How do you like your film festivals? A-list, kissy faced, couture and wannabes jockeying for jobs (any jobs) in Cannes? Cool, wintery, knowingy and achingly independent at Sundance? The officianado, Oscar hopeful, moneyed Toronto? The uber-elite Telluride? Or the still sunny in September and a good chance of surf in San Sebastian? And that’s before we’ve even mentioned Berlin, Tribeca, Edinburgh, SXSW et al.
This year we like the Venice Film Festival from 28th August to 7th September. It’s the world’s oldest film festival and while it might not be the one to choose if you’re looking to get a distribution deal or a good showing at next year’s Academy Awards, big Venice gongs in the past have gone to Bunuel, Tarkovsky, Altman, Aranofsky, Zhang Yimou, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Thomas Anderson and Wim Wenders. The Venice Film Festival pulls major players, big movies and actors and auteurs who like to be taken seriously. Its ‘Orizzonti Selection’ is a respected guide to what’s currently trending in World Cinema. And the entire festival is based in Venice – sorry Toronto, that beats skyscrapers hands down.
Well, to be honest the Venice Film Festival isn’t strictly in ‘Venice’, it’s on The Lido; the beachy island that lies between The Lagoon and the Adriatic, protects the city and is (and always has been) home to the elite, the bohemian, the artistic, the literary and the well-cashed-up. The Lido is known for its beautiful homes, smart shops and restaurants and, since it’s been in so many movies itself, has probably more right than most to host an international film festival.
Thomas Mann wrote ‘Death in Venice’ on The Lido so it’s no surprise that Visconti’s 1971 film of the book was also made here. There’s the final long, lingering shot of lifeless Von Aschenbach in his solitary deckchair all dripping black hair dye and carmine lips. And who could forget the oddly sailor suited Tadzio plinkety plinking away at ‘Für Elise’ (brief respite from the Mahler)? But for us the show stopper will always be The Grand Hotel des Bains on The Lido’s east shore. Okay death and pestilence were sweeping in, but heck, what a place to pass those final days!
The Grand Hotel des Bains is just as aristocratically magnificent in real life and if you’re cycling round The Lido – as you should – it’s worth a stop. NB. don’t let anyone, at any film festival, anywhere hear you using the expression ‘in real life’. The hotel was also seen in Anthony Minghella’s 1996 ‘The English Patient’.
Which tidily and cinematically takes us across Venice Lagoon by vaporetto to Venice itself and Anthony Minghella’s 1999 adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’.
The movie was shot in New York, Naples and Rome, but the memorable (almost) denouement of Tom Ripley is filmed in Venice. When Dickie Greenleaf’s longsuffering fiancée, Marge, finally reveals her suspicions about his disappearance and Ripley’s hand in it, she’s sitting at the iconic Café Florian on Piazza San Marco.
But Venice has a history of cinematic connections that’s almost as old and illustrious as its Film Festival.
Back in the day – when a Bond movie’s entire budget wouldn’t cover the cost of a Martini – ‘From Russia With Love’ had to mainly make do with Pinewood Studios hence the back projected closing shot of Venice’s Bridge of Sighs behind ‘Bond-being-Bond-with-his-Bond-Girl’ in a Gondola.
Fast forward 43 years to 2006 for ‘Casino Royale’ and it’s a totally different story. Venice may not always be what it seems (sometimes it’s Prague), but when the city’s present, it’s present and correct. We might be prepared to accept Daniel Craig as a sophisticated, deadly, international spy but it’s stretching it too far to fake Venice’s Canal Grande. Seen twice in ‘Casino Royale’, the Canal Grande doesn’t take kindly to you sailing up in a yacht as Bond and Vesper did, but visit the renowned Rialto Vegetable Market and you can look across the city’s most famous waterway to the Piazzo which was spectacularly detonated in the movie. Miraculously, it’s still intact.
credit: Gwenaël Piaser
Venice’s Palazzo and Basilica San Marco with views over the Lagoon has to be one of the most recognisable establishing shots in the world – even overused Prague can’t stand in for it. But step away from the pigeons and the crowds and Dorsoduro district round about might also ring the odd cinematic bell. The Church of San Barnaba, Campo Barnaba was home to one of Indie’s clues in Stephen Spielberg’s 1989 ‘Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade’. Katherine Hepburn fell into the canal here in David Lean’s 1955 ‘Summer Madness’. And Woody Allen as Joe, stayed in the Hotel Gritti Palace (where else?), Campo Santa Maria del Giglio in his 1996 ‘Everyone Says I Love You’.
