Cirque du Soleil in Istanbul

David and me, ready for an evening's entertainment

Last night we went to see Cirque du Soleil, courtesy of Shane, the General Manager of the Ulker Sports Arena where the performance was held. The evening was absolute magic, a symphony of music, dance and the most incredible acrobatics imaginable. Everything was choreographed from beginning to end. It wasn't one act followed by another, but rather never-ending music and movement, as each scene flowed into the next. I was mesmerised with the beauty and skill of the performers.

Barbara, Ann and Shane

Cirque du Soleil takes many forms. The one we saw was "Alegria" (Spanish for Joy). It was titled, "A Baroque ode to the energy, grace and power of youth". All the acts were amazing. We saw contortionists, whose bodies seemed made of rubber; acrobats flying through the air, defying gravity; fire jugglers; contortionists, and hilarious clowns. The opening number with the synchronised trapeze artists can be seen here, on You Tube.

The scene is set. The Ulker Arena is a vast open space, primarily for MBA, 
so the stage was set at one end, and seats placed on the floor of the arena.

The publicity blurb about Alegra says:

"Alegría is a mood, a state of mind. The themes of the show, whose name means "jubilation" in Spanish, are many. Power and the handing down of power over time, the evolution from ancient monarchies to modern democracies, old age, youth - it is against this backdrop that the characters of Alegría play out their lives. Kings' fools, minstrels, beggars, old aristocrats and children make up its universe, along with the clowns, who alone are able to resist the passing of time and the social transformations that accompany it."

The show begins...

Unfortunately, we were told to turn off our phones and cameras at this point, as no photos were allowed. But as I was too absorbed to take any photos anyway, I wasn't too put out!

If ever you get a chance to see the Cirque du Soleil, don't hesitate. You will be in for a memorable evening. I certainly want to see them again. Thank you, Shane, for your generosity. It was an evening I will never forget.


Locarno, Lake Maggiore, Italy

Ouch! Beware of Swiss trains! They can do lasting damage!

..but only if you really need to!

One fascinating trip we took when we were in Italy, was up to the northern tip of Lake Maggiore, to Locarno in Switzerland.  It involved a car ride to Laveno, a ferry to Baveno, a train from Baveno to Domodossola, and the Panoramic Train from Domodossola to Locano.

After our long journey we needed sustenance. Yum! Pizza Siciliana!

Lunch over, we toured the city, but we decided against the tourist train.

 Getting ready for the evening's screening

Locarno's Piazza Grande was preparing for its annual International Film Festival. Every year, thousands of film fans flock to the square for the eleven day homage to movie greats in this magnificent setting.

Does this mean women with children are not allowed?

We walked through the picturesque streets of the old town.

 Chiesa Nuova (New Church)

 Consecrated in 1636, Chiesa Nuova is adorned with statues of St Christopher, St Victor, St Michael, St Rocco and St Sebastian, and richly decorated with stucco embellishments.

The statue of St Christopher is the largest of the statues.

Castello Visconteo, dating back to the 12th century.

Dating from the twelfth century, this castle of the Visconti family from Milan has been preserved in its original state. It is now an archeological museum that contains artefacts from as far back as the Roman times.

This fortified bastion, attached to the castle, is believed to have been
designed by Leonardo da Vinci

Unfortunately, we had to hurry to catch our ferry back down the lake, so we didn't have time to explore further. Perhaps next time! Although we did just have time for an ice cream.

Press Centre

Press Centre
I couldn't resist this one!