Breath-taking | Meteora, Greece

I rarely get really smitten with places anymore, especially if they’re super well-known [and, in my mind, overrated] tourist sites, but… I found Meteora to be stunningly beautiful and breath-taking. A magic place, really.

The fact that we got there just as the sun was setting probably helped.

Here are just a few photos of our visit, though – in this case, they don’t really do justice to the magnificence of the place. But then again, neither did all the “standard” shots I saw before going. I cannot recommend enough, if you even get a chance, to see the place in person.

… and here’s a slightly psychedelic video, shot by Leo, in which I seem to be out of breath not just from the view, but also from all the step-climbing.

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Walking along the yellow line | Sofia, Bulgaria

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/39941224 w=500&h=400]

Today, I walked along Sofia’s Vitosha Boulevard – theoretically, the city’s chicest street, although you wouldn’t know that from looking at condition of the pavement. Especially on weekends and when the weather is nice, this pedestrian main drag is where people go to walk up and down, gawk at shop windows and at each other or sit at the outside tables of the sidewalk cafés.

Vowels: A, E, I, O, U

Just came across this exquisite video, which captures the beauty of the sound of language and combines it with the visual appeal of excellently selected moving images.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/32830670 w=640&h=360]

The video was made by filmmaker and illustrator Temujin Doran, who used archival sound recordings from the 1945 Linguaphone series English Pronunciation – A practical handbook for the foreign learner.

***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.***

Here’s to (at least) 100 more!

I wasn’t sure what to do for the 100th post (which this is!) on this blog, but just stumbled upon this* and LOVED it:

So, here’s to moving, discovering new places and at least a hundred more posts and many more grounds beneath my feet! Woo hoo!

Thanks to all (the dozens) of you out there who read me.

*For those of you who have been stranded in a cave over the last 10 days (or, more likely and happily, lying around on a beach with no Internet access) and are seeing this video for the first time, it is one of three. The other two are pretty amazing too.

Wishful thinking*: The dreaded stairs | Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is one of the few places where I imagine something like this could, and would, actually be carried out. As someone who breaks out in hives at the thought of taking the stairs instead of the escalator, I now have an excuse for my laziness. It is just not fun to take the stairs. If all stairs were as fun as these, I would totally chose them over the escalator or the elevator… maybe.

This post is a special shout-out to my favorite Swede and wonderful friend Rikard, who can make anything fun and with whom and there’s never a dull moment. I miss you!

*Also, with this post, I’m starting a new “Wishful thinking” category of cool places/grounds, which I think would be great to include here but, alas, haven’t had the chance to visit and stand on.

Tina Nina Ekaterina | Mali Vrh, Slovenia

Since I am an only child, the idea of having siblings is already quite strange to me. Although I understand that, in theory, brothers and sisters are a very natural thing, in practice I can’t quite imagine what it must be like to have somebody close to my age and as closely related to me as my parents. I find twins even more mind-blowing. Identical twins, especially, are a source of endless fascination – you not only have somebody who is so closely related to you, but was born at the same time as you and shares your exact DNA. I can’t even begin to fathom all the possible implications.

I met Tina and Nina a week ago, at the start of a documentary filmmaking workshop at Trška Gora in Slovenia. When all the participants were thinking of possible topics for a documentary, the first thing that of course sprang to my mind was that of twins.

Since then, the three of us have spent a large part of our waking hours together, partly under the pretense of trying to come up with a more specific idea about this project, and partly because we somehow got swept up into shooting a film on another topic as part of a bigger crew.

Though Nina now has short hair and Tina – longer, which makes telling them apart more automatic, and a few days have been enough to see that shared DNA doesn’t mean shared personality, I still spent much of my time around the twins in astonishment. The two have been graciously patient with my infiltration efforts, constant pestering, idiotic questions and frequent urges to prod them. By now, they’ve gotten used to the jaw dropping, I think.

During that time, things that would be perfect to include in a documentary about twins have come out: to my question “Which one is this?” about a childhood photo of one of them, they both answered, simultaneously: “That’s me.”; the first thing an old family friend inquired when running into Tina (minus Nina) was, “Which one are you?”; situations effortlessly yielded themselves into good twin/evil twin jokes; when one stalled in trying to explain or do something, the other would pick up from there and continue…

Unfortunately, this particular documentary will have to stay in my head, at least for the time being. Today, the three of us shot some footage that is more fiction than documentary. Here is the final result:

At any rate, it’s been double double fun fun.

Incidentally (ok, not really), I learned that Slovenian is the only Slavic language that retains full grammatical use of the dual, including special dual forms for nouns and verbs.