AFAR’s June/July issue is featuring another image from my Vietnam’s travel. First time was on March/April issue and now one of my favorite images of Cao Dai’s temple is part of AFAR’s highlights. (p.45) To read more on Cao Dai temple and see more pictures, please see my post here.
And here is the text: “…From Ho Chi Minh City I rode a bus a few hours to the Cao Dai temple in Tay Ninh. The exterior incorporates sacred images, symbols and colors from Cao Dai, a Vietnamese religion that draws from Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Roman Catholicism…”
But more over, AFAR’s editor has asked me to be featured in the contributors page! Here is the text under my picture:
“…Having built a career in media and advertising, photojournalist Sivan Askayo quit her corporate job five years ago. ‘It was always my dream to combine my three passions: photography, traveling and writing’ she says. ‘I decided that if it’s not now, it’s never’. Askayo, a frequent AFAR.com contributor (Highlights. p.45), now globe-trots for a living and has become known for her images of street art and hanging laundry. ‘I don’t take portraits of people; I take portraits of places’ says Askayo, who was born in Tel Aviv and lives in New York. Her photo have been published in Travel + Leisure, Marie Claire Italia and Hemispheres…”
Issue no. 7 of SisterMag is all about Italy. I was so excited when Thea asked me to contribute to this issue, and I already knew that from all Italian cities I’ve traveled to, I would choose Florence.
If you love Italy, than this SisterMag issue is for you. Flip through the colorful pages and read my article on page 54.
Florence is one of the most romantic cities I know. Let’s face it.
I was 16 years old when I first visited Florence. It was a ‘Sweet 16′ trip to Italy and the tour guide took us to Florence, just for a day. All I remember from that day was the statue of David. I remember how my parents got excited to hear I saw the statue of David, and my sister was shocked to hear he was naked. It took me 20 years to go back to Florence for the second time, and honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long.
Last year I got the urge to visit Florence. But Florence only. Was it because of a Travel article I read or just my imagination and curiosity to focus on Florence only, I don’t know… but eventually my instincts were right! Florence was glorious. A little Renaissance gem in North of Italy. My trip was mostly focused on photography and my wish to see more of this city than the statue of David. I walked a lot, as walking is my favorite way of discovering a new place and I got into some great neighborhoods beside the touristic attractions.
Florence for me was running up the hills all the way to Piazzale Michelangelo, just to see the city waking up soaked in a morning dew.
Florence for me was climbing up 412 stairs up the tower of the Duomo, for the sake of taking beautiful pictures.
Florence for me was all about chocolate and coffee. Better have a coffee for two at the mythological Cafe Gilli, or drinking coffee cream at Caffe Scudieri with a chocolate ice cream right with it.
Florence is walking through Santa Croce’s busy courtyard or feeding pigeons in San Marco Square.
Florence for me was visiting the Academia at via Ricasoli on a busy day, paying only 4 euros to see the masterpiece of David, and sneaking pictures of him when the museum guards were not watching.
Florence is visiting Galleria Uffizi and observing The Birth of Venus, The Primavera or the Neptune statue in full glory.
Florence is having Ricotta Cheese and Figs for lunch and chocolate and ice cream for dinner.
Florence is walking in cobble stone streets with funny names such as Via de Tornabuoni or Via Maffia
Florence is having an afternoon stroll in Giardino di Boboli, or drinking water from Fontana dello Sprone.
Florence is watching men in their best tailored suits riding their bicycles.
Florence is visiting the Towers of Donati or the great halls of the old synagogue in Via Farini.
Florence is walking through Piazza San Lorenzo markets, Piazza Del Republica or passing by Palazzo Pitti.
Florence is watching the sunset over Ponte Vecchio while you are holding a bottle of wine in one hand and your loved one in other.
Florence is doing and experiencing all of the above.
Over and Over again
The Travel magazine, Travel +Leisure is publishing once a year an annual book about the World’s Greatest Hotels. This year, I was asked to shoot one of the most beautiful hotels in Israel, Efendi Hotel in Acre, to be published in the book.
To see more images and my post about the Efendi, please click here.
