6 DAYS IN CAMPANIA, SOUTH ITALY – Days 1-3: Sorrento, Amalfi Coast

Naples, Pompeii, The Amalfi Coast, Campania has it all: breathtaking beauty, rich history, a strong character and delicious food! With its southern warmth – both humanly and climatically speaking – Campania is certainly a must-see when visiting Italy.

When to go: Arguably spring is a great to time to see Campania: blissful sunny days, colorful wild flowers, the smell of  lemon blossoms in the air… As idyllic as you picure it! Furthermore, you will avoid the crowds and the heat of the summer time. In any case, Campania is a very touristic destination, so even during spring expect to meet a lot of people visiting the area.

Where to stay: I believe Sorrento is the best spot for exploring the region’s highlights: Naples, Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii to the north, the magnificent Amalfi Coast southeast, and a few minutes aways from the iconic island of Capri.

Campania’s food: Needless to say, pizza is on its own enough reason to visit Campania. No matter how many times you have eaten pizza before, it is certain that here you will have the most delicious pizza of your lifetime! The secret: undoubtedly the simplicity of the flavors and the genuine ingredients…

Of course Campania’s cuisine is much more than just pizza. The typical cucina di Campagna is renowned across the globe for its seafood and fish specialities, but it also includes traditional mountain dishes. This sun-kissed region also has the undisputed merit of having contributed to the birth and spread of the celebrated Mediterranean diet, with the use of essential products like tomatoes, olive oil, vegetables and of course pasta!

But most likely the worldwide recognition of Campania’s regional cuisine is the result of the cleverness and artistry of the people of this area, who masterfully have made noble, even gourmet, the local ingredients once considered “food for the poor”.

In this post I propose you a guide to explore the region of Campania on a 6-day stay, so you can get to see the most of this magnificent area…


Located over straddling imposing cliffs overlooking the impressive Naples Bay, Sorrento is a great starting point to explore the area. A busy touristic destination during the summer, with a more pleasant and relaxed atmosphere during spring time.

Wander along the narrow streets of the charming old town, visit its beautiful Cathedral and lively Piazza Tasso and grab a bite at one of the numerous cafés. Finally, to get a different view of Sorrento, walk down to visit Marina Grande and Marina Piccola. And to finish your day at the seaside, eat some authentic wood-fired pizza at the ristorante Acqu’et sale.



Deservedly declared by UNESCO “World Heritage Site”, la Costiera Amalfitana is without any doubt one of the most beautiful places of Italy and one of the most breathtaking scenic drives of Europe. Nestled between the mountain and the sea cliffs, following the natural course of the coastline, every turn of the road surprises you with a spectacular shot.

There are 13 towns spreading across the Amalfi Coast, all with their unique beauty and charm. Visit them all if you have the time! But the undisputed “star” of the Coast is definitely picture-perfect Positano, a former fishing village that has become a first-class tourist destination.

You don’t get enough when walking along the picturesque roads. Therefore, Positano certainly deserves a whole day to discover.

Visit the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta, admire the numerous art galleries, and if the weather allows it, get suntanned at the picturesque Spiaggia Grande… And after a day of strolling -and most likely shopping- head to Ristorante Da Constantino for the most amazing panoramic view of the village, while you indulge yourself with some delicious scialatielli ai frutti di mare (pasta with shellfish), or any other of the many typical Campanian dishes the friendly staff of the restaurant will propose you.



Amalfi, the town that gives its name to the coast, is another must-see in the Amalfi Coast. The beautiful Duomo di Sant’Andrea Apostolo (Cathedral of St. Andrew) with its impressive staircase, and the cute white houses clinging to the rock give a particular charm to this beautiful village. Besides the numerous cafés and ristorante, a stop at Pasticceria Savoia for a genuine italian gelatto is a must!After your visit to Amalfi, make a stop at picturesque Atrani and drive up -or even better, hike up!- the hills above Amalfi to reach elegant Ravello, a beautiful town known for its charming medieval streets, ravishing garden villas and majestic views. Ravello’s Italian refinement has managed, for centuries, to captivate famous musicians, actors and writers; so it comes to no surprise that it’s home not only to the renowned Ravello Festival, but also to a vibrant cultural scene.

Stroll along the narrow streets, visit Villa Rufolo, Villa Cimbrone and the Duomo, and to finish your visit with a touch of style, head to Ristorante Villa Maria for fine dining and a stunning view. Many of the delicious dishes you will savour at the restaurant -part of the eponymous boutique hotel– are made using biological products coming from the terraced gardens you can admire while you eat. And as a bonus, be sure to check the photos of the many celebrities that have stayed and dined here…

Coming up next: 6 days in Campania, South Italy – Days 4-6: Pompeii & Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius & Napoli, Island of Capri


 Photo Credits

All the photos belong to woman2womenblog.com


In the Part 1 of Home birth: Smart choice or risky business? we analyzed the issues of personal satisfaction, maternal safety and baby’s risks. Part 2 dealt with hospital transfers, water birth and the situation in the Netherlands. Check out the last three reasons women choose home birth, and read the final conclusion to decide whether home birth is a clever or a dangerous option…

7) Home birth is cheap

home-birth-call-the-midwifeHome birth is cheaper… provided that no transfer is needed and nothing goes wrong

Cost-effectiveness is an important issue in every country with an organized health system. Countries like England or the Netherlands, where the National Health System (NHS) covers the cost of deliveries, have calculated that is cheaper that women deliver at home, avoiding a more expensive hospital admission. For example, the UK NHS “prices” home birth £1066 and birth at a hospital £1631. The economical factor is one of the reasons certain professional organizations support home labor, such as the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (RCOG) which states that: “home birth is the most cost-effective place for delivery”.

