Stories

Crystals of island

Crystals of island

Corsica, France

This spring, a lucky chance brings me back to Corsica, an island I only remember through my memories as a kid. A turbulent sail through the Strait of Bonifacio took me to the discovery of a land of bright blues and greens with exotic French flair. Savouring warm, lightly salted croissants I look at the ports disappearing in the distance. The vivid memories of my second time in Corsica blend with older more blurry memories.The echo of Pigna’s perpetual symphony, a mix of bitter, sweet, ripe and sour notes; a picture perfect paradise of white sand and blue water (Saleccia beach); the slow and reassuring rhythm of pastoral life in the valleys around Corte and the majestic and colourful nature of the South…

It all starts with a harvest

It all starts with a harvest

Salzburg, Austria

It all starts with a harvest, it always does. The herbs in Rosi Rainer’s garden are fragrant, generous and graceful. We cut some rosemary and alehoof, then take them to the small wooden laboratory. Once they are bottled in alcohol, it takes four weeks for herbs to release perfumes and benefits. When this time has passed, honey, olive oil, pure alcohol and lavender essential oil will be added. The result is a cosmetic cream with refreshing and relaxing properties…

Athens

Athens

Athens, Greece

Athens’s flags wave endlessly in the hot wind. It is as if meltemi came here expressly to make these white and blue stripes dance above main doors and beside tourist restaurants’ signs. You will find them also in the shops that sell the last film rolls left, miniature Greek statues, and slippers with pompons. You will find them everywhere, and each time wonder: have they always been here…

Sifnos

Sifnos

Sifnos, Greece

Sea Jets Line’s ferryboat ‘Champion One’ moves cautiously out of the port after leaving a small crowd of tourists to Kamares sunset. Here are the first white houses with coloured windows and doors: blue, dull azure, pastel, turquoise, petroleum blue, aquamarine, and seldom yellow, olive green, or forest green. Bare hills streaked with low dry-stone walls, rusty and ochre shrubs, rare greens clinging to brown rocks, mopeds feebly winding uphill bends, vivid azure domes, spotless crosses, and pairs of bells protected by pairs of arches in the monasteries built on the edges of lands that end in the Aegean sea. From the windows of the car that takes us to Apollonia, Sifnos appears to be a merciful and illogical place. Definitely more powerful, more intriguing, more spartan and genuine than we had ever hoped to find…

FOREST FLAIR

FOREST FLAIR

Alaska, USA

You are in Girwood, a village surrounded by woods. During the winter months, this is a well-known skiing destination very popular with Anchorage young crowd. The wooden houses are empty, the trees are skinny, a deer wanders in the unfenced garden of a chalet and the ski lift is closed. It’s summer and no one seems to be around in this cool August evening outside the city, that in Alaska means in the woods…

Casa Oliva and Gelsomino

Casa Oliva and Gelsomino

Sicily, Italy

A fashion brand – Luisa Beccaria – that combines prêt-à-porter and haute-couture; a Sicilian farm that produces organic honey, extra virgin olive oil, capers and almonds; LúBar, a Sicilian street-food project; and two precious houses to rent set in the Vendicari reserve. Feudo del Castelluccio is a project all of us will fall in love with. The protagonist is Italy, its north and south. And a family whose lowest common denominators are their names’ initials (Lucio, Luisa, Lucilla, Lucrezia, Ludovico, Luna and Luchino), their rare beauty and their inbred style. The family founders are Milanese fashion designer Luisa Beccaria and her Sicilian husband Lucio Bonaccorsi. Casa Oliva and Casa Gelsomino are the summary of so much beauty. Bucolic, airy, sweet. Fresh, well kept, pure. Mediterranean. They will be loved by adults who look for an unknown Sicily, by adolescents who are ready to take endless baths and to start daily adventures among the reed thickets, or by children who delight in playing barefoot on the soft grass and meeting pink flamingos, herons and storks for the first time…

VERBIER: TWO DAYS OF WONDER

VERBIER: TWO DAYS OF WONDER

Verbier, Switzerland

There are various ways to spend an early-June weekend. We like to go up the mountains, in order to enjoy nature. Our latest discovery is called Verbier. A short trip from Milan and you will find yourself at the foot of Mont Fort. Crisp air, meadows showing a whole palette of greens, snow-covered peaks on the horizon, new addresses between design and tradition…

JAPAN BLUES

JAPAN BLUES

Honshū - Shikoku - Kyūshū, Japan

«We Orientals tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty.» (Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, In praise of shadows, 1933)

