Art: as never seen or felt before

Are you up to for  an “out of the box” approach?

Allow me to offer you some context:  I was spending the end of 2019 in Brasov, Romania, and I indulged in daily evening walks.

These walks, in the old city center were special that time of the year for all the decorating that happened on the streets and in the window shops.

It felt like through the crisp air, all the beauty I was witnessing was absorbed in the mere strains of my DNA, enriching them beyond words.

Hundreds of shops, of lights and shadows, of side streets like chests of treasures to be discovered.

And yet, I confess, nothing had me ready for this candy shop.

It was not that well lit, and I almost passed by it when something caught my attention in the sense I went closer to make sure I am seeing right.

And yes, I did, and this is what I saw.

My first thought: wow. And then silence.

See that card in the left corner? (MARZIPAN made & hand painted by Radu Solovastru).

Was looking at it speechless, admiring the incredible craftsmanship, the proportions, the finesse.

All those details made me imagine the artist , Radu Solovastru, at work, offering his time to this, one millimeter of marzipan at a time, breathing almost life to it.

For me this  is a metaphor for slowing time a little bit in this too fast and furious century .

For  accumulating  and filtering  information, and creating a solid perspective of life and of the world.

With these on mind and looking a bit further away, a new piece arises.

And I really knew that for me, this second one continued my thread of ideas.

In the way that once we have this solid set of opinions, we need to weigh when to express them, in which way, and when we should be more reserved.

Reservation not to be equaled by any kind of censure.

Not even with self censure.

But as a form, in which we , by our words, just like artists… we create moods, generate feelings, we shape the world.

Taking all in, I took these photos I showed you, and left the candy shop in the night, crossed into the new year 2020 and got back home.

Unloaded the photos, looked at them… and again: wow. And silence.

This time, a silence in which I was grateful for discovering these pieces of art and being inspired by them to feel more, enriching more my universe.

Thank you Radu Solovastru for your wonderful gift.

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..

Happy New Year !

2020 from Brasov, Romania. 

January first being a cold morning, all covered by a deafening silence, so much needed after last night craziness.

Here in Romania we believe that the way we start the new year, it’s the way the whole year will be like.

So, if the first day starts with peace, love, health, family and abundance.. well, it will be an amazing year.

Wondering the streets when most of the fellows are sleeping under warm duvets, and smoky chimneys.

I wonder what they are dreaming of… their last resolutions and how they were completed or no, or the future ones.

A city that is resting for a few more hours after which one after the other they will seek for air, nourishment, hugs and socializing…and so the frenzy will begin.

How is your fist day of the new year? 

Are you feeling melancholic for a year passing by or enthusiast for anew beginning?

Fast or slow in Brasov?

As told you in the previous post, I’m spending the end of the year in magical Brasov.

Exploring the streets at night here is for the fast one and for the slow one.

The old city centre decorated in millions of lights, and animated by the dedicated artists embraced by the waves of tourists that keep on arriving.

For us, Romanians, this a familiar image of our winter traditions, and if you’re not from here you might enjoy it very much.

We are well cherished and appreciated by tourists, like you, and it’s a delight for us to initiate them in all our Romanian delightful bits and pieces.

This one from the photo it’s a mix of ancient traditions, “hardcore”drums and rivers of energy from these people that seem restless.

All this flood the famous Republicii street, and night is suddenly transformed into day.

At least until people harnessed by a terrible hunger to the amazing culinary locations prepared just for them.

An then, with warmth running through the veins and a comfy full belly, they slowly fill in the tiny streets, fulfilled with happiness and peace.

They will arrive at their hotels, hostels, air b&b’s and slowly fall asleep in this world of winter wonderland.

Enjoy and be magic this evening my friends.

Reporting from Brasov with love,

Andreea

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 Ferrari Museum: An Experience

How amazing can it be that after working as a driver for an automotive company, then founding your own, and writing history with it.

