Saint Malo.

Is it a consolation to feel there are so many places in this world where you could easily live, even though you know quite well you never will? The consolation in seeing the richness of this world, I guess, feeling like home is a moving concept, even for those of us who aren’t constantly moving. Why so many of those seem to be in France for me?

First, I fell in love with Paris, of course, then came its Mediterranean coast, but in the last three years I’ve discovered a whole new territory on the Atlantic. Normandy is my regular getaway, La Rochelle was a sweet haven, and now there is Bretagne. Maybe, it’s the magic of the tide that has something to do with it : so weird for an Adriatic girl like me to see an island in the morning and walk to it in the afternoon, the subtle danger it implies. Or the wind, stronger here, so much every thought flies right out of your head, and even reading seems impressively challenging. If the delicious galettes de blé noir and cider weren’t enough, perhaps I could be fed by those views, the long promenades and hidden beaches, the nature whose character is somewhat rebellious and wild here, in a heavier sense than in the South (it suits the drama queen part of me).

So, the old town itself was the last thing I did here, although I appreciated its streets immensely, because the surroundings were calling loudly. I’m not sure I broke my record of kilometres walked per day, but I think I came quite close the first day. Aren’t those the best – lovely little towns, beautiful in themselves, where there is an awesome walk waiting for you, no matter the direction you choose, or almost? That’s where I would want to live.

To another life, perhaps.

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A Dreamy Road Ahead

Ilha Deserta, Faro.

For Friendly Friday Challenge, hosted by Snow Melts Somewhere.

There are two kinds of dreamy in our lives, aren’t there? The one we can see in our everyday, simple, but meaningful scenes, like that pinkish sky sunset paints for us after a long day at work, almost making us feel grateful we had to stay there till so late, because otherwise we wouldn’t see this view. Beauty is always dreamy for me, even when it grounds me in the present.

And then, there is the other one, the one making us dream about the future, about the open road ahead we might walk someday, even if we already rambled on some of them, even if some of them are circles, bringing us back to where we started. There are still countless possibilities of what might happen in-between the taken steps.

And I need one just as much as the other.

 

 

Revisiting the views

Corsica.

For Friendly Friday Challenge, hosted by Something to Ponder About.

There was a truck driving by the exit door at work today with a huge CORSICA tag on it and yet again I fell back to reminiscing. Must be some kind of a torture device, this vehicle passing our Parisian winter frowns, reminding us of these magnificent open horizons on such a gray day as today. Nah, it’s actually quite pleasant to think some day soon maybe I might go back to this little paradise-like island and revisit its fresh air and pure sea and starry sky. Hell, it’s soothing to revisit all that just in mind, too. To look at some pictures and think about all the good stuff, existing in this world. Do you know I can’t help myself – thinking about food every time I think about this place… It’s an automatic reaction, an associative thought I can’t escape: ”And my oh my we ate so well there!” And that always brings a smile to my face, the grimaces I was making, digging into the refreshing desserts and pizzas with all of my favorite ingredients and grilled aubergine and … ah enough.

Deserted Island.

Ilha Deserta, Faro.

I’m not ashamed to admit there always comes a point in my travels when despite all the awesome people I might meet I need to get myself some alone time. I was lucky enough to spend one of those on my last day in Portugal in a nice little place that is appropriately enough called ”deserted” . As coincidentally it was the last day of my last year’s summer, some beach time was most welcome, too. And what a beach, nothing else but sand and sea and sun and wind, nothing more than my towel, hat, sunglasses, the last pages of a good book and the sound of waves. Exactly the kind of day you think about while looking at forecasts of snow, putting on your long coat and an additional sweater or two underneath… No, we need to see the beauty in all seasons, right! Still, thinking about this island now, I must say it (most joyfully) surprised me. Sitting on the ferry, departing from Faro, it could seem its name sounded a bit ironic now, all these tourists flooding it every day. But once I was there, letting myself go further and further away from the only restaurant on the island, the beaches didn’t seem to be that crowded at all (the season was slowing down at that point, true, plus I just came back from the ones in Lagos!). After a short walk on the hot sand I could easily find my own nice little spot, with a most amazingly magnificent view, nothing but the blue sky and the never-ending sea before me. I somehow managed to bring myself to tear my ass away from it to take the path all around the island’s flora, and again the impression of being alone in the midst of beautiful nature won me over. Sometimes, the top-things-to-do-lists are there for a reason and we might just be lucky enough to have the perfect timing.

Getting goodbye to Algarve in style, indeed. Quite in love, too…

 

 

 

 

Lagos.

Sometimes, the town you’re in loses all importance and allure the very first night, and that is a good thing. It takes care of the necessary bed in an awesome hostel, watery morning coffee, food in one of those too many restaurants of the crowded touristy streets, late night sangria and a shower, and lets the essence of your stay to its surroundings. Oh the beaches around Lagos, the path along the cliffs enchanted me quite enough for a couple of days, making me feel lazy about any trips to the nearby towns for the famous caves… No, didn’t make it.

