Invitation to "my wagon"

A short train trip  to the mountains on a regular Saturday winter  morning.

Gorgeous walk, sunny weather, delicious food and perfect company.

The trip back home with a slower train..

The long walks take their toll on me and when I sit down and with the warm air hugging me I deeply relax.

I am looking through the wagon and encounter a variety of  fellow travellers.

And I have my phone in my pocket for the rest of the trip while I take time to look at everybody.

Bring to paint a picture of their stories in my mind.

Snowboarders, fathers left in a boy’s getaway with their baby boys, elder people heading back to their homes, an Indian speaking English with a delicate redhaired woman  that proved  to be his wife.

I’m melting in my seat, and outside the shades of the sky are rapidly changing, like in a kaleidoscope.

I close  my eyes for a second and the swing of the train rings back  memories from me being a baby swung in my mum’s loving arms.

I feel warms and protected and I open my eyes grateful for the amazing day I am having.

It seems waves of mixed relaxation and sleep gently sweeps our wagon and the sounds are lullabies for my ears.

The snowboarders swish silently their gloves and coats to fit better without disturbing anyone.

The fathers with  the getaway are softly speaking to their boys trying to put them down to sleep before they do. Luckily the boys fall asleep in each others arms, and the parents are silently giggle in content.

The elders put down their glasses in their pockets and rest their eyes and I can almost sense their eyelashes fluttering down, in the same rhythm of their heartbeats.

The Indian chit chats  with his enchanting lady as softly as everybody else, while her gaze is caressing his  warm brown skin.  The’ve had the same amazing day, I can feel it..

And the train makes its way into the night while  the little boys sleeping in front  of me are snoring gently like kittens purrring.

Luckily my trip is almost ending, and I won’t join the little fellows in a deep nap myself.

Never thought that  one hour train trip after an amazing day could be so soothing.

Grateful for this day, and for the people with good vibes from train 3088, wagon 03.

When in Brasov: Goodfood

The morning was all about the king: the chimney king from “Goodfood”.

Below I will show you what happens when ordinary encounters a playful idea.

Let me explain: it’s not about a regular icecream, nor a regular ice cone.

The cone is a tiny chimney cake.

For the ones of you less familiar, according wikipedia:  chimney cake, also known as “Kürtőskalács (Hungarian: [ˈkyrtøːʃkɒlaːt͡ʃ]  sometimes transliterated kurtosh kalach) is a spit cake specific to Transylvania, Hungary and especially popular in the Hungarian-speaking regions of Romania, more predominantly the Székely Land.”

Here they are, tiny, freshly out of the oven and sprinkled with nuts, or pistachio or coconut.

The location is rather small but everything comfy that you could have ever dreamed of.

The lady from serving was so incredible nice and welcoming…

Asked for the chimney king as you may have seen above, and it contained:the chimney cake sprinkled with crunchy nuts and filled with  home made vanilla ice cream, brownies bits.

All these topped with chocolate sauce and salted caramel.

The nice lady told us about the vanilla ice cream being freshly made this morning, and we can actually see the tasty vanilla seeds that found a home in the creaminess of the milk.

It really is a different experience which I highly recommend to you all whenever you visit Brasov.

And I dare say whenever because they a lovely selection: from appetiser like chimneys filled with rucola and tomatoes, or filled  with warm mac&cheese , to strudel  and cinnamon topped with home made whipped cream.

And if these seem too rich for your taste.. do try the gin& tonic chimney, or the Aperol one…

Good ideas, good food, good mood..

A glimpse of wintery Brasov

Arrived in Brasov early in the morning to be honest.

So early that cars were still sleeping from last night, covered in a sheer blanket of fresh snow.

I completely forgot how cold the “mountains cold” really was it but I was bitten by it without hesitation.

A slow beautiful day without any plans.. just BEING here: Brasov, and taking photos in Piata Sfatului and surroundings.

It’s amazing how through so much technology the magic of a Christmas tree is a crowd gatherer and enchanter.

From the smallest to the eldest, everybody was taking in the scent and the light.

Warming up with hot chocolate, warm apple juice with rum or mulled wine..

Everything seems possible in this mix of cold snowflakes on the cheeks and spicy hot sips down through thirsty throats.

Next days will be spent in long fresh walks, lots of photos and hopefully lots of goodies to be discovered.

