Childhood

I could probably search my whole life and never find the right words for describing childhood better than this photo I took in the old Jewish quarter in Fes, Morocco.

We were visiting the old synagogue but along with it we also had the chance to glimpse into the lives of some of the poorest people of Fes, those living in the old synagogue, whose children blissfully played on the sunny roof of the synagogue.

Their games were simple, as they must have been centuries ago, and their innocence was so visible through their shy smiles and awkward gestures as we’ve invaded their playground.

I stole this just while we left them to their games, far away from the worries of the world, from thoughts of poverty and expensive gadgets easily obtained and just as easily forgotten.

Blissful childhood might just be the childhood when all you have is a sunny rooftop, two friends, shoes that are too big and just your imagination capable of painting anything on the blue canvas of your city’s sky.

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Valea Horoabei

Cel mai bun semn ca am imbatranit, pe langa numarul postarilor pe blog, este numarul iesirilor de weekend din ultima vreme. Evident, exista multe explicatii solide pentru faptul ca ne petrecem tot mai multe weekenduri ostatici in oras in loc sa colindam tara in lung si lat, dar exista o parte a inimii care nu vrea sa inteleaga cum vine treaba asta cu responsabilitati si cu atat mai putin notiunea de economie.

Cand inima ne impinge prea tare sa iesim din casa si din monotonie in ciuda caldurii si a oboselii cronice, ca niste oameni batrani si responsabili ne gandim unde am putea merge cel mai aproape. Asa se face ca acum vreo doua weekenduri am ales o destinate pasnica pentru tura/ plimbarea care avea sa sa dovedeasca foarte frumoasa si plina de surprize placute : Valea Horoabei.

Valea Horoabei are o reputatie de traseu periculos, un nemarcat vesnic amenintat cu inchiderea fiindca ar fi periculos si ar necesita acces doar sub supravegherea salvamont. Dupa ce am parcurs traseul cu usurinta, e drept, intr-o perioada in care apa lipsea cu desavarsire din zona stancoasa, nu vad niciun motiv pentru care traseul nu ar fi marcat si deschis publicului.

 

Desi nemarcat, traseul este usor de gasit datorita indicatorului imens care iti arata directia corecta dupa care tot ce trebuie sa faci este sa urmaresti firul vaii pana incepe urcusul lin pe langa apa. Dupa cateva minute de urcus abrupt apare prima cascada care iti confirma ca esti pe drumul cel bun.

Sincer, cand am auzit de valea Horoabei imi imaginasem un traseu asemanator cu cel din Valea lui Stan, dar partea stancoasa, care necesita atentie si catarare pe stanci cu ajutorul cablurilor si scarilor metalice, este mult mai mica, poate nu reprezinta nici 30% din lungimea vaii.

Cu toate astea, traseul este frumos, chiar spectaculos, cu caderi de apa frumoase, arcade, numai bun pentru o iesire relaxanta care nu rezulta in dureri de picioare si plamani in pragul imploziei.

 

Odata intrat pe firul vaii, desi ochii sunt obisnuiti sa caute marcajele, iti dai seama repede ca traseul poate fi unul singur si nu e loc de rataciri, desi am vazut un grup care parea hotarat sa mearga exclusiv pe unde nu trebuia.

Partea cea mai frumoasa a traseului este asta :

Imediat dupa zona dintre stanci traseul continua urmand firul apei printre jenepeni, vegetatie luxurianta si roiuri de musculite care mi-au amintit de traseul spre Vf Retezat. Dupa iesirea din vale, marcata de aparitia a doua stane, exista doua variante de traseu de intoarcere : in stanga spre saua Strunga sau in dreapta, un pic pieptis pana se iese intr-o poteca ce coboara apoi spre Padina.

Am incercat sa identific si sa marchez pe Google maps traseul si a iesit desenul de mai jos. Daca ma insel amarnic astept sa fiu linsata in piata publica sau pe vreun grup de facebook de montaniarzi infocati, altfel, sper sa va fie de folos imaginea.