I let myself be charmed by the little nude beaches where you have to climb slippery slopes of sand to get to their rocky embrace, by the never-ending waves inviting you to use your own body as a surf and just let yourself play with them or them with you, by the free feet massage every time you decide to take a walk you somehow end with a bottle of (cheap!) white wine, sharing it with straws because glasses were redundant.

The little things that create the ultimate bubble of ease I just didn’t want to burst until reality inevitably had to kick in and I was left with the pictures of the solitary sunset that greeted my arrival and the sun-lit clouds at the lighthouse that closed up my stay, the animated conversations, juggling between English and French, and the improvised dinners and the very much approved combination of red wine and chocolate, and the laughs, the long, uncontrolled, loud laughs on the hostel rooftop.

I’ll come back every time you’ll have me.

Sagres.

I might as well start at the end. Quite close to it, at least. This is the nearest I’ve come to the end of the world (ok, our old continent), even made a walk, a little tour around its edges, but left the peak of it for next time. And it’s not even scary. Nope. Mighty it is, though, awe-inspiring and beautifully so. I think we’re going to be alright. Still, I did have the feeling there was nothing else to do than just observe and let it be, leaving any survival-mode items I might have in my backpack in there, only letting myself to snap a few photos, then absorbing what we’ve all come to realize is my favourite setting. Cliffs, edges, these boundaries I might any second now slip through.

There is something so poetic about it and while I was sitting on the rocks with the most magnificent view, dewy-eyed in the setting of inspirational music of the waves, crushing in, and the wind, whooshing by, I kept thinking about this song with its name as the title. When I listened to it back at the hostel it just seemed so appropriate for an almost-the-last day in a region, in a country that yet again got my heart. (Portugal, why it’s always you catching me in crucial moments of my life? I’m gonna stop believing it’s a coincidence…)

little screams into the wonder
and a wild set of rides… *

You bet it was.

 

* Tallest Man On Earth, Sagres (from the album : Dark Bird Is Home, 2015)

Bonifacio.

Corsica, the beloved.

Besides the occasional (delicious!) dinner and ice-cream at Porto Vecchio, this was the only Corsican town I can honestly say I visited. I mean, storm-drenched Zonza only half-counts, it seemed to rush us out with all the hard rain and made for the first picnic in the car (the view wasn’t bad at all, though). But, Bonifacio, oh Bonifacio, graced us with the loveliest of days. We decided to take the road because the weather was supposed to be not-beach-appropriate that day, yet the winds of the sea cleared the skies enough even before we got there. As they so often do, here, capriciously and good-heartedly. I preciously guarded the parking spot at the top when we finally found it, since we hadn’t follow everyone stopping at the marina and climbing up from there. We had soon understood why we should have, waiting too long and not being able to turn back, yet only regretted it for the first couple of minutes, our own parking being so close to town. Instead of smart, we got lucky.

And off we went (after a couple of laughs with the fellow French strangers that made me wonder again why we foreigners find them so cold and distant sometimes, while in fact they are the most charming people), starting our trip at the fortress and slowly, one view at the time, making our way inwards. What is so amazing about visiting a place like this, is that the streets themselves are nice and worth the walk, and sitting in cafés and taking the narrow alleys, and getting to the end of them to see the perfectly extending sea, still what’s the best of it all is just outside of its walls. Or under them. Taking the notorious hundred steps to be under the cliffs was literally breathtaking and legs-aching on the way back up, but young and in shape as we are we soon took another long path along the coast, breathing in the friendly sea and the fierce wind, exchanging silent ohs and ahs. Because every time we turned around, the view was just getting more and more fabulous. So, we continued, pretty much until it was time to head back to our temporary home, chatting joyfully, now.

Three days in our vacation and it was already our favourite day.

La Corse.

Maybe, the reason why I needed so much time to sit down and write a post about Corsica, besides basic procrastination, is a certain kind of feeling I admit I don’t get often. If I did, I surely wouldn’t start a blog. A feeling of wanting to keep a place to myself. Sounds ridiculous for a place, crowded with tourists in summer months, but I wanted to keep it as my little secret, my little haven. The weary unreasonable ways of our brain. Truth is I visited it at the best possible moment, probably, not yet high season, without unbearable heat and sea of people, certain stretches of beaches with only you gracing them with your presence, but already warm and sunny weather, appropriate for a swim, everything green as can be, enough shops and restaurants open to keep you yumming.