But this cost analysis has been challenged, as it does not take in consideration the high transport rates; in fact, a Dutch report calculates a general 3-fold increase of costs in patients transported during labor, when the costs of the midwife, the transport system, the obstetrician and the hospital are included. In addition, the costs derived from the maintenance of an adequate transport system (ambulances and trained staff) should not be neglected. Assuming increased neonatal risks, admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit, the lifetime costs of supporting neurologically disabled children and potentially increased professional liability costs resulting from a complicated home birth can potentially inflate the costs.

Indicative of these unexpected expenses is the article Home birth: What the hell was I thinking?  A journalist from The Guardian went on a mission following a home birth. After managing to deliver her child at home, both the woman and her baby had a complication and needed to be transferred to a hospital. Since the baby and the mother were not allowed to be in the same ambulance, two ambulances were required…

Regarding the costs arising from a private home birth, the situation varies in different countries; in the USA home births are not covered by health insurances, and a couple is expected to pay $1500 to 4500 to the midwife. Hospital births can range from $3,296 to 37,227, although they are usually covered totally or partially by the insurance. Of note: a doctor gets paid about $2500-4000, same as a midwife. Ιn Europe, a couple is expected to pay about 2000-3000 €; recently the Italian newspaper La Stampa published the article Home birth: a 3000 €  luxury that does not convince doctors.

8) “Birth is not a disease, it’s a natural thing. Mother nature can’t go wrong”

home-birth-birth-in-natureUnassisted childbirth: don’t try this at home – or anywhere else

Indeed, Mother nature is great. If you think about it, the whole process of labor and delivery seems to be so perfect, almost magical… But “natural” is not a synonym of “risk-free”. Sometimes Mother nature can play strange games. We may believe we have everything under control, but things may flip just in a second: think earthquakes, or tsunamis… Exactly the same thing applies to childbirth: even when someone seems to be “low risk”, disaster can strike without any warning …

Childbirth is inherently dangerous,” writes in her blog Amy Tuteur, an American obstetrician gynecologist. “In every time, place and culture, it is one of the leading causes of death of young women. And the day of birth is the most dangerous day in the entire 18 years of childhood”. Finally, she adds: “Why does childbirth seem so safe? Because of modern obstetrics. Modern obstetrics has lowered the neonatal mortality rate 90 per cent and the maternal mortality rate 99 per cent over the past 100 years.”

The absolute confidence in a woman body’s ability to deliver is expressed by supporters of unassisted childbirth (UC), the “hard core” version of home birth, which, although practised already since the 70s, it has lately seen a resurgence. Also known as freebirth, DIY (do-it-yourself) birth, unhindered birth, or unassisted home birth, it refers to women that intentionally deliver without the assistance of a physician or midwife; they may be completely alone (“solo birth”) or assisted by a lay person, such as the spouse, family, friend, or a non-professional birth attendant. There are no data on safety of UC, except that coming from a religious group in Indiana (USA) that found a perinatal mortality rate 2,7 times higher, and a maternal mortality rate 97 times higher than the state average.

Among the most famous UC advocates is Janet Fraser who, ironically, lost her baby after five days of home labour; in spite of that she continues to advocate for freebirth. In fact, UC is not endorsed by any scientific organization, as it is considered too dangerous. According to André Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC):“Freebirth is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with your child”.

9) I have the right to deliver wherever I want

home-birth-collageA home birth oxymoron: right to privacy vs. social media exposure

This is a very complex issue with ethical and legal connotations, which has originated intense debate among experts. Even scientific organizations differ in their recommendations. For example, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, until recently opposed to home births, has decided to temper its position: “…hospitals and birthing centers are the safest setting for birth, but it respects the right of a woman to make a medically informed decision about delivery.” On the other side, the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) maintains that “every family has a right to experience child birth in an environment where human dignity, self-determination, and the family’s cultural context are respected” and that “every woman has a right to an informed choice regarding place of birth and access to safe home birth services”. Let’s analyze the ethical and legal aspects of home birth:

Ethical issues

These are some of the ethicals dilemmas related to home birth:

Mother vs child safety. Although hospital birth seems to increase maternal interventions in all studies (apparently without increasing severe risk), the baby’s safety remains a subject of debate; taking though in consideration all the studies, there seems to be increased risk for the baby. Let’s take for example the Birthplace study (which is in somewhere in the middle). This study found that, particularly for first time mothers, the baby’s risk is 3 times higher (of which more that half of the cases are death and brain damage). Is it ethically acceptable for a woman to value her birth experience over her baby’s welfare? Is maternal emotional wellbeing so important to justify risking the baby’s health?

Respect for dignity and privacy. “Dignity” may have a different meaning for each person. Some home births supporters feel that the presence of a doctor and the hospital staff make them feel “degraded”; moreover “for some women the possibility of the loss of privacy is a major issue, because privacy is a valued possession”.

Is it not contradictory that so many women, zealous advocates of home birth and their right to privacy, do not hesitate to publish their home birth photographs and videos -some of them with incredible details- in every social media site, where they are exposed to the eyes of millions of people?

Self-determination. In order to make truly informed decisions about childbirth options, women need to be informed of what they are and have the possibility to discuss them. Is it ethical to offer the option of home birth knowing that there is increased risk for her baby? 

In theory, the person informing the pregnant woman should inform her objectively and avoid being paternalistic. The problem is that, informed decision-making implies accurate assessment of risks and benefits, but the safety of home birth remains debatable. Is it possible to inform objectively a pregnant woman about home birth? Or the information will be biased according to the health care provider beliefs or experiences?

