Emma: Lumea de pastel a lui Jane Austen in viziunea lui Autumn de Wilde

In contextul situatiei actuale am avut timp sa ne uitam la mai multe filme. Unul dintre filmele care m-a surprins placut vizual este cea mai noua adaptare a romanului “Emma”, scris de Jane Austen. Am fost intotdeauna un fan al culorilor pastel asa ca nu e de mirare faptul ca mi-au placut enorm decorurile locatiilor si costumele actorilor. Actrita din rolul principal, Anya Taylor-Joy, a comparat experienta filmarii cu viata intr-un cupcake urias. Roz pudrat, verde fistic, verde menta, baby blue si butter-yellow, sau toata paleta de culori pentru macaroons.

Copyright © Balmain

Acesta este primul film regizat de Autumn de Wilde care a activat mai mult in domeniul fotografiei si regiei de videoclipuri (Florence & The Machine), asa ca nu e de mirare faptul ca a vrut ca decorul si costumele din film sa fie placute estetic. O alta justificare a alegerii cromatice data chiar de Autumn este dorinta de a evidentia trasatura predominanta a personajului principal, manipularea, transformandu-i astfel locuinta intr-o casa de papusi. Emma a reusit sa o transforme pe Autumn intr-un Wes Anderson de sex feminin.

Copyright © Universal Studios

Designerul de costume este Alexandra Byrne, care a castigat Oscarul pentru “best costume designer” in filmul Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) si a mai fost nominalizata de alte 5 ori. Alte filme pentru care a realizat costume sunt Hamlet (1996), Finding Neverland (2004), si Mary Queen of Scots (2018).  Multumita ei Emma a reusit sa se integreze perfect in decorul georgian al filmului.

Copyright © Universal Studios

Pentru cei care isi doresc sa viziteze Conacul in stil georgian in care locuieste Emma in film, proprietatea se numeste Firle Place si se afla in East Sussex, Marea Britanie. Proprietarii au fost de acord cu modificarile necesare pentru decorul filmului, dar se presupune ca au renuntat la cateva dintre ele dupa terminarea filmarilor. Fiecare camera foloseste cate o paleta diferita de culori. Dormitorul personajului principal seamana cu un gelato in nuante de roz si portocaliu si variatii ale acestor culori (corai, roz piersica, somon etc.).

 

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– Pentru aranjamentele florale au avut ca referinta fotografiile lui Cecil Beaton

Tapetul a fost realizat la comanda de Adelphi Paper Hangings

Draperiile si tapiseria mobilei au avut ca inspiratie cladirile lui Robert Adam

Materialele folosite au fost matasea naturala, broderii realizate manual, brocart si catifea.

 

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Alte locatii din film care pot fi vizitate:

Kingston Bagpuize House in Oxfordshire – scoala unde invata Harriett

Chavenage House in Tetbury – Randalls ,casa familiei Weston

Wilton House in Salisbury – casa domnului Kingsley (Donwell Abbey)

Leith Hill Dorking in Surrey – l0cul unde are loc picnicul din film (Box Hill)

– All Saints Church in St Paul’s Walden, Hertfordshire – biserica din Highbury

– Lower Slaughter, Cotswolds – satul Highbury din film

Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire – locul unde se desfasoara balul dat de familia Cole.

Copyright © Universal Studios

Perioada desfasurarii actiunii din film coincide cu aparitia primelor jurnalele si reviste de moda din anii 1810. Moda acestei perioade era cunoscuta in Anglia ca Regency style, insa aceasta a fost profund influentata de stilul Empire aparut in Franta: rochii albe in forma de A, cu talia la baza bustului, asemanatoare celor purtate de zeitele Greciei Antice. Manecile sunt bufante si lungimea rochiei e deasupra gleznelor.

Copyright © Universal Studios

Accesorii specifice perioadei, care sunt la moda si in perioada actuala: manusi, cercei in forma de lacrima, bonete, saluri, diademe, panglici purtate in talie (la baza bustului) sau in par. Parul era prins, ondulat si purtat cu carare pe mijloc

 

 

Copyright © Universal Studios

Branduri contemporane cu stiluri similare modei din film: rochii si topuri cu talia empire sau auto-intitulatul “stilul baby-doll”, in voga in anii ’60, ’70 si ’90.

Brock Collection

Austentation: Regency Accessories – pentru bonete

Rixo

Selkie

For Love & Lemons

LoveShackFancy

Posse

Doen

Sleeper

Erdem

 

 


vacanta in puglia

Vacanta in Puglia

Vacanta in Puglia

Vacanta in Puglia

Pentru unii dintre noi cea mai romantica destinatie de vacanta va ramane Italia. Un pachet complet de vacanta inseamna: vreme buna, plaje spectaculoase, orase istorice, mancare delicioasa si cultura bogata. Italia (in mod special Puglia) le are pe toate.

M-am indragostit de aceasta regiune de prima data cand am citit despre ea. Nici nu stiu cu ce sa incep: casutele trulli din Alberobello, restaurantul Grotta Palazzese din Polignano a Mare, Masseriile pugliene reconditionate, bucataria cu a ei burrata si caccioriccota, sau orasele cetate (Ostuni, Otranto, Gallipoli)? Am ales sa nu stau in orasele mai populate precum Bari, Lecce, Taranto sau Brindisi si sa gust mai mult din atmosfera locala prin cazari in locuri linistite, departe de agitatie.

Ziua 1

Bucuresti – Bari

Am preferat sa inchiriem masina pe toata durata vacantei deoarece aveam un itinerariu destul de bogat si nu voiam sa depindem de alte mijloace de transport. Aspectul neplacut al inchiriatului masinii in lunile iulie-august in Italia este ca nu vei gasi multe locuri de parcare libere si daca ai norocul de a gasi, va fi destul de scump.

