Giuseppe Tucci, the greatest tibetologist in the world

To get there, to cross continents, rivers and mountains, to walk for miles on the roof of the world, and then clash with the bitter truth: the doors of the Throne of God were closed to foreigners. To all foreigners. Giuseppe Tucci kicked off an icy stone that rolled to the feet of a blade, standing motionless a few meters from him; he knew that Lhasa was known everywhere to be the forbidden city , yet Heinrich Harrer two years ago- who at the time was not anyone, but in the future would become the idol of the masses thanks to the film Seven Years in Tibet taken from his book – had managed to penetrate with his friend Peter Aufschnaiter and just then, while he tried every possible way to convince the monks to be welcomed by the Dalai Lama, was inside those enchanted walls with the important role of translator of news from abroad. Giuseppe looked up at the immense palace that overlooked a steep cliff and sighed: he would not return home without first having access to the most secret place on the planet.

It was June 5, 1894 when a child with curious eyes and hands always ready to grasp what he met on his path was born in a comfortable apartment in Macerata. Today the plaque that recalls his person is in Corso Cavour and is easily visible, however, many people have memories of a teenager in Via Crispi original, not accustomed to making friends, always immersed in readings and walks in the historic ruins, which had attracted attention to itself because often, during the cold winter in the Marche region, he went out on the balcony naked and tried his hand in very difficult yoga exercises. Nobody could have imagined that the city of Macerata would have arrived in the not too distant future to dedicate even a street and an educational center to Palazzo Ugolini. Giuseppe Tucci,

the only child of a couple from Puglia who emigrated to the Marche, was for all the unusual boy who at the Liceo Classico Leopardi produced writings and essays unthinkable for a sixteen year old (so much so that the school still keeps the report card and diploma, together with a booklet made by the pupils a few years ago); it was the solitary rebel who disappeared for whole afternoons in the Municipal Mozzi Borgetti Library or in the State Library trying to decipher incomprehensible languages ​​like Sanskrit, Chinese, Hindi and many others, certainly not being able to foresee that one day among those same walls would have been preserved almost all of its 360 publications; finally, it was the young explorer who devoted hours and hours of study to the archaeological areas ofUrbs Salvia and Helvia Recina . Those hills, those excavations for him so fascinating, that call of the land of origin that drove him to plunge into the past through every modality would never have left him, not even when he died at the age of ninety in his home in San Polo dei Cavalieri. However, Macerata was only the beginning of a very long life spent traveling; a life that led him to the extreme places of the East, where no one had ever been before.

Airbnb is about to offer its users a real virtual tour inside the apartments

Booking a stay in a room or apartment is a fundamental moment when planning a trip and Airbnb knows how comfortable the accommodation affects the success of your stay. For this, the platform is planning to introduce an important innovation in the process of choosing the location within its site: the one for which users will be able to view rentable apartments – but also restaurants and points of interest – through augmented reality, in way to make a real 3D tour inside them.

To announce the news was the same company through the owner blog . The three-dimensional scanning and the 360-degree photos and videos uploaded to the site for each offer and each location will allow users to virtually enter the apartments or places of interest and get a true idea of ​​what awaits them. Since 2016, Airbnb has shown a keen interest in the technology of VR and the fruits could be seen soon.

The platform, however, is convinced that the service will be useful even once tourists have arrived at their destination, especially if the trip is in a country whose language is unknown. “You can be stressful not understanding how to open a door or the hot water in the shower, or getting lost and not being able to communicate with anyone because you do not know the language of the place,” read the Airbnb blog. And here virtual reality would come into play, which provides precise information on the space in which it “navigates”.

“Augmented reality can also give life to what we have around us, tell the story of objects and connect travelers with their guests in a richer and more immersive way,” they then explain from American society. “Many argue that VR can isolate people even more, but we are building tools that have the opposite effect.”

There is a figure, however, that Airbnb does not provide: the release date of new features.

Pentema, the Ligurian village that becomes a crib

It is a story that has been going on for 23 years , stronger than the landslides that have tormented this Ligurian Apennines village at an hour’s drive from Genoa. It was 1994, and at Christmas Mass in the church of Pentema, in the Municipality of Torriglia, people were counting on the fingers of one hand. “If this was going on, Pentema would die”, says Angelo Carpignano, a Genoese who spent most of the year in a village of a few houses next to the town. “Something had to be invented”. At the suggestion of the then parish priest of the village, Don Pietro, the following Christmas was born a crib that brought Pentema back at the end of the nineteenth century, with the crafts of the time recreated among its streets, in the houses, in the rooms of the ancient stone houses .


