It’s always nice to learn about the future. The fans of winter sports, skiing and snowboarding in particular, had the chance to get a glimpse of the future of their favorite sports only last month. During the 2013 London Ski & Snowboard Show top brands presented their latest products and gave the visitors an idea of how the future of their favorite winter sports can look like. Cardiovascular training machines that can help you become a better skier, the Skia Sweetspot Ski Trainer that helps skiers to learn how to find a better balance, new versions of cameras, touch-screen sports gloves (!) for various winter sports are some of the latest gadgets that were presented for the first time to the public.

Did I forget anything? Well, Monarch Airlines interviewed some of the top brands on the field so better check for yourselves if you’re interested to find out more about winter sports gadgets and trends. Learn more here.

Rome: the eternal city of joy!


Rome, The Eternal City

Rome – the eternal city! Who would not dream of a city break to charming Rome? Rome is a seducing place regardless of the season and of the time of the day. Whether you decide to suddenly fly to Rome for a romantic break in the middle of the winter, indulging in its sophisticated restaurants while out for a romantic dinner in the candle light or you just go out there rambling on the picturesque streets of the historical city, having your flavored cappuccino in the playful morning light, the city will never disappoint you. Would this be the reason why we all call it eternal? Maybe. There are many reasons to hop in a plane at any time and go out there, roaming around the marvelous and always surprising Rome!

As the capital city of Italy and the fifth most populous city in the European Union, with around 5 million inhabitants settled in the city and throughout the borders of the wider metropolitan area, Rome is always busy, colorful and entertaining. Rome is eternal both in the livelihood it encompasses today within its borders and in its long standing history spanning on a period of time of over 2 millennia and a half, from its legendary foundation in 753 BC. Ever since its first days of existence, Rome was meant to be grand and glorious, Rome was meant to transform and reinvent itself, while still carrying through and through a more and more consistent cultural heritage, telling its fascinating story of glamor and success.


Rome, Main Monuments

Rome today is the third most visited city in the European Union (preceded only by London and Paris), welcoming yearly nearly 10 million tourists. No wonder so many run to Rome, as it stands out as one of the most culturally generous places to visit worldwide. There is the Vatican right in the heart of the city welcoming both Christian pilgrims and culture vultures alike, there are the archaeological remains of the victorious Ancient Rome that so many took inspiration from, there is the Villa Borghese, and the myriad of museums displaying some of humanity’s greatest creations, from antiquity until today. Moreover, there are the numerous affordable flights to Rome that can take anyone there in no time, regardless of the place you find yourself at in the world of the moment. Being so famous of a city, Rome has three airports: the Fiumicino airport and its most important, the older Ciampino and also the Roma-Urbe airport; in case you own your private jet, then the latter is the one for you, to land just a few kilometers from the city center just like a Roman emperor would do.

The infrastructure of Rome is remarkable, in the sense that it would fascinate whoever is to take a look at the map. The roads are disposed in a radial form. Rome is definitely a busy city, especially for the lucky inhabitants of this amazing place, since they might also have other worries while driving around in Rome than to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the place they are blessed with. Basically, Rome acquired its very special character in the more recent years to the particular street noise that came to be part of the identity of nowadays Rome: the inpatient and always accelerated roar of the motorbikes and scooters. Some prefer these means of getting by, since they can sneak in on every street or alley and park their vehicle absolutely everywhere. I can only imagine that they only replaced the sound of carts in Roman times, as no Roman will ever go by foot anywhere.  However, it would be a pity for any visitor not to go for long walks and get lost on the picturesque streets of Rome, stop by for an ice cream or for an espresso in the afternoon.


