A Mountain Full of Magic by @robinski_

There is a country in the middle of the world called Ecuador, and there is a volcano in the middle of Ecuador, called Chimborazo.

Northwest of Riobamba, the Chimborazo rises. The majestic, imposing and eternal watchtower of the Universe. Covered with perpetual snow. It always shines at sunset and glows with the moonlight.

With a height of 6263.47 meters above sea level, it’s the furthest point from the center of the earth and the closest to the sun.This extinct volcano, has two shelters on its way to attempting summit. The first at 4850 m. and the second one at 5000 m. If you pass the second shelter, there is a magic lagoon in the middle of the glaciers called “Cóndor Cocha” at 5100m., which means “Condor Lagoon”. If you don’t know your way around this place and you don’t want to get lost, the safest way to get up there is with a local guide.

At the foot of this volcano you’ll be able to see some vicuñas and andean foxes. And at night, you may be lucky enough to appreciate the most beautiful starry skies you’ll ever get to see. If you love stargazing, this is the place for you. Having the Milky Way stretched out across the sky, while enjoying the stillness of the night and the freezing winds hitting your face, is a feeling like no other.

There are many legends about the Chimborazo, so I’ll tell you one of my favorites:

“The Children of Father Chimborazo” is an original legend of the central highlands of Ecuador. Among the indigenous and mestizo population of this area, there is a belief that the Chimborazo, commonly fecundates women who fall asleep at foot of the volcano, or urinate within its territory; and at the moment of giving birth, babies are born albinos: white skin, golden hair and ivory bones.

The story says that a long time ago, Mother Tungurahua -a volcano believed to be female- reproached her husband – the Chimborazo- for not giving her children as white as him. She was full of anger and as a way of revenge, she would spit on his face the ash and mud that boiled inside her belly.

To avoid the rebukes of Mother Tungurahua, the legend tells that he let a beautiful shepherdess pass by his downhills in pursuit of one of her lost sheep, there she found a beautiful white-skinned bean, lovingly picked it up and kept it between her waist and her womb.

It is said that from that moment on, the beautiful girl’s belly became bigger every day, month after month; until after nine moons she gave birth to a beautiful baby with white skin and golden hair, like an Apu -a mountain spirit- and very similar looking to Father Chimborazo. The baby became his firstborn.

Because of this legend, the population in the region calls the children born with these physical characteristics “The Children of the Hill or the Mountain”. Since then, it is believed that the albino babies are children of the Chimborazo.

 

 

Buenos Aires Best Coffee shops.

Birkin : It takes its name in honor of Jane Birkin , and has a retro decor with squared black and white floors, which gives it a New York look . This, added to the fact that Colombian coffee is prepared with excellence, has made it one of the most fashionable places in the city.
The menu consists of sandwiches and delicious cakes. For dessert, I suggest the spongy Chocotorta , stuffed with a lot of dulce de leche, how could it be otherwise. 3061 Republica Arabe Siria.

Café Cortazar : This cafe / bar installed in San Telmo in a building of 1889, in honor of the famous Argentine writer ; It is an indispensable destination for literature fans. In addition to the delicious food, it is a place where art exhibitions, literature talks, live music, etc. are held. Cabrera 3797

Salvaje Bakery : A very particular bakery, its founder says he wants to return to making bread in the traditional way. Thus use for its dough-less, not so common, ingredients : like rye and buckwheat. Then he lets it ferment, it ends up baking it in a floor oven with shovel. The results are extraordinary: an old bread, a bread that feeds.
Its menu of desserts and cakes , varies frequently and is different from everything offered by the city, among the highlights are the various types of cinnamon rolls and matcha pudding . Dorrego 1829. Palermo.

LAB: They call themselves: “Coffee Roasters”. If you are a connoisseur of coffee, this is the place to go. They have 6 filtering methods and use coffee beans from the best origins in the world. They are also sold in bags to take home.
In addition to cafeteria, they offer tastings and courses for amateur baristas. www.labcafe.com.ar

Florida Garden: It is on the list of “Notable Bars” of the city, due to its outstanding history. Located in the street Florida, this cafe frequented by Jorge Luis Borges and other notable artists, maintains the attitude of the 60s Upon entering, I try to imagine, which of these tables, was his favorite to sit and read, enjoying a coffee and some croissants. www.floridagarden.com

Ninina : A very fashionable cafeteria in Buenos Aires , that already has three stores because since it opened it maintained the quality of its products with excellence.
It is ideal for brunch, since the menu of coffees and teas is extensive and includes “Cold Brews”. They also have an interesting wine list and a wide menu that includes waffles , eggs Benedict and “Avocado Toast “. But what does it for me are the desserts, for me the best in the city, they are always freshly made and exhibited at the counters , as to increase the temptation to try them. www.ninina.com

Full City Coffee House : Its owners are a couple, formed by a British and a Colombian, which is why this cafe has a different menu, not only use Colombian coffee beans for their preparations, but also offer a variety of dishes inspired by their countries – no it isn’t common to find arepas in Buenos Aires.
They also offer roasted coffee beans, to go. www.fullcitycoffeehouse.com

Coco Café: Upon returning from Birkin , you find this pleasant little coffeeshop  / restaurant. With large windows and outdoor tables is a good place to see the comings and goings of passers-by in this beautiful area of ​​Palermo.
The menu features salads, sandwiches and cakes as well as the classic Argentinian desserts alfajores de nutella or dulce de leche , rogel de dulce de leche with merengue and lemon pie. www.cococafe.com.ar

Tokyo, a City Made for the Ultimate Foodie.

