A Different Milan
By Tensi Sánchez from actitudesmgz.com
Milan has been the economic, industrial and financial capital of Italy since the 1970s. Nonetheless, all the attention on this city is garnered by its expensive fashion boutiques and the majestic cathedral, one of the most perfect and famous religious to be found anywhere in the world.
Walking around the edge of the old historic centre evokes feelings of the industrial city that Milan still is today, but the more central streets of the inner city exude history through their old buildings and it is easy to understand why this used to be a major capital of the Roman Empire.
I have discovered many interesting shops, restaurants and galleries in the historic centre that offer a great alternative to the typical tourist trails through the city and a great way to fill a morning. Travelling on the metro or the tram is the best option and, what’s more, the tram network still uses a few carriages that date back to the 1920s. Taking a ride around the city on one of those old trams is an irresistible treat.
It has become hugely fashionable of late to partake of the so-called brunch, that undefined area somewhere between breakfast and lunch. At Zerodue, they offer brunch every Sunday but you should get there before midday because the place fills up so quickly. They have a varied buffet and the decoration is to die for. Radetzky Café can be found in Garibaldi street and is also very famous for its brunches, as well as for the “cotolettas alla milanese” (Milanese cutlets).
The best hamburger in the city is served at Mamaburger, where the décor is totally minimal and rather unusual to say the least. Still on the subject of hamburgers, 202 Hamburger & Delicious and Tizzy’s are also highly recommendable.
Milan is also a bustling hive of activity insofar as art is concerned. The city is simply bursting with contemporary art galleries.
The Galería de Carla Sotaní has ties to the famous and very pricey fashion boutique 10corsocomo. Before venturing into the gallery, visitors have the chance to explore the Box and Design Shop that can be found on the same floor.
If you are a lover of design, this is the perfect city for you. The five-storey Hightech building will keep you entertained for hours, and also has a restaurant and cafeteria for recharging your batteries. Here you will find all sorts of never-before-seen curiosities presented in a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere. The place describes itself as “a sea port in the city”.
At 89 Porta di Ticinese you will come acrossOltolini; a shop dedicated to all things designer kitchen at more than reasonable prices.
Finally, I was thrilled to discover Aspesi 1910; a shop selling 100% ‘Made in Italy’ glasses that has been operating in the city for more than 100 years. You will find a host of unimaginable designs and colours well within reach.
Fashion in Milan simply cannot be ignored. The Porta di Ticinese district and neighbouring streets are full of small boutiques waiting to be discovered. Here are a few that surprised me because they try to step away from the conventional:
Maison I Yamakabe – Italian jewellery with personality and originality; Panca’s Designer – different footwear;
Dictionary Milano – men’s and women’s fashion with such brands as Scotch & Soda, Camo; Frip – a very cool shop where you can find such brands as Acne and their Little brand Frippino for the small, budding musketeers in the house; unique records and accessories at Serendeepity; and finally, two shops dedicated to the world of vintage clothes and complements, Groupies and Lo Especchio di Alice.
One of my favourite hotels in Milan is the Crowne Plaza, with its impeccable interior design and magnificent outdoor terrace. However, its best feature for me is that the entrance to the metro is inside the hotel itself, thus making it a rather unique hotel.
Before going to a party in Milan, one usually enjoys an aperitif at about 7 in the evening. It is an inexpensive and entertaining way to start the night. A typical aperitif consists of a good “Negroni” accompanied by some modest snacks. Nowadays, the aperitif scene has become a veritable institution of the city’s night life and is the reason why most bars offer a variety of tasty dishes to eat in the evening, including pasta, risotto, salads and some more exotic food dotted around. The aperitif has thus become a valid alternative to dinner at just the price of a cocktail (between 5 and 10 euros) in a great atmosphere with good music.
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PS: The recipe for a Negroni
INGREDIENTS: 1/3 gin; 1/3 Campari (bitter); 1/3 red Vermouth
Pour all the ingredients straight into a single glass with only a couple of ice cubes (max.). Never use crushed ice because the Negroni should never be watered down. Mix well and serve in a cold cocktail glass. Some people add a few drops of lemon to enhance the flavour, especially the gin. However, the original formula would be served with a slice of orange on the rim of the glass.