Since then, every autumn, the volunteers of the “Amici di Pentema” club, of which Carpignano is president, place dozens of life-sized statues in the village: mannequins dressed with the garments found in the older wardrobes and the faces modeled by Pongo, to have the appearance of really existent pentemins.

The 2017 edition of the nativity scene was inaugurated, as usual, on December 8 with the music of bagpipes and accordions, accompanied by Christmas carols and folk dances. The appointments will continue until mid-January, with guided tours, concerts and readings. The crib can be visited every weekend until Saturday 23 December 2017; every day from Sunday 24 December to Saturday 6 January; finally, the weekend of 13 and 14 January 2018. The opening hours are from 10 to 18.


This year the crib is included in the project # Pentema2018 , made by three young Genoese – Matteo Nebiacolombo, Gabriele Gussoni and Enrico Chinchella – who in a year of study have deepened the traditions of the Ligurian hinterland: the initiative led to the creation of a photographic exhibition that tells the Ligurian hinterland between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The project # Pentema2018 has then allowed to deepen with research in the archives, oral sources, research in the cartography and in the territory what is left of the peasant culture, making a parallel between the representations of the crib – museum and how it is possible today to trace in the woods Liguria.

And the # Pentema2018 project is yet another demonstration of the power of the Pentema crib: keeping the country alive even in the months away from Christmas. “When no one would come,” says Stefano Fossa, the much younger pentemino with his 52 years. In 2015 Stefano left his home in the suburbs of Genoa to take over the management of the Locanda al Pettirosso, the only one in the village. Since then he has taken cows, goats and hens. During the week he grazes animals, collects wood, sells eggs. At the weekend it turns into a restaurateur. “Thanks to the crib at Pentema, there are people in October and November, because the nativity scene must be set up, even in February and March, when the mannequins must be returned to the warehouses”.

The 5 dirtiest places in an airplane are not the ones you think

Passenger plane interior fragment. Main cabin chairs with folding table and glowing porthole with natural sunlight lens flare

Germs and bacteria are everywhere, a nightmare that haunts us anywhere, even at high altitudes. And when it comes to traveling by plane, it’s not just the proximity to the bathroom, maybe for many hours, or a passenger who is too unhygienic to represent a problem, because there are so many really dirty places we’ve never noticed. And no, the bathroom does not fall into this classification, because it is one of the cleanest places. Here’s what the Time says :

1. Air vents and belt buckles

Overhead Console Inside The Passenger Aircraft
The air intakes above each seat are great for recirculating air and for cooling up heated passengers, but as noted by the TravelMath site, there are more bacteria in the air vents than on the toilet flush buttons.

Same level of dirt that is found on the belt buckles, continuously touched and used by hundreds of passengers, at least twice during the same flight.

2. Backrest pocket

Most passengers use the seat pocket in front of them like a trash can. It is not difficult for stewardesses and stewards to find it stuffed with rubbish, dirty handkerchiefs, used diapers and much more.

On airplanes that make quick stops on the ground, the cleaners may not even have time to empty the pockets of the seats, let alone disinfect the fabric. And a study by Auburn University in Alabama found that germs that proliferate within the pocket survive for up to seven days.

3. Seats overlooking the corridor

The choice of the place facing the corridor offers the possibility for the passenger to get up whenever he wants. A freedom that, however, involves some risk. The headrests of these seats are the dirtiest of all, as people walking along the corridor tend to rest their hands to support themselves and not fall. And often they do it after leaving the bathroom.

So it is always good to avoid touching your face, putting your hands in your mouth or rubbing your eyes after touching these seats.

4. Tray tables

The dirtiest place on a plane is a few inches from the legs. A study by TravelMath has analyzed the solid surfaces present in the aircraft and from the data emerged the tables on which we eat are the dirtiest areas of all: on these there was an eight times greater number of bacteria than the toilet.

Dr. Charles Gerba, a University of Arizona microbiologist, explained to Time that the tables analyzed showed traces of cold, parainfluenza, norovirus (which can cause diarrhea and vomiting) and MRSA, which causes skin infections. .

5. Suitcases

Even our luggage does not escape the bacterial invasion: on the cases, in fact, up to 80 million bacteria accumulate before reaching the final destination, whether it is a house or a hotel.

According to the research, the suitcases are handled by at least eight people during transport: four baggage handlers, two taxi drivers, a hotel concierge and a member of the airline staff. Given that each person has more than 10 million bacteria on their hands, compared to 33,000 in public areas, it is estimated that luggage can come into contact with more germs than one might think.


