Monday, 28 February 2011

Lomography - who cares if it's not good art when the pics are so amazing!

A few days ago I was reading an American blog, the rockstar diaries (you can find it in the list of my favorite fashion blogs) and couldn't stop noticing that some of the most beautiful pics posted by Taza, the author, had been taken with a Diana. Diana is a plastic-bodied box camera utilizing 120 rollfilm: it is a cult legend camera, famous for its dreamy, radiant, lo-fi images.
You can take some faboulous pics with it.

I searched for information on its history and found out that:
The Diana first appeared during the early 1960s as a inexpensive box camera sold by the Great Wall Plastic Factory of Kowloon, Hong Kong. During the 1960s, Power Sales Company wholesaled the Diana by the case - 144 cameras - at about 50 cents U.S. per unit to a variety of retailers and promotional merchandisers.
Most Diana cameras were given away or sold for nominal sums as novelties or prizes at fairs, carnivals, product promotions, raffles, or other events. For a time, the camera was also regularly advertised for sale in various periodicals through mail order vendors. However, with the development of inexpensive, higher quality consumer cameras such as the Kodak Instamatic, together with the declining popularity of rollfilm, demand for the Diana - even as a novelty gift - gradually disappeared. Production of the Diana, its clones, close copies, and variants is believed to have stopped in the 1970s, though similar 35 mm box cameras were produced for many years thereafter by various companies in Hong Kong and Taiwan for use as promotional items.
Diana was rediscovered in 1991 by two Austrian students who founded years later a company called Lomography and restarted the production of such cameras.

In a word, Diana is a lomographic camera, and lomography is both the name of a company and the art of taking casual, snapshot pics.
Other lomographic cameras are Holga and Actionsampler, Frogeye, Pop-9, Oktomat, Fisheye, Fisheye2, Colorsplash, Colorsplash Flash, F-stop Bang, SuperSampler, Horizon 202, SeagullTLR,  and Smena 8M.

So I made my mind up and after having searched on the internet I ordered Diana on line through (if you don't live in Italy, you can have a look at
TODAY I GOT A PACKAGE WITH MY DIANA. Below you can see how it looks like. Isn't it gorgeous??? I LOVE IT and can 't wait to take some wonderful pics with it!!!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Incredible Finland

These pictures are about a place where sooner or later I would live for a long time. They are about a specific region of Finland called Karelia. Karelia is divided between Finland and Russia. The Finnish Karelia is in the north-east part of the country and it is just a lovely, non touristic place. The capital city is Joensuu, a town of about 70,000 inhabitants, which was founded in 1848.
Joensuu is a lively student city with over 15,000 students enrolled at the University of Eastern Finland.
I went there for the first time in 2008. I was granted a scholarship by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct research on ICT for rural development. I fell in love with the Joensuu almost immediately, and I can say I also fell in love with all the people I met there.
Erkki Sutinen, my fantastic supervisor and Dean of the Computer Science Department at the time, has been - and still is - one of the most inspiring person of all my life. He is the best professor ever. He takes care of his students in an incredible unique way. His house is open to everyone. His lovely wife Paivi and his 4 children (Martti, Tuuli, Laura and Anton) are sometimes around and it is great fun to be with them...
I will always be thankful for having met the Sutinen family and having had the opportunity to learn so much from Erkki. I can t wait to be back to Finland. Erkki is now working in Mozambique, so I will first go the to Mozambique (on the 1st of April 2011) and then to Finland.
Here are some pics finally (they were taken last year, at that time I was not running a blog...but I think it's time to post them now).

1. Erkki's sauna at his summer cottage near Koli

2. Lake Pielinen

3. Picking berries and potatoes with some international researchers (which is definitely more fun than writing scientific papers)


5. The most beautiful view from a countryside house


I have so many good pictures of Finland (in spring, summer, autum and winter time) that from time to time I ll post them all.

Best ice cream in town- LIFE PLEASURE n.1

I love ice cream. I love my Husbee when he brings me home some delicious ice cream (Ok, I love him for other reasons, too). In Bologna the best ice cream can be found at Gelateria La Funivia: it has 2 branches, one in the city center (Piazza Cavour) and the other one close to the football stadium.
The ice creams in the picture are amarenata -yogurt (cherry cream + yogurt) - MY delicious ice cream-  and contessa (cream with chocolate)- Husbee's ice cream.
Ice cream is definitely one of the life pleasures, isn't it?

