Two Months in Cartoontown

With only five days left in Brasov, I'm feeling anxious to move on to our next destination. Brasov is a beautiful town, and considering the fact that we have spent three out of the last nine months here, I think it's safe to say we like it. It's easy to fall in love with this small Transylvanian town with its colourful facades, countless outdoor eateries, and it's position right at the foot of the Carpathian mountains.

There's something really special about a place where within a two minute walk, you can be in a somewhat metropolitan area or in lush mountains. It has this feeling of living in an amusement park. Because of the location of our apartment, there were some days when we didn't see a single car, and stepping out our front door we are greeted by vibrant pastels on every building.

Brasov certainly is a special place in the world, and I will feel some sadness to say goodbye. 

Brasov Council Hall
Brasov Bus
Brasov Sign
Strada Postavarului
Book Store Brasov
Black Church Brasov

Dracula & Co.

Our time in Brasov is winding down. With less than two weeks left in Romania, we're trying to get in all the adventure we can before heading southward to Bulgaria. In doing so, we spent a rainy, foggy day touring three castles of Transylvania: Peles Palace, Bran Castle (aka Dracula's castle), and Rasnov fortress. The three sights varied widely from intense opulence (Peles) to the barren thirteenth century medieval fortress of Rasnov. In between the two is the main tourist attraction of Transylvania: Bran Castle where Vlad Tepes (The Impaler) was imprisoned. The stories of Dracula attract visitors to the otherwise modest castle in Bran. 

The muted colours of all three are a stark contrast from the bright pastels within city limits. 

Republicii Brasov
Sunset in Brasov
Brasov Square
Summer in Brasov
Brasov Streets
Post office Brasov
Square Brasov

Peles statue in fog
Peles palace
Rasnov
Rasnov Fortress
Bran shops
Bran Castle
Bran Castle

Mountaintown Spring

The spontaneity of weather in a mountain town is something to be reveled, not bemoaned. I thought being from the Northeast of the US set me up well for unpredictable weather, but what we've experienced in the past few weeks is shocking to even me. Being here just shy of a month, we've felt summer, autumn, spring, and surprisingly even winter. All in April. 

Just last week, at least 6 inches of snow piled down upon us over the course of 48 unstopping hours. This lead to roof leaks and power outages, but also incredible snowy mountains backing the pastel buildings. Just when I thought Brasov couldn't be any more magical, it outdid itself. 

Two days later, it had all melted away and we are back firmly in more traditional Springtime. 

This is a stable and unchanged town which never fails to stupify.

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Brasov Spring

Transylvania Station

A bus, 10 miles walked in 80 degree Budapest sunshine, 16 hours on a train, three countries, and a total of 31 hours in transit.

Last summer we spent a month in Brasov, Romania and fell in love with this fairy tale land. So, when it came down to deciding where to spend a couple of months after Paris, there wasn't even a discussion. 

Now, the thing about Brasov is its charm comes mainly from it's being tucked in the center of the Carpathian mountains. This makes it a bit tricky to get to. Last year, .we started in Sarajevo, and had to go through Belgrade, to Timisoara, with a short layover in a small one track town called Aiud. The entire process took a few days, and the train which was meant to take eight hours ended up taking fifteen. We were also lucky enough to find ourselves on the train with a school trip of fifty very loud 12 year olds and still-drunk festival goers on their way home from an EDM festival. 

That all being said, we were not keen on repeating our route again this time. Instead we found an overnight train from Budapest for the reasonable price of 39,000 Forint (re: ~118 Euro). That just left getting to Budapest from Zagreb, which was an easy (but very early in the morning) task. 

So, we left Zagreb at 7AM, hopped on a six hour bus ride, entertained ourselves in my favourite city for 5 hours, and made ourselves comfortable in our private sleeper car bound for Brasov. 

There's something very cathartic about sitting in a cubicle-sized room with the only sounds being the train flying down the rails - watching the Hungarian countryside descend into darkness of sunset, only to wake up to the Romanian country-side flooding the small quarters with the morning sunlight. 

