UCI Road World Championships in Florence | Day 1

Day 1 | Omega Pharma Quickstep won the Elite Men’s Team Time Trial by a mere 0.81 seconds.


The team set a time of 1:04:16.81 for the  57.2km course.

Tom Steels (directeur sportif of Omega Pharma Quick Step): “Was this a revenge for the Tour de France? No, but we know how it feels like to lose at the very last minute. Our athletes  have been amazing, they won on character rather than on force”

 Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step): “Hearing that Orika overtook us worked like a wake up call, Tom really pushed us to do out best. In the end there were only four of us left, but in the city centre, with all those turns, it was probably better. What will happen on Wednesday? Now I know the course, I’m more self confident. My rivals? Cancellara and Wiggins above all”

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The 2013 UCI Road World Championships are taking place in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, between 22 and 29 September 2013.

The Championships consist of 12 events for elite, under-23 and junior cyclists. It is the 86th Road World Championships, the 13th in Italy and the first time that the event will take place in Tuscany. The finish of the different events is in Florence. The near towns of Lucca, Montecatini Terme and Pistoia will host the start of the events.

Taste temptations in Sicily

Down a small alley off the main pedestrian drag, lies an orgasm of fish waiting for the next reveler.


Bouquet of fishI will admit that I do like to eat fish! This may not seem like much of a declaration to most but let me add that few of my friends have ever seen me order seafood in a restaurant. The reason is simple…I like fish so much that unless it is fresh caught and expertly cooked…I would rather avoid it.

The sad truth is that even by the sea, you often cannot find a truly fresh and delicious fish meal. Experiments in nouvelle fish cuisine leave me flat while basic fish fair can be quite bland. Only a truly expert chef can balance the tightrope between imagination and simplicity when it comes to fish.

This is all true unless you happen to be next to me as I write this sitting under refined umbrellas watching the passing fashion parade of the local teenagers as your fixation with your neighbors appetizer selection becomes embarrassing. Continue reading

Anti-Immigrant Attacks Spur Florence Artists to Action

Henry Ridgwell of VOA News recently visited the city to interview Mark Abouzeid on his work to combat racism.


The Italian city of Florence is known for its art and beauty. Its immigrant community is less well known. But following a series of racist attacks on African migrants in Florence, a group of artists is highlighting the contribution of foreigners to Florentine culture, past and present.

From Voice of America:

FLORENCE — The Italian city of Florence is known for its art and beauty. Its immigrant community is less well known. But following a series of attacks on African migrants in Florence, a group of artists is highlighting the contribution of foreigners to Florentine culture, past and present.

With its stunning architecture and countless galleries, Florence has long been at the heart of Western art.  It is the birthplace of the Renaissance, the flowering of Western artistic endeavor that began in the 14th century.

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House of phantoms

On the Costa Brava of Spain in the town of Arenya d’Empordà lies an abandoned House, complete with a high tower filled with broken windows.


Local residents claim it was the house of a great fascist family who one day were destroyed by the same people they dominated. Apparently it belonged to a famous ballet dancer and was wrecked and ruined by the Franco fascist regime in 1968.

Mark Abouzeid took these photos in between takes of music videos being recorded in the Haunted House by Icelandic solo-artist, Oddur.

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Rising Hostelities?

 An ex-convent school in Florence’s Oltrarno artisan district is bringing a hailstorm of art, music and theater to cold, winter nights.


This year's model...cocktail style.Florence’s winters are notoriously cold: humidity from the Arno River makes even moderate temperatures seem arctic; the city’s famous aperitivo culture gives way to warm dinners at friends’ homes; and walking traffic becomes as rare as parking spots or empty taxis.

Not withstanding the non ending economic crisis that has battered Italy’s hospitality industry for half a decade, it remains a masochistic endeavor to open a new night spot in Florence at the height of the winter doldrums. Yet, this is exactly what the owners of Hostel Tasso have done and to great success.  Romina Diaz with her partner Lorenzo opened New Year’s Eve to a packed house. Since then, crowds outside are regularly turned away by midnight for capacity reasons.

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The Crossing, a slow ferry to Tunis

A solitary Sufi, an Alaskan elder and a Buddhist nomad board a Ferry from Genova to Tunis. This is not a joke!


A slow ferry to Tunis.

The three of us are traveling to Tunisia in the hopes of finding something significant, something unexpected and, most of all, something memorable.

Our project goal is to capture the oral histories of maritime cultures around the Mediterranean, a task which has taken us to numerous countries over the past two years. We have flown, sailed, trained and driven from discovery to discovery…until now.

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Oman, the Grand Mosque

In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque.


The entrance to the Great Mosque in Oman.

The Mosque is built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. The main musalla (prayer hall) is square (external dimensions 74.4 x 74.4 metres) with a central dome rising to a height of fifty metres above the floor. The dome and the main minaret (90 metres) and four flanking minarets (45.5 metres) are the mosque’s chief visual features.

The main musalla can hold over 6,500 worshippers, while the women’s musalla can accommodate 750 worshipers. The outer paved ground can hold 8,000 worshipers and there is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways, making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshipers. (Wikipedia)

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Stylized Oman

From souks in Muscat to the coastal fishing villages, Mark Abouzeid creates fine art photography of the beauty and wonders of Oman.

In his seminal book, Terra Santa, David Roberts’ lithographs remind us of a different time…a time when travel was always an adventure…where even the shortest trip could take weeks…like Stoddard, here is Oman as one might see it for the first time while on some great adventure. “These are the photos I take for myself…the way I see it and not necessarily how editors need.” Mark Abouzeid, shot in Oman 2013. Continue reading

Market Life in Oman

From souks around Oman, Mark Abouzeid explores a core feature of Arabic culture and daily life.

Like the bar in every central piazza throughout Italy, the Souk or market is the heart and soul of any Arabic City and Town. Men gather every morning to talk, gossip and debate under the auspices of daily shopping.

“Every middle eastern city or town has a souk and to the untrained eye, they look all the same.  Open a guidebook page on souks and it is often impossible to tell the difference between those in Oman and those of Morocco, Jordan and other countries.  Each souk is unique and, yet, they have a strong common connection between cultures.” Mark Abouzeid, shot in Oman 2013.

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