Bucket list

Challenge № 8 – Read a quote every day

Read a quote every day….

Challenge 8 Read a quote every day.png

Quote are powerful messages and very often they cross our eyes or our eyes cross them at the very right moment. That happened to me while I was procrastinating to start my blog. One day I just read the following quote:

“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with the voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start.”
Ijeoma Umebinyuo

That quote made me realize that I  have to start my blog no matter how prepared I was/ or was not at all. I just took immediate action and wrote my first article. since then I am working on my blog and trying to develop it as much as I can.

In order to stick to my 50 things to do before you die, I would like to share my favourite  quotes that helped me in my life so far:

“I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest” — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then the truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”― “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Work hard. Talk less. Do what you feel is right. Learn from your mistakes. Build people up. Laugh often. Stop complaining. Invest in yourself. Dream big. Plan ahead. Love unconditionally”– Anonymous

“Three simple rules in life:

  1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
  2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
  3. If you do not step forward you will always be in the same place.” Anonymous

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Do not grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” – Rumi

“All very neat and tidy. Tie up your problems with a big bow and maybe you can pretend they are a present”The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

”What you want exists. Don’t settle until you get it.” – Motivational quotes

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of the fear.” – George Adair

“Eat better. Run more. Squat more. Sleep earlier. Wake up earlier. Make a good breakfast. Drink water. Eat fruits. Read books. Adventure. Talk less. Listen more. Feel deeper. Love better. Open your eyes. Experience life. Be happy.” – Try to stay positive

 

 

Travel

Waiting for Dracula…..

The time has come to write a review of my trip to Romania…I wanted to go on a trip with my mother and an organized trip to Romania sounded like the perfect option. So, in May 2017, we headed from Bulgaria to Romania….

First stop: Bucharest and the massive The Palace of the Parliament (Romanian: Palatul Parlamentului)….Or called by the locals ‘‘Ceausescu’s palace’‘ was on my list of buildings to see and I was amazed by the size and the beauty of the entire area where the parliament is located…It looks like a little Paris, the colour of the stones used to build up the area looks exactly the same as the one used in Paris… So little Paris on the Balkans…

After the Romanian parliament, we visited the National Village Museum (”Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum” – Romanian: Muzeul Satului). It’s a wonderland that transports you in the Romanian lifestyle in the past. We spent about one hour there and afterwards we headed to Sinaia.

The best of the trip from Bucarest to Sinaia is that you cross the Carpathes mountains. The scenery is stunning, especially during the summer period.

We arrived in Sinaia in the late afternoon. Sinaia is a famous Romanian ski resort. It’s a small town with a long walking street and many little shops and restaurants. We visited Sinaia monastery and the church situated in the Prahova Valley a little bit at the top of the hilly town.

The next day we left Sinaia early in the morning and travelled to Bran to visit Dracula’s castle. The castle itself did not impress me – there is a similar one in Balchik in Bulgaria – the Balchik Palace where Marie Queen of Romania lived during the summer period. But it’s a must-see once in a lifetime. So, ticked on my list. Bran is a small village with many stands for souvenirs, local delicacies and the like.

In the afternoon, we visited Brașov. For me that’s was the highlights of the trip. The city is very colourful even though it was raining when we arrived. The first thing we visited was the narrowest street in the city of Brașov called Strada Sforii

After that, we visited the city centre for a coffee and souvenirs. The day finished with a panoramic walk/ view at the top of the city. Just amazingly beautiful….

The last day of our Romanian adventure was dedicated to visiting two of the most famous castles in Romania – Peleș and Pelișor. Both are imposing and surrounded by greenery and breathtaking views. The best end of an unforgettable trip.

I hope after that review, you will put Romania on your list and go chase Dracula…

Thanks for reading!

Ciné club

Five movies that will urge you to travel – part II

Watch these movies and pack!

Movies that will urge you to travel.png

In the first part of Movies that will urge you to travel, I wrote about movies and places I already visited. In this part II, I am going to write about places that are still on my bucket list.

Eat, pray, love (2010): the journey to find yourself

Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller is one of my favourite books. I read the book twice and watched the movie several times. it’s not only about travelling and exploring the world. It’s a self-discovery. I am sure the most of you have already read the book and seen the movie, so if you haven’t been in Italy, India or Indonesia, it’s time to think about it and book your trip.

The beach (2000): Thailand and its islands

The movie is well-known and Thailand is one of the most visited countries in Asia. The little paradise where Leonardo di Caprio escapes is a place to be. Hope to visit it one day…

The movie is based on the book The Beach by Alex Garland.