And so back across the lagoon to The Lido (don’t catch the ‘residents’ only’ vaporetto by mistake, they don’t like it) for the 70th Venice Film Festival (August 28th to September 7th). We hope you enjoyed our mini-tribute to the city of its birth and would just like to draw your attention to the fact that we managed the whole thing without mentioning Nic Roeg’s 1973 ‘Don’t Look Now’. So we’ll leave you with that closing shot of Venice; romantic, doomed, broodingly sinister and almost impossibly cinematic. That’s a wrap!
Featured image by Scott Ingram Photography
Video, pictures and words from The Planet D, exclusively for Trip+ as part of our #housetripping series.
Travelling with a group of people can be a lot of fun. You can enjoy the experience together, see the sights together and go out on the town with your best mates. If you share costs like food, transportation and accommodation, you will also save money. Renting an apartment with HouseTrip is the best way to do that. Imagine renting a large multi bedroom apartment in the coolest neighbourhood in town with your closest friends. At the end of each day you can kick back in the living room with a glass of wine and then retire to your own private space for a good night’s sleep.
Berlin is one of the hippest and most vibrant cities on the planet, and if there is one place I’d like to hang out with my friends while traveling, this town would be it.
But travelling with friends can also be difficult. Travel can sometimes make or break a friendship. So if you do decide to head out and see the world with your closest buddies, there are a few things that you should take into consideration.
1. Make sure to choose an apartment to suit the size of your group. Having your own space is important so decide on how many bedrooms you will need. Privacy is important. If you want to get away from everyone to have a nap, relax or simply read a book, you will want your own space. Sharing a room could save you extra money but it won’t save your sanity. When you choose an apartment, you have the option of privacy.
2. Clean up after yourself. You may be a slob at home, but when you’re traveling with a group of people, keep it clean. Don’t leave a mess in the bathroom. There is a toilet brush there for a reason. And in the kitchen be courteous and put your dishes away when you’re done eating. Most HouseTrip apartments have dishwashers so you won’t have to work too hard after cooking a meal anyway.
3. Split the cost. It can be a fun day to go to the local market to buy groceries for the week ahead. Everyone can pitch in and buy their favourites for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You don’t have to eat in every night, but making the choice to eat in at your apartment a couple of times during your trip will save you tons of cash.
When you do cook your meals, have everyone pitch in. It shouldn’t just be one person slaving behind the stove. Designate someone to chop, set the table, cook and clean up. Bring some local beer and wine home with you and you’ll have fun in the process.
4. Budget. Make sure you are traveling with someone on a similar budget. Do you want luxury or are you seeking a more budget friendly option? HouseTrip has apartments for all budgets, so discuss how much you want to spend on accommodation, sightseeing and food from the start. If you are constantly worrying about money or constantly the one picking up the tab, that will put a lot of tension into the vacation and the friendship. Discuss the budget before you book your trip. That way you can choose your apartment appropriately and not have to worry about what the other person is thinking.
5. Communicate. You’ll be spending a lot of time together so make sure you communicate how you like to travel. If you like to explore on your own, but your friend likes company, you may not be the best-suited travel companions for each other. Before you go talk about what you expect. What sights do you have your heart set on seeing and how much do you want to party or stay in? Make sure you choose people who have a similar travel style and communicate just how much or how little time you want to spend together on the road. Communication and proper space will make for a great vacation.
