Home ♬

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

DSC00603

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.

DSC00665

DSC00667

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 :).

DSC00592

DSC00590

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.

DSC00627

DSC00617

Ana 

Advertisements

The overdue ski trip post

post 8

So here is the long overdue post on my trip to Les Trois Valees in France. By long overdue  I mean 3 months late but alas, it’s here nonetheless. The way there was painful; no matter how much I love the Eurostar, my god was it painful having to sit down for about 8 hours. We ended up in the luggage bit in between two carriages reading the french Cosmo and L’officielle till 2 in the morning. Anyways, let’s turn a blind eye to that and focus on the really important things.

The skiing was amazing. The slopes were the best I’ve been on so far and there was so much snow I literally couldn’t get enough of it (although I was starting to fantasize about the comfort of the couch after 5 hours of intensive sporty activities). We had to carry a map with us because we really were spoilt for choice as far as ski lifts are concerned. The whole point of this region of the Alps is that you can easily get to other ski resorts nearby, of which I particularly liked Val Thorens because the slopes were super wide and smooth – there’s nothing more dreaded than bumps.

IMG_0966

post 16

DSC00236 face2

post 14

post 9

post 5

post 4

post 6

IMG_0964

post 7

This last photo is particularly special because it was taken during our spur-of-the-moment desire to go off-piste…not the greatest of ideas. Although fun at first, we ended up a bit stuck and needing to slide down a hill-type-thing which took us about half an hour, jokes included. But hey, we get extra points for trying no?

post 12

This is an aerial view of our little town, Meribel. The layout is pretty simple. On the far left we have the ski lift and our hotel, in the center there is a roundabout with bus-stops going to Meribel center and on the left we have the all-important boulagerie which sold amazing sweets and fresh croissants and bread (I gained a lot of weight if that wasn’t explicit enough) and the local Spar which we visited every day to their delight I suppose. This photo was taken on our last day when we felt a bit too unmotivated ( trying to avoid the word lazy here ) to go skiing so we went for a hike up a path. It was very pretty but we did get bored quite quickly, but did a nice photo sesh while there.

DSC00277

post 11

post 13

Lastly, since we spent New Years eve there it was only to be expected that we would want to experience a typical French celebration. So we took the bus before midnight ( a very scary thing to do because we had no idea where we’d end up ) and went to Meribel center to the outdoor party organised there. The music – dubstep. The drinks – some dodgy red liquid in a sprite bottle. The company – some French guy who kept photo-bombing us and a group of Australian tipsy guys. Good times, good times…

post 2

post 3

IMG_0967

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! 🙂

 

Washed out ♬

Seems like an appropriate title since I’ve just returned from  – rainy-  Scotland. Now really, it wasn’t that bad except for Edinburgh where it poured down the entire day. No harm done, it’s still up in the top 10 places I’ve seen this past week and a bit.

Which brings me onto the point of this post: I’ll be doing a top 10 Scotland based on the things I’ve seen so far, with photos to prove my reasoning of course. Some are really breathtaking; exhibit A

Natural’s not in it ♬

My excited face was in reference to 2 factors: the adorable cars exhibited in which me and my friend have decided to travel through Italy in 2 years’ time and the fact that we were at Blenheim Palace, just my favorite place in the UK really. I know one day that’s going to be my address, right after I move to Paris or Rio or New York or Barcelona or somewhere like that.

We had a small photoshoot in a Rousseu-inspired style if you may; although there were cold winds and some showers, I braved them all with a gypsy floral skirt that offered no warmth whatsoever. I compensated with layers of knitwear and a ‘lady-of-the-manor’ jacket as my dad would call it.

I wonder how many walk-in wardrobes can fit into a palace like that….

*credits to the photographer ;)*

Listen to the title song by clicking here.

Sugar, spice and everything nice

That really sums up my culinary experience in the north of Holland. Breakfast was minimal, because of all the cheese and apples we had eaten the night before. There are literally so many types it’s hypnotizing: truffles, hazelnuts, goat’s cheese, smoked cheese, with cumin seeds or paprika. And they all go equally as well with apples.

This was my favorite cheese store, located on Damstraat as you head towards Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Again, having so much fun typing the names in 🙂

Lunch was a funny affair so to say. Day one was -ironically- the best lunch-wise, with amazing hot goat’s cheese (again) on a salad bed with nuts and a crispy crust with balsamic vinegar. I would have had more if it wouldn’t have made me look like such a fattie.