Asadar, am inchiriat masina din aeroport si am plecat catre Polignano a Mare, unde ne-am cazat pentru 3 nopti la Calaponte. Am ales acest hotel pentru designul minimalist si dicretia oferita de casutele cu mici gradini de maslini, construite concentric in jurul unei piscine.

In prima seara am luat cina la Grotta Palazzese, unde ne facusem rezervare cu cateva luni inainte. Nu stiu ce s-a schimbat in ultimii 4 ani, dar noi am avut parte de un meniu fix format din patru feluri de mancare. Pretul meniului nu reflecta in mod neaparat calitatea meniului, desi tot ce ne-a fost servit a fost foarte bun (cel mai bun risotto pe care l-am mancat vreodata), ci se bazeaza mai mult pe locatia restaurantului si pe faptul ca este destul de greu sa gasesti o masa disponibila, chiar daca faci rezervare cu mult timp inainte. Chelnerii au fost amabili, chiar am putut alege locul in care sa stam si am putut sa facem poze oriunde ne-am dorit. Locatia restaurantului este cu adevarat speciala insa pretul si continutul meniului merita sa fie ajustate.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 2

Am incercat sa facem plaja in cea mai fototgrafiata zona din Polignano A Mare, Lama Monachile, insa nu am rezistat foarte mult. De altfel, nu am rezistat mult la nicio plaja in aceasta vacanta, deorece vacanta noastra a coincis cu cea mai aglomerata perioada a anului: sfarsitul lunii iulie, inceputul lunii august, data la care nu numai ca sunt multi turisti ci este si perioada in care majoritatea italienilor sunt in concediu. De aceea, aproape la fiecare cazare pe care am ales-o, m-am asigurat ca avem o piscina la care sa putem sta in caz ca nu avem loc la plaja.

Singurele locuri in care nu am avut piscina au fost Gallipoli si Matera. Dupa experienta scurta la plaja din Polignano, am plecat catre Monopoli unde ne-am plimbat pe stradute si am facut o scurta baie in mare la plaja din centrul istoric al orasului, Cala Porta Vecchia. Daca vrei sa scapi de caldura si aglomeratie, poti vizita Pesterile din complexul Grotte Castellane, situate la 15 km de orasul Monopoli.

Seara ne-am pierdut pe stradutele din centrul istoric al orasului Polignano A Mare si am privit apusul de pe marginea unei stanci. Apoi am cinat intr-unul din cele mai frumoase restaurante din Polignano, Antiche Mura. Polignano a Mare este considerat unul dintre cele mai romantice orase din Italia si locuitorii lui se mandresc cu asta. Aleile centrului sunt decorate cu plante si flori iar scarile si zidurile ascund versuri din poezii. Podul roman din centru face parte din Via Traiana, care lega orasele Beneveto si Brindisi pe vremea imparatului Traian.

Ziua 3

Ne-am mai plimbat o data prin Polignano si am admirat arhitectura centrului vechi pe timp de zi. In Alberobello, situat la 30 de km de Polignano, ne-am cazat intr-o casuta traditionala si am intrat in fascinanta lume a casutelor trulli. Perioada a coincis cu festivalul luminilor din Alberobello, asa ca dupa ce ne-am plimbat prin centrul orasului am asistat si la cateva proiectii de lumini.

Experienta de a dormi intr-un trullo a fost interesanta insa nu este de recomandat pe termen lung, deoarece niveulul umiditatii din interior este foarte ridicat. In realitate nu ai nevoie de mai mult de o zi pentru a vizita principalele atractii turistice din oras. Nu se stie sigur cum au aparut prima data aceste constructii, insa cea mai credibila varianta este cea conform careia au fost construite in aceasta forma (conice si fara mortar) pentru a scapa de taxe.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 4

In urmatoarea zi ne-am mai plimbat o data prin centrul orasului pentru a ne asigura ca nu am ratat nicio casuta si am plecat catre urmatoarea cazare, situata in apropierea orasului Ostuni. In drum catre Masserie ne-am oprit in Locorotondo, una dintre cele mai frumoase localitati din aceasta zona si in Cisternino, unde am luat masa pe aleile inguste din centrul vechi. Cateva ore sunt suficiente pentru a te plimba pe stradute si a admira arhitectura. Alte orase frumoase din Valea Itriei sunt Ceglie Mesapica (una dintre cele mai vechi asezari) si Martina Franca (cel mai populat oras din zona, cu multe cladiri in stil baroc). Pentru pasionatii de ciclism, zona pune la dispozitie nenumarate trasee turistice. Noi ne-am intalnit cu foarte multi ciclisti pe parcursul intregii vacante. Acceseaza link-ul urmator, Itria Valley: 5 days cycling tour.

Masseria Corte Degli Asini a fost in top 3 locuri preferate de cazare in Puglia, alaturi de Le Capase si Sextantio Grotte della Civita. Numele provine de la fabrica de ulei de masline care exista inainte in aceasta zona. Uleiul era presat printr-un sistem pe baza de pietre de care trageau mai multi magarusi. Pe proprietate inca mai gasesti cativa magarusi si o livada de maslini pe ale carei alei te poti plimba cu bicicleta la lasatul serii, cum am facut-o noi. Maseriile sunt (foste) ferme fortificate asemanatoare constructiilor de tip “hacienda” din Spania sau America Latina. Alte maserii frumoase din zona sunt Masseria Torre Coccaro, Il Frantoio, Cervarolo sau Torre Maizza. Si sa nu uitam de celebra Borgo Egnazia. Unele dintre ele pun la dispozitia turistilor preparate locale create din ingrediente cultivate in interiorul proprietatii. Puglia este renumita pentru productia de ulei, legume si vinuri.