In case you don’t have a chance to get the World’s Greatest Hotels’ book, here is the text about Efendi;
‘In the beach-lined port city of Acre, in Israel’s northern Galilee, a pair of Ottoman – era mansions sat empty for years until local restaurateur Uri Jeremias saw their untapped potential. Under his watchful eye- and in strict accordance with Israel’s Antiquities Authority guidelines – the two residences, complete with Byzantine walls and Crusader-period cellars, were intricately restored to become the palatial Efendi Hotel. The 12 white-on-white rooms are paragons of preservation, with marble floors and the original trompe l’oeil ceilings. In lieu of turndown chocolates, guests indulge in handmade Arab sweets presented in silver boxes. Israeli wines and pan-Mediterranean dishes are the focus in the 900-year-old cellar turned tapas bar; after you’ve had your fill, stroll south along the Mediterranean, passing the city’s 4,000-year-old sights along the way.
Tel Aviv vs. Paris is an on going photography project I’m shooting. These are two cities I visit quite often and observe them as an outsider.
I must admit that I was very inspired by Vahram Muratyan’s project ‘Paris vs New York, a tally of two cities’ so I decided to pull my photographic eye into it and see what comes up. I’m choosing a phrase/a location or a word (in bold) and see how it interacts in these two cities.
Image above: City Spikes Notre Dame vs. Dizingoff Center Tower
Image above: Common Bread Cheese Rolls at Du Pain et des Idees vs. Soft Bagels at Abu-Lafia
Image above: Water Fronts Tel Aviv Hilton Beach vs. La Seine
Image above: Young Love Sitting along the Seine and watching the Notre Dame vs. Sitting in front of a pool in Rabin Square
Image above: Vintage Old Books along the Seine vs. Old Postcards in Jaffa’s Flea Market
Image above: Coffee Break Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville vs. Rotschild Blvd
Image above: City Overview Montmartre vs. Tel Aviv Beach Front
Image above: Holly Places The Big Synagogue in Alenbi st. vs. The Notre Dame
Image above: Street Art Know Hope vs. Jef Aerosol
Image above: Trendy Hoods Gan Hachasmal vs. Canal st. Martin
Image above: Columns The Big Synagogue in Alenbi st. vs. The Pantheon
Image above: Shoes Window Display in Rue Rue Saint-Honoré. vs. Designer’s Studio in South of Tel Aviv
Image above: Business Centers Business District of La Défense. vs. Azrieli Towers
Image above: Night Lights The Notre Dame vs. Agam Fountain in Dizingoff Square
Image above: Lucky Charms Padlocks on Pont l’Archevêché vs. Hamsa in Shuk Hakarmel
“…If you tell the Truth, you don’t have to remember anything…”
Ho Chi Minn, Vietnam, February 2012
This picture was taken on my second day in Ho Chi Minn. I was just walking around Ben Thanh Market when I saw those two sitting across each other, having (as it looked like) a conversation. I’ve noticed the distance between the two stools and I wondered if it was really a conversation, an argument, maybe a game they were playing. Maybe even some sort of treatment or a game they were playing.
I didn’t want to come closer (even though I was very curious) as I didn’t want to interfere with their dynamics or change the balance. Sometimes, a photographer just need to capture a moment, and the rest is like ‘filling in the blanks’…
What do you think they were talking about?
For the last couple of months I wrote so much about Lisbon, which is starting to be one of my favorite cities I visit. I’ve visited Lisbon last February as I was writing an article about the city. I’ve discovered so many new locations, hotels, restaurants and nice boutiques and decided to share this information with my Israeli readers.
My recent article about Lisbon is now featured in At Magazine, a Fashion and Life style magazine in Israel. The article will be on an A3 format, especially for the Spring Holidays.
There is nothing like coming to a familiar place for the second time and feel like you never left it. This is what happened to me when I arrived at Lisbon in January for a shoot. I arrived at the airport at 11pm and took a taxi straight to Gat Rossio Hotel, where I was staying in my previous visit. When I got to the hotel, the concierge welcomed me with a ‘Welcome Back Miss Askayo’ so I knew it was going to be a great stay. I raved about Gat Rossio and its young and warm atmosphere in a previous post and it is just getting better.
In my first visit to Lisbon in June I stayed for 48 hours but discovered so much. In my second visit, I already knew my way around and still, discovered so many new places to write about. You can read all my previous posts and recommendations about Lisbon in the following links.
Here is a selection of some new places worth checking when you visit Lisbon; Mostly for their style, design and their great concept.
FonteCruz Hotels is part of the Marriott collection with five hotels in Spain, and the Lisboa hotel (2011) is the first one to be opened outside of Spain and marks the beginning of a new growth route in Europe. The five-starts hotel is located in the fashionable Avenida Liberdade, which makes it a great and accessible location to the city center. The concept of the hotel is an Autograph Collection of old Lisbon postcards. The designer picked original old postcards, enlarged them to a half-wall size and made them as the back of the bed. The hotel is built of two buildings; One is all white, which represents the old part of the city and the other one is all black, which is more modern. The hotel owners also manufacture the Spanish Pinot Noir, which, of course can be purchased at the hotel bar.
