In 2011 I experienced the Carnival in Venice, which that year had the theme “Ottocento – da senso a Sissi, la città delle donne”. It’s the time of year for the Carnival again (this year’s theme being “Creativity”). You can decide to visit the carnival as an onlooker, or take purt, wholeheartedly. I opted for the latter, in period style dress and all, and oh what an experience it was!
The accommodation of choice certainly contributed to the feeling of having stepped into a fairy-tale, with its very special atmosphere right on the Grand Canal. Completely swept away, I was in a different century, a parallell universe, if you wish – with two roles; the tourist who takes pictures of all festive attributes surrounding you, and the 19th century Cicci (How convenient that my nickname coincided with Sissi!) who was experiencing another Venice, photographed by those who chose not to participate in the theatre itself. The whole city is your theatre scene!
Look up Al Ponte Antico! It is ineed worth a visit, for the wonderful atmospere, the people, the breakfasts, the location – it has it all!
Al Ponte Antico breakfast
Al Ponte Antico
Al Ponte Antico
Cicci at Al Ponte Antico
A southern Italian wind swept by…or, was it me sweaping by south of Italy…
Tropea – a new friendship formed this summer, the one involving eyes meeting pine trees, old cobbled streets with the right scent of a mix of excellent food together with blooming bougainvillea, and that perfectly coloured sea brushing steep cliffs.
Aside from skiing, I also love horseback riding, so I thought it was time for a flashback at some nice trips I’ve been able to do.
Brushing teeth in a stream while a herd of horses gallop past.
Isla Margarita, Venezuela
Tian-shan mountains, Kyrgyzstan
Isalo National Park, Madagascar
Jaipur, India (picture taken by Manu Bahuguna)
Dingle Horseriding, Ireland
Woops, it’s not a horse! In the Sahara, Morocco.
Jalman Meadows, Mongolia
Muhu Island, Estonia
Tenuta Luogo Marchese, Sicily, Italy
Last season, I went to a very nice place for skiing. La Thuile is a very cosy village, and the Miramonti hotel provided the perfect atmosphere. The slopes were in a good condition, and it was fun to be able to “pop over to France”, just by crossing over to La Rosiére.
The welcoming reception lounge at Le Miramonti
La Thuile by night
Do you see the message?
Matterhorn/Monte Cervino is visible in the distance
Snow – what every skier appreciates. Outside hotel Le Miramonti
Link tip: Go Alpin – Swedish travel agency with a personal touch
As any skier knows, the experience you may have on any slope is very personal, weather dependent, and has a lot to do with timing and preferences. In spite of that, I will make a few lists, if nothing else to make you curious and share some examples of what is available out there. Please note, that my bucket list is far from complete!
Here is my first list, the list of “Good snow days” – from perfect champagne powder to that little extra something that makes you feel all warm inside just from the memory of that special ski waypoint (with links to those I unfortunately cannot show with my own pictures below):
- Valle Nevado, Chile – This is the place where I experienced one of the best days skiing I’ve ever had. Every skier deserves that powder experience at least once.
- Alyeska, the U.S. – the powder, the views, the…
- Zao onsen, Japan – once again, for the powder, and for the cool feeling of skiing among the snow covered trees looking like big snow monsters
- Beldersoy, Uzbekistan – not because of the equipments available (giggles), but because of the perfect powder combined with the outstanding hospitality, and the fact that I had the funniest conversation about Ingmar Stenmark with one of the employees. (The last part of that conversation; “So, it seems you know that I’m from Sweden!?” “Ha ha ha, everybody, this whole mountain, knows that you are from Sweden!”)
- Apussuit, Greenland – surreal place, where the landscape is simply stunning. Hard to explain the feeling when you ski from the top of a glacier towards the ocean. If you’re lucky the Northern Lights accompany you at night.
- Zermatt, Switzerland – just one of those days.
- Levi, Finland – really Cold, but also really nice! Reindeers next to the slopes too.
- Pas de la Casa, Andorra – unexpectedly good conditions.
- Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – new snow over the night, sunshine, and non-stop skiing all day long. Not to mention the best gnocchi alla gorgonzola I’ve ever had!
- Campitello, Italy – an exciting day in Sella Ronda, including Lagazuoi’s Hidden valley with a horse transfer at the end.
8. Pas de la Casa
9. Cortina d’Ampezzo
I thought to myself the other day, isn’t it funny how music can forever become connected to a certain place! Going through some of the songs that got stuck in my head, I noticed how quite a few were also connected to funny stories, not a few in connection with serpentine roads…
This is my playlist for some of the waypoints (and the stories behind it all):
- “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel
- “Fly Away” by Lenny Kravitz
- “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
- “Popcorn” by Gershon Kingsley
- “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
- “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5
- “I Feel Good” by James Brown
- “Illit minillutit” by Stinne Jacobsen
- “Tu Quieres Volver” by Gipsy Kings
- In 1995 I went to Italy together with my dear friend, Joanna, and as it were I ended up in hospital – though not because of a skiing accident, but because I suffered from pulmonary embolism. I was sent to two different hospitals and was taken care of in an excellent way. During one of the ambulance rides (on winding roads at high speed) a very cute guy held my hand and sang the song “Cecilia” to me. I was in great pain, so it was a great distraction even if also somewhat surreal.
- Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly away” was the background music played by the taxi driver, Rocky, who brought us into the Moroccan desert, when Joanna and I went on a walkabout which involved everything from sleeping in the Saharan desert next to a camel to skiing in Oukaimeden at an altitude of 3200 metres (again reached on winding roads at high speed).
- “Unforgettable” is my favourite request at any Japanese karaoke bar.
- “Popcorn”: to me, this song means revisiting my childhood winter holidays in Norway. In order to reach Dalseter, one has to drive on winding roads.
- “Happy” was the preferred choice of song for the serpentine roads of Liguria when on holiday in Cinque Terre together with my boyfriend, Michael.
- During my stay in China, to work as a volunteer with pandas, I went with some friends into the city of Ya’an. I think that we were all in a state of delight mingled with terror when the driver who took us there seemed to think he was in some kind of race against time. He was equally intent on managing the sharp curves as handling the back scratcher.
- In Nikko, Japan, in company with fellow exchange students, I remember waking up and feeling in a very good mood. So, I couldn’t help but singing James Brown’s “I feel good” out loud – waking up the others to a not so fantastically good mood because of it.
- Stinne Jacobsen’s song in Greenlandic is simply the perfect match to the fantastic holiday I had in Apussuit Adventure Camp – a story well worth telling separately…
- I end this playlist with Gipsy Kings just because it reminds me of my 30th birthday, celebrated in Tokyo, together with great friends. Thanks Marleen, Mia, Jon and Örjan!
Cinque Terre, Italy
The Sahara desert, Morocco
If I were to do certain trips all over again, what would my perfect world tour look like? Here’s one way it could be done:
I would start with one of my absolute favourites; Antarctica. Why? Because the impressions that were left with me from that journey , the new friendships that were made and the incomparably beautiful nature and wildlife, made me humble.
After the snowy continent, my journey would continue like this: India – Bhutan – Myanmar – Kyrgyzstan – Mongolia – Japan – Papua New Guinea – Australia – Chile – Argentina – Guyana – Barbados – Cuba – Canada – Ireland – South Africa – Greece – Italy – Switzerland – Belgium – and finally, back home, to Sweden. (Of course, there are so many optional routes that could be taken, and in order for me to experience new exciting places, I would have to do a completely different walkabout.) Well, here are some pictures from those places mentioned above, that left me in awe.
Oh, and the obvious answer to the question above (Would I do it again?) is, Yes!
Chinstrap penguin, Half moon island, Antarctica
Tiger’s nest, Bhutan
Inle lake, Myanmar
Yaks in the Tian shan mountains, Kyrgyzstan
Sushi time, Japan
Ambua lodge, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Surf’s up, Australia
Fin del mundo, Argentina
Kaieteur falls, Guyana
Horse polo, Italy