castle hopping

Living in Paris makes it difficult to travel almost anywhere and feel entranced by the ambiance. Unless you are visiting a city centered around a hilltop castle, where the air takes on a whole other ‘palatial’ feel. Ah yes, Edinburgh! I had been once before, during those days as a student in London in which I remember very little other than how enchanted I had been by the grandness of it all. 

It was at the Edinburgh Castle that I reunited with a few of my oldest and dearest friends, atop the volcanic Castle Rock where our castle hopping adventure began. 

Many glasses of whisky and plates of haggies, nips and tatties later, our adventures continued in Stirling. The scene was set for a grand wedding (this being the reason we all arrived to Scotland in the first place). This medieval town, the former “Gateway to the Highlands”, sits below a fortress and an old-town, timeless in it’s own right

Prior to Brandy’s ‘crowning’, several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling Castle, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1543. Don’t we all wish to be crowned Queen, at least for a day?

The royal wedding party, or part of it anyway. Paris, London, Istanbul and NYC unite!

Now back to normal life in Paris.

passion for travel

There are certain passions or interests, that bond people. Whether it be friends, companions, or those you choose to share your life with. One such passion (the word ‘interest’ simply does not fit here), is my love for travel.

Some of my dearest friends share this passion, leading us to have collected quite an array of travel stories through the years, which we reminisce and laugh about as often as possible. (Beware those not part of the travel clique!) One such story begins in Amsterdam on the eve of the millenium and ends in a castle in Scotland just last week…

Since my first trip to Poland at the age of 2, before my lips could properly utter sentences in either Polish or English, my eyes became larger and more curious. For this I thank my parents. I became fascinated with foreign tastes and sounds, even those as simple as wild strawberries from my grandmother’s garden, and certain vegetables I still can’t find anywhere else in the world. I began to love the energy of movement, being able to play with time, as you pass from one time zone to another. As a child, and even up until a few years ago, I dared not sleep en route, in order to savour the sacred anticipation prior to arrival or reflection upon departure. Now I am more than happy to sleep and wake up rested. (Older or simply wiser?)

When I first met my Italian, aside from the short and sweet exchange that caused a lengthy conversation to ensue (it wasn’t simply his sexy accent that did the trick), we spoke all about travel. As fate would have it, during my around-the-world trip I had spent a memorable 5 days in the village of his birth, Monterosso, and was very pleased to express my enthusiasm for this ‘paradise found’. This village has since become my second home. It was in fact his sense of adventure, having arrived to NYC for a holiday, that led our paths to cross. It was not yet our time during my stay in Monterosso. Yes, patience is a virtue.

Our most memorable (and first) trip to date was Corsica last June. We explored the southern region of this enchanted island, also known as the Île de Beauté. A perfect mix of natural wilderness in the form of uninhabited beaches and needle-shaped mountains. Most spectacular was Bonifacio with it’s majestic cliffs and old town overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Surely a place in which to lose yourself in a myriad of natural landscapes. The dream of Corsica shall soon continue as we are planning to explore the northern region this summer.

Along with this passion for travel which has surely bonded us, comes our affinity for foreign foods, natural beauty, ancient history (more him) and various forms of art (more me). Am I missing anything?

the dream of Honfleur

I grew up listening to my parents tales of journeying around France, during those seemingly endless summer months when they would leave my brother and I in Poland to fend for ourselves. Well, not exactly. We were in good company with a dozen or so cousins and plenty of aunts and uncles who took delight in temporarily parenting the ‘American’ cousins. Summers were spent building houses out of haystacks and learning the difference between the variety of pretty and poisonous mushrooms on our frequent walks in the woods. I’m still not certain whether elfs really do live inside trees? As well as being a gullible child, I was always very curious and knew one day I too would run wild amidst lavender fields in Provence and drink copious amounts of Champagne in where else but the Champagne region. Those dreams have yet to be realized, though I did travel around Luberon during my year of exploring the world. Most recently I lost myself (literally in fact) in the charming village of Honfleur during a romantic weekend escape. I imaged to feel the charm of this intimate coastal town much in the manner that my parents did so many years ago, considering it has not changed for centuries.

