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


Η Ημέρα της Γυναίκας πέρασε, αλλά κάθε μέρα είναι μια καλή ευκαιρία να γιορτάσουμε ότι είμαστε γυναίκες! Και τι θα μπορούσε να είναι καλύτερο από το να δούμε μερικές καλές ταινίες;

Για αυτό το post επέλεξα 10 ταινίες βασισμένες σε αληθινά γεγονότα, οι οποίες μιλάνε για γυναίκες που κατάφεραν να κάνουν κάτι ξεχωριστό… Είναι όλες τους πηγή έμπνευσης και μας υπενθυμίζουν ότι, για μια γυναίκα, τίποτα δεν είναι αδύνατο!


Το να είσαι γυναίκα ποτέ δεν ήταν εύκολο. Φανταστείτε όμως να είσαι μια έγχρωμη γυναίκα εργαζόμενη στη NASA το 1961! Η ταινία Αφανείς Ηρωίδες αφηγείται την ιστορία τριών Αφροαμερικανίδων, των Κάθριν Τζόνσον, Ντόροθι Βον και Μαίρη Τζάκσον, ευφυέστατες επιστήμονες που κατάφεραν να ξεπεράσουν όλα τα εμπόδια και τις προκαταλήψεις εκείνης της εποχής και συνέβαλαν, με τα λαμπρά τους μυαλά, στην επιτυχία του διαστημικού προγράμματος των ΗΠΑ.

Το φιλμ είναι ένα εξαιρετικό αφιέρωμα σε τρεις “ανθρώπινους υπολογιστές”, όπως τους αποκαλούσαν τότε, με πολύ καλές ερμηνείες των Ταράτζι Π. Χένσον, Οκτάβια Σπένσερ και Τζανέλ Μόνα.

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Η ταινία αφηγείται την ιστορία της Μαρίας Άλτμαν, Εβραίας από την Βιέννη που εκπατρίστηκε στις ΗΠΑ τον Β’ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, η οποία είχε το θάρρος να κάνει κάτι που φαινόταν αδύνατο: διεκδίκησε από την αυστριακή κυβέρνηση έναν πίνακα ζωγραφικής, πορτραίτο της θείας της, που είχε κλαπεί από τους Ναζί. Ο πίνακας όμως δεν ήταν κάποιο ασήμαντο έργο τέχνης: ήταν το Πορτραίτο της Αντέλε Μπλοχ-Μπάουερ Ι, του περίφημου ζωγράφου Γκούσταφ Κλιμτ, που εθεωρείτο “Η Μονα Λίζα της Αυστρίας”.

Μου άρεσε πολύ η Γυναίκα από χρυσό επειδή είναι διασκεδαστική αλλά και ταυτόχρονα έντονα συναισθηματική. Η Helen Mirren είναι εξαιρετική στο ρόλο της Μαρίας Άλτμαν, και ο Ryan Reynolds είναι πολύ καλός ως ο νεαρός δικηγόρος της, Randy Schoenberg.

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3) JACKIE, 2016

Με το άψογο στυλ και την κομψότητα της, η Ζακλίν Κένεντι Ωνάση είναι αναμφισβήτητα μια από της πιο δημοφιλείς Πρώτες Κυρίες που έχουν περάσει από το Λευκό Οίκο της Αμερικής. Αλλά θα ήταν άδικο να την θυμόμαστε μόνο ως ένα fashion icon: η συμβολή της Jackie στις τέχνες και στη διατήρηση της ιστορικής αμερικάνικης αρχιτεκτονικής, η παρουσία της κατά τη διάρκεια της πολιτικής ζωής -και του θανάτου- του John F. Kennedy έπαιξαν καθοριστικό ρόλο στη δημιουργία ενός μύθου που εξακολουθεί να υφίσταται ακόμη και σήμερα.

Η ταινία του Pablo Larrain επικεντρώνεται στις μέρες που ακολούθησαν τη δολοφονία του JFK και παρουσιάζει ένα ενδιαφέρον ψυχολογικό πορτρέτο της Jackie, η οποία, όσο θρηνεί, οργανώνει την μεγαλοπρεπή κηδεία του συζύγου της. Η Natalie Portman είναι καταπληκτική στο ρόλο της Jackie Kennedy.

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Η Έριν Μπρόκοβιτς ήταν μία άνεργη, ανύπαντρη μητέρα η οποία βρίσκει επιτέλους δουλειά σαν υπάλληλο σε ένα δικηγορικό γραφείο. Η Erin αρχίζει να διερευνά την ύποπτη περίπτωση μιας ενεργειακής εταιρείας, της Pacific Gas and Electric Company, η οποία κατηγορείται ότι δηλητηριάζει την ύδρευση μιας πόλης και προκαλεί προβλήματα υγείας στους κατοίκους της. Μετά από πολύ ψάξιμο, αποφασίζει να φέρει την υπόθεση στα δικαστήρια, η οποία θα γίνει μία από τις μεγαλύτερες δίκες στην αμερικανική ιστορία ενάντια σε μια πολυ-δισεκατομμυρίων δολαρίων εταιρεία.

Ο Στίβεν Σόντερμπεργκ σκηνοθέτησε την ταινία με πρωταγωνίστρια την Τζούλια Ρόμπερτς ως Erin Brockovich. Το φιλμ έλαβε διθυραμβικές κριτικές και κέρδισε πολλά βραβεία.

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Η ταινία βασίζεται στην αληθινή ιστορία της Λι Αν Τουόχι, μια συμπονετική γυναίκα που αναλαμβάνει τη φροντίδα ενός αστέγου εφήβου, του Μάικλ Όχερ. Η Λι Αν όχι μόνο θα τον κάνει μέλος της οικογένειάς της, αλλά, όταν αυτός εκφράζει το ενδιαφέρον του για το ποδόσφαιρο, θα κάνει ότι περνάει από το χέρι της να τον βοηθήσει να πετύχει. Και τα καταφέρνει! Ο Michael Oher γίνεται ένας διάσημος ποδοσφαιριστής, ο οποίος έχει παίξει για αρκετές ομάδες της Εθνικής Ομοσπονδίας Αμερικανικού Ποδοσφαίρου (NFL) των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών.

Στην ταινία παίζει η Σάντρα Μπούλοκ, η οποία κέρδισε ένα Όσκαρ για την ερμηνεία της ως Λι Αν Τουόχι.

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Η Μάργκαρετ Θάτσερ ήταν η πρώτη γυναίκα που έγινε πρωθυπουργός της Μεγάλης Βρετανίας. “Η Σιδηρά Κυρία” όπως την αποκαλούσαν λόγω της αδιάλλακτης πολιτικής της και του ισχυρού της χαρακτήρα, κατάφερε να γίνει ο μακροβιότερος Βρετανός πρωθυπουργός του 20ού αιώνα. Και παρότι αμφιλεγόμενη, θεωρείται σήμερα ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους πολιτικούς στην ιστορία του Ηνωμένου βασιλείου.

Η ταινία, αν και ενδιαφέρουσα, δεν κατάφερε να εντυπωσιάσει ούτε τους κριτικούς, ούτε το ευρύ κοινό. Αντιθέτως, η ερμηνεία της Μέριλ Στριπ  στο ρόλο της Θάτσερ είναι εντυπωσιακή, ίσως μια από τις καλύτερες της καριέρας της.

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Η ταινία αυτή βασίζεται στην ιστορία της Ντάιαν Φόσεϊ, μιας Αμερικανίδας ζωολόγου η οποία αφιέρωσε τη ζωή της στη μελέτη των γοριλών. Αφού εγκαταστάθηκε στην Αφρική, η Φόσεϊ αφοσιώθηκε στην μελέτη του ορεινό γορίλα, ένα είδος που βρισκόταν υπό εξαφάνιση, και αφού κέρδισε την εμπιστοσύνη των γοριλών, ανέπτυξε ακόμα και μέσο επικοινωνίας μαζί τους. Επιπλέον, η Φόσεϊ πάλεψε ενεργά ενάντια στη λαθροθηρία, βοήθησε στη διατήρηση του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος των γοριλών και συνέβαλε στη διάσωση τους από την εξαφάνιση.

Η “Γορίλες στην Ομίχλη” βραβεύτηκε με 5 Όσκαρ, μεταξύ των οποίων και για την ενσάρκωση της Ντάιαν Φόσεϊ από τη εξαιρετική Σιγκούρνεϊ Γουίβερ.

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Η Εντίτ Πιάφ, με τις διαχρονικές της μελωδίες και τη μοναδική της φωνή, θεωρείται όχι μόνο η εθνική τραγουδίστρια  της Γαλλίας, αλλά και ένας από τους μεγαλύτερους καλλιτέχνες του 20ού αιώνα (διαβάστε περισσότερα εδώ).

Σε αυτή την αυτοβιογραφική ταινία (La Môme σημαίνει Το σπουργίτακι) ξεδιπλώνεται η ζωή της θρυλικής Πιάφ, μια ζωή γεμάτη δόξα, επιτυχία, αλλά και πόνο και ερωτική απογοήτευση. Η Μαριόν Κοτιγιάρ είναι μαγευτική ως Piaf, ρόλο για τον οποίο κέρδισε ένα Όσκαρ.

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9) EVITA, 1996

Αναμφισβήτητα η πιο λατρεμένη – αλλά και η πιο μισητή -γυναίκα στην ιστορία της Αργεντινής, η Eva Duarte de Perón (γνωστή και ως “Εβίτα”) έχει γίνει ένας θρύλος που ξεπέρασε τα σύνορα της πατρίδας της. Παρότι προερχόμενη από ένα χαμηλό κοινωνικό περιβάλλον, η Εβίτα παντρεύεται τον Χουάν Ντομίνγκο Περόν και γίνεται η Πρώτη Κυρία της Αργεντινής μέχρι το θάνατό της από καρκίνο σε ηλικία 33 ετών. Η τεράστια πολιτική της επιρροή της και το συνεχές φιλανθρωπικό της έργο καταπλήσσουν την εργατική τάξη, αλλά εξαγριώνουν τις στρατιωτικές και ανώτερες τάξεις. Παρότι άκρως αμφιλεγόμενη, η Εβίτα ήταν, αναμφίβολα, ένθερμη υποστηρίκτρια των δικαιωμάτων των γυναικών: ξεκίνησε εκστρατεία για το δικαίωμα ψήφου των γυναικών της Αργεντινής και ίδρυσε το πρώτο γυναικείο πολιτικό κόμμα.

