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Archive | April, 2014

Nobody should spend festivities away from the family! I miss my country and I miss my hometown of Bergamo, fancy to know something about? The Bergamo travel edition

23 Apr

Dear readers

I hope you are all keeping well, Easter weekend it’s just gone and despite we achieved so much at home (new patio and decking fitted and more renovations) I must admit I felt really sad to not have been at home in Italy with my family to celebrate Easter, this has been the first time in five years of living abroad that I skipped the Easter trip, and I did feel homesick, I am sure people who live abroad can relate with my feelings…I tried to keep busy with lots of cooking and baking and cuddling the dog but that bloody feeling wasn’t going away!

My hometown Bergamo _ Anna in her wonderland feeling homesick (1)

My hometown Bergamo _ Anna in her wonderland feeling homesick (4)

My hometown Bergamo _ Anna in her wonderland feeling homesick (3)

So…to celebrate my love for my town, why don’t I talk about it? Interested in Bergamo? Here we go!

 

Bergamo, the undiscovered pearl of Northern Italy

My hometown Bergamo - Annainherwonderland & Catherine Coppens Photography 2

Not that many people know about the existence of Bergamo, for lots of people it is just, “oh yes Milan Bergamo where we can fly into with Ryanair”…Bergamo is much more than a Ryanair route let me tell you.

120’000 People live there, 40km away from Milan using the busy A4 Milano Venezia motorway, 50km away from Brescia and the Lake Garda, 38km away from Lecco (where the Lake Como area begins), 200km to the beautiful city of Venice, well connected internationally with Bergamo Orio al Serio airport and with the most beautiful hilltop medieval town surrounded by defensive walls built by the Venetians to preserve the city in the past from the attacks of the enemies (Bergamo in 1428 fell under the control of the Venetian Republic). Bergamo is known as well as Citta’ dei Mille (city of the thousands, because of its contribution to the Risorgimento, that takes to the Italian unification in 1861).

One of the most visited part of the city is Piazza Vecchia, the old square of the old town, called Citta’ Alta (upper city). This square is always patched with tourists from all over the world and locals, especially the students from the University of Bergamo which is based in the old part of the town. Patisserie, delicatessen shops, restaurants, bars, museums, churches, clothing shops, they is so much history and fun around Citta’ Alta.

Bergamo is a very fashionable city, it does feel the influence of the super fashionable next door neighbour Milano, the young people are image and brands obsessed, they all want to look good and they all want to make a statement everytime they walk into the latest bar to hang out and be seen, the “Bergamaschi” mingle at every occasion, lunch break, aperitif, dinner, after dinner, there is never a good excuse not to enjoy what the city offers!

If you fancy a bit of retail therapy Via XX Settembre it is the place to be, the shopping district of Bergamo bassa (the lower and newer part of Bergamo), you can have a nice and civilised breakfast at Balzer cafe, an institution in the city, you can get the funicular/cable car to go uptown to Citta’ Alta or you can walk up the long staircase that takes you to the old town, crowded with tourists and students…and what about the local food? There are so many local delights in the many trattorias and restaurant around, a must have for me is Casoncelli alla bergamasca (ravioli Bergamo style, stuffed with meat, pinenuts, herbs, amaretti and god knows what’s more) and coniglio con polenta taragna (rabbit with cheesy polenta), after a few days in Bergamo you might be a few pounds heavier but if you visit the city you cannot avoid the food experience that the city has to offer. Bergamo is always been a rich city, thanks to the many companies who used to serve the city and the big extended province of Bergamo. There is something particularly special about the city itself…the people are friendly, always up for a laugh and a drink, the sun does shine quite a lot, you might just need a moped and off you go to discover this beautiful place.

