Les Bas Sablons, Saint Malo.

 

The Wisdom of Montmartre

Always refreshing to find those witty or not little wisdoms while taking a walk through Parisian streets. It makes me wonder who and why decided to tag them along the walls. Determined to stop our steps for a moment and make us give it a few seconds attention, a few seconds reflection we would otherwise maybe give to those insta/pin-quotes. Stroll over scroll.

Puertas puertas puertas

Before I officially gather together the impressions of my family vacation on Tenerife, here’s a quick one, a specific selection from a bunch of photos, the focused attention in the town streets — the doors, again!

La Orotava.

Candelaria. & San Cristóbal de La Laguna.

The poetics of the streets

Montpellier.

I rarely search for art in the streets. But, I guess that’s because I never have to. The best moments, those pleasant surprises, happen when you don’t look or expect much, anyway. I sincerely didn’t in Montpellier. Still, I found the best kind, I found poetry beneath my footsteps… Oh so poetic in itself, combining random wandering with my other favourite art. Reminded me of how the first time I fell for street art, that altered, rebelled life of a simple wall, was in France, although London followed soon after and the city that later won the game for now was on the other side of the globe. (I truly miss you, Valparaiso. I never quite got the pieces of my heart I had lost there back. No worries, I’m already thinking of coming back to lose some more.)

Doesn’t just mentioning South, either of France or of America, automatically bring a smile on our faces, regardless of pretty images and lovely words on its charming narrow streets? Maybe, it’s only this long winter and timid spring… Yet, truth be told, we’re going to escape there in the summer, too, let’s just admit it and hope it’s coming soon…

For WPC: Smile.

Forever opening into a story

La Rochelle.

I can understand people’s obsession with doors we see in all those blog posts collecting the wonder of how people enclose themselves in cities and towns and even small villages. I always fall for the weathered, a proper-doorknob-and-doorbell-missing ones, old and hardly magnificent. Their stories touch me through those small cracks where the Atlantic wind whistles its way in, the shades and the lines written on them by the winter rain and harsh sun. Then, someone even dares to draw their own!

And there was that one on a tower in the middle of a village in Atacama, low and narrow in between the wall’s scars, like a niche entrance into a secret you might never get if you try too much, yet I hope I did. I sensed a treasure, but … ah nevermind.

For WPC.

Be careful there!

Isn’t it funny how sometimes we get the biggest warnings for the things, cities, sites we enjoy the most in the end?

That was the case for Valparaiso, Chile. So many people warned me about this city I fell in love with at the first sight. Be careful at the bus station when you get there, thieves all over. Don’t go out at night alone… or at all. If I were you, I’d avoid the port area. Just in general, it’s a dodgy town, so you know. Even the free-tour guide told us ”we are entering a less safe area” while we were walking the street above.

Plus, at the spot in the photo, there was a big gas explosion years ago, ruining a lovely street. Oh well… I loved it anyways, the building’s skeleton gave it a sort of robust look, but some soul, too, which comes with every plot. It seemed like it’s a story, truly belonging to this city where everything seems on shaky grounds.

Luckily, I only had positive experiences, even walking around after sunset didn’t cause me any trouble, although I was never alone. All the kind words before my arrival had succeeded in making me a bit cautious, yet I felt at ease after the first few minutes. I adored just roaming around and exploring every possible street and it ended up being my favourite part of the Chile journey… At least excluding Atacama, that one is a real competitor!

For WPC.

Life is a quest

I saw this girl on her inspirational quest every day on my way out of the hostel and into the streets of Barrio Bellavista, Santiago de Chile, exploring as she seems to…

I saw this girl on her inspirational quest every day on my way out of the hostel and into the streets of Barrio Bellavista, Santiago de Chile, exploring as she seems to, wondering where life would take me. The beauty and the solitude of it, but most of all, the worth of trying, tasting that life isn’t just stationary or given. It can be an adventure you have to be willing to take.

questsdc

For WPC. (Better late than never.)

Fun found its place on walls

I keep coming back to Valparaiso in these challenge-inspired posts and now, it is becoming clear why. It is the city where I had most fun, for sure.

I keep coming back to Valparaiso in these challenge-inspired posts and now, it is becoming clear why. It is the city where I had most fun, for sure. Good, not just decent coffee (finally!), yummy empanadas in various flavours, smoothing ice-cream during hill climbs, bumpy rides with a local bus and shaky funiculars, walk after a walk after a walk, great company, late night outings tasting pisco sours, the seaside sun, the atmosphere, the culture and last but not least all the art. Fun finds its place everywhere here, yes, but most of all on walls.

funvalpo6

My hostel’s door and the wall on the opposite side:

A wall making fun of the neighbouring capital Santiago’s lifestyle or simply, the morning commute:

funvalpo8

 

And soooooo many others.

For WPC.

Santiago de Chile.