Other possible ethical issues:

  • In the home birth situation, are a woman’s reproductive rights and medical responsibility incompatible with each other?
  • Where do a woman’s rights end and medical responsibility begins, especially considering that the physician is also responsible for the baby’s welfare?
  • In case of a baby adverse outcome that could have been prevented in a hospital setting, what will be the psychological consequences for the couple?
  • What is the psychological burden of a home birth in a family’s older children witnessing a home birth? What if a complication occur in their presence?

Legal issues

Legal issues can affect a woman’s decision to give birth at home in different countries. In certain places, home births are restricted, and even possibly criminally punishable, and family homes have been turned into crime scenes when women who have opted for homebirths experienced complications. In others countries, there are no regulating laws.

In Europe, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in 2010 that Hungary had violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) because it had interfered with a woman’s right to choose where to give birth. Ms Ternovszky wanted to give birth at home but argued that she was prevented from doing so because a government decree dissuaded health care professionals from assisting home births. This case was the first decision by an international human rights organization on the right to choose the circumstances of giving birth, and was heralded by home birth advocates across Europe.

However, in a recent case against the Czech Republic, the Human rights judges decided that national authorities of each country has “considerable room for manoeuvre” when regulating home births, a matter for which there is no European consensus and which involves complex issues of health-care policy as well as allocation of State resources.

So, is home birth a smart choice or a risky business?

The Monty Python satirize the medicalisation of childbirth in The Meaning of Life

As an obstetrician who supports natural birth, I hear many times the women’s complaints about the excessive medicalization of childbirth. And I feel that sometimes they are right. However, being a mother myself, I never regretted my choice of a hospital birth for my children. After having helped so many women deliver their babies, I have seen many times complications that were totally unpredictable. Occasionally, these sudden complications are so serious, that we have to run -literally- from the delivery room to the operating room to save the baby or the mother! Therefore, even when having skilled professionals attending your home birth, even in countries with very organized structures, the distance to a hospital can prove fatal. Is for this reason that, in my opinion, a hospital birth is without any doubt the best choice for every woman. A birthing center attached to a hospital may also be a good choice.

True, the studies results are controversial, but for me “almost as safe as a hospital birth” is not enough to make me change my mind.

True also, a hospital birth is related to more epidurals, cesarean sections, instrumental deliveries and episiotomies. Regarding the epidural, if you can do it without one, that’s great! But sometimes labor pain is unbearable, and it’s not uncommon to see women without any pain relief who, when the moment to push comes, they are so exhausted and their pain is so overwhelming that they literally lose it. On the contrary, women with an epidural can be more focused and relaxed. The bottom line is: natural birth is not for everybody. And women don’t have to feel guilty because they chose to have an epidural. It’s better to have nice memories of your birth, and for that the epidural can help!

Whether too many cesareans sections are being done is a topic more controversial than home birth itself, and it would deserve a separate article. But what I can say is that, when cesarean sections are done in a judicious way by a conscious physician, they can save your life and your baby’s life. Since hospital births result in better neonatal outcome, it is clear to me that most interventions are an inevitable trade-off to save more babies or to avoid severe damage. The same goes for the controversial fetal monitoring, which may lead to more cesarean sections, it may not decrease perinatal mortality, but it reduces by 50% the risk of  brain damage. Personally, I would do anything in my power to reduce the chances of having a brain damaged baby.

Of course, a lot that should be done -and can be done- to improve hospital birth: create home-like conditions to help women be relaxed and empowered, allow women to walk during labor, give them possibility to push and deliver in any position they wish, avoid unnecessary interventions such as systematic episiotomies, etc. I believe that some efforts are slowly being done worldwide, but we still have a long way to go!

In conclusion, a woman has the right to choose where to deliver; however, until the risks are clarified, maternal wellbeing may undermine the child’s welfare. Therefore, in my opinion, a natural hospital birth is the safest choice. Natural hospital birth IS possible! You just need motivation and a supportive team…

Hospitals should increase their efforts to provide women with a friendly environment so they can deliver their babies in comfort and total safety. Every baby is precious, every mother is precious!

Photo credits

7) screenterrier.blogspot.gr; 8) news.com.au; 9) vimeo.com, Wikimedia Commons, thebirthhour.com, Flickr.comvimeo.com, homebirthaustralia.orgmindfulmamabirth.comFlickr.comhuffingtonpost.co.uklifedaily.com


Stromae papillon

Μετά την Ελλάδα, θα ήθελα -μετά τα πρόσφατα τραγικά γεγονότα- να κάνουμε ένα μουσικό ταξίδι στο Βέλγιο… Και αν σκέφτομαι Βέλγιο, ένας καλλιτέχνης έρχεται αμέσως στο μυαλό μου: ο Stromae.

‘Ισως μερικοί από εσάς αναρωτιέστε, ποιος είναι ο Stromae;

Αφίσα του Stromae σε έναν τοίχο στο Ώστιν, Τέξας

Μπορεί να μην έχετε συγκρατήσει το όνομά του, αλλά κατά πάσα πιθανότητα θα έχετε ήδη ακούσει -και χορέψει- μία από τις απόλυτες επιτυχίες του: το Alors on dance, το οποίο το 2010 έφτασε στην κορυφή των charts στις περισσότερες χώρες της Ευρώπης. Η φήμη του όμως έχει πλέον ξεπεράσει τα ευρωπαϊκά σύνορα: σε μία πρόσφατη περιοδεία κατάφερε να ξετρελαίνει και τους Αμερικάνους.

Αλλά ο Stromae -το όνομά του προέρχεται από την αντιστροφή των συλλαβών της λέξης Maestro– είναι επίσης ένα σούπερ σταρ στο YouTube: τα βίντεό του έχουν ένα δισεκατομμύριο προβολές!!