Piscina proprietatii are vedere la valea regiunii Fasano si Marea AdriaticaOrasul alb Ostuni si plaja sunt la 15 minute de mers cu masina. Am luat cina la Masserie (cea mai buna cina traditionala din toata vacanta!) si am plecat in Ostuni unde nu am luat in considerare faptul ca daca nu iti faci rezervare in aceasta perioada a anului, nu ai sanse sa gasesti loc la niciun restaurant/bar/terasa.

Ziua 5

In prima parte a celei de-a doua zi la Masserie am explorat coasta Marii Adriatice unde am vrut sa vizitam rezervatia naturala Torre Guaceto, dar nu am avut putut deoarece era inchis. Asa ca ne-am relaxat la Guna Beach Club si am facut plaja la Torre Pozzelle unde am admirat copiii care prindeau arici de mare cu mana. La Lido Morelli ne-am ascuns dupa dunele de nisip fin. Seara ne-am intors in Ostuni, dar pentru ca era vineri, am gasit foarte greu loc de parcare si am regretat ca nu am chemat un taxi (smart tip).

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 6

Inainte de a ne indrepta catre Salento, ne-am plimbat prin Ostuni si am luat masa la unul dintre cele mai bune restaurante din regiune: Taverna della Gelosia. In drumul catre urmatoarea destinatie, am incercat sa ne oprim pentru plaja in mai multe locuri, dar nu am reusit sa stam deorece era foarte aglomerat. Toate sunt locuri spectaculoase situate in aceeasi raza si pe care le recomand in alte perioade ale anului (iunie-jumatatea lunii iulie, septembrie): piscina naturala Grotta della Poesia, plaja Torre dell’Orso, Torre Sant’Andrea si plaja Alimini Lakes. Obositi, dupa atata aglomeratie, ne-am cazat la Le Capase si am luat cina la restaurantul resort-ului. O alta recomandare pentru cazare in aceasta zona este Palazzo Guglielmo Albergo Diffuso.

Ziua 7

Dimineata am incercat sa mergem la plaja din Porto Badisco (despre care a scris Vergilius in Eneida), insa era la fel de aglomerat ca in celelate locuri de ieri, asa ca ne-am intors la piscina hotelului unde ne-am relaxat si am primit fructe si limonada din partea casei. La Le Capase am avut parte si de cel mai bun mic dejun si cea mai buna servire din toata vacanta! Dupa amiaza ne-am plimbat prin Santa Cesarea Terme, statiunea recunoscuta pentru apele termale si frumoasele sale vile, printre care si Palazzo Stichi. Am ales sa cinam in Otranto unde am vizitat si o parte din centrul istoric al frumosului oras-cetate.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 8

In urmatoarea zi am inchirat o barca din Porto Miggiano si am vizitat grotele/plajele din apropiere (Grotta Azzura, Grotta Zinzulusa, Grotta Romanelli) si admirat asezarile de pe malul marii: Santa Cesarea Terme si Castro Marina.

Ziua s-a incheiat la plaja Porto Miggiano, cunoscuta si sub numele de Plaja celor 100 de scari, care este (in opinia mea) cea mai frumoasa plaja de pe coasta de Est a Pugliei. Seara am cinat tot in Otranto unde mi-a parut rau ca nu am ajuns si in timpul zilei pentru a vizita mai mult din oras si a observa mai bine arhitectura locului.

Ziua 9

Ziua 9 a fost o zi lunga pentru ca am fost pe drum toata ziua, dar ne-am oprit in multe locuri frumoase unde, ca de obicei, era foarte aglomerat.

Calla Dell’Aquaviva, cu frumosul fiord si izvoarele de apa rece

Marina Serra cu a ei piscina naturala

Golful Ciolo cu al sau pod

Santa Maria di Leuca, unde am reusit sa facem plaja si am luat masa. Santa Maria di Leuca este punctul cel mai sudic al tocului Italiei si de cum treci pe coasta de vest a regiunii, incep interminabilele plaje cu nisip fin. Principalele atractii turistice de aici sunt biserica Santa Maria (care ii da numele), farul, cavernele si pesterile accesibile doar cu barca.

Inainte de a ne caza in Gallipoli, am ales sa ne oprim in Marina di Pescoluse, cunoscuta si ca Maldivele din Salento (Puglia), pentru o scurta baie in mare. In Gallipoli am stat in centrul vechi al orasului, unde este interzis accesul masinilor, asa ca am parcat undeva in afara cetatii si am mers pe jos pana la cazare. Gallipoli inseamna orasul frumos si este baza perfecta pentru a explora cele mai frumoase plaje din Puglia.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 10

O noua zi, o alta plaja! Am ales sa mergem la Porto Selvaggio, unde ne-am plimbat prin rezervatia naturala. Dupa amiaza ne-am mutat la Spiaggia Padula Bianca si am avut parte de cateva ore de relaxare si de cea mai frumoasa priveliste. Alaturi de Padula Bianca se afla o alta plaja la fel de frumoasa, Rivabella. De altfel, litoralul din apropierea orasului Gallipoli este renumit pentru multitudinea de plaje amenajate. Cele mai recunoscute (si aglomerate) plaje se afla in zona de sud a orasului: Spiaggia di Baia Verde, Spiaggia di Punta della Suina si Punto Pizzo. La finalul zilei ne-am mutat pe plaja din Gallipoli, Spiaggia della Purita, de unde am privit apusul. Am incheiat cu o cina in centrul istoric la Pescheria La Lampara.

Ziua 11

In ultima zi petrecuta in Galipolli, am privit rasaritul de pe acoperisul hotelului, unde era servit si micul dejun, dupa care am vizitat Castelul Gallipoli. Ne-am indreptat usor catre Porto Cesareo, Torre Lapillo si Punta Prosciutto si am facut scurte opriri, ultimele doua fiind considerate cele mai frumoase plaje cu nisip din Puglia.