Rome, Romantic Night


Rome, Statuary

There are plenty of things to see and do in Rome when out for a walk. There are the Fontana di Trevi and the other cultural spots that are not to be missed, such as the piazzas (Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza San Pietro or even Piazza di Spania), the columns (such as Trajan’s Column), the bridges over the Tibre (such as the ancient Ponte SantÁngelo or the rather Renaissance style ones Ponte Cestio, Ponte Milvio, Ponte Nomentano or Ponte Emanuele II), to briefly mention just a few attractions. In addition to that, Rome is the perfect destination for more … contemporary activities that I am sure the ancient Rome’s patricians would have craved for if transposed into nowadays realities. Part of these activities are going out for dinner and going out shopping. Food is particularly good in Rome, and I am not referring only to the pizza. Carciofi alla romana, Gnocchi di semolino alla romana, Spaghetti alla carbonara or Saltimbocca alla romana – how does this sound to you? To me, they sound just as appetizing as the big brand names to be found on the Via dei Condotti in Rome: Bulgari, Fendi, Gucci, D&G, Prada, Versace or Armani and many more. Get ready for an adventure of eternal joy – which could only be Rome! Ciao! Ci vediamo a Roma!


Fontana di Trevi


Piazza Navona


Piazza Del Popolo


Trajan’s Column


bridge Ponte SantÁngelo


Ponte Milvio


Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II

Remembering Asterix

Asteris & Obelix

Asteris & Obelix

Why is it that we love Asterix and his adventures? One could argue that people will always love the spirit of resistance, the idea that they will always be a few who will never surrender, but fight and never give up, as irrationally and stubbornly as one might actually dare to think that it even fringes absurdity at times. Some others would probably say that it was this particular French humor incorporated in the pages of Asterix that made them laugh continuously. Finally, it would be safe to argue that Asterix will always remind us of the good old days of comics when people didn’t die like flies; as a matter of fact, no one ever dies in Asterix! There seems to be a certain degree of innocence in old European comics such as Tintin or Asterix; kids today are exposed to much more violent and cynical comic creations. Every time period imposes its own rules and attitudes and this element transcends through the pages of Asterix.


Asterix, The Village

I personally grew up with Asterix… and not only! Lucky Luke was also one of my childhood heroes. With Asterix, though, I had a bigger chance of bursting into laughter as Obelix, Asterix’s best friend and companion in all kinds of adventures, was admittedly a hilarious character. Obelix could not take even a step without that reassuring presence of his beloved doggie named Idefix. A charming character, indeed!

Cacofonix & Idefix

What was also of great importance in Asterix’s enormous success worldwide was the importance on the details. Asterix’s village, the only village of Gaul (nowadays France) resisting to the Roman rule, was filled with a number of attractive characters, all of them adding to the general picture. My personal favorite would have been (without a single doubt) the village’s bard, Cacofonix: in the end of each book, he was to be found tied on a tree in order not to sing for yet another time with what was considered by his fellow villages as a terribly annoying singing voice!

But enough with slipping down the memory lane! Now is just about time for some good news: Asterix intends to live forever! The comic was originally created by Rene Goscinny (writer) and Albert Uderzo (illustrator), but it continued to reach the audience even after the premature death of Goscinny back in 1977. Uderzo took over and published a few more of Asterix’s adventures in the ancient Roman world and as it seems as definite by now, Asterix will continue to explore new lands and seek for new adventures even without Uderzo’s creative efforts.

There is a new book coming out this year entitled Asterix and the Picts. It will actually be the first Asterix book ever created without Uderzo’s active participation on the project, but it will be released with his full permission. Now, there has been a challenging debate going on lately concerning the fact of whether the new Asterix, which is to be made without the guidance and the creative spirit of at least one of its two original creators, will continue to entertain the readers in the same engaging way that it got its fans used to over the decades.  My opinion is that it was just about time for Asterix to enter a new era, while paying all respect to its particular history. Asterix has grown bigger and bigger over the decades, exceeding expectations. Asterix even has his own theme park! Located just outside Paris, the Parc Asterix receives over 1.5 million visitors per year. You can easily book your own tickets at AttractionTix and live the experience in one of the park’s many roller-coasters and other fun activities.