Now you all please book a flight and go to enjoy my beautiful hometown that I love and miss so much!

annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

I am writing this post because I am taking part of Giffgaff International Campaign – The Top Things to Know About Your Hometown

Photo credit by Catherine Coppens Photography

My hometown Bergamo - Annainherwonderland & Catherine Coppens Photography 3

 

My hometown Bergamo - Annainherwonderland & Catherine Coppens Photography 4

 

My hometown Bergamo - Annainherwonderland & Catherine Coppens Photography

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From Miami to Vegas, our favorite places on earth! Two bloggers join forces on this Traveller style post

12 Apr

Dear readers

Today you are going to read something a bit different than my usual “personal” style, I joined forces with American travel expert Kendra Thornton and we spoke about our favorite places on Earth, Miami for me and Las Vegas for Kendra so we decided to put everything in a blog post! As usual I express my love for the city of Miami and Kendra, a proud mother of three, tells her side of the story about Sin City…which can be enjoyed even with family and kids! I hope you will enjoy this collaboration guys and thanks for reading it.

From Anna in her wonderland

Twitter @Anna_L_Collins

Miami, the melting pot of South Florida

Miami Annainherwonderland (10)

Nowhere else in the world you will be able to see such a big mix of cultures like you can see in Miami, from Cuba to Argentina, from Dominican Republic to Brazil, from Colombia to Italy, from Russia to Turkey, you name a country, you will find citizen from that country in Miami somewhere, guaranteed.

Speaking with a friend once in Miami I heard this: – There is no one person who lives in Miami that is actually born and raised in Miami, everyone has an accent and you will get away much better speaking Spanish than English, or let’s say learn Spanglish it will be easier for you.

I fell in love for Miami the first time I landed there, back in 2007; I still remember the drive from the airport to South Beach, All night long by Lionel Richie was on the radio and just to see the skyscrapers off the causeway made me so happy, so relaxed, so…at home.

You can find everything you want in Miami, at any time of the day and night. Stores open 24/7, clubs and bars in continue expansion everywhere, amazing hotels, posh restaurants, fast boats, luxury boats, celebrities filming reality shows and music videos, designer stores and malls, art fairs, boat shows, exotic cars, if you are up for the holiday of a lifetime, Miami is the place to be.

The party town of South Beach goes even crazier during the Winter Music conference week, that collides with spring break (Easter holidays for American colleges and university) with music events everywhere, international DJs, pool parties and so much fun going on, the perfect setting for an European party-goer.

But what about the language “barrier”? As Italian who moved to the United Kingdom I learnt that everywhere you go in the world the English language should be predominant, or at least everyone will understand you, well you are wrong, this is not happening in Miami.

The city is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America”, is the second-largest U.S. city (after El Paso, Texas) with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.

Cubano estadounidense is the way forward, all of them live “normally” within the only few real American citizens of Miami, most of them are born and raised in America as American citizens themselves, in most of the cases grandparents or relatives are Cubans, and they switch perfectly from Spanish to English and viceversa, I know a few of them who are Americans with Cubans parents and they have never been to Cuba, how crazy is that?

I love everything about this big city, I love South Beach with all year round tourists everywhere, I like Brickell with its skyscrapers and locals buzzing around, I love Little Havana with all its Cuban and South American restaurants, I adore the pretty area of Coconut Grove with all the marinas where we always hang out with our boat, I love Sunset Drive and its shops and bars, despite the busy US1! I love Key Biscayne and its beaches where it feels like to be in the Caribbean…but where you can still see the Miami skyline…so many things I love about this city that I could keep on writing forever.

After all these years of travelling to Miami and my part time life there I must admit I haven’t learnt Spanish yet, despite people think I am Latino (good old Italian dark skin and hair), but I am trying to get into the different mix of cultures every time, and I will never stop to learn something new every day and open my mind even more…that’s why I love Miami so much.
Miami Annainherwonderland (11)

Miami Annainherwonderland (5)

Miami Annainherwonderland (4)

Miami Annainherwonderland (2)

Miami Annainherwonderland (1)

Miami Annainherwonderland (3)

From Kendra Thornton

Twitter @KendraThornton

 Let’s All Go to Vegas This Summer

Going to Vegas has always been one of my favorite and most memorable trips. There’s so much to do, so many places to see and tons of quirky thrills to enjoy. Whether you want to jump in the aquarium with sharks or rock out with KISS as you golf, there are a lot of different shows as well to enjoy while on your trip to the strip. Even when you head outside of Vegas, there’s more to see like the Grand Canyon. If you’re anything like my family and friends, you can’t just settle for seeing a few things.

