as new year has just begun, I wrote down all the things I enjoyed or that inspired me in 2015. I hope you'll find something interesting in it, and I would really like to hear your last year's favorites- I wouldn't mind some fresh inspiration for the year to come! :)
We traveled quite a lot last year, and I was really happy with all of those travels. I haven't wrote about them all yet, but I intend to. My favorite little town this year was by far Matera, enchanting place perched on the hills of Basilicata region in Southern Italy. The houses of the old city are actually caves, which provide for truly original experience and austere beauty. If you're visiting the region of Puglia, with its popular hotspots such as Alberobello, Vieste, Lecce, Polignano a Mare, Ostuni or Otranto, don't skip Matera! It's just over an hour away drive from Bari, and I'm sure it will pay off!
As far as bigger cities are concerned, Lisbon was amazing, but I don't have to tell you that! Lots of light and brightness, coroful tiles, chic houses and edgy streets... Our big surprise last year was Antwerpen in Flanders region in Belgium! We spent three days there and fell in love with the city! It is obviously a wealthy city, very well mantained- from the medieval houses and narrow little streets arround the cathedral, to classy Art Nouveau houses surrounding the center, and a chich new area of the docks (Antwerpen is second biggest European port!). One of the most beautiful parks I've ever been to is also there- The Middleheim park which houses an excellent modern and contemporary sculpture open air museum. There is an amazing system for renting city bikes, and a very well organized net of bycicle paths. The foodie scene is flourishing, and the people are friendly and open minded. I also think of it as a great destintion for expats!
This summer, a brilliant street musician visited the Croatian coast; we heard him playing one evening in Pula and we got so thrilled by his sound and his humble yet captivating performance, that we kept coming every day until he left the city. We bought both of his CDs, and they have been playing in our car most of the summer, after which they moved to our home. :) Oh, and his name is Jimmy Jimmy One Man Band, and you can listen to his music on Youtube.
I follow along a lot of travel blogs and websites, but the one that influenced me most last year wasn't about travel at all. It is called Trash is for Tossers, and it's about a movement called Zero waste. I first heard about it bumping into this blog by chance, it was so interesting that I read all of it, and it made me more aware of the influence we have on our enviroment, and that there are ways to change our negative impact! I'm far from living Zero waste, but I try to adopt little changes in my everyday life: I refuse to use plastic water bottles, instead I bought a Klean Kanteen bottle and it's a great thing; I now shop for groceries with my reusable bags, and I turned to more natural cosmetics with less plastic packaging.
The Zero waste movement is not just about sustainable living, it's also about simple living, about owning less and fulfilling your life with experiences, not things.
Lauren, the person who stands behind the TIFT blog, found an interesting and light way to present her lifestyle, more encouraging then judgemental, which works fine for me. :)
It doesn't come as a surprise that I love to watch travel documentaries. Last year, I discovered a BBC series Italy Unpacked presented by Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli and British art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon. The series is very interesting, the two of them are both fun and professional, enthusiastic and real connossieurs in their fields, that after watching the episode on the Italian south, we went there in July, following the steps of Giorgio and Andrew.
We went to the movies a lot last year, especially to our favorite, old cinema in the center of Zagreb, called Kino Europa, which specialized in European movies, documentaries, art films, and all that beatiful cinematographic production outside Hollywood. They have the best popcorn too, so it's a win-win situation! :)
The movie that moved me most was Icelandic Hrutar (Rams) by Grimur Hakonarson, which won Un Certain Regard last year on the Cannes Film Festival. The story evolves around two brothers who live next door, but haven't spoken in years. The setting for the movie is austere Icelandic valley, where the brothers take care of their sheep. The life of the brothers is simple, harsh, and real, and so are the shots of landscape that surrounds them. Great, great movie!
I discovered the COS store last year in Berlin, wandering the famous Kudamm shopping street. I bought two t-shirts and a necklace, and they turned out to be the most used items in my wardrobe. From then on, I always look for a COS store on my travels (there aren't any in Croatia), and everything I ever bought there was so wearable, because of its simple yet edgy design and comfortable fabrics, and their jewellery is irresistible!
My husband discovered the Monocle magazine while waiting for me to try out all the cool items I found in the COS store. Since then, we are Monocle's devoted readers: it's an inspiring magazine that covers all the interesting and fresh things happening in the field of culture, lifestyle, business, politics, urbanism and fashion. The stories about young enterpreneurs are full of ideas and encouragement!
There are two books that influenced me most last year. One of them is Carlo Levi's: Christ stopped at Eboli (Cristo si e fermato a Eboli), and the other one is Cees Noteboom's: Roads to Santiago.
I ordered Levi's book after visiting Matera this summer, as he was the person who presented the problem of impoverished Italian south to the rest of Italy in the 1950's, which ended in government program of social housing for the hunger and malaria struck inhabitants of Matera. His writing style is simple and sharp, just like the desolate landscape and isolated people of Italian south in the first half of the 20th century.
I am currently reading Noteboom's Roads to Santiago, and I already see that I will want to visit Spain again soon, and that this is going to be one of my favorite travel reads, to which I will be returning over and over again. The writer reflects his travels all around Spain along with the history, art and a spanish way of life.
There is a little jewelery shop (and workshop) called Lapidarium in Zagreb, specialized in artsy pieces, and I would like to wear everything they make! They made the beautiful earrings in form of gingko leaves for my wedding, later I got a gingko ring as a present, and this Christmas, a gingko necklace. Here is a link to their amazing new catalogue, and also a picture of the necklace!
I am not an expert when it comes to make-up, but I love light, breezy and natural look, and I got all of it packed in RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek, which can be used both as blush and lipstick, made out of organic ingredients and packaged plastic-free! My parents brought it as a special delivery from Berlin, because it's not an easy find in these parts of Europe. I really haven't been this happy with a make-up product in a while!
Wondering the streets of Padova last year, I discovered a little shop that makes and sells cool handmade bags. I'm always reluctant to entering those small shops as I fear the salesman focusing too much on me (and that it will make me uncomfortable leave without buying anything), BUT the two ladies which make the bags are easy-going and helpful at the same time, so I left the shop, feeling comfortable, with a new bag in my hands :), which I wear all the time ever since. The shop is called JDK Bags!
This winter we rediscovered ice skating! We haven't been ice skating since we were kids (or students, but that was also a long time ago :D), and this year, after watching the Golden Spin of Zagreb (Zlatna pirueta in Croatian) competition, we decided that we want to try it out again! We bought the skates, and already went a couple of times to the open air skating rink on the King Tomislav Square in Zagreb. It was so much fun, that we are currently carrying our skates in the car all the time- in case we bump into a skating rink along the way! :)
I am constantly on the look for new recipes, and here is a list of my favorite ones in 2015:
Jamie Olivers Pannetone cake (my favorite cake at this moment)
Tuscan Bean Soup by The Wanderlust Kitchen:
I've been making this one a lot since I've discovered it.
Pizza with figs, caramelized oninons and Blue cheese by Alexandra's Kitchen:
The best pizza I ever made, without doubts (Fig jam is being used in the recipe, I used fresh figs in the summer, and jam in the winter, and both turned out great!).
If you have something interesting to share, please do, I would love to hear from you!