Αυτή η ταινία είναι η μεταφορά στην μεγάλη οθόνη του επιτυχημένου μιούζικαλ του Andrew Lloyd Weber και Tim Rice “Evita”.  Πρωταγωνιστεί η Μαντόνα ως Εβίτα Περόν και περιλαμβάνει το εμβληματικό τραγούδι “Don’t cry for me, Argentina.

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Η Γαλλίδα couturière Κοκό Σανέλ θεωρείται ένας από τους πιο καινοτόμους σχεδιαστές μόδας και ένας από τους πιο σημαντικούς ανθρώπους του 20ου αιώνα. Η ιδέες της ήταν επαναστατικές, καθώς απελευθέρωσε τις γυναίκες από τα πολύπλοκα φορέματα με κορσέ που υπαγόρευε η μόδα εκείνης της εποχής και έκανε δημοφιλές ένα πιο σπορ, casual στυλ. Οι διαχρονικές της δημιουργίες παραμένουν επίκαιρες ακόμα και σήμερα: τα εμβληματικά της ταγέρ, το μικρό μαύρο φόρεμα, η καπιτονέ τσάντα, και το εικονική άρωμα Chanel Νο. 5 την έχουν καθιερώσει ως “σύμβολο της γαλλικής κομψότητας”.

Η ταινία εστιάζει στη ζωή της Coco Chanel πριν γίνει διάσημη ως σχεδιάστρια μόδας. Ο ρόλος της Chanel ερμηνεύει θαυμάσια η Γαλλίδα ηθοποιός Audrey Tautou.

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Ποια είναι η αγαπημένη σας ταινία; Θα προσθέσατε κάποια άλλη ταινία σε αυτή τη λίστα;



The International Women’s Day is over, but every day is a good opportunity to celebrate being a woman! And what could be better than watching a few inspiring movies?
For this post I chose 10 true story films about extraordinary women who were able to make a difference… They are all a source of inspiration and remind us that, for a woman, nothing is impossible!


Being a woman has never been easy. Imagine being a colored woman working at NASA in 1961! Hidden Figures tells the story of three bold African-American women, Katherine JohnsonDorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, outstanding mathematicians who surpassed race, gender and professional barriers and helped, with their bright minds, to achieve what has never been accomplished before by the human race, during the early years of USA’s space program.

This is powerful, awe-inspiring tribute to three “human computers”, as they were called at that time, played beautifully by Taraji P. Henson,  Octavia Spencer and  Janelle Monáe.

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2) WOMAN IN GOLD, 2015

This film tells the story of Maria Altmann, a courageous Jewish woman living in the USA, who had the strength to do what seemed impossible: she took to court the government of Austria, reclaiming a painting that had been stolen from her family by the Nazis. But this was not “any” painting: it was Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, considered at the time “the Mona Lisa of Austria”.

I loved Woman in Gold, it’s entertaining without never losing its emotional weight. Helen Mirren delivers an  exceptional performance as Maria Altmann, Ryan Reynolds is also great as her young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg.

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3) JACKIE, 2016

Remembered for her impeccable style and elegance, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is arguably one of America’s most popular First Ladies. But it would be unfair to think of her just as a fashion icon: Jackie’s contribution to the arts and preservation of historic architecture, her presence during John F. Kennedy’s political life -and death- were instrumental in creating a myth that persists nowadays.

Pablo Larrain’s film focuses on the days right after JFK’s assassination and presents a careful psychological portrait of Jackie, following her while she grieves, comforts her children and organizes her husband’s grandiose funeral. Natalie Portman is amazing in the role of Jackie Kennedy.

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She was an unemployed, single mother who finally takes a job as a legal assistant. But when Erin Brockovich starts investigating the suspicious case of energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), accused of polluting a city’s water supply, she would involve her law firm in one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Steven Soderbergh directed the film starring Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich; the film was critically acclaimed and received numerous awards.

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The film is based on the true story of Leigh Anne Tuohy, a caring woman who takes in a homeless teenage African-American, Michael Oher. Leigh Anne not only treats him like another member of her family but, when he expresses his interest in football, she does everything in her power to help him succeed. And she makes it: Michael Oher becomes a renowned football player, who has been playing for several teams of the US National Football League.

The movie features Sandra Bullock, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Tuohy.

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6) THE IRON LADY, 2011

Margaret Thatcher was the first woman to become Prime Minister of Great Britain. Dubbed The Iron Lady due to her uncompromising politics and strong character, she managed to become the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century. In spite of being a highly controversial personality, she has been retrospectively described as one of the greatest politicians in British history.

The film, although interesting, did not impress the critics; nevertheless, Meryl Streep performance as Margaret Thatcher is outstanding, maybe one of her career’s finest.

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This movie is based on the story of Dian Fossey a naturalist who devoted her life to the study of primates. Travelling into deepest Africa, she becomes fascinated with rare mountain gorillas of the Rwandan jungle, and through close study, she developed a means of communicating with them. Moreover, she fought fiercely against poaching, helped preserve the gorilla’s natural habitat and was instrumental in saving them from extinction.

Gorillas in the mist was critically acclaimed, as well as Sigourney Weaver’s impersonation of Dian Fossey.

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Édith Piaf is widely regarded not only as France’s national chanteuse, but also as one of the greatest performers of the 20th century. Her timeless music and unique voice are, till today, continuously celebrated (read more here).

This autobiographical film (in French La môme -The little sparrow) depicts wonderfully her great success as well as her tormented personal life. Marion Cotillard is magnificent as Piaf, a role that granted her international fame.

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9) EVITA, 1996

Arguably the most worshiped -and most hated- woman in Argentina’s history, Eva Duarte de Perón (affectionally named “Evita”) has certainly become a legend that transcended the country’s borders. Although rising from a low social environment, she marries Juan Domingo Perón and becomes the First Lady of Argentina until her death from cancer at 33 years old. Her huge political influence and constant charity works dazzled the working class but infuriated the military and upper classes. In spite of the controversy surrounding her, Evita was, undoubtedly, a fervent advocate of women’s rights: she campaigned for Argentine women’s right to vote and founded the first female political party.

This movie is a version of the successful musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim RiceEvita”; it features Madonna as Evita Perón and includes the iconic song “Don’t cry for me, Argentina.

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French couturière Coco Chanel is regarded as one of the most innovative fashion designers and one of the most influential people of the 20th century. Her ideas were revolutionary, as she liberated women from the corset dresses that fashion dictated at that time and made popular a more sporty, casual style. Her timeless creations remain popular still today: the trademark suits and little black dress, her beloved leather bags and the iconic parfum Chanel No. 5 transformed her in “a symbol of French elegance”.

This film focuses on Coco Chanel’s life before becoming famous as a fashion designer. The role of Chanel is played wonderfully by French actress Audrey Tautou.

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What is your favorite film? Would you add any other to this list?


Οι γιορτές είναι η τέλεια εποχή να μαζευτούμε δίπλα στο τζάκι, και με φόντο το φωτισμένο χριστουγεννιάτικο δένδρο… να πάρουμε μια γερή δόση Χριστουγεννιάτικων ταινιών! Εάν όμως έχεις βαρεθεί να δεις Μόνος στο σπίτι και The Polar Express ξανά και ξανά, διάβασε αυτή τη λίστα με 12 πιο “εναλλακτικές” επιλογές για να απολαύσεις αυτές τις μέρες … και όχι μόνο!

1) IN BRUGES (Αποστολή στη Μπριζ, 2008)



Δύο Ιρλανδοί εκτελεστές (ο Colin Farrell και ο Brendan Gleeson), λαμβάνουν εντολές να παραμείνουν στη παραμυθένια πόλη Μπριζ (στο Βέλγιο) κατά την διάρκεια των Χριστουγέννων μετά από μια δουλειά που πήγε στραβά. Σε αναμονή για την επόμενη τους αποστολή, εμπλέκονται στα πιο σουρεαλιστικά γεγονότα, και όταν τελικά αποκαλύπτεται η δουλειά, ακολουθεί ένας αγώνας ζωής και θανάτου, ο οποίος προκαλεί ταυτόχρονα μελοδραματικές και ξεκαρδιστικές καταστάσεις … Ευφυέστατη, σκοτεινή, υπαρξιακή και προκλητική ταινία, που πραγματικά αξίσει να δεις οποιαδήποτε εποχή του χρόνου.

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2) LE PÈRE NOËL EST UNE ORDURE (Ο Άγιος Βασίλης είναι σκέτη λέρα, 1982)


Αν σου αρέσουν οι γαλλικές κωμωδίες (δες τη λίστα μου εδώ), θα λατρέψεις αυτήν την ταινία. Ο Pierre και η Thérèse, οι οποίοι εργάζονται για μια τηλεφωνική γραμμή ψυχολογικής υποστήριξης την παραμονή των Χριστουγέννων, εμπλέκονται στις πιο απίστευτες και τρελές καταστάσεις που μπορεί να φανταστεί κανείς. Ασεβής και ξεκαρδιστική, με το πάντα “πολιτικά μη-ορθό” γαλλικό χιούμορ. Ένα all time classic στη Γαλλία, ένα must κατά τη διάρκεια των εορτών.

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3) THE FAMILY MAN (Ονειρεμένη ζωή, 2000)



Ο Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage), επιτυχημένο στέλεχος της Wall Street και απόλυτα ευχαριστημένος με την εργένικη του ζωή, ξυπνάει το πρωί των Χριστουγέννων, και ανακαλύπτει πως είναι παντρεμένος με την πρώην του φίλη και έχουν 2 παιδιά! Μέσα στις εβδομάδες που ακολουθούν, θα πάρει μια γεύση για το πως θα ήταν η ζωή του εάν θα είχε παντρευτεί. Γλυκιά και συγκινητική ταινία που μας δείχνει πώς ορισμένες αποφάσεις που παίρνουμε μπορεί να μας αλλάξουν εντελώς, και μας κάνει να σκεφτούμε ποιες είναι οι προτεραιότητές μας στη ζωή…

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4) LIFE OF BRIAN (Ένας προφήτης… μα τι προφήτης!, 1979)



Η ιστορία της αρχής των Χριστουγέννων, όπως την φαντάστηκαν οι ασύγκριτοι Monty Python. Ο Brian του Ναζαρέτ γεννιέται σε ένα στάβλο τα Χριστούγεννα, ακριβώς δίπλα στον Ιησού. Ακολουθούμε τις παράλληλες ζωές τους, και πώς, μέσα από τις πιο απίστευτες καταστάσεις, ο Brian γίνεται ο Μεσσίας. Η διάσημη σκηνή με το τραγούδι “Always look on the bright side of life” έχει παραμείνει ως ένα all time classic του σινεμά. Σατιρική, με γρήγορο ρυθμό, έξυπνη και αστεία, μία από αυτές τις ταινίες που κάθε σινεφίλ πρέπει να δει τουλάχιστον μία φορά…

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5) KISS KISS BANG BANG (Φιλιά και σφαίρες, 2005)

Τα Χριστούγεννα στο Λος Άντζελες είναι το φόντο για αυτή την πνευματώδης μαύρη κωμωδία, όπου ένας κλέφτης (Robert Downey Jr) που γίνεται ηθοποιός και μετά ντετέκτιβ ενώνει τις δυνάμεις του με ένα ιδιωτικό ντετέκτιβ (Val Kilmer) και μια επίδοξη ηθοποιός (Michelle Monaghan) για να λύσουν το μυστήριο ενός φόνου. Η καλές ερμηνείες, σε συνδυασμό με την έξυπνη ιστορία και τη σκηνοθεσία του Shane Black κάνουν αυτή η ταινία μια πολύ καλή επιλογή για λίγη Χριστουγεννιάτικη διασκέδαση.

