Archivi tag: travel

Why Vienna, I’m Charmed



Fresh off a trip to Vienna, three words resound in my head:
 what a city. 


As a frequent traveler, I’ve always travelled with a lot of expectations. It was heavier than my baggage… and I almost always overpack. But this time was different. I arrived with a new mindset, a focus on the present and virtually no social media presence. But that’s another story. The bottom line? Travel will never be the same. I was stunned. The people, the energy, the nature, sights and sounds…


Day One


My friend Ana and I meandered through the city center, taking in as much as possible on very little sleep. With only three days in Vienna, we aimed to cover lots of ground. We walked through countless parks and reveled in the vibes of historic cathedrals and hotels. There were so many magnificent spots – including the café at Hotel Sacher. Tip: Request to be seated inside. It’s much more beautiful than the tiny room with windows facing the street. The only bonus in that section is the sunlight streaming inside. Then we headed to Prater amusement park to play like kids and boost our energy.

Vienna City Center
The Albertina Museum
The Albertina Museum

Prater was filled with locals, tourists, families and couples alike. I discovered SchokoMuseum Vienna, very similar to the ChocoMuseos in Peru. I bought delicious Madagascar dark chocolate, though there were far more options in Lima. This was the only low sugar, dark chocolate variety I could find. At Prater, we found rides for visitors of all levels of courage. Visit to scream, get soaked, challenge your brain or fulfill a need for speed. It’s a great spot for groups – everyone leaves happy. However the queen of the show, as elegant as Sisi herself, is the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel. It’s picture-taking heaven, offering sweeping views of the park and surrounding neighborhoods – complete with a surprising abundance of trees.

Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel View
Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel View

There are so many reasons why I’d return to Vienna, husband in tow. Prater is one of them. The ferris wheel offers a Swarovski-sponsored car for a romantic, champagne-fueled dinner for two. Swoon.

Day Two


Landstrasse Vienna
Landstraße, 3rd municipal District of Vienna.

We hopped onto the Vienna Metro, the cleanest I’ve seen, and arrived in Landstraße to spend the afternoon at Belvedere. Approaching the property, we were transported from a major metropolitan boulevard to the magical gardens of the Palace Stables. Friends caught up on landscape-backed benches, families gathered for picnics, couples took in the view. It was like stepping into a Seurat styled circa 2018. Appreciation for Belvedere’s beauty coursed through the air.

Belvedere Gardens and Orangery
Belvedere Gardens and Orangery

Behind the glorious structure were even more gardens, leading to the Orangery for special exhibitions. What a sight. Finally, we made our way through the Palace Stables’ interiors taking in works by the likes of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Max Klinger, Maximilian Reinitz and Hundertwasser. Of course Belvedere itself is a work of art with phenomenal architectural details, frescoes and views. Make this your first stop in Vienna if you’re an old soul or passionate about the arts!

Gustav Klimt at Belvedere Vienna
Gustav Klimt at Belvedere Vienna
Inside Belvedere Palace
Inside Belvedere Palace











Next was the gorgeous Innere Stadt neighborhood, recalling images of Milano’s Brera. It was there we found Kotor Eat&Drink, the UNESCO-protected seaside city and Ana’s hometown. We discovered the owner, a man from Belgrade, has a home on the Bay of Kotor. We actually heard much more Serbian than English on this trip. I’ve been told there are over 1 million people from Serbia or of Serbian descent living in Vienna. It appears to be true!

Kotor Eat & Drink Vienna


We found ourselves at the MuseumsQuartier again, a grand square flanked by four museums (including twin structures opposite one another, the Kunsthistorisches Museum -Art History Museum and the Naturhistorische Museum, Natural History Museum). The square that was so subdued with picture-taking tourists a day earlier, was now filled with partygoers of all ages for a holiday afternoon rave. What a sight to see: young partygoers, parents dancing with their children and random travelers like us. The scene was Vienna in a nutshell. There’s an optimism and warmth that permeates the people. And artistic freedom is respected from classical to trance.

