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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Retrospectiva 2016 si planuri 2017

Daca ar trebui sa descriu 2016 in doua cuvinte nu mi-ar ajunge cuvintele, ar trebui sa imprumut un cuvant de la un vecin ca sa il definesc pe scurt ca fiind asa si asa.

Mi-am propus multe lucruri importante si, ca de obicei, am realizat cu totul altele, mai importante sau poate nu…cine stie.

Pe categorii, anul meu ar arata cam asa:

Carti

In materie de carti am pornit la drum cu o provocare grozava, aceea de a citi peste 50 de carti, rupand in final sirul parca nesfasit de lecturi Sci Fi si Fantasy.

La final de an numar doar 31 de carti citite, si desi am rupt pe alocuri tiparul am facut ce am facut si tot in zona fantasy-ului am aterizat.

M-am impresionat anul asta cateva carti: The Book Thief, Fahrenheit 451, The Road, We, Miss Peregrine’s Home.. si m-am indragostit iremediabil de Ray Bradbury. ( si nu doar de el, dar despre asta la alta categorie)

De citit am citit, cu cateva mici exceptii in engleza, pe ereader, intai un Nook Simple Touch si apoi un Kindle Paperwhite pe care il ador.

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La anul  voi continua challenge-ul si bonus o sa incerc sa citesc o carte in franceza (posibil sa fi spus asta si la sfarsitul lui 2015).

Lista completa a cartilor citite in ultimii ani este aici

Calatorii

In materie de calatorii 2016 a fost anul insulelor. Am inceput in februarie cu Guadelupa, am continuat in august cu Sicilia si am incheiat in octombrie cu Madeira. Nu va mai spun care mi-a placut cel mai tare, stiti deja ca este Guadelupa, care ma tem ca mi-a afectat pe veci notiunea de vacanta perfecta, transformand orice alte vacante in destinatii mai normale in mici dezamagiri.

Pe langa vacante au fost cateva calatorii profesionale in Franta si Slovenia. Am vizitat in timpul lor aeroporturi, taxiuri si sali intunecate de sedinte, dar am cunoscut oameni minunati.

2017 o sa il incep pe continentul african, si sper sa il continuu intr-un trend ascendent cu apogeu in vara cand, cu putin noroc, o sa urc intr-o masina cu 4 oameni nebuni si o sa mergem pana la Nordkap si inapoi, vreo 11.000 de km si niscaiva maruntis.

In materie de munti, turele au fost putine, dar pe munti de poveste, de la La Grande Soufriere (1467m), cel mai inalt varf din Antilele Inferioare, la Mytikas(2918m), cel mai inalt varf din Olimp, Pico de Arieiro(1818m) in Madeira  si Etna, cu a lui frumusete parca extraterestra.

La anul visez doar la Retezat reloaded, dar cine stie ce alte idei si culmi “apetisante” vor mai aparea in drumul spre Nordkap.

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Google recomanda un avion, dar eu cred cu tarie ca o masina plina cu prieteni e cel mai bun mijloc de transport pentru aventura lui 2017.

Muzica, sport, spectacole

 La capitolul muzica am ramas cu pasiunea pentru Rammstein si dorinta obsesiva de a-i vedea in concert, asa ca un bilet la Hellfest ar fi una din marile dorinte ale lui 2017 fiindca anul asta nu am convins pe nimeni sa mearga cu mine prin Europa dupa ei.

Am mers, in schimb, foarte des la meciuri de handbal ale nationalei de fete si ale CSM Bucuresti. La anul merg cu trupa de nebuni la meciurile CSM-ului ( bilete aici  ) si in mai la « FainălFor » la Budapesta. Yeey, pe barosaneala, prietenii stiu de ce.

Tot in mai 2017 vine si Cirque du Soleil la Bucuresti cu Varekai, Tales of the Forest. Biletele se gasesc aici. 

Eu si fotografia

In materie de fotografii 2016 a fost un an cu multe lectii. Am invatat destul de multe lucruri despre mine si mine in relatia cu fotografia, ocazie cu care am renuntat la ambitii fotografice si am inceput sa ma concentrez pe povestile mele, bune sau rele.

