Buddha is always Buddha!

The weirdest place to find in Portugal is Buddha Eden.

Don’t know if you like parks, but I adore calm places to walk around, zoo and botanical gardens. But most I like really weird kitsch places, which you don’t expect to find in the place they are located, it changes environment and the mood fundamentally.

The Portugal is so calm, has beautiful nature of southern Europe, calm cozy cities. And then you are driving to the place called Buddha Eden, oriental park with all the possible oriental flora and even some fauna like koi fishes, shapes of the lakes and paths and hundreds of Buddha statues.

35 hectares of Art in the name of all the Bamiyan Buddha destroyed in Afghanistan in 2001.

The most surprising that all the park looks not like something unnatural, all the statues seems real and old, so you are losing the feeling that you are in Europe. But also you can find here the great example of modern art. The craziest thing impressed me is a copy of the huge part of Chinese terracotta army even with horses, made in electric blue color.

The project is impressive in craziness and idea behind, made me happy to be there.

Where: 1 hour drive on the way to Peniche (surfer’s paradise with longest waves in the world)

When: Any sunny day, 1-2 hours to walk around, make photos, eat your precious sandwich (don’t forget).

Web: http://www.centerofportugal.com/buddha-eden-garden/

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Do you want to be advised on logistics? We will be happy to share! Skype us to Leone Principessa

Simple and Easy to Use. Part 2. Ode to small marketing man.

I wear boots. And not that boots for girls, but Boots, the main goal of which to warm my weak ankles in the terrible cold below plus five. I have Leone, he also wears boots, and like real men, we accept only boots with laces.

And this remarkable moment in the morning, when we postponed the alarm several times, cancelled breakfast again, didn’t dry hair enough after shower, we put our boots in a hurry to be in the office by 09:00. Pull the laces in a hurry, not counting the force, and suddenly! laces didn’t sustain the stress of the morning!

My first thought – I will tie as it is, then we must go to a store today and buy new ones. The next thought – it is necessary to measure the length of lace, so at the store not to be dull in front of the counter. The next thought – my laces, in fact, are a bit long, it would be good to estimate the length a bit shorter laces to make accurate bow. The next thought – run to work, later I will think about it. Many thoughts, a little actions. As a result, nearly a year I go around with torn laces.

Sometimes lace falls out of the hole and to put it back – the whole amazing adventure.

The other day at the supermarket, buying food, stumbled on the stand with laces. What you need to buy laces? Color which fits, everything is there. To know the length, do not know, as we are not prepared. To know adjusted length, even more so. And the best is to have old lace with you, but it is, of course, stayed at home with the boots.

And how nice when on the back side of the package we see this lovely picture! How carefully by the manufacturer to draw it! This is a project, not just text, but the picture! And someone thought, how to make a buying of laces Comfortable, went to the management, got a place on the pack, persuaded the designer to draw a picture, persuaded technicians to reconfigure the printer on production. And here I am standing in the supermarket and I am surprised with such a Simple solution.

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Laces, however, bought only for Leone. There was no my length at the supermarket, but that’s another story.

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Hearty and friendly Belgrade.

Air Serbia has a flight from Moscow to Milan with six-hour stop in Belgrade. We took these tickets just because it was half less price than a direct flight. Stewardesses are all with red lips, friendly and positive, as, indeed, the taxi driver from the airport to the city, and it’s not possible to not give him tips really.

Out from six hours of stop we had, of course, only three to visit Belgrade. We are both not the first time in the city, but Leone was here quite passing through, so I had chosen all the places based on my experience, which impressed me the fist time I was here.

First of all, lunch. There are a lot of cozy cafes in the city with a warm atmosphere, a bit hipster, but matured. We had lunch in Smokvica, a wonderful little place with light Italian and almost middle east cuisines. Incredible blue walls, high ceilings, a live fireplace, huge wooden windows.  Leone, of course, did not miss the opportunity to treat himself with Serbian wine.

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When we were full, we went to the Museum of Nikola Tesla. Weather in Belgrade, after -20 in Moscow, to put it mildly, is spring. Two days before our arrival, the snow fell, and now +6 seems like in March. Warmed ourself.

