From One Island to Another

The Rosario Islands are really known for the day trip crowds to Baru from Cartagena. We chose to spend three nights on Baru and experience the best part of it! We took a crazy little boat ride to our island and started our new adventure!

 

So what does one do on an island with just a beautiful ocean? Wake up at sunrise and go for swims and then swim some more!

If I was to only experience the island as a day trip, I would think it was crowded and full of vendors pushing something on you to buy. But really that is only form 10-3 and before or after that the island is nearly empty! Limited to no Wifi! No ATM! Nowhere to go except in the water or down the beach! Just pure relaxation. I finished my book so luckily there was a library just down the beach where I was also able to buy some books in english.

This was truly another amazing few day getawat!

How I Spent Christmas 2017

There tends to be a lot of pressure that happens around the holidays to attend every party and try to see all one’s friends and family. I personally don’t feel that pressure and chose to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas on an island in Colombia.

After our boat adventure and arrival to Isla Grande, we weren’t quite sure what we were in for. It turns out we had three days of delicious meals being cooked for us and ultimate relaxation in our room and at the pool or beach. This is the type of place where you go to bed shortly after sunset and wake up with the sunrise and it feels amazing!

The first day was truly a day of relaxing but we opted for some snorkeling the next day. The islands are surrounded by a huge coral reef and I was hoping to see a turtle (no luck). I did however step on a dead piece of coral as I was getting out of the ocean and have a nice puncture on the bottom of my foot. That stuff is no joke!

Christmas Eve dinner was served family style with the other 12 people staying at the hotel. They even splurged and brought us champagne (Andre Rosé and it was awful) but I know it’s the thought that counts.

Christmas Day was a repeat of the day before laying buy the pool and reading and relaxing. It was absolute perfection and made me so happy!

It was finally time to leave after 3 days in paradise but never fear, we are off to experience another island for another 3 days!

The Journey to Rosario Islands

There is only one way to get to Isla Grande from Cartagena and that is by boat! You can reach the island of Baru by bus but you would still have to take a boat to Isla Grande. We ventured down to the port to buy our ticket for 40,000 COP with a 15,500 COP park tax (total $18.77 USD). There are tons of people trying to sell you tickets on the street but official booths line the path and that is the best place to buy the ticket to ensure the best pricing. All the boats leave by 10:30am so get there early unless you want to pay for a private speed boat. Be warned, these rides are not for the faint of heart as they fly through the water and throw you around a bit. Anyhow, after being told our boat would leave around 8:30 or 9:00, we were finally packed onto and ready for our hour boat ride!

Our boat was driving a little funny and making some weird noises but I didn’t think anything of since this is what they do for a living daily. I was wrong! The engine was failing and we had to slowly make our way to a random island and disembark and wait for two other boats to come and get us. No one cared and we just laid under the cabanas and others splashed around in the ocean. There are worse places to be stuck.

Once we finally arrived to our hotel it was like arriving to paradise! They only have 8-10 rooms (can’t quite figure it out) and the room rate includes all meals! Many people make the trip for the day so from 10-3 the place is packed but other than that, it’s like a ghost town. Absolute perfection!

For the next three days I will be on this island relaxing and through Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Back to Colombia

First off, recovering from 16 hours of jet lag is no joke! I landed on Thursday morning and had to unpack and do laundry and repack to catch a flight on Saturday to LA and spend an early anniversary with my boyfriend! But you can’t keep me in the country for long when I have the travel bug and on Wednesday, I took off for Colombia still unsure of which time zone I was sleeping in!

I have only been to Bogota in Colombia so this time I am meeting a friend to celebrate the holidays and traveling to Cartagena, Rosario Islands, Medellin and Bogota. It all started with two days in Cartagena to try to normalize my sleep and acclimate to the blistering heat!

I was very lucky to land in Cartagena and have an early checkin to my hotel. I had almost no sleep on the overnight flight and was in need of a shower! I met up with my friend Lisa from Manchester who I met in Rome (this is why I travel) and grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the room to take a nap. My nap turned into almost 10 hours of sleep where I then was awake from 11pm-5am to wake up again around 8:30am. Once again, lovely jet lag.

Attempting to see a bit more of Cartagena than the inside of my hotel room, we decided to explore the inside of the walled city. Finally, I started to feel like I was in Colombia! We have 4 days in Cartagena over the new year so there will be a lot more in depth exploring, but it was nice to get a feel for the city before our next adventure!

Going Through Berlin Like a Local

I really have been repeating destinations on this European tour but every time I travel I meet more people and just want to visit them. This time a friend from West Hollywood moved to Berlin and there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to see him! You can see what I did in Berlin last time here and here.

Obviously my love for street art will never go away. Since my friend moved to Berlin he has not seen a single touristy thing in Berlin. I thought we had to at least see the East Side Gallery because I love it!


We basically spent the weekend eating at the restaurant he works at and hanging at his house and going to different bars. It was really nice to not be a tourist most of the time and just hang with a friend.

The dog was probably one of my favorite parts of the visit. He was incredibly cuddly and made me feel like I was home!

