You-huu from my holiday paradise! It’s my third time in Montpellier and I absolutely love it! You should definitely book your flights if you haven’t been here already- you have the sea a 15 minutes tram ride away, the old town with its charming piazzas and wine bars, lots of cool shops, a wine festival in July and a couple of dazzling art museums, too. On top of all that, you have the French cuisine, lovely Southern people and a pretty international vibe to it all. 😉
Last week I was in Kristiansand for two days with a colleague of mine and we had the weather of our dreams! Evening walks, beer in the sun, fish and mussels and a giant ice-cream were on the menu.
I wanted to go to NY so bad this summer, but it’s still not happening. I’m seriously bounded by my expenses until the end of August, when the apartment will be officially out of my hands, which is why I don’t really dare to start dreaming about the (big) summer holiday. But we are going to France and I can’t wait. We’re going to Paris for a couple of days, then Montpellier, where F has family and fond childhood memories and the town will be our base to visit neighbouring places like Collioure. Maybe we’ll go to Nice from there, maybe to Barcelona, maybe settle on a couple of day trips to Marseille and Nimes.
I read in a traveling blog about a tour with a local guide in Bucharest called Beautiful Decay and ordered one at once. Unfortunately, the tour was not available anymore, but I did manage to rebook it to Alternative Bucharest and got the world’s nicest guide, Mircea, to show me around the lesser known areas of Bucharest with some inside information of historic, architectural and urban character. Street art, murals, hidden gems, dilapidated houses, different ways of building and creative approaches towards social equity for Roma people were a few of the subjects we discussed while walking our boots off around the city center.
There are few things I love more than my mother country in summer. The poppy fields, lounging with bubbles in a beer garden, visiting my grandma in the countryside and eating all kinds of fruit straight from the source, coffee breaks with my friends, dinners with my family, the sweet scent of linden and honeysuckle, children playing in the parks, to name a few.
Most times I come to Bucharest, I make sure I fit a lunch or coffee with Irina, a high school friend, in my “busy” schedule. 😉 It’s so refreshing to meet with someone so different and easy going in the “run, run, run” mentality of Romania, I can’t even begin to tell you. Things seem to be changing a bit though and the younger generation appear more hedonistic than my friends, more set on leisure time and freelancing, just like me.
So we met at Origo, my favourite place, both for the coffee, the people and the shade, where I’d just managed to empty half a cortado in my lap, on the same silk dress a pigeon had “blessed” a day before. Haha! I wasn’t even furious, I felt like a kid with an ice-cream, unable to eat it without smudging all over herself.
I’d asked the guy next to me on the bench if he liked Bucharest, since he spoke English and carried a huge camera, just like me. And he told me yes, it was his second time and he came all the way from Texas. When I told Irina she was like “I can get somebody straying once, but coming back to Bucharest?” Haha! I told her I totally got it, especially if you’re not into sights (like I’m not), and more into people and taking a city’s pulse with a camera on your neck.
We had a lovely elderflower lemonade to go with our pasta and salad lunch and raised the bar with a Prosecco by the end, since it was Friday and we only see each other once a year. 😉
Irina has a 3 year-old boy and we chatted about sleeping and reading routines, I mentioned my Diana one too many times and I might have slipped in Sam, too, even though he’s “just a dog”, since he’s my only kid. 😉
We spoke of other colleagues from high school, how some of them never seem to have time to meet, how others have secluded themselves and others again have just disappeared from the map.
I’m going to visit her at home today, so stay tuned for pictures of what I hear is a lovely garden and “maybe”, if I’m allowed, of a toddler. 😉
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.
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.
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! 😉
The linden trees are in bloom and the whole town smells intensely of summer, of long coffee breaks and French kisses.
We had these babies at M60, a lovely mid-century café, frequented by the “creative class”, as the Financial Time puts it.
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.
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.
“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. 😉
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.
Happiness is a warm pretzel with salt and poppy seeds. 😉 Can you tell?
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!