Then it was off to eat for the third time in two days at Veggiez. It’s a hip and super tasty vegan restaurant just steps away from the Vienna State Opera with a friendly staff and laidback vibe. A few more rounds in the city center, and we discovered quite a few gems- all closed for the May 1st holiday. Rare book shops. Fine African art. We drank up each window with wonder.

Before heading back to the hotel, it was more sightseeing, last-minute shopping and a second and final vegan ice cream run at Veganista. Definitely check out the Neubau District for cool concept stores, vintage/retro fashion – even costumes.


Day Three

Schönbrunn Palace 2        Schönbrunn Palace



We finally, we arrived to the UNESCO-protected Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn, where the fabulous Empress Elisabeth of Austria (a.k.a. Sisi) once called home – and before her, Maria Theresa. We started with the exterior grounds, which sprawled on and on and on. I think I’d need a full week in the gardens alone to fully experience every corner, path and turn. When you go, you’ll find a dramatic lookout point, exquisite fountains, masterfully-sculpted statues, a labyrinth and more. Yes, a labyrinth. So dreamy. And there was something about the primarily young, female staff of gardeners and preservationists, that underscored the progressive nature of the city.

A Restoration Project in the Schönbrunn Gardens
A Restoration Project in the Schönbrunn Garden
Art in the Gardens of Schönbrunn
Art in the Gardens of Schönbrunn

As for the palace interiors, they’re nothing short of magic. A wonder made even more special by a photography ban. We explored 20 rooms or so but the palace is home to over 1,000! Schönbrunn tugs at the imagination with a voyage into the daily lives of Sisi, Maria Theresa and their families. I was transported through time, imagining myself dancing long ago in the palace ballroom. Mozart famously performed in the Mirror Hall for Maria Theresa. He was only 6 years old.

We went on to end the trip at Designer Outlet Parndorf, a colorful village of shops about 40 minutes from Vienna. We were greeted by top-quality outlets from the likes of Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Scotch & Soda, Nike and Prada.

When I do return to Vienna, I’ll just need my husband, a few evening dresses and at least two nights of music at the Vienna State Opera and Vienna Konzerthaus. Until then, dear Wien…


Chanoa Tarle Copywriter


About Chanoa Tarle

Chanoa Tarle is a freelance copywriter, journalist and editor specializing in fashion and luxury goods/lifestyle.

Her work has appeared in magazines including ELEVATE and Luxury Hoteliers and she’s written for an inspiring list of companies including Scaling Retail and Neiman Marcus.

Get in touch – Email


“In Japan, it is believed that every object created by human hands with both care and attention, is provided with soul.”

Papiru Lab is entirely a woman’s project started in 2012 in Cagliari, Sardinia. The creative brain is a sparkling woman who loves to travel, experience, and create.

“My name is Eliana. I was born on an island, a land of fascinating ancient beauty which at times severe and silent. I am a wife and a mother, a few months ago a small bundle has brought a wind of freshness and energy into our lives!

I love to breathe beauty around me, the beauty of the little things that can make special a day… the sea in winter, the smell of log fires, the first smile that my baby gives me every morning to say hello, the blue color of the sea, the contact with the water that creates and gives life, the sweet smell of a freshly baked cake or of the old typewriters.”

How was PAPIRU LAB born and what is special about it?

PAPIRU LAB was born as a “laboratory experiments on paper”, followed by the discovery and love at first sight of the Washi, a special handmade paper that comes from Japan. Discovered by chance, in one of the oldest stationery shops in Amsterdam, it has been a source of inspiration to kick off this project.

How do you always find new ideas and inspirations?

Behind PAPIRU LAB there are scissors, glue, rolls and rolls of paper that come from many different countries, desire and curiosity to experiment with new techniques, different combinations and a lot of colors. Inspiration and new ideas come a bit by chance… there are days when I find myself in front of a piece of paper and the idea comes by itself. It’s not possible to not get inspired from what a piece of paper wants to tell me, from any kind whatsoever, any kind of trip it has faced to get to me. 