Italians consume somethinglike 330,000 t of ice-creams per year.
I have investigated the histroy of ice-cream and look what I have found:

Ancient civilizations have served ice for cold foods for thousands of years. The BBC reports that a frozen mixture of milk and rice was used in China around 200 BC. The Roman Emperor Nero (37–68) had ice brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings. Arabs were the first to use milk as a major ingredient in its production, sweeten the ice cream with sugar rather than fruit juices, as well as perfect ways for its commercial production. As early as the 10th century, ice cream was widespread amongst many of the Arab world's major cities, such as Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo....

oh God..does it mean that ice cream was actually invented by the Chinese???

Via Clavature, Bologna

Via Clavature is my favourite street in Bologna. It is a narrow street, departing from the main square- Piazza Maggiore- and arriving in one of the main streets in central Bologna, Via Castiglione.

Via Clavature is probably 300 meters long - but in such a limited length there is everything one could wish for. Shops selling handicraft objects like this shop below that sells baskets and household articles...

fruit and vegetables stalls....

Fish shops...


Flower shops...

but my favourite shop ever is a small old bakery- Monterumisi Bakery- , which has been run for 75 years by the same soon as you step inside the shop the owner welcomes you with a loud "BUON GIORNO" (Good morning) and an instant later you find yourself choosing among homemade pizzas, "mele al cartoccio con crema "(apples wrapped in a sweet pastry and filled with the best cream ever), tortellini, homemade pasta, cookies, cakes...the average expenditure is never less than 10-15 euro because it is impossible to resist the temptations to buy more than needed!! Go and vist this shop if you have the chance, it is worth and it's always money well spent!

Look at the proud owner!

Friday, 25 February 2011


Marimekko is my weakness. Marimekko (  is a Finnish textile company that designs and manufactures high-quality clothing, interior decoration textiles, bags and other accessories. I fell in love with Marimekko the first time I saw this purse at Vantta airport in Helsinki. The pattern is called UNIKKO (which means poppies in Finnish). Isn't it just adorable?
When I go to Finland (I usually go there every 6 months) I spend hours at Marimekko shops and always end up buying lots of presents for my friends...but most of the time- instead of giving them to the people I had in mind -I  keep them for myself!! 
Come on..who on earth can resist Marimekko purses, handbags and clothes? Pls, raise your hand!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Bologna - (Italian pronunciation: [boˈloɲɲa] )

I just want to post here some pictures of my home town, Bologna. Although I have a sort of love-hate relationship with this town, Bologna is definitely the place I love the most. I was born here, the greatest part of my memories are connected to its streets and people.
I love Bologna in spring and summer time. I love Bologna on Saturday mornings when the city center is vibrant and full of energy. I love Bologna when is empty, around the beginning of August (every single year).
I love the little shops you can find in the city center. I love the espresso you can drink almost everywhere.
I love the towers which are the symbols of its medieval splendour. I love to sit on the stairs of San Petronio, the main church in the main square, Piazza Maggiore, on a summer night and look at the stairs.
I love the antiques market every 2nd Sunday of every month.
I love my bolognese accent when I speak Italian (and possibly when I speak English as well).

Pic 1: Piazza Maggiore, the Municipal Building

Pic 2: San Petronio (the fifth largest church in the world- It can contain 28,000 persons- the first stone of construction was laid June 7, 1390)

Pic 3: the arcades (there are some 38 kilometres of arcades in the city's historical center)

Pic 4: the 2 towers are the landmark of the city. The taller one is called the Asinelli while the smaller but more leaning tower is called the Garisenda. Their names derive from the families which are traditionally credited for their construction between 1109 and 1119.
They were even quoted by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy.