We are now in the Hollywood of Romania. A magical land where eggs are sold by the bag. 

Autobusni Kolodvor Zagreb
Budapest Népliget
Budapest Keleti
Chain Bridge Budapest
Falafel Lunch in Budapest
Leaving Keleti
Hungarian countryside via train

Sights and sounds of a sleeper car.

Wires in sunset
Wires gif
Romanian sunrise
Heading Southeast
From farm to mountain
Brasov Station
Sleepercar
Brasov lunch
Magners
Eggs in a bag
Brasov History
Brasov sign

One night in Zadar

(and the world's your oyster) What, reference too esoteric? 

Craving ocean air and the sound of waves, we left Zagreb early morning Sunday to spend one night, two (almost) full days, in Zadar, Croatia. Zadar's tourist website boasts its many (re: 14) celebrities who have visited - they focus heavily on that time Hitchcock visited in the '60s and said that the sunsets are more beautiful than even Florida's. But knowing Jean Reno came once to watch Lenny Kravitz perform is not what drew us to Zadar. 

Zadar is the oldest continually inhabited city in Croatia, with evidence of life dating back as far as the Stone Age. It was once a Roman civilization, which becomes evident walking through the town. Roman ruins flower the Forum, St. Mark's winged lions adorn every gate and wall, and clean white brick floors the old town. 

But, Zadar is not just known for it's antiquities. Named "Europe's Best Destination" in 2016, a big draw is the 2005 installation by Nikola Bašic is one of many improvements made to the Nova riva (new city coast). The Sea Organ is an experimental musical instrument which utilizes the waves of the Adriatic Sea sweeping up against the harbour walls. A series of tubes located underneath white marble steps draws the water in, and releases a hauntingly relaxing melody. 

Zadar is a city many dash through on their way down the Croatian coast, taking a side glance to Split or Dubrovnik. But, it deserves a longer look. I certainly will return - if not for the off chance of bumping into musical performer Seal, but for the surprise dolphin appearances, simply rustic Mediterainnean cuisine, and dramatic jolts from ancient to modern. 

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A video showcasing the sounds and sights of the Zadar Sea Organ. Listen and let the relaxation waft over you. 

We'll always have Paris

Paris is a special city in the world - risky claim, I know. It's a place forgotten by time, but still functioning as a modern Alpha city. A city of nuance and contradiction, it's hard to be wishy-washy on it. I have been to Paris several times before, but have always felt lukewarm, if not disdain for it. Maybe it was the muggy summers, or the broken foot I walked for miles from the canals to the famous Tower, but I never truly saw Paris for what it actually is. 

My husband, on the other hand, loves Paris. He loves Paris like I love London or Budapest. He sees only the good, or maybe chooses to only focus on it. This is our third time together in Paris, and I made a concerted effort to see it through his eyes. We chose to return to Paris following the aftermath of my sister's passing in October partially because it was in Paris where we learnt the tragic news, and I felt it was needed to regain some semblance of normality. 

And so, I took these past two months to heal and to see the world through my husband's optimistic eyes. I will never feel the same way about Paris as I had in the past. I see it now. I understand it. I appreciate it. 

I am pleased to share a selection of my favourite images from the past two months. Each of these images was created in effort to see Paris in a new way - for me. There were a lot of emotions felt the past months, and I hope my images of this complex city reflect that. 

'Sunset over Montmartre' is now available for sale as a limited edition through Fujifeed Prints. Click the image to purchase. 

Montmartre Streets

Socialite at Paris Fashion Week

Twice a year, the fashion elite swarm the streets of Paris - specifically Concorde. With them brings the paparazzi, hoping to catch the It Girl of the moment in her private moments before the runways. Some may be invasive - following them through the neighbouring Louvre and Tuileries, others wait in the wings of Concorde waiting for the names on their sheets to arrive and pose in front the sandy marble walls. Both capture the beauty in our fashionistas. 

Locations: The Louvre, Tuileries, Concorde - Paris, France
Model: Jenny Persson