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Καλύτερα να προσέξετε … Ο Άγιος Βασίλης έρχεται στην πόλη! Την παραμονή των Χριστουγέννων στη Φινλανδία, πραγματοποιείται μία από τις μεγαλύτερες ανακαλύψεις της ανθρωπότητας: σε μια αρχαιολογική ανασκαφή, ο πραγματικός Άγιος Βασίλης ξαναζωντανεύει! Μόνο που δεν είναι ο καλός άνθρωπος που κάθε παιδί έχει στο μυαλό του… Τρόμος, φαντασία, περιπέτεια και λίγο φινλανδικό μαύρο χιούμορ.

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7) LE TOUT NOUVEAU TESTAMENT (Η ολοκαίνουργια…Καινή Διαθήκη, 2015)



Τελικά αποδεικνύεται ότι ο Θεός υπάρχει, και ζει στο Βέλγιο! Το πρόβλημα είναι πως έχει βαρεθεί την ζωή του, και η μοναδική του χαρά είναι να καταστρέψει τις ζωές των ανθρώπων. Αλλά η κόρη του Εα αποφασίζει να πάρει την κατάσταση στα χέρια της για να σώσει τον κόσμο από τον τρελό της μπαμπά. Πρωτότυπο σενάριο, καλές ερμηνείες, η ταινία αυτή έλαβε θριαμβευτικές κριτικές και πήρε πολλά βραβεία.

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8) SERENDIPITY (‘Ερωτας μετ’Εμποδίων, 2001)



Serendipity σημαίνει “τυχερό γεγονός” ή “ευχάριστη έκπληξη”, και αυτό ακριβός είναι το θέμα της ταινίας… Ο Jonathan συναντά την Sara κατά τύχη τα Χριστούγεννα στη Νέα Υόρκη, και επειδή νιώθουν μια αμοιβαία έλξη, πάνε μαζί στο εστιατόριο Serendipity 3. Εκεί, η Sara εκφράζει την άποψή της ότι η μοίρα καθορίζει τις περισσότερες αποφάσεις στη ζωή. Έτσι, γράφει το τηλέφωνο της σε ένα βιβλίο που θα πουλήσει την επόμενη μέρα, και ο Jonathan σε ένα χαρτονόμισμα, δηλώνοντας πως, αν η μοίρα τους θέλει μαζί, θα ξανασυναντηθούν. Είναι μια ανάλαφρη αλλά απολαυστική ρομαντική κωμωδία που θα σε κάνει να σκεφτείς για τη μοίρα, τις αδελφές ψυχές και την αληθινή αγάπη …

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9) BRAZIL (1985)



Και άλλο must-see για τους σινεφίλ από τον Terry Gilliam, πρώην μέλος των Monty Python. Σε αυτήν την δυστοπική ταινία επιστημονικής φαντασίας, ένας δημόσιος υπάλληλος που εργάζεται σε ένα Οργουελιανό, γραφειοκρατικό κράτος, ψάχνει να βρει μια γυναίκα που εμφανίζεται στα όνειρά του. Αλλά προσπαθώντας να διορθώσει ένα διοικητικό λάθος, γίνεται απρόσμενα εχθρός του κράτους, και τα πράγματα γίνονται ακόμα πιο περίπλοκα όταν βρίσκει κάποια που μοιάζει με την γυναίκα των ονείρων του… Η ταινία είναι οπτικά εντυπωσιακή, εξαιρετικά έξυπνη, προκλητική και απολαυστική.

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10) EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, (Ο Ψαλιδοχέρης, 1990)

Unconventional love Edward scissorhands poster
Είναι σίγουρο πως αν σκέφτεσαι “αντισυμβατικό σινεμά”, ο σκηνοθέτης Τιμ Μπάρτον έρχεται αμέσως στο μυαλό σου. Η ιστορία του Edward ο Ψαλιδοχέρης, ένας άνθρωπος που έχει ψαλίδια αντί για χέρια, είναι μια από τις πιο όμορφες και συγκινητικές Χριστουγεννιάτικες ιστορίες στο σινεμά. Διάβασε περισσότερα για αυτή την ταινία εδώ.

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11) ANNIE HALL (Νευρικός εραστής, 1977)

Αν σου αρέσει ο Γούντι Άλεν, τα Χριστούγεννα θα είναι η τέλεια δικαιολογία για να (ξανα) δεις αυτή την καταπληκτική ταινία, η οποία είναι για τους περισσότερους φαν -και εγώ μαζί τους- μία από τις καλύτερες του ταινίες, η οποία συχνά συγκαταλέγεται ανάμεσα στις καλύτερες κινηματογραφικές κωμωδίες όλων των εποχών. Στην ταινία αυτή, ο Νεοϋορκέζος, νευρωτικός κωμικός Alvy ερωτεύεται την επίδοξη (και λίγο χαζή) τραγουδίστρια Annie Hall. Τα στερεότυπα των φύλων, η ψυχανάλυση και η εβραϊκή ταυτότητα είναι τα θέματα που ο Γούντι αναλύει με τρόπο μοναδικό, ξεκαρδιστικό αλλά και μερικές φορές δραματικό.

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12) LAST HOLIDAY (2006)

christmas-films-last-holiday-posterΗ Γεωργία, μια ντροπαλή ιδιωτικός υπάλληλος, μαθαίνει πως είναι πολύ άρρωστη και της μένουν μόνο λίγες εβδομάδες να ζήσει. Αποφασίζει λοιπόν να ξοδέψει όλα τα λεφτά που έχει στις διακοπές των ονείρων της στο πολυτελές ξενοδοχείο Grandhotel Pupp στο Κάρλοβι Βάρι της Τσεχίας. Αφού δεν έχει τίποτα να χάσει, ζει τη ζωή της στο έπακρο, το οποίο έχει απρόβλεπτες συνέπειες για την ίδια και τους ανθρώπους που συναντά… Feel-good και ευχάριστη, με ένα απλό αλλά σημαντικό ηθικό δίδαγμα: ας απολαύσουμε τη ζωή μας, γιατί ποτέ δεν ξέρεις τι σε περιμένει στη γωνία! Η υπέροχη Queen Latifah και ο πάντα ανατρεπτικός Gerard Depardieu προσθέτουν τη δικιά τους γοητεία σε αυτή την χαριτωμένη ρομαντική κωμωδία.

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Ελπίζω να απολαύσετε αυτή τη λίστα!

Εύχομαι σε όλους Καλά Χριστούγεννα και Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος 🙂


Christmas is the perfect time to sit by the fireplace, contemplate the snow falling outside… and get an overdose of Christmas movies! If you are tired though of watching Home Alone or The Polar Express over and over again, check out this list with 12 more alternative movies to indulge yourself these holidays… and not only!

1) IN BRUGES, 2008


christmas-films-in-bruges-posterTwo Irish hit-men (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) are sent by their boss (Ralph Fiennes) to the medieval Belgium city of Bruges in Christmas after a job gone wrong in a London church. While waiting for their next assignment, the most surreal events take place, and when the job is finally revealed, a life and death struggle ensues, which ends up having both melodramatic and hilarious consequences… This is a brillant, dark, existentialist, though-provoking film, actually a must-see no matter the time of the year.

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If you like French comedy films (check my list here), you will love this one. Pierre and Thérèse, working for a suicide hotline on the night of Christmas Eve, get involved in the most unbelievable and crazy situations one can imagine. Irreverent and hysterically funny, with the always politically incorrect French humor. An all-time classic in France, a not-to-be-missed during the holidays.

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christmas-films-the-family-man-posterWall Street successful executive Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage), happily living his single life, wakes up on Christmas morning, and finds himself being married to his ex-girlfriend and having 2 children! Over the next few weeks, he gets a glimpse of what his life would have been like if he’d married her. This is a sweet, heart-warming movie that shows how the decisions we take can change us completely, and make us reflect on what are our priorities in life…

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4) LIFE OF BRIAN, 1979


christmas-films-life-of-brian-posterThe origin of Christmas, told by the incomparable Monty Python. Brian of Nazareth is born in a stable on Christmas, right next to Jesus. We follow their parallel lives, and how, through the most incredible situations, Brian is mistakenly taken as the Messiah. The famous scene “Always look on the bright side of life” has remained as a cinematic all-time classic. Satirical, fast-paced, clever and funny, one of those films every cinephile should see at least once… 

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Snowless Christmas in Los Angeles is the background for this witty and dark comedy, where a thief (Robert Downey Jr) turned-actor-turned-detective teams up with a private detective (Val Kilmer) and a struggling actress (Michelle Monaghan) to solve a murder. The great acting, combined with Shane Black’s sharp writing and direction make this film a great choice for some Christmas fun.

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You better watch out… Santa Claus is coming to town! On Christmas Eve in Finland, one of the greatest discoveries of mankind takes place: Santa Claus is unearthed in an archaeological dig. Only that Santa is not the good guy we have in mind… Horror, fantasy, adventure and a hint of Finnish black humor.

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christmas-films-the_brand_new_testament_posterTechnically speaking not a Christmas film, but it has something about it… It turns out that God exists, and lives Belgium! The problem is that he is bored and vicious, and his only pleasure is to ruin people’s lives. But his only daughter Ea decides to take the situation in her hands to save the world from her insane dad. Original script, great acting, this film was critically acclaimed and received many awards.