All French must feel that way, though. It’s the place everyone dreams about, and it certainly doesn’t need extra advertising. With its position of being disconnected from the continent, yet still not far, it understands well its benefits of an island, soaks in its pride. Ask the Corsican people and they will talk about it as a country of its own, about French as if it wasn’t their own nation, laugh hardest and most heartedly at stories of those French coming here, buying their land, being all righteous about it, but eventually being hunted right out. Not literally, though you sometimes wonder. Yet, what touched me is that this pride shows real appreciation, and more than that, genuine care for their own little paradise. They know what they have on their hands and don’t squash it inattentively. Try trash it and you’ll get their anger on your back. I wish Croatian coast would be as clean as theirs, remembering whole stashes of cans, bottles and cheap plastic bags on one of the Southern islands of our Mediterranean neighbour.

So, what you do here first is breathe in the air, salty, clean, oxygen full and smog free, air, then you watch green flashing in different colour palettes with the wind and the sun, immerse in it completely, watch the blueness of the sky that can only compare with that of the sea, although they are not really comparable, the sea with its turquoise and the sky with its azure. And then the night comes, and your friend calls you while you’re brushing your teeth ”Come out for a minute!” and you do after and he only points to the sky with its finger and your jaw drops. When was the last time you saw these many stars, finally seeing they’re not as lonely as they seem in Paris? It was surely in the middle of the desert. Little by little, your whole body starts opening up, making you suspect the city you call your home is a jail cell, suffocating it, and it seriously needed this injection of nature.

No, I won’t do a list of top things to do here. I mean, if you need it, you already missed the point. Just take a ride or two on the stomach-not-friendly roads, admiring the view, find your own favourite beach, and be sure to go inland, too, to see the more mountainous landscape and capricious weather. You’ll learn to trust them soon, the always changing, usually for the better, clouds, and the winding, never-ending roads.

Twisted paths

Tenerife.

I could write a sentence or two about how these twisted steps and roads we took at Tenerife, and which later on Corsica almost made me forget I am not a ten-year-old with a quickly-to-be-upset stomach, is a metaphor for life, really. But I don’t feel like it, to be honest.

Especially, after hearing these are probably the last photos I’m publishing under the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. I’ll miss it, as many others, because they so often made me see my photos and hence memories from a different angle, made sure I didn’t miss out on tiny treasures, hidden deep in my library, learning to share those moments and go out for the search of the new – not just my own, but those of other participants, some I might not discover otherwise. So long, then, it was a good one, and now, I feel like we all have to grow up as bloggers and find our own ways to keep up with it. I think we’re up for it.

For WPC: Twisted.

Tenerife.

What struck me on Tenerife was the contrast between the North and the South.

Soon after you land at the Tenerife Sur, you realize two things: the bareness of the landscape and the multitude of hotels. There is no way around it. Twenty years ago, they say, there was nothing here, now, buildings spread like vultures. Hotels, resorts, apartments, shopping centres, restaurants, fake charming markets. I never saw a place designed solely for tourists before and the feeling is, least to say, bizarre. Of course, the beaches are lovely, sandy, but not white due to the volcanic nature, with the beautifully blue sea, though cold and mostly agitated. Even some hotels are looking quite finely attractive as buildings (ours was quite fabulous actually with a lovely room view and almost uncomfortably kind staff), yet there is literally nothing substantial here. When we asked for a nearest town to stroll around, they just advised us : ”You better rent a car and head North.”

If we hadn’t, our perception of the island would sure be more than a little distorted. Luckily, we are at least a semi-adventurous family.

Two days to explore the island is a minimum. But hey – the week was still supposed to be a vacation. When it comes to towns, there are two that stayed most in my mind. San Cristóbal de La Laguna, which really seems like nothing special, relaxed and residential, but somehow super lovely. Although we only took a quick walk and lunch there (accompanied with live music, always a plus), I could see myself venturing around its streets through the afternoon. La Orotava, on the other hand, seemed to be the historical or the cultural one, not that it looks super old, but you feel its roots and its individual story more strongly on its hilly streets. The thing I loved the most, though, was the small, super bushy botanical garden we almost didn’t see the entrance of.

Yet, it is not the towns that enchant you here. First, there is the almost desert-like landscape of the South, the dark tanned stones, cliffs and beaches, the thirsty plants, then you start to climb your way up to the volcano and you gradually surround yourself with luscious green and the reddish soil, cruise on the winding roads, aligned by trees, until you turn onto the lava dominated territory and it transforms again.

Yet, the favourites… For that, you have to go to the actual North, to the even more winding roads among a different green and a different kind of magic taken you over the views. Right down to the beaches that have nothing to do with the ones at your hotel. Brave driving’s worth it – not that I, licence-free, would know. We were so much more delightfully enchanted, because we hadn’t known this had been waiting for us all along. It made me wonder if there are people coming to the island and only staying in their hotels or (a bit fake) comfort of the South and what on Earth are they thinking?! I very much appreciated the chill moments at my hotel, the effortless fun and smiles and all the cocktails, the priceless family time in a calm, lazy-like, environment, but not seeing the magnificient nature outside of it would seem like such a waste of a week. I somehow took that contrast and its reflection with me on my next trip, but more on that later…

The over-flowing magic

Palombaggia, Corsica.

