Category Archives: Around The World

Happy New Year!

For my first post of 2017, I would like to convey to all my readers the usual good wishes for a healthy, happy and successful new year. More specifically, I hope that the next twelve months will bring you defining moments to take you closer to your dreams, whatever they may be.

I decided against writing a post about my goals this time. Mainly, I want to build on the ones I have set my heart onto in recent years and our stay in the South of France a the end of December gave me the opportunity to reflect on different, untried angles to achieve them. I also realised that a change of attitude was in order. I may later on share with you on that chain of thoughts!

For now, let’s go back in time… 2016 was a funny year, one when I often felt held back, and this applied to my blog too. Having gone to Italy last July, it took me until November to finally tell you about it. Today, I am indeed taking you to France but it will be all summery and bright. As always, the whole gallery is available on Of Lens And Pen, should you need a higher dose of sun and colours – with a hint of black and white!

I would love to hear about what you got up to during the festive season and your objectives for 2017. Do tell me!


Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen


Back To My Roots

I had not been back for nine years. My Grandmother’s native village in Piedmont. A small place built halfway up a mountain, with narrow, cobbled streets and stone houses. A short drive from beautiful Lago Maggiore and its Borromean Islands.

I spent a lovely “generation” holiday week there in the summer with my Mum, Auntie, sister and my two daughters. Cute Doggy was the only male representative! 😉 We went for walks around the village, to the nearby forest and to the “summer” hamlet, an hour’s hike up the mountain. We caught a boat to cross the lake and visited a market on the other side. As other family members were present at the same time, we had lovely meals together. Simple moments but lasting memories.

On a walk alone with the dog, I realised how much I had missed Italy. Or should I say my roots? I have always felt more Italian than Swiss. That family spirit, the love of people and spending time together with relatives and friends, often around the dinner table. I came back feeling re-energised.

I have to go back. Soon.
Piedmont - Italy - Church
Piedmont - Italy - Nautre
Piedmont - Italy -  Valley with river
Piedmont - Italy - Roman stone bridge
Piedmont - Italy - Religious painting
Piedmont - Italy - Oratory
Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen

Frankfurt Book Fair 2016

At the end of October I attended the Frankfurt Book Fair for the fourth time and spent a wonderful two days there. Unfortunately, I had very little time to plan my visit beforehand but simply wandering around the various exhibition halls is always a pleasure. Thousands and thousands of books beautifully arranged on shelves and tables, inviting the passerby to enter their own magical universe. I especially love the owl shelf from Ullstein Verlag, so pretty! It is like coming across an old friend every year. So many different countries and cultures are represented, huge publishing houses and niche ones, all bound by the same passion. Bestsellers are neighbours to cookery books, graceful art publications in one alley and mangas in the next, there is something catching the visitor’s attention at every corner. Books are only on sale on Sunday, the last day of the fair. As I always go there during the week I sadly come home empty handed
 Well, not quite. I collect reading samples for Second Daughter, brochures, pretty postcards and other bits and pieces. Once home I can look at new releases and decide what to buy next.

This year I did have an opportunity to buy books, though. The Guest of Honour was the Netherlands and Flanders, and in their Pavilion I found a selection by authors from the two countries. I picked two, in German of course, as I cannot speak a word of Dutch. I am looking forward to reading them and discovering these authors new to me.

There is a plethora of talks to choose from and I spent for example a couple of hours in front of the Amazon stage. First were two German self-published writers describing what they do to promote their work and answering the questions of aspiring authors. And second, a presentation from Amazon Publishing Germany, given by Janine Pelosi, the company’s Marketing Manager. I found this especially interesting, but it will be the subject of another post on Of Lens And Pen, my writing and photography website.

The two days flew by and I came home with aching feet but a happy heart. Bring on the 2017 edition!
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Ende Oktober besuchte ich zum vierten Mal die Frankfurter Buchmesse und verbrachte dort zwei wunderschöne Tage. Leider hatte ich dieses Jahr vorher sehr wenig Zeit, meinen Besuch zu planen, aber einfach durch die verschiedenen Messehallen zu wandern macht schon Spaß. Tausende und tausende BĂŒcher, schön auf Regalen und Tischen arrangiert, die den Passanten einladen, in ihr eigenes, magisches Universum einzutreten. Ich liebe besonders das Eule-Regal vom Ullstein Verlag, sehr sĂŒĂŸ! Es ist wie jedes Jahr einen alten Freund zu treffen. Zahlreiche verschiedene LĂ€nder und Kulturen sind vertreten, riesige und Nischen-Verlage, alle durch die gleiche Leidenschaft verbunden. Bestseller sind Nachbarn von KochbĂŒchern, anmutige Kunstpublikationen in einem Gang und Mangas im nĂ€chsten… An jeder Ecke gibt es etwas, das den Besucher begeistert. Die BĂŒcher können nur am Sonntag, dem letzten Tag der Messe, verkaufen werden. Da ich immer in der Woche hingehe, komme ich leider mit leeren HĂ€nden nach Hause… Aber nicht ganz. Ich sammele Leseproben fĂŒr meine Tochter, BroschĂŒren, hĂŒbsche Postkarten und Krimskrams. Daheim kann ich dann die neuen Veröffentlichungen anschauen und meine nĂ€chsten KĂ€ufe planen.

