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Yesterday I discovered some old photos from my last trip to Bucharest in late October, which I had completely forgotten about. Looking through them I have decided to make a shortlist of my favorite places from my hometown and make a photo/ travel diary entry about it next time I visit. Maybe I’m getting a bit nostalgic or maybe I just find any excuse I can to not do work, choose whichever.

Romanian National LibraryI’ll start with some photos taken at the new headquarters of the National Library of Romania which I visited for some research on my Extended Project Qualification (aka the most time consuming thing ever). Personally, I much preferred the old building in the historic center but this one is so much bigger and better equipped so you win some you loose some.DSC00599

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DSC00612All through last summer and autumn they held the biggest exhibition of Romanian art in retrospect, a truly amazing idea of which I will hope to be many more. I love going to art galleries and museums and it just saddens me to see such a great initiative largely ignored by the public. Art really can build up a sense of patriotism and whilst I felt proud of my heritage I also felt a bit disappointed that not many people share this idea with me, but I hope that will change in the future.

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DSC00662Following this, another cultural stop at Sol gallery , a new project started up by two of my parents’ friends. It’s a cosy little art gallery located on Jean-Louis Calderon street at nr. 26 and its concept is really great because their aim is to promote the Romanian artists (be them painters, sculptors or photographers), many of whom have achieved recognition abroad, in their own homeland. They have lots of different paintings exhibited and some are held in a deposit because of the limited space in the gallery but they have some really interesting things so I would definitely recommend it if you find yourself passing by :).

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DSC00596I shall end the post with some autumnal outfit photos. And as I love autumn, especially in Bucharest when the leaves turn red and amber and it’s sunny and warm, I could not help myself but dress with the season in my new (amazing) Staccato shoes, Benetton trousers, PNK casual t-shirt, Uniqlo hoodie, French connection biker jacket and my trusty Fred de la Bretoniere bag.

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Ana 

Scottish Borders Top 10

As promised, here are the most beautiful places I have visited in the Scottish Borders all squeezed and compressed into a top 10. For those who know me -or not, that’s cool too- I am very indecisive so please appreciate the effort and stress that has gone into this selection.

First off, the breathtaking glacial valley of Tweedsmuir which I think translates into the valley of the river Tweed – geography and linguistics for you. It was added on the itinerary by chance as we needed the quickest way home and our GPS, whom I shall call by his name (Marcel) from now on, saw a narrow road that slithered solitarely through a mass of uncharted land and chose that one. Lesson number one: a vast green area on the GPS display signals either a natural park or a mountain. We had the second option. Nevertheless, it was a stroke of luck since the place was so beautiful and the weather just right for some great photography.

Silver then goes to Edinburgh, a city which left me very impressed and wanting to see more of it – and in better weather. Excuse the somewhat posh label I’m going to make but it’s such a bourgeois city that I felt like I was in France or Belgium. To be fair, Scotland does have a very tight friendship with France and they have taken some cultural influences but I was certainly not expecting such a vibrant and rich city. The Royal Mile pretty much sums up the entire center and while I loved the views from the palace, the Royal Jewels exhibition was, although informative, a tad bit kitsch… you’ll see the photos of the sculptures coming out of the walls, don’t worry. One big regret: I wish we had time to visit the gallery! Next time 🙂

Culross is the next place on my list, which is so different from my top two. This is probably one of the most picturesque villages in the world, if not then just in Great Britain. Peaceful little place next to the bay with coquettish little cottages with flowered English gardens and Provencal windows. What more could you want?

Floors Castle, next to Kelso, was another place that I really liked. The castle is quite flamboyant in architecture compared to the more austere Scottish traditional buildings so it was quite impressive as it sits on top of a small hill overlooking the valley. We suspect we have even met the 10th Duke of Roxburghe just casually walking his dog on the estate. Casually being the key word here.

Loch Chon and Loch Katrina – 2 pretty lakes quite close to the famous Loch Lomond. What was so spectacular about these was the amazing landscape and what looked like very very expensive houses lined up on its shores, making it seem like the Scottish version of the Italian riviera and the exclusive areas of Lake Como and Garda.