As when one sees the tower called Garisenda
from underneath its leaning side, and then a cloud
passes over and it seems to lean the more,
thus did Antaeus seem to my fixed gaze
as I watched him bend...
Divine Comedy, Inferno, XXXI, 136-140

just one of my favourite magazines


I discovered Monocle for the first time in November last year. I was staying in a cosy hotel in Jerusalem and while I was resting on a couch, I saw a (THIS) magazine lying on the coffeetable in front of me. I started to read it and was fascinated by the content. Monocle is the MAGAZINE!
If you go to the Monocle website ( you can find the following description:

Launched in February 2007, Monocle is a global briefing covering international affairs, business, culture and design. Headquartered in London with bureaux in Tokyo, Zürich and New York, Monocle appears 10 times a year in print and is updated constantly at Developed for an international audience hungry for information across a variety of sectors, Monocle's team of award-winning editors and correspondents have been drawn from The New York Times, The Independent on Sunday, the BBC, CBC and a host of other news and current affairs outlets. More of a book than a magazine, Monocle's designed to be highly portable (it's lightweight and compact) and collectable (it's thick and robust). On-line, the focus is on broadcasting with a wide array of films, slide shows and audio reports. Edited by Wallpaper* founder and Financial Times columnist Tyler Brûlé, Monocle offers a comprehensive global briefing under a single editorial brand. In print and online, writers and photographers are dispatched to over 50 countries every issue to deliver stories on forgotten states, alluring political figures, emerging brands, fresh forces in popular culture and inspiring design solutions.

I think Monocle is intriguing and provides information that can not be found anywhere else. Monocle rocks!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

London Marathon on the 17th of April 2011

Today I want to post a hilarious message I received yesterday from my friend Antonello. Anto is Italian, is a broker and works in London. He is the best male friend ever- the one who hosts you when you have no places to stay in London and feeds you with great food whenever you are hungry. He is always cheerful and warm-hearted...
As a hobby - but it's definitely more than a hobby- he and Clare make delicious pasta sauces (have a look at and sell them on line.
This year Anto and Clare are running the London Marathon and want to raise money through the marathon for ActionAid. Read the message below and have fun.
Anto and Clare, I love you!

P.S this picture was taken last year in London when I organized a surprise party for Anto. Anto and Clare are the ones on the right.

Dear friends,
It is with great pleasure that I bring to your attention my next fund raising campaign. Believing or not I will be soon taking part in the London Marathon and address you all with the most earnest and insatiable appetite for sponsorship. Or more likely appetite for destruction as you can rest reassured that for you it will be amusement, for me mere sorrow.

Please take a minute to go through the reasons why you will sponsor me other than preventing constant harassment via hundreds of emails, calls, reminders, threats, blackmailing, horse heads in bed (rather messy if I have to say), etc.

I will be running for Actionaid. They are a great organization. I personally know a few among their staff and believe me, they rock. They mainly fight against poverty, injustice, human rights, climate change, women rights (don’t really get this one.. (chill out ladies, I am only joking)). You remember the recent campaign against Grolsh ‘legally’ evading TAX? Yes, it is them.

You now have two alternatives. Just sponsor me or read the following 92 pages and then sponsor me. I leave it to you. Just bear in mind, I need to rise a couple of grands. For once in my life I might do some good, I also will probably die, so I would like to take the opportunity to go large and make some serious number.

Yes, yes, if the trigger is imposing the run wearing some ridiculous outfit (clearly for individual donation in XS of 50£), I am up for it. Remember, the less I wear the more I expect. Please don’t ask me to run in a mankini as this might create disruption in the capital (not a nice view believeme).

No? Not yet? Ok, go ahead, read more and go through this little tale that I will entitle:

Enter the pain

Everything started last year when following a half marathon (see attachment) I decided that I did not suffer quite enough, I could do better and applied for the London Marathon, the full one. With no little disappointment my application was rejected in no time and everything went quiet, including training in any shape or form, until a few weeks ago something happened. A lucky strike? We will see.