All credit cards include travel insurance for up to three consecutive months of travel. However, we recommend having at least one Visa Premier or MasterCard Gold card. Indeed, travel insurance related to simple Visa Classic or MasterCard cards do not offer sufficient coverage for a world tour. Starting with only one of these cards (Revolut, N26, Compte Nickel …), travel insurance should be taken from the first day of the trip instead of taking it from the fourth month, which entails a significant additional cost ( 186 € with Chapka).

The N26 Black offer includes travel insurance, but on closer inspection , it is also insufficient because it does not include legal assistance, civil liability or research costs in the event of an accident in the mountains.


Banks online

Online banks can generally save a lot of money abroad.

Most of them also generally offer a free Visa Premier or MasterCard Gold card (subject to income or savings conditions) which saves 3 months of travel insurance.

In case of trouble, they are accessible by telephone with much wider schedules than conventional banks.

Jazz International Option of Société Générale

Societe Generale offers this option which allows to be exonerated from commissions on all withdrawals made abroad in exchange for a monthly subscription.

This option may seem interesting at first, but to look at it more closely, it is less advantageous than online banks because of a very high subscription cost for the card, 304.80 € per year.

Much more convenient and cheaperMuch more convenient and cheaper


It is also possible to reduce your bank charges by opening an account with HSBC. There is no charge for withdrawals made at network distributors abroad.

Fees are free at partner banks in some countries (Redbanc in Chile, Banelco in Argentina, Banred in Uruguay, Red Unicard in Peru and Westpac in New Zealand). On the other hand, we pay fees if we withdraw from other banks abroad. See the list of countries in which HSBC operates

We do not recommend this solution. Indeed, although HSBC is present in many countries, it does not have a very dense network and is almost absent in South America and Africa.

We must also add account management fees that are not free, unlike online banks. At HSBC, the annual fee is 129 € for a Visa Premier card.

Rarely interesting especially in poorer countriesRarely interesting especially in poorer countries


Since Chachapoyas and Kuelap discovered the ruins of a pre-Inca civilization in a beautiful nature …

I leave Francois to his shamanic experiences in Lagunas. We will meet in a few days in Ecuador. I take the boat for Yurimaguas. This time, I’m almost the only European on the boat. Many Peruvians come to talk to me. They like to discuss politics here: “Let tal Sarkozy, muy malo no?” On arrival, I meet a Chilean and a Frenchman who, like me, go to Tarapoto. The Frenchman takes a bus. With the Chilean, we take a collective taxi, faster, to chained directly to Chachapoyas. With the rain, there was a lot of bumps on the road. At the turn of a curve, we find ourselves face to face with a huge block of stone plant in the middle of the road that we have to circumvent. To top it off, we are entitled to a CD of Dr. Alban thoroughly on the road.

Arrive Tarapoto, we just have time to eat a piece and we leave directly by bus. Christian, the Chilean tells me that he finishes a tour of the Amazon by boat, in two weeks! I go down to Pedro Ruiz in the middle of the night, impossible to go further today. I find myself a small hotel here and leave next morning by taxi collective for Chachapoyas. The road is under construction because the rain has damaged it. We have to wait an hour before we can continue our journey.

Finally I am in Chachapoyas. The city is pretty. The Plaza de Armas is nice and the surrounding streets have kept the Spanish colonial style. The next day, I leave with a group for the pre-Inca citadel of Kuelap. I find the French boat that arrived here a little later than me. We spend several hours visiting the huge ruins of this peaceful civilization that was conquered by the Incas. Unlike Macchu Pichu, the site is still covered with plants and trees on which wild orchids grow. It makes the athmosphere more “Indiana Jones”, especially since the citadel is far from being invaded by tourists and the landscape around is beautiful.

In the evening, with the other members of the group, the French, a Preuvienne and two Chiliennes, we go to drink a few glasses in a dancing bar. I am entitled to a special lesson from Merenge. I’m not trying to Cumbia, it’s beyond my means! The next day, I leave with Tania and Andrea, the two cousins ​​Chilienes, because they also go to Ecuador. We chained two shared taxis that we share with a super friendly Peruvian lawyer. When we tell him that we have not yet tasted Ceviche in Peru, he insists to invite us to the restaurant to make us taste the specialty of his country before we go. The waitress brings us a huge dish of raw fish cooking in lemon juice with vegetables and another of seafood sauce, all sprinkled with a bottle of Inca Cola.

