Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ay Barcelona......

It's too long I haven't been to Barcelona and the very few days we stayed there were just not enough....It was hot and literally infested with tourists - well just like us - who obviously gathered in the same places seen in Vicky Christy Barcelona.
Plaza Real was still the same delightful square where no doubt I would love to rent a flat in spring, in spite of the noise. We had a drink at 2 am there, in one of the cafés surrounding the square. What time do they close then? Never mind, I was quite envious of that young man, smoking on his balcony, slowly taking in the pulse of the square.

To avoid being distracted by the crowd on Las Ramblas, I often walked with my eyes looking up. I loved how this exhibition about Indian contemporary photography was presented

But walking on Las Ramblas during the day was fun too because of the various performers. I must confess, at times, I just stood there fascinated, so much creativity and patience, too....
In the morning, around 11am, we headed to el mercat de la Boqueria off the Ramblas for a quick fruit snack and some embutido

then find a bench to sit in the peaceful garden of the Catalan library. I was so surprised to find this place nearly void of tourists.
Next to it is the Center of Catalan studies
Catalan sounds a bit like French but still, at times I find it hard to understand

A Spanish friend of mine who is studying fine arts in Barcelona told me, he had to take classes of Catalan as every course is taught in Catalan. In that case, a good dictionary is really needed. I was quite impressed by this old edition of a Catalan-Spanish-Latin dictionary, in the Catalan library.
I'll come back next friday with more pics of the beautiful Barcelona.....

Psst....In the mean time, you can hop to my other blog Un mariage au soleil which I've just updated with ideas for gifts and favours...

and...thank you so much for your comments on recurrent dreams. Yes, I guess, this is it, I'm working on various projects at the moment and find it hard to control....Mmm...me thinks I need to go back to Barcelona for a real holiday !

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recurrent dreams

I wonder why my recurrent dreams are never pleasant and filled with gracious creatures like these two fairies photographed in las Ramblas in Barcelona. My post today was going to be about Barcelona and its effervescent mood but I had one of my unpleasant recurrent dreams last sunday and I still feel a bit disturbed by it. I thought I'd share it with you.

I used to dream about driving a car on a very steep road which kept rising up and up until it finally became a totally vertical axis, at which point I would wake up in total panic, because the car could not adhere to the road anymore. Fortunately I don't dream about this vertical road anymore. My most recurrent dream is in a way, comic. The scenario doesn't vary much : I am on my way to the airport, to catch a plane but there's always a hitch in the process. Two months ago, I dreamt I was going to New York but I ended up in the wrong plane. Last sunday, I was bound to Tokyo. My father was taking me to the airport and when we got to the checking board, Iwas unable to show my passport. What I thought was my passport was in fact a bunch of old credit card bills. Other times, I show up at the airport barefoot and I'm too ashamed to get on board. Do you know the meaning of it ?
Do you have unpleasant recurrent dreams too ? Are they funny, tragic...erotic ? Forgive my inquisitiveness but I'm so curious!

oh...and yes, next Wednesday, I'll post about Barcelona...promised

pics: the amazing still performers on las Ramblas in Barcelona
We were just mesmerized. How can they keep so still for hours in that heat?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The wedding in Geneva....joy, excitement, hip hop and rush

My lovelies, I'm back from Geneva where I attended my beautiful cousin Tiana's wedding. These past few days passed so quickly indeed. All went well with the usual ingredients of a wedding : the last minute rush, the excitement, the non ending preparation of food, tears of joy in the bride's eyes, laughters, speeches pronounced by parents with a voice tinged with emotion. I wish I could have taken more pics but inevitably I got caught in the general mood of happy rush, and was busy talking with my numerous cousins. Malagasy families are big, you see. So, I reckon I've been slack on the photo job but this is one of my favorite pics of the happy newly wed couple, Tiana and Bernard. I find it quite amusing. You would never guess, because Bernard looks quite serious but he is an amazing hip hop dancer. He intented a little performance during the cocktail but well, he couldn't really spin on his head, right here on the grass, in his suit. It would have been funny though...
When I arrived in Geneva via Barcelona last thursday, it was hot and nice but then an unexpected heavy rain poured all night long. The temperature dropped to a mere 17ºC and I looked sadly at my pink hat and my muslin dress. I wanted badly to buy some rubber boots and a nice warm sweater. We gathered at my aunt's house, everybody complaining about the cold and glancing from time to time at the fireplace, wishing for a bright warm fire. In the kitchen, my cousin Estelle who caters beautiful bio exotic food for parties (bio food is of paramount importance to her) was not cold at all as she was extremely busy preparing samosas and accras for the cocktail.
On D-day morning, my cousin Pinel still had a million things to do but pretended to stay cool while little Pia is running to get dressed at long last. I'm surprised nobody got trapped in the hoses which lie around a bit everywhere.

