¿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!


Advice to sink in slowly*

*The name of this post and the inspiration behind the image is borrowed from the “advice to sink in slowly” project – an ongoing series of posters, designed by graduates for the purpose of passing on advice and inspiration to first year students. [Note: The advice I am offering above is credited to Theodore Roosevelt, and – although it is slightly too lofty and motivational for my taste, I like the idea and literal image behind it.]

But, to come back to the “advice to sink in slowly” project: Most – if not all, of the quirky, wise, practical, theoretical, humorous, serious, unexpected or common-sense, sometimes conflicting but never patronizing advice that the project offers can – and does – apply to life way beyond one’s first year in university and is worth always keeping in mind. Some of my favorite words to the wise from the project include:

| “Look lively” | “Find your own way” | “Trust your gut instincts” | “Try everything” | “Take time” | “Do what you love” | “Be free” | “Eat breakfast” | “Take more chances” | “Finish what you start” | “Get carried away” | “Take a camera everywhere” | “Collaborate” | “Travel & Network” | “Let go” | “Use your library… you’ll miss it when you leave” | “Don’t be afraid” | “Face your fears, smile and live dangerously” | “Words are not enough” | “Avoid thinking in straight lines” | “Don’t forget to call your mum” |

Besides the sound advice and the inspiring design of the posters, the other great thing about the project is that the posters are normally available for free to all first year students across the UK (although it seems that they have run out of printed posters temporarily). In the meantime, though, you can keep it in mind and let it sink in slowly.

Some serious reading | Sofia, Bulgaria

Two-fifths of our unofficial book club, where we mostly read wine labels*. The book club’s five formally inducted members include Vessi, Mariana, Bistra, Silvia and me – pictured here.

Taken at the American Corner in the Sofia City Library.

*This reminds me, we still need to get our hands on some of these.

Arty farty | Sofia, Bulgaria

I went to an exhibition opening and book launch of my favorite Bulgarian jewelry designer, Nikolay Sardamov, whose work I have adored for many years now (I even mustered up the courage to go and say hello, like a giggling teenager meeting a rockstar).

After spending a few months away from Sofia and the past couple of weeks being mostly cooped up at home, it was nice to see the good old local art and hipster crowds, and some other familiar faces. I was also pleasantly surprised by the exhibition space, located on 13 6ti Septemvri Street, which I’ve always wondered about when passing by it but never knew what it was. It has apparently existed since communist times, when it used to house a state gallery that has since moved to a new location. The black and white checkered floors – which can also be seen at another neighboring gallery on Rakovski Street, give it a slight whiff of the olden days, but they work well together with the large windows and the clean lines of the place to give the space a nice and modern feel. I wonder what they plan to do with it.

Wordless Wednesday: Armchair* traveler | Sofia, Bulgaria

*wherein, by ‘armchair’, I actually mean some big pillows on the floor. (I’m still way too young to be sitting in armchairs; and probably, way too old to be wearing mismatched socks, but oh well… “Armchair activities” – see last definition, on the other hand, know no age limit.)

*** more Wordless Wednesday posts ***

Sense of direction | Byala, Bulgaria

“Disorientation is loss of the East. Ask any navigator: the east is what you sail by. Lose the east and you lose your bearings, your certainties, your knowledge of what is and what may be, perhaps even your life. Where was that star you followed to the manger? That’s right. The east orients.”

I love this quote from Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet, the book that gave the name to this blog (for the full passage, see this post).

***This post is part of the alphabet series, which contains photos and stories about letters from various alphabets. For a more systematic and organized run-down of all the letters in the English alphabet, also check out the Woman of Letters page, which is updated continuously with new letters as I stumble upon them.***