Written by: @cazadordelomejor

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Japan is the ultimate foodie experience. Being one of the biggest food-experience seekers there is, I knew my next big trip had to be somewhere far, somewhere different and somewhere with a strong food culture. One step into Narita International Airport and I was already dreaming of what I’d be having for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 Tokyo is a city with a huge food palette. You can scour the various neighborhoods and alleyways for the tastiest Ramen, Yakitori, Izakaya, Sushi, Tempura, Udon, Okonomiyaki, and Soba. You’ll find that many restaurants specialize on only one type of dish – it’s perfected from generation to generation.

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 Here is my breakdown of Tokyo’s six main districts and the food that can be devoured in each:

 Tsukiji & Ginza

 Home to the renowned Tsukiji Fish Market, you cannot leave this area without enjoying a traditional sushi omakase at Sushi Daiwa. This hole in the wall sushi joint opens up at 5:30 AM, get there early to get a seat. Then head to the inner market at Tsukiji which opens up to the public at 10:00 AM and navigate the enormous halls of the biggest seafood market in the world.

Highlights:

Sushi Omakase at Sushi Daiwa

Lunch menu at Sushi Tokami

Tori Paitan with an Egg at Kagari Soba

Japanese Confectionaries at Higashiya

House Blend at Cafe de L’Ambre

Seasonal Cocktail at Ginza Music Bar

Yakitori at BirdLand

Harajuku & Aoyama

Bursting with restaurants, coffee spots, shops, boutiques and vintage stores, it is one of the best neighborhoods to get your shopping and eating game on. Stroll along Omotesandō Street and see shops converted into architectural destinations. There’s something special about Aoyama that kept me going back every other day – to sample a dessert at the newly renovated Pierre Hermé, try out the Mr. Roboto pastry sold exclusively at Dominique Ansel Bakery in Japan, or enjoy a cold brew at Blue Bottle.

Highlights:

Order the entire menu at Harajuku Gyoza (a few doors down from Harajuku Gyoza is a small takeout window serving one of the best Chicken Karaage I’ve ever tried)

Raspberry-Rose Madeleine at Pierre Hermé

Mr. Roboto and a Seasonal Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery Japan

Salmon-Avocado Pancakes at Rainbow Pancake

Cold Brew at Blue Bottle Coffee

Asakusa

A calm neighborhood where Buddhist temples are nestled between streets full of tempura restaurants. Its main attraction is the Senso-Ji Buddhist temple, an architectural beauty that is best to be visited when there is absolutely no one around, early in the morning or right at sundown to snap some National Geographic worthy shots.

Shinjuku

Exactly what you imagine Tokyo to be. Tall skyscrapers, colorful billboards, enormous crosswalks, and futuristic department stores with incredible underground food halls (Depachika) that must be visited. One of the highlights of my trip was drinks and live jazz at the New York Bar, high above Tokyo. Get a table right in front of the stage to create an unforgettable experience. A contrasting part of Shinjuku that makes it so special is Golden Gai, a small and cozy nightlife district where you’ll stumble across tiny bars, each with its own charm.

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Highlights:

Albatross Bar

New York Bar, Park Hyatt Hotel

Isetan Depachika

 Close by:

Cocktail Omakase at Gen Yamamoto (Minato Area)

Multi-Course menu at Narisawa (Minato Area)

Tsukemen at Rokurinsha (Tokyo Station)

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A trip to Japan involves a lot of eating, walking, discovering, interacting with locals (they love foreigners), and will leave you wanting to move there as soon as possible, or at least that’s what happened to me. If you’re flying out of Narita, don’t forget to grab a farewell sushi at Kyotatsu.

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Tips for first-time travelers to Japan:

 

  • Pocket Concierge is a great platform that will help you secure reservations for Michelin starred restaurants
  • Be sure to pick up a Suica Transit Card upon arrival at the airport to navigate local public transit
  • If you plan on travelling outside of Tokyo, be sure to purchase a Japan Railway Pass, it provides bullet train transportation at a great price
  • Pocket Wi-Fi is a necessity in order to use Google maps and make navigating around Japan easy, these can be rented at the airport

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Follow along on my food experiences @cazadordelomejor on Instagram – Boston is up next!

Who is Iceland?

She. The one I’ve been dreaming of for years. As everything you dream of, eventually I started inventing her a little… later a lot.

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She is the one Borges called “ Iceland of the Seas”, the youngest geological formation of our planet  (so young she is only 25 million years old). Has the North Pole as a neighbor. Though been a part of Europe,  she really isn’t because floats far away. Remote. Forgotten by many – even by me- until made myself a promise to remember her.

