CBB*: A geographical (and culinary) shift

Remember the two-way, three-person Cross Balkan Blogging Project we were doing with my favorite twins in Slovenia? Well, it is still going on, but this time there is a slight shift in geographical positions…

Here is my latest guest post on fine2meline (warning: it features delicious food, likely to make you drool), which – technically – comes not from across the Balkans, but rather from across another mountain range from where they are. So, maybe a better name for this one would be Cross Alpine Blogging Project?

Either way, enjoy! If you like this one, you might also like to see a similar food-related guest post I did for them from India.

* More about the Cross Balkan Blogging project and all posts from it.

CBB*: monday afternoon | mali vrh, slovenia

Below is the latest guest post by one of the fine2meline, as part of our Cross Balkan Blogging project*. Enjoy!

it is, in fact, really ok to live partly in ljubljana and the rest of the time on mali vrh. after work, terrace time spend here is great. and the garden, and the company and ….

* More about the Cross Balkan Blogging project and all posts from it.

Eat Pray Love | Sofia, Bulgaria

My two favorite twins fine2meline finally made it to Sofia for a week-long visit of fun fun fun. Thinking back on it, it seems that much of our activities were centered around eating. When we weren’t actually eating, we were either talking about it, planning our upcoming feasts, commenting on past meals, making restaurant reservations, shopping for groceries, cooking (in which case, by ‘we’ I mean ‘they’), setting the table, clearing the dishes or trying to digest the copious amounts of ingested food.

So, as you can imagine, we didn’t have much time for pictures.* It is, in fact, a small wonder that we were able to do anything else at all. Even when we did, eating managed to make its way into whatever else we were doing. Take a stroll around Sofia? Only after we fortify ourselves with some delicious soup and then take a few beer breaks along the way. Have a look at the Women’s market? Why not use the chance to stop by for some mekitsi (fried dough) and a meal at a Turkish restaurant (where we were the only female customers)? Go to the Rila Monastery? Sure, and we might as well have some delicious sourdough bread (and mekitsi again!) in between all the sightseeing, the hiking, the writing of prayers (on small peaces of paper, which then get folded and places between rocks) and the making our way through cave holes (made precarious by our growing girths). Hang out with friends? Would love to, provided it all happens over a dinner table. Join the evening crowds at the Night of the Museums and Galleries? But of course, assuming they let us into the museums with two loafs of said sourdough bread in our bags. Go out on the town? Not without a heavy dinner to start with and a classic sobering-up visit to Divaka in the middle of the night. Staying in? Sounds good, considering we could have some of my grandmother’s sarmi or cook dinner ourselves.

I was a little heart-broken after Tina and Nina went back to Slovenia. Thankfully, there was the homemade cheesecake they left behind, which kept my spirits up for a few days (Thank you! Hvala! Merci! – and not just for the cheesecake. “Still hungry!”).

*Incidentally (or not), both of the pictures in this post were taken immediately after eating – the first one is on Shishman Street, just a few steps away from our favorite souperie Supa Star, and the second is the entryway of the Street Bistro on Tsar Asen Street, which boasts some of the tastiest meatballs and the most outrageously entertaining waiter in the city. Protruding bellies were diligently cropped out.

CBB*: friday after lunch walk with a friend | ljubljana, slovenia

A new post and two beautiful photos from the fine2meline, as part of our on-going Cross Balkan Blogging project*. My latest guest posts, both from India, are here – on drinking Bulgarian wine, and here – on a typical Tamil breakfast. Happy viewing!

on this nice day in ljubljana, a friend
invited us for a lunch. very good pumpkin soup
followed by rice and salad. all really healthy and tasty.
and as she is living next to the pond,
we made a little walk after.

* More about the Cross Balkan Blogging project and all posts from it.

CBB*: all “equal”, some different | mali vrh and ljubljana, slovenia

The fine 2 Melinas and I have been a little sparse with our Cross Balkan Blogging* posts lately, but I am happy to report that a new one just reached me from Slovenia. As usual, it has some beautiful, and subtly funny photos, as well as a commentary that I bet a few of us out there can relate to. I know I do.

My latest post, on an entirely different topic, is also up. Enjoy!

looking at this photo, we come back to the theme that is around us a lot these days. we called it  “the martians, pretending to belong to this world”. trying to fit in somehow, in general, but not managing good. it happened often lately. when searching for a job, listening to the people on the street, reading about things around, … what the hell? are people serious by saying this? they mean it? how can it be, that the major opinion and the values are so different? when observing a bit how things work, how people function with each other … you really ask yourself who is crazy here: the ones that are prepared to take the job where not wearing jeans is more important then your skills and where blond girls named petra are in a better position or a few who say fuck this and go away. we sure know who is having better chances to get through “normal” life, but for what price? thanks, but no thanks.