I’m personally looking forward to the new Asterix coming out later this year, given the fact that I was slightly disappointed by the last book, entitled Asterix and the Falling Sky, where some… aliens arrive in the village. I do hope that new creators will revive the French legend and new readers and fans will learn about the unbeatable and brave Asterix and Obelix.

Till then, one can always watch one of the four live action movies that have been released over the years, which have met consistent box office success. What is more, there is an upcoming new Asterix animated film expected in 2014. Asterix : The Land of Gods will be the first animated Asterix movie in stereoscopy 3D. Get ready for the new adventures!

Explore the Marvel Universe: Movies, Theme Parks and More

Marvel Comics, Wolverine

As I was growing up, Marvel Comics was just a company publishing comic books for the fans of the “Ninth Art”, as comics came to be recognized today. In other words, it had a specific target group: the readers of graphic novels, which were quite often considered to be a bit geekish and into their own world. These days are long gone. The Marvel of today is a giant of entertainment and its fictional characters dominate the wildest dreams and imagination of kids and teenagers from all around the world. The movies played a huge role, no need to explain this. Ever since Marvel found its way to the big screen, it rapidly transformed, as much as it changed the way we want our super heroes to look like on screen. Ever since Iron-Man, it is true that super heroes look much more humane to our eyes, given the fact that Tony Stark is a guy just like one of us; he is a guy with many flaws that quite often doesn’t really want to learn from his… mistakes!

The Iron Man Giant

The days when Captain America (one of Marvel’s most classic characters) made its debut directly on video tapes back in 1990, missing the opportunity to hit the big screen, are long gone. Today, every single release of a movie based on Marvel characters is a world event for the entertainment industry.  Just take a look at the numbers, if you want further proof: $1,511,757,910 at the box office for last year’s The Avengers!

Iron Man Landing

What is more, Iron Man 3, which was released only last month, has already reached $1.08 billion worldwide, while its cost of production made for only one fifth of this amount; now, this is what I call a goldmine! Fortunately for us, there is more to come. In 2013 we expect the brand new The Wolverine and the return of both Thor and Captain America with the Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Additionally, Spiderman, X-Men, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers are expected to return on screen in the following two years. At the same time, we will also welcome the arrival of some new characters. I am personally looking forward to meet the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Ant-Man in 2015!

Captain America, Marvel Comics

If your love for Marvel characters is unlimited and the movies picturing them are simply not enough to satisfy your hunger, then you shouldn’t really worry about anything, because you can have more of them. Just pack your things and fly away to Florida! The Universal Orlando Resort awaits for you with its spectacular Universal Islands of Adventure.  Marvel’s super heroes have strong competition, as they have to compete with guys like Indiana Jones, boys like Harry Potter and his friends, or even prehistoric monsters such as the tyrannosaurus from Jurassic Park. All of the aforementioned have their place in Universal’s park.

Universal Islands of Adventure in Florida, Marvel Theme Park


Fantastic Four

There are plenty of things to do in Orlando, I know! But for all of you Marvel enthusiasts things are quite simple: you only have to make sure that you will book early at the Florida Attractions available at Florida Tix and the rest will come smoothly.

I don’t know if you remember a hilarious scene in a Jim Jarmusch movie titled Down by Law, where Roberto Benigni along with his prison mates John Lurie and Tom Waits started shouting, strangely enough with absolutely no reason, in the middle of the night… “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream”…

Well, at the Marvel Super Hero Island you will be definitely screaming for more – at least for more of  the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man,which is actually a 3-D simulator ride around New York; I guess you will find it hard to forget!

There is also the Incredible Hulk Coaster, a tribute to Hel Storm from the X-Men, with the Storm Force Accelatron and, finally, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall inspired by The Fantastic Four.

