Thursday, July 30, 2009

The lass comes home

Tomorrow, bright and early, I'm going home. Taking a little detour through Hungary and catching a plane from Vienna, but I'm getting there, for only 4 days. Can't wait to see friends and family. And this little thing.

This is my sweet fluffy friend, Serena. She's actually quite nice, albeit sometimes loud and I miss holding her.

See you guys Saturday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I (heart) Paris

You already know I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to planning my travels. The high point of my obsessive-compulsive behaviour came in the summer of 2006 when I went to Paris with my best friend. Below you have proofs of that (the trip and the OCD). If any of you out there are visiting Paris, maybe this can give you some ideas.

Many more pictures under the cut and click to enlarge(it doesn't work yet, but this evening I'll take care of it).

The trip was planned as one last week in France, at the end of my Erasmus year in Nantes (insert sigh here). I had had a wonderful year in Nantes (sigh) and I regretted to leave it but the last week in France was truly awesome.

We found this nice hotel near Montmartre and I came one day earlier (I had booked my tickets one month in advance, got them half price, because I was obsessing). So I had time to do some sight seeing of my own before my best gf came and the rest became history. Montmartre soon became our favorite spot in Paris, we had discovered interesting things, such as the vineyard on the hill and it seemed like we were transported through time.

The weather was crappy. Like London rather than Paris, but we managed to have fun. If you are wondering, yeah, we did about 95% of what was planned. Maybe some extras too. We took so many pictures that our main problems were split into: a) me running out of memory or b) my best friend running out of battery. Luckily we had a way to fix it so now I am looking at almost 2 DVDs almost full of pictures and movies.

We did the usual things when going to Paris: going up the Tower, spending one (long, very long) day in the Louvre (and I love Egyptian art and lots of painting styles and painters, but that was too much for one day). We had our lunch under the tower, on Champ de Mars. We met with gypsies, the usual.

We went to Versailles and Disneyland (Magical, any child, no matter the age, 8 or 80, has to go there at least once). We were goofy, trying on funky hats and buying souvenirs and we went on almost all the rides twice (despite my initial fear and the line of people).

Nothing, no list, no plan, no book, nothing, prepared us for the little unusual discoveries that are ours alone. Like the old man playing violin in Place de Vosges. Or the wonderful colours of the sky while we were taking our ride on the Seine. Or that we would fall inlove with the little Trianon and not Versailles.

There were so many wonderful moments: the ducks on the pond in the Tuilleries or the boats in Luxembourg garden or the colours of the stained glass in Saint Chapelle. But I'll stop at this image of Luxembourg garden under the rain.

My boy being French will not agree with the title and although Paris is to crowded, busy, not necessarily the best place to live, this city was magical for me for some other reasons.

This trip was the embodiment of a dream we've had since high school. It came at the end of a great period in my life, and another one was starting. I will tell you more stories from my Erasmus days, I started with the end but rest assured, I went on lots of trips, and once I get back my photos, I'll take you on a journey with me.

P.S. I didn't forget to write about my boating trip, I still don't have the pics and I guess that's what you're interested in.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I want to ride my bicycle

Interesting grafitti in Prague. I think some of you may understand my fascination with it. I managed to put a 69 in my Czech phone number. And by the way, I am still riding my bike every day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Czech Lands

This weekend I was in the South of Bohemia, on a boat trip (more about that later, I hope to have some pictures also). En route we passed by some towns and villages. We basically did the Czech countryside (on s'est paume dans la campagne) from Mlada Boleslav to Tynec nad Sazavou, South of Prague.

Below a picture from "Skoda Town", Mlada Boleslav, it looks a bit like a neighbourhood in Bucharest, only more colorful. And you guys were being mean when Vanghelie painted the buildings, here, they are painted and insulated.

From there we went towards Prague. This picture is just to show that they have highways.

We passed by a castel near Prague. These are the Czech Lands : communist buildings and old castels and historical towns. Really, there is more to this country than Prague. It's a shame that all the expats don't know anything else, they all live in Prague or in a big city and don't even try to discover the rest.