That is just what Enzo Ferrari did, after working for Alfa Romeo.

But I need to confess that I found myself in Modena mostly for the balsamnic vinegar, cheese and other Italian delicacies.

Yet being there I was enchanted by Modena town and his people, for whom rush was not a way of living.

And yet, Enzo Ferrari was born in Modena, and in my opinion he invented the “fast” concept, by his automobiles.

The museum has not the clasic shape one thinks when referring to a museum: it looks like a soap bubble.

Entering the museum from 40 celsius is an experience to be remebered: you feel like you’re in the purest air and then you see it and understand: Ferrari welcomes you .

Inside there are so many informative displays, articles, pieces of history to create in the visitor the most accurate mental photo of what and how this story developed.

The tiny models, of wooden cars that challenges mentalities, so carefully crafted put a candid smile on my face.

A film about Ferrari’s craftmanship played, projected on the ceiling and Icould see the man who did it all possible, and for whom all was possible: Enzo.

The film is so full of energy, and so expressive, that no matter the part of the world you’re from you will understand it all by feeing it all.

It’s a powerful lesson about having a dream, a goal, and working hard towards his completion.

The museum also exemplifies the powerful connection Enzo’s cars had and have with the femimine symbols of each era: “ROSSO& ROSSA: women and ferraris- the untold story”.

Cars designed and given to succesful ladies all over the world: elegance, flowing shapes, ambition.

While visiting I found out that this was the Modena wing of the Ferrari museum, and that another wing was the one from Maranello, dedicated as you guessed: to the Formulas cars.

There was no doubt that I had to be there too, so there i went.

I was still driven by Enzo’s energy and I wanted more, just like a Formula 1 driver acceleartes more and more his Ferrari engine.

I could feel the passion people had when drawing the sketches, then building the prototypes and then… setting them free in the world.

I can tell you I was feeling overwhelmed: feeling history unfolding around me by each car I saw.

This is me trying to tell you that it’s worth visiting, having the experinece.

As for me, next time I am on Modena soil I will revisit for sure, to deepen into the experinece.

Transylvania: The Corvin Castle

Tranylvania (in Romania) is like this huge magnet for tourists from all over the world.

If not for for its myths then for its medieval castles and wonderful traditions.

And today I am taking you with me through The Corvins Castle/ Hunyadi Castle.

The most well preserved medieval castle from Transylvania, built in the 14th century in a full gothic architecture.

And we will stop here with the theory because the last thing I said was “gothic architecture”.

But not only the architecture was gothic.

It can easily be used as a set for “The beauty and the beast” story.

I will show you, in photos why I sensed it as being a castle of contrasts: the rich and the poor, the good and the bad.

It was not hard imagining fine banquest being held here, with all the honors and intrigues.

And in the mornings, how the high class ladies enjoyed zooming the suroundings from the insides of the thick walled castle, keeping them safe from the outward world..

Long afternoons used for choosing the outfits for the evening to come: selecting from the finest silks, to sweeten up some bitter realities .

Because just below, on abrupt stairs, and dark hallways, things were far less glamorous and much more cruel.

In their own castle, whom to protect them for evil, from cold hearted people?

Life was not easy in medieval ages, people were not easy in their manners or in their ways in attaining different pursuits.

No matter how many candles burnt out to bring light to the dark ages, there were places where light never reached.

Not always people was patient enough in finding how their peers acted, so no surprise that in the hidden black rooms a painful truth was born: torture.

Looking at these could not ask myself: how to produce tools with wich to inflict pain on other people?

Masks to be heated in fire and applied to the prisoners’s faces, or to screw their eyes inwards.

This is not imagination, yet it was other people’s nightmare and reality.

Dozens of torture methods, one meaner and more horrifying than the other.

Forcing people to confess their sins, or worse.. things they were not guilty at all just confessing whatever for gaining freedom.

It’s mindblowing when you study their expressions and try to relive these glimpses of history.

