alpha /æɫfə/ n.pl. -phas [Greek alpha (άλφα), from the Phoenician aleph] 1. the first letter of the Greek alphabet (Α, α) 2. the first in order of precedence 3. Astron. the brightest star in a constellation 4. the first version of a new software product that satisfies all the requirements and is distributed to internal testers   hütte /ˈhʏtə/ n. fem.pl. hütten [old high German hutta, from Indo-European *kudhia-, related with *(s)keu- “to cover”] 1. a little house or cabin of the plainest or crudest kind 2. mountain hut as those commonly found in European Alps   alphahutte n. [comb. of alpha and hütte] A. the Internet website dedicated to travel, outdoors, photography, science, technology, etc. B. the personal website of Andrea Busnelli

Laguna Colorada

The Bolivian Altiplano, a vast plateau most of which at altitudes above 4000 meters o.s.l., is a stunning land with variety and extremes seen anywhere…

Travel Posters from a Golden Age

The first part of 20th century saw the birth of leisure travel. At first driven by railways and ocean liners, mainly in Europe and the US, it was later dominated by airlines that opened up the globe to adventure-seekers. It was an era of luxurious and elegant travel, privilege of a small but growing elite that progressively expanded their world from hometowns and country cottages to national and later far-flung destinations. It was the “Golden Age of Travel”.

A Bolivian Adventure

Last summer I travelled to Bolivia, returning after almost six years to South America. During my trip to Perù in 2004, I had also visited La Paz and promised myself to return to explore the magnificent high-altitude plateau in the south-west of the country. What follows is a short tale of my trip… which turned out to be quite an adventure! Don’t miss the photo gallery at the end of the post.

Human Rights Photography

I was recently impressed by a photo essay on burn Magazine about rape issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The essay is by Argentinian photographer Walter Estrada and, through very strong and disturbing shots, depicts widespread violence and extreme brutality where rape is used as a weapon of war in the conflict that continues affecting the Congolese region.

6 milliards d’Autres

Yesterday I was in Rome and while strolling towards the city center I passed by Mercati di Traiano (Trian’s Markets) and was attracted by the William Klein exhibition. Moreover, during my many visits to Rome I had never visited the Markets which is a fascinating complex of ancient roman ruins that overlooks Via dei Fori Imperiali and the Vittoriano.

Rafflesia Cantleyi (Belum Valley, Malaysia, November 2009)

Rafflesia in Belum Valley

Belum Valley is an area in the north of peninsular Malaysia at the border with Thailand. It features one of the last virgin rainforests in the peninsula and can be visited navigating Tasik Temenggor, a huge artificial lake created in the 1970s. Nature lovers come to this area to explore the forest and to watch the wide range of animals that gather in the salt licks scattered around the lake. Belum is also famous for Rafflesia, a parasite plant.

Penang Deep Inside

I have now been in Penang for almost three weeks and I’m starting to really understand the island and its population. I must admit that at first I was not entirely attracted by the place: the heavy-traffic highways, impossibly tall condos and diffused modernity just appeared too aseptic and dull to me. But then I walked in the old Georgetown streets, ate at the joyous and psychedelic hawker stalls, visited the many temples scattered around the island and slowly discovered the incredible variety within the population where different ethnic groups, each with markedly opposite ways of living, interact harmoniously although never mixing together. Now Penang is slowly finding its way in me and I’m more and more connected with the surroundings and the people. It’s the feeling of ease and understanding you have with an old and trusted friend…

Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Penang (Malaysia, October 2009)

Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Penang

Last night I went to Georgetown to watch the Nine Emperor Gods Festival (Kew Ong Yeah). This Chinese festival is one of the most important in Penang and is celebrated on the 1st till the 9th day of the Nine month in the Lunar calendar. During these 9 days many devotees go on vegetarian diet and on the ninth day a big procession is held.

Little India in Georgetown (Penang, Malaysia, October 2009)

Getting to Know Penang

I’ve arrived yesterday on the island of Penang in northwestern Malaysia. The island is relatively small, with hills in the center and covered with deep green vegetation. The town is on the eastern side, with a lively city center and historic neighborhoods in the north (where the British initially settled in late 18th century) and a more modern and functional area to the south with the university and airport.