Once in Aegina…

This picture shows one of the narrow passages we encountered during our walk on the way to Alones.

Move Naturally

The next day of our arrival the very first thing I did was to join Tom during his 45 minutes of Move Naturally: I was really curious to understand what his “MoveNat” is all about.

The principal idea that Tom transferred to me is that human beings were not designed to sit the whole day: very much on the contrary, they were designed to move, run, jump, reach for food from trees, to climb… and of course, how could I forget about it, to crawl. During the training you are encouraged to perform such movements and more in general to find the most efficient way to perform the aforementioned actions. For example, which is the quickest and least energy consuming to get up starting from a lying position? Find out! ๐Ÿ™‚

During the 45 minutes of natural movement we were not trying to pump our muscles up, instead we were trying to perform pretty basic movements which require coordination and balance. Trying to balance yourself is one of those activities that actually activate a lot of small muscles that we are not aware of, and that, very often, are not activated while doing repetitions of the same exercise.

Use your body… nothing else!

There is one side which I find particularly interesting and that is that no further elements beside your body are required in order to exercise. You do not need to invest in any kind of training gear. Maybe an exercise mat, should you not already have one. For the same reason I started to look into calisthenics some months ago. One disadvantage of training with your own body weight is the fact, that at the beginning you are not strong enough in order to perform the more interesting exercises of calisthenics. At least that was my case. Even now, after some months of training already, pull ups are a very difficult exercise. And pulls ups, push ups, planks, … I believe are just the basics.

If I think of me, I believe I am stuck at performing the basics exercises. The reason behind it is the fact that I am approaching some exercises that I have never done before: without someone helping to understand if you are strong enough or teaching you how to perform the correct technique I found myself giving up soon and falling back to the more common exercise.

Training by yourself needs a lot of self discipline and the aim should be absolutely clear. And both of those are lacking in my case. ๐Ÿ˜€ It still is true that, even if not the best solution, what me and some of my friends are doing is helping a lot and I am definitely very happy with it. Without our training sessions I would be so much worse in terms of physical shape (and psychological as well I believe).

How do you feel after a 45 min session?

Together with me there was Alessandro, Johanna, Sibille, Rudolf and of course Thomas who was the team leader, showing us which exercises to perform. It was a nice group, with different ages and everyone could join as the exercises were not demanding (of course they can be if you want to). Once the training was finished I was nicely warmed up, you could feel that you had been moving without being “destroyed” as it happened during the first time that I went to the fitness studio.

Of course I should try for a longer period of time and possibly with a trainer in order to have a better idea of the whole concept, still it seemed to me fun and an intelligent way of getting fit.

The “one hour” walk

After such a nice “warm up” we were ready for the “one hour walk”, as my father described it, which would take us to Alones and to our first greek meal.

The so called “one hour” walk started from Lazarides: the street, very easy to be made on foot even if not tarmacked, takes you through green meadows which are broken by clouds of yellow, white and red flowers. It is impressive how many flowers are to be seen, mostly when you know Greece mainly by the summer time, where everything is just yellow gold as in the hot season it does not rain anymore.

A cloud of yellow flowers…

After one hour of walking there was still no sign of the restaurant, nor of some kind of civilisation. If you were to stay still you would have heard only bees buzzing, birds chirping all over… which is beautiful. Still slowly, slowly we started to be hungry and Jacopo, who had slept quite a while in his stroller, was awake and started to feel annoyed.

After more than two hours of walking we finally reached the Kostas Taverna. It was definitely worth the walk and we enjoyed the lunch so much more… ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the beautiful things about greek tavernas is that when you arrive, whatever time of the day it is, whatever the size of the group is, you will always receive to eat quality food. Maybe you have to wait some more, and making the order is quite difficult as nobody knows what is what and who wants what, but in the end you always manage to get something fine to eat. ๐Ÿ™‚

Once we finished our launch it was already quite late in the afternoon, most of us were tired and the weather was not promising to get any better, thus we preferred to go back home and chill. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s how nice it is to be on holiday!

Wintery pictures of Comano

I have been waiting for it for almost the whole winter and finally, after being long anticipated, the snow arrived. And in large quantities, too! That day and that night were beautiful. I took the chance to have a little walk and take some pictures.

