Category Archives: Travel

Fall, falling, foliage – a collage

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Copyright photography: Andreea Sepi 2015.

Limited series prints available for sale in 30×40 cm frame format, with high-quality passepartout and aluminium frames. EUR89,00.

Swiss wonders 2015

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There are countries you can always count on. Countries that never let you down. Countries that make you walk on cloud nine. Literally.

Switzerland is one of them.

Jagged, proud mountain peaks as cathedrals of humility where human beings realize their smallness and settle in the eternal peace of their essential selves. All else is a surrogate, a delusion. The climb, the muscles burning, nails screeching on stone, the thirst. That’s all that matters. The cutting winds, the cold.

And then an evening in front of the fireplace in a pretty chalet or the generous, balmy afternoons around Lake Geneva.

The beauty, the calmness of a steady pace, the cleanliness. Marmots squeaking and ibex prancing at 2500 m above sea level.

The post bus worming its way on narrow ribbons of asphalt facing the abyss, sounding its horn before a hairpin curve.

Rain and drizzle and searing sun in August.

Switzerland. Expensive with good reason and worth every “centime“.

Typical chalet in Grimentz, Val d'Anniviers, Valais.

Typical chalet in Grimentz, Val d’Anniviers, Valais

Keeping those skis ready - Valais.

Keeping those skis ready – Grimentz, Valais

“Downtown” Grimentz, VS

Sorrebois Cablecar - Valais

Sorebois Cablecar – Val d’Anniviers (VS)

Cloudy afternoon above Grimentz, Valais

Cloudy and damp August afternoon – Alpage de Moiry, Val d’Anniviers (VS)

Lake Geneva (Leman) with beautiful gardens at Montreux (VD)

Lake Geneva (Leman) with lush gardens at Montreux (VD)

Lac Leman above Montreux at sunset - VD.

Montreux, home to perfect lawns and finest hotels, at sunset – VD

Lausanne (VD), home of the Olympic Museum (and the Olympic flame!)

Lausanne (VD), home of the Olympic Museum (and the Olympic flame!)

United Nations HQ in Geneva, Switzerland (GE)

United Nations HQ in Geneva, Switzerland (GE)

Place des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Place des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Typical Alpine village in Switzerland

Typical Alpine village in Switzerland

Moiry Glacier, Grimentz, Valais

Moiry Glacier, Grimentz, Valais

Artsy shot of Moiry lodge perched on a cliff, Valais

Artsy shot of Moiry lodge perched on a cliff, Valais

Steep slopes kissing, Valais

Steep slopes kissing, Valais

Look at all that rock!

Look at all that rock and ice!

Quiet bold climbers on ice, Moiry Glacier - Valais

Quiet bold climbers on ice, Moiry Glacier – Valais

Humbling greatness - Moriy Glacier, VS

Humbling, overpowering greatness – Moriy Glacier, VS

Jumble boutique with kind owner in St. Luc, VS

Jumble boutique with kind owner in St. Luc, VS

Flowerpots, St. Luc (VS)

Flowerpots, St. Luc (VS)

Glorious view of Matterhorn (Mt. Cervin - 4478 m) and Hotel Weisshorn (above St. Luc, VS)

Breathtaking view of Matterhorn (Mt. Cervin – 4478 m) and Hotel Weisshorn (above St. Luc, VS)

Not far from Matterhorn - Weißhorn (Dent Blanche), Zinalrothorn - view from Tignousa (VS)

Not far from Matterhorn –  possibly Weißhorn or Obergabelhorn more than 4,000 m high – view from Tignousa (VS)

On the planets trek (Sentier des Planetes) - Touno (VS)

Along the planets trek (Sentier des Planetes) – Touno (VS)

Glorious morning on Moiry dam (VS)

Glorious morning on Moiry dam (VS)

Moiry dam above Grimentz (VS)

Moiry dam above Grimentz (VS)

Bikers training for the Grand Raid - Moiry dam (VS)

Bikers training for the Grand Raid – Moiry dam (VS)

Moiry dam (VS) with typical alpine flora

Moiry dam (VS) with typical alpine flora

Roughness in stone

Roughness in stone (VS)

After the Simplon pass on the road to Italy. Au revoir, Suisse! Bis bald!

After the Simplon pass on the road to Italy. Au revoir, Suisse! Bis bald!

Copyright photography: Andreea Sepi 2015.

Limited series prints available for sale in 30×40 cm frame format, with high-quality passepartout and aluminium frames. EUR89,00.

Lago di Garda – Italia, 2015

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Motto:  “To have experienced beauty.”