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christmas-films-serendipity-poster“Fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise”: this is what Serendipity means and what the movie is about…  Jonathan meets Sara by chance at Christmas in New York, and since they feel a mutual attraction, they go together to the restaurant Serendipity 3. In there, Sara reveals her opinion that fate determines most decisions in life. Thus, she writes her telephone in a book that will be sold the following day, and Jonathan on a five dollars bill, stating that, if destiny wants them together, they will meet each other again. This is a light-hearted, delightful romantic comedy that makes you think about fate, soul mates and true love…

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9) BRAZIL, 1985


christmas-films-brazil-posterAnother cinephile gem directed by one of the Monty Python troupe members, Terry Gilliam. In this dystopian science fiction film, a civil servant working in an Orwellian, bureaucratic state, tries to find a woman who appears in his dreams. But while trying to correct an administrative error, he becomes an enemy of the state; things get even more complicated when he seems to find someone who looks like his dream woman…The movie is visually stunning, extremely clever, mind-bending and thoroughly enjoyable.

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Unconventional love Edward scissorhands poster
If we think “unconventional filming”, director Tim Burton comes right away to our minds. The story of Edward  Scissorhands, a man who has scissors instead of hands, is one of the most beautiful and meaningful cinematic Christmas tales. Read more on this movie here.

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11) ANNIE HALL, 1977

If you like Woody Allen, Christmas will be the excuse to watch (again) this fantastic film, which is for most fans -including myself- one of Woody Allen’s best movies, often listed among the greatest film comedies of all time. In this film, neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with ditzy, aspiring nightclub singer Annie Hall. Gender stereotypes, psychoanalysis and the Jewish identity are careful dissected with Allen’s unique, hilarious but at times dramatic style.

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12) LAST HOLIDAY, 2006

christmas-films-last-holiday-posterGeorgia, a shy store assistant, is told that she has a terminal disease and only a few weeks to live. She decides to spend her last funds and sets off on a dream vacation at the deluxe Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic). Having nothing to lose, she lives her life to the full, which has unexpected consequences for her and the people she meets… Feel-good and enjoyable, the film delivers a simple but effective message: let’s enjoy our lives, as we don’t know what is just around the corner… Lovely Queen Latifah and always great Gerard Depardieu add their own charm to this romantic comedy.

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I hope you enjoy this list!

I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂


Maybe because of Valentine’s day, maybe inspired by a post on romantic films I just read, I started thinking about love and relationships.

Love is complicated -and bizarre sometimes. It has always been. We tend to say that romance is more difficult, and relationships more challenging nowadays than in the past, but that’s not really true! Just think about Greek mythology, ancient history and literature: Psyche and CupidCleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet…These stories are anything but ordinary, or simple!

True love, devotion, acceptance, cruelty, selfishness, jealousy, betrayal. When it comes to relationships, it’s not just pure and simple love. Ultimately, it’s all part of our complex human nature…

Motion pictures, from their very beginning, have captured all these feelings in countless love stories, ranging from light-hearted romantic comedies to profoundly dramatic true stories.

For this post I chose 12 films with unusual love stories. They all have something in common: they are  original, provocative and thought-inspiring, the kind of films that you keep thinking about for a long time after seeing them…

1) HER, 2013

Unconventional love Her posterThe plot: Theodore, a recently divorced lonely man decides to purchase OS1, the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system. He quickly finds himself attracted to Samantha, the voice behind his OS1, and as they spend time together, he eventually falls in love with her.

The film’s essence: Is technology leading us to more isolation, rather than connection?

Go see it, because…:  I loved everything about Her: the flawless cinematography, the great acting (Joaquin Phoenix is amazing, as usual), the futuristic -polluted- Los Angeles as a background (actually filmed in Shanghai), but most of all the thought-provoking story, which makes as wonder whether smart phones, computers and social media are really “social”.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Lars and the real girl, Bladerunner, Ex Machina

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2) 500 DAYS OF SUMMER, 2009

Unconventional love 500 days of Summer 2

Unconventional love 500 days of Summer posterThe plot: This is a witty romantic story about Summer, a woman who doesn’t believe in true love, and Tom, the guy who falls for her. The story is presented in a non-linear format, each scene being introduced by which of the 500 days it is.

The film’s essence: What if you believe you found your soul mate, but the other person is not into you?

Go see it, because…: As one of the first lines of the movie states: “(…) you should know upfront, this is not a love story”. True, (500) Days of Summer is not the usual romantic comedy, but that’s precisely its strong point: it manages to be very romantic, while being caustic, original and stylish, with added values the great music, the wonderful cinematography and the superb acting…

If you liked this movie, you may also see: The perks of being a goldflowerHigh fidelity, Punch-Drunk Love

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3) RUBY SPARKS, 2012

Unconventional love Ruby Sparks posterThe plot: Calvin, a novelist with writer’s block sees in his dreams “the perfect girl”. When he begins writing about Ruby, his dream girl, she becomes a real person and they start a beautiful relationship together. But when the relationship doesn’t go as he wants, Calvin is able to change her by typing and changing the story.

The film’s essence: Do we accept others as they are, or we try to change them to our convenience?

Go see it, because…: This is a very clever, Pinocchio-like tale about finding our perfect match, our acceptance of the other person in our relationship -or how we try to control and manipulate them. Zoe Kazan and Paul Dano are great as Ruby and Calvin; Kazan also wrote the script.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Weird Science, Simone

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Unconventional love Eternal Sunshine posterThe plot: Joel and his girlfriend Clementine undergo an experiment to have the memories of their tumultuous relationship erased. But through the process of loss, they actually discover what they had to begin with.

The film’s essence: We can get someone out of our mind, can we get them out of our heart?

Go see it, because…: A quirky but remarkable story which, in a very original manner, deals with love at first sight, soul mates, and destiny. The fascinating way the memory-erasing procedure is showed serves as background for more existential issues: Do memories make us what we are? Would you erase bad memories from the past? Most importantly, the film reminds us that many times we don’t value what we have, until we lose it.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Lost in translation, Mr Nobody, Synecdoche, New York

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Unconventional love Breaking the wavesUnconventional love Breaking the waves posterThe plot: In a deeply religious Scottish town, Bess, a naive woman, falls in love and marries to oil rig worker Jan. When Jan leaves home to work at the rig, Bess prays to God that he returns for good; Jan does return, but paralyzed due to a work accident. Unable to perform sexually, Jan convinces Bess to have sex with other men, which she comes to believe is God’s work to help Jan get better.

The film’s essence: How far would you go for love?

Go see it, because…: This compelling, disturbing story may break your heart, but it is undeniably the upmost love story, of pure and unconditional love, told by -always unconventional- Lars Von Triers. The acting of Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgard is just incredible.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: The Lobster, Harold and Maude

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Unconventional love The purple rose of CairoUnconventional love The purple rose of Cairo posterThe plot: Cecilia is a waitress in New Jersey’s Depression years who, searching for an escape from her dreary life, goes often to the movies. One day after losing her job, she goes to see the film “The Purple Rose of Cairo”. To her surprise, Tom Baxter, a young archaeologist in the film walks off the screen, stating that he has fallen in love with her.

The film’s essence: When reality is too harsh, can we live in a world of dreams?

Go see it, because…: This is one of Woody Allen’s most original and inventive movies, hilarious and touching at the same time, blurring the limits between imagination and reality. While it can just be seen as a romantic, fantastic story, I believe this film is much more than that: a reflexion on the nature of existence, when pure love contends cruel reality, and escapism takes the place of reality acceptance.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Midnight in ParisAlice

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Unconditional love Amelie

French comedies Amelie posterThe plot: Amelie, a daydreamer waitress living in Paris, decides to anonymously help people being happy. By doing so, she discovers love and happiness herself.

The film’s essence: Can a stranger change your life forever?

Go see it, because… This enchanting French film is original, romantic, heart-warming, showing that there is love and magic everywhere, even in simple things of life… The outstanding cinematography, Audrey Tautou’s superb performance and the magnificent music by Yann Tiersen add up to make this movie a timeless gem… I already wrote about this movie here.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Like water for chocolate, The House of the Spirits

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Unconditional love Medianeras

Medianeras-cartelThe plot: Martin, an agoraphobic website designer and Mariana, an underemployed architect, live on the same street in Buenos Aires. They both feel depressed and lonely. They seem to be the perfect couple, but what are the odds of meeting each other?

The film’s essence: What if your soul mate is just nextdoor, but you didn’t have the chance to meet each other?

Go see it because…This Argentinean film is very original, as it tells the story of a couple before they meet each other. It describes perfectly the feelings of loneliness and alienation people experience in big cities; it’s touching and cinematically beautiful. I already wrote about this movie here.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Serendipity, In the city of Sylvia

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Unconditional love Wings of desire

Unconditional love Wings of desire posterThe plot: Two angels have been wandering around West Berlin, giving help and comfort to all the lonely and depressed souls they meet. After many centuries, Damiel, one of the angels, falls in love with Marion, a beautiful, lonely circus acrobat and wishes to become human in order to experience human love and the joys of everyday life.

The film’s essence: Have you ever been touched by an angel?

Go see it because…Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire is regarded as one of the best non-american movies of all times. It’s deeply phylosophical, visually mesmerizing and truly inspirational. Many interesting ideas and perspectives are implied, but the film basically make us think about the beauty of simple things in everyday life, even the most mundane, and the richness of our feelings and sensations; it also reminds us that we should give up our ethereal existence as observers, to actually live and enjoy our life.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Faraway, so Close! (the second part of Wings of Desire), City of Angels (the American remake, much lighter and blander)

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Unconventional love Edward ScissorhandsUnconventional love Edward scissorhands posterThe plot: Edward is an extremely gentle and good-hearted man, but with a scary appearance: he has scissors instead of hands. One day Avon lady Peg finds him hidden in his Gothic mansion, and she decides to take him to the town to live with her family. But fitting in the conservative town is not that simple. Only Kim, Peg’s daughter eventually realises what a remarkable person Edward is, and as they become enamoured, she is the one who helps him when the entire town turns against him.

The film’s essence: How easily do we accept people who are different?

