Home

Once or twice a year, I get to go to the place I still call home, although I actually only lived here for about 8 months, 17 years ago. But as much as Calarasi is the place of my birth and Craiova was my home during childhood and adolescence , Bucharest is the home of my soul. It’s in fact the only place I’ve lived where I’ve ever felt like home, if I come to think of it.

Don’t get me wrong- much of it is completely destroyed by the megalomaniac Soviet architecture, but the old neighbourhoods are an oasis of calm and allure. Lush gardens, decrepit old houses, hipsters and grey people, elegant gals and Roma dressed in their colorful skirts, for whom I only used to have disdain back in the day, I embrace it all and feel blessed to have grown up with so much diversity. And although I’m often taken for a foreigner and feel out of place from time to time, I really love it here. It’s home.
_MG_0589.jpg

This girl made my day! I was walking past a couple of other Roma girls with small children, thinking how I’d love to photograph them, but I couldn’t possibly do it, I’d have to ask and they’d probably say no and who knows what else, when she came to me asking me to take a picture. I immediately said yes, but then she asked for money and so I said no. But then she changed her mind, enticed by the idea of being the subject of someone’s interest, and said ok, just take a picture. And then she and her friend rushed to my camera to see the picture and exclaimed: Wow, I look like a real star! 😉 And she did! She couldn’t have been more than 12-14 years old, ribbon in her hair, she was proud as a peacock and posed in front of the camera with as much natural talent as any model.

_MG_0533

Today was incredibly hot and I used that as an excuse to buy a new skimpy dress and a top, both silk, from COS. When I’d finally changed, I felt I could even survive in the desert and so I and my brother hit one café after another, drinking iced latte, lemonade, prosecco and more lemonade again. The Prosecco was a terrible move as it only made us even more hot and thirsty. But hey, I’m on a holiday and he’s taken some days off to be with his sis! 😉

_MG_0536.jpg

_MG_0557.jpg

_MG_0537.jpg

_MG_0546.jpg

_MG_0547.jpg

The linden trees are in bloom and the whole town smells intensely of summer, of long coffee breaks and French kisses.

_MG_0562.jpg

_MG_0528.jpg

_MG_0530

_MG_0523

We had these babies at M60, a lovely mid-century café, frequented by the “creative class”,  as the Financial Time puts it.

_MG_0521.jpg

_MG_0580

_MG_0573.jpg

_MG_0587

_MG_0467.jpg

The best part of coming home, besides seeing my mom, is I get to hang out with this cutie here! 😉 I don’t know how you feel about children, I for one tend to either love or barely stand them, but this cutie here makes my heart fill with tenderness, the way I’ve never really felt before.

_MG_0471

She’s so cheeky and so affectionate and she says whatever crosses her mind, not very unlike me- haha, it’s so refreshing to be together and do the craziest stuff.

_MG_0473.jpg

_MG_0515.jpg

“Nuca”, meaning walnut, is the neigbour’s cat and comes for a visit every now and then. This morning he was meowing outside the apartment door and he jumped right in when I opened up. 😉

_MG_0561.jpg

A new coffee spot in town. I’ll check it out tomorrow, as we sat in the garden and it turned out the terrace belonged to another place.

_MG_0556.jpg

Happiness is a warm pretzel with salt and poppy seeds. 😉 Can you tell?

_MG_0495.jpg

My mom on the balcony of my airbnb. I love this place and I’d love to be back here again! Stay tuned for more fun!

xxx, Alina

At Home

I´m at home for a week and it´s so good to be around close family and friends! Yet I can´t help but feel estranged. I´m gliding in, just not really. I feel so out of place, so obviously different, wearing my sandals (mostly because my ballerinas are golden and I feel they´re too glitzy for a Wednesday morning) when everyone else is wearing a jacket! At 23 degrees! I forgot that 23 degrees is not much here, though, in summer it´s closer to 40 degrees.