Please have a look at the gallery below. If you click on the images you can have them bigger and read some descriptions I have added.

Fortunately the snow stopped later at night: that way we all had our moment of happiness without getting into troubles. I had to invest some hours to move the snow from our parking lot and I was really happy of having two snow shovels ready to use.

How to remove snow?

A more practical note: I have been applying salt on those ways which I wanted to stay clean from the snow but it did not help. Salt should be used only to avoid the snow, water from getting ice. From this year experience I have learned that applying salt, before the snow arrives, does not avoids it from sticking on to the ground. Next time I should:

  • Wait for the snowing to stop
  • Remove the snow
  • Spread salt

In my opinion it makes sense to remove the snow even if it has not stopped yet from snowing: this because if you remove a little every now and then it is easier on your body. Also if you move the snow immediately it is much easier to remove as it is not iced yet.

I really enjoyed my walk through the woods and I am sure that I will love looking at this pictures once in while. ๐Ÿ™‚

Early morning light on Lugano

View of Lugano. Picture taken early in the morning, during December 2018.A beautiful snapshot of Lugano early in the morning! When I took the picture I could feel the winter, the cold and sleepiness of the city in front of me.
At the same time I was urged to take the picture as I recognised that the light was changing very, very fast getting brighter and loosing some of its magic.

I wish to all of my followers, readers, occasional reader a happy new year!

A.

And finally, here it is…ย 

Yes, indeed! After having kept us waiting, after having made us think it would come, without really showing up, the snow finally came. 

The photo was taken quite early in the morning of a beautiful day! A pity I had to go pack and go to work, would have been nice to walk around and shoot some more pictures! With such a light and colors… Beautiful! 

I capsized!

It was a mistake. There was no reason to open up the throttle that way and at the same time I didn’t expect the wind to be that strong. But there it was, as I was turning the little rib as to go back, I mismanaged the throttle, the turn was too sharp, the balance was lost: as in other situations, I was able to understand what was going to happen, but I couldn’t do nothing to change the course of things, as it was too quick: I could only hold myself and watch the opposite border of the boat getting higher and higher, over my horizon: then I was in the water. The small 4 HP outboard quickly stuttered off.

Luckily, turning the small rib and emptying it from the water was done quicker and easier than what I expected. But my thinking was somewhere else: I didn’t expect the engine to start again after that unwanted splash in the water. And I didn’t having anything else to keep myself moving. Either it would start again or I would have been left at the mercy of the wind, which was pushing me away from the shore, and of the waves, which were still small: with the strong wind it was only a question of time before the protection of island behind me would cease and conditions of the sea worsen.

The engine wouldn’t start. I wasn’t surprised, it was a confirmation of what I had already anticipated. Still I had to try again. In my head I was anxiously looking for other solutions, but I couldn’t find any, beside keeping trying. I knew I still had the chance of calling help per mobile phone, as I wasn’t that far from the island yet. Still I wouldn’t know what to say in order for someone find me. Every other second I was looking at the coast getting more and more distant, loosing details. Better concentrate on the engine, try again. But still the thoughts would run to my destiny: in front of me just different shades of light blue, either it was the sky or the sea. The infinite sky, the not so infinite, but still infinite sea…. no symbols of freedom or peace, this time!

And then this voice, damn, did it scare me. I was so concentrated on my engine, on desperately pulling that starting cord, that I didn’t see the white boat and the greek fisherman. He shouted something at me. I couldn’t understand, but a few words and gestures were enough for him to understand that I was in serious trouble.

He didn’t say anything else. He just took the rope I was passing to him, fixed it on his boat and… I woke up!

Waking up

Unbelievably sweated, shocked and relieved at the same time, with a lot of thoughts in my head, I realised how many maritimeย or better said, safety rules I didn’t respect in my dream. Oh, and by the way, if I know those safety rules (which are mostly common sense, actually) it is because once it happened to me to be alone in a small rib boat, going out for a quick engine test without any kind of backup (paddles?). The engine stopped. Differently from tonight’s dream, that time, I was in small bay, therefore the situation wasn’t dangerous, as I could easily reach the coast by swimming. Still, as the dream shows, it sure did leave an important track in my memories!

