My father took me to Rome when I was about ten. He went on business but planned to extend his stay for a couple of days so he could bring me along and show me the great city. I have a vague memory of us arriving in Stazione Termini, him in a grey suit, shirt and tie, although I have no recollection of us actually travelling aboard a train (or, for that matter, a plane beforehand). Anyway, Continue reading “A Long Weekend in Rome, Italy”
For years now, come December and I’m yearning for January. Its sobriety and down-to-earthness appeal to me tremendously once the bacchanals of the last month of the year progress to hysterical heights.
I think they did good when they chose January as the first month of the year: days are getting visibly longer, everybody’s resolving to improve and approaching the future with sensible planning. None of that is just as sweet without asserting the good stuff of the past year. Here’s my list, then, of the most impressive meals I’ve had in 2018 outside the home – in no particular order, common denominator being good quality, delicious food.
I’ve heard about a woman from Sweden, a friend of a friend, who returns to Sarajevo every summer to go hiking in the surrounding mountains with her local friends. Apparently, those mountains, in particular the vast terrain on Bjelašnica (2067 m), fill her heart with peace and warmth and heal her stressed out, weary soul. “This is where I seem to achieve my balance at last,” she reportedly said a couple of years ago on her first hiking “pilgrimage” to Lukomir, the remotest village of Bosnia and Herzegovina that is yet only a few dozen kilometres away from the capital.
And so she comes back to the Bosnian Dinaric Alps every summer, heads to the mountains for a dose of fresh air and exercise, not knowing how to describe what it is that actually helps her stabilize herself. Just before she flies back to Scandinavia, she pays visits to local beautician, hairdresser, nail salon – and off she goes back home happy, rested and beautified inside out. Continue reading “Hiking from Umoljani to Lukomir, Bosnia & Herzegovina”
It’s November and I’m writing about roasted peppers. Why, you might ask. Well, it’s been a very pleasant autumn so far in my part of the world, unseasonably sunny and warm, which prolonged the growing season of vegetables that usually don’t pull through that late in the year. Peppers are therefore still present in the farmers’ market. Last but not least, they’re one of my favourite foods. Continue reading “Roasted Peppers”
What do you do in Istanbul when you’ve seen most of the major sights? Or, to specify, when you’ve had enough of the museums and palaces no matter how very enchanting they might be? Well, you can do the same we do in any of the huge cities: take a long walk. Generally, walking seems to have been dying out as an everyday activity anyway but I couldn’t imagine a more splendid way to come to grips with a metropolis, albeit a micro-small portion of it.
So, we’d returned to amazing buzz of Istanbul, the giant doorway between good old Europe and exotic Asia, and it proved to be just as lively and colourful as we’d remembered. Continue reading “Walking Istanbul, Turkey”
When you think of or hear about Bosnia and Herzegovina, the association with wine is most likely not the one that blinks in your mind. Nothing wrong here, don’t worry, you are not to blame. Quantity of wine produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina is really small tiny. But surprising as it may be, there is such a thing as Bosnian wine and some of it is quite delicious.
There are surprisingly many interesting things about this Bosnian town, starting with its name, which is one of the loveliest I’ve come across: Travnik translates to meadow in English. By the way, one of the towns we drove through on our way to Travnik was even called Vitez = Knight.
There’s lots of water there. The Lašva runs through it loud and jumpy.
“Are you sitting comfortably?” my man asked as I mounted our motorbike upon departure. My day was made with this concern of his over my well being, let alone the fact we were heading to Italy for a summer vacation.
It was 3rd of July and I invited my girlfriends over for a simple get-together before we part for the rest of the summer. Everyone leaves town for summer holiday at different time, so there’s a chance we won’t be meeting again till early autumn.
I’ve been running for, probably, a decade now. I mean, regularly running. As in exercise. I find it quite surprising to be a runner because I sure wasn’t keen on running before. On the contrary, as a young girl I believed running to be a torturous activity which gave me nothing but pain in the abdomen and was grossly uncomfortable all over (a regular reader might remember for I’ve mentioned it before). Back at school, I excelled in short runs (yep, no stamina) and suffered heavily through long ones (mandatory 600m runs in school seemed like 6000m then).
We arrived to the coast just the night before. We walked through a tranquil village to the restaurant for dinner. Not many people around, barely a car passed us. It was a short, pleasurable walk. The air was dense with smells of the sea and the sun-drenched soil. The sunset was gorgeous. It felt good to be back at last.
The dinner we had at Restaurant Badi was fantastic: marinated sardines and anchovies, a small heap of the Venetian classic sarde in saor, then two bowls of crisp fresh salad and a whole, on the bone, perfectly grilled sea bream. With it we had some very good Istrian, local, red wine and after the meal we shared a glass of pelinkovac, a delicious bitter brandy made with wormwood (Artemisia absinthium).
What can I say? Going abroad always feels good but going to America, especially to California, on top of it for pleasure, is especially special. The reputation for open-mindedness and advancement California’s acquired are great magnets, despite all the negative, mostly political, campaigns, so sure I was looking forward to flying over the ocean and almost two continents to see for myself how the Golden State copes with it all.
There are two simple but golden rules for self-driving (as a tourist) in Sri Lanka:
1. Count on the average speed of 30-40 km per hour
2. Download Google maps for offline use (on your mobile device)
Traffic in Sri Lanka is left-hand which, according to my man, is not a big deal. Apparently, a driver gets it pronto. The big deal is that the traffic is by no means segregated to that of vehicles, that of bicycles and that of pedestrians. Continue reading “Self-driving in Sri Lanka”
For someone who has been living gladly and happily in urbanized environment for my whole life I find myself surprisingly very much interested in gardens in recent years. Truth be told, I lived in a proper house in a proper village for a relatively short period of time when my parents bought a house as their long-lived dream of having a home in the country, but I couldn’t have left it faster once I moved away to live on my own. Back to town, that was.
As promised in my previous post, here is part two of my top 8 places I particularly enjoyed during our trip to Sri Lanka last month. From the cultural riches of Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla we drove to the heart of the Hill Country and after a few days continued to the coast. The weather was fine every day everywhere we went which was a miracle in itself. After the overwhelming beauty of Kandalama I couldn’t have dreamt of places even more alluring.
There’s tea and there’s tea alright. And that’s about all I knew about Sri Lanka before. Ashamed as I may have been of my ignorance, I am now, after our return from a recent holiday on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, at peace with myself.
Sri Lanka is all that: beautiful and diverse landscape, lush flora, extraordinary wildlife, pleasant people, rich historical heritage, delicious food, but also bad roads, excessive bureaucracy and mad traffic. As a result, the mix of it all makes for a very much alive, colourful, energetic spectacle for the passing tourist. Sri Lanka took us by surprise in its own right.