Ποιο είναι, άραγε, το μυστικό της επιτυχίας του Stromae, ιδιαίτερα λαμβάνοντας υπόψη πως τραγουδάει μόνο στα γαλλικά; Η μελωδική του μουσική; Οι βαθυστόχαστοι στίχοι; Το αινιγματικό του παρουσιαστικό;

Stromae yellowΑν και η μουσική του έχει επιρροή από ηλεκτρονικούς και hip hop ήχους, δεν περιορίζεται μόνο σε αυτούς: κάποια τραγούδια έχουν αφρικανικούς, άλλα latin ρυθμούς, οι οποίοι αναμειγνύονται αρμονικά μεταξύ τους. Αλλά αυτό που κάνει τον Stromae να υπερέχει από άλλους καλλιτέχνες είναι ότι, στα δήθεν ελαφρά ακούσματα των τραγουδιών του, κρύβεται ένα ισχυρό κοινωνικό μήνυμα: μιλάνε για το AIDS, τον καρκίνο, τις σχέσεις, τα σεξουαλικά κλισέ … Ωστόσο ο Stromae πιστεύει πως το να καταλάβεις τους στίχους δεν είναι και απαραίτητο: «Κανείς δεν καταλαβαίνει Αγγλικά [στο Βέλγιο], αλλά όλοι ακούνε αγγλική μουσική, γιατί μπορούν να διαισθάνονται το συναίσθημα και το groove των τραγουδιών, και αυτό φτάνει για να χορέψουν και να νιώθουν τη μουσική», λέει χαρακτηριστικά.

Η εκκεντρική του εμφάνιση ήταν αναμφίβολα καθοριστική για την ευρεία του αναγνώριση: τα εξωτικά φυλετικά χαρακτηριστικά, το σκούρο δέρμα και τα πράσινα μάτια του -ο πατέρας του ήταν από τη Ρουάντα, η μητέρα του είναι Βελγίδα -καθώς και το εκφραστικό, μελαγχολικό του βλέμμα. Και φυσικά το εξίσου εξωτικό του ντύσιμο, το οποίο συνδυάζει με απόλυτο στιλ την βρετανική κομψότητα και την αφρικάνικη αισθητική.

Επομένως, ίσως το μυστικό της επιτυχίας του είναι πως ο Stromae συμβολίζει την Ευρώπη: είναι ένα μείγμα από διάφορες φυλές, στυλ και πολιτισμούς, προκλητικός και αντιφατικός, με απόλυτη προσοχή στην αισθητική, με ελαφρότητα αλλά και κοινωνικά ευαισθητοποιημένος…

Stromae Cheese

Το πρώτο hit του Stromae ήρθε σχεδόν κατά τύχη: ενώ εργαζόταν ως μαθητευόμενος σε ένα βελγικό ραδιοφωνικό σταθμό, ο μουσικός παραγωγός άκουσε το “Alors on dance” και αποφάσισε να το παίξει. Η επιτυχία ήταν άμεση. Τα πιασάρικα beats του τραγουδιού παραδίδουν ένα μήνυμα: «Η ζωή είναι χάλια, ας χορέψουμε”, και το τραγούδι ήρθε στο κατάλληλο μέρος, τη κατάλληλη στιγμή: στην αρχή της οικονομικής κρίσης της Ευρώπης το 2009. Το βίντεο δείχνει έναν άντρα απελπισμένος με τη ζωή του και την κοινωνία, έτσι το μόνο που του έχει απομείνει είναι να χορέψει.

Το πρώτο του άλμπουμ, το Cheese, κυκλοφόρησε το 2010. Εκτός από το smash hit “Alors on Dance” περιέχει και άλλα ωραία κομμάτια, ίσως το αγαπημένο μου είναι το “Te quiero”.

Stromae Racine Carree

Το αριστουργηματικό του δεύτερο άλμπουμ, το Racine Carrée (“Τετραγωνική Ρίζα”), το οποίο κυκλοφόρησε το 2013, είναι ακουστικά πιο ποικιλόμορφο και ολοκληρωμένο, ενώ διατηρεί παράλληλα τους βαθυστόχαστους στίχους. Συμπεριλαμβάνει πολλά υπέροχα τραγούδια, τα περισσότερα εκ των οποίων έχουν φτάσει στο νούμερο 1 των charts της Γαλλίας και του Βελγίου. Είναι δύσκολο -αν όχι αδύνατο- να επιλέξω μόνο ένα τραγούδι από αυτό το άλμπουμ. Αυτά είναι μερικά από τα αγαπημένα μου:

Papaoutai” (“Papa où t’ai/Μπαμπά που είσαι”) μιλάει για απόντες πατέρες: ο πατέρας του Stromae σκοτώθηκε κατά τη διάρκεια της γενοκτονίας στη Ρουάντα, και ο ίδιος μεγάλωσε με τη μητέρα του. Στο πολύχρωμο, οπτικά άψογο βίντεο –με περισσότερα από 300 εκατομμύρια προβολές στο YouTube!– ένα αγόρι χρησιμοποιεί έναν κούκλο για να αντικαταστήσει τον πατέρα του:

Stromae Tous les memesFormidable”, είναι η ιστορία ενός αστέγου. Το βίντεο έγινε viral στο YouTube: για να το κάνει χρησιμοποίησε κρυφές κάμερες σε μια στάση του τραμ και προσποιήθηκε πως ήταν μεθυσμένος.

Tous Les Mêmes” (“Όλοι ίδιοι”), στο βίντεο ο Stromae εμφανίζεται ντυμένος μισός άνδρας, μισός γυναίκα, και αναλύει διάφορα στερεότυπα για τις διαφορές μεταξύ φύλων.

