Herboriste Marrakech, El Mellah, Marrakech, Morocco

Herboriste Marrakech is a herbalist shop in the Jewish quarter of El Mellah in Marrakech where many local guides take tourists after visiting the Bahia Palace. They call the store as ‘pharmacy’ and they say that it is a cooperative where women produce Argan oil, so well known these days as it is added to several products; and you can see at the entrance a woman who works with their hands and their feet while the person who welcomes you begins to explain the procedures for obtaining oil. You will be taken to a small room where you’ll find many great bottles with beautiful colors that will seem magical potions and you will be asked to drink something while you attend an explanation of different products on sale, of course. With the demonstration of several products you will have the opportunity to try a few of them while some integrating people of the group will receive massages from a representative of the cooperative to test argan oil.

Tips

If you are not ready to buy, it’s better to take a walk through the souk until the tour continues.
You might find this long but you can leave when you want and wait for the group outside.

Colossus of St. Charles Borromeo, Arona, Italy

The Colossus of St. Charles Borromeo (said Sancarlone) is a statue of over 30 meters high located in Arona on the Sacro Monte of San Carlo, considered a symbol of the city. San Carlo Borromeo was born on October, 2nd, 1538 in Rocca di Arona and in 1565 he became archbishop of Milan and he gave material and spiritual assistance especially during calamities such as famine and plague. He died in 1584 and was beatified in 1602 and canonized in 1610. In 1624 the works for the construction of a sacred hill and also a huge statue visible from Lake Maggiore which celebrates the memory of the saint, were started. It was designed by Giovanni Battista Crespi and was built with copper sheets hammered and assembled with nails and iron rods while the head and hands were made of bronze; being Bernardo Falconi of Bissone and Siro Zanella of Pavia, the sculptors. In 1698 it was finished and blessed. The statue is 23.40 meters tall, but it has a granite pedestal of 11.70 meters which make it one of the largest statues in the world and the monument can be visited inside. With this statue they wanted to represent the “gigantism in faith.”

Tips

The statue is open to the public, you can climb through a first spiral staircase and then another right as a stepladder to get inside the head of St. Charles. You can pay general access to get to the foot of the statue and enjoy a beautiful panoramic view that it is really worth or add a few euros to go up to the interior top. For children under 6 it’s free.
From Milan you can reach Arona by train on the Milan-Domodossola line.
If you have to wait a few hours to catch a plane, it is a good opportunity to go to know the statue because Malpensa airport is located only 23 km from Arona.

 

Madness of Kings, Andradina, São Paulo, Brazil

Andradina is a municipality in the state of São Paulo in Brazil. It is located in the region of Araçatuba and Andradina. The Cultural Centre pioneers of Andradina: better known as the old station, is undoubtedly the Andradina postcard. The commune has a theatre (external), circumflex, where there has already been a scene of festivals, concerts, musicals, dances. The natural beauty can be seen in the woods and fields all around.
A tradition is maintained there. Of Portuguese origin, the sources say that the tradition came to Brazil in the 18th century. In the period from December 24th , Christmas Eve, until January 6th , the Epiphany, a group of singers and musicians roam the city singing verses about the visit of the magicians kings to the child Jesus. Ranging from door to door looking for offers, especially to collect food, animals, for the realization of the Saints Kings. The ‘Folia de Reis’ (madness of Kings), inherited from developed and Portuguese settlers in Brazil with its own characteristics; expressions preserved from generation to generation; it is a Catholic holiday that celebrates the three magicians kings. Homes visit, which lasts from the end of December until the day of the Kings, is made by organized groups, which many are motivated by social and philanthropic purposes. Properly dressed with costumes and instruments, approaches to magicians and other characters through music, dance and poetry, people who belong, enchant the population. In some cities, it is possible to admire a wonderful Nativity life-size. In addition to the musicians and singers, the group often also consists of dancers, clowns and other folk figures properly characterized according to local legends and traditions. All are organized under the direction of the master of the Kings and follow in the footsteps of the flag, performance of traditional rituals of beauty and cultural richness with veneration. In addition to this part, you could not miss the stalls of food, drinks and games, which sets the tone of the profane.

Tips

If you want to spend the holidays in the period of the ‘Folia de Reis’, it is better to make an appointment with any hotel or with owners of houses to rent for not you find without any place to stay.
This time of year is extremely hot; do not forget to take with you sunscreen and fresh clothes.