Traseu Horoabelor si retur

Traseu V Horoabei si retur ( foto G Maps + my mad drawing skills)

 

Ideea este simpla, odata iesiti din zona de jnepeni, cand apar cele doua stane « in cadru », se urca spre dreapta 10 – 15 m pana se intalneste un drum care poate fi urmat pana jos in Padina in pas lejer.

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De aici spre dreapta pana la poteca

Noi am avut placerea de a parcurge vreo trei sferturi de traseu in echipa largita dupa ce o intrebare legata de traseu ne-a facut sa ne marim grupul cu doi companioni, cu care am schimbat cu placere impresii despre orice si am mai baut si o bere la sfarsit de traseu.

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Chiar ma gandeam ca tot mai des intalnim pe munte grupuri cu oameni morocanosi, care nu saluta sau o fac fara sa ridice privirea de la nivelul bocancului si ca vremurile cand legai prietenii pe munte sunt de mult apuse cand au aparut I si D sa ne arate ca lucrurile nu stau chiar asa, ca muntele e inca plin de oameni faini, trebuie doar sa ii descoperi in multitudinea de oameni pusi pe « cucerit » munti, bifat trasee si alte activitati competitive in sensul negativ al cuvantului, care nu lasa loc de comunicare cu « strainii ».

La initiativa nou descoperitilor parteneri de drum am improvizat un traseu de intoarcere inedit, pe firul raului prin valea Ursului ( daca am inteles corect), traseu improvizat care ne-a purtat prin apa, pe stanci si busteni pana in fara intrarii la manastire unde am avut parte de “bucuria” revenirii la civilizatie, sau cum se cheama  nebunia din Padina din weekend.

A fost o tura  plimbare frumoasa, cu vreme excelenta si o companie pe masura, asa ca ne pregatim cu nerabdare pentru “data viitoare”.

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La “terasa” in Padina

Va urma un album, candva, probabil mai spre iarna. 🙂

P.S Va rog sa ma scuzati pentru lipsa acuta de diacritice, am observant ca scrisul in limba romana corecta si sfanta imi ucide creativitatea, iar corectorul meu este in vacanta asa ca va livrez un produs brut, de cizelat ulterior.  Daca sunt cuvinte cu sens ambiguu pe fondul lipsei de diacritice sau doar vreti sa ma luati peste picior puteti sa o faceti aici prin intermediul unui comentariu sau pe facebook, dar acolo doar dupa ce dati un like la pagina.

Photo of the week 3/2015: How forgetful can one be?

Just three weeks into the challenge with myself and I’ve managed already to forget to post the third photo of the week. I can blame it on the hectic schedule or the fact that I was dreaming of another photo, one of a tree I have put my eyes on for some time, but maybe this is the week I will manage to get my camera to work and try some shots of it.

With apologies for being that late here it is, my industrial sunset, taken from my home after a perfect, stormy day.

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DarkClaudS in Iceland – a comic book

Ok guys, you might have noticed I’ve been to Iceland recently. In fact I am sure you did because I told everyone about it. Now, thinking more cooly about it it might look like bragging but I assure you that my telling about it is just a way of expressing my enthusiasm about that amazing country and my trip through it and nothing more. I love travel stories and I write my own so bear with me through this story that will definitely reach new peaks of narcisism as it is full of photos of myself in Iceland.

This is a first for many reasons, among which the fact that I only post photos of myself on Facebook where narcisism is a must and the second being the fact that nobody takes my photos during trips since I am the group photographer. I can count numerous occasions( trips, some two weeks long) in which I took thousands of photos of people and places and only got one badly focused photo of myself  and nothing more.

The cruel irony is the fact that my best photos are portraits of my friends that I will never be able to publish since they are so secretive ( and a bit crazy).

Returning to Iceland, I have recently received a lot of photos of myself during the trip. They are so much fun you have to see them too so here it is, a story in fun images.

Please ignore the colorful mess of my winter wardrobe. My brain froze while packing and I did not realize I was that pink + red plus some more pink until it was too late and I was hurting everyone’s retinas in the Icelandic winter landscape. In my defense I must state that some of that gear was a present, I am not a pink freak.

