MADAGASCAR – The Pousse Pousse

MADAGASCAR – The Pousse Pousse

Madagascar

In Madagascar, many of the most practiced jobs are those that still require human strength. You can see it in the fields, in the shops, in the construction sites and certainly in this row the pousse-pousse riders fall, the typical Malagasy rickshaw which is one of the most used means of travel in many cities.

There are different types, but what unites them is the fact that they are always colorful and often small pieces of art in movement, they always attract the attention of people.

In Madagascar everyone uses pousse-pousse every day, from students to workers, to women who come and go from the markets. It is the cheapest alternative to buses and taxis, but it is also the most convenient way to go through the narrow and crowded streets of the city centers.

The capital of its use is undoubtedly Antsirabe, but it is widespread and common in all the main cities of Madagascar.

Even for tourists it is a pleasant attraction, real city tours are organized in pousse-pousse where you travel lulled by the rhythm of the steps of the rider and you can see the landscape and local life slowly parading on the sides.

The local imagination is very striking, often for children it is one of the jobs they would like to do when they grow up.

Do you know that Morocco was the set of numerous Kolossal?

Do you know that Morocco was the set of numerous Kolossal?

Marocco Marrakech

The love between Morocco and cinema was born with the birth of the cinema: it is said that as far back as 1896 Louis and Auguste Lumière have traveled to Morocco several times to resume moments of everyday life.

It is therefore no coincidence that a very strong union has developed between film producers, attracted by new “Studios” and by the multiple opportunities they offer, and the territory itself, particularly evocative for settings that often go beyond the context of the landscape itself.

The numerous films shot make Morocco very familiar to the whole world, instilling a very welcome, enveloping and exotic image in travelers who dream of reliving the adventures dreamed and admired in films with possible travel, full of strong emotions.

At the “Studios” of Ouarzazate, still active and with scenic settings still in existence, you can still relive numerous sets of successful films: Kundun, The Gladiator, Othello, The Mummy – The Return, The Jewel of the Nile, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra: despite their location was elsewhere, they were almost entirely shot here.

There are also films set in Morocco that often take on a connotation just like a “travel experience” in these lands, with an “on the road” component or the search for an “elsewhere”. Just think of Marrakech Express, The Sheltering Sky, A Train to Marrakech.

Then there are other very evocative films that have contributed to increase a mystical and exotic dimension to the destination, but which however have not been entirely shot in Morocco. Starting from the famous Casablanca, passing through The Wind and the Lion, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Adventure to Morocco

Interesting and valuable, although less known by the general public, the national production, with most of its producers and directors who emigrated to France.

Many cities (and also – more or less-  well-known tourist places) can boast of having hosted scenes from many international films, including recently produced ones. For example: at the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, in addition to some of the aforementioned films,: Jesus of Nazareth, 007: Danger zone, Lawrence of Arabia, Alexander; in Meknes: the Jewel of the Nile; in Tangier: The Bourne Ultimatum; in Essaouira: Othello, Last Minute Morocco, in Rabat: Black Hawk Down, El Khoubz el Hafi; in Erfoud: I Giardini dell’Eden, in Marrakech: Alexander, La casa sulle nuvole, Marrakech Express, Last minute Morocco …

Cine-tourism is a new frontier to discover Morocco, especially if it will be able to get in touch with local culture with a logic of respect and sustainability. However, tourists will not be surprised why producers has chosen Morocco with its splendid natural panoramas as the scenic setting of their films.

ARMENIA – Lake Sevan

ARMENIA – Lake Sevan

Armenia

Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia (and the Caucasus) and one of the largest high altitude lakes in the world. It is located at 1900 meters above sea level, covers an area of940 sq km, is 80 km long and 30 km wide at its widest point. It receives water from 28 rivers and the only river emissary Hrazdan has come; but only 10% of the water that leaves the lake leaves the river. The remaining 90% is subject to evaporation.

It was the scene of many clashes between Armenian and Arab Christians from Turkey. Important for Armenian history was the battle of 859 in which King Ashot managed to repel the Arab invasion.

It is the most important fresh water reservoir for Armenia, therefore especially during the last century works have been made to try to make the most of resources and to produce electricity. Some unfortunate attempts and projects, however, led to an ecological disaster in the 1950s which led to the lake being lowered by almost 20 meters and the power plant was then blocked. Subsequent interventions stabilized in the situation and now waters from other rivers are also flowing into the lake.

I have also been introduced by man to some species of fish that have gone to threaten endemic ones such as the trout of Sevan.

On the banks of the lake there are some monasteries that date back to the Middle Ages. The most famous are Sevanavank, on the western shores of Hayrivank and to the south Noraduz with its Khachkar cemetery, the typical Armenian stone crosses.

