Thursday, February 12, 2009


612 days ago

It feels strange to feel normal in two such different places. Feeling like coming back in both. Bucharest/Romania vs. Montréal/Québec/Canada.Two homes, two ways of being Antoaneta, with different accents

Barcelona was dreamlike. I stayed away from the museums: Picasso, Miro, National Museum of Art of Catalunya, we walked the streets like crazy and admired the amazing architecture, enjoyed the food and the light spirit of the people. We did visit Gaudi's works of art: Casa Mila (La Pedrera), Casa Batllo, Sagrada Familia, Park Guell and the church in Colonia Guell (we had to go out of town for this one, but it was really worth the trip, countryside village, quiet and charming, pine trees and red brick houses). Some places were closed (Palau Guell), some left for next time (Casa Vicens, Casa Calvet, Theresian College, etc.).

My favourites were Casa Batllo, with its dragon scales on the roof, winding walls, bright white attic and mosaic façade, the Guell church, with its reclining columns, rough stones, spiderweblike stainedglass windows and last but not least Palau de la Musica Catalana, by architect Luis Domenech y Montaner, a concert hall looking like a bright garden, full of ceramic flowers and mosaics, with stained glass windows on both sides and the ceiling and lively muses coming out of the wall.

Art Nouveau style is everywhere, they call it Modernismo, there were many architects like Antoni Gaudi, but no one equalled his genius of putting together fairytale shapes and practical solutions. Barcelona itself appeared to me like a Northern Mediterranean city, harmonious and well organized, less stressed and stressful than beautiful Rome or enchanting Naples. People seemed elegant and discreet, no loud talking in the streets, except Italian tourists. Many trees, large boulevards, plenty of restaurants and coffee shops, lively Monday as Sunday, comfortably chic.

We (me and Mama) stayed in a clean pleasant hostal, right above a dreamlike pastry, coffeeshop and restaurant: Mauri, set there since 1929! Very classy, with a painted ceiling and Art Nouveau mirror frames, every morning as we were opening the windows the smell would drag as out like magic. I loved the Barri Gotic too, although I saw Middle Age towns also in Italy, by all means the 1900 part of the city caught all my attention! Also the Boqueria market where I heard a codfish and a sausage merchant complaining about the abundant flocks of tourists. Very proud people, the Catalans, very special, I wish I had more time to meet more of them.

I met a few long time friends, from my Carnival Cruises time: Olga "la manchega" who came on purpose from Madrid, Albert the jazz pianist from Valencia who lives now in Barcelona (and his mate RJ, a percussionist from NY, who was visiting), Agata the doctor to whom I showed around a bit in the Caribbean. Also saw many handsome men! One of them was Argentinian though, he was selling pizza in the charming seaside town of Sitges. One more reason to look forward to my trip to Uruguay.

Food was delicious, a lot of fish and seafood, wines were remarkably good and not expensive. I would go back there anytime and would stay indefinitely.

Romania Many things changed, many did not. I found it expensive, especially compared to the revenue. I spent as much time as possible with my sister, Sofia and our mother, saw my half-brother Radu, who's more handsome every day and saw a few friends. I didn't really go out dancing or anything, only once. Just a few drinks out. I liked a lot a terrace under a bridge in the park next to our house, under the green trees canopy, watching rabbits, geese, ducks and ducklings at play on the small island in the lake. Bucharest looks like patchwork, superb houses and mansions next to half ruined ones or defigured by advertising panels. Terrible traffic and roads. Contradictory as always. I saw Lucia di Lamermoor at the Opera and I found it very good, also in terms of direction, and a Romanian film by a young director who died stupidly last year: "California dreamin', endless". It will still take time to get civilized, but we are on the way I also feel rather annoyed and confused because of family problems, common properties to split. I wish we could do it the smooth way.

I will most probably go back once I will finish my master and get my citizenship, sometime by the end of 2008, beginning of 2009. A gypsy with a tent, that's who I am. But I do have a house in Romania, and I intend to make good use of it

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