Hotel Fonte Cruz Lisboa, Avenida Liberdade 138, Lisboa
If you are more interested in the night life of Lisbon, I highly recommend to stay in the area of Barrio Alto, known as the nigh-life and entertainment district of Lisbon. One of the most beautiful hotels in Barrio Alto is LX Boutique Hotel, which was a historic building, that turned into the current hotel.
Each floor in the hotel is designed and dedicated to a concept related to Lisbon; One floor is dedicated to the fado music, another floor is dedicated to the Tagus river, and others are dedicated to Barrio Alto, the Seven Hills of Lisbon, and Fernando Pessoa, one of the greatest poets of Lisbon. If you are looking for a great night hang out, just cross the street to Pensão Amor, one of my favorite bars in the city.
LX Boutique Hotel, Rua do Alecrim 12, Lisboa
This might be the most designed hostel in Lisbon, located just across the street from the São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint, overlooking the Tagus river, Rossio area and Castelo st. Jorge. The hostel is designed and targeted mostly for young travelers who are used to ‘dormitory’ conditions and sleep on bunk beds. There are 90 bunk beds spread across 11 spacious rooms. Each floor has an airy living room with comfortable sofas, where young travelers can hang out and share their experience with other travelers.
If sleeping on bunk beds is not your style, you can stay in one of the four suites Independente offers. The suites are well designed with cute little sun balconies, where guests can enjoy a good breakfast. The hotel atmosphere is very young and hype, maybe because of the majority of the young travelers, and around night time, it is one of the most popular hang out, thanks to the The Decadente restaurant in the ground floor.
The Independente Hostel & Suites, Rua de Sao Pedro de Alcantara 81, Lisboa
I love that restaurant. It is known for its great young vibe, a modern Portugese kitchen and a retro-vintage chic feel. The restaurant, which is part of the hotel, is an attractive meeting place for lunch or dinner. Adjacent to the restauran there is a small bar with a DJ position that plays music every night.
I highly recommend to book Decadente either for a dinner or a brunch. Great fresh food, reasonable prices, fun atmosphere and friendly service (The waiter drew for me some directions around Lisbon on the restaurant’s napkins). If you are there on a Tuesday, Decadente offers a new Wine & Dine menu which displays a great selection of dishes and wine tasting by the chef Nuno Bandeira Lima.
The Decadente, Rua de Sao Pedro de Alcantara 81, Lisboa
‘Canned Food goes Gourmet’ is the concept of this new restaurant, which was opened only three months ago in Terreiro do Paco, one of the central locations in downtown Lisbon. Some people might raise an eyebrow when they hear about canned food, but the final result is very surprising and delicious.
Portugal is blessed with fish and seafood, especially sardines, and considered one of the biggest canned fish exporter in Europe, so it was just a matter of time that a restaurant like that will be opened. The menu is rich and diverse, using only Portuguese products. It offers salads, sandwiches, Tibornas (spreads on bread) all presented in a very aesthetic way, accompanied with a range selection of Portuguese wines.
The restaurant was designed by one of the partners, who created a large chandelier, made out of cans. If you make reservations for dinner, you can also enjoy a live concert by a local Portuguese artist. Better make reservations ahead of time for dinner.
Can the Can, Terreiro do Paço 82/83, Lisboa
Lisbon is, no doubt, a surprising city with lots of new places and opportunities.
If you haven’t decided yet on your next holiday destination, or if you already booked Lisbon, I highly recommend to add this post to your list.
Just a day after I saw my Vietnam image published in AFAR March-April issue , an interview I did as a Featured Traveller was highlighted on AFAR’s website.
If you want to know what can be my biggest travel mistake or where would I go if I had a whole month or a whole year to travel, read it here.
I’m thrilled to have one of my favorite images of Hanoi, featured in March-April issue of AFAR Magazine.
I was visiting Vietnam last February right after Tet festival and before the Vietnamese New Year celebrations. While visiting Hanoi, I was curious to see Ho- Chi Minn Mausoleum, mostly because people warned me about it. Some said it was a creepy experience, some said it was a ‘must-see’ because of its History, so I’ve decided to check it out myself. As the hours of opening were quite limited, by the time I got there, the Mausoleum was already closed.