The colors in ljubljana, however, were really nice last thursday.

* More about the Cross Balkan Blogging project and all posts from it.

2:1 ratio, upstairs/downstairs* | Here, there and everywhere

The bad news is that I have returned to Bulgaria and the 2 Melinas stayed in Slovenia, so we find ourselves separated by much of the Balkans once again.

The good news is that we are continuing with our Cross Balkan Blogging project.

One joint post and some inspired (if not contest-winning) photos are already up on fine2meline, containing some important lessons on the perfect ratio for mixing wine with water and on why you should wait to catch the fish before putting the pan on the stove.

Also newly published is a guest post with a photo that one of the Melinas graciously contributed.

In addition, in case you’ve missed it, I posted a new story about getting a second chance to visit and walk through Ljubljana.

upstairs/downstairs is a direct and creative translation of the Bulgarian expression for ‘more or less’, which I find not only continuously hilarious, but also consistently useful to describe how things often have both a positive and a negative side.

Take 2, or getting unexpected second chances | Ljubljana, Slovenia

Although the second trip I took to Slovenia, just two weeks after coming back from the first one, was quite different, there were some parallels between the two.

Just like the first time around, I again spent most of my time elsewhere and only went to Ljubljana on the day before leaving, which now felt both familiar and new. Some spots, like the small-scale model of the city above, I was seeing for the first time. Others, like the Butchers’ Bridge, I had already seen and even taken pictures of.

But – apart from seeing familiar sites, walking along the same streets and having coffee in the same bars – all with the people I had sadly said good bye to a few weeks earlier, what struck me was the strangeness of coming back to a place that I didn’t know if I would ever return to, let alone so soon.

Another time I felt similarly was several years ago. One summer, on our way to see my closest friend in Bhutan, a few of us had a two-day layover in Kathmandu. There, we were lucky to have been put in touch with a friend of another friend, who very graciously took us around the city’s sites, wined and dined us and entertained us to no end. We all fell head over heels with him. I remember being in Kathmandu, wanting and trying to see as much as possible, as I didn’t think I would come back to it ever, and surely not soon. As planned, we then continued our trip to Bhutan and eventually returned home.

Next spring, the Nepali friend who had put us in touch with our gracious Kathmandu host e-mailed out of the blue to invite us to her wedding in Kathmandu that coming summer. She was marrying him – the guy who had taken us around Kathmandu the previous summer! So, not even a full year later, I found myself back in the Himalayas, to a place that I thought I would never visit again.

So, of course Ljubljana is no Kathmandu, if for no other reason than the distance between the two and Sofia (although, judging from the length of my journey home this time, I may as well have been coming back from the Himalayas), but it still brought about the same pleasant, albeit strange, feeling of unexpectedly getting a second chance to return to a place that I thought was a one-off.

If I keep coming back to Slovenia at this rate, I’ll be able to put together the whole mosaic in no time.

Being careful what I wish for | Izola, Slovenia

The first day after I arrived in Izola, on Slovenia’s short but charming Adriatic coast, the sky opened up and it seemed like all the rain in the world poured out onto the little quaint town. The narrow, stone-covered streets became impossible-to-cross rivers, the sky was a foreboding shade of gray and the wind found ways to get under and through all the layers of clothes, scarves and hat that I had wrapped myself in, and pierced my skin.

Although I am usually happy to be on the coast when the weather is bad – as I don’t see the appeal of sitting on the beach and baking in the sun amidst hoards of tourists and screaming children, this time I was annoyed that my time at the seaside would be ruined and kept hoping that the bad weather would only last for a short spell.

The next day, we came up with an idea to shoot a small video based on the access we had to empty movie theaters and the premise of the disappointment of being at the seaside when the weather is bad. And then, the gloomy clouds started to let up and the waiting started. Just as I had wished that it would stop the day before, I now found myself hopefully looking at the sky, praying it would rain. Instead, it just got better and better each day, the wind subsided and the sun shone more and more brightly.

On the last day, after shooting an adjusted version of the film (minus the rain), half-disappointed and half-happy, I lay in the sun on the wood-covered platform by the sea, and reminded myself to be careful what I wish for. Because I just might get it.