Go see it because… This is Tim Burton’s most personal and insightful film, a modern fairy tale, a poignant reminder on how we, as a society, tend to disdain people that are different, whether this means disabilities, sexual preferences, people who think out of the box, or whoever doesn’t fit into the rigid patterns our society imposes.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Corpse bride, The Phantom of the Opera

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11) MELODY (a.k.a S.W.A.L.K.), 1971

Unconventional love MelodyUnconventional love Melody posterThe plot: Two 12 years-old youngsters, Daniel and Melody, declare to their parents that they want to get married, not in the future but right now. The film follows the complications caused by their firm determination: mockery from their classmates, rebellion against teachers, parents’ concern. The story is told from the children’s perspective.

The film’s essence: What can be purest than childhood love?

Go see it because…I first saw this movie when I was about 13and since then it has stayed etched in my memory -and my heart… Seeing it now from a more critical, adult’s point of view, Melody still remains a beautiful and touching film; but I also see it now as an interesting study on the meaning of love as experienced by a child. It raises some interesting thoughts: Is it really possible to feel true love during childhood? Or real love comes when our body gets ready through adolescence and adulthood? Melody also transpires a nostalgia, on how our feelings change when growing-up, from genuine and idealistic  into more “mature”, less emotional or pure. The film soundtrack is also wonderful: Bee Gees’s Melody fair and First of May, and Crosby, Still, Nash & Young Teach your Children, among others.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: Moonrise Kingdom, Submarine

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12) ENOUGH SAID, 2013

Unconventional love Enough SaidUnconventional love Enough Said posterThe plot: Divorced Eva is a masseuse leaving in Los Angeles. One nigh at a party, she meets and befriends Marianne, a sophisticated poet who always criticises her ex-husband; and Albert, a divorced man with whom -although initially not physically attracted- she becomes involved. With their relationship on firm ground, Eva learns that Albert is Marianne’s ex-husband, and starts doubting whether she should stay with Albert or believe his judgemental ex-wife.

The film’s essence: When it comes to love, do you listen to your heart or you get influenced by other person’s opinion?

Go see it because… what makes this movie so unique is, paradoxally, that is such a common and realistic story. It’s honest and touching, bittersweet and smart. It may be best appreciated by people in their 40s-50s, struggling with divorce, teenager children, and getting again involved in a serious relationship. With great acting by Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (this was his last film), it depicts perfectly how many times we get swayed by others instead of trusting our feelings.

If you liked this movie, you may also see: The “Before” trilogy, Two lovers

IMDB link


Which one is your favourite unconventional love story? Would you add any other film to this list?


Alsace Colmar Petite Venice 1La Petite Venise district in Colmar

“The pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near”… This is what food tourism means, according to the World Food Travel Association, and this is exactly how I feel about gastronomic journeys…

For me, trying local tastes is not only one the greatest pleasures of traveling, but more important, is a great way to deepen into a country’s culture and history… That’s why gourmet tours are part of my wish list

Needless to say, France is a dream destination for most foodies in the world! In particular Alsace, with its true amalgam of french and german flavors,  is one of France’s most interesting areas, with so many traditional dishes… not to mention wines, beers and eau de vie!

Picture-perfect Colmar old town

Other than its food and impressive natural beauty, Alsace boasts fairy-tale cities such as Strasbourg and Colmar, some of The most beautiful villages of France, and many areas of particular historic interest

This region, located on France eastern border, is also a great family destination, with many attractions for kids and close proximity to Europe’s best theme park.

I could spend hours writing about Alsace! I fell in love with this area and its people, its douceur de vivre, its compelling history -Alsace switched between French and German control five times since 1681- and of course with its cuisine!!

In this post we will take a tour to discover Alsace’s traditional gastronomy… Get prepared for a mouth-watering ride!

The Alsatian Cuisine: Tradition meets Haute Gastronomie

The region of Alsace, with its strong Germanic influence, managed to keep intact its culinary tradition. You will find plenty of winstub –Alsace’s cozy wine taverns-, charming brasseries and bistros with the typical checked tablecloths, serving local dishes mainly based on pork -prepared in thousands of different ways- cabbage, cheese and potatoes.

But Alsace can also pride itself on having top-notch restaurants and many Michelin-starred chefs, who were inspired by traditional Alsatian tastes…

Eguisheim, one of the most beautiful villages of France

In here, about 40% of people still speak Alsatian, the local dialect; this means that reading a menu in Alsace may be somewhat complicated! Even if you speak French, most dishes names are written in Alsatian. Moreover, certain bistros don’t have English menus…So keep in mind the following dishes, that you must definitely try!

Street Food


Alsace Colmar Marche Couvert BretzelsThese delicious twisty knotted-breads sparkled with salt, are easily found on the streets of most Alsatian cities and villages. When in Colmar, you will be most likely driven by the irresistible smell of bretzels being baked, particularly when passing by the Marché couvert de Colmar (Colmar’s Market). Try them also with munster cheese and bacon, or with fromage de chèvre (goat cheese) and tomato…


Flammeküche (tarte flambée, or flamed tart)

Alsace Tarte Flambee carree

It’s something like the pizza of Alsace. The classical recipe includes a thin, crusty dough, topped with cream, onions and lardons (or chopped bacon), which is then baked in a wood-fire oven. There are many variations to this “Nature” recipe, the most common being “Munster” (with munster cheese), and “Forestière” (with mushrooms).

Sauerkraut (choucroute garnie)

Alsace choucroute

The quintessential Alsatian dish. It’s white cabbage grated and fermented, which is then cooked in white wine with potatoes, and served with ham, smoked pork shoulder, bacon and sausages… Try it at one of Strasbourg’s atmospheric winstub, paired with Riesling wine or a local beer (see below).


Alsace BaeckeoffeA dish consisting of baked sliced potatoes layers, onions, and different meats cut into pieces (pork loin, lamb shoulder, beef brisket), previously marinated in Riesling wine, all cooked slowly in a traditional ceramic casserole. Baeckeofe is usually served with a green salad and a dry white wine such as Pinot Gris.

Carpe frite (fried carp)

Alsace carpe frite tourisme AlsaceThe equivalent of English fish and chips. Dish of the southern part of Alsace, the Sundgau area, where you can follow “La Route de la Carpe Frite” (The fried carp route) with around 30 restaurants offering this traditional dish. The fried carpe route has been awarded the title of “Remarkable Gourmet Site” by the French National Council of Culinary Arts.

Other must-try delicacies

The magnificent gothic Cathedral of Strasbourg

Munster cheese

Alsace munsterAlmost each French region has its own cheese; Alsace’s is this delicious, strong tasting, soft cheese made from cow’s milk (not to be confused with American Muenster cheese).

 Foie gras

Alsace foie gras

This -somewhat controversial- gourmet treat is made of liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. During the 17th century, Alsace becomes the center of foie gras production in France, a tradition that still continues until nowadays.

Asperges (asparagus)

Alsace asperges resized

If you love asparagus, you should come to Alsace between April and June to taste this nutritious, delicious white variety, plenty of vitamins and antioxidants. To enhance their flavor, try them with a glass of Muscat wine…


Alsace CervelasYou will be tempted to try the great variety of sausages, most of them hand-prepared following ancestral recipes. Some examples include:

  • Knacks: also called Strasbourg sausages, made from pork and beef,
  • Laewwerwurscht: liver sausage pork,
  • Metwurscht: pork sausage spread,
  • Serwela, or cervelas (see picture),
  • Zungewurscht: tongue sausage,
  • Fleischwurscht: meat sausage,
  • Brotwurscht, also called crépinettes,
  • Presskopf: pork brawn in jelly.


The fortified village of Bergheim

Kugelhupf  (or kouglof)

Alsace kouglof 2A cake with a distinctive grooved, high-ring shape. It consists of a soft yeast dough with raisins, almonds and cherry brandy. It can also be savory, with bacon and walnuts. This specialty has long been a celebratory cake, prepared for special occasions: Christmas, weddings, births, village festivals, etc. Nowadays it is mostly served with breakfast.

Käsküeche (or Kaeskueche, or white cheese pie)

Alsace tarte-au-fromage-blanc The french version of a cheesecake. A light, not-too-sweet tart made with fromage blanc, eggs and lemon. This recipe is prepared with a pie crust (instead of cookie crumb used for cheesecake).


Alsace Berawecka resized

It is a cake traditionally made around Christmas, which contains figs, prunes, dates, almonds, apples and candied fruit.


Other delicious sweet treats…

Alsace Sweets collageNougat, pain d’épices (gingerbread), confiture d’églantines (wild rose jam) are other must-try delicacies in Alsace.

Most likely, you have already tried macarons, those little colorful,  meringue-based confections, so trendy the latest years. In fact, macarons are not Alsatian, they come from the neighbour region of Lorraine. Nevertheless,  it would be a shame to leave Alsace without tasting those of Patisserie Gilg...they are just sublime!

Drinking around Alsace: The Wine Route, the Beer’s heritage

Alsace is not only a foodie’s delight: wine and beer lovers won’t leave disappointed… Alsace has an important wine production, and it is France’s main beer-producing region.

Schnapps (or eau-de-vie) is also traditionally made here, although its production is declining due to the reduced consumption of traditional, strong alcoholic beverages.

Alsace Ribeauvillé 3Picturesque Ribeauvillé with its imposing castle


Following Alsace Wine Route is a great way to explore this beautiful area, with its vineyards hanging from the foothills of the Vosges, its picturesque villages -five of which have been selected as The most beautiful villages of France– the imposing castles, the cozy Winstubs, -and you’ve got the perfect excuse to degustate, in the meantime, the exquisite Alsatian wines…

Alsace Vines WherleA degustation at Domaine Wehrle, my favourite Alsace wines (yes, I tried them all…)

These are Alsace’s most recognised wine varieties, with  Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC, controlled designation of origin); all of them are white, with the exception of Pinot Noir:

  • Sylvaner: light and delicate, it pairs perfectly with shellfish (oysters, scallops, clams), fish and charcuterie; you can also drink it as aperitif.
  • Pinot Blanc: ideal to accompany starters or main courses. It pairs well with fish, white meats, poultry, egg-based dishes such as omelettes or quiches, and soft cheeses.
  • Riesling: considered one of the best white grape varieties in the world. The best choice to accompany traditional Alsatian dishes such as Choucroute and pork-based dishes; it’s also great with fish, shellfish, poultry, white meats and goat cheese.
  • Muscat: less sweet and dryer that the Muscats of the south of France, often served as an aperitif. Alsace Muscat is an excellent pairing for asparagus.
  • Pinot Gris (formerly known as Tokay Pinot Gris): Alsace’s white wine that best accompanies dishes intended for red wines: game, veal, pork and poultry, particularly when served with rich sauces. It is the perfect match to Baeckeoffe, delicious as well with sweet and sour flavor combinations.
  • Gewurtzraminer: rich, aromatic, golden yellow, this superb wine pairs beautifully with foie gras, strong cheeses such as Munster, and spicy dishes.
  • Pinot Noir: the only red grape variety authorized in Alsace. Rosé Pinot Noir is ideal for rustic buffets or picnics featuring charcuterie, grilled meats and salads; Red Pinot Noir, more complex and balanced, pairs red meats, game, and certain cheeses. An excellent match for desserts based on red fruits or berries, or not-so-sweet chocolate desserts.