Honfleur provides a setting in which to dream, to become lost within the tangle of cobbled streets possessing brightly colored buildings evoking a historic Normandy. Impressionist masters such as Gustave Courbet, Eugene Boudin and Claude Monet found inspiration within this scenery, immortalizing it forever upon the canvas.

Much of our time was spent sitting on the Old Harbour in peaceful observation. Time moves at a slower pace, surely allowing one to waste more of it!? As in most regions of France, you can easily live off of the local produce in Normandy. Had I not already been a gourmand I surely would have become one! We feasted on local oysters, scallops and an assortment of freshly caught fish, each meal ending with a cheese plate, camembert being the regional speciality. Evenings called for a well-aged calvados, necessary for digestion, of course.

It is here where the oldest wooden church stands, Eglise Saint-Catherine, a perfect place in which to seek refuge when caught in a sudden romantic rainstorm.


Before returning to Paris and concluding the dream of Normandy, we stopped at Étretat, known for it’s twin cliffs. This, another scene of inspiration for Monet, a natural splendor rising from sea to sky!

the Normandy sky

Our adventure in Normandy began with a drive along the coast, beneath one of the most dramatic sky that has ever captured my gaze! This tumultuous sky seemed fitting, considering the battles of D-day which took place along the beaches code-named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. A little history. On the morning of June 6, 1944, an armada of over 6,000 ships and boats hit the northern Normandy beaches and tens of thousands of soldiers from the USA, UK, Canada, etc, stormed onto French soil. These landings, known as ‘Jour J’ in French, were followed by the 76-day Battle of Normandy. The Allies suffered 210,000 casualties, 37,000 troops were killed, as well as a loss of over 14,000 French civilians.

As exhilarating as it was to explore this region of France and gaze into the vastness of the sea and sky, it was an equally intense and thoughtful journey into recent history. I will forever recall the feeling and depth of this sky…

A final moment of calm before the journey continues…to Honfleur!

a taste of Napoli

I have been missing the intensity and energy of New York City. The constant buzz in the air and movement on the ground. A dose of Napoli is exactly what I needed, and away we flew to this city in the South of Italy, unlike any I had ever experienced. Quite a contrast to the calm and order of Paris. Might I add that what I love about living in Paris is the proximity to so many diverse and fascinating worlds, merely hours away via train or plane. Needless to say, within NYC exists a composition of cultures, but there is nothing like complete immersion in the place of origin.

12440_324442690253_4851235_n

12440_324438470253_5136935_n
Five days and nights were spent safely tucked away in the Spanish Quarter, next door to a convent. This hidden neighborhood is discovered by few but curious to many. On all sides we were surrounded by reckless kids on motorbikes, often 3 to a bike, peddlers selling designer goods and electronics purchased from ‘borrowed’ credit cards. Fresh produce is plentiful and sold in wooden crates for mere centimes. Napoli is a city in which people live by their wits and where rules don’t apply. I felt high on this air of chaos, or was it the endless nocciolatos that caused my heart to beat at such a pace? And let me not begin to speak about the pasta…I have discovered the soul of Naples.

12440_324442890253_1392864_n

The calm after the storm was Capri, an island of intense beauty and serenity. An ideal place in which to digest the many sensations of the South as we head back to a dream of another sort.

12440_324489640253_600036_n

Mexico City!

12 hours, 4 films and many thoughts later, I landed in Mexico City, the beginning of the end of my grand adventure. I am living in the most charming home in Condesa, an artists refuge called The Red Tree House, which was recently opened to soulful travelers by a most hospitable Mexican named Jorge. I immediately felt at home and upon my arrival I met Evelyn who too was traveling solo from NYC. A serendipitous meeting resulting in instant friendship. Together we caroused this vibrant city that spoke of a colorful history, and became enamored with the art, culture and indeed the food! Huevos rancheros has become a staple in my diet, at least for the moment.


The courtyard of the Palacio Nacional in the Zocalo, the heart of old Mexico City. Within it´s walls Diego Rivera´s murals reveal the history of Mexico.


A modern and majestic sculpture along Paseo de la Reforma.

1 21 22 23 24