In many cultures there is a suggestion to believe, since childhood, that death should be rejected as it is intertwined with fear. They grow up absorbing this as a concept intrinsically related to destruction and suffering. Therefore, when it's time for a beloved one to depart, even the most peaceful or necessary goodbyes are seen as the worst thing that could happen.
Despite the fact that I’m far from being a religious person, I’m really passionate about holy places. However, I had to process a few self-judgements until I realized that I can be a detached admirer from a distant observer. I don’t have to be a follower of any doctrine in order to praise and respect them.
The Netherlands is a shameless country where the inside of people’s houses is widely shared like an open book. The daily routine of families is unfolded to anybody’s curiosity: as long as somebody is paying attention to it. For the record, I am. This impulse of keeping a secret watch on their privacy is just something I cannot help. Can you?
Throughout Sicily, not only in shops and ateliers, but on verandas and terraces of many houses, we find the colorful and unmistakable pinecones and the adorned heads that carry a lot of symbolism beyond its decorative character. These heads, called "Teste di Moro" or "Moorish Heads", originated in the 11th century.
When I decided to write about flowers, I wanted to share with readers why these pure expressions of nature have an extraordinary ability to make us happy. I was myself curious to understand what it is about flowers that can instantaneously and genuinely make people smile. Is it because of their colors, smell, symmetry, variety? All this together, perhaps?
It's likely common sense that Amsterdam is one of the world's most authentic cities in part because of its permissive approach towards cannabis use. However, despite all efforts to advertise uncountable wonderful qualities the Dutch nation has to offer, the Netherlands is far from being the country where people smoke weed the most.
"I must help place Brazil on the world's cocktail industry map", says Brazilian bartender, Neli Pereira, whose mission is to preserve her home country's native ingredients and put them in the spotlight. Actually, this isn't a motivation we manage to see that often in Brazil, which is why Neli can be considered one of the few who is still enduring this challenging path.
She is a cheerful and light soul and the driving force behind the longest-lasting coffee shop in Europe. For the last 22 years, Marie Louise Velder has been opening the doors of 't Zonnetje koffie thee en kruiden and welcoming clients who trust her curatorship to pour them a selection of the most refined assortment of coffee in Amsterdam.
How much does a person have to be fascinated by a certain place to dedicate his entire life to study it? Not to mention this certain place remained untouchable and unvisited for years until this person could finally get in? This is the story of Sjoerd de Vries, an eccentric, nice and cheerful Dutchman who I met by coincidence during my daily strolls in Amsterdam.
When exploring the Asian countries for the first time I think both our mind and heart can become really overwhelmed, not only because of their habits, culture and lifestyle but, especially, in my opinion, because of the everlasting spirituality. There's a spiritual vibe in Thailand's atmosphere that draws our attention that we simply cannot be oblivious to.
It's quite a long time since the day when my future aspirations would be shaped to become my life's biggest dream. Looking back 10 years ago, I can still picture myself on that airplane; my wanderlust was in search of an exciting new journey to lead to the unknown. That was March 2011 when I visited Amsterdam for the first time. It was love at first sight. Madly.
For me, Italy invokes the best feelings we can have in life: the pleasure of food, of a conversation among friends, of the union in a family, of the moment when our skin prickles when we first look at Santa Croce in Florence, of the streets full of clotheslines in Palermo, or the splendid color of the Lago di Como.
After two weeks submerged in a story about the current terrible condition of bridges and quay walls in Amsterdam that I was commissioned to write for a distinguished magazine, I finally find respite and come back to firm soil. For days and nights this was all I could think, write and dream about. Such a time-consuming story that, once it was done, I felt empty.
I don't recall the last time I went without drinking coffee. In fact, I cannot even remember when I would just wake up and function properly without a caffeine boost. It's Thursday afternoon and all I can think about is how I'll make it through the day. Has my entire routine been shaped to rely upon that black stimulant?