13151127_1774799889401531_2045529222_n

Continue reading

A night to remember

We´re back in Oslo, where it´s refreshingly chilly and time seems to have stood still, as in the trees are still in full bloom and you still need a jacket and a wool scarf to get by. 😉 For a couple of days now we´ve decluttered the place, thrown some stuff away, put some shoes on sale and now we feel lighter already. Thought I´d have a short break and write about our last night in Bucharest, when we went out for dinner and drinks with my best friend and her husband.

IMG_4213 Continue reading

Dinner with Andra and Tom

Yesterday I finally got to meet Andra from Amsterdamming after being blog friends for a couple of years now. We realized we were in town at the same time and couldn´t miss this chance, globe trotters as we all are, who knows when fortune will find us in the same city again? So we arranged that the 4 of us meet up at a restaurant to enjoy a large and friendly meal together. The choice fell on Lacrimi si Sfinti, a renowned restaurant that “reinvents” traditional cooking in surprising and yet predictable ways. And we had the best of times! It´s so strange when you talk so much to someone that you feel you know her already, although you´ve never actually met her! IMG_3386 Continue reading

A night out in Bucharest

Since we´re on a holiday in Bucharest for some days now, we decided to invite my family out for a better meal. Choosing a restaurant would normally sound like a nice and simple task, but proved to be a mine field this time. Not this one, not that other one, not in the city centre, ´cause the buildings are crumbling down, not traditional food, ´cause it´s not properly cooked, but not Italian, either, ´cause you don´t go to town to eat spaghetti, you get the point… The whole thing turned into a quarrel and I and my father no longer speak for the moment. Democracy was never the strong point in our family.

IMG_3334

Continue reading

Bucharest

We´re back in Bucharest and it´s great! 😉 Haven´t been on a holiday since last year, except for a short 3 days´ break in Vienna at the beginning of January. In addition to that, Romania is really nice this time of the year- the accacia trees are in bloom, the temperature is warm, but not steamy and everything is green.

We got here on Wednesday about midnight, my brother and sister-in-law picked us up at the airport and we had some drinks at our auntie´s place where we´re staying this time. They´d bought some corn puffs and my mother had made some roast potatoes and chicken, so we had a late night dinner, too.

Yesterday we woke up late- it had poured all morning and the air was fresh, but warm, just the way I like it. 😉 We had coffee and breakfast at Origo, where we´re regulars when in town. They have the best coffee ever. Afterwards we walked for a bit and grabbed a cab to my brother´s place to catch up with mom and babysit our niece while she was going to the dentist.
IMG_2935

Continue reading

Return from Mother Country

As you might have realized, I´ve been away for a week. Back to my mother country, or, to be more precise, Bucharest. More than anything, it was a time travel- as I implied last time I mentioned my trip- to a stage in my life when the future still held everything in store and my hopes were sky-high. I´ve been living in Norway for 14 years now and I look back on my year in Bucharest with a mixture of nostalgia and of “things that could have been”.

This being said, my “future” turned out just right, my country´s, however, never raised to my expectations. Buildings are crumbling down, corruption is still everywhere, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, even the middle class seems to be flattening out into a mass of people learning how to survive with what they have.

Leaving politics and the deplorable speed at which things happen aside, Bucharest is a nice city to visit. Plenty of coffee shops, restaurants, stores and bookstores. Throw in some museums, lovely architecture in the old town and some of the city´s main streets, fairly low prices and welcoming people, there´s no reason why you shouldn´t give it a chance for a weekend or so.

I was there for a week to see my family, especially my niece, who is the crown jewel of our “dynasty”, to meet up with friends, have some laughs, some drinks, get hold on some books in Romanian and shop. I love Max Mara and they don´t have it in Norway any more! Can you even imagine?;-)

So I dined and wined, visited people and places, mostly the same places (and people!;-)), as my need for stability is ever so present, ate the eclairs and the pies my body had craved for an entire year, stayed in the same lovely hotel Cismigiu and explored. The city was sad and grey in the dirty February light, the temperature was nothing to fuss over, either, but the 1st of March brought a token of spring and people gave each other flowers and symbolic jewelry as they do every year. And it was lovely to see everybody, now I´ve recharged my batteries for a while. I´m sure I´ll go back to feeling home sick in no time!

Check out Amsterdamming´s entries on Bucharest!

Continue reading