Am ajuns in Matera odata cu lasarea serii si am fost nevoiti sa ne lasam masina in partea noua a orasului, deoarece accesul masinilor este interzis in centrul istoric. Ne-am cazat in grotele reconditionate Sextantio le Grotte della Civita si am simtit ca ne-am teleportat intr-o lume magica din trecut despre care trebuie sa cititi si voi mai multe. Am cinat intr-un restaurant amenajat intr-o grota, Baccanti.

Vacanta in Puglia

Ziua 12

O zi intreaga pentru explorat Matera pe jos. Am urcat si coborat de zeci de ori scari peste scari, dar senzatiile traite au fost de nedescris. Frumusetea locurilor au facut din Matera platou de filmare pentru multe filme istorice printre care Mary Magdalene (prilej cu care s-au cunoscut Rooney Mara si Joaquin Phoenix), Passion of the Christ sau Ben Hur. Am vizitat mai multe muzee care prezentau viata de odiniora din Matera, biserici si localuri cu design specific zonei. Seara am incheiat-o pe terasa hotelului cu un ceai si un cappuccino.

La Grotte della Civita am avut cele mai intense trairi. Camerele sunt amenajate cu lumini ambientale si lumanari care iti dau impresia ca nu exista electricitate. Usa camerelor este din lemn masiv si nu se inchide ermetic. Astfel ca atunci cand ploua ai impresia ca esti in aer liber. Mobilerul si decorul sunt simple, pe baza de piatra si lemn, incercand sa redea cat mai bine atmosfera de grota. Grotele erau locuite de oameni saraci care traiau impreuna cu animalele pe care le cresteau, ceea ce a dus la dezvoltarea bolilor. De aceea in 1952, locuitorii grotelor au fost evacuati si relocati in partea moderna a orasului si zona nu a mai fost folosita pana la sfarsitul anilor 1980.

Sala de mese a hotelului este amenajata in locul unde functiona o capela, iar intrarea in hotel se face pe un culoar care are vedere panoramica la Valea Murgiei din Matera si a pesterilor rupestre de pe cealalta parte a gravinei. Micul dejun la Sextantio este extrem de bogat si bazat pe multe produse de patiserie specifice zonei.

Ziua 13

Am admirat pentru ultima oara orasul de pe cealalta parte a gravinei, dupa care am plecat catre aeroportul din Bari cu destinatia Bucuresti.

Vacanta in Puglia


city break sofia

City Break Sofia

City Break Sofia

Would you believe me if I told you that Sofia has one of the most interesting cuisines in the South East of Europe? I would say that it’s a magical combination of Slavic, Greek and Turkish recipes. Banitsa, shopska salad, tarator soup, mekitsi, and the list goes on! Let me take you on a 4 days journey in the capital of Bulgaria where you will not only have the possibility to try the local food, but you will also find out some amazing facts about Sofia’s rich history, as it’s one of the oldest cities in Europe.

Day 1

Presuming that you arrive in the morning, you will need to grab a coffee and eat something. I know exactly the place where you need to go: Fabrika Daga, the best place in town for breakfast and brunch. They have a lot of interesting things in the menu but I recommend the “traditional Bulgarian breakfast”, mekitsa. It is usually served together with Bulgarian white cheese and jam.

 

 

You can also check the Romanian version of mekitsa made by my grandma here.

If you want to learn something about Sofia’s history without making your own research, join the Free Sofia guided tour. The tour takes place 3 times/day during April-October and twice a day in the rest of the year. The duration of the tour is approx. two hours, so you have enough time to cover the main attractions and get some local insights from the guides. You can find out more here: Free Sofia Tour. The tour starts in front of the Palace of Justice and ends near two of most famous churches in Sofia: Sveta Sofia and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. If you still have energy, you can visit both of them or postpone the visit for after lunch.

 

 

The church of Saint Sophia (God’s Wisdom) is one of the oldest in Sofia (built in the 6th century). Nowadays, the red bricks construction is very close to its original form. During the Middle Ages the church of Saint Sophia was the first thing that people would notice from far away and they would say: “Look, there it is! Sofia!” And this is how the city got its name.

 

 

Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built in honor of the Russian Emperor Alexander the 2nd, also known as the Tsar – Liberator, whose army liberated Bulgaria of the five-century long Ottoman Dominion in 1878. You can read more here. The Alexander Nevsky Square is also a popular fair and flea market hub during the weekend. We’ve witnessed a cool meeting of the car enthusiasts. So keep a close eye on the weekly events.

After the long walk you need to have something to eat (lunch or dinner, depending on the hour). You have two options: Lavanda or The Little Things. Both of the locations function in old houses. Also similar is the fact that they share the space with other locations. Lavanda shares it with One More Bar, which is considered one of the best cocktail bars in town, while The Little Things shares the garden with Mamma Mia restaurant.

 

Like many restaurants in Sofia, The Little Things has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, that makes you feel like you are having lunch/dinner in your friend’s house. Each room has a different theme that comes along perfectly. The small garden is equally charming, especially when the wisteria that covers the house is in full blossom. The Little things is opposite St. Sedmochislenitsi church, a hidden gem is Sofia situated in a beautiful park. The church was created in 1902 on base of an abandoned Ottoman mosque. Before the mosque, at the same place existed a nunnery of the Rila Monastery and an Early Christian temple from the 4th-5th century. You can visit it if you still have time.

Lavanda also has thematic rooms, even one that transforms into a cinema so that you can watch a movie with your friends while enjoying a glass of Bulgarian wine. The menu changes according to the seasonal ingredients. I recommend the tarator soup for starter and the lime cheesecake for dessert. Book a table on the balcony if you want to enjoy a romantic atmosphere that will remind you of old Vienna or Paris.