Following some cancellations I had a chance to reapply with a friend who works for Actionaid, we name her Clare. A few hours of unbearable suspense and eventually the merry news: we had the places. Please, you must understand that the London Marathon for a fat boy like me is not an every day distraction and quite understandably the excitement was paramount. To a point that the breaking news was in fact followed by abundant celebrations. And the training? Not even 3 months to go? Oh oh, this I going to hurt… Let me just quickly recap:

- January Thursday the 20th breaking news, we run the London marathon. Training kicks off straight away after work.
6pm Clare is heading to my flat to start the training.
6pm I send a text “down the pub for a one quick pint to celebrate the news with some colleagues and will join you”
6.30pm I inexorably send another text “You better join me at the pub for more celebrations”. Why trying to fight forces that cannot be defatted?
2am end of daily celebrations

- Friday the 21st: the excitement is still overwhelming. Result: more celebrations.
6pm onwards bathing in cider in Leadenhall Market

- Saturday the 22nd: more celebrations (why not?)
10pm being very well mannered at a house party
12am I am everybody’s best friend
2am Moonwalking..
4am snoring in a cab. Nice party. Many thanks. Sorry for gate-crushing (ops)

Wow. Good start!

Recovering gap. Still no run.

Jan Wednesday 26th: the training begins and it will memorable (2 days, 2 different worlds).
1.05pm. Lunch time. Office. City. Target: London Bridge to Westminster and back. North bank. Let’s go. Go go go.
Run. Keep going. Painful but doable. More run more pain but still going. Still going. Yes, I can make it. I can’t believe it, I can make it. I am still fit. Run, run. After an immeasurable time, I eventually looked down at my watch rather happy with myself “it should be half an hour, maybe more? 1.15pm.
1.15 OMG. 10 minutes. Only 10 minutes. Panic. It cannot be. I am going to die. Everything hurts, my back hurts. I am half a ton heavy. Oh this is going to hurt. Ok, calm down, take it easy, keep some cool pace and get on with it. Come on, go.
Go, keep going. Do it for charity, do it for the glory, do it for yourself but go. Keep going. So, the breath became more regular, the body slightly less heavy, legs getting better, and after a while I reached Westminster Bridge. Well, why not going ahead? Come on, I am a strong man. Go ahead, keep going (clearly the super fit blonde running before me in the same direction did not affect my decisions in the least). And ahead I went, the blonde clearly disappearing after five seconds (they always do) and on and on until two more bridges, Vauxhall Bridge. Wow. What a result. I crossed the bridge, still quite in pain, but the body was following the mind. It could be worse, much worse. I started my way back down the south bank. And run, more run, and everything started melting down, the wind went silent, the pain disappeared, my body and my mind were one in a cyclic flow. And on and on until a sensation of lightness prevailed and my mind started wondering. My ancestors, the meaning of life, where do we come from? Who am I? Wonder, wonder, run, keep running. Almost at the Tate modern something happened and I was shaken off my trance. Suddenly the body became again real and shockingly heavy, so heavy. Please run. And I run. More and more. What an effort now. And what was that voice? ‘Come on, stop now, you have done well’. Go away. ‘No really, stop, you have done so well already’. Please go away, I keep going. ‘Ok, ok, just walk for a while then, why not? Just for a bit. Think at the relief’. Hold on a second, the voice was so right, now everything was hurting so much. I was so heavy and my feet were pounding on the ground with a grotesque noise. So, the devilish voice kept going a bit longer, but I did not stop me. I don’t know why. The voice went away with London Bridge and my office in plain view.
2.20pm back in the office. Alive. Dead. 6 miles.