Photographing the Oslo Opera House at 1 am on December 1rst because all you can do after a delayed flight and a hitchhike from the middle of nowhere to Oslo is check in and go out to take photos.

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When only your socks are dry and you’re happy about it watch out for waves. Or not. Photobombing a friend while being water bombed by the ocead who did not care much about my artistic endeavour. Ouch, that was cold. Jokulsarlon, I still love you!

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And by wet I mean wet wet wet. And not caring much. My poor poor camera…

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About that time we figured out why the car upholstery was made out of leather as we carried tons of rain and ocean water inside each time we got out and back in.

So much color, so much cold, and let’s not forget the wind.

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I saw that caracter in a Japanese horrow movie. Oh, wait, it’s just me 😀

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A tripod sherpa is a good friend willing to carry your tripod, protect your camera for rain or act as a tripot stabilizer in time of rain, wind and other forms of terrible weather.

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Enjoying the view. The prettiest glacier I ever saw, I must find out the name from Ingi, I was so excited to be there I forgot to ask or take a photo of the sign..

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3rd degree encounter with the Icelandic fluffy horses. I love those guys, they are so cute. We talked a lot about the risks of becoming sandwiches and told them as I told Ingi a thousand times: horses are pets, not food. Extra pink alert, by now you must think I am a powerpuff girl or something. The truth is my friends get me colorful clothes because they don’t want me to get lost in the snow.

DSC_0719Defying the laws of gravity, what was I doing here? I have no clue.

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With the tripod sherpa, looking for the troll queen. This is one of my favorite photos.

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Freezing at Gullfoss, unforgetable.

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Urban explorer. Confused urban explorer.  Extatic urban explorer meets Icelandic blue(ish) sky.

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Have I ever told you we are boat geeks? We never miss out old boat musem so we really loved visiting Odinn. We wrote them a note about our love and we even did an exercise to see if we all three fit in a lifesaving boat. ( I will not show you that photo, no way)

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And then it was bye bye Iceland, nice to see you again Norway and a day trip to the Oslo Opera House.

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And the sad time of going back home, that we never photograph, came. That was it, a lot of photos that might not say much to you but I find them fun and full of memories.  It was one of the best trips ever despite the weather and the short days. I loved every second of it and cannot wait for the next trip, not so far away if I come to think about it.

I need to thank my friends for the photos and for the companionship.  Luv you, guys!

Vis

Cand esti mic si inveti la scoala despre Islanda nu iti inchipui ca vei ajunge vreodata acolo. Poate ca in zilele noastre, in anumite familii iti poti permite sa visezi la asta, insa in cazul meu, acum multi anisori nici nu cred ca speram vreodata ca asa putea sa vizitez una din cele 23 de tari pe care le-am vazut deja, sa ajung in Islanda cu atat mai putin.

Islanda e un vis care se apropie cu pasi repezi si inca nu imi vine sa cred ca o sa ating taramul elfilor, al ghetarilor si vulcanilor, al prietenilor buni si al aurorei boreale si ca inainte sa fac asta o sa vad in viteza Norvegia, alta destinatie la care nu as fi visat pana acum cativa ani.

E ciudat cum ne duce viata, cu ajutorul nostru, evident, in locuri atat de indepartate. In ianuarie am mers in Gran Canaria, cel mai sudic punct atins, si acum, 12 luni mai tarziu merg in cel mai nordic punct de pana acum, in tara eterna a visurilor mele, cea pe care o iubesc de dinainte sa o vad si una din putinele in care as vrea sa ma mut si maine.

De ce scriu toate astea? Pai in primul rand ca sa imi mai zboare emotiile, in al doilea rand ca sa va spun ca nimic nu este imposibil, decat poate sa intinerim si sa castigam la loto :P, dar toate celelalte lucruri la care nu prea indraznim sa visam pot fi atinse, cu sacrificii, cu eforturi supraomenesti, dar atinse si nimic nu se compara cu sentimentul asta.

Saptamana asta am oscliat intre asteptari, temeri si sperante mai mult sau mai putin realiste, am urmarit obsesiv vremea si prognozele de aurora boreala, dar acum intru in normalitate si imi propun sa ma bucur de ce va fi asa cum va fi, cu bune, rele, aurora sau nu.