It was quite ridiculous how little I read during the week on Corsica, not even 150 pages (flights, however short, included)! I mean, I usually even read more during my work weeks. And I managed to finish two books during my stay on Tenerife. How could I reach my bottom record ever? I know why. Mostly, I didn’t feel like doing anything else than just watch, listen, taste the sea, the perfect turquoise sea, or just stand in it for long periods of time, cooling me while the sun was painting my skin to a perfect tan and the wind was opening up my stuffed Parisian nostrils (no, it’ll take more than just a couple of posts for me to get over the air pollution, the contrast I experienced on my return)… The sea is something that hits you most when you arrive on the beach for the first time or take the first curvy ride on its roads overseeing the coast, its clarity, its truly amazing colours that can’t be translated into a photo.

So, I realized again and again, like so many probably during this week’s challenge, the healing power of water, that special magic of the sea and its waves, the waves that had already enchanted me two weeks before on the sandy beaches of Tenerife.

For WPC: Liquid.

Tenerife (Sur).

Keep still and look on.

Gaspé, Québec.

When we are about to leave a certain place, eyes open up in a different way, thoughts swirl around all the good and the bad, the memories packed up in the back, and then a silence falls, silence that sometimes expresses gratitude, sometimes sadness, usually both, a joy of getting to know something, of getting to know another piece of yourself, maybe a slight regret of overlooking something, a silence with which we say goodbye and till next time. In the next moment, we already look ahead, our next stop is waiting.

For WPC.

Bled.

If there is one destination in Slovenia that attracts the curious wondrous foreign eyes, it is lake Bled with its lovely island and proud castle. For me, though, ever since childhood the only thing I could think of instantly was its ugly town. I don’t know why, but that’s how I saw it, hoping every time to move on soon to the neighbouring Bohinj and the omnipresence of nature. Maybe, it’s just the case of it becoming too ordinary over the years, losing the thrill with every passing trip (curiosly, kremšnita – the traditional cream cake, a must – didn’t). Still, countless visits after, it stayed the place to go for a family walk on more or less sunny free afternoons, again so a couple of days before New Year’s eve. Even I have to admit it has some pretty views and some charm when you look for it… The surrounding Alps region with its hills, the cliffs with the castle on top guarding the calm water, the succession of trees and ducks and swans, and the island church that makes a good photo from every possible perspective.

Anyway, I still do recommend the visit, just don’t get too caught on the first impression when you drive into the town. Rather wait for the lake panorama.

P.S.: If you fly into Ljubljana from the right direction, you might see it during the plane’s descent. It’s simple, watch out for a lake with an island, there is only one in Slovenia! Even if you miss it, the landing in (or departure from) Ljubljana is one of the prettiest, in my opinion, with its views on the mountains.

And what if sometimes it is on the outside?

Tadoussac, Québec.

They say the sense of tranquility comes from within, but there were places I saw during my travels that immediately calmed me down, no matter the internal agitation. They demanded absolute admiring attention and silenced or distanced themselves, hence me, from my personal battles. And I’m sure it’s not just about putting things in perspective.

This charming little place had many, yet this solitary bench in the middle of a walking path among the trees and the bushes presents a symbol of sorts for them all. It made my current anxiety a bit more serene somehow just by looking at it on a screen. Because we all need occasional reminders.

Oh the places that mercilessly take a piece of our soul. Though sometimes, I wonder… maybe they add some to it.

For WPC.

Otočec.

Sometimes, the most usual family Sunday trip, a place you’ve passed by and seen a thousand times from your early years, surprises you again with a view. Because nature always knows how to do its thing and paint a beautiful scene in a familiar surroundings. Earth itself is the best artist, as the say…

Till Christmas, Slovenia.

Rudimental

Croatian beaches are not all ideal white sand ones. Maybe, that is why my ideal beach isn’t the white sand one. I even prefer the bare rocks to the pebbles, their more significant earthly presence splashed by the waves and heated by the sun, the wind from the North or the one coming from the South, whistling through. All elements combined in one laid-back moment, observing, or in the other when you try to cruise among the sharp edges to get to the deeper sea, forget the swimmer’s efficiency and spread your fingers to really feel the water’s embrace, all around the curves. Get out and let the breeze and the sun’s fire dry you up drop by drop.

Island Krk.

For WPC.

Percé.

This day gave me the whole package, and with that I mean the whole range of possible weather and the corresponding moods, as well as all the timely intervals in a day of a town.

