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The galleries’ night in Bucharest

Ion Barbu’s “Museum of the Pig”

Considering the short time I had in Bucharest I felt quite lucky to be there during an event I kept hearing about, “The galleries’ night”, a time when many of the art galleries in Bucharest are open all night, or at least till late hours.

Ion Barbu’s humor is deeply rooted in the political reality of the country

I did not have a lot of time to walk around but I was able to descend upon “The Journey to the Navel of the World” of Ion Barbu together with an impressive collective of talented and creative artists that I found to be astounding; funny, clever and deeply connected into the social fabric of the country.

Mircea Roman’s studio, Bucharest, Romania

Strolling with a good friend who is a well known Romanian painter I walked in several studios of his own friends, a world of spectacular creativity and unbound talent.

Metal sculptures in Orizont Gallery

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Posted by on October 6, 2017 in Blog, Romania

 

A night stroll

Bucharest old town

I always found Bucharest old town packed by tourists and locals. The winding streets and narrow alleys towered by a superb, but still decaying, architecture, are most of times so full of people that it’s hard to get a seat at a table no matter what hour you visit. So in a very brief and very rushed visit to Bucharest I decided to take a stroll late in the night and found the old town quieter that many other times when I visited.

Old town alley, Bucharest, Romania

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Blog, Romania

 

Oktoberfest

Lowenbrau tent, Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany

Even if you did not know how to get there you just have to follow the parade of costumed people, all dressed in Bavarian traditional clothes. Women in red skirts and tight corseted blouses that were pushing up their bust, in knitted long socks and also knitted pullovers having on their head hats decorated with feathers were walking hand in hand with men dressed in “lederhose”, the short leather pants, checkered shirts and traditional tunic. Starting from the airport you could see some of them in the train that crossed the city and the closer you got into the city the fuller the train became of party-goers and eventually all descended to Hackerburcke and started to walk towards Theresienwiese.

Hacker-Pschorr tent, Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany

Thirty years ago I was walking on the large expanse of grass that is Theresienwiese, the large meadow that hosted for many years the Oktoberfest, the Germany’ beer festival. At the time I could not be in Germany in the fall and I just heard stories about the happening; large tents, larger than anything you may encounter any other times, would cover the meadow and people were drinking beer, lots of beer and singing loudly at unison Bavarian and German songs. Some of the more critical of my German friends were commenting that this is the way Hitler came to power…Germany has a deep beer culture and is the only country that has in effect a purity law dating from 1516 promulgated by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria, that allows for only hops, barley, water and, later, yeast in the beer. Also I could not live in Munich at the time without learning about the main six beer manufacturers that were emblems for the German beer: Lowenbrau, Hofbrauhaus, Augustinerbrau, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Spaten.

Paulaner Festzelt, Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany

I did not have the chance in so many years to visit Munich in the fall, in spite of several visits in Southern Germany, but finally this year I could stop and drink “ein mass” around a long table with a bunch of Germans. The tents are there, as they always have been, and the atmosphere is electric with all attendees standing and jumping on the benches around the tables with the “mass” in their hand singing enthusiastically all together a mix of German and international songs in an extremely joyful atmosphere under the accords of a large band located on a podium in the middle of the tent. Most of the tables inside are reserved way in advance and the one that are not are totally packed being almost impossible to get a seat, all visitors coming here for staying most of the day.

Chilling with “ein mass”

All tents are surrounded outside by rows of tables where hostesses with a large bunch of beer “mass” in their arms navigate deftly through the crowd and youngsters dressed in Bavarian clothes offer large soft “brezen” from weaved baskets. Outside of the tent area the entire Theresienwiese is covered like a Disneyland with all sorts of games, from ball throwing ranges decorated in American kitsch to the horror train, bumper cars, whirlwind games, huge wheels and high towers that bring the visitors high upon the meadow. Stands are selling long frankfurter that hang out generously off the sandwich bread, nuts and sweets of all kinds and traditional ginger bread hearts to declare your love to your sweetheart. “Bread and circus” was what the Romans were offering millenniums ago and the offer is still valid in the same joyful atmosphere at Oktoberfest.