Jan Thursday 27th: training, the day after
My last chance to train in the week due to other engagements, why not going again? Today only aiming to Westminster as everything is already hurting.
1.05pm GO. North bank. Hold on a second, yes it is painful but totally different from day one. Much better now. I am running faster, feeling stronger. I haven’t got a fatal attraction towards my watch as the previous day and the first time I checked my time I had run 25 minutes already and was by Westminster, the target. I felt good. Oh come on, you are strong man, you can make it a bit further. If I did Vauxhall Bridge day one, I can do everything. Come on, show me what you have got!! So ahead I went, no blondies around, only boldness, completely oblivious of the imminent disaster. And on, and on until Vauxhall Bridge came to a view. A strange feeling of tiredness. Real tiredness. Something not quite experienced yet. Oh, come on, think about yesterday, it will go away. But it didn’t. When I hit the Bridge a different cold pain went through the whole body and in seconds... black out. Body shut down. Done. Disaster. That was it. I knew I could not run a meter more. I walked into the bridge, the wind blowing fiercely in freezing grip. Kept on walking across the bridge but now what? I am miles away from my office. How can I make it back and the cold... the wind was a spinning blade. What shall I do? I have not got money for a cab or a bus. I haven’t got my Barclays bike fob. I am freezing plus, I will never make it back walking, don’t even think about running. Still crossing the Bridge (4 times longer today?) staring oddly at the MI6 imposing building on the south bank. What shall I do now? Shall I ask for help? No, they will think I am a trump, or a junkie. They will call the police. I will be arrested, and then lose my job. I will never find a job again. I am ruined. Just off MI6 now with a hopeful look at the dark windows. Please, please James Bond, if you are in there do something, shoot me. M, please help me. Come and take me, I can spy on Berlusconi for you. Everything you like for a cab or a warm cup of tea. No, M and Mr bond did not rescue me.
Ok. You are on your own and you need to run to avoid hibernation. So, run. No. Run I said. No. RUN. And so, I run. Slowly. But why? Why was I doing that? Why did I find myself in that situation? So, wondering foolishly I pushed myself to a steady slow run. Come on, 50 more meters, and then another 50. At Lambeth Bridge I looked back and could not believe that Vauxhall Bridge was so far away. I must be mad. What do I think I am doing? Keep on going though, you have no choice. So I ran and ran. Here you go, the London Eye, come on keep going, you have got the pace now. So, on and on but soon another drama, the whole physical confusion that my distressed body was experiencing turned into a new sophisticated and organized pain pumping through all joints and limbs. The brain computing in astonishment this new pain thought ‘what the hell...’ But then.. Hold on, this is just pain. This is not true, your brain tells you that you feel pain (don’t try to bend the spoon). Nonsense, just nerves and electric impulses playing with your mind. Come on, it does not hurt. It’s just your imagination. It’s not real!. So, the pain kept on knocking the door but somehow I was keeping it just outside with these funny speculations. Well, at least I got distracted and landed back to the base.
Result: Another 6 miles. How do I love running?

Well, well. Very dramatic indeed, good effort though. Certainly well worth another couple of day of celebrations. Or more…

Then.. Disaster again. The following week was the week of pain, precisely backache. The nasty one, the one keeping you from sleep, consistent, horrible, until I literally walked into my osteopath’s in tears. Oh, I love running. Well, at least I learnt another lesson: Stretch, stretch, always stretch! Especially if you are not trained.

February Wednesday the 9th.
Following some more celebrations, I was hit by a harsh reprimand from my running partner Clare. Ok, stop. STOP. I need to take this seriously.

Feb Thursday the 10th.
7.30am. Clare appearing at my door. Half an hour running. Half an hour of solid pain. I mean it! Oh, I love running, I really do.

And so this is the way for our fellow marathon runner, more celebrations, more run, more celebrations  and so on and on… Will I make it? Of course, but amusement I promised and amusement will be! And most of all please, please, please sponsor me. We already have some individual booking up to a staggering 500 pounds. We will soon prepare a charity event but for the time being please just sponsor us.

For those of you who supported me for last year, thanks again. You already know that I will not give up pursuing your gold so please just do it. For the other ones, you will sponsor me.

Yours sincerely,

Antonello Zunino

Tuesday, 22 February 2011


I bought them last year in Copenhagen where I spent 3 weeks as a visiting fellow at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies. I love Copenhagen, I love Danish design, I love Danish food (smorrebrod is one my favourite- it's a thick slice of rye bread topped with salmon, cheese or whatever you can think about!!) and needless to say..I love Danish people (can anyone tell me why EVERYONE is so tall and beautiful?)
Anyway, my Ilse Jacobsen lace up rubber boots are the best boots I have ever had. They are perfect when it rains but also when the sun shines. I can't live (and walk) without them now. If I could, I would wear them even in bed!!!
They are one of my winter time life essentials! Thanks Ilse, great job indeed!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

2 days in Budapest- a movie, 3 restaurants, 2 coffee shops, a miraculous tea...and a house to refurnish!