I arrived super early in the morning, with the fog embracing the main street, neighbouring hills and the coast, so much I hardly saw anything: the sea was mysteriously covered, the mountain tops non-existent and the street far less long than it really was. Plus, it was cold and drizzling. After the first couple of minutes, I already had enough of it. Still, I had to take breakfast first and luckily the nice little place of a bakery I chose (Boulangerie le Fournand) had good coffee – even better it almost took me back to Paris for half an hour with that bleuets pastry and a warm, dry chair. In the first horrible half of all-inclusive day, I walked to the each end of the street, probably spent an hour or two just sitting on different benches to let time pass by, trying to read, but mostly couldn’t, because the wind got to my brain. I even checked out the souvenir shops, which I had completely ignored since tasting maple syrup on my first day in Montreal. (It is to their coziness of the moment my family can thank for bringing something back home.) I was waiting, basically.

Until I had enough, picked some lunch (a very decent pizza in Resto du Village) and much-needed second coffee, and took off for the hikes. Via Mont St-Anne. What can I say, nature’s a healer. As soon as I started my walk, I got my explorer’s motivation back and soon enough, the clouds were beginning to clear away, too. Little by little, the fog lifted and the sun rays pierced through. Going up, I had a view of a covered town, no sign of the houses or famous rocher, let alone the island across. Going down, it was half present, the streets in sight, but just the tip of the rock and only a small portion of the sea. It was due to my stubborness, going up one more time two hours later (taking advantage of the last hour of the park being open), I got the view below. Oh well, now it all seemed worth it and the day transformed into one of my favourites of the journey.

What I did during those two hours? I finally looked at the rocher up close and then took the boat trip around it and the magnificient Île-Bonaventure which I definitely recommend. Because I waited for the sun (which I don’t regret, by the way), I took the last afternoon one which unfortunately meant I couldn’t go down to the island… Yet, what I saw already amazed me. So many birds! and such a beautiful coastline. From smiles of the people getting off the island, I suspect it has much in store inland, too. Plus, it was almost a private tour, because all in all we were only three tourists with three guides, explaining everything they had to in such a relaxed way, face to face and not in the mike, showing us photos of fish they had caught and eaten the day before, inviting us to dinner the following day which we couldn’t join, leaving the same evening… All that was left for me now was taking another pathway, to the peaceful meditation/prayer spot, La Grotte, and then watching the sunset of the so-appreciated clear skies. Soupe à l’oignon to warm me up for dinner, before a night promenade and late bus drive back to Gaspé.

The most intensive day ended up being the worst and the best in one.

The feel of sand

Plage de Deauville, Normandie.

Dipping your feet into the hot grainy sand and then into the refreshing ever flowing ocean, let the strong wind mess up your hair and the deceivingly smooth sun redden your skin, why not feel every drop of its moisture. You’re touching summer.

For WPC.

 

Gaspé.

Gaspésie had had a great allure for me before actual arrival, but the very first morning I woke up in Gaspé I felt like nothing was on my side. Like out of all the possible destinations in the amazing region I had picked the wrong one. A boring town in beautiful surroundings, but then I didn’t have a car, did I? Weather was wet and windy and gray, too. Still, I gathered the last remains of my shattered tired will and took some walks, the promenade, the long cycle trail (long if you walk it as I did) to the Haldimand beach, braced myself against the unusual cold, ate well in the local bistros and found some proper coffee in Café des Artistes, enjoyed the strange movie-like feel of my so-typical motel and its diner for breakfast. The quick un-attentive organisation went against me this time, but I managed to gather my lacking skills for a final try and made it, got something out of what nature of the region has to offer in the couple of days there still. Just next time, I’m camping in the middle of a national park, no doubt about it!

The delightful child-like curiosity

It might be a weird one, my response to the ”satisfaction” prompt. Yet, there was nothing like that delightful child-like curiosity about the flora and the fauna while I was exploring Québec last month. Hiking through the woods or siting on the rocky coast and observing the many individual expressions of this magnificent region, or better just the world, period. Nothing quite came close to this kind of exploring and wondering, so much that satisfactory seems to be an understatement, enriching it truly was. Bending down and trying to capture the colours and the shapes, smelling, touching, still respecting, pure looking became my religion for a day. Not caring about the names of the plants, because why would they matter, when the essence is right in front of you?! It’s not even about their new-ness or unfamiliar-ness, no, it’s just you opening your eyes for a minute, you all of a sudden, for no particular reason, lifting your head from a book and becoming obsessed by the algae bouquet few meters below you, you seeing the squirrels arguing and not being sure how to respond, hearing birds fly by in fright because you accidentally scared them and feeling a sense of remorse. Following the path, turning the corner and finding more and more of those wonders, so evident and so simple, so close and so reachable, your soul expands with every scene, every sensation your senses catch for a moment. Finally, I understood the excitement outside of the city-life buzz.

