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Archive for September, 2011

The Eiffel Tower still lights up the sky, just maybe earlier than before. There are still throngs of tourists in the streets and still the city looks somewhat emptier. The french bureaucracy is still unbelievably slow, yet the queues of people are actually moving. It’s over! Something changed, seemingly overnight. Summer has officially ended, and fall has gracefully unnoticed entered the scene… It’s time…

 

2011. Act Three.

A yellow curtain is covering the ground. Here and there red spots grab your attention as if the Summer has cried bloody tears when leaving. The sound of wind echoes in the tiny Paris streets. Suddenly there is a fresh crispness to the air. The sun is still shining but it is not hot enough for my breezy summer dresses, even though it’s just September and the memories of soft sand, sea waves and sunshine still warm my body. There’s this contagious surge of energy as people roll back into town and get back to their French lives with a baguette, bottle of wine and some cheese under their arm.

And this is what autumn in France is all about… well, to be honest all seasons in France are pretty much about… Wine! Along with the warm pallette of colours, autumn brings the annual wine harvest in the thousands of small and big wineries around France. So its’s time to celebrate and there are all kinds of festivals and events created to praise Dionysus in Paris.

Autumn = Wine

Wine season is officially open in the first days of September with a Wine Festival or Foire des Vins all over France. From discounts in grocery stores to small degustations and full-on fairs, wine is being poured all around me and I just can’t refuse a sip of this elixir of life (it’s good for the heart you know). My favorite from all these events though, was a small town fair near Paris that combined both sins of my palate – wine and cheese. Antony  is a quaint suburb just 10 minutes south of Paris by train and  this year celebrated the 25th anniversary of  La Foire aux Fromages et aux Vins (or simply said cheese and wine festival). In the Saint Santurin quartier reigns excitement every year in early September and local and visiting merchants get ready for a true celebration. Little stalls, embellished their finest with photos and maps of the respective regions they represent welcome visitors all day for a weekend. aAong with the tastebuds, there is delight for the eyes too. Saturday night, the sky of the square town hall is illuminated with thousands of lights and music echoes from the walls of the church to turn the night into a wine ephemereal.

2011 ‘s festival was organized under the Swiss flag and many merchants would gladly allow you to discover and rediscover the 10 Swiss cheeses that have made their trip to Antony. You’ve probably tasted Emmentaler or Gruyere, but have you tasted Vacherin Fribourg or Sbrinz?  Also on the menu: the famous fondue half and half, based on Swiss Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourg, and plates of charcuterie. Then there are all the other specialties of other regions like Aligot – a delicious mix of puree and melted cheese Tome Fraîche… yummmm! And to appreciate them, just take a sip of the estate wines Kursner, considered the best Swiss wines, with a range of white wines, rosés and reds. Swiss or French, wine is all around and a glass is just a hand’s reach away. Loire valley, Burgogne or Bordeaux, I was eager try a sip from all the little wineries and chateaus until my cheeks got a healthy rosy nuance…

And this was just the beginning of September. During the second weekend in October, Fête Des Vendanges de Montmartre celebrates  the harvesting of the grapes from the vineyards in Montmartre, with a parade, long walks trough the vineyards and multiple tastings. Beaujolais Nouveau Festival makes its annual appearance in November and this young wine comes at the strike of midnight on the third Thursday of the month. Throughout France, everyone heads out to their local café, resto or wine store to celebrate the newest wine offerings, leaving behind any wine snobbery about new vintages, and just enjoying the new wines for what they are and well into the night. Then Le Grand Tasting is held end of November at the prestigious Carrousel du Louvre at the Louvre Museum where you can try a tasting from 200 stalls, featuring over 1,500 different wines and champagnes… oh, dear me…

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Way back when I first started  this blog, I posted a list with adventures and it’s only fair that, now that I start writing again, I keep the trend and introduce a new list. This one, however, is a simple to-do list. A single girl’s to-do list. A set of guidelines that will help me begin my new life.

Being all newly single, something I haven’t been for a while… hmm more like since high school not counting the short weeks in between… Anyway, so all fresh on the market, I realized that I don’t know how to be really single, or in a relationship for that matter;  was always something of an inbetweener! So to teach me some important girl lessons, a friend of mine gave me the book “The Single Girl’s To-Do List” just before she left for the other end of the world. The perfect cure for heartbreak, she said. And it was! I was a bit skeptic at first (I’m not big on the chick flick books) but with bursts of laughter here and there, gettng  many weird looks in the metro or in the street (yes, I walk and read at the same time), I learned one ore two things about starting over… this being a recurring theme this month!

… And here it is. The list as featured in the book. The one that step by step will lead me to total recovery…

1. Have a complete makeover –  hair, makeup, clothes, my transformation has started, and I must admit my new short do attracts quite some looks from les parisiens.

2. Keep a regime – diet, exercise, and all the good stuff; I already have a cute running partner, but hands off until the list is completely ticked off.