Asta va fi cea mai frumoasa vacanta de pana acum, am zis.

P.S Florina, nu stiu cand o sa reusim, dar am promis ca vom merge impreuna in Alaska sa vanam aurora, asa ca poti conta pe mine.

Gata, plec si promit sa nu va mai stesez, cateva zile macar. 🙂 Decat daca o sa fac poze cu aurora, caz in care….

Fortitude in Solitude

Being a photographer is quite easy, you get a big black camera and call yourself one. Then you gen a Facebook page, an Instagram account and post your “work”. If you’re popular or charismatic you’ll get lots and lots of feedback and appreciations and the quality of your work has nothing to do with it.

Oh, this does not sound quite right, let’s watch this from a different angle:

If you’re not (charismatic), you’ll get some feedback but you will  still wonder why your friends cat or child photographed with a phone gets more likes that the shots you worked hard for, the one you think (and you might be terribly wrong) speak volumes in terms of emotions, message, theme…

Then you get stuck, full of questions and doubt, struggling to move forward without really knowing if you’re any good, if you’re on the right path or way into the deep woods of bad photography..

Sometimes luck strikes and a kind stranger offers you feedback and brightens your day. This is what happened to me when out of the blue a photographer I appreciate a lot offered me a different interpretation of a photo I posted and more importantly, precious objective and kind feedback. A few words and signs of support can make such a huge difference, give you so much courage for what’s to come.

The lack of it kills inspiration, makes you anxious and doomed to fail. Isn’t it strange, to find such power in a few words or the lack of them? Isn’t it great to know that a thing you once said or did helped someone be a better version of himself as a person, photographer or whatever?

This is the shot that helped me get my courage back. It’s called “Fortitude in Solitude” and it makes me think of things that will be and although it’s b&w for me it will always represent hope, progress and all the things that make you smile all by yourself.

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Thank you all for stopping by and please, never hesitate to share your thoughts. They are and always will be deeply needed and appreciated.

1 Mai plimbatoresc – povestea Dobrogeana

Cum vremea isi face de cap fara masura anul asta, atunci cand planificam o iesire pentru weekendul prelungit 1 – 4 mai am eliminat din start, cu mare parere de rau, destinatiile ideale : Ceahlau, Hasmas, Fagaras, si dupa ce ne-am convins ca la munte vremea avea sa fie rea si foarte rea ne-am intors atentia catre mare. Cand am facut propunerea, reactia a fost ceva de genul :

“Cum ?!? Sa mergem noi la mare de 1 mai, cu toata lumea ? Si ce sa facem acolo, ca Vama nu-i de noi, iar Mamaia nici atat ? »

Dupa ce am scapat de sentimentul de jena evidenta am pus mana pe google maps si am inceput sa caut destinatii in jurul orasului Constanta unde stabilisem ca vom avea cartierul general.

Nu mi-a fost greu sa fac un plan fiindca tot ce a trebuit sa fac a fost sa dau pe satelite view si sa caut cele mai verzi zone. In plus, ma bazam pe gazdele noastre din zona, care stiau cele mai frumoase locuri.

Dupa o usoara munca de convingere, pe 1 mai am pornit la drum, nici prea devreme, nici prea tarziu si pe la pranz eram in Constanta. Fiindca nu puteam rata ziua, am pornit la drum in mare viteza catre Manastirea sfantului Ioan Casian. Nu am ajuns prea repede fiindca lanurile cu rapita ne faceau cu ochiul, norii aratau numai bine, si spiritul de vacanta ne indemna sa hoinarim fara grija timpului.

Asa am intrat si noi in categoria celor 90% din romani care si-au facut poze in rapita, cu singura diferenta ca le pastram pentru uz intern, publicandu-le doar pe cele fara personaje, dupa cum se vede mai jos.

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Tot in drum spre manastire am oprit sa vizitam o gara foarte veche, dar nu prea am putut, fiindca lucratorii garii intinsesera o masa festiva de 1 mai chiar in fata intrarii, gratarul incins era prin preajma, asa ca am dat un ocol larg cladirii si ne-am vazut de drum ca sa nu deranjam oamenii de la masa.