All of these taken in or near-by Tadoussac, although the feeling itself wasn’t limited to that place!

For WPC.

Laurentides.

It was an hour away from Montreal I finally felt I was in Canada. Canoeing on a small lake with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, observing the charming houses on the coast, resident ones at that, not meant only for vacation, birds on the island and green green everywhere. For the weekend, I was in a home away from home, nurtured by the enormous hospitality, readiness to show me around, the getaways and the mundane villages, where even rich city folks climb a hill or two, or at least take the funicular and then chill in a restaurant. All the while, I was anchored in that real-folks life, peanut butter on toast and filter coffee for breakfast, local beer in the afternoon and sweet cider for the aperitif, home-made dinners and red wine that still came from Italy – ”Don’t get too tempted to try the one from Quebec, hardly drinkable!”. The huge supermarkets, candy bars, hunting stores, dollar stores, mini golf. My first hike of the season on a foggy Saturday, the rewarding clearing right when we got to the peak, the onion soup in the valley afterwards. Everything so easy and without pressure I was glad I was not going back to the city quite yet.

The colours of the beach

It was the perfect day. Doing a spontaneous train trip with my best friend to Normandy, exploring the cheese markets and flirting with the vendors, then just hanging out on the ridiculously wide sunny beach, after refreshing our toes in the Atlantic. Ice cream was there, and this colourful summer essentials that made me wonder what kind of collage view they form from the above. No doubt how we ended it – with cocktails!

For WPC.

Tadoussac.

There are places, perfectly situated between the water and the hills, the rocks and the forests, where flora and fauna breathes and so you can breathe with it, in the calm and out the dirt. Where the reason you came there fades away the first day, because you found so many more. A touristy village cannot ruin that, when just a few steps up you find yourself alone on a trail, leading you to those distant views that make towns seem more enjoyable somehow. Or you take the most taken one around the ”almost-island”, sit down on the welcoming rocks and listen to the waves, pay attention and you might see the whales, too. The prospect itself is magical. Even if you don’t, you just found your favourite reading spot, and the one to observe sunset at as well. Whatever you do, take your time and it’s soothing.

But, the best – take advantage of a close-by national park and take those trails for a hike. Alone, again, you only stumble upon one group of three girls, multiple times, so that in the end you’re allies. Yet, you only make friends with squirrels, and that one seal you see chilling on a rock at the end of your now-adopted bay. You become a child again, wonder, wonder, where have you been… these plants, this magnificent world has all of a sudden obsessed your entire mind and you marvel like a baby, taking the first few steps on the smoothing grass, touching unknown flowers and observing familiar trees that don’t have names yet. On the top of a mountain, everything falls away, and you are a simple you again.

Tadoussac, I could easily get back to you, anytime.

This, too, will pass.

La Forêt Magique, Percé, Quebec.

A thick fog greeted me in the morning and all through the walk in the midst of the magical forest, as they call a little part of a hill, leading to the most superb view of Percé and its rock and the island across. Nothing of this supposed postcard view had been seen yet, instead of it there was only the consistent humidity, yet that somehow added charms to the trees’ landscape. I’m glad I passed it when there was something truly mystical about it. A couple of hours later the sun pierced through, and inch by inch the mist lifted, slowly unraveling the coast, until the horizon was open for new adventures.

The day that started so badly and ended so magnificently reminded me how transient things during traveling are. Not because you move, but because life always does, I guess. And now, I’m off to succumbing to jet-lag, it’s tomorrow I’ll try to put my impressions of a few weeks Quebec journey sort of together. My mind is already drifting in its own fog now…

For WPC.

With love for Earth

Being a city girl, my everyday notion of nature usually ends with cats climbing roofs, trees along the avenues, luscious parks or at best occasional trips to the country/seaside. City jungle is just as much part of the planet as the ancient labyrinths, booming with life, yet to really know what Earth fully represents you have to go in the middle of somewhere where kilometres and miles and acres of land lack human built settlements. Personally, it was in Atacama, Chile, where I felt the Earth’s history without the anthropocentric elements. The story of the rocks, maybe. And now, I sense a constant need in my feet to be in touch with the actual ground, minus the asphalt. I might have woken up from a subtle daydream.

For WPC.

On the top of a hill

Playing with perspective in that moment on the top of a hill, looking at the view from the family ”weekend” house (as we called it in Slovenian) so familiar, yet somehow fresh. Something so ordinary during my childhood appearing different in the eyes of the girl watching it. Being atop sometimes means looking back… in the good sense of the phrase.

For WPC.

Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Living in Paris always leaves one with the impression this glorious city is all or at least the best the region has to offer. It might not be entirely wrong, yet sometimes the one-day trips that don’t include a two-hour train ride (and are free as part of the Navigo zone) are well worth it. It was still a winter, but luckily sunny day after a week of heavy rain and strong wind when my best friend and I decided to trade Normandy for a long morning. The possibilities of RER A still granted us with a lovely day, walking in a weirdly calm town center which didn’t even seem like one, the real freshly made waffles with dark chocolate dressing and strawberry ice-cream which mixed with coffee made a perfect setting for a good old chat. Then the view of La Defense and the top of the far-away Eiffel tower somewhere way down the valley. A castle and more than everything an enormous park, that actually looked like a forest for a while. I forgot how nice it feels to just take a walk amidst the green, free of asphalt and hard stone. How unbelievable long stretched branches of bare trees are with their veins-like beauty, emptied of the unnecessary glitter.

Now I know where I’ll take my picnics and daily reading trips in summer.

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Saint-Germain-en-Laye

 

The nature’s patient anticipation

From the seed to the flower, from the fruit to the fallen leaves, the roots and the empty branches…

I’d waited long for this one. Giverny, France.

From the seed to the flower, from the fruit to the fallen leaves, the roots and the empty branches, there is always this anticipating the next form of life in nature, ever so patient in its expectancy. Because they are necessities? Maybe that is why it’s calming, soothing, seeing the cycle and recognizing it for it.

For WPC.

New horizons are in the view

There’s nothing saying new horizons better than superb views, especially those including water or the higher bird-like eye. It inevitably and instantly puts you in the meditative mood. In Puerto Varas, South of Chile, I found it very enlightening to watch the same lake from so many different perspectives. Diverse viewpoints on its coastline, the towns and villages with that strangely Germanic charm… And then the ones from the top of the special kind of mountains, the occasionally erupting ones. All so equally beautiful, from up above to down below, and vice versa. Looking back now, on the adventure of the year, as sad as I can be it was the only long one, I can see how holding on to one single perspective is impoverishing and how sometimes opening your eyes to multiplicity of things in front of us is complementary to the search of the actual new. Maybe that is why I’ve always felt dedicated to that quest without ever really making it my resolution.

For WPC.

The subtle power of the simple H2O

Water is healing. Petrohué River, Los Lagos, Chile.

Water is healing, water embracing you in a lake, your swimming fingers caressed by a gentle sea wave, splashing drops of a river on your skin, the cleansing rain or a refreshing glass of the liquid of life, a cup of the simple hot beverage. Everything seems less dramatically unbearable thanks to its subtle power. Or sometimes, just watching H2O in one of its forms does it, despise the annoying big flies all around you.

Petrohué River, Los Lagos, Chile.

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For WPC.

Nostalgia seems to define these trees.

The view or the smell of pine tress brings back so many things. The feel of summer alone, then the favourite summers of my childhood on the many islands of our neighboring country.

Island Krk, Croatia.

The view or the smell of pine tress brings back so many things. The feel of summer alone, then the favourite summers of my childhood on the many islands of our neighboring country. My grandma’s delicious cooking, my grandpa’s occasional adventuring, my parents’ temporary epicureanism, the sharing and the pricking with my sister, the plays we had with my cousin in a plastic boat, my other cousin as a a-few-months-old baby, the jokes and the anecdotes and the card plays, the staggering difference between the shades of tan, the brownish back and whitish belly, because of my constant reading on the beach.

The insouciance, the ease, the absence of permanent questioning. The quest for my own piece of land anywhere in the South, where they will reign with the olives and the herbs, where come rain or come shine it will be my home.

For WPC.

On the edge of a cliff

I’ve always had a special relation to cliffs and edges of any sort – fascination and vertigo entwined, in the most curious of minds. Of parts of my mind at least.

I’ve always had a special relation to cliffs and edges of any sort – fascination and vertigo entwined, in the most curious of minds. Of parts of my mind at least. Everything defined in that mixture of adventure and fear. However, I soon realized they are innocent in themselves, it was me who saw that limit of theirs as something full of options which transforms into charm. They are what I find as the most beautiful type of seaside.

This summer I enjoyed the ones in Étretat, Normandy, France. A day that has stayed my favourite of all the one-day trips. That meditation spot where I took off the shoes after a longish walk, rested my legs and only watched, looked, listened. It was so calm and joyful that the edge lost its edginess.

For WPC.

The tree’s a frame

I don’t think much when it comes to framing my pictures while roaming around. If it’s not the actual walls of the streets’ houses, it has to be the empty branches or the green leaves of trees.

I don’t think much when it comes to framing my pictures while roaming around. If it’s not the actual walls of the streets’ houses, it has to be the empty branches or the green leaves of trees. I use them so often in cities that they almost always make up for some of my favourite photos, of my Paris as well. They easily add something substantial to the chosen view as they did on the Santa Lucia hill in Santiago de Chile or on Cerro Carcel in Valparaiso.