Mamma Mia (2008): Abba and Greece

Greece and its heavenly beautiful islands are a top-destination for many Bulgarians (I am an exception as I’ve never been there). Many of my friends travel only to Greece because, as they say, this is the most beautiful place in the world and this is the only place on earth where they want to be…I am sure I will be in love with Greece once I visit it. After watching Mamma Mia, I immediately added Greece on my list.

Casablanca (1942): Morocco

This classic is a must-see and the country itself has a lot to offer. Morocco has been on my list for ages and I really hope that one day I am going to tick it ”done”.

Thelma & Louise (1991): USA

Who doesn’t want to go on a road trip in the USA? That’s once in a lifetime experience. A car, your hair in the air and the road from Oklahoma to Mexico. Put the belt on and go!

 

Travel

Who doesn’t want to go to Amsterdam?

Walking down Amsterdam’s streets

It’s time to write about Amsterdam and to give you, dear reader, ideas where to go, what to see and what to eat in this place that amazes millions of tourists every year.

So, beautiful Amsterdam, here we come!

Amsterdam is easily reachable by train from every big city in the Netherlands – the Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. Especially Utrecth is really close by (only 30 min. by train!!!). So, if you plan to visit Amsterdam and you think the accommodations there are way too expensive, just check the above mentioned Dutch cities. That could be a go for a cheaper city trip.

First stop, Amsterdam Central Station. The Central Station is located in 5 min. walk from the Dam – the central square of the Dutch capital. There are many possibilities of ”city tours”  but I’ll give you the tips for the ”basic” and the ”special” ones. My version of Amsterdam visit is for those who decide not to stay in Amsterdam, and that’s the reason why my departure and arrival point is Amsterdam Central Station.

Basic route (one day visit): from the Central Station, you take the tram №5 (the tram literally crosses the entire city and you can just sit, relax and admire the view. Once arrived at Amsterdam Zuid, you can come back by taking the same tram to Amsterdam Central with a better plan of your highlights to see!) and go to Museumplein. This is the place where are located all the Amsterdam museums – Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Moco Museum, Stedelijk Museum and the Diamond factory. The Rijksmuseum is an absolute must-see, but be prepared, it’s massive and you’ll need an entire day. My favourite is Van Gogh museum – it’s amazing and it’s doable in two hours. Leave a room to go to the Diamond factory (for free) and learn the history and the production process of diamonds. Apart from being a meeting point for eveyrone interested in art, Museumplein is famous for its huge ”I amstedam” sign where all the tourists take selfie pictures ):

Once visited Museumplein, you can take the road back to the Central Station. On the way, you’ll see the Flowers market. Take your time and buy presents for your family and friends. You’ll see many cheese shops, coffee shops and souvenir shops on your way.

After the Flowers market, it’s time for a boat trip. This is very very very touristic attracation, but it’s the only way to admire the unique architecture of the city. You’ll need at least one hour. The boat tours meeting point is at the Dam sqaure, not far away from the Central station. On the same street, you’ll see the Heineken Experience, the Sex Museum and Madame Tussauds. Give them a try if you have time.

After the boat trip, it’s time for the Red Light District and coffee shops (optional). From the boat trip meeting point you take one of the bridges and you’ll arrive at the Red Light District. It’s packed of tourists, coffee shops and thematically related museums (Prostitution museum for example).

After the Red Light District it’s time to go back to the Amsterdam Central Station (if you do not stay in Amsterdam).

The second version can include some of the highlights of the ”Basic” in case you have enough time.

Nine streets Amsterdam Walking tour (one day):

One of the best things to do in Amsterdam is to walk around throught the bridges and the canals to admire the architecture and feel the vibrant athmosphere of the city. The best way to do it and to escape the crowds is: walk through the Nine Streets – it’s a collective name for the cosy streets from Raadhuisstraat to Leidsegracht. Many little cafes, restaurants and design stores will welcome you if you need a break or want to buy a special gift. Nine streets maps are available in many key places around the city.

Apart from the mentioned above attractions, you can also visit Zaanse Schans (organized trips are offered in the Tourist Information Centers), you can also go there by public transport, just check the busses (https://9292.nl/en). Nemo Science Museum is also something to check out. If you plan to visit Amsterdam from November till February, don’t miss out the Amsterdam Light Festival. If you love chocolate, check the Chocoa Festival in February. If you’ve never ever seen wallbies, lamas and and other unusual animals, just go to Amstelpark (it’s for free).