Another must-try is Crémant d’Alsace: this AOC sparking wine -a lighter version of Champagne- is delicate, refined and fresh, and you can pair it with… just anything!

For more detailed information on Alsace wines, read here.


Alsace Bieres CollageA stop at a brasserie for a glass of beer and a tarte flambée is a must…

Alsace has been producing beer since the Middle Age; this long-dating heritage is still evident in many Alsatian villages. During the ninth century, monks became expert brewers and started trading their production; monastic breweries were then progressively replaced by independent companies. By 1803 there were about 250 breweries operating in Strasbourg, but over the years many small companies merged, and nowadays Alsace counts with only five major breweries: Licorne (Karlsbräu), Kronenbourg, l’Espérance (Heineken International, which also owns Fischer), Meteor and Schutzenberger.

There are several micro-breweries in the area which produce small amounts of beer in a more artisanal way.

The beers of Alsace are traditionally blonde, however, the recent years there has been increased production of amber (Fischer reserve Amber), flavored beers (Desperados or K by Kronenbourg), white (White Meteor and 1664 White) and brown (Black Unicorn).

Every August a major beer festival is organized in Schiltigheim, the city of brewers. Since 2014, the Union of Brewers in Alsace also organizes a cultural event around beer, “Au Gré des Bières” in Strasbourg.


Want to learn more about Alsace? Read here:

Photo credits

All the photos belong to woman2womenblog.com, except the following:

Flammekuche: tourisme-guebwiller.fr; sauerkraut: Vinicius Pinheiro, Flickr.com; baeckeoffe: francois schnell, Flickr.com; carpe frite: tourisme-alsace.com; munster cheese: autoeurope.com; foie gras: Kate Hopkins, Flickr.com; asperges: asperges.alsace; sausages: recettessimples.fr; kupelhupf: flauntyourfrenchness.ca; kaskueche: amourdecuisine.fr; beraweka: lesmarchesduterroir.fr; macarons: patisserie-gilg.com; logo biere L’Alsacienne: bar-a-biere-Lyon.fr







You just came back from vacations? It’s time to plan the next ones! What could be better than an escapade to a greek island? Crete is a perfect choice, boasting some of Greece’s most beautiful beaches. But even if you are not a beach person, there are plenty of mountains, canyons, caves, ancient monuments, beautiful villages… so many places worth visiting, so many things to do, day and night… not to mention the fantastic food!

Crete is a big island, which means that you will need several weeks to explore it… In this post I propose you an 8-day tour to the western part of Crete, to discover not only its natural beauty, but also the architecture, the rich history and its particular culture…

So what are you waiting for? Grab a bag, get on a plane -or a boat- and enjoy Crete!…


“The diamond of Crete” as Cretans call Chania, is a monument on its own. What makes Chania so fascinating is the amalgam of civilisations and cultures, which, while passing through it, left a particular trait : the Minoan mightiness, the Venetian refinement, the Byzantine spirituality, the Ottoman simplicity, the Neoclassical grandeur…

A good starting point when arriving early morning is a breakfast at Chania’s atmospheric Old port, when you can peacefully admire the colourful harbour and the elegant architecture of the buildings surrounding it. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and art galleries aligned along the harbour, which add to the charm of the area…

Crete Chania Venetian Harbour px

The atmospheric Old Port of Chania

Take a walk to the lighthouse to enjoy a panoramic view of the harbour, then head to another emblematic building of the Old Port: the Kiutsuk Hasan Mosque. Stroll along the narrow, intrincated roads of the city, visit the museums and churches, admire the districts of Topanas, Kastelli, Splantzia, Halepa and the Jewish Quarter.

Crete Chania port lighthouse

The lighthouse, an emblematic monument of Chania

After wandering around the city, it’s time to relax! A 15 minute-drive from Chania will lead us to Agia Marina, a lively area with beautiful, golden sand and warm water…


Agia Marina. Beautiful sandy beaches, a few minutes away from Chania

Besides many nice hotels and restaurants, Agia Marina, together with neighbour Platanias boast some of the best beach bars and clubs of the island, for all day -and all night- revelry…

Crete Theatro Chania

Agia Marina. Theatro beach bar


Falassarna beach, together with Elafonissi and Balos (see below) is regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete and, according to CNN, as one of the world’s 100 best beaches. It has amazing golden sand and turquoise, crystalline waters … Located about 53 km from the city of Chania, is easily accessed by car or even by public bus.

Crete Falasarna px

Falassarna, one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete

The only disadvantage of this beach is that is frequently exposed to strong winds (especially during August), so you may encounter big waves; that makes Falassarna a very popular destination for windsurfers.

Unless you are a skilled windsurfer, should it get too windy, don’t panic. Marathi beach, situated only 16 km far from Chania, is a great alternative. This nice beach, located on the southeastern tip of the Akrotiri peninsula, is well guarded from the winds, which assures that it never gets wavy… It may not be as spectacular as Falassarna, but it has warm, clean waters and golden, thin sand, many tavernas and cafes by the sea, and nice views of Souda Bay’s shores and the White Mountains… enough reasons to visit Marathi, especially for those of you who travel with small children.

Crete Souda beach

Marathi Beach. Shallow, calm waters, sandy shore, ideal for kids…


Crete Vamos 3 Crete Vamos 10Maybe less known than the world-famous cretan beaches, the Apokoronas region definitively deserves a visit. Surrounded by the White Mountains, reaching the Cretan Sea, this blessed-by-nature area plenty of rivers, lakes, caves, vineyards, olive groves, hosts bizantine monasteries, Venetian Castles, an ancient city and 75 traditional villages. Apokoronas’ rich nature and interesting architecture have endowed it with an unparalleled beauty.

Crete Vamos 8 Crete Vamos 7

Get your camera ready for a stop in beautiful Vamos, a well-preserved village with authentic Cretan-style architecture. Near to Vamos, the imposing monastery of St. George of Karidi warrants a detour. Other villages worth visiting are: picturesque Gavalochori; delightful Vrisses and Argyroupolis springs, both plenty of running water and plane trees; the seaside resorts of Kalyves, Almyrida and Georgioupolis; super green Armeni, with its leafy plane trees, springs -and its renowned tavernas.

Crete Vamos Collage 3 resized

Another must-visit in Apokoronas is Kournas lake. This beautiful lake is so deep (22,5 m) that locals used to believe that is bottomless. The lovely surroundings -protected by Natura 2000- can be admired by swimming across the lake, renting a pedalo, or just sitting in one of the tavernas or cafes overlooking the lake.…Kournas lake is also a good option when the beaches get too windy.

Crete Kournas Lake 3

The beautiful Kournas lake, Crete’s unique sweet water lake


When visiting West Crete, a sea bath in the Libyan Sea cannot be missed… The beaches in the southern side of the island are usually more quiet, less windy and less crowded than their pairs in the northern side. Plakias beach, located 40km southwest of Rethymno, is a long and wide sandy beach with crystalline, warm waters, situated in a closed bay surrounded by mountains. The eastern side of the bay is the quieter, and is usually taken by nudists.


Plakias beach. Its location in a closed bay makes it a quiet beach with warm waters

Crete Plakias beach D

If you like nudism, head to the quieter, eastern side of the beach 


Crete Zoniana sign pxIf you want to get a taste of “the real Crete”, spend a day of your vacations to visit Anogeia and Zoniana. The authentic, wild beauty of the area will fascinate you, and is one of the few regions of the island where you can still see men wearing the traditional Cretan clothing. The trade mark of the area? Road signs riddled with bullet holes! The gun culture is deeply rooted in Crete, particularly in this part of the island…

To get to Zoniana, the road itself, 53 km far from Rethymno, climbing up 630 meters on Mount Psiloritis, will already set you in the mood.

Crete View from Zoniana Cave

The wild beauty of Mount Psiloritis

Although the village of Zoniana itself does not have any particular touristic attraction (except for a wax museum), Zoniana’s cave, called Sfentoni cave is not to be missed. There are more that 4500! caves in Crete, but only three are open to the public, and Sfentoni cave is the largest one of those.

Crete Zoniana Cave entrance

The entrance to Sfentoni cave

After entering the cave our guide explains us how the stalagmites and stalactites originated, talks about the animals that inhabit the cave (about 400 bats! among others), and tells us about the history and myths surrounding it.

The beauty of the cave is emphasised by its colourful lighting, which creates a phantasmagoric effect…

Crete Zoniana cave Collage

The interior of Sfentoni’s cave, plenty of stalagmites and stalactites

A 15-minute drive will lead us to our next destination, the traditional village of Anogeia.

Crete Road to Zoniana

The road to Anogeia may eventually get… some traffic

Anogeia, perched on the slopes of Mount Psiloritis at an altitude of 740 meters, has a powerful history (it was burnt twice, by the Turks and by the Germans) and a strong character, which keeps being passed from older to younger generations. Agios Georgios square is the ideal spot to drink a greek coffee at a kafenion, or try local dishes accompanied by some raki.

Crete Anogeia cafenioLocals and tourists at a traditional kafenio in Anogeia 

After that -unless you drunk too much raki- stroll along the streets of the village and admire the famous cretan weavings, tablecloths and linen…

Crete Anogeia old woman resized 2

Cretan weavings monopolise the streets of Anogeia


Today the wind is over: a perfect day to visit Elafonissi. I couldn’t wait to see this world-famous beach,  and I did not get disappointed: Elafonissi is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Located 76 kilometers far from Chania, in the southwest part of Crete, it does get crowded, especially in August, but even so it’s an absolute must.

What makes Elafonissi such an exotic place is the presence of sand islets forming a sort of lagoon with shallow and crystalline waters, and certainly the powder sand which eventually gets pink due to the presence of crushed oyster shells.

Crete Elafonissi D 1

The exotic beauty of Elafonissi

Crete Elafonissi D3 Crete Elafonissi D5

Powder white and pink sand, crystalline waters… Paradise on Earth


A trip to west Crete is not complete unless you visit beautiful Rethymno. This pleasant city, the third largest in Crete, has managed to keep a “small town” air, and to preserve its Venetian and Ottoman heritage.