Ah Andalucía, you had me at “hola”. Your late summer sun, your all-year colour and warmth, your traditions, your food and your ferias. Oh, yes las ferias. Throughout the year, this region of Spain, rich in culture, history and holidaymaking opportunities, celebrates a number of ferias. It’s a little tricky to translate feria accurately; the most literal translation is “fair”, but you only have to witness a feria in Andalucía to see that it means much more. Part-festival, part-carnival and huge part-party, it is more difficult for visitors to avoid the ferias of Andalucía than it is for you to stumble upon one.
Feria de Abril in Seville
The Feria de Abril in Seville kicks off a long summer of festivities in Andalucía. A large festival which takes over the Los Remedios area of Seville, expect to see women wearing flamenco frilled dresses, colourful decorations lining the streets and many fairground style attractions as well as rows and rows of “casetas” – special makeshift house-tents and marquees set up for socialising – though be aware that many are private and invitation only. This feria began not as a religious festival but because back in the 1840s two local businessmen decided the city of Seville deserved three days of fun and entertainment centred around a livestock meeting during which nearby residents gathered. Apparently, it took them quite a while to convince the mayor, but the fact that the feria grows each year should suggest that they were right to do so.
The Horse Fair in Jerez
credit: Dominic’s pics
Jerez’s Feria de Caballo is a highlight of the international equestrian calendar, but is still a spectacle to see for non-horsey types. Andalucía is fiercely proud of its history raising some of the world’s finest performing horses and this is the place to watch the famous caballo andaluz while also enjoying flamenco dancing and of course, tasting the “fino” sherry that the region is famous for.
Summer Feria in Malaga
At the end of August the people of Malaga face the heat head on and get their castanets out for a festival full of fireworks and flamenco dancing that lasts ten whole days. The celebrations mark the city being re-conquered by the Spanish back in 1487 and tourists are warmly encouraged to join in with dancing and celebrating along the city’s main street, Marques de Larios.
Summer Feria in Mijas
credit: Family in Spain
Moving away from the bigger cities and to the quaint and traditional town of Mijas, September sees locals celebrate their own feria. Incorporating many of the same elements - live music and dancing on the street, traditional dress and the streets being lit with lanterns – the feria at Mijas is one for photographers and those seeking a traditional Andalucian backdrop thanks to Pueblo Mijas’ reputation as “the white village of Andalucía” and also its proximity to some beautiful beaches.
Have you ever been to Andalucía during feria-season? What was your experience?
Featured image by jl. cernadas
Words and uncredited images by Niamh Shields of eatlikeagirl.com, exclusively for Trip+ as part of our #housetripping series.
My first trip to Rome was when I was 19 years old. I hopped off the train from Florence where I had been previously (and not thoroughly enchanted by at that age). I was enamoured by the buzz, pizza and gelato and I fell in love with Rome there and then. I stayed for a while and then I went home because I had to. I have been back several times since.
Romans more than most are tied to their traditions, but it is a very dynamic city also. It has changed so much since my first visit. Less Fiat 500s, which makes me sad, but the city is still gloriously old, a little crumbly and steeped in richness. I mean rich culturally and also where the food is concerned.
Take their pasta. Romans are very strict on this, as most Italians are, and the pasta here is very different to elsewhere. There are four main Roman pastas that you should explore when you visit: gricia, cacio e pepe, carbonara (but likely not as you know it) & amatriciana. These are all very simple and the beauty lies in sourcing great ingredients and taking care that the pasta is done just so and the sauce too. You can make them in the simplest of kitchens in Rome.
My first apartment, perched on a hill near the Vatican but actually overlooking a gorgeous Russian orthodox church had a well-stocked kitchen with everything you might need. I started playing around with my Roman recipes here, gathering ingredients from the Trionfale Market (about a 20 minute walk away).
I was there in spring and the market was lush with courgette flowers, which I couldn’t resist. So cheap too, I was getting bunches of them for less than two euro.