I couldn’t go back without taking some pictures.
So I’ve decided to take a picture of one of the guards. I loved the white uniform with the red stripes. As the guard was not really happy to be photographed, I had to pretend I was taking picture of the Mausoleum behind him. I’ve pointed my camera toward the building, but the minute he was not looking, I’ve pointed my camera at him and took this shot.
If you have the chance, please grab AFAR Magazine and tell me what you think.
I didn’t travel to Porto for its wine, nor did I travel to Porto for its delicious sea food, or its beautiful churches and towers all covered in Azule tiles.
I traveled to Porto mostly because I had an image in my mind of colorful low-rise buildings streaming down the hills all the way to the river ; an image I had to see in my own eyes and shoot with my camera. (like the one above)
An IMAGE…This is what photographers are mostly after… The rest is just a bonus.
But don’t get me wrong. I loved the wine! – I drank three kinds of Port wine in one lunch and one dinner. I loved the food! – I ate in Rui Paula’s DOP gourmet restaurant a five-fish dish, which I had to eat only clockwise and I loved the Azulejo tiles! – I didn’t stop shooting them.
But Porto mostly fascinated me for its magical atmosphere of an old mysterious or gothic (as my friend called it) city.
There was something quite special about this city. When I climbed to the top of the hill where the Cathedral is located and overlooked the red roofs of the old crumbling buildings, I instantly felt there are few sides to Porto; The Porto of the top-level, with the old churches and the bell towers and the one of the low-level, with the residential colorful buildings. I stayed in Infante Sagres, a five-stars hotel in the center of the city, but I could hear through the windows the seagulls in the sky and the church bells beaming in the background. I felt as I was on an island.
Although it is not an island, walking along the Riberia of Porto, which is one of the oldest parts of the city and was classified as World Cultural Heritage by Unesco, might give you the feeling you are on one. The river front and the dotted ships on the Douro river are really close.
Porto DOES have all the right ingredients for a perfect long weekend or a short vacation in Europe; Its gastronomy is a mirror of its cultural diversity and there are a lot of great chefs’ oriented restaurants in the city. The Port Wine, which stands out from ordinary wines thanks to its huge range of variety. The different kinds of architectural styles; from the Neoclassical to Art Nouveau (I specially loved the variety of the signs fonts) and of course, the comfortable weather.
When you book your next Porto vacation, I highly recommend to follow O Porto Cool blog. It covers almost every corner in the city and it is very up to date. I checked it on a daily basis and it really made my visit more enjoyable, knowing where to go, on a specific time of the day.
There are so many things to do and see in Porto. A long weekend that lasts for three days obviously will not be enough, but beside the beautiful churches, the marvelous castles and other iconic buildings, here are some highlights I recommend not to miss.
Might be one of the most beautiful train stations in the World, Sao Bento Railway Station was opened to the public in 1916 and is well known for its walls covered with 20,000 splendid azulejo ceramic tiles which describe the History of Portugal. It took Jorge Colaço, the artist, 11 years to complete this building. The railway station is located in the Almeida Garret Square, in the centre of the city. I happened to be there on a Saturday rainy morning, while I was looking for a place to hide from the heavy rain. It was quite interesting watching the people’s dynamics, which might look the same in every major Railway station, despite its location. This place is beautiful all year around and probably most hours of the day. Indulge in this beauty and pay attention to the little details.
Address: Praca Almeida Garrett
This is a great spot for a Weekend brunch, especially if it is raining outside. (At least that what happened to me). I loved the contrast between the raw grey industrial walls and the warm chocolate-colored wood furniture and the green plants. The furniture and accessory have that vintage touch, which I found quite unique and surprising. The place serves as a restaurant and a bar, where at the back of it, there is a minimalistic clothes store.
And then, there is the guest house, which is designed in the same atmosphere of the restaurant; grey industrial walls and minimalistic wooden beds. I love that Miss’Opo is a multi-functional space that can offer both food, style and accommodation in style. It is definitely one of the great spaces that Porto has to offer to a young and hype crowd.