A “Negroni” is a great aperitif for stimulating your appetite. It was invented in the early 1900s and its name comes from Camillo Negroni, who always used to order the same cocktail in Florence. Cheers!
By Tensi Sánchez from actitudesmgz.com
Photography: Rubén Seco
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Gran Canaria The Great Atlantic Escape
Our free days are a pleasant surprise on the calendar and the best way to get the most out of them is to board a plane bound for some fresh, entertaining and getatable destination. That spot is Gran Canaria, a whirlwind of sensations, halfway between Europe, Africa and America.
Gran Canaria is just a two-hour flight from the Iberian Peninsula. So, getting there is really easy. A comfortable trip with no stopovers will convey you to that diverse land which emerged millions of years ago from submerged volcanoes in the depths of the Atlantic.
One of the perks offered by a Gran Canaria getaway is, of course, the winter sun. Temperatures on the island remain a constant 24 degrees all year around, enabling you to make the most of any outing to Las Canteras, Maspalomas, Playa del Inglés or Puerto de Mogán, some of the best known and famous beaches.
The Gran Canaria seaboard is the perfect setting for letting off steam by engaging in watersports, but, if what you’re after is making forays into the island’s interior, you should make a point of visiting the towns of Teror, Agüimes, Tejeda and Artenara, or such stunning spots as the Guayadeque Gorge, an ancient pre-Hispanic settlement which nowadays is noted for its striking, cosy cave houses.
Any trip to Gran Canaria should include a visit to the island’s summit, a central area in the Biosphere Reserve where the Roque Nublo and Roque Bentayga outcrops stand. Oh, and remember to get your camera ready. There, you will literally feel like you have arrived in heaven when the weather phenomenon known as the “sea of clouds” spreads out at your feet, as if you were the main subject in a painting set against the memorable scenery of steep mountains and deep gorges.
The north coast of Gran Canaria features some must-see sites such as Puerto de Las Nieves and the Valle de Agaete, a lush garden with tropical fruit housing the only coffee plantation in Europe. Gáldar awaits you with the majesty of the Cueva Pintada (Painted Cave), the largest native Canarian archaeological site, while Arucas, for its part, is the headquarters of Arehucas Rum, a peerless drink which has livened up the festivities of many generations of Canary Islanders.
Well worth visiting is Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a carefree capital with a wealth of cultural activities. Its Vegueta district is the city’s historic centre and you are urged to venture into the monumental area to see close-up the Cathedral of Santa Ana, Museo Canario, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno and Christopher Columbus House Museum, a beautiful enclave where the Genoese navigator stopped over on his way to discovering America and which highlights the relationship between the Canary Islands and the New World.
If you’re up for an intense day of shopping at more than reasonable prices, the Calle Mayor de Triana is the ideal spot for it. Large, national and international firms and prestigious brands have stores in this shopping area, and the latter is a pleasure on the eyes, as the district features picturesque buildings in various architectural styles.
Gran Canaria is a lively island, an urban travel destination where you can soak up the atmosphere of its street markets and craft stalls, as well as the various events held there during the year. The last quarter of 2016 will see such long-awaited events as the start of the ARC Transatlantic Race, the Underwater Photography Contest, the Bethlehem built of sand on Las Canteras beach or the Gran Canaria Walking Festival, a grand event for trekking enthusiasts which in this upcoming fifth edition will be including new routes and a night itinerary for star-gazing on the Cumbre de Tejeda.
All these offerings make Gran Canaria a unique destination for an exciting long weekend or warm autumn or winter holiday. Here, time flies by and the island has lots of travel plans to be savoured in advance.