Called “The Land of Ice and Fire”,  honestly I don’t think there is a better way to describe her. Land of contrasts, where the unexpected is expected. More than 200 volcanoes, 10000 miles of glaciers, 800 thermal areas and geysers, surrounded by fjords, spectacular waterfalls, translucent lakes, tectonic plates that leave cracks as evidence, fantastic caves; all of them conform such a unique landscape, that will surely mesmerize every visitor.

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Declared also: “Last Natural Paradise in Europe” honor that comes with the responsibility to conserve her intact.

UNESCO declared  Reykjavik  “ City of Literature“ because of the enormous contribution she has made to literature. Birthplace of a Nobel price and creators of two literary genders: Edas and Sagas. Their gift to humanity also includes documenting  the Germanic Culture of the X century.

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Bold and Fearless are the words that come to my mind to describe her. Resilient to the extreme. Life’s pulse can be felt in Iceland, that need to flourish from dirt and rocks is not just an allegory here, it is for real. With only 11% of the land good for farming  and long and dark winters, life in Iceland was probably very hard before electricity. Cold and famine lethal.

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Iceland is also the land of democracy and peace. They brag about been the first democracy of the world, their parliament was founded more than 1000 years ago. Without having an army of any sort they became independent  from Denmark in 1944 and the only thing they asked back was their most precious treasure: The Codex Regious and their Manuscripts.

My theory is that adversity has turned them into a very special society, mature and wise.

Visiting her is a pleasure, a visual adventure. Getting to know her is a once in a lifetime experience that we all deserve to enjoy.

My next post will be an Iceland Guide, so you will be really tempted to pack your bags and go.

 

Top 10 Reasons to Visit London in Summer:

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London is undeniably a great destination always. An amazing city that will please even those hard-to-please travelers. But if given a choice, mine will be to visit during summer. In the northern hemisphere some cities become too hot for pleasurable walk, but not London. Plus the fact that it’s longer days allow the visitor more time to enjoy it.

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  1. Wimbledon: Even if you are not a tennis fan, the energy of the city during the tournament is special. Londoners become friendlier with visitors the city feels more welcoming. Restaurants, hotels and bars, find their decor inspiration in the tournament . Pubs are crowded with people that share a beer while watching the daily matches. Around town streets and parks display gigantic screens. Strangers riding the tube share their opinions about the latest developments.IMG_7008IMG_7026_2
  2. Roof Top Bars: I have a particular affection for them, don’t know why. Whenever I visit a new city try to explore a few. In London the fact that at 11pm at night in summer the sun still shines, makes it even more appealing. The views of the city from up there are beautiful and allow you to see it from a different perspective. A calmer one. My favorite roof top bars in London are: “Radio Bar” at the ME Hotel, “Aqua Spirits”, “The Roof Gardens”, “Boundary” y  “The Lost Format Society”.
  3. The Hampton Court Flower Festival: The biggest floral exposition of the world: 50 gardens exhibit here including the marvelous water gardens. One of my favorite ones is the tent dedicated to roses, as well as visiting the innovators in conceptual gardening.
  4. Picnics : English love their picnics indeed. As soon as the weather is nice they run for their lifes to one of the many parks, with baskets full of goodies in hand. Places like “Harrods” and “Fortnum and Mason” have a wide variety of them ready for purchase and delivery. Some hotels also offer the picnic basket as part of their services. In my opinion the best parks for a picnic are: Primrose Hill Park, Greenwich Park and Richmond Park.IMG_0372Processed with VSCO with s3 preset
  5. Sales: June and july are the best time for bargains in Europe. It’s true that some stores can be too crowded at times but I think the wait is worth it, reductions can go as far as 70% off. Even the designer brands that traditionaly don’t offer discounts, do it in summer.IMG_0492
  6. Open Air Theater: What about watching Shakespeare under the light of the moon? In summer you can, many places offer open air theater, Regent Park is probably the most famous, but there are other venues like St Pauls Church in Covent Garden and The Globe Playhouse .
  7. Dinner with a View: Foggy London can’t always offer this. But summer is your best bet. The restaurants that I would recommend are: “Fenchurch at Sky Garden”, “Duck And Waffles” and “Serpentine Bar and Kitchen”
  8. Street Markets: If you have read me before you know I “have a thing” for markets. In London there are many and the weather in summer is perfect for visiting them. One of the most alluring ones for me is the Portobello Road Market, walking it is a pleasure and make sure you keep your eyes opened for The Humming Bird Bakery http://www.thehummingbirdbakery.com that offers the best chocolate cake in London.IMG_0503
  9. Music Festivals: Can’t expect less from the birth land of The Beatles, Adele, Amy Whinehouse and Coldplay. The amount and variety of them is huge, from the famous Festival at Sommerset House to the Eastern Electrics Festival,  ideal for the electronic music fanatics.
  10.  Sundance Film Festival: Since 2012 this wonderful festival that takes place on January in USA comes to London in June, which allows the cinema fans from the other side of the ocean to enjoy it.IMG_0359