While in the U.S. Universal holds all exclusive rights on Marvel characters (and this is the reason you can’t find your favorite super heroes in the Walt Disney World Resort), in the rest of the world things are different. Only a few months ago, it was revealed that Marvel characters will feature the Hong Kong Disneyland sometime in the near future. What is more, in the United Arab Emirates the Marvel Adventure mini theme park (part of the City of Arabia entertainment) is expected to open its gates in late 2013. Finally, the executives of Disneyland Paris have announced that a Marvel theme park is part of their long term future plans.

Apart from all these, one thing is for sure: goodbye, and thanks for the memories, Superman! Long live Iron-Man from now on!

Around the world in 80… showers!

Traveling all around the world is the dream of many of us. Ever since 1873, when Jules Verne published his renowned book Around the World in 80 Days, the world is set on this particular number: 80! Up until today, Verne’s influential book is still thought to be a cultural reference that inspires many and feeds the imagination of even more… Today, it might be easier to travel all around the globe in 80 days, though. The world has changed in a remarkable manner since 1873!

As a matter of fact everyone must have given a thought or two to traveling all around the world in 80 days, at least for a fleeting instant. Back in our childhood we must have surely fancied about it, especially when reading Verne’s novel. As grown-ups, we might fancy it still, especially during those stressful days at work or when at home while checking on the bills. Doesn’t it feels like running away!? Doesn’t it feel like taking a refreshing break sometimes? Doesn’t it feel that it’s just about time to go for the adventure of your lifetime all around the globe in 80 days? For sure it does, for many of us!  Still, truth is, not all of us have the chance to go for it. However, for those who have, the idea of traveling around the world in 80 days might seem not so original and authentic anymore.

But what about traveling all around the world in 80 showers!? If it might be too boring of a thought to travel the world in 80 days, then it is at least intriguing to travel the world in 80… showers! Quite recently, a traveler completed a fascinating voyage around the world his quest for showers. His aim and target was to witness, take notice and try out for himself as many showering experiences as possible.

Gary Knox, a blogger and a traveler who got stroke by luck was the one to be chosen among 600 candidates to travel on behalf of Mira Showers, a popular brand in the world of showers. Knox wondered around the world for months, updating everyone about his latest adventures through his social media accounts.

Knox visited India, Panama, Australia, New Zealand, America, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Hong Kong, among various other places. As for what he saw and experience… well, he took a bath with the lovely elephants of Kerala in wonderful India, for starters! He also visited Queenstown in New Zealand, where the world’s first commercial jumping site is located. He did jump, yes! from a height of 43 meters, as a matter of fact! He visited the pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela in what must have been an unforgettable experience, as Kumbh Mela is the place where millions of Hindus celebrate their very much alive beliefs and tradition every 12 years. Who can ever doubt that Gary Knox is a lucky man!? He even made it to Niagara Falls! He crossed the Panama Canal and, more or less, he did go on the traces of Jules Verne’s fascinating and adventurous characters…

To travel the world in 80 showers must have been an enriching, fun and educative trip. Gary Knox must have enjoyed it the most, but same goes for all those following his Facebook account for months, waiting to get a glimpse of his new adventures in so many different corners of the world.

Apart from being organized for entertaining or commercial purposes, the trip sponsored by the top shower brand Mira Showers along with travel agents WeHoliday and WeFly ,also stood for a humane chance and a remarkable opportunity to raise awareness on issues of poverty. Knox’s trip was also linked with WaterAid, a global charity organization aiming to improve access to drinkable or clean water in Third World countries. It is deeply sad to think about the daily reality of people who do not have access to drinking water. Knox witnessed this harsh reality that some of our fellow humans have to face daily in their lives. Raising funds for Water Aid continues even after Knox’s trip is over, as he kept us posted through his blog and brought a great deal of attention around the issue. We can now only hope that more and more people will get the help they need due to a noble cause that should definitely concern us all.

I hope that this effort will find inspire more and we’ll have the chance to see it happening again in the near future!