While still half asleep I analysed my actions in the dream and I was surprised by how much emotions can impair your ability of thinking clearly and, by how much little precautions can avoid really bad situations. For example: ย in the dream I didn’t think of the GPS integrated in my mobile phone, I could have used it to ask for help. There was no mention if I had or if I didn’t have a mobile with me and if it survived the capsizing. Still it astonished me how concentrated I was in unsuccessfully trying not to think about the infinite sea in front of me, instead of looking for real solutions!

Therefore here below theย common sense, safety rules I broke:

Trip

What kind of trip are you going to undertake? If it is long than you should organise accordingly. If you don’t know where you want to go, if you feel like Colombo, than prepare as if you were going for a longer trip.

Stay close to the coast

We are thinking small here! This suggestions are thought for small boats (< 3 meters in length) with small engines. Therefore it is better to stay close to the coast! Of course without exaggerating, as you don’t want to disturb swimmers.

Avoid doing longer passages bringing you afar from the coast just because “going straight” takes less time instead of following the coast line. If you want to go fast choose another way of transportation.

Staying close to the coast also means that you always have mobile phone coverage. Which in day by day life could be seen as negative thing, while if something goes wrong, it makes a huge difference!

Fuel

Is there enough fuel for the trip?

Backup

Should the engine stop, what then? Equip your boat with at least a paddle. Better to have a pair and also test if you find a comfortable position allowing you to efficiently row.

Also having an anchor on board is a good idea.

Water

Bring some drinking water with you. Sea water is salty, didn’t you know?

Communication

Mobile phone or VHF, if you know how to use it. Just make sure that they are water proof. For mobile phones I remember we used waterproof pouches made by Aquapac.ย As per today there are probably much better solutions, still we used those pouches for a very long time. The neck band is also very useful as it allows you to fasten the phone either to you or to the boat. In case of capsizing, in fact, it doesn’t help to have a waterproof phone on the seabed. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is also valid for any other object which is useful, as the bailer or the anchor. ALWAYS tighten the anchor to your boat (I have already lost one, that way!).

The advantage of today’s smart phones is the fact that you can use GPS to know your position. Should you be interested in having even more information you may use the application made byย Navionics in order to have your position visualised directly on a map.

In other words, before leaving for a trip on the sea, please consider what kind of trip you are going to do and organise yourself accordingly! ๐Ÿ™‚

Marinella, the famous ties shop, is leaving Lugano

Past weekend I was walking through Lugano and while looking at the shop windows I saw that Marinella is closing. Until the end of March they will still be opened and they are liquidating their inventory and you might find some interesting.

The shop address is the following one:

Marinella, Via della Posta 2, 6900 Lugano

Link to tel.search.ch

The aim of this post is not really to publicise Marinella’s shop, but is more related to the devolution of Lugano. I have been reporting, on a more general scale about this phenomenon already in the past: What future for Ticino?

Marinella is not the only luxury brand which has left Lugano, Bulgari left almost one year and half earlier. What about the other luxury brands, will they have interest in staying in Via Nassa?

What intrigues me is what may come next, who will be interested in taking the spaces which are going to be left empty after Marinella closes?

What future for Ticino?

It is a recurring question. It is, because economical conditions are worsening since the bank sector is reducing it’s importance in the whole of Switzerland. But for Ticino, which is a small territory and the bank sector was the main driver, this has even worse consequences. And, as if this wasn’t difficult enough there is a big neighbour, Italy, which has an even worse economical situation: there are almost 60’000 commuters coming from Italy every day, which are now working in Ticino, taking qualified jobs for a fraction of the Swiss cost. Still, since the Italian cost for living is lower, for Italians also a fraction of the Swiss salary is a decent alternative to staying home unemployed. For locals it is difficult to compete: therefore politics has taken some actions in order to reduce the phenomenon. Nevertheless I believe that protectionism,ย even though it is a natural reaction, it won’t solve the issue. Also because, I would like to remember, commuters is not the main issue: Ticino’s biggest business sector, banks, has taken a major hit. With what should we replace it?

Tourism could be an answer, although the strength of the Swiss franc doesn’t help.

It should be mentioned though that the few times I have visited some hotels in Lugano, either they are really expensive, or if you try something more accessible it is depressing: many are still from the sixties and never refurbished. Decadence all over the place! It is true though that some new hotels have been built in Lugano: I believe one is an Ibis hotel, which being very near to the motorway exit, is very convenient, but is not going to be the choice for someone who would like to stay a bit longer than one night.