Nikola Tesla Museum. All I know about this incredible scientist and his inventions, all from this museum. In my opinion, the nicest museum I have ever visited. Every hour a charismatic young man with perfect English tells to visitors of museum (with us it was 25-30 people) about inventions of Tesla, which were so many that by issuing patents each month it would be enough for a lifetime. What is most remarkable is that the young man switches on and shows all the museum’s exhibits, gives to touch and try all of them. It turned out that Leone knew really little about Nikola Tesla, and he was surprised and very happy to visit the museum.

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After the museum we went to take a look at the Danube, but lost a way, as usual, and wandered into the street with closed bars. The city is very beautiful: ancient buildings, small hidden streets and an incredible amount of street art, and not bright, but smart, non-intrusive, covering the sad empty gray walls of houses.

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For a while we could not find a place where you can call a taxi to airport (catching taxi on the road is not possible), somehow reached fuel station, and only just asked refuel girl where we would call a taxi, she immediately took out her phone and called.

People here like this, always ready to help, to explain, friendly and hearty. Maybe that’s why the atmosphere in Belgrade so warm, as people.

We sat already in the plane, which was raising in the air, when snow began again. For the first time I took off through the wall of snow. Beautiful.

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On the whole, just stop between flights, but very intensely positive emotions as a result. Warm and delicious.

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  1. P.S.: Need practical advice on traveling in Balkans? Check this post of Leone here.

Smokvica: http://smokvica.rs/srb/

 

Simple and Easy to Use. Part 1.

I’m extremely glad when the ideas are simple and serve to the convenience of many people. That’s what this series of posts will be about it.

Part №1 found me in a huge clinic in Milan.

Navigation system so simple for the user. Panel with the halls and colored lines on the floor, leading in the right direction.

Navigation System

So easy to use when you urgently in need, because it hurts, when you’re in a panic rushed for help, when there is no time to altercate with the information desk, when you do not speak the local language to clarify direction. Stunning!

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A bit of junk in the capital of fashion

Junk markets. Flea markets. Garage sales.

In my opinion, the best souvenirs are a local food and things that talk about the culture of the place. What could be more authentic then everyday objects from houses of locals, moreover with 40-50 year story? Flea market – the best place to look for such things.

There is some kind of magic In this, against which it’s not possible to resist. The thing that served to previous generations and still works, in excellent condition, causes respect to the creator, the engineer, the user that saved it, the seller, that cleaned and repaired it. For some reason I always want to give a second, and maybe a third chance to these things.

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Me and Leone settled down in vintage apartment in the center of Milan, with high ceilings, wooden windows, walls of sand and pebbles, old ceramic, about which I will write a separate post. The apartment – a paradise for a pack rat like me, here any object of junk “relics” any place you will put is in its place. Considering these conditions I couldn’t resist an impulse to visit one of the largest flea markets that I’ve ever seen.

Milan holds several big flea markets, all one / two days. Large flea markets are interesting because sellers do only this professionally, they know everything about the junk, restore “antiques” and they know in what buyers will be interested. Because of this there are mainly really sensible specimens are represented, and quite a bit rubbish, but then there are two disadvantages for me – a lot of antiques (I’m not a fan) and a lot of replicas (look like the old, but new inside, no romance). Usually I prefer small flea markets. Rental cost of places are cheap and sellers are not very professional, they are selling everything they could find, sometimes frank rubbish in which you should insistently try to look for treasure, but this is actually the pleasure. But the biggest flea market in Milan on the Grand Canal (Naviglio Grande) is legendary, it worth to go there just for the atmosphere, and likely weekend when it took place was clear and with beautiful sunny weather.

Flea market on the Grand Canal is held every last Sunday of the month and is called Mercatone dell’Antiquariato. For this market they close traffic in the whole district, and the entire channel and small streets around are filled in with the sellers of vintage furniture, clothing, household items, antiques, coins, stamps and other treasures.

The plan was to go to the flea market in the morning, and to drive to the festival of street food for lunch. Of course, in the morning we overslept (Sunday!), and got out of the house only for lunch. Oh, those beautiful days when the autumn is warm and sunny. In Moscow these days are maximum a week. But in Milan it is possible to enjoy them a couple-three weeks. We took bikes and rode to the festival to have a lunch.