Bavaria statue overlooking Theresienwiese, Munich, Germany

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2017 in Blog, Germany

 

After Jose

Fair Harbor road flooded

Even if the hurricanes did not come this year all the way north to affect with high winds the East Coast of the USA the high tides caused by them affected our beaches. Following Jose, Fire Island was temporary covered in water caused by the high tide, the road staying flooded for a while because here water does not have where to escape.

High surfs in Atlantique, Fire Island, NY

The surfs were high and rip currents could pull the swimmers out into the ocean. With all kids in schools the island looked deserted ready to start preparing for the winter.

Saltaire, Fire Island, NY

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Bushwick Open Studios 2017

Bushwick Open Studios event, marketed this year as BOS2017, happens once a year sometimes in the summer. This year, for the first time the festival was organized during the exact weekend when it used to happen the once famous Dumbo Art Festival that was shut down two years ago by the organizers after it became way too popular. The graffiti on the buildings of Bushwick are some of the many attraction of the festival that happened for an entire weekend, Friday to Sunday. Beside the artist open studios the streets were alive in performances and trucks filled with all sort of art experiments.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Biking by the Delaware Canal

Frenchtown, NJ

The Delaware Canal was built in the middle of the 19th century as a way to move coal from the mines of Pennsylvania to the industrial areas of Philadelphia and around. The canal starts in Easton, PA and goes all the way to Bristol, PA for a total of 60 miles. The canals were built on both sides of the Delaware River and the coal was hauled with mules that were trotting an adjacent road pulling barges on the water. It stopped its operation in 1931.

The covered bridge over the canal in Uhlerstown, NJ

Besides this 60 miles portion, on its Southern side it connects to another canal that goes along the Raritan River in New Jersey ending in the Rutgers University campus in New Bruswick, NJ. Further north of Easton, PA it continues on the Lehigh River valley to Jim Thorpe going all the way to Wiles Barre, PA, the heart of the Pennsylvania coal country. The side roads of all these portions of the canal were converted in a very long and continuous bike trail.

DL canal bike trail

We biked two portions of the canal, biking up one way and returning on the opposite side of the river that has a similar canal with its adjacent bike path. First we biked from Lambertville, NJ to Trenton returning on the opposite side to New Hope, PA.

Biking through sunflower fields…

We loved that route so much that one week after we came again and biked the portion between Lambertville, NJ to Frenchtown, NJ crossing the river through Bull’s island.

..and farms decorated for the season

This year we planned to bike the portion from Frenchtown, NJ all the way to Easton, PA. This part of the trail does not fully continues on both side of the river. A portion that is developed on the New Jersey side in the Delaware Canal State Park is actually ending bringing you onto the roads. So we biked on only one side of the canal round trip on a path that varies in width much more than the previous ones we went on. The path starts as a large packed dirt but on occasion continues only as a sliver of gravel path sometimes narrower than one foot or occasionally on two narrow slivers. Some portions have some mud on top and may not not so good to bike after rain. However it is well maintained and very pleasant to ride through fields full of sunflower, onion or corn, farms decorated with pumpkins for the season or through towns where you can stop for a beer or you can take a break on coffee places right on the bike path.

The Red Barn with a red truck

The route has about 21 miles one way as you leave Frenchtown crossing the Delaware bridge and going under the covered bridge in Uhlerstown and reaches Easton in the Delaware Canal State Park right at the confluence of Delaware and Lehigh rivers overlooking the old and new bridges of the old industrial town of Easton. From the park, the bike trail continues into the D & L bike trail along Lehigh River that goes continuously all the way through Jim Thorpe to White Haven, another 85 miles of continuous trail. We took a well deserved break watching kayaks go by on the Delaware River in Easton and started back for a total of 42 miles being able to return in Frenchtown right before dark.

The confluence of Delaware and Lehigh rivers in Easton, PA

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Blog, USA

 

Remember

Towers of light, New York

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Blog, USA