I’m afraid that some new ideas should be found in order to promote Ticino and make it more interesting for companies, of course companies bringing value and not only warehouses, as it has happened in the past. Maybe companies of the technological sector?

I mean Ticino already has many things which are interesting for companies. Being in Switzerland there is a stable government, taxes shouldn’t be that high, infrastructure is available, bureaucracy is not as heavy as in other countries, … probably the main issue is that salaries are so expensive. Still, they are cheaper than in the rest of Switzerland, I would say! ๐Ÿ™‚

Or someone has better ideas?

A personal challenge: increasing productivity

I’m so good at it! I believe there aren’t many others capable of procrastinating as easily as I do. And every time with a different excuse… which I tell myself and in which I actually believe in. And the most incredible thing is that I do all of this without even realising it.

I have been trying multiple methods in order to increase my productivity, but as you may easily imagine, there is not much that you can do, unless you don’t decide that to do what you have to do.

Still I may share some of the things that work for me, maybe they could work for you too.

  • Involve other people in what you would like to do: for example, if you have to study something, set an appointment with a colleague of yours in order to repeat together what you have learned. This appointment should have the same effect of a small exam, so that you feel like you have to get prepared;
  • For the period of time that you have to prepare alone, don’t stay home. There are too many distractions. Go where there other people learning, working. Like a library. Keep changing places: once the library gets too comfortable, change for another one. You should try to have the “new place” effect every now, in order to avoid routine.
  • While learning, try to give yourself a finite amount of time, were you will only learn/work. Any side thought which is keeping you from focusing? Write it on a piece of paper and leave it there: you will have time for that after. How can you choose how long you should concentrating on your work? Start small and when you get better make longer periods. Next time I’ll try with a 20 minutes shot.
  • Have decent amount of sleep, avoid going late to bed. Best is going to bed around 22.30 (I never manage to, but I know that when I do manage, I really feel better the day after). And if you manage to do it over a longer time period you will gain health too.
  • When you take pauses avoid all the addicting activities like watching youtube videos, tv, playing computer games, surfing the web. What I’m trying right now is to play some music. Maybe some physical activity could be great too. If you manage to avoid getting involved intoย addictive activities the chances that you start learning again after the pause,ย are higher.
  • I have decided, as a measure to defeat my procrastination habit, to write about it. Share your adventure with others in the good days and in the bad days.
  • One last trick that I have thought I should try, which I haven’t tried yet though, is, if you really don’t manage to stay away from those addictive activities, then measure the time you dedicate to them. And write it down on your diary or blog. I believe that in the long run, it will help you motivate yourself in reducing the time dedicated to being addicted and devoting in being yourself and making good use of the capabilities that were given to you.

The subject of this post is very personal, meaning that each person has a different way to deal with this kind of issue and sadly, there is no recipe working for each of us. You have to test, proceed by trial and error and with some effort you will manage to find the way that makes you increase your productivity and finally reach the goals that you wanted to.

As I mentioned before I have decided to write about it, because maybe it will give me more motivation in doing the things I have to do and at the same time, I hope to reach out to someone else with the same issue. Because the one thing that I have noticed is that people don’t talk much about this issues, probably because it is not interesting. But… hey, do you imagine how much you could achieve if you were going to spend the time you spend watching youtube videos, learning? Or doing sports? Or how many interesting stories you would hear by talking to random people in a bar?

If you feel like, just add your thoughts and advices about increasing your productivity. Right now I’m wishing it was already morning in order to go to work and have the chance to defeat my procrastination habit, at least for a day! I’ll come back to you and we shall see how it goes!

Cold walk, warm lights, happy feeling

Damn is it cold! And, it is not even 18:00, but the sky is so dark around me: me walking alone, with winter sport clothing swooshing at each step, a few cars passing by, one or even two passengers standing waiting for their bus. As unwelcoming this may sound it is also so intimate: me, the mountains, a few stars brightly shining and some warmer lights from houses around me. People watching TV, mothers preparing dinner in the kitchen, an older lady knitting… by quickly glancing through their windows I almost felt at home too.

WarmLights.png

Makes me feel happy! And quickly proceed to the small supermarket to buy the last missing things for our drink…