All posts tagged travels

The sunny and warm city of Sofia was a very nice change of atmosphere, it felt much less like the other Balkan countries we visited both from the architecture and the food. I found it to be some sort of mid-way between the Crotian/Bosnian/Serbian dishes and the Greek/Turkish ones.


Marching band resting in the shade

Even its history is quite peculiar as Bulgaria, according to our guide, tried to stay out of World War II (even being occupied by the Germans, they succeeded in saving Bulgarian Jews from being sent to Nazi concentration camps) and was not part of Yugoslavia.
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Travelling is just great but, as most things, it requires time; this is why I find summer a great period for doing long trips.
This summer, I decided to properly visit the Balkans, starting from Croatia, and going to Turkey and Greece; the idea first came from my girlfriend who suggested to do Workaway and Couchsurfing while travelling. It took us quite a bit of planning, coming up with new destinations and usually realizing how unlikely they were, given the amount of time available (one plan had us reach even Cyprus).
At the end, we managed to get a good idea of the destinations, some couchsurfing hosts and a workaway opportunity in Albania.
Our itinerary is the following:
Screenshot at 2014-06-30 11:26:49

  1. Dubrovnik, Croatia
  2. Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Sarajevo, Bosnia abd Herzegovina
  4. Belgrade, Serbia
  5. Sofia, Bulgaria
  6. Istanbul, Turkey
  7. Thessaloniki, Greece
  8. Tirana, Albania
  9. Shkodër, Albania
  10. Durrës, Albania

This series of posts will follow our steps and try to show the beauty of South-Eastern Europe.
As we will be on the road for quite a while, the photos will be uploaded later.
If you happen to be in one of these places in July, feel free to let me know! 🙂
Stay pressed!

This post is the sixth in a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again.
Walking around the streets of the Stone Town of Zanzibar is not unusual to see people of all ages spending the warm afternoon playing board games.
In East Africa, the game of Bao is a common form of entertainment.
Before starting to write this blog, I wanted to research on this game to know something more and I found out that in Zanzibar there are actually two version of this game: one is called Bao la kiswahili (“Swahili Board Game”) and the other, a simplified version, is called Bao la kujifunza (“Bao for beginners”).
Other than seeing the locals playing a new game, I was interested in the skill they showed. Some of them could, with a single hand movement, consistently put three kete‘s (the stones) into three different pits!
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This post is the fifth in a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again.
With constant swarms of tourists throughout the year, it is not surprising to know that Zanzibar has plenty of tours and trips for everyone. From nature trips to food tours, without forgetting the “Freddy Mercury Tour” ( He was born in Zanzibar, where he lived his first years), there are countless opportunities to experience the island.
Being short of time, I asked for recommendations to my new local friends who promptly suggested two tours in particular: the popular spice tour and the trip to the Jozani-Chwaka Bay monkey reserve.
The spice tour, the first one I did, was advertised as a way to get to know the local spices, the history of the spice trade and of the infamous slave trade, having been the third pillar of its economy.


One of the guides showing a natural makeup

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This post is the second in a set of publications which will describe the last trip I did in East Africa, back in August, leading me to Zanzibar and back again. Read the first post here.
After a good nights sleep, I was ready to catch the bus to Dar Es Salaam.
The bus leaves every day at 6.45am and arrives at around 8pm, quite a long journey.
The beginning of the trip wasn’t too exciting, the view was very similar and rather dull, I took this time to sleep a bit more (I am not a morning person).
After the short nap, I woke up to a very different landscape: dry lands with light brown hills. The land of the Masai.
Not long after, we had to get off the bus as we had reached the border Kenya-Tanzania (I find border checkpoints in East Africa very unsettling, so I searched for a picture to give you an idea: border checkpoint in Namanga). After all the paperwork has been completed, we returned to the bus heading to Arusha.
Arusha, capital of the Arusha region, is a mandatory stop for hikers, mainly for being very close to the Arusha National Park, the Mt. Meru Forest Reserve and, more importantly, to the Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park, home of the famous Mt. Kilimanjaro.


The Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Hello everyone,
after few weeks of being here and getting to know the people and the places, I finally settled in Lyon and now I forced myself to update the blog. Even if I have been rather busy lately, that shouldn’t be a reason for me to stop posting.
So, the first will be from the city tour the University has planned for the foreign students in the French language course.


Vue sur Lyon

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This wasn’t a photographic trip, I wanted to put the photographer in me aside and just be there, talking to people and enjoying the moment; so, you won’t see many pictures in this post.
I must say I have been surprised to see how different Rwanda is compared to Uganda, mainly the development and the overall management of Kigali (the capital).
Very well-organised and clean, Kigali stands out as a very welcoming city. Busses seem to be on time, most of the transports require you to go to a proper ticket office (!!!) and buy it at a standard price; so, no bargaining and trying to get closest to the ‘fair’ price. Whenever you say no to a boda boda driver at a stage, the others will usually not harass you anymore (this, of course, depends on the situation). These things might not sound familiar if you haven’t lived in a town like Kampala for several weeks/months.


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Sleepy faces. Slow movements. Few words. A common scene from an early morning. A nice breakfast put us all back on our feet, ready for chimp tracking.
For the tracking, we had to go into the thick forest, moving slowly and staying together in a group. This is necessary in order to not be considered a threat by the chimpanzees; scattering around would give them a feeling of being surrounded, frightening them.
It took us a good hour (or so) before we could see a chimp. Until then we could hear them calling each other (chimps have a sort of language; there are up to 30-40 sounds used for indicating different actions, i.e. food, anger, danger…).
The first one, was a rather sleepy one; he stayed most of the time laid down on a large branch and chilling under the sunlight, turning around at times.
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Today I will publish 2 posts as tomorrow I will leave for my Rwanda-Burundi trip and I will not be able to publish anything for few days.
I can say we have been both lucky and unlucky; lucky because we managed to see some elephants, unlucky because they were quite far from us. I know it is not much of a big deal, but other tourists had the chance to see them really close to them.
Due to them being far, I couldn’t grasp much of their behaviour; but I am pretty sure I will see them again some time soon!

Hello folks,
last weekend, together with some friends, I went to Ssese Islands, near Entebbe, and stayed there overnight; specifically on the Bugala island, which is the largest island of the archipelago.
It took quite some time to get there: Entebbe is some 3 hours away from Kampala and the ferry from Nakiwogo to Bugala takes other 3 hours.
Although long, the trip was totally worth it.
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