Mitzpe Ramon and His Majesty the Negev Desert

Mizpe Ramon Negev desert IsraelAlthough I’m in a desert, it’s surprisingly cold. This is because of the wind, which has been blowing hard since the moment I set foot on Mitzpe Ramon, a settlement in the middle of the Negev desert.

It blows through my hair and the gaping crater, howling endlessly into the depth and swirling back to me. I’m sitting on a cliff with a flat top, which plummets under my feet into the emptiness of the erosion cirque -the largest in the world.

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Mitzpe Ramon’s Ibex Desert Inn: the perfect place to reset my mind

Ibex desert inn mitzpe ramon israelAfter the never-sleeping Tel Aviv and the amazingly chaotic Jerusalem, I completely relaxed my body, mind and soul in Mitzpe Ramon, a small urban settlement at the heart of the Negev desert. Here, I stayed at the Ibex Desert Inn, a colourful boutique hotel with an artistic vibe.

Run by the lovely Aviva, this seven-room boutique hotel is homey and welcoming. It provided a peaceful place where I could finally relax and breathe in all the beautiful emotions of my two-week trip around Israel.

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As seen on the streets of Tel Aviv: a street art guide

tel aviv street art After attending so many urban art festivals in the last year, it was so refreshing to wander around the alleys of Tel Aviv! Here the street art is still young, spontaneous, and new to my eyes.

Known as the city that never sleeps, Tel Aviv has a  growing street art scene that is vibrant and very diverse. While some artists directly address political issues, others just want to beautify the streets and use their colourful art to make people forget about their problems (and the fact that they are living in a war zone).

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Abandoned places in Rome

abandoned places in rome urbex romaThere is this thing with visiting places that are in your town: procrastination. It’s like the paradox of arriving late if you live close-by. I’ve simply begun accepting it, looking to enjoy some local explorations and keep the focus on a place that I thought I knew rather well. And so, here are four long-put-off urban explorations in Rome –and another similar post is coming soon. How soon, we’ll see. Keep reading →

Banksy’s hotel in Bethlehem opens to mixed reviews -and my personal adoration

Banksy hotel bethlehemWhen Banksy opened The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem, everybody had a strong (and often negative) opinion about it. They said he sold out, they said he is making a profit from other people’s misery, they said he betrayed ‘the street’. They said these and many other things, although none of these people had actually been on the corner between Caritas Street and the infamous wall.
Well, I was at Banksy’s controversial hotel in Bethlehem, and I liked it.

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Choose Metaxourgeio

Metaxourgeio Athens Choose the Acropolis. Choose the Ancient Agorà. Choose Plaka. Choose Kolonaki. Choose the shopping on Ermou Street. Choose the marbles, the history, and the museums. Choose the cobbled streets, the souvenir shops and the panoramic view from the terrace of a fancy restaurant. Choose the cruise. Choose an idyllic Greek island. Choose the beach, the sea, the sun, and the cocktails with little umbrellas sticking out of the top. Choose to suck life in a disciplined way through a brightly-coloured straw.

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The Balkan Florence Express film festival (2017)

Balkan Florence Express 2017

I’m back in Florence for yet another edition of the excellent Balkan Florence Express, the film festival devoted to Balkan movies and organized by Cecilia Ferrara and Simone Malavolti with the help of Oxfam Italia. This year’s programme is richer than last year’s; it focuses less on the war and its consequences and more on present-day ordinary life in the Balkan countries, through different topics and cinema genres, from comedy to mockumentary. Keep reading →

Why you should visit Ohrid in winter

Ohrid in winterThe Ottoman houses on the shore of the lake are veiled in the morning mist, as if they were white ghosts against a blanket of white. This enveloping whiteness hovers over the wooden boats scattered around the lake and swallows the crown of houses ranged around it. Nevertheless, I know how beautiful the view is, having seen countless postcard-perfect pictures of this UNESCO-listed lake, which is one of the oldest in the world. Keep reading →