I brought them home along with some gorgeous fluffy sheep’s ricotta (look out for ricotta di pecora) and some fresh herbs (mint or basil work well). I combined the ricotta with some herbs and an egg yolk and delicately stuffed them, before frying them in a batter made with the egg white, some flour and a little water. They were divine and a little addictive.
This is pretty much mainly what I did there, and on repeat.
On to apartment number two, smaller but bright and very well designed. I felt very cosy and comfortable here. It is the perfect apartment for 1 or 2 people (the previous one could accommodate 4 if you wanted), even a small family, lots of things for babies and kids are supplied. The kitchen was cosy but it was well lit and I proceeded to work on my pastas here. I was still using the Trionfale Market as this apartment was even closer to it, and very near the Vatican. There was also a great little fruit and veg shop nearby.
I started here with cacio e pepe, another very simple pasta with pecorino romano, butter and black pepper and gricia, like before but with guanciale too. These are great speedy pasta dishes, perfect for when you want to cook at home and save money, be authentic and spend little time doing it.
In apartment number 3, a little further out but the same distance from the market and on the other side, this was a lovely calm space, tucked in off the street with a large beautiful kitchen, balconies to relax on and a short walk from the Tiber, along which you can stroll on into Rome. This is a perfect apartment to travel with friends and hang out and eat in after a hard day’s exploring of Rome. Here I worked on the amatriciana and the carbonara. Both fabulous and deceptively simple.
It is the recipe for carbonara that I will share with you here as it is one that every home cook should have in their arsenal. So basic and simple and so often maligned. Do not, under any circumstances, put cream in your carbonara. It is not needed, and it is not meant to be there. Also, no pancetta, just guanciale. Ok? Let’s get started.
First go to your local market and get a whole guanciale cheek. Just do, you won’t regret it. You will pay no more than 15 euro (I paid 12) and what you don’t use, wrap and put in your suitcase to take home. You will be very happy you did that when you get home (I would get some lardo too).
Recipe: Proper Spaghetti Carbonara
200g good spaghetti (look out for the best – it makes a difference)
50g pecorino romano, finely grated
100g guanciale cut into small dice, with a layer of fat at each side of the pink meat
2 good large egg yolks
black pepper, freshly ground or toasted and crushed with the back of a spoon if you have no pepper grinder
Cook the spaghetti until al dente. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry the guanciale gently until starting to crisp. Whisk the egg yolks with half of the pecorino and a little of the (slowly added) guanciale fat. Add the drained cooked spaghetti to the egg yolks off the heat (you don’t want to scramble the eggs) and then finish with the cooked guanciale. Sprinkle with the remaining pecorino romano.
Simple! And so delicious. Now go out and see more of Rome again.
Featured image by MakeNmakE.
One of the main reasons that people travel somewhere completely new, is to find and discover exotic cuisine. Every culture has it, a dish that you can find cheaply on the side of the road, that locals tuck into with relish and abandon and leave you thinking “Gosh that looks interesting I wonder what will happen if I put that in my mouth”, right before you do so and your tongue turns into a 60′s roller disco of flashing lights, groovy rhythms and jamming funkily.
So, to whet your appetite for our #foodietravels hangout this afternoon with Niamh Shields, here are 10 of our favourite street foods from across the globe. Interesting question: have you ever noticed that a lot of the world’s favourite street foods contains chips?
Crêpes - Paris
Currywurst – Berlin
Som tam (green papaya salad) – Bangkok
Fish Tacos – Playa del Carmen
Fish & Chips – London
credit – kerolic
Kebab – Istanbul
credit The Way of Slow Travel
El Lomito – Santiago
Hot Dog – New York
credit Lan Bui
Poutine - Montréal
credit Kyle Strickland
Pinxto – Bilbao
Oh and in case you missed the announcements, join us at 1pm today (UK time) for a live chat with renowned food blogger Niamh Shields. If you have questions for her, tweet them @housetrip with the hash tag #foodietravels and we’ll ask her the best ones.
Featured image by williamcho.