Carmen” χρησιμοποιεί κινούμενα σχέδια για να περιγράψει τους κινδύνους της υπερβολικής χρήσης των μέσων κοινωνικής δικτύωσης:

Quand C’est?” (Πότε είναι; στα γαλλικά ακούγεται σαν “Καρκίνος”) είναι το τελευταίο του βίντεο, περίτεχνο και σκοτεινό, όπου εξερευνά τον φόβο και τον πόνο που μας προκαλεί ο καρκίνος:

Μάθε περισσότερα για τον Stromae εδώ:

Stromae Mosaert

Η σελίδα του στο Facebook  

Ο λογαριασμός του στο Twitter 

Το fashion label του Mosaert


Stromae papillon

After Greece, I felt compelled to travel -musically speaking- to Belgium, moved by the recent tragic events… When thinking Belgium, one artist comes straight away to my mind: Stromae.

Many of you may wonder, Who the hell is Stromae?

Stromae poster on a wall in Austin, Texas

If you live in Europe, chances are that you have already heard -and danced- one of his absolute hits: Alors on dance, which in 2010 topped the charts of most European countries. His fame though, has now largely exceeded the European borders: in a recent tour he managed to take the USA by storm.

But Stromae -his name comes from reversing the syllables of Maestro–  is also a YouTube superstar: his videos have one billion views!!

So, what’s the secret of success, particularly for someone who sings only in French? His melodious tunes? The meaningful lyrics? His enigmatic look? The answer is: all of them!

Stromae yellowAlthough his songs are influenced by electronic and hip hop music, they are not confined to these two genres: some songs have african, other latin sounds, blended harmonically together. But what makes him excel above other artists is that, under the easy-listening rhythms, a powerful social message is hidden: he tells stories about AIDS, cancer, relationships, sexual clichés… Yet Stromae believes that understanding the lyrics is not that important: “Nobody understands English music [in Belgium], but everybody listens to English music, so we can understand the feeling, understand the groove, and it’s enough actually to dance on it or to feel”, he says.

Stromae’s eccentric look has certainly been instrumental for his wide recognition: the exotic racial features, dark skin and green eyes -his father was from Rwanda, his mother is Belgian- as well as his expressive, melancholic regard. And of course his signature, equally exotic dressing style: a blend of British elegance and African aesthetic.

Thus, maybe the secret of success is that Stromae is a symbol of Europe: a mixture of races, styles, and cultures; exhaling a great deal of contradiction and provocation; with utmost attention to aesthetics; weightless but socially engaged at the same time…

Stromae CheeseStromae’s first hit came almost by chance: while working as a trainee at a Belgian radio station, the music manager heard “Alors on dance” and decided to air it. The success was immediate. The song’s catchy beats deliver a message: “Life sucks, so we dance”, which came out in the right place, the right time: at the beginning of Europe’s economic crisis back in 2009. The video shows a guy feeling hopeless about his life and society, so the only thing left is to dance.

His first album, Cheese, was released in 2010; besides the smash hit “Alors on Dance” we find other nice tracks; maybe my favourite is “Te quiero”.

Stromae Racine CarreeHis masterful second album, Racine Carrée (Square Root), is musically more diverse and accomplished, while preserving the relevant lyrics. Released in 2013, it contains many wonderful songs, most of which have reached number 1 in France’s and Belgium’s charts. It is difficult -if not impossible- to pick a single song from this album; these are some of my preferred ones:

Papaoutai” (“Papa où t’ai/Papa where are you”) talks about absent fathers -Stromae’s own father was killed during the Rwandan genocide, and he grew up with his widow mother. In the colourful, visually  impeccable video -with more than 300 million views!- a boy uses a mannequin to replace his absent father:

Stromae Tous les memesFormidable”, a story about a drunk homeless, went viral on YouTube: to make the video, he used hidden cameras at a tram stop and pretended to be drunk.

Tous Les Mêmes” (“All the same”) features Stromae dressed half a man, half a woman, and depicts various stereotypes on gender differences.

Carmen” uses cartoon to accurately describe the dangers of social media overuse:

Quand C’est?” (When is it?; in French sounds like “Cancer”) is Stromae’s latest artful, dark video, where he “explores the pain caused and inevitable fear of cancer”:

More info here:

Stromae Mosaert

His Facebook  page

His Twitter account

His fashion label Mosaert


Bottle wishes 14663843243_2097cd8495_k

Κάθε νέο έτος έρχεται πάντα με κάποιες αποφάσεις: να ασκούμε περισσότερο, να τρώω πιο υγιεινά, να εργάζομαι λιγότερο, να ταξιδεύω περισσότερο… Σήμερα όμως, αντί να γράψω τις αποφάσεις μου για το νέο έτος, είπα να πάω ένα βήμα παραπέρα και να φτιάχνω την δική μου “Bucket List”…

Για όσους από εσάς δεν το είχατε ακούσει ποτέ, “Bucket List” σημαίνει “Τα πράγματα που θέλω να κάνω πριν πεθάνω”, και προέρχεται από την έκφραση kick the bucket (να πεθάνω). Εγώ προτιμώ να δώσω μια πιο χαρούμενη χροιά στην λίστα μου, και για αυτό αντί για “My Bucket List” θα την ονομάσω “My Wish List” (Η λίστα με τις επιθυμίες μου)…

Μερικές από τις επιθυμίες μου μπορεί να είναι εφικτές, κάποιες άλλες όχι, αλλά τι σημασία έχει; Τα όνειρα άλλωστε δεν κοστίζουν τίποτα!

