From Astoria to Cannon Beach on the Goonies’ steps

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Rome, 1988. 
It’s a hot, mid-Summer afternoon in the southern outskirts of town. Children are playing in the streets; sweaty t-shirts, grazed knees and sticky gelato fingers. Three floors above, a 9-year old boy sits on the couch staring at the TV, legs crossed and rounded eyes. A VHS tape is whirling in the player and on the screen a gang of four ill-assorted kids are laying their eyes on an old pirate map. They’re up to no good and it’s the beginning of an adventure. Continue reading

The road to Bellaugello, where guests are asked to be who they are

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Umbria, the region at the heart of Italy, has that feeling of being a mystic gem silently suspended in space and time. Since the moment I owned a car and to the moment I left my home country about 11 years ago, I regularly road-tripped to Umbria where I would embrace the region’s mentally and spiritually healing power by walking through its narrow medieval alleys and taking in the wide panoramas over silent green hills that tell stories of centuries ago. Bellaugello Guesthouse, where I’m headed, perfectly fits the mould offering its guests the luxury of forgetting about the here and now; as its Scots landlord Alec puts it, ‘The only thing that is asked to them is to be themselves. Continue reading

Holding hands along the Seine

I still remember the agitation as well as impatience that was spilling out of every pore of my skin on that day. It was a warm and quite humid June’s Saturday late morning in Paris and while I sat at an outside table of a random bar in Le Marais, sipping from my almost empty glass of Jura (ordering an Italian wine in France sounded somehow wrong), I considered how quickly five years of French classes in high school had suddenly gone down the drain. I was left with nothing but basic notions of the language, which wouldn’t get me much farther than ordering a drink, asking how to get to the city centre, and making sure that I wouldn’t be picking any snail-like food from a menu Continue reading

Learn a Language and Share

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New York, May 2012

I’ve been trying to learn English since I realised that languages were my ticket to the world. It was 2000 when I moved abroad to really live the language; I was 21 and my thirst for learning a new idiom was taking me across the Pond for the first time. I arrived in New York and using my broken English, I made it through passport control, answering all their questions and convincing them that I wasn’t there to do anything naughty. Continue reading