Prague for a Second Time

Prague by day and Prague by night are two totally different experiences. Last time I didn’t adventure at night as much as I did this time and I am so glad that I did! After midnight either everyone was at the club or asleep so the normally very crowded tourist areas were pretty empty. I am glad I chose walking around over heading to the club!

The Powder Tower

Prague Castle


Even though I went to the Lennon Wall last time, I had to again because graffiti is always changing and will never look the same even a day after you visit. I love it!

The weather got pretty cold super fast and I was not prepared. I found the jacket pictured above in this amazing thrift store where everything is 49 Koruna ($1.98)! I could not believe it and was incredibly happy with my purchase.

I spent my other evening in Prague adventuring around the Signal Festival which you can read about here.

Signal Festival Prague

I love traveling to cities having no idea that a festival or event is even happening. I went to Prague a few years ago (read about it here here and here) and loved it and wanted to go again to cut the traveling time of my trip from Vienna to Berlin. Signal Festival or Festival of Lights happened to start the night before I was leaving and I totally geeked out and went to as many installations as I could in a few hours! There were pretty long lines for each installation so I could only make it to five but obviously I took enough pictures of each one to make up for it.

Brocken 5.1.

The installation Brocken 5.1 is based on a phenomenon called the Brocken Spectre or mountain spectre. This phenomenon appears high in the mountains when a climber stands with his back to the sun and gazes from the ridge into the mist, creating a gigantic shadow of the observer that is surrounded by a rainbow. In this installation the viewer enters an interactive object intersected by 60,000 holes that create the illusion of a flight through a starry sky. Brocken 5.1 also makes reference to the topic of absolute darkness, that is, a commodity that is altogether insufficient in large cities.

Brocken 5.1 was first presented as part of the DEPO2015 project in Plzen and subsequently at the BLIK BLIK 2016 festival. In both cases the installation gained great popularity with viewers. This interactive object is also influenced by daylight, and the installation can therefore be visited and tried out before night falls.

The Japanese artist Yasuhiro Chida originally studied architecture at Musashino Art University. His interests include specific topics such as spatial awareness or change of somatic perception. Part of his creative process involves nature, where he spends much of his time, and which he incorporates into his work. He allows various forces of nature to act upon his installations, such as the movement of the sun across the sky throughout the day.

Voice of Figures

This videomapping by Radugadesign transforms the façade of the Kinský Palace into vivid color. And yet there is more to this performance, which at first glance seems like a cheerful play of basic abstract shapes and saturated colors, than meets the eye. Radugadesign has taken the large volumes of data known in the world of computer technology as “big data” and converted them into a soundtrack. The initial confusion and cacophony of shapes represents the unorganized data the creators of the videomapping have used as their medium, which ultimately come together through the facade of the Kinský Palace into shapes that form a harmonic melody.Thus the patterns and sounds created through this technically challenging process serve as the end product of a range of figures and formulas.

Since its founding in 2007, the Russian media and design studio Radugadesign has managed to carry out an unbelievable 350 projects. As a result, the studio has established a leading position in Russia in the field of entertainment technologies and interactive installations, achieving renown beyond their homeland as well. Radugadesign has been featured, for example, in France, Belgium, Korea, and even at the North Pole. The wide range of their activities includes everything from audiovisual shows to interactive installations, using combinations of their primary specialties – space, technology, and design. They collaborate frequently with a range of experts across creative fields including architects, designers, artists, musicians, and even programmers. The collective efforts of these individuals have created projects that for almost ten years have resonated with audiences throughout the world.


Rezonátor

Rezonátor combines elements of technology with a philosophical subtext, all derived from scientific understanding. As expressed by its title, it consists of a model of a resonator – that is, a fundamental component of the mechanism of a laser module. And yet the artist doesn’t stop at the technical aspects of this device, but also presents the resonator as a metaphor for human existence. In his view, each human being figuratively functions as a sort of sociocultural resonator. During our lives we perceive all possible external influences of society in the same manner as this device. In response to feedback and reactions within us we give forth our own “memetic light,” reacting most frequently in the form of spoken expression.

Czech visual artist Jan Hladil studied graphic design and subsequently supermedia at the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague. During his studies he worked intensively on mastering the entire process of creating video in all of its forms. For several years he has worked as a VJ and has worked on videoinstallations and created content for the audiovisual label Lunchmeat. He has also collaborated, for example, with Laterna Magika on the New Scene at the National Theatre. In his freestyle work he focuses on interpretations of social, cultural, and yet physical processes, converting their specific visual manifestations into an artistic form of understanding. He has presented his audiovisual works at the National Gallery, the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, the Gallery of the Capital City of Prague, the Chemistry Gallery, and the Zdeněk Sklenář Gallery.



Fantastic Planet

Five otherworldly beings have occupied the planet SIGNAL this year. These giant figures
created by Amanda Parer seem to have just landed on earth, and now explore their
surroundings with silent interest and awe. They curiously touch the ground, timidly observe the activity around them from behind a corner, or roll delightedly across the soft grass. At first glance they appear fearsome, but their viewers soon recognize them for the kindhearted visitors they are.