Hope you enjoyed your visit in Amsterdam and now you buy a ticket to see it for free!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Ciné club

The Great Masters of la Haute Couture

It’s autumn, the wheater is getting colder and colder and it’s time for movie nights. Today, I would like to offer you a selection of movies about some of the Great Masters of the Haute Couture. I am not so much into fashion, but the creative world behind the podiums has always impressed me. For me, the fashion is more than clothes – it’s about art, history, colourful vision, hard work, precision and great dedication.

Great Masters of the Haute Couture.png

  1. Yves Saint Laurent (2014) – the first place is for the absolute genius of the fashion world. The designer which ”The Mondrian” dress represents an entire chapter in the fashion history. The creator who lives in Paris and Marrakech and recreates the colours of both cities in his collections. I highly recommend to watch the movie and if you have time and you want to know more about Yves Saint Laurent, read his autobiography written by Laurence Benaïm.
  2. The second place is for the woman who no one could resist – Gabrielle Chanel. ”Coco before Chanel 2009” traces the hardships of this strong and brilliant woman who started to wear men trousers and invented the iconic blazer named after her. Coco Chanel – an intimate life by Lisa Chaney is an absolute reading
  3. Valentino: The Last Emperor (2008) is about the great Valentino. The Italian charm of the couturier will conquer you, I am sure! Watch it out, you won’t regret it!
  4. Dior and I (2014) – this one is not about the man who created the fashion house Dior, but about the life of the Parisian fashion house after Monsieur Dior. It’s more about the contribution of Raf Simons who joined the house in 2012. This is a movie that will make you realize what a hard work, inspiration and dedication are required to create a collection.
  5. And the last one is about the extravagant German who lives in Paris and works for Maison Chanel. Lagerfeld Confidential (2007) is about the icon designer Karl Lagerfeld who opens the doors of his home, studio and talks openly about his life, his family, his work and his beliefs. A sincere movie about a great man.

I hope you’ll enjoy watching these movies! Share if you care!

Thanks for reading!

 

Bucket list

Plant a tree every year – challenge №4

Minimalistic garden

It’s been a while that I had not updated my Bucket list column. It’s because I needed to make a structured research in order to write about challenge №4 “Plant a tree every year and watch it grow”. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s quite a popular goal and you can find it in almost every bucket list circulating on the web. But on the other hand, it’s something that everybody absolutely should do at least once in a lifetime, even more….I have never planted a tree myself until, me and my husband we bought a house with a little backyard. And the backyard needed to be completely renovated…..So, that’s how it all started.

We are very into Scandinavian minimalistic design, architecture, and houses, and we always wanted to have our own house with a backyard or a garden. And one year ago it became a reality. We bought a new house and renovated it in guess what style? Minimalist of course! The dominant colors are white, grey and black and the most used material is wood. The living space together with the kitchen is spacious and we have only what we need in terms of furniture. Once the house was renovated and furnished and the summer was coming, we decided that it was time to renew the backyard and organize a big BBQ-housewarming party.

We wanted the backyard to be in the same minimalist style and to be in synergy with the house itself, but at the same time, to have an outside retreat to relax and stay in touch with Mother Nature. This is a part of the concept of Japanese gardens – a place full of calmness in the spirit of Zen Buddhism which stresses simplicity and looks naturally clean. Even though everything from the layout to the main elements has a strict meaning, role, and place, they are laid out asymmetrically to suggest rugged wildness of nature. The elements and materials we used are wood (for the decking), concrete (for the outdoor tiles), little stones to fill in the spaces between the decking and the tiles. Grey (tiles), brown (decking) and green (plants) colors predominate. We filled the stony spots with trees, ponytails, and lavender. In total, we planted two trees, three or four ponytails and one lavender bush. The plants symbolize time’s passage and seasons change and make the backyard look differently in different seasons. So, challenge №4 has been successfully achieved and now we enjoy the summer days in the backyard. And gardening, relaxing in the hammock or making barbecue for our family and friends are the perfect stress-reducers and fulfilling activities especially in the warm seasons.

And you, do you like gardening? Did you already plant your tree or plants?

For more inspiration to make your own garden/ backyard, see my pictures below.

 

Thanks for reading!

Travel

Black sea pearl: Varna and the region – part II

After you visited Varna, it’s time to explore the region. I am going to start with my favourite places.

The number one place is for Pobiti Kamani (Bulgarian: Побити камъни, “Planted stones”).

It is a rock phenomenon and looks like the Bulgarian Stonehenge, located on 18 km north-west of Varna. The place consists of sand dunes and natural rock formations on a total area of 13 km². This magical place is well-known for its positive energy (according to the local superstitions) and if you lay down for a moment on a stone formation, you’ll feel the positive energy flow in your body and soul. Personally, I did it, I laid down on a big stone and I really felt a wave of serenity and calmness flowing into me. Who knows, maybe I was simply influenced by the local legends ):

Pobiti Kamani.pngThis picture is made by my brother-in-law Milen Dimov. Thanks Milen for the lovely picture!!