But for this challenge, I chose the natural framing in a natural scene. As so often in my life, I spent the seaside part of my vacation this year in Croatia, Island Krk. It might get touristy and awfully crowdy in August, but when you take the paths along the coast, some parts sizzling in the sun with the dusty grass and poor olive branches, among coarse rocks and latent fear of snakes, others in the comfortable shadow of pine or other trees, they can lead you to some pretty amazing little bays. The whole walk is worth it, if not for the view, for the moment when you dive into the refreshing sea, getting off all the sweat, produced on the way.

For WPC.

The morning (view) of the year

There are certain first cups of coffee you never forget.

There are certain first cups of coffee you never forget. My second day in San Pedro de Atacama, second trip starting at the Red Stones, but first breakfast in the area, after an early morning rise and road trip, climbing the altitude numbers and then stopping here amidst the cold wind.

Bread with avocados, cookies, instant coffee and the view.

For WPC.

Sometimes, cherry on top is an actual top.

One of the best journeys I’ve ever had closing with yet another breathtaking panorama.

I was getting ready to leave Chile in only a couple of days and this trip was one of my last adventures of the actual last week. One of the best journeys I’ve ever had closing with yet another breathtaking panorama. In my thoughts I was already saying goodbye, imagining myself on the then cold streets of Paris and in warm hugs of beloved friends. Still, on this volcano top, Osorno, first of my life, I was acutely present, feeling an overwhelming gratitude and joy, against the cold wind in my messy hair. Travel is a privilege. Breathe it in while it lasts. Embrace the views and the lonely walks on dusty and rocky paths. Appreciate those moments when everything you need is simply clear and there and it seems that everything that may come next is just another wonderful contribution to the already magnificent picture.

Volcano Osorno.
Volcano Osorno.

For WPC.

 

Étretat.

There is something about Normandy that always captivates me. But there is something particularly spellbinding in Étretat.

There is something about Normandy that always captivates me. Is it the style buildings wear with such loveliness or the fields and grass and branches and cows and birds that surround you on your road trip and which you desperately swallow up, like a person on their way back to the city desert usually does?

But there is something particularly spellbinding in Étretat. It is so obvious – it is the cliffs, it is the richness of the flora and the fauna, and of course, it is the beach and the sea. While you’re soaking up the sun rays and dipping your feet in the refreshing ocean water, you probably have one of the best possible views, in the meantime walking bare-foot on pebbles will even grant you a free massage, too.

But all that comes at break-time, after already climbing a few steps and following one stunning cliff after another, taking a walk among occasionally quite high grass and numerous meadow flowers, catching bees and a butterfly or two with your eyes and listening to the desperate cries of the many seagulls above you. Don’t stop your stroll at the most obvious point, but go further on one of the prettiest promenade you could possibly imagine. Because then you find your own little meditation spot where not many people bother you and the view is all yours to appreciate for half an hour or so while your skin is slowly getting rid of the winter paleness. Do remember to bring your sunscreen next time, though.

I needed 10 years to finally come to this place I had heard about during a French lesson, and the day I did was one of those days I live for, a summer trip at its best.

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Look up

When a tour guide says ”This isn’t on the list of things to show you, but I find it special enough”, what else is there to say?

When a tour guide says ”This isn’t on the list of things to show you, but I find it special enough”, what else is there to say? You follow and then you just look up and see the beauty of it yourself. (For WPC.)

Rainbow valley, Atacama, Chile.

look up

Giverny.

One of the best things you can do in Paris when summer hits the streets, it’s to escape it. I didn’t wait long, I grabbed the first real sunny and hot day after the official start of the season and boarded the train at Saint Lazare. Direction: Monet’s garden.

I was far from disappointed by the beauty this lucky guy surrounded himself with. As always, after a long absence of fresh air and nature, I was amazed how much good being around all the colours of the green spectrum can do. And let’s not forget the richness of different shades and shapes of flowers. It’s like a little haven, small village amongst the fields of grass and trees, with nice simple houses and a modest church. Not even one busy road can ruin that, maybe not even the elevated number of tourists. That is why I ignored the impressionism museum, only quickly visited the painter’s house and dedicated most of my time to his garden, blooming in the sun rays and cooling in the shadows, and the rest of it to a cup of ice-cream that accompanied my walk through the cute village where your view is still crowned in green.

Feeling refreshed, I was ready to return to the delightfully nasty corners of my home.

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The Greenness of the South of Chile

The charm of the Los Lagos Region in the South of Chile, right before the more famous Patagonia starts.

The charm of the Los Lagos Region in the South of Chile, right before the more famous Patagonia starts.

Lakes, river falls, mountains, volcanoes, cows and llamas, villages, Lutheran churches and kuchen!

Not the place where you get away from Europe, but definitely the place to explore and just chill.