Wishing you the most peaceful winter evening here.

The Magic Turda Salt Mine

30 something Celsius and in Cluj , Romania… let’s cool off by delving in the “A”mazing Turda salt mine.

Amazing with capital “A”, because look:

A salt mine that produced salt since Middle Ages, closed and 1932 and reopened exclusively for tourism in 2010.

Ok, totally agree.. for that Wikipedia exists, here numbers are just for fun.

Let me take you down with me.

What do you prefer? The modern elevator, or climbing down the 13 floors?

Ok, I took the elevator and felt how I was sliding slowly down into the heart of Transylvania.

It’s breathtaking what these people managed to do in tons of salt, dozens of meters below the surface of the earth.

The heat and noise of summer were left somewhere up and here it was a totally different world.

A pure, salty air transporting me back in the time when people worked here most of their years for a living and when this was a job:

A time when people appreciated seeing the daylight each time they returned back to the civilization.

Nowadays, thousands of tourists can choose to unwind by visiting galleries, the underground salt lake or even bowling, pool, minigolf, or different sports.

I visited some galleries then enjoyed a peaceful tour with the 20 meters Big Wheel :

It’s incredible the patterns that salt designed across thousands of years, and these wet salty ceilings and walls hosting us and purifying the air that bathed us.

Let me zoom you into some salt that look like true cauliflower:

After 8 minutes, back down… and realized I need to show you the “salt waterfall”, because perhaps you’ve never seen it, right?

Look:

And deep down… the salt lake… pitck black and 8 meters deep… would you dare sailing a bit down there?

I’ve heard is very cold 🙂

I bet that by now you managed to cool off a bit and that perhaps a visit to the souvenir shop would be a nice idea.

Now… do I need to say that even the guys from Google visited, mapped and shoot for Street View and agreed that the salt mine is a wonderful place to visit?

I highly recommend you to both cool off in summers an warm up in winters in the Turda salt mine.

Visiting Istanbul: not ordinary tea and coffee

If you are like me, you just can’t say no to a steaming cup of tea or to a cup of fresh coffee.

And if you are in Istanbul, you will see they developed a splendid craftsmanship around the pottery that serves both brews.

At art level.

Delicate yet strong enough to face the hot liquids from the summer hot days till the snowy December nights.

Don’t get fooled by their apparent frailty.

If tea is what steams up your soul and you want to buy some, head over the Egyptian bazaar (part of the grand bazaar).

Please do not even consider those sad tea bags we are used with in our rushed lives.

What bout these?

Mountains of teas arranged in such a harmony that create a delight for your eyes and enchant your nostrils.

For those of you who prefer single plant teas… behold 🙂 rose buds, linden, apple, pomegranate, mint, of course the black tea, and so many others.

But just for the love of it and for senses to be totally swept of their feet, tea blends are also present.

Be honest: aren’t you just a bit curious what’s the deal with this “love tea”?

Should I even mention you can take that and spice it up a bit more perhaps with 2 slices of dehydrated coconut slices, or blood oranges? Just to add a glimpse of summer in your concoction.

I was explaining you in a shopping related post about their merchants: their skills combined with a special gift of sensing what people want and need.

That was not an exaggeration. You will find yourself entering in a such a shop for curiosity and there the “treasure unfolds” before your eyes.

And of course, the vendor will try to offer you his best supplies. And by offering I mean he will prepare you a glass of fresh tea.

There, in the store. He will catch the glimpse of satisfaction from your eyes that will confirm him which is your favorite flavor.

Who cares outside is burning hot and perhaps you are too? The tea is there to comfort you, and you will not leave empty handed, that’s for sure.

Tea is more than a tradition and a ritual in Istanbul.

Perhaps you know the special tea glasses, perhaps you heard about Turkish people enjoying tea while socializing, after meals, and pretty much each time they have the chance.

It’s lovely seeing the small colored tulip glasses flying up and down the streets, from hand to hand, putting a smile on everyone’s face.

I did not come home without a kilo from 2 of their tea blends and without a gorgeous set of glasses.

And, each evening, before retiring to the living room, I brew some fresh tea, pour it in the glasses and enjoy it… like I learned from them: in totally peace and gratefulness.