With Tania and Andrea, we continue our journey towards the Ecuadorian border. We spend a night in the small town of San Ignacio, a few kilometers from the border, before taking another collective taxi the next morning. Finally we are there! The border post is tiny … and empty! We ask a lady who is holding the shop next to the station. She advises us to knock on the door of her house: “It’s the one with a red roof. “I think we had to wake him up. He arrives a quarter of an hour later and stamps the passports. We cross the bridge that separates the two countries. We are in Ecuador.

Well where is the Macchu pitchu?

Finally, we enter the site, and our first vision is splendid: white! There is so much fog that you can not see anything! “But he is or Macchu Pichu? Ben, I think we’re in there actually …” We were taking refuge with a group of tourists in a small house while waiting for the clouds to dissipate and for the rain to fall. stopped. Finally it is, in fact it was really right in front of us. It’s worth it, even if it has been seen dozens of times in photo, the site is impressive. The city is surrounded by moist mountains plunged in the mist. The atmosphere is magical.

Tensions with American tourists

We join groups of tourists to listen to their guide, until Francois is released by an American. Apparently, you have to pay for the guide and as we have not paid, forbidden to listen to his. We are not among the communists here! We spend a little more time here before going back down. Coming downstairs, it’s still raining and we do not really want to redo the two hours of walking along the railway in the rain.


And shit a landslide!

So we catch the train that takes us to the hydro-electric station. From there, we take a direct minibus to Cuzco. Unfortunately, a path that comes in the opposite direction announces that there has been a crash on the road because of the rain and that the passage will not clear before the next morning. So we make a U-turn and the driver drops us in a small village.

Palm of the world’s craziest hotel?

We have a hotel that is in a good position to win the competition of the dirtiest of our trip.

The room is entirely made of tin, there are 2 beds with foul sheets stained everywhere, stinking and with some kind of crusts on it and some dead insects. I clean as best I can and I cover with my own sheet to feel clean. The bed is horribly soft, I sink inside the bed as the guy from the movie “trainspotting” in his carpet.

I approach what serves as bathroom in the hope of taking a shower and I recoil, I would do without. Sylvain disregards everything, takes a shower and sleeps like a baby in his disgusting bed as if nothing.

After a good night in the company of roaches, we take the bus. An hour of waiting to watch the bulldozers clear the road, and we can finally move on.


Back in Cuzco, we have the good surprise to see Nancy and Romain arrive in our hotel. After Santiago and Salta, this is the third time we meet by chance at several months apart! We go out to eat pizza with them. On the way back, we come across an unconscious Peruvian in the street. After a while, we begin to worry, it does not show signs of life. Roman approaches and the man finally regains consciousness.

In the evening, we spend a good evening in the reggae bar and then in a box with an Australian meeting at the hotel and a group of Chilean women on vacation here. Another day here and we take the bus to Lima.


Cuzco is the most touristic city in Peru, the ancient Inca capital. it is also the starting point for the Macchu Pitchu, one of the new wonders of the world according to the official classification. On the program, sublime scenery but also abandoned track, rock fall, the dirtiest hotel in the world, visit of the hospital of Cuzco etc …


I meet Francois in Cuzco. He found a beautiful hotel with a large terrace which has a direct view of the Plaza de Armas of the city with its two cathedrals. We walk in the city. Despite the hordes of tourists, we feel good here. Cuzco is really well preserved. It is the ancient capital of the Incas. The Spaniards have almost all shaven on their arrival here, but in some streets, we still see the walls in huge smooth stone stones that date back to that time. The colonial buildings are in perfect condition. At the hotel, we meet two young Parisians. There is one that is really funny. He speaks two hundred an hour with lots of weird words in verlan. Besides, the Spanish is super easy to understand. We go out with them at night in a small reggae bar.


No question of paying an organized tour

The next day, we leave towards Machu Picchu. We would have liked to do the Inca Trail, a four-day trek on an ancient Inca trail that leads to the famous sacred city. But it’s very expensive and it really feels the tourist trap. In addition my knee still hurts and even if I saw a doctor who gave me anti-inflammatory, I do not prefer to embark on a long hike.

3 hours of walking in the night along the abandoned track

The other option, the tourist train to Aguas Clientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu, is also off budget. We therefore opt for the cheap option, a local bus and a collective taxi to a hydroelectric station along the railway line, and from here we walk for two hours along the rails to Aguas Calientes. We arrive at night in the rain and find a hotel.