Some other cousins, who were less busy, hanged colorful balloons in the garden
After a super quick lunch, we're all ready to drive to the townhall in the Carouge district of Geneva. It's quite chilly but everyone is happy and excited. My aunt worries about the buffet. Pinel worries about the band which is supposed to play outside. We all look at the sky and pray, it won't rain, otherwise....Well, otherwise, we have to push the tables inside to make more room for the band, but it will be a mess.
The little girls are very happy to hold the bride's train and their little exotic bouquet in one hand.
The bride and groom have now been pronounced wife and husband and we all head to the reception venue, passing by the lake of Geneva. As you can see the weather is not on our side.
But..oh miracle...when we arrive at the Domaine de Penthes, the sun shyly appears and stays with us, while the Malagasy band is getting prepared to play during the cocktail.
I loved one of the singers, the young woman with black glasses. She had her baby near her and sometimes would sing with the baby in her arms which I found so cool
The Domaine de Penthes is an extremely romantic and amazing venue for weddings or receptions in Geneva. The cocktail took place on the lawn facing the lake of Geneva and the Mont Blanc in the background. Kids could play and run while adults talked, danced and sipped a glass of bubbly.

I liked very much the mix of different nationalities of the guests invited at the wedding.
Here I am with my lovely niece Selma, my elder sister's daughter. In the end, I wore my vintage dress with a coat lent by my younger sister and a pale green sari on the shoulders.
The cocktail lasted until 8pm. Inside the tables have been set and graced with exotic flowers.
I loved the combination of pink and orange but hum...I think it would have been nice to have some flowers hanging from the ceiling too....
The dinner party was lots of fun, meeting very nice people, dancing, drinking, dancing again barefoot because after midnight my high heels were not friendly any more. Some young cousins did a hip hop performance, the groom joined in. I never tried to spin on my head. It looks an easy thing to do but I think I'm really too old for that.
The following day, groggy but happy, we all joined up at my aunt's house for a late brunch under the tent in the garden
At last, the weather stopped being inclement and we all enjoyed a few hours of sun. Catching up with my cousins and my sisters was the best part of it, besides meeting an amazing young woman who is a brilliant physics researcher and got me hooked on the particles. Physics has never been my forte at school but I'm fascinated by people who can talk about it so passionately. Anyway, gluons and quarks aside, soon it was time for me to leave and catch the plane back to Barcelona. I wish I could have stayed longer and enjoy my aunt's beautiful garden a bit more time.
If it had been warmer, I would have soaked my feet in the little stream which runs in front of her house. Oh well...another time
I felt a bit sad to go because I don't meet my family very often. So I now wait for the next wedding in the family to get together...I felt melancholic but also happy to spend a few days in Barcelona with Monchéri en amoureux. So I'll see you next week with a post on Barcelona.

Have a lovely week end
And thank you, thank you
to all of you who wrote such nice and lovely words of support on my new venture
You're just great !!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The joyous mess...packing for a wedding

I feel nervous and frivolous. It's nearly 11pm and I'm packing to go to Geneva tomorrow morning to attend my cousin's wedding on saturday. I love packing and hate it at the same time. I make lists, I add on things which are not necessary, double check x times. I already feel tired before getting there. Packing light has always been my motto but in that case, I'm afraid it will be packing light and voluminous. My hat goes into a super large box which almost fills up the suitcase....I plan to wear my favorite dress of all times, a bejeweled vintage dress which is a gift from my little sister.
I must say I quite like my joyous girly mess.
Ok...do I really need this hat with the muslin dress ?