Although not a touristic destination per se, I absolutely loved the house that we rented, it was absolutely perfect and what I have in mind when I think of Scotland. Acres upon acres of fields (therefore amazing views), an amazing garden and my favorite – one of those little sofa tings on the windowsill…I honestly can’t wait to go back. Oh it’s called Corbett Towers, almost forgot to mention it. 🙂

Rosslyn Chapel I found very interesting; it’s so small and so ornate that it actually looks friendly, which can’t be said about most religious buildings I think. The sculpted ceiling with stars and flowers was really impressive and wherever you look there are so many symbols. We also got to listen to a guide who told the humoristic version of the chapel’s history; this was around 12 or 1 o’clock, so if you’re ever around at that time don’t miss it.

Glasgow high street was also fun, a bit of a city escape for half a day, where I bought a new grey jersey dress. Don’t judge, I wanted it for a long-ish time and they had a 20% off so I couldn’t help myself.

Because my dad is a passionate collector of whiskey bottles, we naturally had to visit a distillery – heck, we were in their home country! So we went to Glengoyne for a tour around the factory where we got to see all the different techniques they use in the process of making whiskey and a look around their shop. It was all so good that we couldn’t possibly have left empty handed. Well obviously I had no role in the buying of a whiskey bottle but I did get a box of handmade chocolates with whiskey filling… they were so good I had to limit myself to just one a day so it would last me longer.

And last but not least – St. Andrew’s! A charming little town by the sea, best known for the university which gave it its name (or maybe the other way round). It’s the third oldest in the UK and the oldest in Scotland, dating from the 15th century. I loved walking around the city center with all the boutiques and pastry shops and around the amazing campus and by the harbor. This place really has it all! P.S – take your time to visit the Glass House restaurant for lunch. Such good food!

 

 

 

 

I realize this took ages to post but just loading 43 photos takes about 5 hours…but I’m finishing off with a pretty photo! 🙂

 

Amsterdam photos

Fun fact here: I’m the type of person that gets up in the morning and says ‘I’ll do so much today!’ and end up doing completely random things just to avoid what I set out to do in the first place. So it’s a miracle this post is actually happening .

However, I got really tired of postponing the Amsterdam photos and I had a very hard Additional Maths test today so I figured I could allow myself a break this time and relax. So the product of my procrastination (I hate this word so much) lies before your eyes!

I will never get tired of looking at pictures with Amsterdam canals. The symmetry is really breathtaking but the small details make them one of the most idyllic city scapes I have seen so far in my 16 years of life.

(slightly awkward pose here, moving on)

Amsterdam houses are simply adorable. It looks like they’re made of gingerbread and the amount of decorations makes each house stand out in its own way. Here’s a tip if you’re planning to visit Amsterdam: the nicest houses, located on the canal are on the Keizersgracht and Herengracht, two of the main canals in the heart of the historic city. If it’s not raining or windy or freezing cold (like the conditions the owner of these photos had to put up with), hire a bike and just go for a ride in the area. It really makes Amsterdam spectacular.

Speaking of bikes, it’s madness. If I had too much free time, I would probably come up with a statistic along the lines of ‘There’s a 78% bigger chance of getting run over by bicycles than by cars or other vehicles’, but I’ll keep with guessing. Some wacky bikes out there too, but I suppose it’s more practical than anything…you might not find your bike ever again if it’s plain grey, will you?

Okay some of these photos don’t look particularly promising but I have to tell you the good and the bad. In my opinion, don’t waste (too much) time in the area around the Central Station and right before the Red Light District. It’s very commercial and full of irrelevant, counterfeit shops/bars/places (you get what I’m trying to say right?).

The Floating Flower Market is a sight in its own right. It’s so full of color and you can find literally any type of flower/ plant/ green-things that you have never thought existed. You can even buy a kit of DIY cannabis for around  3 euros. You can’t export it though, tough love!

(and the proof)

(an antique print that I bought in Arts&Prints shop right next to the flower market)

 And I’m finishing off this long post with a photo of me and my beloved Amsterdam coffee at cafe Hoppe, about which I’ll talk in another post. Oooh, the suspense! 🙂

Ana x