26/07/17

Bella Bu Bistro and Tapas Bar: genuine, local and young talent in Genoa


Genoa has to be one of the best kept secret in Italy. It has been the most important port town for ages but now it is not exactly the first travel destination for tourists and it is a shame because it is really a magical multicultural place. Walking trough a little messy alley and finding ourselves in front of this cute shiny tapas bar was a wonderful surprise as well.
Ok, that's a lie: a friend of mine happened to know the owner of the place from college and she knew exactly that she wanted to bring us to Bella Bu when we were in town...But still. 
I wasn't expecting to find this kind of place, that is for sure: you see a lot of super small, old food joints in Genoa and they don't care so much about the food/service...But  Bella Bu is different. 


From the moment you walk in you feel like every single thing is well thought out: from the design on the Menu boards to the apron of the waitress' uniform. Then you meet Guendalina and that feeling becomes a certainty: a young charismatic woman who made the best of her knowledge of the food    industry and gave new life to an already existing space. I love when the old meets the new, it creates a sort of alchemy that brings people togheter! You can find pretty much everyone in a place like this: the hippy local, the group of friends from all over the world, a cute English couple with a dog and even a Hen's Party!


The (hip) little menu of Hoi An and hidden coffe bars in Hanoi


The little menu, Hoi An


There are a million reasons why I loved Vietnam but food has to be on top of the list. I soon realized that it is not so much about fine dining but mainly it is about just walking around with your nose up and getting inspired by all the different colors and smells of the little restaurants and food stands you find on your way. Do not be scared and most of all do not judge a book by its cover:  I had my best spring rolls, Banh Mi and Egg Coffe in places a blonde European girl should never step foot in...But that made it even more enjoyable if that makes sense.
The only down side though is that you can be easily food-struck by all the choices of Pho there are and maybe fell a little lost (the language barrier doesn't help too) so it is nice to have some sort of guidance.
My tour guide was not into food at all; he didn't care about it and mainly just wanted to show off his dancing and singing skills (so precious btw) so I soon realized I had to rely on my paper guide: Lonely Planet.

My fellow travelers and I were at our 10th day on the road and as much as we all loved squatting onto child-sized chairs and have noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner we wanted to try something that would have satisfied our Westerns' needs but that, at the same time, would have stayed true to the amazing Vietnamese food culture.

Where do locals have gelato in Rome? Easy, Fata Morgana


As you may imagine, gelato is THE staple of the Italian 'street food' culture both for locals and for tourists and, especially in the summertime, not a day goes by without a crispy cone or a rich cup. Rome is filled with gelaterie and it is super easy to get tricked into thinking you are having a genuine gelato when, in fact, they are serving you flavored ice. Do not despair though!There are several good places in town. My pick for this year is definitely Fata Morgana.


Good morning Vietnam: what to expect from the forgotten gem of South East Asia



Vietnamese fish village
'Mum, I am going to Vietnam'. '....Why?wasn't there a war less than 20 years ago?'. 'There was, but now it's all about street-food, art, temples and they even have a Vietnam Idol'. Clearly both my mother and I had a lot of (wrong) preconceived ideas about Vietnam...

I have to admit that even the choice for this travel destination was the most superficial and random  thing ever. I had just left a stable job because of HR issues so I just wanted to leave it all behind and go ahead and travel...Somewhere exotic, humid but mostly far far away. I was scrolling my all time favorite site for adventurous travel, Intrepid Travel and they had a last minute offer for a 15 days trip called Vietnam Discovery. I went with my guts and instantly reserved my place, didn't even checked the weather forecast (terrible mistake).

Vietnam is definitely a country which is still struck by its troubled past but not necessarily and exclusively in a bad way. On one hand public services, people who work for the hospitality business and infrastructures are not fully 'ready' for us needy tourists so prepare yourself to be flexible and inventive. Sleeping next to huge mice, on crowded trains and/or in brown stained smelly linen are situations that all may occur but that is definitely something you can fix: just get a sleeping bag at the beginning of your journey (I am an optimist by nature if you could not tell). On the other hand, all the different dominations they had to endure trought the centuries (mostly Chinese, French and American) provided a fuller range of cultural beauty all around.

Banh Mi stand, Hanoi