My lovelies, I leave you now and feel a bit peevish to tell you that I'll be back next week only. I'll surely miss you and hope to show you some nice pics when I return.
In the meantime, I would love you to come and visit me here on my new blog. It's a surprise...
Today, a new follower, Jeff suggested I should start some travel service. Actually, what's funny is that my new blog is a bit about travel mixed with an ingredient called romance...
So did you guess what it's about ?.....Granada, love, romance.....Go and see!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cool sunday lunch...red tuna fish from Cadiz

My friend Rocio is a chef and runs a restaurant called El Chambao de Vizco, which is outside the village, down by the river. Rocio is from Granada but she loves the coast of Cadiz and even more Tarifa. I love listening to her when she talks about her weekly trip there only to buy some fresh fish. She knows Monchéri and I like red tuna very much and always let me know when she's just bought some in Cadiz. Yesterday sunday was a lucky day so we decided to walk down to the restaurant, through the old mills road. We usually drive but I guess we want to sweat it out to really deserve our steak of red tuna!
I never took this road and found it so pleasant and romantic, with its refreshing stream of water, luxurious fig trees
I put on my red poppy dress
Monchéri was laughing because I kept marvelling at the beauty of the trees. Well, you see the land is so dry in Andalucia, it's always a pleasure to be surrounded by luscious green vegetation and enjoy the refreshing shade of a willow tree.
We were quite happy to sit and enjoy our meal, starting with a white cabbage and apple salad
The red tuna, which I like very rare was melting in my mouth. Rocio added some homemade blackberry jam for a sweet note.
We like being here because it's relaxed and cool in the summer. Also Monchéri knows this place since he's a kid. In those days, it was an ordinary bar where old men used to spend hours playing cards on sunny sundays and kids played in the open air.
Here is Rocio, she's a bit camera shy...It's when she talks about food that she gets very animated...she loves her job and we love her food
Juanmi the waiter always blames me for never finishing my drinks. He graciously offered a whisky for Monchéri and a Marie Brizard for me, because I love the anise taste, but dios mio, one or two sips for me would be enough!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My eyes are shut....

When I lived in Paris, I never had time for siesta in the afternoon. Since I settled in southern Spain, I rarely miss my 20 mn of what I call "recharging battery" time. I wake up fresh and ready to start the second part of the day. I had lunch in Granada on tuesday, on a shaded terrace facing this superb old palacete. As I was slightly feeling drowsy, I wished I could enter the door and rest in one of these rooms protected from the sun by the traditional esparto (grass fiber) shutters.
Arent' they beautiful ?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A new adorable place in Granada......Estrellas de San Nicolas

I'm so thrilled whenever I discover a new place in Granada which is not the average typical noisy café or restaurant. Yesterday, as we were going up to el Mirador de San Nicolas, to have some ice cream while watching the sunset, we noticed a new place has opened in the former house of flamenco singer Enrique Morente.
The door was opened so we peeped inside and found this cosy lounge at the entrance. There was no one but soon a young woman came down the stairs. She didn't mind at all my taking photos of the place and led us to the top terrace which faces the Alhambra. This is the view from the terrace in the first pic....Isn't it just glorious?
There is a beautiful dining room on the first floor with an amazing wooden ceiling.
I very much like the soft blue of the railing of the stairs leading to the roof terrace. So Mediterranean....
the landing is used as a small space to store glasses and crockery.
The terrace is a bit small but the views are just incredible.
On your left, you can see the gardens of the nearby mosque and the Alhambra fortress wall far away.
In front of us......the magnificent Moorish palaces of the Alhambra. We ordered drinks and fish (lubina in escabèche). We could hear some guitar music coming from the plaza San Nicolas, on our right. The fish was excellent (well, the chef is French..please pardon my chauvinism!). Actually the whole team is French. Christophe, the manager, a very pleasant young man, left the south of France to settle in Granada. I'm sure, he'll be successful.
As for me, I think I'll never end to be in love with Granada!

Hope you're all having a nice week end. I'll be back next wednesday. I'm sure you will have noticed my summer blogging laziness, I blame it on the heat but I promise to visit you by then!


pics: me

Restaurant Estrellas de San Nicolas
(/Atarazana Vieja 1 - Mirador San Nicolas - Granada
tel. 958 288 739
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