Charming isn’t the word I would ever use for this city, a hauntingly stretched metropolis if you view it and its ever spreading horizons from Cerro San Cristóbal. But then there is a certain feel of delight in the streets of my favourite quarters…

Charming isn’t the word I would ever use for this city, a hauntingly stretched metropolis if you view it and its ever spreading horizons from Cerro San Cristóbal. But then there is a certain feel of delight in the streets of my favourite quarters, from Bellavista, Patronato, Barrio Brasil and even those of the out-of-place Barrio Paris-Londres.

I chased it among the modest pretty houses and their enthralling paintings, the richness of a particular museum, called las calles, in the organized chaos of central markets, its delicious fruit or smell of fish, the fried, greasy, sweet or cheesy comfort street food, the fruit salads and freshly pressed juices or cold mote con huesillo. And then in the confidence and body positivity of Chilean women, the abundance of tattoos and a light rebel spirit you feel in this nation. In a desperate search for decent coffee, in the leafy shadows of the cemetery where you chill like locals seem to, in the parks where the screams promoting ice-cream are omnipresent, … but certainly not on the main plaza or the cathedral or the government palace or the busy, but boring center avenidas. You can hardly breathe there when the traffic and the heat join forces.

In the end, of course, it is there I finally found it for real, right next to the crowded avenue and packed shops … on the Cerro Santa Lucia. Where the air gets lighter among the trees and the flowers, the city even somehow appealing in all its stripped-down display. It is the place to get away, read a few pages, relax in the sun and re-find your joy. Then go right back to the bohemian laid-back-ness of Bellavista and re-find some glorious street art, too. Because you already know these are the two places you’ll miss when you leave this city after a week or so.

You are right.

Belleville.

The forgotten quarter of French capital? By tourists, maybe. By locals, no.

The forgotten quarter of French capital? By tourists, maybe. By locals, no. At least if you’re not one of those living in the South of Paris and being scared of the North (yes, I’ve met those). This is not my first post about the 20th arrondissement (check out Rue Dénoyez and some street art: one, the other) and will probably not be the last, if only I can make myself take photographs of my everyday environment.

The thing is … I now live right next to it, more precisely right below Menilmontant. Consequently, the park I go to when completely without energy, not particularly sinisterly humoured and so not deciding for Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, but in a desperate need of air is the one of the climbing steps of Parc de Belleville. Where the shadows don’t spare their gentleness and where flies attack you in between the bushes. Small, not the most beautiful one in Paris, but sort of pretty and filled with families on sunny days. The one where street art blossoms and which tourists hardly find. If you do, climbing to the very top is obligatory or at least highly recommended. Or do take the street art tour that initially opened my eyes when I was still just another visitor to the city.

And then … there is that energy and a different smell to the air I sometimes inexplicably feel, although it is not really a particular smell. Is it just the pollution? It’s so different to the neighbouring 11th arrondissement which is officially my home that you can’t even compare their biggest avenues. Can it really be only the prevailing immigrants or better their descendants? The typical French cafés, but a bunch of shops that seem to belong somewhere else, the South or the East… But no, there are right where they are meant to be. (My sister recently asked me if I intend to cruise around them a bit anytime soon, since she cannot come this year and really wants another pair of that comfy Chinese pants, and to my (mis)fortune tight budget isn’t a solid excuse there…)

Just don’t expect something when you go here, especially not Paris from the pictures. This is not the fancy river bank and it is not the artsy Montmartre neither. Let’s only hope the process of gentrification is never completed here.

Valparaiso.

Santiago, I liked you. But it is Valparaiso who stole a couple of pieces of my heart, when Atacama already got my soul. Here, I kept thinking how all the rich leaving the town a hundred years ago made a huge favor to its streets and atmosphere.  Colourful houses and lovely hills, sea, tags, graffiti, murals, energy and art everywhere, and reality? In any case, the lack of empty luxury. When it fell, the city didn’t die, things only moved from one axis to the other, left some space. Left people some space. The town breathes and lives. And one just loves the light walks, despite the tiring stairs. And one instantly feels good and comfortable here, despite all the warnings of its notoriety.

Dreams

My favourite mini part of a big, dreamy and absolutely stunning mural made by various artists.

My favourite mini part of a big, dreamy and absolutely stunning mural made by various artists – definitely worth seeing (and quite impossible to photograph) as a whole.

Just another one of the hidden (or not so much) jewels of Paris 20eme – quarter that is really growing on me.

Forever young.

”Don’t be such a grown-up.”
One of my favourite graffiti in Ljubljana.

”Ne bit tok odrasli.”

”Don’t be such a grown-up.”

One of my favourite graffiti in Ljubljana, at least after they demolished the building with the one saying ‘Nasmehni se – nekdo te ima rad.’ : ‘Smile – someone loves you.’

Right next to NUK – National University Library.