Day 2

Now that we are familiar with mekitsa we just can’t get enough of it so we head to Mekitsa & Coffee to have breakfast and find out in how many ways one can serve the traditional dish (jams, chocolate and nuts, ice cream, caramel and fruits, honey and walnuts, ham and even peanut butter or avocado). For those of you who like to eat healthy food – there are mekitsas with wholemeal flour with no added eggs and milk. You can also order buhti, smaller versions of mekitsa. If you’re there early you can sit at the long table near the window and watch people passing by.

 

City Break Sofia

If you’re craving for more coffee, head to Chucky’s Coffee House for one of the best coffees in Sofia. Now we are ready to dive into history by visiting two of the most representative museums: National Archaeological Museum and the Regional History Museum.

 

The National Archaeological Museum is situated in the centre of Sofia in a building that was once the largest and oldest Ottoman mosque in the city, completed in 1494. The museum stores a large number of items, divided in four sections: Prehistory Hall, Treasury, Main Hall and Medieval Section; some of them are threatened by damage due to the design of the building, which is characterised by high moisture levels during the summer season so hurry up before it’s not too late.

Next to the Museum you will see the Presidency building, where you might witness the changing of the guard. Step into the courtyard between the Presidency building and the Sheraton Hotel to see the Saint George Rotunda, which is considered the oldest preserved building in Sofia. The Rotunda is a part of a large complex of ancient buildings from the late 3rd and early 4th century. You can read more about its amazing history here.

Now we are really hungry so we go to Shtastlivetsa Vitosha Boulevard for a Bulgarian lunch:

City Break Sofia

or to Pastorant, the best Italian restaurant in Sofia (according to me):

If your energy level is good, then we are heading to the second museum on our list, the Sofia History Museum. The Museum is located in The Central Mineral Baths building, a landmark for the city known for the mineral springs in the area. It was built in the early 20th century near the former Turkish bath (then destroyed) and was used as the city’s public baths until 1986. My favourite part of the exhibition was the Royal Carriage.

Head back to the hotel to relax and get ready for dinner. You will need to make a reservation as both restaurants are popular with tourists. Ashurbanipal or L’etranger? The restaurants are very different but the food is sooo delicious.

 

Ashurbanipal looks like it’s closed from the outside and when you enter you might ask yourself if you are in the right place. The owner is also the chef and the waiter. You won’t have any menus, he will let you know what dishes are available but rest assured that there will also be vegetarian and vegan options. The salad and bread are complimentary and everything we tasted was delicious!

City Break Sofia

L’etranger is the typical French restaurant, fancy and romantic. If you are not the adventurer type, then the safe option is L’etranger. I loved the cosy atmosphere and the design of the location. The desserts here are some of the best in town, heads up for the lavender cheesecake and brandy flambated strawberries. Yum!

Day 3

City Break Sofia

This will be a long day as we are going to discover Serdica, a Thracian settlement that developed into modern Sofia. Breakfast calling! Our destination today is Hlebar, located in one of the nicest neighbourhoods, Oborishte. Before we get there, let’s have a walk on Oborishte street, one of the most pleasant streets in central Sofia, flanked by the large neo-classical residences of various foreign missions.

Hlebar has the best banitsa in town (a traditional Bulgarian pastry derived from an Anatolian recipe). You can also choose something else from their daily menu as they also serve omelettes, soups or salads made from fresh local products. Their bread is delicious, as in many other places in Sofia. You can try to combine the banitsa with boza, a malt drink made from maize (corn) and wheat or millet. The fermented beverage is popular in many countries from the Balkan Peninsula and the Caucasian region.

City Break Sofia

Close to Hlebar is one of the nicest parks in Sofia, Doctor’s Garden. We can have a walk in the park before stopping at the beautiful flower-shop nearby.

Don’t forget about the best specialty coffee shop in town: Dabov. They provide roasted coffee to a number of coffee places in Sofia (the list is short as the trend is just starting to become popular in Bulgaria) and if you head to their shop you can also drink perfectly brewed coffee on the spot (no snacks though).

Next destination: Serdica. Short historical summary (thanks Wiki): Serdica was possessed by Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great and later by the roman emperors Trajan and Diocletian. Constantine the Great called the city “my Rome” and was seriously thinking of moving the imperial capital to Serdica but Byzantium (Istanbul) subsequently won. During the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I the city was surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today.

The starting point for Ancient Serdica is the Nezavisimost (Independence) Square, which is surrounded by the Largo, an architectural ensemble of three Socialist Classicism edifices in central Sofia: the former Party House in the centre, and two side edifices. The Largo also once featured a statue of Vladimir Lenin, which was later removed and replaced by the one of St. Sophia in 2000.

City Break Sofia

A few years ago, a glass lid on the floor emerged in the centre of the Independence square, so that the ruins of the ancient Thracian and Roman city of Serdica could be exposed in an impressive way.

The two underpasses, the one in front of the former Party House and the one with the medieval Church of St Petka, contain the traces of the fortified walls of ancient Serdica and an original roman street. The paved main streets were leading to the city forum, which was situated under the present square Sveta Nedelya. Luxurious villas with sewerage, water-mains and paved streets were located in the region of Serdica subway station.

While you’re there, you can also visit the Square of Tolerance called after the four churches within few minutes walk of each other: a mosque, a catholic cathedral, an orthodox church and a synagogue. The temples of the 4 major religions in this part of the world are all functioning in the same square.

For lunch we have two options: Made in Blue or Soul Kitchen. Made in Blue is one of the most “instagrammable” places in Sofia which makes it a very popular place. You will need to book a table in advance if you don’t want to miss it out. If you book a table in the garden, don’t forget to also check the house before you leave. The menu contains an interesting worldwide selection.

