Road to Santiago de Compostela

732 km on foot from  St Jean Pied de Port to the cathedral of Santiago. At least one month of walking passing from the peaks of the Pyrenees to the boiling meseta till the forests of Galicia.

This is El Camino de Santiago.

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Students, families, religious groups face this challenge each for a different reason but they all follow ‘Las conchas’, the shell symbols used to indicate the path.

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A backpack of at least 9 kg, blisters and physical pain are the inseparable companions of this adventure. Wearing comfortable technical  shoes is a necessity ironically remembered along the way.

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Fortunately,  it is easy to find small restaurants where to revive body and soul thanks to a tortilla and a empanada. A beer is here a must at any hour of the day.

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Small villages are always ready to welcome walkers; la Credential, a sort of ID of the pilgrim filled by the timbres of the different churches encountered along the way, will allow you to stay at the hostels for low prices.

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The majority of the hostels is equipped with kitchen. If not the same owner will cook you dinner. Even washing machines will always be present, even in the most unexpected places.

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Competition for the few available beds in the smaller countries and the summer heat forced many to get up at dawn but the eyes are certainly rewarded for this effort.

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Despite the several interesting travelers you will encounter, the road will seem endless, and often you’ll find yourself wishing water more than anything else in the world.

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But when in the distance you will see the cathedral as longed, the beautiful city of Santiago won’t be your only gain. Spiritual enrichment, a greater self-knowledge, and a feeling of accomplishment will be a far more heavy personal baggage of the 9 kg backpack with which you get used to walking.

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Zoolander 2 review

Ben Stiller returns 15 years later to direct the sequel to one of the last decade cult comedies. It will be just a commercial operation or also a re-quality films?

 


Fifteen years have passed since Derek Zoolander was considered the most famous fashion model. His responsibilities for the death of his wife and the custody of their child to social services have moved the ex ridiculously good-looking man, starring Ben Stiller, to a hermit’s life in the mountains.

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The poster of the movie

In a desert halfway around the world the other former fashion legend Hansel, aka Owen Wilson, faces a deep family crisis. Together with a bewitching fashion Interpol agent, Penelope Cruz, they will return to a high fashion world they no longer recognize to foil a plot against the most famous pop stars and win back the love of their families.

The first Zoolander, released in theaters in conjunction with the 9/11 attacks and initially snubbed by the critics, has earned over the years, thanks to a successful afterlife on DVD and streaming services, the cult status.

With its mix of slapstick silliness, gentle satire at the fashion industry, and superficial narcissist characters, had anticipated the rise of selfies culture.

There were all the prerequisites for a new good result, and a strong marketing campaign made of world record selfie stick and fashion shows at the Fashion Week in Paris, contributed to further increase the hype for this sequel.

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Unfortunately this Zoolander 2 betrays precisely in those that had been the ingredients of its success. The exaggerated pursuit of paroxysm dilutes the strength of satire in hitting the vices of modern society.

The main characters, deprived of the their spontaneous stupidity by a botched emotional depth, are reduced to trivial caricatures.

The plot with its development as a crime story with biblical background, tries to hint at Dan Brown with an Austin Power style. The result is a jumble of different genres whose sense of confusion is increased by the several cameos of famous actors, singers and even affirmed fashion designers.

The film though rarely tickle (the parody of perfume advertising is brilliant) still manages to make smile thanks to the settled harmony between Stiller and Wilson, and to smart choices of costumes and vocabulary, which reach their highest point in the excellent character played by Kristen Wiig. The magnificent Roman locations where the story is set are well-aimed too.

As is so often the case in the sequels of comedies, the inventive luggage that belonged to the predecessor is lost. Zoolander 2 forcedly trying to escape this non-written law of Cinema gives its genuine non-sense soul up.

New Year Valentine’s Day

Around 250,000 people of different cultures decided in an alternative way to spend this Valentine’s 2016. So many in fact flocked to the West End’s streets of London for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Lanterns, dragons, carp of all colors have thus replaced the red roses.

The annual capital’s parade, the biggest in the world outside China, has marked with one week delay, the beginning of the year of the monkey.


The schedule of the event, despite the large turnout and a small protest against dog- eating, had no setbacks thanks to the help of many volunteers. Cindy, 21, Chinese volunteer who studies in London, said :

“Even if this environment is different from China, taking part to the celebrations makes me feel closer to my origins,”

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Unmissable selfie in the crowd of Chinatown

The highlight of the celebration has featured ten lion teams acting their propitiatory dance among the restaurants, craft stalls and food stands of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue till the heart of Chinatown.

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A team of dancing lion

On the Trafalgar Square stage artists visiting from China specifically for the occasion performed acrobatic show, theatre and song recitals.

A family area at Charing Cross Road have hosted martial arts demonstrations and an opera performance from the Chinese Young Cultural Ambassadors, providing a welcome shelter from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding streets.

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Martial arts demonstrators

London confirms once again to be one of the cosmopolitan capital of Europe.

Tourists of all backgrounds have taken advantage of this opportunity of contact with a still mysterious culture. Like Marie, 51, half french woman who said:

“I’ve always been fascinated by Chinese culture, since I was five. I came here to learn more about the year of the monkey. I think that it is showed the happy side of China.”

 

A LSJ lesson by Chris Wheal : Online Publishing

Short guide to Online Writing, tips and suggestions to be searched in the web, from the award-winning freelance journalist Chris Wheal.

Have you ever tried googling your own name? What was the result?

This apparently silly question has begun the first online publishing lesson of the post graduate 2016 course of the London School of Journalism. Actually it serves to understand your own position and fame in the current social media.

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15 fundamental social for a journalist

Internet has indeed changed the way of enjoying and offering content. Even a simple video or audio of the class can be spread around the world in seconds.

However, we are 3 billion netizen. So how can you get noticed and be read ?

  1. You must take advantage of the multiplicity of existing social media. Treat in detail your own profile, making it attractive, updated and interconnected.
  2. Especially in the field of journalism, you have to write in smart way. Condense in the first 10 seconds of reading the core of your thought. Once an internaut ends up on your pages, temp him to dedicate more minutes.
  3. Make your stories detectable by the search engine algorithms through instruments such as:
  • links to additional info
  • dates to be find in the archives
  • concrete examples to make the story time proof
  • key words and famous names

Before his lesson comes to an end Chris gave the class the assignment to open two blogs. In journalism you can’t be reluctant to expose yourself, you must put yourself on the line.

This is Chris Wheal’s main teaching today.