This restaurant was on Kloveniersburgwal next to Newmarkt square and was called De Bekeerce Suster.

On the same magical street, some 20 meters away, was a great little waffle place where I had this lovely chocolatey sugarey thing of beauty

Piccola being the name of the above mentioned establishment.

For some more traditional Dutch dishes, Spuistraat is the place to go; the entire street is lined up with great small restaurants renowned for the tasty food they serve. One of my favorites was Haesje Claes at numer 225 where I ate a fish-heavy oven-baked casserole for which I had been looking the whole time (the tourist guide recommended it)

And then headed out to Cafe Hoppe which is famous for its original 1600’s interior decor, a big crowd pleaser for Amsterdam based intellectuals and public figures. So I really couldn’t miss it. Their specialty coffee lives up to the name.

Speaking of coffee, as much as I loved Cafe Hoppe for its bohemian style of a bygone era, the absolute must visit place is in Delft and it’s called Kleyweg’s Stads-Koffyhuis, located right behind the central square.

The shiny trophies and medals surely meant it was going to be an experience to remember. It was so much more than that that I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Next stop was Utrecht, where I (because my parents were quite lost at this point) found a great place on one of the main streets that served some lighter food… I love cheese and chocolate, but by this time I was feeling quite sick of them both. Although that never stood in the way of compromise…

With the habitual hot chocolate from Simon Levelt to aide digestion naturally.

Day 6 I think saw us finally reaching the coast and, because the sun was out for the first time that week, we stopped at a fishermen’s restaurant and ate mussels, which I absolutely adore since visiting Normandy a few years back.

I hope you do realize that these mouth-watering photos were taken at the expense of me looking like some kind of hyped up tourist who takes photos of EVERYTHING, and while I don’t wish to dive into tourist stereotypes, I’ll just finish by apologizing for the mile long virtual feast I’ve created in this post with a photo of waffles. My one true weakness…

Ana x

The art of getting by…

Which I have skillfully mastered while in Holland. To me it comes naturally, I just gravitate towards the smaller boutiques and subsequently either great buys or limited designer pieces with stupendously high prices. So it’s a thing of luck really.

However, Amsterdam has a particularly impressive range of shops, good enough quality to justify the prices but also very reasonable compared to London. Shopping advice numero 1 is get shoes! As many as you can carry, for as many seasons as you wish and in as many hues as you can find! It’s a girl’s dream to be quite honest.

I particularly loved Invito for the amazing biker boots I got for virtually half the price I would have ever gotten in London. There are at least 3 Invito shops on Damstraat which goes into Amsterdam’s main square. Also there you can find a great place for shoes off course on Kalverstraat meets Olieslagerssteeg (I’m having so much fun typing these names in) called Dunglemann from where I got my beloved pair of suede high heels of 7 cm thank-you-very-much. The sales people are very friendly too… you might even get an invitation to go clubbing that evening. I politely declined as my mum was eyeing me from across the shop. 

While you are there, you should also explore some of the more Amsterdam-esque fashion brands such as locals and Saporo. And if you’ve really got ‘money in your hands that you’d really like to blow’ as Justin Bieber puts it in his new single, then head out to P.C Hooftstraat, aka Amsterdam’s luxury shopping destination. That’s where I fell in love with the new Escada collection…

Alternatively, go to De Bijenkorf which is right in Dam Square (back to point 0) where you can buy from Celine bags -things of beauty- to Thakoon day dresses. The women’s department could be improved but I can’t complain because I found the bag that i had been looking for. Tan leather, simple shoulder strap, outside pocket AND on sale from Fred de la Bretoniere. Photos of those some other time (don’t hate I just haven’t got time to photograph them).

However, Utrecht is as good (well not really but close) as Amsterdam when it comes to shops. Take for instance the cutest home deco shop Dille & Kamille. They sell the most french house accessories I have seen, Paris included.

And if you need some more shoes (as one does) walk along the Oudegracht, Utrecht’s main canal that slithers through the old quarters of the city. You’ll most definitely see these beauties, sporting this year’s aquatic hues. It’s eye candy to me!

While out shopping, I naturally had to look as fashionable as humanly possible in 4 degrees Celsius weather (yes yes, with rain). I am especially in love with my tie die Zara shirt paired with Whistles burgundy coat and Aldo tan ankle boots. Equally as happy with the purchase of the red-white-black Moschino Cheap & Chic silk scarf, that I cannot wait to wear with red chinos and striped black t-shirt.

 

Ana x

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