This monumental installation is inspired by the 1973 Czech/French animated film of the
same name (known in Czech as Divoká planeta). It represents an incomprehensibly remote future in which our planet is settled by giant futuristic beings, where humans are merely wild aborigines no more sophisticated than creatures of the forest.

The work of Australian artist Amanda Parer explores the world of nature in all its vulnerability, as well as the role of humanity within it. In all her works, whether paintings, sculpture, or installations in public spaces, the main role is played by all manner of unconventional beings and wild animals. Enthusiastic audiences the world over have encountered the installations of Amanda Parer at festivals from Sydney to Sweden. While she has already been introduced to neighboring Slovakia through the White Night festival, her work will be presented to the Czech Republic for the first time as part of her Fantastic Planet installation. The SIGNAL Festival therefore serves as the European premiere of this completely new installation.


Monolith powered by Mercedes-Benz

The Monolith installation gives homage to the quiet and the noise of the city at night. This light object absorbs all surrounding light sources and transforms them into an engaging digital show. Through alternating landscapes and environments, the installation evokes the impression of a dynamic ride in Mercedes-Benz brand automobiles, providing its viewers with an original experience of night in the city full of light, energy, and elegance. An integral part of the installation is a hypnotic sound that was created specifically for the Monolith by world famous composer from Bosnia Billain.

This installation is composed of 3,328 LED bulbs. Each of them is an independent point of composition, capable of displaying the entire color spectrum. This technology ranks among the newest trends and is now appearing at SIGNAL for the first time ever.

Hyperbinary is the latest project by Amar Mulabegović, Jan Šíma, and Martin Pošta. This international studio for Experiential Design is devoted to the development and production of light installations and videomappings, as well as concept development and visual presentation for large-scale cultural events.

*All descriptions of the installations are directly from the Signal Festival website

 

Budapest Round Two

Last time I was in Budapest was a few years ago and I was sick and didn’t really get to experience much. The ticket from Milan to Budapest was only about $11 so I figured why not give it another shot and see what the city really has to offer.

Every airport is different and unique and some are pretty awful. Milan had a wonderful airport with delicious food. A glass of vino and a delicious baguette and I was one happy camper and ready for my flight!

Much like when I stopped at the Four Seasons in Paris, I took myself on a little tour of the Four Seasons Budapest. The brand is known for their flower arrangements in the lobby and while this one was not as grandiose as Paris, I found the simplicity to be quite lovely.

Budapest is full of amazing architecture and history. The Bookcafe is no exception to this. Hidden inside an actual bookstore, the cafe is full of incredible details and a ton of gold. It just so happens that this can be found on the way to one of the thermal baths as well and makes for a perfect stop prior to a day of lounging.



Budapest sites over multiple natural thermal springs. The bathhouses are a common activity for locals and a tradition that has spanned ages. I chose to go to one of the more touristy ones since it had a gorgeous outdoor warm pool. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to be here. Some of the bath houses have different days for men and women but this one is always open to all. The pools range from ice cold to about hot tub level and the entrance allows you to stay all day! This really was a great experience and a must see in Budapest.


I often forget to take pictures and show or explain what hostel life is like. The hostel in Budapest was very cozy and small which is exactly what I was looking for. Hostels are where you can meet new people and create memories with total strangers without thinking about cultural differences or age. The picture above had people age 21-32 and from Israel, Brazil, Sweden and the states. The one thing that bonded us together was our love for travel!

Milan

For some reason Milan has never really been a place I wanted to go but it was on the way from Lugano to Budapest so I thought a quick stop here would be helpful in not moving around a lot.


The main site in Milan aside from the fashion and shopping is the Cathedral. When you come out of the metro the cathedral just looms up in front of you. By this point of the trip I have seen my fair share of cathedrals so I opted out of entering this one. However, it is a beautiful site.


I like to find some of the random focal points of a city and the finger statue did not let me down. This statue was dressed with a ribbon for breast cancer but stands in front of the stock exchange as a big FU from the people to the Italian Stock Exchange. Personally I thought this was pretty funny and entertaining.

One of the amazing aspects of social media is the ability to stay connected with people and make plans. I found out my friend Sarah would be in Milan for 3o minutes for a train switch and so we met up for a quick hello and a hug. Traveling really does show you how small the world can be.


The main tourist area of Milan is pretty clean but once you get out into some alleys, there are some grimey sections and of course some street art. I thought this little guy was pretty cool.

I am glad I went to Milan but it is not a spot I would add as a must see when there are so many other beautiful places in Italy.

Lugano

Not a lot of people have heard of Lugano, Switzerland. It is the Swiss side to the very popular Lake Como and from what I have been told, just as beautiful. My friend that I was in Paris with is currently working and living here so I thought a visit for a few days would be great!

There is a small airport in Lugano but it is much cheaper to fly into Milan and take about an hour mini bus for €25.00. Once there we jumped on a mini tram and showed up to the house.

I spent two days relaxing and doing laundry and hanging out with my friend and the little guy you see pictured below. Switzerland is very expensive (think $30 for a hamburger) so two days was enough for me and it was time to move on to Milan!