1. Οδικό ταξίδι στη Λατινική Αμερική

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Ένα όνειρο ζωής … Να πηγαίνω από Baja California, τη βορειότερη περιοχή του Μεξικού, στο νοτιότερο άκρο στη Χιλή, από Punta Pariñas στο Περού, τέρμα ανατολικά μέχρι Ponta do Seixas στη Βραζιλία. Να μένω με τους ντόπιους, βλέποντας μη τουριστικές περιοχές, να θαυμάζω τις φυσικές ομορφιές της, χωρίς βιασύνη ή προθεσμίες …


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Neverendingvoyage.com: Ο Simon και η Erin είναι ένα ζευγάρι Άγγλων που αυτοαποκαλούνται “ψηφιακοί νομάδες”. Πούλησαν τα πάντα το 2010, ταξιδεύουν τον κόσμο και μοιράζονται τις εμπειρίες τους σε ένα blog. Διαβάστε το post τους, The Best Latin America Travel Blogs, για να πάρετε κάποιες ιδέες για ταξίδια …

Διαβάστε περισσότερα


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Ταινίες που εμπνέουν ταξίδια: Μερικές φορές οι ταινίες μπορεί να αποτελούν πηγή έμπνευσης… Ημερολόγια Μοτοσικλέτας είναι μία από εκείνες τις ταινίες που εύκολα σε βάζει στην σκέψη ενός ταξιδιού στην Λατινική Αμερική…

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2.Ένα Gourmet Tour στην Ευρώπη

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Λατρεύω τα ethnic foods! Κατά τη γνώμη μου, το να δοκιμάζεις τις τοπικές γεύσεις είναι μια από τις μεγαλύτερες απολαύσεις ενός ταξιδιού. Η Ευρώπη είναι ο κορυφαίος προορισμός για γκουρμέ αποδράσεις, με την ποικιλία και το πλούτος της κουζίνας της… Για φανταστείτε: μερικά viennoiserie για πρωινό στο Παρίσι, μια στάση για ένα ποτήρι μπίρας στο Βερολίνο, τάπας στη Βαρκελώνη το μεσημέρι, το απόγευμα στο Λονδίνο για tea time, πίσω στις Βρυξέλλες για να πάρουμε λίγη σοκολάτα, pasta για βραδινό στη Ρώμη, λίγο κρασί και τυρί στο Μπορντό, ένα κομμάτι Sachertorte για επιδόρπιο στη Βιέννη, και ένα ουίσκι on the rocks στο Εδιμβούργο … Yummy!


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Viator.com: σε αυτό το site θα βρείτε μια εντυπωσιακή λίστα από Food tours σε διάφορες ευρωπαϊκές πόλεις.

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Το post A Culinary Tour Through Western Europe θα σας δώσει μερικές ιδέες για να τρώτε στην Ισπανία, Γαλλία και Ολλανδία.

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3. Να επισκεφθώ όλα τα περισσότερα ελληνικά νησιά

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Τα ελληνικά νησιά μπήκαν στη λίστα μου χωρίς δεύτερη σκέψη. Μια ζωή δεν είναι αρκετή για να τα δεις όλα (υπάρχουν πάνω από 6000 !!), αλλά θα ήθελα να επισκεφθώ τα περισσότερα… Είναι όλα διαφορετικά, το καθένα με μια μοναδική ομορφιά…


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Greeka.com: Δείτε τον κατάλογο τους για τα καλύτερα ελληνικά νησιά, ανάλογα με τη δημοτικότητά τους.

Διαβάστε περισσότερα



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Visitgreece.gr: η επίσημη ιστοσελίδα του Ελληνικού Οργανισμού Τουρισμού, είναι ένα όμορφο site με χρήσιμες συμβουλές για το πού να πάτε, δραστηριότητες, εκδηλώσεις, κλπ. Είναι ενδιαφέρον επίσης και το blog τους …

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4. Μια επίσκεψη πολιτιστική -και για shopping- στη Νέα Υόρκη

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Έχω ζήσει, αγάπησει και αφήσει τη Νέα Υόρκη εδώ και πολύ καιρό, και δεν μπορώ να περιμένω άλλο να ξαναπάω… Μάλιστα, η Νέα Υόρκη είναι μεταξύ των επόμενων ταξιδιωτικών προορισμών μου… Μουσεία, γκαλερί τέχνης, θέατρα, στο Broadway και off Broadway… Για ένα πράγμα μπορείτε να είστε σίγουροι: δεν υπάρχει περίπτωση να βαρεθείτε στη Νέα Υόρκη! Αλλά η Νέα Υόρκη είναι επίσης μια ολόκληρη εμπειρία και για ψώνια: από σούπερ πολυτελή καταστήματα μέχρι και πάμφθηνα, θα βρείτε ό, τι μπορείτε να φανταστείτε… Είτε κατά μήκος της Fifth Avenue, στα καταστήματα των πιο γνωστών σχεδιαστών στη Madison Avenue, ή όσο περιφέρεστε στο Σόχο … Καλώς ήλθατε στο shopping paradise…!



Justluxe.com: σε αυτό το site θα βρείτε μια λίστα με τα καλύτερα σημεία να ψωνήσετε με στιλ στη Νέα Υόρκη…

Διαβάστε περισσότερα



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AlmostfreeNYC.com: Πιστεύετε πως η Νέα Υόρκη είναι πανάκριβη; Δείτε αυτό το blog και πάρτε μερικές ιδέες για να δείτε την πόλη με λίγα χρήματα…

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5. Ένα ταξίδι στην Ινδία

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Η Ινδία είναι ένας από τους προορισμούς που πάντα ήθελα να επισκεφθώ, αλλά τελικά ποτέ δεν τα κατάφερα… Θα ήθελα πολύ να έχω λίγο χρόνο διαλογισμού στο Dharamshala, να βιώσω το χάος και τις αντιθέσεις της Μουμπάι, να θαυμάσω το μαγευτικό Ταζ Μαχάλ, να μείνω στο Βαρανάσι, την πνευματική πρωτεύουσα της Ινδίας, και να χαλαρώσω σε μια παραλία στη Goa!