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Images by Patronato Turismo Gran Canariamore info
De rubias por Bruselas
Belgium is a comparatively small land which has nevertheless made an inestimable contribution to the world of gastronomy – chips, waffles, chocolate and, very especially, beer. Here, over 450 varieties are made, whether by trusted traditional methods or using new technologies, yielding flavours that range from the classical to the most exotic. While the barley brew is a religion in Belgium, for beer enthusiasts Brussels is the hideout of some of the best taverns – and veritable places of pilgrimage – on the old continent.
A La Mort Subite
(Rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères, 7)
Opened in 1910, A La Mort Subite is one of those spots oblivious to the passage of time. It boasts an exquisite beer selection, but I can recommend the one named after the establishment, Mort Subite, with its raspberry aroma. Its appearance and elegance on the palate have earned it the sobriquet of “the beer world’s pink champagne”.
(Impasse de la Fidélité, 4)
This is Brussels’ beer cellar par excellence, a must-visit place of pilgrimage for any beer toper worth his or her salt. It started off as a tiny cellar on the Impasse de la Fidélité, but today it has taken over most of the street. Here you will find the whole range, from typical Belgium abbey beers to exotic beverages from the outer reaches of the planet. They need loads of storage space to house the more than five thousand types of beer on offer.
(Rue de la Bourse, 18-20)
In the very heart of the Belgian capital, Le Cirio is located in the side street of the Bourse. Although not on account of its siting, the café is packed with guided tour parties. Le Cirio is a veritable institution in Brussels’ tavern guild. Rather than a venue for downing a pint, this spot, which still has its original centenary decor intact, is the ideal place for trying local cuisine, washed down – naturally – with a good indigenous beer.
(Rue du Chêne, 5)
Hanging from its flea-market-like ceiling you will find anything from puppets to lavatory seats. Le Poechenellekelder is undoubtedly one of the bars with the most character in Brussels. This small venue, ideally located next door to the famous Manneken Pis, has a sizeable variety of mainly Trappist beers, crafted for the most part by monks.
Le Roy d’Espagne
(Grand Place, 1)
A seat on the terrace in the Grand Place is a privileged vantage point for viewing the bustle of the city. If, in addition, you are savouring steamed mussels, a helping of chips and, for instance, a 9° proof Chimay Bleue grand reserve, the experience is complete. The proposal might conjure up images of a rubberneck in flip-flops and socks, but there are certain pleasures one cannot – or should not – pass up, as clichéd or hackneyed as they may be.
(Place Fontainas, 8)
Pils, Trappists, triples, doubles, wittes, IPAs, pale ales, stouts… you will find them all in the Moeder Lambic, a stunning place with its 40 taps arrayed behind an endless bar counter. While you’re there, make sure to try the beer they make themselves in a brewery just two blocks away. Fermented in the open air, the fruity taste of their Moeder Lambic Original is highly seductive.
(Rue du Lombard, 25)
A small brasserie always packed with locals, an unmistakeable sign of success. They offer excellent cuisine at more than reasonable prices and an array of beers that will meet the expectations of even the most seasoned beer connoisseurs. This is one of the hidden gems all cities seem to have, but guard the secret jealously!
(Rue du Marché aux Herbes, 66)
Our route ends with what is likely the quaintest bar in Brussels. The Toone, concealed between the buildings separating the Impasse de Sainte Pétronille from the Marché aux Herbes, is a brasserie which doubles as a puppet theatre. Between performances, customers drink amid puppets and a number of other fabled creatures.
The Belgian Beer Weekend is held the first weekend in September each year in Brussels’ Grand Place, where a host of brasseries sell their wares and regale visitors with activities relating to countless methods of brewing and different beer flavours.
Belgian Brewers Museum
The Maison des Brasseurs, a majestic stone building located in the Grand Place, is home to the Belgian Brewers Museum. It opens every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission costs 5 euros.
Brussels Beer Tours
Being highly specialised in beer, Brussels is understandably criss-crossed by an endless list of thematic tours of the city, notably Beertrips, Belgian Beer Me, Global Beer, Podge Beer and Bier Mania.more info
LifeStyle in the heart of Berlin
Por Tensi Sáncez de Actitudes Magazine
As soon as you get off the plane, you realise that life in Berlin is peaceful, unhurried and stress-free and that this city is somewhere where pollution does not form part of the landscape.