Crete Rethymnon-harbour-at-nightThe Venetian Harbour is a nice place to get a coffee or eat some -delicious- cretan food at a traditional taverna. In the meantime you can admire the small but strong breakwater, which for 8 centuries has been proudly facing the tough waves of the Cretan Sea. The imposing lighthouse although built by the Turks, matches perfectly the Venetian style.

Crete Rethimno fort resizedThe magnificent Fortezza (fortress) dominates the city, and a visit to it is warranted.  It was built by the Venetians in the 16th century to protect the town from the Turkish pirates; besides the impressive 1300 meters of walls, we can still appreciate some other remains from the Venetian era: water cisterns, guardhouses, barracks, and arsenals.

Crete Rethimno fort 3The mosque was built during the Turkish occupation (in the place of a Venetian cathedral); it has an impressive dome with the lovely mosaics.

Crete Rethymno view from Fortezza

From the Fortezza you can admire a panoramic view of Rethymno

Crete Rethimno center 2After that, wander along the narrow alleys of the well-preserved old city, discover picturesque corners and architectural treasures… Indulge yourself shopping souvenirs, local products or folk art.Crete Rethimno center 4

Α perfect ending for a day in Rethymno is a promenade at the seaside and a dinner at one of the numerous tavernas overlooking the sea and the imposing Fortezza.

Crete Rethimno tavern


A grand finale to our trip: a visit to majestic Balos. This isolated beach can be reached by boat (leaving from Kissamos) or by car, but be careful: it’s a dirt road in really bad condition, and then you have to walk about half an hour, which during summer time can get quite hard (especially the return, going upward). But the view of the beach when arriving will reward you: just stunning. No wonder why Balos is the most photographed beach in Crete…

The imposing rock that emerges from the sea, the white sand and the shallow turquoise waters resemble a work of art… The area has rare species of flora and fauna, and is protected under the Natura 2000 program.

Crete Balos 1Crete Balos 3Crete Balos 5 Crete Balos 6The last night in the island cannot be wasted! We choose Chania. The options? Too many! You may just stroll along the bustling harbour; or dine at one of the traditional tavernas of the historic center; or have a drink at a cafe, bar or club located in the harbour, in Akti Miaouli or in Koum Kapi beach; or chill out at a bar in trendy Chatzimichali Daliani Street

Crete Chania night Koutouki

A traditional taverna in Chania

Crete Chania at night resized 2

Bars, cafes, clubs… With the magnificent Old Harbour as a background

We leave West Crete firmly promising to ourselves to come back and explore the many places we didn’t have the time to see… I hope it’s gonna be soon…

Photo credits: All the photos belong to woman2womenblog.com; except: Theatro cafe bar: theatrochania.com, and Rethymno’s Venetian Port: Wikimedia commons


When traveling to Argentina, it’s really worth a detour to Corrientes province, to visit its well-hidden natural wonder: Esteros del Iberá.

This impressive natural reserve of over 2.000.000 square kilometers is a group of lagoons, marshlands and swamps, which are home for a huge variety of plants, animals, insects, butterflies…. The area is of a pure, unrivalled beauty.

Esteros del Ibera air view. A green paradise…

One of the reasons why this area is so well protected is its difficult access, only possible by 4×4 vehicles. The gateway to explore Ibera wetlands is a little rural village named Colonia Carlos Pellegrini. When coming from the town of Mercedes, you will need to go through 120 -endless- kilometers of unpaved road in a very bad condition. It is not a good idea to attempt it with a regular car: there are many chances you will get stuck, literally in the middle of nowhere!

Ibera Road Sunset 2 resizedRoad to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini. Drive carefully, be patient and enjoy the ride! 

 Even if the road is difficult, we enjoyed it a lot, and we were traveling with our kids! (long trips with kids, many of you know what I’m talking about…). Besides the feeling of adventure, we were getting already a taste of what we would see at the wetlands, as wild animals started showing up: capybaras, ñandúes, armadillos…And when it became dark, we were delighted: thousands of fireflies everywhere! It was just magic!

Ibera Nandu Armadillo CollageWild animals on the road to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini: ñandú and a nine-banded armadillo

 When arriving to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, a very narrow -somewhat scary- bridge welcomes you; it was built by the Argentinian army in 1970.

Ibera Puente Collage

Ibera entrada Colonia CArlos PellegriniWelcome to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini!

The town is an invitation to relax, an absolute stress detox from the frenetic rhythms of civilisation… Don’t expect crazy nightlife or happenings: it’s just you and nature… Roads are unpaved, trees and flowers everywhere; the only noise you hear is birds singing.

Ibera Posada el Yacare patioNature at its best: few vehicles, flowers and birds singing…

After a restful sleep at our posada, we headed early morning for a boat ride in the wetlands. Our guide, Jorge, was telling us in the meantime some interesting information about the history of Esteros del Ibera: the area was declared National Reserve in 1983; in an effort to limit poaching (very common back then), many hunters became Reserve guards (smart move!).

DCIM100GOPROA boat ride to the wetlands is a must. Our guide and driver, Jorge

Our first stopover is the Centro de Interpretación (Interpretation Center), where a guard registers our boat. For ecological reasons, only a limited number of boats are allowed…

DCIM100GOPROCentro de Interpretación, Esteros del Ibera

 Then we start admiring the lush vegetation: water hyacinths and poppies, aquatic nettles, bulrushes and cannas which give rise to the phenomenon of embalsados: authentic floating islands, so dense that they grow on land species, such as shrubs and even trees…

Ibera flora

Ibera flores 2Esteros del Ibera’s embalsado; the water hyacinth is the most common species

The wetlands are the habitat of a huge number of birds (see below). An interesting bird species is chajá (southern screamer): chajás are monogamous, once a couple they no longer separate. It is popularly believed that if one of them dies, the other one dies of sadness shortly after… The couple also shares the eggs’ incubation (!)

Ibera chajasA couple of chajás. Their behaviour, an example to be followed by humans…

After that, we get to see the king of the swamps: the yacaré! Both yacaré negro (the most commonly found) and yacaré overo (they are a variety of caymans) can reach over two meters long, but due to intense poaching before the foundation of the park and their slow growth you will rarely see so big ones. The latest years, though, they have been able to reproduce and they are easily spotted.

It’s very common to see them with a huge, open mouth. That doesn’t mean they are about to eat us! Like all reptiles, yacares don’t control their body’s temperature, they depend on external conditions. When the temperature begins to rise, opening their mouth is the mean to cool themselves! Yacarés in fact eat mainly fishes such as palometa, a species of piranha (yes, there are piranhas at the wetlands, don’t get tempted to swim there…).

Ibera yacare The impressive yacare negro “cooling down” at an embalsado…

Our guide Jorge turns off the engine of the boat, and with the rows gets really close to them:

Ibera yacare nearA yacare close-up. In spite of the scary look, they won’t attack unless they feel threatened…

Another easily spotted animal is carpincho (capybara), the largest rodent in the world. Carpinchos are very social, they are usually seen in groups of 10-20. Their gestation lasts only 4 months, and they can have up to 8 pups in a single litter, that explains why there are so many of them…

Ibera carpinchoCarpincho, the world’s largest rodent

Our 2-hour boat ride finishes…. After some rest to recover from the heat, we spend some time at the Centro de Visitantes (Visitor’s center). The center has an interesting exhibition hall with illustrative material on history, geography and biology of the Reserve.

Ibera centro de visitantesVisitor’s Center “Bright Water”, Reserve of Ibera

From there we head to Sendero Caraya (Caraya trail), a beautiful walk in the middle of the forest, where, if you are lucky enough, you will see caraya monkeys. These monkeys commonly sleep up to 70% of the day!, and they are quite shy, so they may not be seen if there are a lot of people around…

Ibera Caraya CollageCaraya trail, one of the numerous trails you can take to admire wildlife…

You may see as well ciervos de los pantanos (marsh deers)… Marsh deers are excellent swimmers, usually solitary animals. They are considered an endangered species.

Ibera ciervo

Ibera ciervo 2Ciervos de los pantanos (marsh deers)

Other activities 

Bird Watching: If you like bird watching, this is your spot! There are more than 350 species of birds at Ibera Wetlands. Special tours are organised for that purpose; most of the lodges will be able to arrange one for you.

Ibera aves collageYou will be able to see plenty of birds, even if you don’t go birdwatching…

Sunset and night boat ride: if you have enough time, it is a good idea to take a boat ride to see the sunset at the lagoons. There you will realise why the place is called Ibera: in guarani (the language of the indians who used to live there) it means “bright water”…  Night navigation offers the possibility of spotting animals that during the day are hiding from the harsh sun: armadillos, foxes, vizcachas, owls…

Ibera sunset resizedIbera lagoon at sunset. “Bright water” as the indians named the area…

Horseback rides: with the guide of wildlife specialists, you can explore more remote areas and get to know their flora and fauna in detail…

Ibera Horseback rideHorseback riding tours at Rancho de los Esteros 


How to get there: there are only 2 roads to get to Colonia Carlos Pellegrini, both unpaved!: from Mercedes, Corrientes (120 km, of which 80 km unpaved; you will follow this one if you come from Buenos Aires); or from Posadas, Misiones (250 km, of which about 150 km unpaved)…

  • Access in only by 4×4. Unless you come on an organised tour, you can hire them at Mercedes.
  • If you drive your own vehicle, don’t forget to get some gas in Mercedes, there is no gas station afterwards!
  • Another important tip: there are chances that, in case of heavy rain, you get stuck at Carlos Pellegrini; keep that in mind in case you have a plane to catch…

When to go: The ideal period to visit Esteros del Ibera is from March to October. Summer gets really hot and humid!

Where to stay: Ibera has seen lately some touristic development; you can find there several lodges and posadas of all ranges, from luxury to more modest. Most of them have air condition and wifi. There is also a camping.

Ibera lodge CollageSome of the lodges at Carlos Pellegrini: Posada el Yacare, Posada de la Laguna, Irupe Lodge

Where to eat: there are a few restaurants where you can taste Argentina’s traditional dishes. Try the very nice, family-own Yacaru Pora.