Soul Kitchen is a great place for vegetarians and vegans. Everything is prepared and served with great care for details. It also has one of the nicest gardens in Sofia!

City Break Sofia

If you’re still up for walking you should head to Arena Di Serdica Hotel to see the remains of the Amphitheatre of Serdica. The Amphitheatre of Serdica hosted fights between gladiators and beasts and was considered the biggest in the eastern part of the Roman Empire and Bulgaria. You can read more here.

For a fancy night out you can choose between Sense Rooftop Bar and Jasmine Gastro Bar. The terrace at Sense Rooftop Bar offers you a 180-degree view on Sofia and some of its most emblematic buildings. The restaurant is on top of one of the most expensive hotels in Sofia, Sense, and it certainly lives up to its reputation.

Jasmine’s summer garden is perfect for a quiet dinner and the interior is equally inviting. The fact that it’s located on Rakovski Street, one of the main party streets in Sofia, makes Jasmine look like an oasis in the middle of the desert/noisy street. Their cocktail selection is amazing.

The night is young so you can sip a cocktail at Sputnik Bar, situated next to one of the best Bulgarian restaurants Rakia Raketa Bar. Their cocktail menu contains their own recipes but they also do “classics”.

Day 4

We cannot be productive on an empty stomach so we are going to have breakfast at Daro, a cosy place in the centre of Sofia where the Chef is one of the winners of Masterchef Bulgaria. It is also a good place for a quick brunch.

 

On our way to the most famous pedestrian street in Sofia we stop at Drekka for a matcha latte/coffee.

 

Vitosha Boulevard is the perfect place to relax on a Sunday afternoon while walking, listening to live music, admiring the Vitosha mountain (click here for Vitosha Mountain guide), watching people and why not, shopping?

If you feel like eating something sweet, there is a really nice place nearby where you can find the best sweets in town. It’s called Vila Rosiche, a beautiful house with a green garden in the middle of the town. You can also enjoy a cup of tea next to your cake and if you feel like you ate too much, you can take a walk in the National Palace of Culture Park nearby.

For lunch we have two options: the best burger place in town, Skaptobara, or the farm to table restaurant, Bagri. If you choose Skaptobara don’t forget to order the cheesy potatoes. They are delicious! Both locations offer a wide selection of Bulgarian craft beers + wines.

 

At Bagri, like in many places in Sofia, the menu is seasonal and changes accordingly. They have a sustainable approach as they want to offer the best taste by using healthy cooking techniques and supporting local, organic producers.

 

 

Last walk of the day will be towards the Ivan Vazov National Theatre and the beautiful City Garden, where many locals like to hang out. Ivan Vazov was a great personality of Bulgaria, often called the Patriarch of the Bulgarian Literature. You cannot miss the imposing Sofia Balkan Hotel, situated next to the park.

If you want to find out more about his life and legacy you can visit the Ivan Vazov House Museum that can be found in the vicinity of the theatre.

Now we need to get ready for dinner, as we have a reservation at Made in Home or Aubergine (it’s up to you, again). Made in Home is the elder brother of Made in Blue so you will enjoy it as much, if not even more. This might be the perfect place to relax on a Sunday evening and forget about all the worries in the world.

Aubergine offers an impressive selection of interesting dishes paired with local craft beer. As you might think, the main ingredient in their kitchen is the eggplant. The relaxed atmosphere sets the mood for a perfect romantic dinner.

Honorable mentions: CosmosZoya & Sun Moon (Healthy Food), Moma Bulgarian Food & Wine

Bulgarian Street Art

Walks and Parks: Sofia’s main attractions are located in the city centre so everywhere you want to go you can arrive by foot. While walking around you can stop in the many small parks and admire the surroundings.

I hope that you have enjoyed my selection.

 

Later!

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nunta regala

12 + 1 Tinute demne de o Nunta Regala inspirate din povestile Disney

After the show it’s the afterparty

 

Cine nu și-ar dori să participe la petrecerea cele mai așteptate nunți a anului 2018? Vestea logodnei prințului Harry al Marii Britanii cu actrița Meghan Markle a înconjurat lumea cu viteza sunetului și a dat speranțe celor mai mari case de modă că îi vor putea crea ținute demne de o prințesă viitoarei mirese.

Nunțile regale fascinează și încântă întreaga populație a globului de secole. Poate că cel mai mult ne încântă asocierea lor cu basmele și poveștile pe care ni le citeau părinții înainte de culcare, sau cea cu desenele animate Disney pe care le vizionăm și acum cu aceeași candoare. Regii, reginele, prinții și prințesele sunt personaje de poveste, pe care le privim cu admirație și entuziasm, și de cele mai mult ori, la care doar putem visa. Pentru că fiecare copil iși dorește ca atunci când va fi mare să își găsească prințul sau prințesa.

Cu ocazia nunții regale iți propun un exercițiu de imaginație. Cum ar fi să te numeri printre norocoșii invitați la petrecerea restrânsă de după ceremonie? Ce ținută ai alege dacă nu ai avea un dress code de respectat? Ai îndrăzni să ieși din zona de confort și ai alege o ținută extravagantă? Sau ai alege mai degrabă branduri recunoscute pentru simplitatea și eleganța modelelor?

P.S. Am descoperit recent că cei de la Disney Paris organizează și nunți. Așa că visul vostru de a avea o nuntă ca în basme se poate transforma în realitate!

Albă ca Zăpada

Simplitatea și frumusețea Albei ca Zăpada se regăsesc în orice creație Chanel.

Jasmine

O salopetă strălucitoare Halpern care să reflecte (la propriu și la figurat) personalitatea efervescentă a prințesei Jasmine.

Cenușăreasa

nunta regala

Cenușăreasa este o luptătoare prin prisma faptului că trebuie să facă față cerințelor absurde și comentariilor răutăcioase ale mamei și surorilor vitrege. Jacheta rock reprezintă armura care o protejează de ele.