For a Berliner, there is no more precious treasure than being able to enjoy a sunny day and take to the streets in search of simple, everyday pleasures like walking, enjoying a bier somewhere in the open, reading a good book in one of the city’s 2,500 wonderful parks or visiting one of the hundreds of art galleries.
The German capital exudes modernity with a clearly unique personality that is reflected in the art that flows throughout the city and is embodied in endless forms. If you add to the mix that life in Berlin is not expensive, you come to the conclusion that this is one of the most dynamic capitals as far as European art and design are concerned.
The entire city is linked perfectly by the metro, a tram or train service. You will find it virtually impossible to discover somewhere that cannot be reached by one or more of these three modes of transport (although you may need a bit of patience at first to decipher things). That said, I want to highlight the Mitte district, which can be visited without the need to use public transport. Mitte means “the middle” or “half”, which is why this district is described as the heart of the city and is the best-known district in Berlin as here you will find the historic city centre.
One of my favourite hotels in the city is the Eurostar Berlin. Here you will want for nothing. There’s a pool, a sauna, a pianist in the lobby who accompanies you during breakfast beside the art exhibits, added to which the staff are really friendly.
From the hotel, a pleasant stroll along the banks of the river Spree will take you to Mitte, where you’ll find many shops, galleries, bars and restaurants. Let’s start with the fabulous Flagshipstore and its collections by more than twenty young German and Scandinavian designers. At Who killed Bambi, you’ll find women’s fashion and accessories with daring designs at good prices. Storia and Fairly offer some very feminine and elegant fashion that you will find impossible to resist.
Greta&Luis is a multi-faceted shop with a great deal of style, especially in clothes for young men. Another of my favourites is Potipoti, a Spanish brand created in 2005 by Silvia Salvador and Nando Cornejo. Its philosophy is to combine graphic design, art and fashion. All its collections are designed in Berlin and manufactured in Spain. You won’t be able to leave without buying something!
In Berlin, it’s impossible not to be seduced by the world of vintage clothing & accessories. One great example is Waahnsinn, where you’ll find an infinity of second-hand gadgets, clothes and accessories.Class of Berlin /run by Franzisca, designer of the Marlenes Tochter brand) is the perfect place to get yourself some vintage clothes from the 1930s through to the 1960s. They also offer a barber’s service. Finally, discover all things vintage with a touch of class at Garments, where you’ll succumb to authentic treasures at very reasonable prices by de Comme des Garcons, Valentino, Channel or Martin Marguiela, along with other outstanding brands.
If you like your objects and furniture to have a more industrial and retro look, Objets trouvés is the home décor place for you. Its peculiar frontage makes it easy to find. Not far away is the marvellous gallery ofOliver Rath, Rath-Gallery. His photography has an impact on everybody and inspires inner reflection. A few streets down is the aquabitArt gallery and its more avant-garde exhibitions.
Stopping for a coffee anywhere in the Mitte district is essential, and even more enjoyable when sitting out on one of the outdoor terraces. However, this is one special place hidden away down a side street at 39 Rosenthaler Straße. Once you find this place, you’ll think you have travelled back to a Berlin of times gone by. The graffiti is hypnotising. Go with the flow and follow it to the end where you’ll discover various art galleries, including Neurotitan Shop & Gallery, where you’ll no doubt lose yourself among the books, records, t-shirts, etc., and Central Kino, a unique cinema-shop with popcorn included.
To recover from the shock and to admire the unique nature of this side street, take a seat on the terrace atCafé Cinema and savour one of the excellent German beers on offer.
In the Mitte district, stretching from Hackesche Höfe to Oranienburger Strasse, there are many bars that flung open their doors to the hoards of West Berliners after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Some of these places are relatively easy to find but it’s more fun to lose yourself among the bars that sprout like mushrooms and disappear from one day to the next.
By Tensi Sáncez from Actitudes Magazine
Picture by Ruben Seco
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