What is your philosophy? Where does this passion come from?

I like to think that my laboratory is an opportunity to meet and exchange, a meeting place for curious people who want to peek through ideas of paper and tell others about themselves in front of a cup of tea!

What is the relationship between your creations and nature ?

My project aims to give a new life to the paper and sensitize the younger generation to recycling and respecting the environment. In my creations I melt the recycled paper in my land, Sardinia, with other types of decorative papers that bring with themselves a wealth of rich stories, of master papermakers, and tell about different places and cultures.

What do people think about this peculiar passion?

Each creation is unique as the project that has accompanied it. I enjoy meeting people who say they have never seen such a beautiful paper. Many of us think, mistakenly, that all paper produced in Asia is made of rice. The Washi is actually produced with the fiber of various plants and shrubs, but not with the rice!

What message do you want share through the beauty and elegance of your creations?

To find the time to devote ourselves to what makes us feel good, it makes our lives more beautiful and interesting. To find refuge in colors and things we love to do lightens up everything, and it is good to be thrown into new ideas by using imagination, it is awesome to see the world in a different way!

I believe that in this time of economic and occupational difficulty, to invest in ourselves by rediscovering handmade materials is a real opportunity to make a change in our lives.

I want to leave you with a mindset saying that “In Japan, it is believed that every object created by human hands with both care and attention, is provided with soul.”

Eliana M.


Watch the beautiful photos of Eliana here: ICONOSQUARE and WEBSTA


The adventures of Nicolas & Julia

Julia Ibarra and Nicolás Marino are a couple of fearless travelers who crossed half of the world by bike, with lightweight luggage and their shelter tent. They already crossed all of Asia through jungles, experiencing wild animals, being hosted by tribes and enjoying a lot of new cultures, food, flavours, skies, stunning beaches, and millions of new sensations that will stay in their hearts for ever.

They met each other in Chengdu, China when Nico was working as an architect and Julia was working as a model and teaching English in a university besides studying Chinese. Their lives changed when they decided to join one of the most important trips they ever experienced, leaving behind what was ordinary for them. They embarked on an adventure shedding many conveniences of the modern life, to have a long and low budget journey through years, learning from fascinating new worlds.

Why have you decided to start this journey? Was it hard to make this decision?

Nico has had this trip in mind for a few years. He started to travel by bike since 2006 when he cycled from Tehran to Shanghai in 10 months. When we met the idea of a trip like this fascinated me. At the end of 2012 I decided to stop what I was doing and joined him. Let me tell you that first, to let go of everything you know and leave for an adventure is not easy but it is indeed exciting and eventually gives you true rewards.

Where are you travelling right now? How many countries have you crossed already?

Right now we are in the north of Ethiopia. We have explored China, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, India, Egypt and Sudan.

21000 km covered until today

How did people respond when you arrived to their villages by bicycle?

The bicycle opens several doors. The people come to us chatting about how difficult the journey is or the weather, but it depends on the country. In some places the people open the doors of their houses and involve you warmly in their lives. In other countries, they are more reserved or suspicious.

Do you ask the people to allow you to sleep or camp somewhere? How do you communicate with them?

We try to camp whenever we can, always trying to be safe. In countries like Indonesia, for example, they didn’t let us camp, they always gave us a room in their houses. In India we were in rural zones where was not advisable to camp so we were hosted by the locals or in small hotels that we found on the way. In Ethiopia we tried to camp always close to people because in the area where were travelling there were recent appearances of hyenas or leopards. In a lot of countries like the Philippines, Nepal or India the communication was not a problem because a lot of them could speak English. In Mongolia the interaction was almost by signals. Indeed, a smiley or a bad face are part of an universal language recognized in all the world. If one person wants to communicate in order to ask basic things, he or she can express himself easily. We also always try to learn some words of the country we are in.

What is your source of income? Where did you find the warmest people?

