duminică, 30 octombrie 2011

Last Saturday of October

First, a little random thought from today.
So, today, while we were heading to a children indoor playground, to celebrate one of Mara's kinder-garden colleagues, little bit far from our home, I started to discuss with Bogdan some things. Things had nothing to do with children. Speaking normally, not shouting, not yelling, in a very normal way, but unusual for me when not alone in the car. Then, I realized: our two small children on the back seats of the car were quiet. No screaming, no fighting, no toy cars flying from one to another, no pushing, no slapping.
We both noticed the moment and enjoyed it while it lasted, having our car conversation so much different and beautiful than usual, with the music as background, and two nice children with all the hair on their heads at arrival. 

And now, about yesterday.
In the morning, we had to go to kinder-garden to attend Radu's evaluation. We thought is gonna be with Radu, as usually was with Mara, so we all dressed-up (me, Bogdan and Radu), too early in the morning, and hurried up to be there in time. On the way, I was thinking to call the teacher and ask some details. So, I found up it will be just a report, not an open lesson! We turned back the car, left the boys home to watch together the Formula 1 race in India, and went by myself to see how good description they have about my son. He's so good that he will be moved in a higher level group tomorrow! This is very good news, congratulations for Radu, please!

It was such a beautiful day of mid autumn, we felt like going out in the park for a little bit, despite Mara's special request of going to some Halloween party at the Mall. Well... finally we ended up to the Mall, don't blame me, just to play up some mummy's games and eat some candy floss for free. Then, we left the children home to watch The Lion King and went to see Margin Call, a movie with Kevin Spacey and Demi Moore.

I really hope to have such a beautiful weekend next week either, so we can go and take pictures again in the park, maybe in The Botanical Garden! The colors are awesome, and Bogdan is such a talented and loving photographer.

miercuri, 26 octombrie 2011

Zafra, Extremadura, Day #2

The journey itself was an adventure, we didn't hesitate to turn the car on the view of something interesting or to stop anywhere an unexpected angle caught our eyes.

Zafra is one of the prettiest towns in southern Extremadura, as well as being extremely accessible due to its position, located on the 'ruta de la plata' or tin route. It could well be the oldest road in Europe. This was the route taken by tin traders from England right through to Huelva and Cadiz.

Known as Sevilla la Chica (the Little Seville) thanks to architectural similarities, especially its courtyards, white houses and alleyways overhung with carnations, the town has cobbled streets and two main squares (grande and chica), worth visiting a whole day long.

The Alcázar de los Duques de Feria, the 15th century castle in Zafra, once a Moorish fortress, it now houses the Parador Nacional, one of the most beautiful and best hotels in Zafra.


The plan was to enter and have a coffee, but instead, we walked through the bar and entered the backyard terrace and pool and stole a moment of quiet and relaxation on the edge of the pool. Couldn't help to try the water, I thought it would be fun to be caught doing such a crazy thing!

There are lots of wonderful places and things to see in Zafra. There are a few large parks in which to sit and enjoy the sun, we parked the car just across one of them and took lots of pictures around.

In Santa Clara's Convent we assisted to a wedding where the choir was a kind of mariachi playing guitars and some beautiful Spanish music!  It didn't seem very religious to me, it appeared to be more like kind of Spanish party music!

I sat down and assisted to the wedding while Bogdan was discreetly taking pictures around. 

We just walked on the streets, trying to see all those beautiful places, to fill up our memory, sight and thoughts with the colors, silence and peace we found all around.

Here we noticed again the stork nests on the church, it looks like a local tradition, we found them everywhere!

Then, we stopped for a while and had a coffee in Plaza Grande, with its gorgeous arches... I have only one thing bothering me: there were lots of cars parked in that square, I wouldn't allow them in such a beautiful and old place!

After a lunch full of savor, because, I have to say, we are addicted to tapas, we hardly found our way to the next destination. But it was worth all the effort, you'll see!

duminică, 23 octombrie 2011

Los Santos de Maimona, Extremadura, Spain, Day #2 - GAUDI inside!

In the morning, Bogdan suggested that we should see two cities, South of Merida: Zafra and Jerez de los Caballeros. Well, we went on the highway to South, than took right to Zafra, and stopped in the very first city we saw: Los Santos de Maimona, where I was attracted by the beautiful tower of the church, seen from the road. So, we suddenly decided to leave the road and have a closer look at the tower.

This, I might say, is our traveling style, wandering from here to there, trying not to miss the essential, but always open to anything out of ordinary.

The first surprise it was placed right on the entrance in the city, in the first roundabout: a beautiful floral monument, from concrete and faience, in Gaudi's style.

I found out the city's modern history started in year 50 A.C., when the romans settled here and built the roads linking Merida of Seville. In 712 the city was conquered by the Muslims, and one of the 7 berberian tribes, called "Banu Maimun", gave its name to the city. In 1240, the Christians took it back from the Muslims, and in the 16th century has reached maximum of prosperity. Many of the beautiful monuments, as the church we saw from the road, were built in that flourishing period of time.

We noticed, on the top of the tower, a stork's nest. It was the first from a very long raw of stork's nests we saw today, please check out on top of EVERY church you'll see in the next days, it's unbelievable!

But the greatest place of all was right at the exit from the city, we saw it from the main road and we thought is a park or something like that. For kids, anyway. Of course, we turned back the car and went to satisfy our curiosity. Well... it was a home, an unbelievable home, in building process, and guess what? The owner was just outside the building and gave us permission to visit it!

You will easily recognize Gaudi's style, is a place like in fairy-tales, with concrete and faience flowers on the roof and leaves and snakes and other nature elements all over the place. In the backyard an artisan was completing another elements for the house, he left us speechless while admiring his art.

We found this place absolutely unbelievable,  first because is so far from Gaudi's Barcelona, and second, because its incredible beauty and imaginative architecture! We had a theory that the owner might be one of the wealthy local wine producers, but we can't verify that :)

Stay tuned for the next stop: Zafra!