In tot acest timp am tras cu ochiul la mari fotografi romani (care, de altfel, detesta sa fie numiti asa) si am ramas profund impresionata de dedicarea, talentul si realizarile lor in 2016.

Ii urmaresc cu sufletul la gura si maxima fascinatie pe Dorin Bofan si Cosmin Ionescu, fotografi si oameni extraordinari si de cand i-am descoperit imi tot doresc sa fiu ca ei cand o sa fiu mare.

Unul din ei mi-a dat like la una din fotografii prin vara si credeti-ma, probabil ca au fost oameni care au castigat milioane de euro si s-au bucurat mai putin decat m-am bucurat si inca ma bucur eu pentru acel like. Asta, evident, atunci cand nu ma intreb daca l-a dat din greseala.

Nikon-ul meu D7100 m-a suparat rau anul asta cu petele pe senzor, revenite in forta dupa curatarea din vara asa ca am luat masuri drastice cu el, retrograndand-ul la stadiul de varf de brad de craciun neconventional pana in ianuarie cand va fi curatat si vandut.

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Trepied de Crăciun, vârful se vinde

Fotografiile mele preferate din 2016 sunt multe, poate chiar toate cele care au vazut lumina digitala, asta din cauza ca nu pot fi selectiva atunci cand e vorba de povestile mele, dar de dragul exercitiului am ales patru, cele de mai jos.

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A Turner

“A Turner” este o poveste despre forta si frumusetea neimblanzita a oceanului, despre lupta stancii cu valurile si cea a inimii mele cu timpul care incerca sa ma desprinda de acea stanca pe care am intalnit perfectiunea.

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Scribbles

“Scribbles” e o poveste despre semnatura omului pe fata lumii si pentru mine una din putinele amintiri frumoase dintr-o vacanta a dezamagirilor.

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Instance of Grace

“Instance of Grace” este o poveste despre ziua perfecta in care orhideele lui Michel, gazda noastra minunata, au inflorit special ca sa  aduca mai aproape  colibriul pe care il alergasem o saptamana prin gradina si pentru mine care descarcam linistita pozele din ziua precedenta fara sa stiu ca eram atat de aproape de cadrul perfect.

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Ahab’s Dream

“Ahab’s Dream” e o poveste despre vise implinite fiindca niciodata in viata mea pana acum cativa ani nu imi imaginasem macar ca as putea sa vad balenele, sau colibri si o gramada de alte lucruri a la teleenciclopedia.

Cam atat despre fotografi, ca sa nu va plictisiti. Daca vreti sa vedeti mai multe va invit pe pagina mea de instagram sau pe cea de facebook cu mentiunea ca pe langa poze o sa dati si peste ocazionalele selfie-uri si chestii plictisitoare.

Cele mai mari realizari ale lui 2016, poate acum mai mult ca oricand, sunt oamenii minunati pe care i-am cunoscut, care mi-au devenit colegi sau prieteni. Ei ma fac sa zambesc, ma fac sa imi doresc sa fiu un om mai bun si cu ei am impartasit cele mai frumoase clipe si am facut cele mai nebunesti planuri pentru 10 ani de acum inainte.

In capitolul Diverse va mai spun doar doua lucruri, ca sa inchie bilantul intr-o nota vesela.

  • Primul este acela ca tot in 2016 am aflat ca am cifra destinului 9, ceea ce inseamna ca am ajuns la “top of the top” si in viata viitoare o sa fiu o rama intr-un alt nivel existential, sper  ca unul in care exista biblioteci si rame bibliofile, daca tot va fi cu upgrade.
  • Al doilea este un fapt la fel de important, si anume acela ca am aflat care este “my spirit animal” si probabil ca nu va surprinde pe nimeni faptul ca este vorba de un panda cam ca cel din videoul asta.

Daca va intrebati cum mi-am dat seama, raspunsul este simplu: amandoi suntem la fel de buni sportivi, coordonati, atletici si amandoi suntem rotunjori desi mancam numai bambus.

Cam atat despre 2016, urmeaza sa il inchei in forta si tare ma tem ca o voi face cu niscaiva relatari live, multe poze pe instagram si facebook, plus nelipsitele vaicareli fiindca nu exista vacante marca Darkclauds fara dezastre sau intamplari care sfideaza logica si frizeaza nebunia.