Ibera restaurant yacaru poraRestaurante Yacaru Pora


Photo credits

All photographs belong to woman2womenblog.com, except for the following:

Ibera air view: Wikimedia commons; nandu: collet-trust.org; armadillo: Wikimedia commons; bridge: ibera.gov.ar, iberawild.com.ar; caraya monkey: tripadvisor.com; Ibera sunset: Wikimedia commons; horseback ride: ranchodelosesteros.com.ar; Where to stay: Posada el YacarePosada de la lagunaIrupe Lodge.



The first post on Pregnancy do’s and dont’s analysed what is allowed and what discouraged during pregnancy concerning food, beverages, alcohol and cigarette (see here). The second part dealt with beauty treatments and medications (see here). Check out this third article on do’s and dont’s regarding exercise, sex, working and travel while pregnant…


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Why to exercise: Beginning or continuing a moderate course of exercise during pregnancy is not associated with adverse outcomes. In fact, exercise may have many health benefits: it lessens some of the discomforts of pregnancy, it helps strengthen the muscles used in labor and delivery, it may give you more energy and make you feel better. There is also some evidence that exercise may prevent pregnancy-related diabetes and high blood pressure. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends for pregnant women 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day on most days of the week.

Pregnant woman by pool resizedCheck with your doctor first! There are certain circumstances in which women should not exercise, such as those with asthma or heart problems, or pregnancies complicated with bleeding, low placenta, weak cervix or premature contractions.

Exercises that are safe: The type of exercise you can do during pregnancy depends on your health and how active you were before getting pregnant. This is not a good time to start a very demanding sport. But if you were active before, you can continue to be, within reason. The following activities, in moderation, are especially good during pregnancy:

  • Swimming (it should be OK even in chlorinated pools)
  • Brisk walking
  • Prenatal exercise classes
  • Prenatal yoga

Prenatal aqua yoga 2-swimming-1387531814252Exercises to avoid: Pregnant women should avoid the following:

  • High-impact or vigorous sports that may involve the risk of abdominal trauma, falls or excessive joint stress.
  • Holding your breath during activity
  • Exercises that require lying flat on your back for more than three minutes (especially after the third month of pregnancy)
  • Heavy exercise spurts followed by periods of no activity
  • Exercise in hot and humid weather
  • Activities in hot water (see more here)
  • Vigorous racquet sports
  • Activities where falling is likely (e.g. skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking)
  • Contact sports: football, basketball, volleyball, softball
  • Scuba diving, which may result in birth defects and fetal decompression disease.

Tips for safe exercise:  Even though exercise can be beneficial, you should be careful. During pregnancy, your centre of gravity shifts and your balance changes. Your joints and ligaments get more relaxed. This may put you at a greater risk for falls. You tire more easily. Caution should be the rule!

Pregnant yoga on the beach 4495406433_45030db1e5_bThese are some tips for exercising while pregnant:

  • Avoid getting overheated.
  • Limit outdoor exercise in hot weather.
  • Avoid exercise that makes you very tired, or with high risk of falling or getting an abdominal trauma
  • Get up slowly after doing floor exercises, to avoid getting dizzy
  • Drink lots of water
  • Consume extra calories if you exercise regularly
  • Wear good support shoes and bra
  • Don’t push yourself too much! Listen to your body and slow down when you feel tired.

Signs to stop exercising: You should stop exercising and call you doctor if you feel one of the following:

  • Dizziness, fainting or nauseated
  • Rapid or irregular heatbeat
  • Short of breath
  • Pain in your chest
  • Recurring abdominal pain or uterine contractions
  • Swelling in your calf
  • Intense headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Fluid leaking from your vagina
  • A decreased or absence of baby’s movements


Sex and pregnancy resizedIs it safe? Sexual intercourse in pregnancy is not known to be associated with any adverse outcomes; therefore, it can be safely continued throughout pregnancy.

The baby is well protected inside the uterus! The uterine wall, the amniotic sac and the mucus plug (thick mucus that seals the cervical canal to prevent infections) will all keep the baby safe.

Keep in mind that intercourse can cause uterine contractions: the orgasm itself, nipple stimulation and prostaglandins (a substance contained in sperm) will all may make the uterus contract. In general, these contractions are mild and harmless.

Love making has been long proposed as a measure to induce labor at term. Although there is no scientific evidence that sex triggers labor, it may help, and it won’t harm!

pregnant woman and man resized 2Does sex feel the same while pregnant? Sex during pregnancy can be different than before. For some women, it may be more pleasurable, due to the high hormonal levels, genital engorgement and increase in vaginal secretions. For others though, sexual desire may be reduced for many reasons: nausea and dizziness during the first trimester, genital swelling which may sometimes cause discomfort, or you may just feel uneasy with your body changes…

Furthermore, your breasts get very engorged and tender, which may be pleasant for some women, but annoying for others…

Love making in practice… needless to say, certain positions will be uncomfortable, or impossible as your womb gets bigger…You may need to experiment a little bit to find which positions are fine for you… Especially during the third trimester, you should avoid lying flat on your back, because the pressure of the womb on the major blood vessels may cause a drop in blood pressure and dizziness. Although oral sex is fine, blowing into the vagina is to be avoided, as it may cause air embolism (a bubble of air entering the blood circulation), which may have fatal consequences.

When to avoid intercourse: there are certain situations, in which sexual intercourse is discouraged: if you have vaginal bleeding, a history of repeated miscarriages, preterm uterine contractions, or a weak cervix. In addition, you will be told to abstain from sex if you have a diagnosis of placenta previa (when the placenta lyes low in the uterus or covers the cervix). Always check with your doctor to make sure it’s OK for you to have sex.

When to call your doctor: you should call your healthcare provider if, after sex, you have intense abdominal pain, cramping, foul smelling discharge or bleeding coming from the vagina.


Embed from Getty ImagesIf you are a healthy woman and you have a normal pregnancy, most likely it will be safe to continue working during pregnancy. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor about your work environment. There are certain occupations that may be dangerous, and others that may require certain modifications:

Lab tech 4-medical-and-laboratory-shots-stephen-smithExposure to radiation and radioactivity: there is evidence to support an association between x-rays or radioactivity exposure and miscarriages, birth defects and other pregnancy complications. You should inform right away your doctor and your employer if you receive occupational x-rays or radioactivity exposure.

Exposure to chemicals: Studies results are less conclusive for occupational exposure to chemicals, but there seems to be some increased risk of miscarriages and eventually malformations. Some examples of jobs with chemical exposure are dry-cleaning, painting industries, operating rooms, jobs involving pesticide or heavy metals exposure (lead, mercury). Inconclusive evidence also exists for women working in beauty salons (for more info check here).

Physically demanding work: jobs with prolonged standing (such as cooks, police officers, nurses) and heavy weight lifting may be associated with poor pregnancy outcome, that is, more likely to deliver prematurely, have low-birth-weight-babies and develop high blood pressure.

Woman Cook o-CHEF-COOKING-facebookStressful jobs and long working hours: Some research has shown that pregnant women who reported high work stress in combination with a long workweek (more than 32 hours a week) have two times higher risk of giving birth to a small baby.

The evidence on prolonged hours and shift working is inconclusive.

Desk jobs: Although some studies in the 80s had suggested that computers may increase the risk of pregnancy complications, many studies have been done since then, and these findings have not been confirmed. In fact the dose of radiation emitted by a computer is extremely low. The problem of a desk job lies mostly in sitting for a long period of time, which may lead to neck, eyes, wrist and back strain. If you have an office job, try to get up frequently and take a break from time to time.

Other possible occupational risks may include exposure to infections or heavy noise.


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Is it safe? For uncomplicated pregnancies, it is safe to travel throughout most of the pregnancy, usually until the last month (36 weeks). Inform your doctor whether you plan to travel, and precise where and when you plan to go. There are certain women that should not be traveling, such us those with vaginal bleeding, high risk of preterm labor or increased chances of forming blood clots.

Land travel: It is fine to travel by car, train or bus. It is very important that you wear your three-point seatbelt (shoulder and lap), above and below the womb, not over it. Try to avoid very long trips, stop or walk from time to time to stretch your legs in order to keep the blood circulating.

Sea travel: Traveling by boat is safe in pregnancy, but keep in mind that the boat’s motion may accentuate, or provoke, nausea and vomiting. So be prepared for that! In addition, avoid destinations which may not have easy medical access; if you are on a cruise make sure they have a healthcare provider on board.

Woman airport luggage Header_Samsonite2013Air travel:

  • For most of pregnant women, traveling by plane is permitted. Most of the companies will allow traveling up to 32 weeks of pregnancy, many others up to 36 weeks (you will need to provide a doctor’s permission). Check always with the airline company before making your reservation…
  • You should’n worry about walking through metal detectors at the airport security check, the radiation dose they emit is extremely low.
  • In order to avoid heavy luggage lifting, you may prefer to use suitcases with wheels to make travel as easy as possible.
  • Long-haul air travel is associated with an increased risk of venous thrombosis (blood clots formation), a potentially serious pregnancy complication. This risk is attributed predominantly to immobility during air travel, especially when traveling in economy class, where the space between the seats is very narrow. Precautionary measures include:
    • wear loose-fitting clothes and comfortable shoes,
    • do isometric calf exercises (stretch your legs from time to time),
    • walk regularly around the aircraft cabin,
    • avoid dehydration: drink plenty of water, minimise alcohol and caffeine intake,
    • check with your healthcare provider the possibility of wearing special elastic stockings in order to improve blood circulation.

pregnant woman sunbathing at a Caribbean beachTravelling abroad: Travelling overseas may present certain challenges. Keep in mind the following:

  • Discuss with your doctor possible safety risks for you and your baby.
  • Certain destinations are best avoided: places with difficult access to health care, or high risk of contracting infections or other diseases.
  • Special consideration should be taken when travelling to countries where yellow fever vaccination or malaria prevention medication may be needed. Make sure that any vaccines or medications required are not contraindicated in pregnancy. You may check the authoritative site of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for useful information (see here), but you must talk about it with your doctor.
  • You may take with you a copy of your medical records, in case anything is needed in your foreign destination.


NICE: Antenatal Care- Routine Care for the Healthy Pregnant Woman. March 2008, UK

HAS: Comment mieux informer les femmes enceintes? Avril 2005, France





Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 5.


Photo credits

Exercise: Getty images; media3.onsugar.com;  sohanews2.vcmedia.vn; Jose Gabriel Lugo, Flickr.com;

Sex: Trevor, Flickr.com; Melissa Segal, Flickr.com;

Work: Getty images; fineartamerica.com; huffpost.com;

Travel: Getty images; globalblue.comtravelingtoworld.com