IN ONE BREATH

IN ONE BREATH

MINI Adventure Trip 2015, Argentina

The crackling sound of the wheels on the dirt road to Antofagasta de la Sierra. The earth on our bonnet, onto which we wrote like kids, in the Valle de la luna. The wind whistling against our half-closed window on our way to Tolar Grande. The black volcano crust crumbling against ochre sand dunes. The colour shades of Andean rocks. Cactus flowers, wind-ruffled bushes, and every grazing llama. The pure white of Salar de Antofalla, and the pure blue over 4800 metres, which take your breath away. Gauchos riding on the edge of landscapes wider than one can imagine. Nature’s absolute beauty makes you reconsider the concept of beauty itself…

If you’re a hippie, come to Seldovia

If you’re a hippie, come to Seldovia

Alaska, USA

Seldovia is a wilder version of Halibut Cove. It sits on deep green and mysterious sparkling waters. You have to check the tide before you start walking toward Outside Beach. The old boardwalk is melancholic and peaceful. You’re surrounded by colourful wooden cabins (red, turquoise, blue) built on pilings over the slough and flowers, and can spot eagles and seagulls. Even on a rainy day, Seldovia is magical. In the morning, the paths in the forest are muddy with plenty of wild berries to pick. As you’re surrounded by deep green giant leaves and orange spotty mushrooms, you feel like Alice in Wonderland. Suzie and Jerry own the most beautiful cottage on the old boardwalk and rent it out to visitors…

HALIBUT COVE

HALIBUT COVE

Alaska, USA

Since 1966 this green varnished wooden fishing boat has been sailing on the sheltered icy light-blue water of the bay serving as passenger ferry to Halibut Cove. The captain pokes her head out of the small square window to make an announcement. She’s a young looking woman: blond, big eyes, wearing summer boat shoes. She has the smile and the look of someone who was born for these adventures at sea, like one of Wes Anderson’s characters. Welcome aboard the Danny J! Rain ponchos are available on board to protect you from water and rain. Here’s the Gull Island’s sea bird sanctuary, the dream of keen birdwatchers…

WELCOME TO HOMER, THE CITY WHERE PEOPLE LIKE TO LIVE

WELCOME TO HOMER, THE CITY WHERE PEOPLE LIKE TO LIVE

Alaska, USA

It’s summer in Homer, Alaska. You’re in your favourite American indie movie with people in jeans, flannel check shirts and rubber boots, holding cups of piping hot coffee. There’s nothing you would change, included that authentic hippie spirit that is in all Alaskan generations and that deeply inside you wished it run in your veins as well. At 5pm, ’90s car and pick-up trucks arrive on the Old Town’s beach and stop one next to the other to look at the sunset over the bay, like in a natural drive in. As Homer Split is illuminated by the last ray of light, it turns into a golden tongue jutting out into the bay, right to the very tip. It’s a campground perfectly integrated in the surrounding nature and deeply connected to water, sailing and fishing (The Fishing Lagoon is crowded with men and women with fishing rods and bags). You warm up around the campfire where they’re grilling fresh filleted fish, and enjoy the owner’s family and their friends company. Together, you wait for another day to end in the Kenai Peninsula…

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Arizona, USA

And then, unexpectedly, you happen to fly aboard a six-seater propeller aircraft and watch Los Angeles turning miniature, while the emotions of adventure – in the most authentic sense of the word – envelop you. As you read the first pages of your book, the world you are skimming over becomes an elusive palette – from pink to brick-red. You gaze at the clouds and canyons…

2143 NAUTICAL MILES

2143 NAUTICAL MILES

Nome to Nome, AK, aboard Silver Discoverer

Another day starts in the Russian Far East. Lars is lying among tundra flowers, James collects pebbles from the beach, Sergey is fishing salmons, Chris points the telescope at a bear, Rapa clambers up the highest rock, Richard follows us with his 600 mm lens, Brad collects the leg of an arctic hare, Daniil swallows wild blueberries, Conrad keeps time, the Zodiacs are still on the shore, and the beautiful Silver Discoverer observes us all at a distance. 14th August, fourteenth day of navigation aboard Silver Discoverer. This is not a cruise…

Waves

Waves

Los Angeles, USA

In Malibu, waves rule over everything. You realise it immediately. Their rhythm influences every movement, as powerful as a mantra. You lay your beach towel on the hot sand, fine and dense, then sit down and take the ocean in as it curls up and melts on the shore. Again and again, relentlessly, but with sudden mood changes. After a while, your breathing is not the same anymore. It matches the waves’ breathing. The same happens to the kids’ running among the splashes of water, to seagulls flying and to dolphins, whose fins keep coming into sight and disappearing again in the foreground on the horizon. It is an hypnotic movement that does not spare any gesture. Sometimes a song on a close radio brings you back home, but only for a few moments…

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