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Copyright photos: Andreea Sepi 2015.

(BW Photos on street corner belong to art photographer Luciano Bonacini: www.lucianobonacini.com)

Ouă “împistrite” şi “încondeiate”: The Romanian tradition of Easter egg painting

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Munich, 20.03.2015. The Romanian General Consulate hosted an exhibition and hands-on demonstration of the craft by folk artist Letitia Orsivschi – the founder of Romania’s unique “Egg Museum” (which holds 6000 decorated eggs from all over the world).

Ouă roşii în tehnica negativului, cu simboluri tradiţionale // Red eggs in the "negative" painting technique with traditional symbols

Ouă roşii în tehnica negativului, cu simboluri tradiţionale // Red eggs in the “negative” painting technique with traditional symbols // Bemalte Ostereier mit traditionellen rumänischen Motiven

Costume populare şi tradiţii precreştine de primăvară - ouăle încondeiate // Romanian folk costumes and a millennia-old spring tradition - the painted egg

Costume populare şi tradiţii precreştine de primăvară – ouăle încondeiate // Romanian folk costumes and a millennia-old spring tradition – the painted egg // Rumänische Tracht und vorchristliche Brauchtümer – die bemalten Eier

Culori tradiţionale bucovinene, toate obţinute din pigmenţi naturali adăugaţi sub formă de pulbere în ceara de albine // Traditional Bucovinian colors, all made from natural pigments added in the beeswax

Culori tradiţionale bucovinene, toate obţinute din pigmenţi naturali adăugaţi sub formă de pulbere în ceara de albine // Traditional Bucovinian colors, all made from natural pigments added in the beeswax //Typische Bukowinische Farben aus natürlichen, handgemachten Pigmenten

Paştele în Bucovina // Easter in the Bucovina

Paştele în Bucovina // Easter celebrations in the Bucovina // Osterfeier in der Bukowina

SEE HOW IT’S DONE!  // UND SO WIRD’S GEMACHT! (siehe unten)

Below, an excerpt of the actual videotaped egg-painting demonstration, with children:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=539785332831438&pnref=story

or

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=539785332831438&set=vb.100003999281754&type=2&theater&notif_t=video_processed

Enjoy! Happy Easter!

Viel Spaß beim Nachmachen! Frohe Ostern!

 

 

Perlacher Forst – Munich, 2015

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Winter landscapes in Munich’s south end. A journey that starts at dawn and extends into the afternoon.

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Copyright A. Sepi

Munich, 70 years after Auschwitz…

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Today, 27.01.2015, is the 70th commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. Glimpses caught yesterday in the city that witnessed the rise of national socialism all those years ago and which now takes pride in its vivid diversity and its Anti-Bagida movement.

Entertainer in Marienplatz

Entertainer in Marienplatz

Old Munich Townhall

Old Munich City Hall

Entranced - Gipsy and Jewish music in the streets that gave birth to national socialism

In a trance  –  Jewish music in the streets that once gave birth to national socialism

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Gone with the music

The flight of earthbound things

The gentle flight of earthbound things – plus a tinge of pink. Yes, careful, be careful what you step on…

Residenz Gardens

… the world is never black and white.

On my way home, I saw a man meditate in the subway station. He was sitting upright on a bench, immobile and serene, with closed eyelids. His fingers plucking truth from the stuffy underground air, the inside of his palms like tulip bulbs waiting to burst into flower. And rivers of people flowed by him in the form of huge dragon tails: loud, tense, shuffling their feet. And trains came and went. And he didn’t wake up.

I sat next to him for a while, to bathe in his silence, to plunge in his personal pool of quiet. As my train drove away, a symphony still poured from the loudspeakers at Odeonsplatz subway station. And I was still watching, listening, being. And I still couldn’t forget the Auschwitz woman cradling her empty arms where her baby had been, the most wonderful creature, gone, gone, gone forever. And how the very same night, she threw herself into the electric fence.

So I decided to write this blog.

Let’s never forget.

New Year’s Eve under the Eiffel Tower

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Before you go all “Aaaah!…” and “Wow!…” Paris was impressive, but also crowded and rather unromantically dirty. 🙂

You see, there’s Paris and there’s Paris. There is Paris with children; Paris for lovers; Paris of the learned and Paris of the uncultured; Paris for seniors and Paris for the hip and “chic“.

And then there’s all of that crammed into a spontaneous 24-hour stay.