Number two: Balchik (42 km northeast of Varna)

Balchik is an absolute must-see! The little hilly town has a lot to offer in terms of surroundings, culture, seaside and attractions. The highlights of Balchik are the Botanical garden (Bulgarian: Ботаническа градина) and the Palace of Queen Marie of Romania (known as Balchik Palace, Bulgarian: Двореца). Both sites are close to each other. A botanical garden is a fairy-tale place – if you are into the photography, this place is the perfect spot for you. No matter the season, you’ll make awesome pictures. The garden is very big, so take half a day to visit it. The palace is tiny, but when there, pay it a visit too. Balchik is located in a hilly region, so walking in the town, means most likely climbing. Be prepared it’s a long street that goes up and down.

Balchik

Next stop: Albena (30 km northeast from Varna and 8 km southeast from Balchik)

The best beach resort EVER. This is my favourite place to go to the beach. Albena has the broadest coastline on the Bulgarian Black Sea and the beach is very clean. It’s a family resort and is not so noisy as Sunny Beach. The best place to relax and lay on the beach all day long.

Albena.pngThis picture is made by my friend Tsvetelina Yankova. Thanks Tsveti for the lovely picture!!

Aladzha Monastery is the next attraction on our way (stop number 4)

Aladzha Monastery (Bulgarian: Аладжа манастир): is a popular tourist attraction 17 km north of Varna and 3 km west of Golden Sands beach resort, located in the protected forest area of the Golden Sands Natural Park. it is a medieval Orthodox cave monastery that represents catacombs hidden in a big rock. To explore the catacombs, you have to climb the stairs.

Aladzha monastery.png

Number five: Cape Kaliakra (60 kilometres northeast of Varna)

Cape Kaliakra is one of the biggest national symbols of Bulgaria. It’s a legendary place as many legends are told around. The most popular is about 40 Bulgarian girls, who preferred to tie their hair together and jump into the sea rather than becoming Ottoman slaves. At the entrance to the cape, you’ll see an obelisk called “The Gate of the 40 Maidens” inspired by the legend. Nowadays Kaliakra is a nature reserve, where dolphins swim freely and can be admired from the cliffs. The remnants of the fortified walls of an ancient residence are well-preserved and you will walk through them during your visit.

Cape Kaliakra.pngThis picture is made by my friend Tsvetelina Yankova. Thanks, Tsveti for the lovely picture!!

Number six: Kamchia biosphere reserve (25km south of Varna)

Kamchia is a river running through a Longoz forest. It’s a UNESCO protected area. Take a boat to admire the natural reserve on a sunny day and you will be amazed by the beauty of the forest and the virgin beaches…

Kamchia.pngThis picture is made by my brother-in-law Milen Dimov. Thanks Milen for the lovely picture!!

Number seven: Devnya (25km to west from Varna)

Devnya is a small industrial town, but there is a hidden gem that you don’t want to miss out. The Museum of Mosaics (Bulgarian: Музей на мозайките) is a museum built on top of a Roman villa’s ruins and shows mosaics from the Roman and Byzantine city of Marcianopolis. The mosaics cover the ground floor and are very well-preserved. You can distinctively see the ornaments and the colours of all of them. There are buses on a regular basis to and from Devnya. Check the Tourist Information Centre of Varna for more information on the bus schedule.

Museum of Mosaics Devnya.png

Travel

Black sea pearl: Varna and the region – part I

Good food, good mood, good life: the best of Varna and the region – Part I

I originally come from Bulgaria and I always wanted to live in Varna. Because of the sea, the sun, the vibrant atmosphere, because…. you have it all there! And after I finished my studies,  I moved from Sofia to Varna! And this is where my dream came true….

Arts and Crafts festival Varna

Varna – the Black Sea capital of Bulgaria. Everybody loves Varna! Everything you want and need is there at your fingertips – delicious food, bars and cafes on the beach, its majesty the beach, cultural events all year round, historical sites and many many nice things to discover and to do in the region.

Varna beach panoramic view.png

Varna is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is located on the Black Sea and is becoming more and more attractive for tourists. There is an airport and many low-cost airlines provide direct flights to Varna every day, especially in the summer. However, if you have more time and really want to experience the best of your stay in Bulgaria, fly to Sofia and then take a bus to Varna – you will cross half of the country through Stara Planina (“Old Mountain”), the mountain that divides the country into two parts. The sceneries are stunning no matter the season. The route is quite long, but it’s worth it. (I just realized that many Bulgarians are going to blame me for what I’ve just advised, as the route is for about 6h30….but anyway..check it out and it’s up to you to decide wheater you go for it or not).