Today Sevan is a tourist destination, in fact Armenia has no outlets on the sea and in summer the water temperature (18 ° -22 °) provided bathing. It is only 70 km from the capital Yerevan, therefore a convenient day excursion location.

MALDIVES – The Residence Dhigurah, an eco-sustainable resort

MALDIVES – The Residence Dhigurah, an eco-sustainable resort

Maldive

In this period of renewal, it is with a pinch of pride that The Residence Dhigurah announces that the EARTH BASKET (sustainable garden) project has become a pleasant reality with the first harvest of lettuce and watermelons. While green peppers are coming to the harvest!

Production will become increasingly important so that we can delight our next guests with delicious fresh salads and genuine jams.

In the meantime, what will be produced from our garden will be distributed to the staff, which is increasingly specializing in this local cultivation technique.

The island is also full of coconut palms that grow spontaneously, and this will allow us to extract a natural coconut essential oil that can be used inside our Spa by Clarins.

This project is part of a larger project by the Cenizaro Group which will see all the Resorts committed to improving the quality of the environment around us, also according the recent 50th Anniversary of Earth Day just celebrated in April.

Find you more at: https://www.cenizaro.com/theresidence/maldives-dg

 

Street-food Vietnam – The Pho

Street-food Vietnam – The Pho

Vietnam

Pho is considered to be one of the most popular street food in all major Vietnamese cities and is among the best twenty dishes in the world according to Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist.

At any time of day or night, a steaming dish of pho is never difficult to find.

It is a noodle soup in a meat broth and today there is no dish that can better represent the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. It is usually accompanied by aromatic herbs, lime and spices and despite the apparent simplicity, pho is a harmonious set of flavors and textures.

The preparation, however, is more difficult than it seems: the mix of spices used (anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves) must be expertly balanced, then there are the noodles that make up the main part of the dish and a small amount of meat cut into very thin slices which is prepared separately and added to the broth only at the last moment.

Basil, mint, onion and coriander are then the final touch and the garnish of the dish.

Average cost of all this about 1 euro.

As in all important national issues, claims on the origin of the Pho and on the variations between north and south of Vietnam cannot miss.

Tradition however tells that it originated in the northern areas of the country and then spread to the rest of Vietnam.

The northern Pho (called Pho Bac) has a slightly saltier and stronger taste, the southern Pho (called Pho Nam) is prepared with thinner noodles and the vegetables are served separately.

When you find yourself in front of a steaming bowl of pho (whether you are in the north or south) squeeze the lime and pour the juice (seedless) into the broth, add broken chilli and spicy sauces as you like. We suggest to taste it when it is hot.

So chopsticks in one hand and spoon in the other and … enjoy your meal!

West SIBERIA – The Altai Republic

West SIBERIA – The Altai Republic

Regione dell'Altai Siberia

Russia, the largest country in the world, retains in some remote regions a charm of the past and something mysterious and surprising. Asian Russia has always attracted explorers and adventurers and still today is not a destination for mass tourism, despite offering countless opportunities, including discovering the different native populations or several protected national parks or world heritage sites of the UNESCO.

The Altay Mountains – and in general the whole territory of the homonymous Republic – are a jewel of nature, a sort of shangrli-la from Central Asia, a destination for eco-sustainable tourism and for travelers looking for unique and rare experiences.

The landscape of this region that ranges from the steppe to the taiga, from the glaciers to the semi-desert and is characterized by more than 7000 between lakes, rushing rivers, is the perfect setting for fabulous excursions, sports activities such as rafting or trekking or more simply for those who love to photograph pristine territories.

OMAN – Magic Camps Wahiba Sands

OMAN – Magic Camps Wahiba Sands

Magic Camps Oman

The first season of operation of the Magic Camps Wahiba Sands has recently ended, unfortunately a little earlier due to the Covid-19 emergency.

A first year full of satisfactions and enthusiastic comments from the guests who stayed there.

After years of activity with the Magic Camps in private basis, from 1 October 2019 the Magic Camps Wahiba Sands is open, an eco-chic tented camp located in Oman in the Wahiba desert.

It can be reached with a 40-minute crossing of the desert since leaving the paved road, and this stretch is already a very suggestive experience.

The camp consists of only 10 tents, so it has a very small size, to create a very intimate atmosphere between the guests and the context in which it is inserted.

One of the main characteristics of the camp is the absence of the current generator, in this way you can stay in contact with the desert without interference. The absolute silence, the warm light of the lamps and candles, the crackle of the fire.

All with accommodation with attention to every detail and furnished with refined taste, a private bathroom tent for each bed tent is available to guests.

The cuisine is highly sought after, a mix between western and local dishes, strictly using fresh local flavors and raw materials.

Combined with the stay you can organize various activities both for fun and for exploring the desert and contact with local Bedouin families.

The appointment is therefore for the next season, starting in early October for other unforgettable nights under the starry desert sky.

