Category Archives: Travel

The way of the menhir

I have touched the silent menhirs in Carnac, Brittany several years ago and I left with more questions than I came with.

I needed to try my hand again, in Portugal, just outside the beautiful Evora, where the Almendres form one of the most interesting megalithic monuments on the Iberian Peninsula.

I rushed my pace to get to the stones, up the narrow, tormented path, until I thought I heard a whisper…

…ever so soft, almost as if someone was getting ready to say something.

There was no wind. But when I looked around, something fell into place, when my eyes began to delight in the details at the side of the road.

So I spent about one hour on a 15 minutes walk and remember every second…

That soft voice must have been a better self, trying to teach me… Where was I rushing to? The stones had been there for thousands of years, they were not going anywhere and their stories were outside themselves.

They just drew the stories strongly towards them, with their mysterious apparent silence.

But they are shouting for those who can hear: “on the way to the menhir, it is the road, not the destination.”

Escaping reality in reality

There is something comforting about hotel lobbies. Like being in front of a portal to a world where you are simply a guest. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA No commitments, no expectations, no definite plans. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I am here just for a while, I don’t need to own this place to enjoy it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I take in the scent of overpowering restroom airfreshners – which I would never use at home – and I vibrate with  the expectations of discovering the place. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Why do I feel so good about this blissful uncertainty and change completely once the holiday is over? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Our whole lives are temporary stop-overs in places we call ‘homes’. Do we really enjoy them better because we give them a permanent status? Because they are full of stuff we call ‘our own?’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Or we need our homes to have something to escape from? Or it’s me, a constant escapist, somewhere over the rainbow when I’m not behind a photograph? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love Paris in the spring time…

I love Paris in the fall

Paris is in the details
Paris is in the details

I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles

There is never the same feeling when rediscovering a new angle
There is never the same feeling when rediscovering a new angle

I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles

Taking a rest in Luxembourg Gardens under the watchful eyes of time
Taking a rest in Luxembourg Gardens under the watchful eyes of time

I love Paris every moment

Time stands still on the Ile de la Cite
Time stands still on the Ile de la Cite

Every moment of the year

Surrender the charm of Le Petit Palais
Surrender the charm of Le Petit Palais

I love Paris, why oh, why do I love Paris?
Because my love is near.

Contemplating on the lawn of Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Contemplating on the lawn of Musée des Arts Décoratifs

I love Paris in the spring time
I love Paris in the fall

Haunted passages of Paris are full of stories
Haunted passages of Paris are full of stories

I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles
I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles

Some things never change and we don't want them to...
Some things never change and we don’t want them to…

I love Paris every moment
Every moment of the year
I love Paris, why oh, why do I love Paris?
Because my love is near.

Waiting for the summerNote: “I love Paris” was written by Cole Porter. 

Epicurian Sicily

Perspective is many times what makes a place heaven or hell, phylosophically speaking. From a traveler’s point of view, it’s important to take time to simply absorb the surroundings. And meal times or coffee breaks provide for such explorations.

I believe that entire history books are contained in the simpliest of deserts – from its origin, to the various nations that adopted it and to the sociological and economical pressures that cause ingredients to be replaced and others to be added, according to new fashions of the times.

Anyways, here are some of the ‘books’ I have studied during my trip to Sicily where I also learnt the importance of expressing your delight for a good meal: scarpeta (using a piece of bread to soak up that last bit of delicious sauce in your plate).
glass of wine

 