It’s revolting to see faces of authority who perhaps could have stopped it , and yet they chose the other way around.

Trust me: this is a castle to be seen. Not all enveloped in milk and honey, fairies and princes.

A true castle, giving us the ultimate universal history lesson.

A lesson about people, humanity and the lack of it.

A “not to do” history lesson, which to make us appreciate our health, our rights, our freedom.

This is a reminder that we should always be pro peace and not anti war, standing up for both ourselves and for the weak ones who can not see the light just yet.

The Corvin Castle will imbue into yourself, like a living entity.

You will leave from there richer than you entered, ready to overflow with humanity onto the others.

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.

Traveling to Italy: from ordinary to extraordinary

Traveling to Italy: from ordinary to extraordinary

Who performs such a transformation?

Italians do…

Call it marketing, calling it promoting tourism, call it whatever you feel like to, but whatever they touch it gets almost every time extraordinary.

We all have shops, and we all have malls, and we all try to make them stylish, but let’s face it, it’s hard to compete with this stylish shopping street from Verona.

They understood that each “Romeo will bring his Juliet” to the city of love so why not making the road itself an experience?

Here it is .. italy served the request.

And when I could be tired of so much shopping and just in need for a private spot to catch my breath, taking right, then second left and:

The best ever place for relaxation, reading a book, or sipping a cold limoncello from the freshest lemons from Naples.

Italy serves again, with love, just for her tourists to stay at least one more day.

One more day for her to show me that the attention I put in my actions will reflect in the results you will be getting.

How amazing does this shop looks like? Isn’t it a piece of ordinary turned into extraordinary?

Well yes it is , and I admire and for a moment we wonder if it’s not mostly marketing for charming us more.

Having spent day after day here I merged into the locals spirit:

It was not marketing.. it’s just them, creating beautiful from random, surrounding themselves with what is cozy for their souls.

Rich colors, taffy textures, secrets spots of beauty.

What I found to be the most loving things about italy and her people is the open heart and warmth.

One can go to Italy alone and never feel like being alone.

It’s them welcoming you, trying to give you the best of all they have and the best of them.

From the heart.

And that, trust me it’s something I felt each day from my holiday there.

Happy to have completed this series, and sharing my experience with you.

What can I say? Loving Italy!

Traveling to Italy: dolce far niente

Please say yes when wondering if you should go Italy.

At least for learning what dolce far niente is.

Kindly quoting Wikipedia: “Borrowed from Italian dolce far niente (literally “sweet doing nothing, sweet idleness”).”

The sweet doing nothing has no schedule.

Here an example of it in the morning, when there is rush only if I would have chosen it to be.

Otherwise it was a mere indulgence in being in the moment.

I understood that we are rarely encouraged to just… be. Breathing in, being present and enjoying: a coffee, a friend, the chance for being present for a new day.

Nowadays almost everything is rushed up… from a simple meal to life itself.

Multi tasking is the killer of dolce far niente.

Meals are such an example of dolce far niente. Savoring the food with all the senses, without wondering what time is, what the prices are, what to see next.

Allowing a cold vino to wash out the passing day and preparing you for the next episode of Italian sweet life.

And that might be a delicious nap or the refreshing jazz music from Piazza San Margo from Venice.

What’s similar between these two?

Let’s take the nap behind the shades :

On fresh washed linens one can find peace when taking a nap while a sneaky summer breeze enters through the slightly opened doors, and invites to a sweet surrender in the pleasure of doing nothing.

Simple and amazing as that.

And if not sleepy but in mood for some nice music, this is where one could emerge feeling within himself .

Oh Italy, you never rush things up, you always slow us down, inviting us to love ourselves more, to talk to ourselves more, to be more kind .

Italy taught me that we need time to reconnect with ourselves.

I hope you will experience the dolce far niente next time you go there because it simply puts life into a new, different perspective.