Grand Canal, Venice - Italy

Grand Canal – Venice

Hi Folks!

Venice is a remarkable place. Astonishing even. Some 30 million tourists visit there annually. As only some 50.000 residents live in Venice’s historic center. The situation with the tourists has gotten a little bit out of hand. It’s so bad that even Donna Leon decided to abandon Venice. She lived over 30 years in Venice and wrote several best-selling criminal novels that were all set in Venice. I mean Donna was an absolute Venice enthusiast, but not anymore. There’s been discussion on restricting the number of tourists in the historic center. For that I have only one thing to say: probably not that bad idea!

But tourism is not the worst of Venetian’s worries. The city is sinking. It was probably the most absurd scene I have seen in weeks, when I spotted three carpenters fixing a roof by the Grand Canal. They must have been immigrants, as the locals are too aware of the Venetian saying: if it ain’t floating, don’t fix it! By the way, being a real estate investor in Venice must be a real challenge. Only a few have tried and none have succeeded.

If you are planning to visit there, I truly recommend that you ride a water bus along the Grand Canal to get from the Santa Lucia railway station into the basin at San Marco. If you are navigating your own boat, you should learn the ins and outs of the Grand Canal, including the latest short cuts, from James Bond’s Casino Royale (2006).

– Gart

Verona - Italy

Verona – Italy

Hi Folks!

The panoramic view from Castel San Pietro over Verona gives only a hint of the beauty of this marvelous city. The bridge in the photo was built by Romans and is called the Ponte Pietra. The tall construction is the bell tower of Verona Cathedral. I could go on and on about the sights in Verona. The Roman and medieval landmarks in Verona are just overwhelming and the restaurants serve the finest dishes in northern Italy. It is no wonder that three of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona. Although Shakespeare never even visited the city, what a shame.

Verona is known as the city of love. If you are planning to visit there, you should see Baz Luhrmann’s document Romeo + Juliet (1996) to get into the right mood for diving into Verona’s vivid social life. The document is about Romeo DiCaprio and his girlfriend Juliet Capulet who lived in Verona some years ago. One could say that they had some difficulties in their relationship. It only shows that not even all the Veronese have luck in their love.

The courtyard beneath Juliet’s balcony is the most visited sites in the town. Aaw, people are so romantic. But for real, get a grip! It’s only a balcony and you can see it in the photo right below.

– Gart

Verona - The balcony of Juliet's house

Verona – The balcony of Juliet’s house

Baptistery of Parma - Italy

Parma – Italy

Hi Folks,

Who would have thought that one of the most remarkable medieval monuments is located in a town that’s famous for its cheese and ham. The Baptistery of Parma is made of pink marble. The construction work begun in the 12th century under the supervision of architect Benedetto Antelami. Based only how the Baptistery looks outside, I can understand why it’s considered to remarkable. But what’s really astonishing is that there is only one storey and no interior walls in the Baptistery. It’s basically one very tall room on ground level.

I heard from a reliable source that Benedetto enjoyed his Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto a bit too much. And as we all know, such a heavy diet makes you drowsy. Who cares about adding floors and walls in the drawings when you’ve had one cheese chunk too many. Luckily Benedetto wasn’t a big fan of Spumante. Otherwise the pink marble could be just a pile of rocks next to Parma Cathedral’s bell tower.

– Gart

Cavo Greco, Ayia Napa - Cyprus

Cavo Greco – Cyprus

Hi Folks,

Life in Cyprus is relaxed ­– and it’s especially relaxed here, at Cavo Greco. Everyone’s just sitting back and unwinding, as if it was summertime already. See the people on the photo. They’re definitely just chillin’ out, maxin’ relaxin’ all cool. And that’s fine by all means. Frankly, it’s an achievement considering the closest neighboring country. Some Cypriot might say that the closest neighbor is a little too close. Turkey invaded the northern part of Cyprus in the 70’s. The invaded area, c. 1/3 of Cyprus, is nowadays a self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey. Even if that wasn’t worrying enough, the president of Turkey is Mr. Erdoğan, who’s famous for having quite unique approach to diplomacy.

Here’s an advice for you: when at Cavo Greco and when done maxin’ relaxin’, visit Agios Epiphanios Chapel (see photo below). The view from the chapel is magnificent!

-Gart

Agios Epiphanios, Ayia Napa - Cyprus

Agios Epiphanios, Ayia Napa – Cyprus

Øresund Bridge, Copenhagen - Denmark

Øresund Bridge, Copenhagen – Denmark

Hi Folks,

A body cut in half was found some years ago on this very spot in the middle of Øresund Bridge connecting Denmark with Sweden. Terrible incidence all together. The location of the body caused some confusion in the police departments’ jurisdiction and the investigation made big news. A Swedish police detective Saga Norén was teamed up with Martin Rohde from Danish police to investigate the case. Never has the collaboration between Danish and Swedish authorities been so smooth and beautiful. You may look up all about it in internet.

Øresund Bridge is magnificent. The lights on the background in the photo is Copenhagen. In that sense my nose is pointing to the wrong direction, namely to the Swedish city of Malmö. After my pal Zlatan Ibrahimović left Malmö, not that many good things remained there. If you happen to be in the same spot, make sure you continue your way to the beautiful Copenhagen instead Malmö. Some of the happiest people live in Copenhagen, as Denmark often ranks the happiest country in the world. In Copenhagen, just stroll around and you will find out why they are feeling so good.