Ne vedem in 2017, cu mai multe postari si activitate intensa online, poate si un vlog, daca o conving pe Greti sa ne facem un vlog de comedie. 😉

Automne Parisienne

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A trip in time: Pompeii

Hello, fellow travelers, we’re back with fresh reports from Italy, this time a short description of a day visit to the amazing ruins of Pompeii.

Taking into account the history of the place I will try to be a bit more serious, if you won’t mind.

Pompeii Scavi is easily reached from Naples by train, the Circumvesuviana, although you might want to keep your purse or backpack close while on the train.

The entrance ticket costs 13 euros and they are well spent money, the place being absolutely amazing. We were part of a group so the people in charge found us a guide that was quite good, but unfortunately I cannot really say how much the services of a guide cost but they are worth it, for sure.

Our guide made our visit to the ruins of Pompeii quite memorable with the things that he explained and the fun way he did it. That’s him in “Villa dei Misteri” telling us the story of the place.

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As you might know, Pompeii is an Italian city in the Bay of Naples not destroyed, as you might think, but preserved by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

This strange method of  unintended but wonderful “preservation” is due to the approximately 6 meters of ash that covered and kept Pompeii  hidden and safe for over a thousand years.

The lucky archaeological event was not so lucky for most of the inhabitants of Pompeii who died either due to the high temperature that liquefied their brains ( 250°) or choked to death in the falling ash.

Their remains, preserved by the fallen ash were found by the archaeologists who discovered that the bodies were in fact gone after over a millennium but the shells of the buried people and objects, remained petrified. In an effort of preservation the archaeologists injected the empty shells recreating exact representations of the victims of the disaster.

One of them is a boy holding his nose while trying not to breathe in the deadly ash… CSI_5064

Huh, I told you this is a way to serious post, but enough with that.

Here’s a fun fact: in 1599 Pompeii was almost rediscovered. Actually, rediscovered and hastily reburied. Why so? Well because the Pompeiians had a very interesting and modern culture, one in which the phallus was an “apotropaion”, that is an intensively used good luck charm so its representations were quite widely spread and picturesque. Too much for the prudes that uncovered it so they hurried and reburied it for more open minded generations.

Oh, by the way, in Naples you will find lots of charms featuring what might seem like clusters of small, red peperoni. They are not actually peperoni, so if you buy them as souvenirs or gifts for your friends be ready to explain to them that they are actually fertility symbols.

Our visit to Pompeii started with the house of pleasure, the first thing a weary traveler ( sailor, mostly) stumbled upon when reaching Pompei. The house we visited was nicely decorated with frescoes and even had “the menu” on the walls, for the convenience of the customers that were not speaking Italian.

If you happen to visit Pompeii and that place make sure to look for the “Pompeiian sandwich”  in the menu,  it is the first representation of its kind uncovered. Unfortunately my photo of it is moved, because of laughter and also of the badly lit room.

You will, nonetheless, find it on most of the magnets and postcards sold in and around Pompeii.

In the well preserved site, with a well-documented guide, you can almost imagine Pompeii bustling with life, a hub for commerce but also of culture.

You look around and you can see the temples, the stores, the bakeries and fast food places, you can hear the rumbling of carts on the cobble streets and smell the freshly baked bread. CSI_5046

Above all, you can almost see the imposing form of Vesuvius, who, before the eruption reached almost 2500 meters, not the meager 1281 meters  he has now after blowing up and burying the area in ash and debris. ( They found a rock from the eruption in 79 AD in Albania, imagine that.)

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One of the most interesting sights in Pompeii is actually not in the city but some 400 meters outside the city walls, just passing through a very interesting, decorative cemetery, also speaking volumes about the rich, educated and beauty lovers Pompeiians.

Villa dei Misteri, extremely well preserved( walls, frescoes, ceiling), was a very rich citizen’s residence.

Among the ruins was discovered a wine press that cannot be visited, and a room with mysterious frescoes that are still leaving room for theories.

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Most of the scientists studying the frescoes agree that they seem to represent the initiation in the cult of Dionysus  ( the god of harvest, wine,  and other intoxicants and intoxicating rituals).