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Manastirea Ioan Casian este in constructie sau renovare, asa ca am admirat bisericuta doar la exterior indreptandu-ne direct catre potecuta care ducea catre pestera.

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In fata privelistii deschise catre podisul Casimcei am ramas fara cuvinte. Frumusete imposibil de pus in cuvinte si greu de surprins cu aparatul foto ni se asternea la picioare, incepand cu lacul Casian albastru, cu trei insule verzi, pana la campurile nesfarsite marginite de uriasele eoliene care au impanzit Dobrogea in ultimii ani.

Podisul Casimcei vazut din pestera Sf. Ioan Casian

Podisul Casimcei vazut din pestera Sf. Ioan Casian

Si lacul albastru:

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Dupa manastirea Casian am avut ideea, nu tocmai inspirata, de a vizita cheile Dobrogei. Le-am vazut in viteza, din masina, cu mare dificultate, printre fumul de la gratare, in sunet de manele si generatoare, printre castele gonflabile si alte aparitii socante pentru o zona protejata.

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Ca sa atenuam socul, am ales drumul lung si nefinisat prin Gura Dobrogei unde grataristii erau mai putini, dar nu lipseau.

Ziua s-a incheiat intr-o cheie la fel de socanta in Mamaia, unde am putut observa alt gen de petrecareti, cei cu masini mai scumpe decat apartamentul meu si cu pantofi cu toc cui pe plaja, multe substante ingerate si un gen de « petrecere » care ma face sa ma simt batrana si din alt timp si spatiu complet.

A doua zi am hotarat sa lenevim prin zona plajei si a satului de vacanta, alt loc relativ socant care i-a distrat, totusi, pe copilasi. Cea mai memorabila intamplare a zilei a fost cand un tanar, amarat foc, m-a rugat sa ii fac o poza cu telefonul fiindca prietenii lui bausera prea mult inainte si dormeau inca.

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A treia zi a fost atat de frumoasa incat m-a facut sa ma gandesc incontinuu la urmatoarea iesire in zona si poate chiar mai departe, o vacanta in care tele-ul sa nu mai stea acasa, cum mi s-a intamplat acum.

Desi ne-am trezit in ceata si am fost urmariti de ea jumatate de zi, am vizitat locuri superbe si ne-am bucurat de peisaje de poveste.

Constanta - Argamum - Enisala - Dunavat - Tulcea - Constanta

Constanta – Argamum – Enisala – Dunavat – Tulcea – Constanta

Drumul ne-a purtat de la Constanta la Cetatea Argamum, pe malul lacului Razim, mai departe am descoperit sub soare zidurile anticei Enisala si ne-am indreptat catre Dunavatul de Jos, acolo unde soseaua se termina si incepe delta cu adevarat.

Enisala cu dragon

Enisala cu dragon

Intre timp, evident, au existat aproape tot atatea opriri cate pasari am vazut si credeti-ma ca pe langa stolurile uriase de berze, frenezia randunicilor pana la pupeze nazdravane, gaste placide si lebede plictisite pana la pelicani speriosi, cormorani, rate si gaste am vazut multe alte pasari pe care nu am avut cum sa le surprind si nici sa le recunosc.

Apusul l-am admirat pe malul lacului Murighiol, in Puflene Resort, un loc foarte frumos, din pacate cu review-uri ingrozitoare pe internet.

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Drumul de intoarcere a fost lung, dar plin de voie buna, ca mai toate calatoriile in formula care mi-e atat de draga.

Un stol de ganduri

Cu tolba plina de povesti, odihniti si fericiti am plecat acasa in a patra zi, cu gandul ca vom reveni cu corturile in portbagaj si cu aparatele setate pe portrete de pasari. 🙂

Le multumim minunatelor noastre gazde pe care le-am obosit peste masura, stim, dar nu putem sa promitem decat ca data viitoare va fi si mai rau, adica bine. : D

Pentru istoria “ilustrata” va invit sa rasfoiti albumul de mai jos:

1 Mai Plimbatoresc

 

 

 

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