The two days (from Thursday to Saturday) I spent in Budapest went sooo fast..and I had so much fun with my Husbee!
On Thursday night we went to the cinema. I love the fact that most of the movies in Hungary are screened in the original language, something which is very very rare in Italy. So we took the metro (btw, metro tickets are getting expensive! a single ticket costs 320 HUF, which is nearly 1,20 Euro) and we headed to a mall called WestEnd, which is huge, very modern, with lots of shops (from Mango to Mediamarkt) and some incredible restaurants.
WestEnd is located near Nyugati, which is one of the main railway station in Budapest. It is in downtown Pest, in a very lively area. We bought our tickets (one ticket costs 1,200 HUF, almost 5 euro) for London Boulevard (a British movie starring Keira Knightley, and Colin Farrell ( and some snacks...what would be a movie without some popcorn???

We did enjoy the movie, although I was expecting a romance and the movie is definitely more a gangster movie....(I should have imagined it as it was Husbee to select it!!)
Before going back to the hotel we stopped in a restaurant called Leroy which is on the third floor of the mall...and oh my God..I had the best wiener schnitzel of my was gigantic and super yummy). Look here!!

The next day we had breakfast in a very nice cafe called Cafe Augustusz, in Kossuth Lajos, in central Pest. I love the atmosphere of this coffee shop, and all the cakes and pastries they serve. We ordered coffee and pogacsa, a type of savory scone which is very common in Hungary. There are many different types of pogacsa: with cheese (the one I had, pork, cabbage, garlic, red onion, sesame seeds). Hungarians eat pogacsa all day long...and if you visit Hungary, you must try one!

After breakfast  we decided to go and have a look at some furniture shops. We wanted to try some really Hungarian shops and avoid going to the IKEA once again. Well, I have nothing to say against Hungarian furniture, but after having spent a morning at Butorhaz and Domus, I decided that maybe IKEA is much more my style!! Most of the shops we visited had ugly furniture in ugly materials and ugly colors. It might be it's me who is a Western Spoiled Italian, but have a look yourself at this pic and tell me what you think!

YESSSS. it was better to leave and look for the exit (kijarat!!!)

We spent the whole Friday night trying to make sense of the many pieces IKEA had delivered to our house the week before.
Despair overwhelmed us and we decided to call for someone who could help us in making a bed, a table, two couches, an armchairs, 6 chairs out of these boxes!!!!

To cheer us up, after having spent the afternoon trying to figure out how many pieces make up a couch, we decided to head to the coffee shop at the Italian Institute of Culture, which is worth a visit even if you are not Italian and are not interested in Italy. This little coffee shop is in Bródy S. utca 8...and it's fully of young and nice people...and of course it serves great (Italian) coffee!!

On Saturday, My Beloved Husbee made a great discovery. A friend suggested him to go to a pharmacy and buy the SZUZ TEA (also called the virgin tea) which seems to be a Chinese super efficient medicine if you want to loose weight (and my Husbee wants!). So we bought it and Husbee has started to take this brown capsules twice a day. I ll keep you posted about the miraculous effect (ha, ha) of this Chinese-Hungarian drug!!

Our stay in Budapest ended yesterday at Ferihegy 1, the terminal 1 of the airport. I can 't wait to go back to Budapest!!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Rome Airport - on my way to Budapest

Here I am at the airport in Rome (Fiumicino) waiting for my flight connection to Budapest. I wonder why Italian cities are so beautiful and Italian airports are so crap.  I mean, Rome is the eternal city, the capital of Italy, it’s worldwide famous and welcomes thousands of tourists every year….and still, it's impossible to find a trolley cart  (which is very bad if you have heavy luggage), there are no plugs if you want to recharge your laptop (my unfortunate  case) AND THE FOOD IS SOOOO BAD….everything –pastries, sandwiches, cakes- seem to have been defrosted a few seconds before being served. Oh my, is this the welcome we give to foreigners visiting the eternal city?? (well, and actually to Italians too).

The only things worth a stop in Fiumicino are the shops. You can find Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Intimissimi and La Perla stores side by side with food shops, newsagents and even a massage center.

