Tag Archives: Traveling

Two weeks from now

This could be me:

Or I could be here very soon:

Which destination should I choose, sea or mountain?

Inspirational pictures by Ryan Kenny.

Aujourd’hui

Today is France’s National Day. Although I don’t usually like to take part in nationalistic celebrations, I’ve decided to pay a tribute to Paris (for a change) and list my favorite places from when I lived there in a bilingual post.

A cause de la Fête Nationale de France j’ai décidé d’écrire ce post bilingue pour rendre un hommage à Paris. Malgré mon malaise par rapport à ce type de célébration, je fais ici une petite liste des lieux que j’aimais le plus quand j’y habitais.

  1. Café du Centre Culturel Suédois. I know, I know. It’s still connected to Scandinavia, but this tiny café is so cozy and has such delicious cakes it was a delight just being there. Je sais, je sais. C’est un espace quand-même lié à la Scandinavie, mais il s’agit d’un tout petit café si agréable avec des tartes si bonnes que c’est une vraie délice d’y être.
  2. Le Pink Flamingo. The best and most stylish pizzeria in Paris. This lovely kitsch spot serves the most interesting pizza flavors in wonderful, unpretentious atmosphere. Voilà la meilleure et la plus branchée pizzeria de Paris. C’est kitsch, c’est chouette et on y sert les pizzas les plus intéressants de la ville.
  3. Pop In. My favorite bar/club of the city. Indie music, nice atmosphere & great drinks. The dancefloor is quite good; unfortunately it closes at 2 am. Keep an eye for the concerts; interesting groups have played there. De la musique indie rock, des boissons super et une ambience cool. La piste de dance est plutôt bien, mais malheureusement on la ferme à 2 du matin. A faire attention aux groupes qui jouent là-bas.

No matter how big my issues with living in Paris might be, there are still some very nice places to check out and people to be met. Just remember to avoid the obvious.

Même si j’ai mes problèmes par rapport à Paris, je crois qu’on y trouve quand-même des lieux très sympas et des gens bien intéressants. Il faut juste se rappeler qu’en s’agissant de la capitale, on doit absolument éviter les choix évidents.

Allez!

Rio-Iceland, nature-art

As said before, Rio is all about nature. Not only because of the temperatures, but also because of the breathtakingly beautiful combination of sea, mountains and forest which is so present everywhere in the city.

In every direction you look, there will be something in the city that reminds us of mother nature, even if humanity tries to hide it by erecting such tall and unnecessary buildings.

Interestingly, this importance (ever so present) of nature and its impact on the Cariocas got me thinking about another place I know where people are truly connected to their surroundings: Iceland.

By looking at a selection of works by Icelandic artists, I couldn’t help but notice the need Icelanders have to express themselves using or showing nature.

Hrafnkell Sigurðsson is one of the Nordic contemporary photographers that really caught my attention:

from the Mirrored Landscapes series

The multitalented Ólafur Elíasson is another great example. His use of landscape and the even more famous studies using light is so inextricably connected to Icelandic nature it is impossible to miss the reference.

Lava Floor, by Elíasson

Going back to Brazil, who can ignore the impact use of color has in Brazil’s most important contemporary painter, the carioquíssima Beatriz Milhazes?

Only when one has been to Rio can one understand the source of such colorful influence.

Nature and art.

Rio Week: definitions

Rio is the most famous Brazilian city and its image is the one foreigners most often connect to the country.

The truth is, Rio de Janeiro is quite unique, it is like an entity of its own.

A very famous line in a Brazilian song about the city goes:

Rio is the hot-blooded capital of the best and the worst in Brazil.


How accurate.

Nonetheless, before one embarks upon a trip to the Marvelous City, there are aspects to be considered. The main ones are threefold:

1. Rio is unbelievably hot all year long (I’m talking about 40°C/104°F);

2. Rio is all about beach and nature (despite being the country’s 2nd largest city);

3. Rio is always extremely casual and shuns all kinds formalities (including efficiency).

If you plan your trip around these three very important and constantly present factors, your time there will be fun-filled and stress-free.