The next day we leave at four in the morning for Macchu Pichu. There is a good climb to get there and we must leave early if we want to see the sunrise on the site. We are not alone, far from it. Dozens of people are passing us on the road. Because of my knee, I can not take the stairs that climb in a straight line at the top and must walk for almost two hours on the winding road, always in the rain. Coming to the top, it’s already been a long time and I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the buses that have doubled me in the climb have already devastated their stream of tourists who line up to enter the site.



Night at the edge in Puno at Lake Titicaca

We arrive in Peru. We spend the first night in Puno. We do not stay here long. We stay in a hotel right next to the bus station. The city is not very pretty outside a pedestrian street in the center. Then we take the bus to Arequipa, the largest city in southern Peru.

Passage in front of Juliaca

We go through the suburbs of Juliaca that seem really poor. These are almost shantytowns in the midst of a desert landscape, and in the rain, one does not have the impression that Juliaca will enter the palmares of cities where life is good. On the bus, we hear the speeches of potions sellers of medicinal herbs and books of general culture, worthy of Fidel Castro. They speak during lead time. And it works, the seller of miraculous plants is a nice jackpot.


We finally arrive in Arequipa. The weather is still not good, but we are more than 2000 meters high and it is still hotter than in Bolivia. The city is really pretty. The colonial buildings of the center are all covered with a kind of white lime that comes from the volcano overlooking the city and the Plaza de Armas, with its palm trees, its cathedral and wooden balconies has a lot of charm. While strolling in the streets, we discover beautiful small inner courtyards.

In the evening, while trying to eat, we come across the creperie of the Alliance Francaise. We go to take a look at the menu and find a group of French and Belgians that Francois knows of Cordoba. We sit with them and order patties, a treat!


In the pretty little town of Chivay

The next day we take a bus to Chivay, the first village at the beginning of Colca Canyon. The map that we collected at the tourist office indicates that there is a walk to do very close. We take the path that seems to be indicated but ultimately it is not good. In addition my knee always hurts and I can not walk long. We therefore fall back on the natural hot springs at half an hour’s walk from Chivay. In fact from sources we find real swimming pools. The water is hot, it’s nice.

The road of the condors

The next day we take a bus to Cruz del Condor, the best view of the canyon. We are piling into an old bus. We follow the canyon and the view of the precipice at the edge of the road is not very reassuring. It’s one of the deepest in the world, 3400 meters! In Cruz del Condor we have a great view. We see the condors that are floating in the currents of hot air. It really makes you want to trek three days to the bottom of the canyon, but unfortunately, with my knee, impossible. Grrr!


Until Tarapoto

After Lima we go to the Amazon. Direction Yurimaguas then Tarapoto and finally Lagunas. The bus route is long, even very long. After a bus night we arrive at Tarapoto. Right out of the bus our goal is to go very quickly to Yurimaguas, and there it gets complicated.

We are in a city but in the jungle. It is very hot, very wet the sun burns and I sweat to death. There is no bus. After complicated discussions we finally understand that we have the choice between the collective taxi or find a pickup and to tighten with the guys in the back corner. Fresh! After hours waiting for our taxi to be full we leave on a road that meanders through the mountains. The equatorial landscape looks really wild with its dense vegetation.

Yurimaguas the border of the Amazon

After a few hours we arrive at Yurimaguas. We find a cheap hotel and we make a little walk to visit and find how to go to Lagunas. This time it is a much smaller city with its white central square and Spanish colonial style church. Not far, by sinking in an alley we arrive by chance facing the river. It’s a real Amazon river! It is broad and brown, mud color. It’s nice, a real adventure movie atmosphere.

In the evening we meet a couple of French in the hotel who leave for Lagunas them too. Lagunas is a village at 14 hours from the only accessible by boat. We decide to go take the boat the next day with them.

In the morning we still have time to go for a walk in the market and buy what we need for the trip. It’s the last city before really sinking into the jungle so we enjoy it. We risk staying there for at least 1 week. The market is hyper concentrated, it pawns and we jostle. There are really funny green fruits like big beans, others round and covered with scales like a snakeskin. There is a turtle for sale. And we come across astonished a woman with a little crocodile on her head. Rather exotic all that.

A very special boat on the Amazon

Accompanied by the French, we arrive last to the boat. Here the boats are not like the others, all in wood, 2 bridges, and especially covered with hammocks. Here no berths. Each one brings back his hammock and installs it between the posts provided for this purpose. There are days of crossings for those who want to reach the city of Iquitos, it is better to be comfortable.

We arrived last on the boat and we have more free space to install our hammocks but Sylvain is doing well and I sit at the top of the stairs. In case of a fall I will break my back but I will not fall happily.