Having travelled quite a lot in the last years, I have my personal list of world class airports:
  1. Dubai Airport (AMAZING, you can find palms, brand new Ferrari on sale, prayer rooms for Muslims, starbucks coffee shop selling the best mint-lemonade ever!)
  2. Osaka Airport (very Japanese, very efficient, very clean, with free computers with free wi-fi- yes, the Japanese know how to treat foreigners)
  3. Bangkok Airport (very artistic with lots of huge statues symbolizing divinities, excellent Thai restaurants and prayer rooms for Buddhist monks, come on, this is civilization indeed)
  4. Helsinki Airport (it has the best delicacy store of all Northern Europe- many types of  rye bread, Fazer chocolate, salty liquorice, leipäjuusto (the famous bread cheese) Finnish vodka, sauna kits and lots of beautiful Finnish handicraft).

One thing is anyway for sure. No matter how ugly or dirty, airports have always fascinated me.
My husband is right when he says: “you like to brush your teeth in the toilet of  an international airport because it makes you feel a truly cosmopolitan woman”. Right: I love to brush my teeth in airports toilets…so, what’s wrong with that??
This is me in Rome, just before brushing my teeth.


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Budapest, IKEA and THE house

Tomorrow I am leaving for Budapest. I am leaving, because actually I DON'T live in Budapest but in Bologna, a town in the North of Italy (south of Venice and north of Florence). The apartment me and my Husbee (husband) recently bought in Budapest is like a holiday house, or more precisely a place we like to go to when we want to slow down and take some days off from the rest of the crazy little world we live in.
Anyway, tomorrow I am leaving and I am soooo excited. There no direct flights from Bologna to Budapest so I ll have to fly first to Rome and then to Budapest. I ll meet my Husbee tomorrow evening somewhere in central Budapest, hopefully at Cafe Central (, my 2° favourite cafe, after Cafe Farger.
My Husbee is Berlin right now, I haven't seen him in the last 3 days (ok, it's not soo much time) but still...I can't wait to see him!
We will stay in Budapest until Saturday, just for 3 days :(((. We need to go to IKEA (yes, IKEA seems to be everywhere, and the stuff it sells has the same weird-Swedish names everywhere) and start renovating the apartment.
Here are some pics of the apartment as it was when we bought it.

Pic 1:The entrance

Pic 2: the living room (I love it!)

Pic 3: the view from the bedroom window (yesss, it's the Parliament building!)

We bought the apartment from a very nice English couple. Apparently they wanted to move to Slovenia and wanted to get rid of their apartment in Budapest.
I find the whole story quite interesting: an Italian couple who buys an apartment in Budapest from a British couple who wants to move to Slovenia...well, when such things happen, the world seems to be a small place indeed!
Anyway, we need to but new furniture, as the apartment I will see tomorrow will be totally empty (empty, empty...this is the echo of the empty apartment :)

Budapest Districts

Here is a map of the 23 districts of Budapest. There are six districts in Buda, sixteen districts in Pest and there is one district on Csepel island between them. Each district is associated with one or more city parts named  after former towns within Budapest.

Budapest's districts are numbered clockwise, in widening circles, similarly to the districts of Paris.
The 5th district is very central and very funky. Shops, restaurants, design and antiques shops, the Parliament building, the Museum of Etnography, and my favourite cafe, Cafe Farger, ( are all located in this lovely area. Should I further say why I love this district?

Home sweet Home in Budapest

Strange enough I studied Hungarian at the university. I say "strange" because I don't think many people - who don't have any relatives, friends or lovers in Hungary- decide to dedicate efforts, energy and time to such a complicated language!
Anyway, I started to study Hungarian at the age of 19.
The first time I went to Hungary was in 1995: at that time Hungary was very "Hungarian", an interesting mix of Eastern cultures, communism (yes, still), trabants (the fascinating car produced in Eastern Germany)and smells of "paprika" in the air.
I ended up at the Nyari Egyetem (summer university) in Debrecen, the 2° Hungarian town close to the Romanian border.
I remember hot summer evenings spent in the only cukraszda(confectionary)of the town, watching the few cars going by in the streets and getting bored.
Despite the heat (35°C as average) and long hours spent in class with other weird/eclectic students in trouble just like me with the Hungarian grammar, I fell in love with the country and with the fascinating Hungarian people.
Since 1995 I have been back to Hungary many times (honestly never again to Debrecen).
But, but, but...I would have NEVER EVER thought to end up buying a cosy, little apartment in the 5th District...something which actually happened this year, on the 3rd of February 2011.
Here is the image of the building.