Aurora

Eleganța prințesei Aurora nu poate fi transpusă mai bine decât printr-un design semnat Ralph and Russo.

Belle

Rochia purtată de Belle la primul ‘date night’ cu Bestia este considerată una dintre cele mai frumoase rochii din istoria Disney. Creația Maticevski din imagine este omagiul perfect adus acestui moment.

Ariel

Rochia cu umerii goi este reprezentativă pentru Ariel și personalitatea ei. Nuanțele de albastru marin din partea de jos a creației Givenchy fac trecerea dintre spațiul marin și cel terestru, așa cum a ales și Ariel să renunțe la statutul de sirenă în favorea celui de pământean.

Dacă rochia Givenchy este reprezentativă pentru viața marină a lui Ariel, atunci costumul Dolce and Gabbana este mai potrivit etapei de adaptare la viața terestră. Nasturii în formă de stea de mare sunt un reminder al originii oceanice.

Tiana

Culoarea reprezentativă a poveștii Tianei este verde, o culoare care ne teleportează în mijlocul naturii. Creația Dolce and Gabbana este perfectă pentru un ‘garden wedding’.

Rapunzel

Pentru Rapunzel, pădurea reprezintă nu numai locul care îi amintește de copilărie, ci și spațiul în care se retrage când are nevoie să se încarce cu energie. Richard Quinn este designerul pe care stă cu ochii chiar și regina Elisabeta, așa că alegerea unui design din cea mai recentă colecție a sa ar fi una inspirată.

Elsa

Superputerea prințesei Elsa constă în abilitatea de a controla zăpada și gheața. La început acest dar se dovedește a fi o provocare, însă pe parcurs ea ajunge să își controleze sentimentele și, prin intermediul lor, superputerea. Culoarea rochiei Talbot Runhof este cea a ghețarilor de la Polul Nord, iar volanul stropit cu roz pe margini și căzut delicat pe umeri este ‘Elsa-worthy’.

Pocahontas

Pocahontas este un spirit liber, cu voință puternică. O rochie lejeră, în culori pastel Roksanda Ilincic este cea mai potrivită alegere pentru o astfel de personalitate.

nunta regala

Mulan

Deși se înscrie în lupta cu armata hunilor mânată de instinct, Mulan este o fată sensibilă și grațioasă. Dragostea pentru familie și semeni îi dă curaj și o înzestrează cu puteri nebănuite. În feng shui, galbenul este culoarea soarelui care aduce lumină în viețile oamenilor, așa cum a făcut-o și Mulan.

Merida

Merida este o prințesă războinică dar și o iubitoare a naturii. Rochia verde, cu motive tradiționale, creată de Peter Dundas ar putea fi și alegerea ei.

nunta regala

Photos via Vogue Runway


matching sets

Game, Set, Matching Sets

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Pomegranate: Hey Juice! What have you been up to lately? I haven't heard anything from you for a while.

Juice: Howdy Pom! I have taken some time off. It was somehow unexpected so I did not have time to inform anyone around me. How are you?

Pomegranate: Good for you! I love time-offs, especially during spring. It's a fun way to anticipate summer activities. I have been involved in some projects that made me keep a low profile. But now I am looking forward to the summer events, festivals and sports competitions included! I am a huge fan of the Roland Garros tennis tournament. I have always associated it with summer and eating cherries. Do you also enjoy watching tennis?

Juice: Yes, of course! I used to play tennis when I was a kid. My favourite back then was Pete Sampras, but now I think that Rafael Nadal is the master of the clay!

Pomegranate: I could not agree more! I am also thinking of updating my wardrobe with some festival outfits. Good vibes attached. 

Juice: I might have an interesting suggestion! I know that it's usually the other way round but during my recent trip I have developed an affinity for matching sets. I think that they are the perfect holiday must pack items. I mean if you want to travel light when you are on a two weeks holiday you can pack three matching sets in similar colours and you are ready to go!

Pomegranate: Great idea! I actually love matching sets and I have seen some interesting ones in the most recent collections. But don't you think that you might get bored of combining the sets in your holiday?

Juice: Now that you mention it, I think that the risk is high.  You are right, as usual. What do you suggest adding to the light pack if I want to keep the matching sets?

Pomegranate: Keep the matching sets and add some basics like a pair of short jeans, a white/black top and a slip dress that will save you when you want to feel all dressed up. Oh and let's not forget this season's latest obsession, the jumpsuit! You need to add it to your wardrobe asap!

Juice: Thanks for the tips. I will scan the latest collections to see if I can find a suitable jumpsuit . Do you think that jumpsuits look good on all body types?

Pomegranate: It's easier if you choose a simple wide leg jumpsuit. Do not go for prints or slim fits if you are not feeling comfortable or confident wearing them. Remember that nothing is forbidden in fashion, it's all about the right attitude!

Juice’s Choice:


vacanta in puglia

Travel in Fashion - Puglia & Cult Gaia

You can check my comprehensive guide to Puglia in my other article!

Travel in fashion – Puglia & Cult Gaia, is the first part of a series that will combine uprising brands with ‘hot’ travel destinations. Before I started writing this series, I was thinking that it would be nice to share with you information about interesting brands from all over the world that I had came across.

But soon afterwards I realised that nowadays it is a pretty difficult task for one to share new information concerning anything, because everything is just one click away, thanks to the internet. So I want to make it more interesting by associating the “newfoundbrand” with a travel destination.