For information and pictures you can consult the website www.magic-camps.com

UZBEKISTAN – The Silk Road

UZBEKISTAN – The Silk Road

Lonely Planet Silk Road Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan and the whole area of Central Asia has been named among the TOP 10 regions to visit in 2020 by the prestigious Best In Travel 2020 guide published by the Lonely Planet.

https://www.lonelyplanetitalia.it/best-in-travel/regioni

The Silk Road region, which recently jumped to the headlines for the global economic agreements promoted by China, was in the past one of the most renowned routes by all travelers since ancient age and which still best represent the myth of the exotic journey.

Thanks to the opulence produced along its way, enlightened sovereigns and terrible leaders have founded ancient cities (Samarkand, Khiva, Bukhara, just to name a few) that still attract numerous visitors fascinated by the beauty and grandeur of their monuments, the animated bazaars and a territory with wild landscapes.

Visiting Uzbekistan has never been easier thanks to the visa exemption for Italian citizens and even moving within the country is always faster thanks to the numerous air connections and new fast train Afrosiab between the most important cities.

See also: The Best of Uzbekistan. 5 destinations not to be missed https://www.lonelyplanetitalia.it/articoli/consigli-di-viaggio/il-meglio-dell-uzbekistan

INDIA – The Cricket

INDIA – The Cricket

India

Cricket is a team sport born in England, at least in its modern form, and is practiced today mainly in the Commonwealth countries, including obviously India where it is the most popular sport and with the greatest financial interests.

It is practiced with a bat (characterized by a long flat part), ball and glove and is played between 2 teams made up of 11 players each.

The length of the matches can last from hours to several days. A version called Twenty20 was therefore established, lasting about 3/4 hours. This is the formula that is practiced in India and that, after the victory of the Indian National team of the World Cup in 1983, has brought cricket to grow in interest, both sporting and commercial with many live spectators (50-60 thousand per game) and glued in front of the TV (the broadcasting rights are absolutely exorbitant).

The Indian championship –IPL Indian Premier League– has become the richest in the world and therefore attracts the strongest players on the planet with pharaonic engagements. The curiosity is that this championship is made up of only 8 teams and lasts only 2 months, April and May.

How do you play cricket? The game is played between two teams of eleven elements. It is played on a grass field with an oval or rectangular shape, with an area called “pitch” in the center, which represents the launch area and the bases at the perimeter. Each fraction of the game, called “innings”, a team throws and defends against 2 opponents at bat who, once eliminated, are replaced by a teammate until the elimination of the tenth batter. Alternating roles are played between one time and another. The winner is the one who scores the most points, in practice the one who can beat and run better and then not be eliminated in the batting.

The most important roles are the batter, the pitcher, the fielder (who retrieves the batted balls) and the wicket-keeper (who is behind the batter, in an important and strategic position).

An important aspect is however the spirit of the game: there are written rules that include respect for the opponent, for the referees and the traditional values of the game; the prohibition to address disrespectful or offensive words to the referee and to opponents, and above all the absolute condemnation of any violent act between players.

It is therefore a very complete sport, which combines athletics and tactics, all with at the base values of absolute respect towards the opponent.

(Italiano) GEORGIA – La Croce di Santa Nino

(Italiano) GEORGIA – La Croce di Santa Nino

Georgia

Saint Nino (Cristiana) is a recurring character during a trip to Georgia. It is she who preached and introduced Christianity to Georgia.

She arrived at the borders of the ancient Georgian Kingdom of Iberia around 320 AD. Here she erected a Christian cross in the small village of Akhalkalaki and began to preach her faith in the surrounding regions.

After several miraculous healings she moved to Mtskheta where she first converted the queen Nana and then the pagan king Mirian III of Iberia, who declared Christianity an official religion (327). An important episode in her life was when thanks to a night of her prayers, the wooden column that was supposed to support the church of Mtskheta miraculously moved alone (the workers had not succeeded in the work) to the place where according to tradition Sidonia was buried with the tunic of Christ.

She then continued her missionary activities among the Georgians and retired to the Bodbe mountain pass until her death (340). A monastery dedicated to her was then built on this site.

The most important symbol of the Georgian Orthodox Church is the Cross of vine shoots, better known as the Cross of Saint Nino because it was she who introduced it.

It is recognizable by the slight downward curvature of the horizontal arms. Some sources say that Saint Nino received the cross from the Virgin Mary and encircled it with her own hair, others instead narrate that it was she who created it.

The cross always accompanied her in the mission of evangelization of the saint in these territories.

The cross was kept at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta until 541, was then moved to Armenia, where it remained until 1124. It then returned to Ananuri in Georgia and was subsequently brought to Moscow by the Georgian bishop Timothy. In 1802, when Georgia was incorporated into the Russian Empire, the relic was returned to the veneration of the Georgian people. Since then it is kept in the Sioni cathedral of Tbilisi.