A Moveable Feast | Rochester, NY, USA

flowers_dayThis year, as it happens every once in a while, the “Western” (Catholic and Protestant) Easter and the Orthodox Easter coincide, and so do – by extension – Palm Sunday and Tsvetnitsa, respectively, both of which happened to be today.

And, as far as I’m concerned, there was no better way to spend the day than by walking around Rochester’s Park Avenue area, where – luckily for me – spring has spring. I even got to see some blooming crocuses/croci. What an ugly name for such a beautiful flower, although I have to admit that the Bulgarian минзухар (pronounced meen-zoo-har) is no feast for the ears either.

Speaking of feasts, while thinking of a title for this post, I came across an explanation of why Hemingway’s posthumously published memoir was called A Moveable Feast (the term is originally used to describe Christian holidays that don’t take place on the same date every year, such as Easter and Palm Sunday). The title was apparently suggested by A. E. Hotchner, who supposedly remembered a conversation, in which Hemingway said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”

I like this idea of carrying past experiences around like a moveable feast, and my time in the States somehow feels like that to me.

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¿Qué es esto? | Barcelona, Spain

I saw these on Passeig de Gràcia during my last short trip to Barcelona, but can’t seem to find out any information about what they are.

Anyone know?

This time, even though I’ve photographed and written about them many times before, I couldn’t resist taking *yet another* picture of the beautiful, green-grey, Gaudí-designed tiles that line the boulevard’s sidewalks. I just can’t seem to get enough of them.

… and these tiles!

barcelona_tiles

Before I die… | Plovdiv, Bulgaria

During this year’s edition of the Night of the museums and galleries in Plovdiv, I happened upon the “Before I die” project of artist Candy Chang, in which people can write down one thing they want to do, see and/or experience before they die – they do this in chalk on a large wall, which periodically gets wiped clean, so that the blanks can be filled by new people all over again.

This was all pretty exciting, especially as I had come across some of her other projects before and have been meaning to write about them for some time now.

I was especially fascinated with and loved her “You Make Me Feel So Mahtava” project, in which – just before she leaves Helsinki, she leaves stenciled notes to all her friends in front of the doors of their homes, on the streets and their favorite cafes, as “something they would see only after [she] was up in the clouds.”

My pied-à-terre | Montpellier, France

Pied-à-terre – from French, literally, foot on the ground. The term is used in reference to a small living unit, usually located in a large city some distance away from an individual’s primary residence. The term implies usage as a temporary second residence, either for part of the year or part of the work week.

My own personal pied-à-terre in Montpellier has the most wonderful diversity of grounds:

First, you have to climb exactly 106 steps, before reaching the last floor and the entryway, covered in polished concrete.

When you first enter, you find yourself in the kitchen, with the cute little sky light above.

Next to it is the bathroom – a place for reading or just marveling at the stones on the ground.

Then comes the living room, its cool floor covered with beautifully worn large grey stones, typical of the old architecture in Montpellier’s center.

Next door is the bedroom, with its creaky hardwood floors.

The bathtub may or may not be in the bedroom itself.

And lastly –  “the balcony”! To get to it, you have to climb out of the bedroom window. Just beyond it is the roof of my favorite cinema that shows films with subtitles, rather than dubbed in French.

To all my dear friends: consider this a “teaser”. To see the rest, you’ll just have to come visit.

Happy April Fool’s Day! | Sofia, Bulgaria

Since practical jokes, pranks and other such shenanigans are a bit hard to illustrate in the format of this blog, I thought I’d share the enlightening story of how the first day of April came to be an occasion for such activities.

April Fool’s Day seems to be connected to the switchover from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one. According to the former, which was used until the second half of the sixteenth century (in most European countries, through some abolished it later), New Year’s was celebrated and gifts were exchanged on the first day of April. The new Gregorian calendar that replaced it thereafter moved the beginning of the New Year to the day on which we still mark it today – January 1.

But every year – just like the days following the time change for daylight savings (and I will not mention how I a certain somebody who went through the better half of last week, thinking that time was still one hour behind), some people didn’t catch on very quickly – they stuck to the old calendar and continued to celebrate the New Year and show up with gifts on April 1. Those “fools” were mocked by their friends, which stuck paper fish to their back and called them Poisson d’Avril, or April Fish.

Nowadays – according to the ever-so-wise Internet, “April 1 is a day for practical jokes in many countries around the world. The simplest jokes may involve children who tell each other that their shoelaces are undone and then cry out “April Fool!” when the victims glance at their feet.”

So there you have it. Happy April Fool’s Day and I hope you are either the source or, in the less enjoyable case, the butt of at least one good practical joke today! (Although it must be said that the weather this morning pulled a good one on all of Sofia’s residents – it was – and still is – snowing!)

Morceaux de Marseille* | Marseille, France

* I’m well aware of how pretentious it is to use French phrases in lieu (ooops, did it again!) of perfectly good English ones, but “pieces of Marseille” somehow doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it, does it? On second thought, I could have named this post “Morsels of Marseille” but that just sounds weird.

P.S. Isn’t the light in the second part of the photos just magical? Almost as magical as walking on the beach in February, I must say.