Grantourismo March Competition - Winning Entries

Theme: The 'Hood


By Lisa T. Bergren, of The World is Calling

View on a Venetian Neighborhood

View on a Venetian Neighborhood - by Lisa T. Bergren In Venice, ancient city of mariners and merchants, we rented a second floor apartment facing Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. This wide avenue, once a waterway, now a canal of stone and cement, swirls with grandmothers pushing children too old to be in umbrella strollers (but in them anyway), schoolchildren, businesspeople. Here, the tolling bell of a neighborhood church awakens us each morning, calling parishioners to mass. We hear the creaks and groans of shutters pushed aside, the metallic grate of gates opened in front of tiny shops and markets and bars.

Men set up temporary market stalls, hawking cheeses, bread, fish—and enormous piles of fresh, rose-colored shrimp. One vendor teases/taunts us, tearing off the raw crustacean’s head and legs in a practiced move and offering it to us as a sample. To see if they’re fresh? Or merely as a dare? I smile and shake my head and point back to the vendor, taunting him in turn. He shrugs his burly fishnet-hauling shoulders and sucks it out of the shell—like a pimento out of an olive—raises an eyebrow and nods in exaggerated appreciation. I laugh and purchase a mound for dinner....

Continue reading on Lisa's blog


By Matador contributor Carlo Alcos, from Vagabonderz

It beats watching TV

It beats watching TV - by Carlo AlcosWith his granddaughter peeking at us shyly from the corner, he started to roll. And when he finished rolling, he pressed it, cut it, then lit it. After handing it to me, he too lit up as I dragged on it, the tip becoming a glowing orange sunset. He was impressed with his own handiwork. And so was I.

Thirty minutes before, my wife and I had walked out of our hotel room in San Diego de los Banos, Cuba — a town well-known for its local spa’s healing powers. We’d ended up here by fluke — it was simply the farthest the lone taxi driver in San Cristobal would take us, after he squeezed us, our bags, and our bikes in the car...

Continue reading on Carlo's blog

By Jiffer Bourguignon from Smash and Sniff

Tripping stones in the Schanze

Tripping stones in the Schanze - by Jiffer Bourguigon Type the text here Hamburg is one of those cities in the northern half of the northern hemisphere that gets so cold in the winter, that locals begin to peel off their woolen layers the moment the mercury creeps past 55. I appear somewhat overdressed next to the masses in tube tops and flip flops all sitting outside at the numerous outdoor cafés on the Schulterblatt, the main aorta of the hip Hamburg neighborhood, Schanzenviertel.

I squeeze into a slot at a table outside the Supermercato Italiano between übercool teenagers in cardigans and skinny jeans, a group of new mothers with their brigade of baby buggies, a gay couple who sit silently sunning themselves and three African men who spend more time talking on their mobile phones than to each other...

Continue reading on Jiffer's blog
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