That's all for now, but do come back, a story of me on a canoe to follow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pour la petite bourgeoisie qui boit du Champagne

Pentru ca m-a chinuit rau de tot talentul sa fac poze si sa dau indicatii, rezultatul muncii lui, dupa doua sticle de vin spumos in doi (in doua zile, tin sa precizez), figurine din sarma de la dopul sticlei. (Nu va ganditi la altceva)

This is because I got really inspired to take pictures and him to make figurines out of the wire for sparkling wine corks. This is art, people...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oraseanca din mine

Stau la tara acum. Ati cam vazut si din poze, am lanuri de grau si de porumb pe drum si din cand in cand ma opresc sa mananc corcoduse la marginea soselei. Dimineata e un cocos care canta, la 5.23 fix, parca e setat (cam tembel, uneori canta pe la miezul noptii). Cainii ma latra din curti cand trec, pe jos sau mai grav cu bicicleta. E liniste in rest, se mai aude uneori un tren, destul de multe masini dar nu deranjant, in nici un caz ca la oras.

Din cand in cand ma duc la oras. Ca azi de pilda, voi lua autobuzul de la marginea soselei, RATA daca preferati. Intr-o ora sunt in centrul Pragai. Mi se face dor de oras, de agitatie, tramvaie, metrou. Dar nu imi dau seama de asta decat cand ajung si intru direct in pielea orasencei care se descurca perfect sa navigheze printre turisti, cu mijloace de transport diferite si stie exact unde vrea sa ajunga.

Imi place Praga, mereu descopar ceva nou, desi m-am obisnuit cu locurile si ma simt chiar ca acasa. Ultima oara, eram pe podul Carol mergand spre castel, cand m-am intors, deasupra orasului vechi aparuse curcubeul iar in fata mea, era iubirea mea. V-am zis, ceva nou apare tot timpul, dar uneori redescopar ceva vechi. Asta e imaginea mea preferata cu podul, si jur ca exact asa arata uneori, spre asfintit. Poza e luata de pe un site cu carti postale,

Revenind la povestea despre oras, se pare ca niste cercetatori care nu prea au ce face cu timpul lor au facut un studiu cam ciudat si cica unii oraseni sunt mai deranjati de zgomotul facut de pasari decat de zgomotul masinilor intr-o intersectie aglomerata.

Aseara stateam in gradina mea, era racoare, se auzeau greierii, cateva pasari de noapte, era perfect. Pe mine nu ma deranjeaza zgomotul naturii sau al pasarilor dar sunt atat de obisnuita cu intersectia aglomerata, cu tramvaiele in miez de noapte, cu agitatia orasului, incat uneori imi lipseste.

Mereu cand ma intorc acasa, redescopar mirosurile, caldura, zgomotele si mi se par unice pentru acel moment, de revenire acasa. Parca si vantul bate altfel, totul spune bine ai venit. Poza este de pe dar lumina si toata atmosfera imi amintesc de ce simt cand vin acasa.

Sunt curioasa daca in august imi va fi greu acasa, in vacarmul Bucurestilor, fie si pentru 4 zile. M-am cam dezobisnuit de lumina care intra in camera din strada si de zgomotul perpetuu. Dar cu siguranta o sa-mi revin repede, once a city dweller, always a city dweller. Si in plus o sa fiu acasa.

Abia astept sa ma plimb prin oras, sa descoperim orasul impreuna, sa revad locurile mele preferate, prietenii, atmosfera. Ok si poluarea. Aici vad pasari si fluturi peste tot, intr-o zi am vazut iepurasi in camp, nu vezi asa ceva acasa. Dar nu conteaza, e orasul meu si are sarmul sau, diferit de linistea naturii de la tara sau de opulenta Pragai.

Si postul este in romana. Pentru ca mi-e dor.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meet Josephine

Everyone, say: Ahoj, Josephino! I've had her for about a month; she's my 2-months-in-advance-don't-break-your-neck-on-it birthday present and I've been riding her to work almost ever since.

Once I got past the initial fear of going downhill, this is quite neat, going to work every day on my little bike. You can say I've got wheels.

She's girlie, but not too girlie, she's second hand, but a good brand and very well kept. And I'm in love with it. So her name is Josephine (my boyfriend's off road is called Francoise, we've decided on really outdated French names). She wasn't named after the Empress but after this song:

I follow the same old route pass the trucks on my way to work, but when I get back, I go through town and do a bit of exploring, so actually it takes me longer to get back home. At least I exercise.

