Thursday, October 6, 2016

Girl on the train movie - waste of a great book!

This Hollywood obsession of turning all bestselling books into movies should end! Not all books are meant for the big screen and The Girl on the Train sure looks like one. Dealing with a story with different narrators and timeframes is hard to do in movies yet not impossible - Nolan’s The Prestige (2006) is a pretty good example of a success. However this movie failed to do so and Hawkins amazing organization of perspectives and events in the book turns out boring and loses all of it's suspense. Next time instead of trying to turn the bestselling book of 2015 into the major blockbuster of 2016, dedicate a little more time to making an interesting plot and not just copy the book! Cheers to Emily Blunt though for an amazing performance!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Best women's day article I could have found!

Why you should travel solo! 6 female travelers share their thoughts. | The Best Solo Travel Tips for a Girl Travelling Alone
In honour of International Women’s Day, we’ve compiled the best female solo travel bloggers to give you the best advice on how to travel the world

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Good reads

After watching Gone Girl, which I thought was one of the best movies of 2014, I was eager to investigate a bit on the author of the book, Gillian Flynn’s other work. So after being done with Paula Hawkins Girl on the Train, I dove into Sharp Objects and Dark Places.

They are both very well written. Flynn's greatest gift seems to be creating deep and well developed characters. You can almost picture her scribbling on some paper an enormous amount of background story on each character she invents. In Dark Places she carefully takes us through the minds of several members of the Day family, focusing on the current life of disturbed Libby (the youngest daughter of the family who survived the massacre), and happenings on the fatidic day for Patty (the mother and head of the household) and Ben (the oldest brother and presumed killer).  For Patty and Ben the book evolves in a good pace, as in each chapter you find out yet another detail of their lives that helps put together what realy happened on the night of the murders. For Libby thought, the pace of the narrative seems too fast, she deserved a little more self-discovering time. The character goes from traumatized brother hatter to lets save Ben which is a pity since the story had a lot of potential. The ending is not what you would expect but Flynn like original. 

On Sharp Objects the entire book is seen through the point of view of Camille, a disturbed young woman who has developed the obsession of cutting herself. Just out of psychiatric hospital in Chicago, Camille returns to her hometown in Missouri, where she hasn’t been in several years, as a reporter to cover the creepy story of two young girls who were strangely murdered and had their teeth pulled out. Back home she is forced to face old acquaintances from a past she is trying to forget, which include the death of her beloved younger sister, a tense and distant relationship with her mother and the beginning of her depressive self-destructive behavior. As dark and twisted as it could be, the book is less centered on the killings and more on Camille’s bizarre family. A stepfather whose presence is barely noticed, a younger sister Camille barely knows and who seems to be desperate for attention, and a mother you simply cannot figure out. You will spend the entire book trying to understand why Camille and her mother have such a tense relationship and why do they act on such a hurtful way towards one another. Only in the end will the truth be revealed. 

One thing I do admire on Flynn's endings is that she provides closure but doesn't try to make it a fare ending. Do not except her long hurt troubled characters to just be ridding into the sunset to a bright future ahead. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Harry Potter Studios

Finally completed one of my wish list things to do! Visit the HP studios! As a true HP fan, from the very beginning I recommend it! Truly do! So here are some tips and suggestions if you are also planning to visit!

Buying tickets and getting there
You can get the tickets from the HP Studios official website. I recommend doing this as soon as you book your trip, because the only way into the studios is with a reservation and they do sell out. The visit is very well organized. Every 20 minutes or so they allow a group of about 50 people to go in. There is a first part with a film and then you are on your own to explore all of the set. This is good because it means there are no lines and waiting around. Bathrooms are all clean and food court was not packed (and we went on a Saturday).  
To get there I recommend buying a package deal with entrance and returning bus ride to central London (from and to Victoria). I mean this because if you miss your reservation the park doesn’t guarantee your entrance.  Also when you are done visiting the park you will be exhausted so sitting in a comfortable bus watching a HP movie, they’ll be playing, while being driven back to town it’s just ideal.
The name of the operator we used was Golden Tours and we paid something like 50£ each. When you choose your entrance time, the bus departure time will also change, to ensure you get there in time.

Inside the park you need 3 or more hours to be able to see everything. If you are on London vacation and don’t want to loose an entire day just pick a 5 o’clock reservation as we did. It gives you enough  time to wander around and catch the last bus back to town.