1. Go Where the Sharks Go

When you think of a desert, sharks, crocodiles, moray eels, jellyfish and piranhas are probably not on your mind, so you probably didn’t know that you could swim with these incredibly mysterious and yet graceful creatures! At Mandalay Bay, you can jump in the shark tank and hang out with 15 species of sharks as well as other terrors of the deep. They’re actually quite interesting to see up close and not nearly as deadly as people make them out to be. You get to learn a lot about these different species while also swimming around them for an up close and personal look.

2. Rock Out with Your Club and KISS

The KISS Mini Golf experience is probably one of my favorite things to do in Vegas with the kids. You get a mini golfing experience that’s completely different than the boring clowns and dinosaurs of other mini golf parks. With giant guitars, animated replicas of the band and lots of music, you’ll get a lot of laughs as you go around the 18-hole course.

3. Quirky Museum Trips

There’s a lot of history in Vegas and some mystery as well. The museums in Vegas really show off the strange history of the town including the Neon Museum, which is a junkyard dedicated to the old neon signs that have been discarded by the hotels and attractions once popular on the strip. There’s also the Discovery Children’s Museum and the National Atomic Testing Museum.

4. Wild Roller Coasters

You may not be able to handle the double corkscrew, double-loop coaster called The Canyon Blaster at The Adventuredome at Circus Circus. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience. There truly is no other roller coaster like this one in the entire world. If you’re going to Vegas with kids, it will be hard not to stop by this theme park.

My family and I enjoy Las Vegas every time we visit, mostly because with so many hotels to stay at and things to do, each experience is different. With so many people traveling to Vegas, user reviews are readily available. Sites like Gogobot make it easy to read these user reviews.
Las Vegas Annainherwonderland (1)

Las Vegas Annainherwonderland (2)

Miami, where we belong. The resume of the perfect vacation from Anna in her wonderland

1 Apr

Hello readers

It has ben years now but there is still something I don’t understand completely, there is a connection, I have a deep connection with the city of Miami that I can’t explain in words, I can only tell you that Miami is my home, the place where I feel better than anywhere else in the world. It must be the sunshine, it must be the people, it must be the atmosphere, it must be something that makes me so happy that I can’t even explain, but please, keep on going!

We came back from ten amazing days in the sunshine and despite the weather is quite good here I miss already our good times spent away, going out boating, riding our bikes in the morning, lounging by the pool in the sunshine, going out for amazing dinners around town, watching the peacocks walking around the yard, trying to learn some Spanish, hanging out with good friends, oh no I can’t  believe it’s over! Here we go some pictures of our good times.

With Love

annaInHerWonderlandSIGNATURE

 

Before leaving

Just arrived, cuban food!

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Sushi at the Delano

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Lunch by the pool

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Out in Key Biscayne for a bike ride

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2 bikes in the trunk? of course!
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bike testing at Walmart

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Getting ready to go out

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Friday out in West Palm beach for the boat show

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Worth avenue

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Moijto time at home

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See? Everybody needs a bot with a toilet!

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The housekeeper, the pool keeper…

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Dinner at my favourite spanish restaurant, Barceloneta in South Beach, with the most amazing pictures in the restrooms!
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Tennis time in Miami

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Sunday, beautiful and perfect day to go out boating

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Prosecco time at the sandbarIMG_2471

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Bike ride in the morning in Brickell overlooking the Rickenbacker Bridge

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Best lunch ever at Swine in Coral Gables!

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Ready for another night out

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Dinner at Cecconi South Beach and drinks at the Fointanebleau hotel

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Ding dong, the peacock  is at the front door

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am I tanned enough?

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Beautiful last dinner at Sugarcane Midtown

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Beautiful flowers by the bridge

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Under the Rickenbacker bridge

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