That’s the lesson I learned from Turkish tea: being in the moment, grateful, in peace and creating an unique moment.

Ok, coffee lovers, haven’t forgot about you, I got your back also.

I enjoy coffee, in all forms, and to be honest espresso in Italy is my favorite coffee strength, creaminess and quality wise.

Turkish coffee: that’s not just a different story, but this tiny cup is a story by itself.

From the tiny cups in which it is served, to the pinch of cardamom that spices it up, to the sand where it’s traditionally prepared in.

You can enjoy it along a nargila (hookah) or just plain, in small sips, but only after a couple of minutes after they brought it to you.

This is a great tip, trust me (just after it being poured in the cup, coffee grains float around, and they need some minutes to.. relax on the bottom of the glass).

Please for your comfort, don’t skip this step. Otherwise you will get annoyed (perhaps), and start the experience from an unfair position.

You enjoyed your coffee and to complete it, fresh water is always a perfect end to it.

I imagined that in this point it doesn’t surprise you that even the glasses for water are so “not ordinary”.

Why everything so tiny, little, minuscule? Well I asked myself this question over and over again.

And this is what I learned from this: we cherish more all that is amazing and that comes in the smallest quantities.

Now that you know, I am so curious what would you try first when visiting Istanbul.

It’s it coffee or tea?

Visiting Istanbul: fast, busy, charming

Planned on visiting Istanbul for quite some time and it happened.

And since Atatürk airport closed a while ago , landed on the brand new Havalimani Airport.

It’s huge, but fresh and welcoming, just like a promise that you’re in good hands.

The hands of Istanbul.

In my case no pre arranged transfer from the airport to my hotel in Sultanahmet area.

But guess what? It was perfect.

Their bus system is fantastic: smart, clean, efficient.

From the plane to the bus into the city where wow… You are instantly taught what traffic jam or crowds of people really are.

Here the old town crowds:

Don’t mind them or the tiny streets, cabs and huge busses simply slip through them all like nobody’s business:

And if you want crossing the city like a local, just buy an Istanbul card (Istanbulkart).

That can be used for everything included in public transport (buses, tramways, funiculars, boats even).

You deposit some money on it and jump for example in the long colorful tramways that look like gummy caterpillars.

See?

And if a my gummy caterpillar was not attractive enough, how about a short trip with this baby?

And yet, whatever you do, when and if you get to Taksim, their new part of the city, the crowd changes.

A younger, passionate one, one from which you can feel true energy and the courage for change.

And yet, here in Taksim all these young people don’t lose tradition and keep this amazing red jewel:

It simply pops up in the street and magic occurs.

After so many trams, busses, crowds perhaps in the evening you’d think of escaping to a short trip on Marmara sea to chill even more.

That’s an amazing idea because the boats and landscapes are so worthwhile.

You can focus on breathing in the beauty and let every other thought washed away by the calm tides.

Trust me: I am writing this post with a huge smile on my face and sipping from my Turkish tea from my Turkish tulip glasses.

Should I even say that I can’t wait to write more about my experience in Istanbul?

Well, keep close and I’ll be back with a new piece .

“Widen your world”

This was taken last week,  on my Istanbul- Bucharest flight , when getting back home from my holidays in Turkey.

And this time, I will write about my travel experience some kind of backwards.

And if you  wonder how is that , is by starting with the main conclusion.

The one I was  given on the display from the airplane: “widen your world”.

Call it faith or.. sincronicity.. what were  the odds that the flying company’s motto to fit perfectly?

So, after the plane took off, I gazed into the clouds and  digged into this message.

Each time after I return from a holiday abroad I feel that I filled myself up. And that I want and need more of that.

Seeing new places, meeting new people is something that absolutely fascinates me.

I have an unbelievable   thirst for it, so that when getting off a plane I would get back in another in a blink of an eye.

This trip was caught on a thousand photos on my camera and some hundreds on my phone.

I am grateful to photography that it taught me and teaches me to see, to observe, to catch this world  in my photos just as it feels to me.

Turkey added a great deal to my world and taught me things I’ll share with you.

It took me a week to think how will I start writing about it, because it was all overwhelming.

And here I am now, having a clue, and I will keep on working on this trip photos so that some rich posts will follow.

 

Until then: widen your world, say yes to opportunities. This is my motto, and I am planning to follow it.