Cult Gaia

I have chosen the L.A. based brand because ever since I found out about it I could not help imagining how all the bags and clothing items would fit in a Puglian landscape, more exactly a Puglian Masseria. Seeing them, I remembered about our holiday in the aforementioned region of Italy, when we were lucky enough to stay for three nights at Masseria Corte Degli Asini (Link). At first I was not sure if I wanted to give up on the comfort provided by a hotel or something similar, but when I started reading more about the italian ‘Masseria’, I regretted that we could not stay there more. FYI, a masseria is a restored farmhouse from Puglia, similar to a “hacienda”. You can find more information here: Link

Tip 1: If you want to spend your holiday in the northern part of Puglia, you should choose an accommodation with a swimming pool, as the shores are pretty rocky and if you are visiting in July-August, the small beaches will be over-crowded like you’ve never seen before.

Tip 2: If you are looking for an over the top accommodation, I recommend a stay at the magnificent Borgo Egnazia: Link

Masseria Corte degli Asini (Link) has the perfect combination for a traditional Puglian experience: amazing architecture and furnishings, a beautiful swimming pool; a delectable green garden; an inside garden where you can organise events like engagement/birthday parties, weddings, special celebrations; free bikes that you can ride through their olive trees plantations, etc.

You can also have access to a typical Puglian culinary feast, if you let them know beforehand that you will serve the meal at the Masseria. Beware that there will be a lot of delicious food involved! Breakfast is served in the refurnished old mill where the assinelli were putting the wheels in motion in order to turn olives into oil. Also, if the sky is clear you can see the Adriatic Sea in the distance.

Masseria Corte Degli Asini is a great base for exploring the surrounding attractions such as: Alberobello (Trulli Land), Martina Franca, Cisternino, Locorotondo or Ostuni (the White City from the top of the hill, a real gem for any tourist. If you want to have dinner in any of its beautiful restaurants, you need to make a reservation a few days ahead.). Also, Masseria Corte Degli Asini is situated 8 km from the sea, and the beautiful beach of Rosa Marina.

Let’s talk about Cult Gaia. I think that there is no better way to describe them than what is written at their “About” section: Cult Gaia designs beautiful heirloom items that will live in your closet forever. I look up to the fashion brands that have a clear vision on what they want to create.

Cult Gaia rose to fame in 2016 by creating an item that was instantly hunted by almost everyone in the fashion world, the Ark bag. Priced at 128$, the bag was considered an affordable luxury item, so it became an instant hit. The next year, the bag was reinvented by switching from bamboo to acrylic. Their ready to wear collection is pretty new, dating from spring 2017.

The items that really caught my eye were the most recent ones from spring 2018 and some from the fall 2017. I have a feeling that this is only the beginning of something beautiful and that their collections will get better and better each season.

N.B.: I am not sure if the shooting of the most recent Cult Gaia collection took place in Italy, but the background resembles an Italian farmhouse.

Finally, why associate Cult Gaia with a Puglian Masseria?

1. The earthy colours resemble the rich brown and red soil found in the region;

2. The orange and yellow items remind you of the warm rays of sun that embrace the rough shores;

3. The navy pieces are perfect for exploring the sea and its secret coves;

4. The green combinations not only remind you of the magnificent olive trees plantations, but are the perfect outfits for a romantic dinner by the sea.

5. The rattan accessories (bags, bracelets, earrings) set the mood for the beautiful sand and stone painted Masseria setting.

So, if you are thinking of visiting Puglia anytime soon, any of these items will get along harmoniously with the surroundings.


Good things are happening in Oradea - Sightseeing

Sightseeing

Note: Check the attached link for further information regarding the mentioned sights and places to visit.

 

Go directly to Restaurants and Cafes: Link

The city center palace: Black Eagle Palace

Located in Unirii Square, the Black Eagle Palace is one of the most beautiful buildings in Oradea and a proper example of the Oradea architectural Secession style. Besides its beautiful exterior, the palace is known for its stained glass designs, one of them representing the Black Eagle.


The Episcopal Palace and its Church

Also known as the Baroque Palace, the building is a great example of the late Austrian Baroque style. We went there thinking that we were going to visit the Crisul County Museum, but we found out at the entrance that the museum had moved to a different building and that we could not visit the interiors at all. Hopefully the owners of this wonderful construction will take care of it and give us the chance to visit it in the future.


The museum: Crisul County Museum

The “Museum of the Three Rivers Land” had recently moved to a different location (The School for Cadets), so we were not able to see all of its exhibits (available: tapestry, sculpture and paintings). We will probably return during our next visit as the description of the entire collection seems impressive.


The City Hall Tower

This is a must see, if you want to have the best view of the main square and the Crisul Repede river.  There are a few steps to climb, but the view at the top should be worth it.


The Old Fortress

The Oradea Fortress is one of the historically most significant buildings in the whole country. It has been attentively restored and it now holds several events and fairs, one of the most important being the Christmas Fair. Inside its walls you can also find a hotel and a nice Bistro, called BastiOr.


The Moon Church is one of the main attractions in Unirii Square. Its name derives from the moon installed on its facade, that indicates the moon phases. You can read more about this interesting mechanism and the church here.


The Neolog Synagogue ‘Zion’

 

Dating back to 1878, the Zion Synagogue is a beautiful example of a Neolog Temple. It will surely impress you with its colourful ceilings and and walls. The light slips gently through the windows only to reflect elegantly on the walls.


Mushroom Hill/Dealul Ciuperca

 

Also known as “Oradi(e)a’s Hill”, this is the best place to watch the sunrise/sunset, if you are a romantic at heart. The view from the top will emphasise the beauty and tranquility of the town. Bonus: you can also have a romantic dinner at the restaurant from the top of the hill.


Must try local food: Langos

Places worth visiting: Darvas-La Roche House, closed for renovation until 2019.

Noteworthy buildings: Astoria Hotel (Sztarill Palace), Oradea State Theatre, Moskvits Palace

Go directly to Restaurants and Cafes: Link