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Goindia.about.com: αυτό το site θα σας καθοδηγήσει στα μέρη που πρέπει να δείτε στην Ινδία, μέσα από τα μάτια της Sharrell Cook, μια Αυστραλέζα η οποία πήγε αρχικά για μια επίσκεψη στην Ινδία, αλλά την ερωτεύτηκε και τελικά μετακόμισε εκεί.

Διαβάστε περισσότερα


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Myoksha.com: η ιστοσελίδα αυτή παρέχει πληροφορίες για προσκύνημα στην Ινδία. Το άρθρο τους Top India Travel Bloggers αναφέρει μερικούς bloggers, από διάφορα μέρη του κόσμου, που αγαπούν την Ινδία και μοιράζονται τις εντυπώσεις τους στα blogs τους…

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6.Να μάθω περισσότερες γλώσσες


Όπως και με τα ethnic foods, οι γλώσσες είναι ένας πολύ καλός τρόπος για να γνωρίσουμε σε βάθος την κουλτούρα μιας χώρας. Προσωπικά μου αρέσει πολύ να μαθαίνω ξένες γλώσσες… Τα Ιταλικά θα είναι σίγουρα η επόμενη μου, θα ακολουθήσουν τα Πορτογαλικά, και μετά ίσως τα Ιαπωνικά;


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Mezzoguild.com: Αν θέλετε να μάθετε ξένες γλώσσες, αυτό είναι το site σας! Ο Donovan, ένας Αυστραλός με πάθος για την εκμάθηση γλωσσών, προσφέρει συμβουλές, ενθάρρυνση και ταξιδιωτικές οδηγίες. Το άρθρο του, 16 Prolific Language Learning Bloggers You Should Follow, παραθέτει τους πιο έγκυρους bloggers για την εκμάθηση γλωσσών.

Διαβάστε περισσότερα


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Οφέλη της εκμάθησης γλωσσών: Δεν έχετε πειστεί ακόμα; Διαβάστε τα άρθρα παρακάτω. Η διγλωσσία ενισχύει τον δείκτη νοημοσύνης και μειώνει τις πιθανότητες άνοιας και Αλτσχάιμερ.

Διαβάστε περισσότερα

και περισσότερα


7. Να βελτιώσω τις δεξιότητες μου στο σκι

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Δεν είμαι άνθρωπος των σπορ, αλλά λατρεύω το σκι! Κάτι έχει το σκι: το να γλιστράς πάνω στο χιόνι, ο αέρας που χαϊδεύει το πρόσωπό σου, η ομορφιά του χιονισμένου τοπίου, η αίσθηση ελευθερίας και επιβράβευσης που σου αφήνει… Και φυσικά, το après ski! Η επιθυμία μου είναι να μπορώ να καταφέρω πιο δύσκολες πίστες, και πάνω απ΄όλα, να κάνω σκι πιο συχνά…


family ski bliss thumbnailFamilyskitrips.com: site που παρέχει χρήσιμες συμβουλές για σκι και σχόλια γαι χιονοδρομικά κέντρα. Δείτε το άρθρο τους Top 10 Reasons to Love Skiing και ίσως θα γίνετε και εσείς λάτρεις του σκι!

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Σκι στις γαλλικές Άλπεις: Η Γαλλία είναι ένας από τους κορυφαίους προορισμούς για σκι στον κόσμο, με εξαιρετικά θέρετρα και μια πολύ καλά οργανωμένη σχολή σκι.

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Σκέφτεστε να κάνετε τη δικιά σας wish list;

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Τότε, δείτε το blog της Lesley Carter, bucketlistpublications.org. Είναι πραγματικά μια πηγή έμπνευσης: η Lesley έβαλε σκοπό να κάνει την bucket list της πραγματικότητα, και για αυτό εγκατέλειψε την “κανονική” της δουλειά και ταξιδεύει σε όλον τον κόσμο…


Ελπίζω να έχετε εμπνευστεί για να γράψετε τη δική σας wish list… και να τη μοιραστείτε μαζί μας! 


Photo credits
Intro: ruben alexander Flickr.com; Latin America: Jeff Stvan Flickr.com, Dimitry B. Flickr.com, Alfredo Miguel Romero Flickr.com, Fifa.com; Europe: zoph Flickr.com, tripadvisor.com, Jenny Flickr.com, Sacher.com; Greece: Richard Martin Flickr.com, Daniel Muñoz Uribe Flickr.com, Robert Wallace Flickr.com, med-control.org; New York: r hahs Flickr.com, Gugenheim.org, Wikimedia commons, inetours.com, Emmanuel Huybrechts Flickr.com, India: Meena Kadri Flickr.com, Dennis Jarvis Flickr.com, Wikimedia commons, Wikimedia commons; Languages: Wikimedia commons, geraldford Flickr.com; Ski: Gunther Sader Flickr.com


Bottle wishes 14663843243_2097cd8495_kA new year always comes with some resolutions: exercise more, eat healthier, work less, travel more… Today though, instead of writing down my New Year’s resolutions, I decided to go a step further and make my Bucket list…

For those of you who never heard of it, “Bucket list” means “Things I want to do before I die”, and comes from the expression kick the bucket (to die). I prefer to give it a more cheerful connotation, therefore instead of naming it “My Bucket list” I will call it “My Wish list”…

Some of the wishes may be feasible, some others not, but who cares? Dreaming doesn’t cost anything!

