down the corner of his place in the financial district there were many tv cameras, something I would see very often in few days in NYC. This time it was Gossip Girl.

People really likes fiction here, Maurizio is a great fan of How I met your mother. Its soundtrack will always remind me of the city from now on!

We first went to the West Village, had few drinks there and then walked to Meatpacking to a club called 77.

I ended up having to babysit Maurizio afterwards with a glass of champane in the taxi singing ‘new york new york’.

Close to home there was a clochard surrounded by  many bags and stuff,  watching tv in his laptop. I had never seen a clochard watching tv in the street. ( as the lyrics New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in new york, new york new york! )

I counted the hours I had been up without sleeping. 48. Forty-eight.So excited. First night in the city that never sleeps and I already found something in common with this crazy city. Good night

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