-Gart

Metelkova City, Ljubljana - Slovenia

Metelkova City, Ljubljana – Slovenia

Hi Folks!

These pinheads guard the gates of Metelkova City throughout the year. Metelkova is an autonomous part of Ljubljana – much like Christiania, the freetown in Kopenhagen. I was glad to find out that these young gentlemen took care of my wellbeing as I wondered through the streets of Metelkova just when all the region’s freaks were celebrating Halloween. It was a wild night but let me tell you, if you really want to go crazy and see the nut side of Ljubljana, take a walk on… Triple Bridges. I have seen some disturbing stuff in my life, but three bridges literally right next to each other crossing the Ljubljanica River takes a while to digest. Below is a pic of me and the Triple Bridges.

– Gart

The Triple Bridge, Ljubljana - Slovenia

Pärnu - Estonia

Pärnu – Estonia

Hi Folks!

Pärnu is a marvelous town by the Baltic Sea. The beach in there is just great. There’s a bit of everything and that’s why it is only just that the town has two slogans. There were too many good proposals to choose from and that’s why the sensible people of the city decided to stick with two. Which one do you like the best: (1) Pärnu – Estonia ‘s native town! or (2) Pärnu – JUST SEE!

I really love both of them but I started to wonder, what were the proposed slogans that made it to the top 10 list but were not selected. I contacted the city hall of Pärnu and Hele (the wonderful assistant of the mayor) sent me a list. As I am a kind fella, I will share some of the ones that caught my attention.

Here’s the first one: Pärnu – Just enough of groove! Isn’t that fantastic. Just enough, but clearly not too much. Nothing over the top. You do not have to check your travel insurance before entering into the night of the city.

And another one of my favorites: Pärnu – Sand in all the right places! Some ad agency has clearly been involved in designing these. Who else would come up with these ideas. It’s good to know that there’s sand in all the right places but ruling out the opposite would be more important. With a little upgrade the idea could have become selected. How about: Pärnu – No sand in the wrong places!

Finally the last one of my favorites on the top 10 list: Pärnu – Just Do It. This is really cool, although it resembles a work of someone else and could be a rip off. I do not mean the other Pärnu-slogan (Pärnu – JUST SEE!). I mean this: Do It

-Gart

Alexanderplatz - Berlin, Germany

Alexanderplatz – Berlin

Hi Folks!

I know you are wondering what Europe will look like after Brexit. Since I am so nice, I will share the intel I have with you. I rented a time machine, travelled in time almost to year 2017 (ie. 2016) and landed on Alexanderplatz. Europe after Brexit seems to look clowdy, slightly futuristic and definitely pompous. Basically the whole of Berlin seemed a bit darker. Some local said to me that winter is coming right after the summer and autumn. He seemed trustworthy, although a bit depressed. He kept mumbling something about Brexit II and the vikings in Iceland, but it was beyond my understanding. Could it mean that the English get to vote to leave United Kingdom or even the island of Great Britain. Maybe England and Iceland will form an union. The future seems to be as interesting as it was last week.

-Gart

Alcatraz - The White House

Alcatraz – The White House

Hi Folks,

Clint Eastwood went through hell to escape from the federal prison in Alcatraz Island. The escape was captured on film by a marvelous documentarist Don Siegel, and later published in a movie documentary titled Escape from Alcatraz. It’s a classic! Now Donald Trump is trying the same in reverse, when he runs for President of the United States. Oh my dear! There must be a parallel universe where things are the other way around: Donald Trump tries to escape from the infamous Alcatraz and Clint Eastwood runs for president. Just imagine the campaign Clint is running in the parallel universe. This Ennio Morricones composition is played as Clint’s entrance song in a candidate debate: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Theme. Clint looks right into the camera and says calmly but firmly: “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got”. The crowd goes crazy. Crazy is as crazy does and that saying goes for Mr. Donald as well. If Donald Trump was to be placed behind bars, I’m not too convinced that the right place is behind the bars that are placed on the backyard lawn of the White House.

-Gart

Technoparc Montréal - Quebec, Canada

Technoparc, Montréal – Canada

Hi Folks,

Visiting Montreal in Canada, what a way to finish the year!

Wayne Gretzky, Neil Young, Pamela Anderson, Jim Carrey, Leonard Cohen, William Shatner and Scotty, Ben Johnson, Mike Myers, Steve Nash, Keanu Reeves, Jacques Villeneuve and many, many others were given to the world by the generous people of Canada, or more formally the Democratic People’s Republic of Canada. And how did the world respond to the generosity of the Canadians. Well, quite well I would say. In return a Canadian random dude named Kyle Broflovski was given one of the leading parts in a super popular TV-series South Park.

One might wonder what is left in Canada when the stars in all areas of life have left from there. That’s a fair question and deserves an answer. Not much I guess. There’s still Technoparc Montréal, it’s kind of cool if you are into all kind of weird things like science. But please be a responsible adult (even in Canada), try protecting your children from science or they may end up like Jesse Pinkman.

– Gart