3. Do something extreme – as I have already done a bunjee jump, I have to find something else. Does Oktoberfest count?

4. Get a tattoo – been wanting that for ages, so no reason to wait more… it’s on the list after all!

5. Find a date for dad’s wedding – considering my dad’s not getting married again soon as far as I know, I can put New Year’s as a deadline

6. Buy something obsecenely expensive – maybe finally I’ll get that motorcycle I’ve been craving for so long

7. Write a letter to your ex – get closure in a way, but might wait a little considering my utter fear from expressing my feelings

8. Travel – that might be the easiest on the list, got some destinations already lined up

9. Contact your first crush – sort of like coming full circle

10. Break the law – that can double up with “do something your ex wouldn’t approve of”

And no excuses… The list is always right!

PS. Have to credit my inspiration to Lindsey Kelk for writing the book and Marissa Starvaggi for being a great friend and giving it to me 🙂

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Head slightly bent backwards, the eyes fixed on the bright sky, and shivers covering my whole body. Completely mesmerized, I can’t even produce a single sigh… I feel it all – the colours, the sounds, the power of the moment.

Le Grand Feu de Saint Cloud –  a fairytail in the sky!

And it was not just me, approximately 20 000 more people just could not take their eyes off the burning sky at that very moment.  A truly amazing experience, Le Grand Feu de Saint Cloud is the largest fireworks display in Europe which managed to keep me utterly speechless for two hours… and that’s usually not easy.

The show started with a short lecture and display of the different types of fireworks – there were flames, fountains, burnings, Bengals, gusts, fire rhythms and percussion; in general a wide variety of colours and shapes with their different names in French, which even if I did remember could hardly translate. People all around were getting settled on their picnic blankets with a bottle of wine here and there and a pillow or a significat other for keeping it comfortable.  A small warning was also issued in the form of a little big fire (petit grand feu) to just show us what was coming… and then it was time…

With a blast the real big fire started,  sending an explosion of colours to light the sky. Coming from all around there were pink and green and blue and gold sparkles falling down, while different energizing and patriotic sounding french marches accompanied the continuous multitude of fireworks. Then silence. The music stopped to give way to the real sound of the fireworks and  make the spectators feel the explosion deep inside. Some more lyrical music music followed with the romantic colours  illuminating the sky of Saint-Cloud setting the mood for the perfect kiss. A constant slight breeze cleared the sky from the smoke and made sure that all my thoughts are blown away from my head. My body at the top of its senses, my hairs straight up in the air…  wait, I thought I shaved my legs

My heart stopped for a second when a familiar sound filled the air and sent me back in time with a smile on my face. Prodigy echoed in the sky to completely electrify the atmosphere along with the increasing intensity of the blasts just before… The big bang!… as the Earth did millions years ago (or billions, I’m not clear on the exact timing) the sky exploded in tiny little colourful pieces that were then falling all around me. No photo can be even close to capturing the magic of the moment; no video can transcend the feeling…The grand finale! http://www.vimeo.com/28885320

…and then the sky was all black again and the silence was deafening…

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Start Over…

For the last almost 20 years September was the actual time a new year would start for me… it wasn’t really the 1st of January, or the first day of spring; not my birthday either… So many times in early September I would anxiously count down the days to the first day of classes or sadly curse the people who made the summer break so short… I would have impossible fights with my mom over the new clothes she wants to buy me for school or gather the old books to sell them and maybe buy something I would actually wear… I would get together with friends to catch up on our summer adventures and the consequences of them 😉 …or pack my bags to fly to a foreign country and start over with school, work and life…

And somewhat instinctively with the start of another year, I reached back to my old dusty blog and decided it was time to restart it.  Just because September is the beginning of it all… because I feel the need to start my whole life all over, and here on the white pages I can make it the one I really want. Over the last 15 months my life turned upside down and inside out way too many times – I moved, I traveled, I met people and left more, I tried and failed, and then kept trying and failing, having no idea where I’m going and what I’m looking for. I was lost… and still am, so I need a change. But first, I have to restart… It always helps Windows after all, so why not me?!

So here it starts all over again. Explore. Dream. Discover. .. yourself!

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… or I do… or we stay but we lose each other… and I hate losing things.

Packing my life into a suitcase was always painful, but maybe it hurt even more to help pack the life of my friends moving on the other end of the world.  Shedding a tear in the final moments, I kept thinking that people come and go, and no time spent together is really enough, but we often realize it too late. And even though maybe I won’t see my friends very soon,  I feel that when we finally reunite it will all be like before, we wouldn’t leave each other’s hearts… or would we?

The goodbyes always hurt, but my heart truly breaks when I  see the same people at the same places, but in their eyes I see something different… a moment of separation and the door was tightly shut behind me. Of course, life goes on when I am not around but does it really have to continue without me, don’t I belong any more?!

I’ve made my choices… the road still calls me, even though I want to stop and settle with you next to me, all of you… I am pretty bad at keeping in touch and even when I try, people just slip away. Maybe they are just as bad as I am with keeping the flame, or some are just fed up with me replying after a few days (or weeks), and others… others just can’t be bothered to keep the pace and give up on me.

But still, I don’t want to lose more, I want it all back… I always thought feelings are for the weak at heart, but even though I might not have said it, I never stopped loving you. I want the old days when we were always together, enjoying life and getting younger with every laugh. I don’t want to leave or be left ever again. Instead I will come join you somehow, I promise… but will you make my trip shorter? Just take a step in my direction…

To all of you I have lost, I miss you

… but if you want to leave, you can. I’ll remember you though. I remember everyone that leaves.

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