I've got wheels, all I need now are wings and I'll fly...

Update: Plutot une precission: Nomee aussi apres la Josephine de Penelope.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Look at what I have in my garden. The weekend was warm, so I was able to stay by the pond, listening to the ducks, reading a book. Unfortunately the weather is back to being gloomy and rainy so I don't know how many pretty pictures I'll be able to take while sitting in my garden, so enjoy.

I haven't felt as happy as while I was lounging next to this pond, on the grass, soft wind and a warm light. Time stood still.
This reminded me of another special moment. I have admired Monet's paintings at The Orangerie, the purpose built museum in Paris. I spent hours just admiring the colors of the huge canvases exhibited there. He painted some of these wonders while practically blind. I feel a bit like a painter when I was taking the picture below. I'm really sorry I don't have any bit of talent at painting. Suddenly Monet seems so realistic, though.

The pond in front of my house reminded me of Monet having focused his last 30 years on paintings of water lilies in his garden. He was almost blind towards the end, and I think that it must be soothing for a painter to have not darkness in front, but wonderful images of the sky reflected on a pond of water lilies.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On a culinary trip

So my hoards of fans have been complaining that I didn't write one word about my last trip to France. That is mainly because I didn't take pictures so I don't have anything to brag about. But I'll improvise.(No, my love life will not make it as a post, it's going very well, thank you for asking)

When I said trip in the title, I might as well have meant the kind of trip a high junkie goes into, because my taste buds where really spoiled last weekend.

It all started Thursday night when I got on the bus for Prague, all dressed up in my best black skirt with a nice halter top and fancy shoes. All ready for a dinner party in a very elegant restaurant in Prague. I'm really sorry I didn't take any pictures, but I promise to get back there some day, because it was worth it. The view from Letna hill is just about one of the most beautiful views in the world. Now, they say Prague is the most romantic city and all, meeting your beloved on St Charles bridge, but I think eating a romantic dinner on top of Letna, by night, is by far better.

So I got there, it's a beautiful pavilion in the middle of a park, with a terrace overlooking the whole city. I sat at a table outside, drank a good Moravian white wine and had a nice conversation with a stranger I'd met at the train stop, who was going to the same place. I felt like in one of the old commercials for Kent cigarettes. Very class.

When the others came, we joined them inside in the nice, Art Nouveau inspired, Bistro. The atmosphere was merry, I had my darling one next to my heart, good company, and we got some beers, some more wine, eventually we ordered. And this is where the gastronomical feast of the weekend begins. I had filet mignon in cognac sauce and for desert, a delicious chocolate mousse with strawberries. I'm very picky when it comes to desert. But this was heaven, an orgasm in every spoonful of chocolate. And the evening ended a little later with an orgasm of a different nature.

I like this picture because of the Laguiole knife on the table, I would have taken the same one.

The next day we left for France, where once again the menu was fabulous: a recipe from Normandy: Coquilles St Jacques with pasta and sauce.

And magnum ice cream for a perfect desert. I'm not going into the details of the weekend: just teasing you with some pictures of food. I don't have pictures of my own, but I searched for some resembling what we had, just to tickle your senses.

Saturday, we had faux filet with endive salad and for desert, a specialty from The Czech republic, after a traditional Armenian family recipe, a honey caked called Marlenka. Delicious, I can't get enough of it. (actually thinking of exporting this to the world, too good to be kept a secret).

To keep in line with the international cuisine theme, the evening was spent in an Alsatian traditional restaurant where we had, what I can only describe as the local pizza, only much better than any pizza. I could live only with this and Marlenka and H&M.

The wine we accompanied our meal with, was of course a local Pinot Gris. And for desert, another of my favorites: pistachio ice cream with real, grilled pistachios.

Ok, by this time, I was quite full; we had tarte flambé with cheese and lard and with Munster cheese and lard, and not just one serving each. So I had only one scoop of pistachio. But it was really divine.

And for the end, Sunday, just before coming back home: Barbecue. This really was a meat eater's feast. chicken, duck, sausages, skewers with meat. Lots of grilled meat.

So now you also know why I've been eating salads and light dishes all week. I have to make up for a weekend where my liver must have suffered (though I made no excesses) but my taste buds had multiple orgasms. And oh Doamne! It was sooo good.

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