for your amazing ability to make old meet new
for your tourists free parks
the kindness and patience of your locals
inspiring hotel room view
enthusiastic and committed new partners and a reminder that resetting is one touch away
for the funniest pilot on my flights so far: “Ladies and gentlemen, in a few moments we will land in Bucharest. The weather is not as nice as in Frankfurt. Yet, as they say “A nice drink a day, keeps the bad weather away”. Ask my co-pilot for tips on bars in Bucharest. He knows quite a few”. Laughter erupted.
for the glimpse of sun on a cloudy day from my hotel room window. Just make sure you’ll deliver on the promise I made to the lady visiting from Los Angeles. She longed to still meet the sunny you.
for new and renewed partnerships with committed professionals
for your urban garden and very nice time spent in a gorgeous company
your lively street art, which cohabitates with formal art places
an ephemeral ode to bearded men
Lido Hotel’s eclectic deco
the politest and fastest waiter at 5 in the morning in an airport cafe
and last but not least, for my third excellent lady taxi driver, after similar experiences in Paris and Vilnius. “So, there are ladies driving taxis in other countries as well” she was curious to know. She shared in return her experience with a passenger who dared to touch her shoulder and knee. “I was 5 seconds close to test my electroshock device on him and dump him in the forest. In 5 years I am driving, nothing of this sort happened to me. And he seemed a respectable foreigner and interested to know if I am married and have kids!”
That was appalling. I asked her if she can notify the dispatching centers when things like this happen. She should not deal alone with such a situation. “Yes, I can.” she confirmed. Would the passenger have done it if the driver was a male? Highly unlikely.
Upon arrival at the destination, it was gratifying to see her face lit up with unfettered enthusiasm and passion for her work.
for your Celebration of Asparagus
150 years ago a priest had the idea of celebrating the plant.
Since then, each year farmers open their farm gates to visitors in May in the Alsatian village of Hoerdt, north of Strasbourg.
Local cafes and restaurants offer all sorts of dishes inspired by asparagus. We tried asparagus velouté, quiche and salads at Cafe Creme, a family- run and family-welcoming business.
The celebration culminated with a procession headed by Miss and Mister Asparagus, the villagers elect the night before.
Hoerdt is a charming village to spend an afternoon, when touring Alsace and the region.
for a sunny and warm summer-like weather
your shades of blue
your hidden architectural jewels
for the promotion of local designers
Ruta chocolate for my kid’s taste and my taste of dark chocolate
new and renewed partnerships sealed over a good traditional meal of the Lithuanian cuisine, where I am told pork is the default meat. I still managed to find a few vegetarian options for my lent week before Orthodox Easter, and for that I am double grateful.
What I love about discovering Monaco is that it offers more than meets the eye. The art on street and in public spaces is not scarce in a place of exclusivity. I also love the art in the open on trips with my kid, when patience to visit museums is at its low. And you can continue to enjoy that ice-cream 🙂
Here is a selection of only a few art items on display in Monaco:
Sky mirror, by Anish Kapoor, a British artist
The sculpture “bring” the heaven on earth due to its special lenses. It was a gift by Lily Safra to the Principality. You can find it in front of Monte Carlo Casino.
Adam and Eve, by Fernando Botero, Columbian artist
Botero is known for mixing harmoniously naive primitivism, grotesque, kitch, folklore, Italian renaissance and colonial Barocco. “Adam and Eve” is a 900 kg, 3 meters high sculpture, placed behind the Casino.
Woman smoking a cigarette is another of Botero’s sculptures you can find in The Roses Garden of Fontveille.
Woman snake, by Mateo Mormar, Croatian artist
Mormar is a world renown sculpture who lives and Monaco. This sculpture depicts harmony between humans and animals through difference (mind the contrast of lines). The sculpture was created in 2010 and it took 2 years of work.
Hexa Grace, by Vasarely Foundation
It symbolises the sky, sea and land and was installed on the roof of Fairmont in 1979, to delight the visitors eyes.
Last but not least of my favourites, is the Jean-Baptiste le Monégasque bronze sculpture by Rachid Khimoune, French sculptor. You can find it behind the Gremaldi forum.
for the blue sky and sunny weather followed by majestic sunset colours
your Marmottan Monet little wonder, an improvised and brief visit into impressionism thanks to the invitation of an art history connoisseur
coffee bathed in sunlight and served with a warm smile at Carette.
for challenging my stereotypes and opening my eyes to see beyond appearances;
for the OECD meetings and networking leading to new partners and ideas to work on;
dinner in great company at Il Conte;
and the joy of Bucuria chocolate (bucuria means joy in Romanian), sent by my dearest friend through a joint acquaintance and all the warm this gesture brought from my homeland.
for staying true to your majesty-grey reputation
for having infiltrated chocolate into your hospitality – thanks NH Hotel for the sweet surprise
for the that great feeling of having talked to my mentor just to realise how much our discussions mean to my growth
for a new discovery – Pierre Marcolini and his chocolate. La Maison Pierre Marcolini is a pioneer of the “bean to bar” approach in chocolate making. My loved ones loved the truffles and financiers.
and for the sunny home city upon my return.