Food fest 1

Festival street food is a field with 40-50 stalls offering mainly Italian cuisine, there are many of Southern cuisine representatives, a large number of manufacturers of home-brewed beer. I must pay tribute to the Italians (in my understanding they are conservative in food too much), the biggest queue was to the Greek pavilion. Asian cuisine almost not presented, giant pavilion with American fast food, hung round with flags, incredible sandwiches with octopus, arrosticino.

Me and Leone took couple of home-brewed beer and stand in two long queues: for the sandwiches with octopus, it was difficult to pass them, because these very octopuses were so attractively fried on grill. They were simply cut into pieces, sprinkled with lemon juice and put into the bread. The second kiosk, which we didn’t missed, was with arrosticino, skewers of small pieces of lamb.

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Well-fed and in a playful because of beer mood we went to the flea market.

Our visit began with the edges of the market, where space is usually cheaper and stuff is easier, but it was clear already here, that these comrades don’t have simple stuff at all.

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Firstly furniture. Unbelievable representatives of 50s-60s, restored, usable, chairs of all types and design, incredible tables, chairs, cabinets, lamps. What to say if there is conducted the world’s largest furniture exhibition in Milan. Milan is a place of power for furniture manufacturers.

Then the objects of Italian life. Here I didn’t know where to look: the plates, pots and pans, keys and locks, coffee pots-vases-pitchers, a paradise for me!

And sellers who specialize in one thing. Sunk deep into my mind a large place of the old chronometers and sorted by a small box clock-faces, hands, buttons, chains, and a small space with retro lamps.

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But to go to the flea market and do not set goals to yourself is a bit boring, because it is necessary to look for something to elbow deep into boxes with old utensils. I’ve been looking for a small furniture handles. And it turned out that the we need them in house, because someone twisted knobs out of our bed, and we need something to replace them. I have three, and, unfortunately, still looking for the fourth. And also all the spades-mixers in the kitchen needs some glass to put them in, we decided to look for. Nothing was found, but the next time we will find them, is not a big deal.

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However without doing some shopping it’s boring too. I do not like the decorative stuff, which you can’t use in everyday life, but in this dish felt in love at the first sight! And Leone went home with nice Choo-Choo twins with small trains. Everybody is happy!

We didn’t walk around the whole market, too huge. Now I’m planning to find something smaller and more rubbish, the handle is still needed.

Principessa

Drvengrad and Life is a Miracle

If I knew that such a place exists, I could not sleep without visiting it

The choice of a road from Serbia to Bosnia and Herzegovina was obvious when on side note of Lonely Planet suddenly we found the village of Emir Kusturica, which he built for the filming of his Life Is a Miracle. What can I say? We are going there!
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The village is allocated on the slope of Mokra Gora, in one hour drive from the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the road is not in the least main, mountains, lakes, 2-3 hours from Sarajevo, 4-5 hours from Belgrade, only pleasure to go.

The description of the guide was short, so it was not quite clear what we could find there. Evaluated our expectations: Commercial outrage, organized by the locals on the remains of luxury, or completely abandoned wasteland.

It was nice to see that a group of very friendly people takes care about the the village, that the village works not only for the curious travelers like me and Leone, but also as a school of cinema and each year hosts International Film Festival Kustendorf, the special features of which – the intentionally missed red carpet.

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20-25 wooden houses, there in addition to the guest rooms is a cinema also (above all!), showing Kusturica movies, couple of kitsch restaurants with a very good local food, super friendly waiters and old American music, where we dined, library, church, pool.

On the streets named in honour of personal heroes of Kusturica (Tesla, Maradona, Che, Fellini…) are cars from the film, local vendors sell souvenirs in small kiosks. Best souvenir for us – wool socks, of course. On the wall of one of houses there are portraits of Gagarin, Maradona and Che.

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Incredible place with an amazing atmosphere. Such an atmosphere I felt only later in Sarajevo, as the replacement of which Kusturica built for himself this village.

Principessa