Address: Rua dos Caldeireiros nº100 (restaurant)/ Rua de trás nº 49 (guesthouse)
Casa da Música, designed by Rem Koolhaas, is the first building built in Portugal which is dedicated entirely to music in various aspects; presentation of music (concerts), education of music and creation of music. The building was intended to be finished on 2001, to mark the year in which Porto became a Cultural Capital of Europe but eventually Casa da Música opened its doors to the public on April 15th , 2005. I first heard about Casa da Música when I read my travel guide about Lisbon and Casa da Música was a suggestion for a weekend getaway. The VIP Room grabbed my attention right away and I knew it was something I had to shoot. It is a multifuncional space, mainly used for sessions for small groups, installations or ceremonial occasions. The room pays an homage to Portuguese tiles and each of its panels is a reproduction of an original panel to be found in different museums in Portugal and the Netherlands. When I got to the building I was quite surprised to discover that the next time I can see the room was at 4pm. Mind you, it was only noon, but eventually (thanks to my Journalist pass) I had the chance to be in the VIP Room by myself and shoot it as much as I want. When you plan your visit in Casa da Música, plan it wisely time-wise. And treat yourself to a concert. It is worth it.
Address: Avenida Boavista 604
Another known architectural jewel in Porto is Livraria Lello, a bookstore well-known for its red stairways that look like a giant tongue. This beautiful bookstores, which was opened in 1906, was chosen one of the ten most beautiful bookstores in the world. The store was designed by Xavier Esteves and it is the flagship store for one of the most important Portuguese publishing houses. Co-owner Antero Braga is usually around, knows the Portuguese book market in and out, and will be glad to help you find exactly what you want even when you don’t have a clue about what that may be. Photography inside the store is not allowed but if you flash your Journalist card again and show up just before the store is opened, than taking pictures might be an option.
Address: Rua das Carmelitas 144
Speaking of books, Book Restaurant (which is next door to Infante Sagres hotel) is designed as a library as well and reflects the connection between literature and gastronomy in a very contemporary way. The architect is Pedro Trindade and the chef is John Mendes serving Mediterranean cuisine. I first saw the restaurant from the outside and was curious to see the decor. When I got in and sat down, the waiter handed me the menu inside The Historia da Filosofia book. I knew my dinner couldn’t be better than that!
Address: Rua de Aviz, 10
One of the busiest and fashioned streets in Porto is Rua Galerias de Paris, which, no wonder, is spotted by some cafes and restaurants that remind you of Paris. There is a cute cafe called Galeria de Paris which was quite busy during lunch time, and next door there was Era Uma a Vez em Paris, a dark cafe with great green lamps that grabbed my attention right away to get inside. When I got in, I could easily think I entered a Bohemian Parisian cafe back in the 20′s. No wonder. Era Uma a Vez em Paris, which means ‘Once Upon a Time in Paris’. I loved the decor. The dark room with the red walls, the velvet heavy sofas and the velvet green lamps transformed me immediately. Really recommended during night time, when the place becomes more intimate.
Address: Rua Galerias de Paris 106
Might be one of Portugal’s most famous cafes with a beautiful interior, Majestic Cafe is one of the best historic cafes in Europe and one of the most beautiful ones in the World. The façade, same as the interior, enlightened the street with its Art Nouveau decoration, designed by architect João Queiroz. It has a great atmosphere and not only a touristic attraction. Come with your cameras because pictures are allowed but also sit down for a coffee and a Portugese cake.
Address: Rua Santa Catarina 112
More recommended locations:
B & B hotel is a great alternative for the budget traveler. The hotel, which was opened in the end of 2011, is located right in the city center in an Art Déco building that used to be cinema “Águia d’Ouro”. The hotel has stylishly furnished rooms and a modern design and despite its luxurious facade, it offers an econo-chic concept with good price for travelers.
A Vida Portuguesa is a concept store I first discovered in Lisbon. I was quite happy to find a similar store on Rua Galerias de Paris and get some hand made olive oil soaps with funny wrapping. Definitely, get a glimpse inside the store.
DOP Restaurant which stands for ‘tasting and daring in Oporto’, is a gourmet restaurant owned by the chef Rui Paula, who combines traditional Portuguese cuisine with international flavor. The restaurant is located in Palácio das Artes (Palace of Arts), an original building from the 14th century, which used to be a youth foundation but recently was reconstructed and reopened as a restaurant. Highly recommended and preferred to book in advance.
De Castro Gaia Restaurant is located in The Porto Cruz Space just acros the river of Porto. The chef Miguel Castro Silva, unites the Porto Cruz wines with the culture of gastronomic Portuguese cuisine. Better take your drink to the rooftop of the building and sip it while looking at the beautiful view of Porto.
Porto is by far, a very fascinating city to visit. You can see it by bike, on foot and even by boat. Take advantage of the great touristic information and plan a great vacation with Porto Card. It will make everything much easier.