Caponata, a Sicilian aubergine stew served with four kinds of cheeses from southern Sicily
Caponata, a Sicilian aubergine stew served with four kinds of cheeses from southern Sicily
Salad of red oranges and smoked herrings, wild fennel and spring onions from Giarratana (a recipe of Nifosi family, owners of Eremo della Giubiliana)
Salad of red oranges and smoked herrings, wild fennel and spring onions from Giarratana (a recipe of Nifosi family, owners of Eremo della Giubiliana)
Oysters and Sicilian clams - a perfect starter for a Sunday lunch on the coast of Syracuse
Oysters and Sicilian clams – a perfect starter for a Sunday lunch on the coast of Syracuse
Wild strawberries, ricotta and pistachio, all in a tart - I could not imagine a more Sicilian desert
Wild strawberries, ricotta and pistachio, all in a tart – I could not imagine a more Sicilian desert
But don't bite yet into that tart before you taste this Marsala-flavored, Tagliolini pasta with rabbit and Modica chocolate - creation of Chef of Don Eusebio Restaurant, Eremo della Giubiliana
But don’t bite yet into that tart before you taste this Marsala-flavored, Tagliolini pasta with rabbit and Modica chocolate – creation of Chef of Don Eusebio Restaurant, Eremo della Giubiliana
cassata, a ricotta and marzipan desert with dried fruits served here with pistachio parfait
Cassata, a ricotta and marzipan desert with dried fruits served here with pistachio parfait
Cannoli, the tubes of pleasure everyone talks about when you say you are going to Sicily. Well, this one, in Marina de Ragusa, was indeed memorable
Cannoli, the tubes of pleasure everyone talks about when you say you are going to Sicily. Well, this one, in Marina de Ragusa, was indeed memorable
And finally, once you've done your 'passeggiata,' you've got to stop and have an 'ice cream burger' - a Sicilian brioche stuffed with ice cream (pistachio, please!)
And finally, once you’ve done your ‘passeggiata,’ you’ve got to stop and have an ‘ice cream burger’ – a Sicilian brioche stuffed with ice cream (pistachio, please!)

 

Exercises in defining Sicily

There is an old saying that a life well lived is when you succeed in defining who you are, every day, in every action or thought. And because that requires a lot of introspection, we begin to define our surroundings – always easier to look outwards…

But by doing that, we inevitably reduce it to one dimension – the point of view we have, the preconceptions that shape our understanding and the ability we have, given our level of experience and knowledge.

With these ponderings in mind, I hereby proceed along the erroneous road and attempt to define Sicily in photographs. Or more precisely, define Sicily through me as window.

Display of diversity
Display of diversity
Sense of humor - Museo delle Marionette
Sense of humor – Museo delle Marionette
Getting close to Etna - the different layers of getting to know the mighty giant
Getting close to Etna – the different layers of getting to know the mighty giant
Gorgeus gorges of Alcantara
Gorgeus gorges of Alcantara
Colorful history
Colorful history
Pagann beauty - inside Ortigia's cathedral, a great example of pagan symbols asimilated by Christianity
Pagann beauty – inside Ortigia’s cathedral, a great example of pagan symbols asimilated by Christianity
Secret alleys - Scicli, a most charming small mountain town
Secret alleys – Scicli, a most charming small mountain town
Imposing sites - Agrigiento, southern Sicily
Imposing sites – Agrigiento, southern Sicily
Sense of time passing
Sense of time passing, passeggiata in Ortigia
Colorful in every way
Colorful in every way
Scents and blossoms
Scents and blossoms
Undiniable ability to take your breath away
Undiniable ability to take your breath away

 

Wisdom of rocks

Thinking of miracles I always imagine something surrounded by fireworks and colors, song and light. But then I remember that it’s in the dark that seeds get their strength to become trees, dreams get their wings to carry us to the highest of ourselves.

So I approach The Old Man and The Sea, one of my favorite spots on the northwest coast of Donegal, on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Old man and the sea

In this land of quiet miracles, I try to learn some of the wisdom of the rocks, discover some of the majesty that makes a rock – like a Romanian poet once said, by never crushing the world’s crown of wonders but understanding it by adding to its secret, by filling it with love…

Soft rocks

Eu nu strivesc corola de minuni a lumii

by Lucian Blaga

Eu nu strivesc corola de minuni a lumii

şi nu ucid

cu mintea tainele, ce le-ntâlnesc

în calea mea

în flori, în ochi, pe buze ori morminte.

Lumina altora

sugrumă vraja nepătrunsului ascuns

în adâncimi de întuneric,

dar eu,

eu cu lumina mea sporesc a lumii taină –

şi-ntocmai cum cu razele ei albe luna

nu micşorează, ci tremurătoare

măreşte şi mai tare taina nopţii,

aşa îmbogăţesc şi eu întunecata zare

cu largi fiori de sfânt mister

şi tot ce-i neînţeles

se schimbă-n neînţelesuri şi mai mari

sub ochii mei-

căci eu iubesc

şi flori şi ochi şi buze şi morminte.

… is life ever in black and white, or only shades of grey?

Shades of grey

… how comes the simple act of mirroring can show you a whole different world?

Mirroring

… how can I really open my eyes to not just see?

Getting close

… if I understand rocks, will I ever understand fear?

Ancestors' memories