We have some savings and Nico used to sell his photos often. In Japan we were selling photos of Nico on the street and that worked really well, we also made a deal in a hostel; we worked for 3 hours in exchange of accommodation. In Indonesia and Sudan we were living with locals and there were days when we didn’t spend any money. In Mongolia a lot of people invited us to lunch or dinner. The warmest people we found were in these three countries: Mongolia, Indonesia and Sudan.

What do mostly attract you while you travel?

What I am most interested in is the direct contact with different cultures, see firsthand how people live and to learn from them.

Since the moment that you got further away from the city and into the countryside, without hotels… What do you do for showers or clean clothes?

Always depends on the country, the weather, water availability, etc. In the tropics it is easy because we can always find a lot of water and take a shower with bucket is not a problem. In Mongolia, for example, in the steppe area there were a lot of rivers but the water was completely frozen! In the Gobi or Sahara we spent several days without a shower.

How long the trip is going to be?

Our plan is to end the trip in Australia in 2016 and settle down, but it is only a plan in our mind. Let’s see how things fit as we get closer to that date. At the moment we want to travel around all Africa.

When was the most complicated part of the trip? When have you met a risk for your life?

So far Ethiopia was the most problematic. It’s a safe country but in several non-urban areas the kids found fun in harassing us. We didn’t receive the hospitality and kindness from the people that we felt in other places.

Nico’s blogs are (spanish) and (english). What was the reason for creating them?

He started his blog to share his adventures with family and friends. Today it has become something bigger and is followed by thousands of people around the world. Having a blog has brought him great satisfaction in knowing that many people get to enjoy the world through what he writes and his stunning photography.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to organize such a trip?

First of all do not idealize the experience; traveling by bike is a mentally and physically tough experience. It takes a longer or shorter adjustment period, but once that is overcome, the rewards are really priceless.

Tell us the best anecdotes of the trips through Asia and Africa.

There are so many, it’s hard to choose:

In West Timor, for example, I got sick with dengue and a woman called Sinema appeared from nowhere. She was an angel who welcomed us into her home with her wonderful family and she made anything possible to see me recovered and  healthy as soon as possible.

In Java we met a guy who asked us if we could show him how we ‘make babies’, harmless of course, but the humour of the proposal was not lost on us.

In Japan a stranger took us to lunch, he bought us food for dinner and gave us 50$ because he was fascinated by our trip and always wanted to have done something like this.

In Mongolia, in the middle of the steppe, we drank fermented mare’s milk in a Mongolian yurt with 15 Mongolian drunks celebrating I don’t know what, but we did laugh a lot.

In Egypt we met a really interesting cairota homosexual. He and his friends made ​​us see what it is like to be part of going against the tide as an oppressed minority within a ‘prohibited’ counterculture, but much more common than many would believe.

In Khartoum and Delhi we arrived as guests and left with two new families.

Do you think you’ve grown spiritually in this journey? Do you think your mind has widened somehow?

The understanding and experience that we are all one and that we are all equal was first and foremost. Now I judge a lot less and I do my best to understand the person I have in front of me with more empathy.

What are the three destinations that have changed your life and why?

Mongolia, Sudan and Indonesia have shown me that at some point in the West we have long distanced from each other. In these 3 countries one can stand in the door of a stranger and end up living with them as one of them. Another world is possible and exists.

What health precautions do you take before traveling or while traveling?

We have a first aid kit with some basic medicines for malaria, diarrhea or fever for when we are ill and in a very remote area. We’ve bought everything when we arrived in Africa. Before this we had nothing and luckily we did not need anything. We always try to eat and sleep well so that is why we don’t get sick.

What  would you say to those people who dream of traveling as well but do not dare?

A journey like this one is unique in life. If anyone has the ability or chance to do something like that, he or she should, change the routine or remain in your comfort zone. You can never regret doing something like this because what this brings you is so valuable that you will never be the same again.

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Interview by Anabel Garcia Ramon. A special thanks to Katie Goldsmith.

All the pictures are property of Nicolas Marino.