What's best?
Its HP studios! Meaning all the props, clothes, sceneries that you will be seeing are all the real deal! It’s above all, a museum of the HP movies and any HP fan will go bananas. Be prepared for Hogwarts, The Burrow, The Ministry, the Chamber of Secret’s door, the Sorting Hat, Diagon Alley and much much more!
The staff is awesome! All HP fanatics, from the moment you arrive to leaving they will do their best to make your trip as pleasant and magical as possible! You can ask them questions on anything about the studios or the books or ask them to take photos, anything you need.
Do not miss the flying car experience and the broomstick. There is a little fast line and you can make a cool video of you flying in a broomstick and get awesome pictures while dressed appropriately.

What needs improving?
The diner! I really was hoping for a Three Broomsticks kind of environment while drinking my butterbeer (which btw is awesome). Instead it’s just a simple diner with some sandwiches and coffee. No magic there!

The store! What a letdown! First I thought everything was crazy overpriced. A clock for 70£, scarf for 25£? No need for such prices. Also there was really nothing that you could look at and say what an amazing great thing to buy. Big lack of originality in this department! Hate to mention it but if it was in the states no doubt the merchandizing would be much cleverer!

Jamie Oliver Italian and Union Jack - London

Being a real fan of Jamie’s Italian style cuisine, and since it tends to be a tradition of mine going to his places wherever I go, I booked lunch at Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden. However I messed up the places and we ended up at Union Jack. See two of his places are in Covent Garden but Union Jack is the one inside the actual market. When we got there the host said we had the wrong place because they didn’t take reservations. We however manage to get a table anyway and had a very pleasant lunch. I had a marguerita and my friends some sort of chicken curry specialty of Union Jack. Staff is nice and the buzz and location are simply fantastic.

We ended up also being able to try Jamie’s Italian because we randomly found it a couple of days later. Also it will not let you down. Same style decoration and menu as any of the other Jamie Italians which however alike always have a personal touch of originality. Prices are as always average and the Chocolate Praline Pudding was do dye for!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amsterdam! End of May 2015!

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This was my second time in the infamous Amsterdam. My first time there was in March 2013, and as we arrived the first thing anyone told us was “hey, welcome to the north pole. It’s the coldest month of March since 1920 something”. Jackpot!
This time around was much better weather…not great if you consider that I am travelling from 30 degrees in Lisbon, but definitely better!
So here are a few points on Amsterdam and Zaanse Schans the lovely place with the Windmills.

Here are a few FAQ from my friends about Amsterdam:

Public transport/trams
On both trips I used the tram only three times. Twice to get to the hotel with the bags and another time to get a TerraVision bus stop to get to Brussels from a further part of town. I guess this depends on how much you enjoy walking and, where your hotel/hostal is. This time we were in Munk Hotel in Achtergracht Street and the other time I was near Leidseplein which was also central. Distances on the map seem further than they actually are, so I recommend you find your hotel and locate how far you are from city center before getting a travelling card.

The Museums
I visited Van Gogh the first time there and even though the museum was being renovated it was pretty cool. I heard that with the renovations it’s gotten even better but this time I chose to visit The Rijksmuseum, which someone called Amsterdam’s Louvre and which is well worth if you like painting. I also went to the Sex and the Erotic museum which help get into the city mode! Kidding, but they are worth watching if you have never been. I personally think the one in Copenhagen is the best one.

If possible travel to Schipool Airport. Our return flight was from Eindhoven airport which is 2h30 from the city by bus, plus Ryannair decided to move it up from 5 to 3pm which basically made us loose a whole day.

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I learnt my lesson from Glendalough’s excursion trip, so this time I insisted we went on our own. Arranged trips cost something like 40€, not worth it since you can easily get the train, which takes like 18 minutes to get to Koog-Zaandijk station. From there you walk like 10 minutes or ride a bike to the mills. The return ticket is 12€ and you have all the time you want to explore the mills, the little cute houses and stores around it or grab a bite. It’s totally worth it, don’t miss it!

Nine streets, Red Light, Piij

Three very cool areas to explore and get three different looks of Amsterdam. Nine streets has very nice houses, hotels and restaurants, it’s the postcard Amsterdam you are looking for. The Piij (which is read like pipe) is the neighborhood in the south with a younger crowd. Nice cheaper and trendy restaurants and bars to explore. Red Light District is the famous prejudice free area. Prostitutes on windows, loads of fun sex shops and many coffee shops. It’s the part of free Amsterdam.