So while Mother Nature was heaping merciless amounts of snow upon Germany, we chose to escape its slippery streets and undertake a day-long stoical march along a murky Seine and grand, sand-colored palaces instead, in an attempt to check all of Paris’ mandatory boxes: Notre Dame, Pont Neuf, Louvre, Jardin de Tuileries, Place de la Concorde, Grand Palais, Quai d’Orsay, and – to crown it all – La Tour Eiffel.

Boat ride to Notre Dame Cathedral

Boat ride to Notre Dame Cathedral

Mesmerized by stained glass wonders inside the Notre Dame

Mesmerized by stained glass wonders inside the Notre Dame

A place of prayer - since the 12th century

A place of prayer – since the 12th century

We almost also made it to Sacré Coeur, but after a rather unsettling after-dark experience at a Montmartre metro station, eventually decided against it. Oh, yes, the wonderful old Paris metro. With its tight galleries, its round infiltrated walls, its homeless and its loud revellers. As someone on a forum somewhere put it: reliable, but “about as charming as your local prison”. 🙂

Yes, Paris was sunny. (We had checked that before setting out to drive 11 hours through blinding blizzards and fluffy flurries.) But even so, to visit Paris in 24 hours is insane.

There’s the uncanny immensity of the Louvre, its facade lined with the statues of thinkers and its glass pyramids and its Egyptian and Roman collections and its gardens full of sculptures and sun. The interminable palaces full of the riches of “haute culture” everywhere.

Louvre - The glass pyramids

Louvre – The glass pyramids

Stepping on water?

Tiptoeing on water – The Louvre of optical illusions

A seagull's glimpse of the Eiffel Tower

A seagull’s glimpse of the Eiffel Tower

Winter and yet so green

Winter and yet so green – Jardin de Tuileries

There’s the Obelisque and the Champs Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe so alluringly close yet so unattainably far away (I wore out one pair of boots).

Obelisk with wheel and winged sculpture - Jardin de Tuilleries

Obelisk with wheel and winged sculpture – Place de la Concorde

There’s the bridge Alexandre the Third and the thick, dry, almost lifeless dignity of the Quay d’Orsay in winter. But of course, above all, the beacon that guided us through this micro-vacation. The lacy, slender iron structure, both frail and forceful, that towers above it all – The Eiffel.

Pont Alexandre III with young couples and tower

Pont Alexandre III with young couples, blue December skies and tower

Because, you see, there is also a Paris for engineers.

Yes. There is the jaw-dropping, mind-blowing astonishment at this technological feat completed 125 years ago and initially meant to last only 20. The architectural vision, the engineering prowess. The blood-accelerating beauty. I never thought iron beams can be so fluid, so aesthetically accomplished, so airy. The 310-meter-high structure was built using only a meager 7,300 tonnes of iron. If melted, all of the tower’s iron would barely fill its 125 m x 125 m square base to a depth of 6.25 cm (2.5 in). Eiffel’s architecture firm produced 18,000 drawings and the pieces were cast one by one and delivered to the construction site in 5-meter long beams with exact instructions. A total of 2.5 million rivets were needed to hold the construction together. And at the top of it all stood the penthouse apartment of Mr. Eiffel himself.

The Eiffel Tower - intricate iron embroidery

The Eiffel Tower – intricate iron embroidery

The thrill of the ride up the thin tower’s north foot after standing in line for two hours remains, for me, unequaled. Every year, 7 million people climb the Eiffel tower in search of that feeling. The feeling of being suspended so high up with so little material underneath one’s feet, to marvel at Paris’ sprawling urban jewels and slithering Seine. We experienced all this during a windy blue hour on December 31 (there is a skating rink on the “first” floor, too) and it crowned our short trip like a tasty French dessert.

Sunset view from the Eiffel tower's second floor

Sunset view from the Eiffel tower’s second floor

We simply had to return to it at midnight. We had to see it glisten like a diamond in its golden ring mounting, lit up by thousand of small, flickering lights. We simply had to.

Lighting it up!

Lighting it up! – 00:00 Jan.1st, 2015

Even though the big official party didn’t happen this year either (financial distress, probably), there aren’t many more interesting ways to usher in the New Year than craning one’s neck at the engineering and architectural wonder in France’s capital, surrounded by multinational crowds of locals and tourists.

Happy New Year!  Bonne Année! Ein Frohes Neues!

Happy New Year – 2015!
Bonne Année – 2015!
Ein Frohes Neues – 2015!

Yes, we are even willing to forgive Paris its ubiquitous dog poops and sputum-filled sidewalks and give it another try some other year. I can’t wait to be snowed in at the Louvre. 😉