Dieses Jahr hatte ich allerdings die Gelegenheit, BĂŒcher zu kaufen. Der Ehrengast waren Flandern und die Niederlande gemeinsam und in diesem Pavillon fand ich eine Auswahl von Autoren dieser beiden LĂ€nder. Ich habe mich fĂŒr zwei entschieden, natĂŒrlich auf Deutsch, da ich kein Wort niederlĂ€ndisch sprechen kann. Ich freue mich schon, die beiden BĂŒcher zu lesen und diese mir neuen Autoren zu entdecken.

SelbstverstĂ€ndlich gibt es auch eine Menge VortrĂ€ge. Zum Beispiel habe ich ein paar Stunden vor der Amazon BĂŒhne verbracht. Erst kamen zwei selbst veröffentlichte Deutsche Autoren; sie beschrieben, was sie tun, um ihre BĂŒcher zu bewerben und beantworteten die Fragen von aufstrebenden Autoren. Dann folgte eine PrĂ€sentation von Amazon Publishing Deutschland von Janine Pelosi, die Marketing Managerin der Firma. Diese fand ich besonders interessant, aber das wird das Thema eines separaten Posts auf Of Lens And Pen sein, meiner Website ĂŒber das Schreiben und die Fotografie.

Die zwei Tage vergingen sehr schnell und ich kam mit schmerzenden FĂŒĂŸen aber einem fröhlichem Herzen nach Hause. Bis 2017!
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Frankfurt Book Fair 2016
Full photo gallery on Of Lens And Pen

Do Not Let Your Travel Be Ruined |
Follow These Rules

Planning your trip

Source: Pixabay/Unsplash

Travelling is never a waste of your time. Even if some things go wrong, you can still learn something new. However, you want to minimize possible problems, even if you cannot avoid all disasters. Sometimes, something might happen that you could not have predicted and you have to adjust. But there are also many things that could ruin your holiday that you have a better chance of preventing. Often, something happens because you have made a mistake when planning or executing your trip. If you want everything to happen smoothly, you have to plan properly. Here is how to avoid a ruined holiday.
Make Sure You Feel Great

One of the worst things to ruin a holiday is feeling under the weather. You do not want to spend your trip in bed or have to find a doctor. It is not always easy to prevent illness when you go travelling. It can be unpredictable and you cannot have complete control over how you feel. However, you can take some steps to improve your chances of being strong and healthy. You should start by checking any health information for your destination. You might need vaccinations, or there could even be a current health crisis. Some women might want to take norethisterone tablets to delay their period. You do not want cramps and bad moods to get in the way of your fun. You might also need other precautions, such as pills for altitude sickness.
Preparing for travelling

Source: Pexels/Unsplash

Plan Everything

The secret to any successful trip is to plan, plan, plan. While being spontaneous can be fun on occasion, it is best to have some idea of what you are doing. At the very least, you need to plan the first leg of your trip. You should know how to reach your destination and preferably have somewhere to stay for the first night or two. When you are planning, you can ensure everything is taken care of. This can range from checking the entry requirements for the country you are visiting to booking activities. It is better to get organised than to leave things until the last minute.
Choose Travel Partners Carefully (and Learn to Keep the Peace)

Going travelling with your spouse or your best friend might seem like an excellent idea. But they will not always be the best person to take with you. Before you invite someone to come along, you need to think about whether the trip will be suitable for them. Even if they seem excited about the idea, the reality could be that they have other expectations than your own. You need to consider whether your travel goals match up. Do not be afraid to travel solo too. If you do take anyone with you, making sure you get along will improve your trip. While you cannot prevent other people from picking fights, you can find ways to keep the peace and ensure everyone is happy. One of the best things you can do is keep communication open. If something is annoying you, do not bottle it up. You can discuss it calmly and resolve the issue, but make sure you return the favour if anyone else has a problem with your behaviour.
Travel with someone or solo

Source: Pexels/Anamoul Rouf

Meet New People

Another way your travel partners might contribute to ruining your trip is if you only hang out with them. While it is not their fault, spending too much time together might not be wise. It is a good idea to make an effort to meet new people. You do not have to do this alone if you do not want to. You can still socialise with your travel partners while meeting new people together. You could make some great friends to spend time with while you are there or stay in touch with when you get home.
Stick to Your Budget

You have run out of money and you are only halfway through your trip. You are going to have to spend money that was not marked for your holiday or maybe even borrow some. Perhaps you will have to use your credit card, which means paying fees. You can avoid ruining your trip by setting a budget and sticking to it. Think about your budget before you make any purchases. Try to plan for anything, whether it is an ice cream on the beach or a tour of the city. Small purchases can add up until you have spent much more than you intended to. Even if you want to buy things spontaneously, you can still set a budget for how much is reasonable.
You do not want to ruin a holiday that you have spent time and money on. If you plan appropriately and have the right attitude, it should be a success.
Disclosure: This post has been contributed.