1. Road trip in Latin America

Latin America Collage resizedA lifetime dream….Going from Baja California, the Northernmost area of Mexico, to the extreme south in Chile, from Punta Pariñas in Peru, all the way east to Ponta do Seixas in Brazil. Staying with locals, seeing non touristic places, admiring its natural wonders, with no rush or deadlines…

Get inspired:

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Neverendingvoyage.com: Simon and Erin are a couple of English digital nomads. They sold everything in 2010, travel the world and share their experiences in their blog. Read their post, The Best Latin America Travel Blogs, and get some travel ideas…

Read more 



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Movies that inspire life-changing travel: Sometimes movies get us truly inspired… The Motorcycle Diaries is one of those films that can grow on you the idea of visiting Latin America…

Read more



2. Gourmet tour in Europe 

Food Europe_Collage resizedI love ethnic food! In my opinion, trying local tastes is among the greatest pleasures of traveling. Europe is my top eating destination, with its variety and richness… Just imagine: some viennoiserie for breakfast in Paris, a stopover for a glass of beer in Berlin, some tapas in Barcelona at noon, tea time in London, back to Brussels to grab some chocolate, a good pasta for dinner in Rome, some wine and cheese in Bordeaux, a piece of Sachertorte in Vienna, some scotch on the rocks in Edinburgh…Yummy!

Get inspired:

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Viator.com: you will find in this site an impressive list of Food tours in different European cities.

Read more




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Tripologist.com: the post A Culinary Tour Through Western Europe will give you some tips for eating while traveling in Spain, France and the Netherlands.

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3. Visit all most of the Greek islands

Greece_Collage resizedFor those of you who haven’t been to Greece, don’t hesitate to add it to your wish list. It’s such a beautiful country! Greek islands are a must and I included them in my list without a second thought. A lifetime would not be enough to see them all (there are over 6000!!), but I would like to visit most of them… They are all different, each one with its unique beauty…

Get inspired:

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Greeka.com: this site is considered one of the top web resources to organize a trip to Greece. Check out their list on the best Greek islands, ranked by popularity

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Visitgreece.gr: the official site of the Greek National Tourism Organisation, is a beautiful site with useful tips on where to go, activities, events, etc. Check out also their interesting blog…

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4. A cultural -and shopping- trip to New York 

New York_Collage resizedAfter living, loving and leaving NY long ago, I can’t wait to go back… Actually NY is among my next travel destinations…. Museums, art galleries, theaters, Broadway and off Broadway… One thing you can be sure of: you won’t get bored in New York! But NY is also a shopping experience: from super luxury to bargain, you will find anything you want….Whether strolling along the Fifth avenue, getting into designers’ stores in Madison Avenue, or wandering in SoHo…welcome to shopping paradise!…

Get inspired:


Justluxe.com: in this site you will find a list with the best places to shop in style while in New York…

Read more



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AlmostfreeNYC.com: Think New York is too expensive? Check out this blog to get the most of The City on a budget…

Read more

5. A trip to India

India_Collage resizedIndia is one of these destinations I always wanted to visit but I never managed to… I would love to have some meditation time in Dharamshala, experience the chaos and contrasts of Mumbai, admire the majestic Taj Mahal, stay in Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India, and relax on the beach in Goa!

Get inspired

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Goindia.about.com: this site will guide you to places you must see in India, through the eyes of Sharrell Cook, an Australian who first went for a visit and ended up falling in love with India and finally moving there.

Read more



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Myoksha.com: this site provides information on Pilgrimage places in India. Their article Top India Travel Bloggers lists several bloggers, from different backgrounds, who love India and share their travelogs in their blogs…

Read more



6. Learn more languages 

Colosseum_in_Rome,_Italy_-_April_2007As with ethnic food, languages are a great way to get to know in depth the culture of a country. I love to learn different languages… Italian is for sure my next one, followed by Portuguese, and then maybe Japanese?

Get inspired

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Mezzoguild.com: If you want to learn foreign languages, this is your site! Donovan, an Australian with a huge passion for language learning, offers tips, encouragement and travel advice. His article, 16 Prolific Language Learning Bloggers You Should Follow, lists the most authoritative bloggers on language learning.

Read more


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Benefits of language learning: Not convinced yet? Check the articles below. Bilingualism boosts the IQ  and reduces the chances of dementia and Alzheimer.

Read more

and more


7. Improve my ski skills

Ski 5536442117_393c94110e_bI am not a sports person, but I love ski! There is something about it: gliding on the snow and feeling the wind on your face, admiring the beauty of the snow-capped mountains, the rewarding feeling of freedom and accomplishment… And of course, the après ski! My wish is to be able to tackle more difficult runs, and yes, to be able to do it more often….

Get inspired

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Familyskitrips.com: site that provides useful skiing tips and ski resorts reviews. Check their Top 10 Reasons to Love Skiing and maybe you will become a ski lover, too!

Read more



Woman Skier thumbnail 5591528187_8e49da5a0a_bSkiing in the French Alps: France is one of the world’s top ski destinations, with excellent resorts and a super well organised ski school.

Read more




Thinking about making your own wish list?

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Then, check Lesley Carter’s blog bucketlistpublications.org. Her blog is really inspirational, as she makes her bucket list come true: she quit her “regular” job and travels all over the world…



I hope you got some inspiration to write your own wish list… and you share it with us!

Photo credits
Intro: ruben alexander Flickr.com; Latin America: Jeff Stvan Flickr.com, Dimitry B. Flickr.com, Alfredo Miguel Romero Flickr.com, Fifa.com; Europe: zoph Flickr.com, tripadvisor.com, Jenny Flickr.com, Sacher.com; Greece: Richard Martin Flickr.com, Daniel Muñoz Uribe Flickr.com, Robert Wallace Flickr.com, med-control.org; New York: r hahs Flickr.com, Gugenheim.org, Wikimedia commons, inetours.com, Emmanuel Huybrechts Flickr.com, India: Meena Kadri Flickr.com, Dennis Jarvis Flickr.com, Wikimedia commons, Wikimedia commons; Languages: Wikimedia commons, geraldford Flickr.com; Ski: Gunther Sader Flickr.com