I am a relaxed and seasoned traveller, as I’ve been travelling since I was three years old, when the family moved to Vienna, where I went to school. I furthered my education in England, Paris and Milan, in between workshops in Japan and India, after which I lived in Italy. My work means I’m always on a plane to somewhere, mostly Europe. But I continue to have my share of adventure, especially when I’m on a holiday with my children, which is always a lot of fun.
I prefer travelling alone for business or with friends and family if it’s for rest and relaxation. I always do research for personal trips and I must admit that it’s the soul of a place that pulls me to it. I love Southeast Asia and went on holiday to Burma recently because I am fascinated by its antiquity, culture, ethnic traditions, but also intrigued by the political situation.
I chose Oman to take my kids dolphin-watching and swimming with the turtles in the Oman Sea and to the Maldivian atolls for scuba diving.
Research factors highly in my work too, so when I travel on business I always check out the city’s art exhibitions, museums and cultural events to get fresh ideas and inspiration. I like to get a feel of the mood of the place by watching people and how they adapt to their environment, by exploring stores, the architecture, and restaurants.
Every destination has its own unique personality. You have to be open to discovery. I found Burma very emotionally stimulating. There is so much to see, such as Inle Lake and the village of stilt houses in the water, temple village of Bagan with over 2,000 pagodas, it’s like stepping into a colourful past, time almost standing still.
Thailand is another place I love, which I visited on a sail boat with an Italian skipper friend from Sardinia, who had sailed it from Italy. We drifted around Pi-pi Island and the marine reserves, it was breath-taking. We went night swimming to see the cove at high tide covered in giant starfish and to float among the glowing plankton.
Damascus in Syria is also incredible. You are immediately enveloped in an aura of Levantine antiquity. The food, the mix of religions, a wellspring of history chipped away by modernity as well as the reality of its political climate is fascinating.
I’m a beach bum, I love the sea and islands. Greece and its archipelago are a delight, unspoilt, turquoise crystal water against a backdrop of little white churches, huddles of fishing villages, coves and natural beauty spots. Spain beckons you with its mix of beach life, national and natural parks and historic artistic monuments. Gaudi’s Barcelona, the dazzling mosaics of the Cordoba Mosque in Al-Andalus that took 200 years to build, Alhambra Palace are spectacular.
The Luna Mora Festival evokes how street lighting was done during the Moorish Spain epoch. One of the evening’s highlights is the themed background of arabigo-andalusi, flamenco and sefardi, music and dance. Over 20,000 candles illuminate Guaro during Luna Mora.
I don’t have a favourite destination, each place is a different jewel to be treasured. I choose places that will open my kids’ horizons, I believe the world offers so much variety and diversity that we should investigate and appreciate these unique features of culture and landscape.