The main idea around the frescoes is that in order to become an upstanding citizen and be initiated you have to, first of all, get really, really intoxicated and have a chat with Dionysus.

This comes to show that things do not change so much over millennia since this is exactly what the young people nowadays do while in college, although they might cam it differently and the intoxicants have also changed. 😀

Now, my theory on the frescoes is quite different and it involves aliens. Why? Well because you can clearly see in one of the frescoes a kid taking a selfie with his IPad while his mother is at the hairdresser.  😀

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Now, dear readers, I can only hope that you know I was joking, at least about the Ipad part.

In conclusion I must say that I found the Pompeii site to be the most interesting I have ever visited, well worth the money, the time and the scorching heat. It is a true glimpse into history, one that rises a lot of questions, especially if we compare the glory of the days passed with the not so glorious  daily life the citizens of Naples, for example, seem to have.

But about my thoughts on this matter we can talk some other time, maybe when I’ll dare to write my opinion on Naples and its long faded glory.

That’s it for now. If you want to find out more about Naples and its surroundings you might want to check out my other article with a click right here.

Italy and Darkclauds: it’s complicated

To love or to hate, these were the questions revolving in my mind whenever I thought of Italy. I had one mostly positive memory of Venice and  a not so pleasant experience of  the Umbria region and too many meetings with not so nice people and poor quality services.

To end the dilemma I once more bought tickets to Italy in order to make up my mind and give my verdict. They were a great deal since BlueAir flies directly from Bucharest to Naples and we found the tickets at just 75 euros.

Luckily for me and for Italy also, after the latest trip my decision is that Italy is a country to love, with its perfect places and its flaws also.

I chose a completely new part of Italy, the beginning of summer and jumped in a completely new experience along with some of my best friends.

This time the choice that made the trick was Naples and most importantly its surroundings, the amazing bay of Naples, Amalfi coast and the beautiful Capri.

We flew to Naples one Saturday morning (June 27) and our hosts for the weekend picked us up and took us to our first headquarters in Salerno, at Grand Hotel Salerno, by the beach.

The same afternoon we took a lovely cruise from Salerno to Amalfi, enjoying on the way the lovely views of the famous Amalfi coast, with lush forests, lemon orchards and idyllic houses perched on high cliffs.

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Leaving Salerno

From time to time, small fairytale towns appeared from between the rocks to our amazement. The sun was shining, white puffy clouds kept on rolling lazily over the blue skies  and I remembered how much I love the sea although I am a mountain girl at heart.

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Now do not get me wrong, I hate sunbathing ( and I consider it dangerous), and I’ll stand on a beach for more than an hour only of you tempt me with a really good book, but I love cruises, the sound and smell of the sea, the sense of freedom and tranquility you can only get with water all around you, even on a busy, noisy ferry during high season.

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Positano, I think

 

Amalfi, the very famous town was not a surprise, but was nonetheless nice, with its small twisted streets, shops and street terraces, its delicious ice-cream and bustling life.

The Amalfi cathedral was a lot nicer that we expected, and finding out that St Andrew’s remains are kept there was a very pleasant surprise.

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We tried to get lost on the small streets and explore hidden parts of Amalfi, but my perfect sense of direction prevented us from getting lost. 😀 Nonetheless, we found just the perfect place for a cute photoshoot. Too bad I forgot to instruct my photographer on the proper use of a camera and on the notion of focus.

  So this must be the best photo of myself during my Italian adventure, I hope you like it as much as I do. 😀

CSI_4758Soon our wandering was ended by our guides who reminded us we have a ferry to catch. We took the trip back in silence, a bit tired after a day that had started too early, quite far away.

  We took one long look at Amalfi and said our goodbyes for now.

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We enjoyed a quiet and not very spectacular sunset on the ferry thinking that Italy might not be that bad. Little did I know, the best was yet to come.

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To be continued….

P.S You might like to scroll through the rest of the photos of the day. If so, click bravely on the link below. Enjoy!

Italy, July 2015: Amalfi and Salerno

Photo of the week 7/2015 – .. and the scent of chestnut flowers

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Walk With Me

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The past days have redefined for me the notion of a busy week, but then there was bliss and bliss is my favorite state of mind and spirit.

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