To remind you of how lovely the spontaneousness of the city is, here’s my all-time favorite Bossa Nova song:

To be enjoyed sippng a caipirinha.

Paris in January: no, thanks.

Paris has beautiful monuments. Paris has great food in lovely restaurants. The cultural life (exhibitions, concerts, festivals) in the French capital is unparalleled. Yet, when I was about to leave the city, I thought to myself: “I never wish to return to this place”. Why?

The answer is simple: Paris is great for tourists, on the surface. If you dig deeper, you’ll find it’s much more boring than quite many places around the globe.

An undeniable example of this is the living situation. Apartments in the city are obscenely expensive but most of the places are incredibly small with bad heating and mobility issues. I’ve visited houses in Brazilian favelas which are much more comfortable and less run-down than most of the places I went to in Paris. Even luxurious apartments are small in comparison to Brazil or the USA.

Nevertheless, on the outside everything looks so beautiful and charming it really does fool one’s impression. Living in Paris, especially in the winter, has quite an oppressive feeling to it, because one feels cornered in those tiny apartments and the rainy and cold weather is totally unwelcoming.

When the museums, art galleries and the likes close, one really has no option. Dreadful.

This is a good reminder for those weak moments when one wishes to go back to a certain lifestyle out of pure nostalgia. In such a situation, the best answer is a plain “Thanks, but no, thanks“.

Sweden, Talent, Fever, Ray

The future looks quite bright at the moment. Let the crises pass, let the semester be over, let a wonderful trip to Buenos Aires come closer!

Meanwhile, there is another endless source of inspiration that has been present in my life for the past few weeks: the ethereal Fever Ray, which is the new musical project by the ever so talented Karin Dreijer Andersson, the one half of the multiple-talented Swedish duo The Knife.

Here’s one of my favorite songs on the album, the enchanting When I Grow Up, in a video by Martin de Thurrah:

Although I couldn’t bear to live in Sweden for much longer than one year (sorry my svenska vänner, but the cold and darkness in every sense really get to me), I still consider it to be one of the most incredible creative cradles of the world today. I love everything Swedish (hej Olof Dreijer!) but especially its music.

Swedes in music have always done what I love the most about artists: they go through a lot of work and add numerous elements, beautifully coordinated, to everything they do. If only this were a cliché.

As Karin shrewdly says in the lyrics: they put their soul in what they do.

Make her words mine

Some people love to be around others all the time, especially when they travel. They like to share bills, meals, opinions and different kinds of thrills. These people usually don’t enjoy visiting places and looking at interesting sites on their own as much as they do when they’re accompanied. I am not one of them.

I am capable of having a wonderful time all by myself. I visit the places I like at my pace (which isn’t necessarily fast, for I enjoy greatly spending a little extra time in a place I like), I go into stores only when I am going to buy something – or if they’re of interest themselves, I listen to my music, stop to read and sometimes just spend a whole afternoon in a café with a nice atmosphere.

Having what is commonly referred to as a ‘strong personality’, I sometimes suffer when I’m around some kinds of people (I was going to say they probably suffer  too, but I refuse to believe it can be true). Today I was forced to listen that I am “possessive and bossy”. How unpleasant.

Couples and friends traveling together, do bear in mind that a little time apart from each other, even if it’s just a couple of hours, greatly increases the chances of a happy tour ending. That’s my advice for you. Well, actually many people have said it too, but somehow – and to my shock – it isn’t yet common sense.

When asked about the secret to her long-lasting marriage, the lovely Meryl Streep once said:

[the secret is] “not spending so much time together. And separate bathrooms.”

 True true true.

Not that I don’t enjoy company, I do and very often, I just need my space. To that effect, here’s some Björk wisdom:

My favorite sentence: “As much as I definitely enjoy solitude, I wouldn’ mind, perhaps, spending little time with you“. Make mine her words.