Varna city centre

Once in Varna, you have to make up your mind what to see and what to do in this little paradise. That really depends on what you like and how much time you have. I am going to guide you through a city tour and show you the gems of it. The first thing to do – go to the city centre. It’s easily reachable no matter the location of your accommodation. Taxis are relatively cheap in Bulgaria and there are buses from and to every neighbourhood so transportation won’t be a problem. Once in the city centre, you won’t miss out the symbol of Varna –  the Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral (Катедрален храм “Успение Богородично”). It’s majestic. Take a moment to admire the massive orthodox temple. If you are interested in visiting more orthodox churches, there are two others on the way to the city centre: St. Nicolas “Свети Николай” (on the main shopping street) and St.PetkaСвета Петка” (behind the Municipality of Varna).

Cathedral of Varna Uspenie Bogorodichno

In front of the main entrance of the cathedral, on the other side of the road, you’ll see the branch stage of the Drama Theatre “Stoyan Bachvarov”. This is where the main shopping street begins. For more information on all tourist attractions and how to get there, refer to the Tourist Information Centre, located nearby.

Drama Theater Stoyan Bachvarov.png

Let’s continue to walk through the main shopping street, it’s a walking boulevard, no cars are allowed here. There is a hidden gem that even the locals don’t know it exists – The Puppet museum. It’s the only one in the entire Balkan region. Very interesting and informative place to see with a unique collection of puppets. It will take you about 40 minutes to explore it all, trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Puppet museum of Varna.png

As I already mentioned, the church St.Nicolas is on our way on the main shopping street and we are passing by when heading to the Seaside Park. Entering inside is for free and it will take you about 10 minutes to have a look around. The tour continues and we arrive at McDonald’s or known amongst the locals as “Sevastopol” (Sevastopol or traditionally Sebastopol (Севастополь in Russian), is a city on the Crimean Peninsula on the Black Sea). This is the meeting point for everybody as it’s a crosspoint of the main spots in Varna. This is the place for me to make a break as my favourite cafe “Kramer” is at Sevastopol square. This is the best place to eat the best cakes and pancakes EVER and NEVER regret it!. Seriously, who can resist this? Not me for sure!

St. Nicolas church Varna.png

Next stop: the Sea Garden (Морската градина), the biggest park in the city. You can spend an entire day here, plenty of cafes, bars, restaurants and other attractions are at your disposal. During the summertime, it hosts many festivals, performances and cultural events. The Naval Museum, the Observatory, the Zoo and the Dolphinarium are situated there as well. The famous disco bar “Horizont” is there too. My favourite bar Cubo is on the beach. Loads of things to do for all the tastes, all the ages, all the tourists and locals. Be aware that if you want to visit the Dolphinarium, you might need more time as it is located at the end of the Sea Garden. You can take a bus or a taxi to go there.

Cubo bar Varna.png

When in Varna or in Bulgaria you should absolutely try the Bulgarian cuisine – it’s super delicious. In Varna you can find many restaurants with a very good reputation: BM Zaliva, Rappongi, Captain Cook – it’s a very expensive one, but the view is breathtaking, Happy at Sevastopol is a very good place to eat and the restaurant offers a big variety of cuisines. Godzilla is a local chain well-known for its big salads. If you want to go out in the evening, Cubo is a place to be  (at least for me), but you can pick up a bar on the beach alley.

Bulgarian cuisine.png

We come back to Sevastopol and are heading now to the Varna Archaeological Museum. It’s a massive building and it hosts the Varna Summer International Jazz Festival every year. If you are up for it, check the program online in advance. The Museum’s most important exhibit is the Gold of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world. The museum also has two open-air archaeological sites, the Roman baths in the Greek neighbourhood and the medieval grotto of Aladzha Monastery. I am going to provide you with more info about Aladzha Monastery in a separate post.

Roman baths Varna

After this extensive tour of Varna, it’s time to visit the region. The Black sea pearl: Varna and the region – part II article is coming soon! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Ciné club

Movies about beautiful, strong and inspiring women

There are loads of brilliant movies about inspiring and strong women. However, I would like to share with you, dear reader, five of the best movies with main female characters that marked me profoundly and showed me how strong women around the globe can be.

Ma ma with Penélope Cruz. It’s about a Spanish woman, a teacher, who fights breast cancer, deals with the infidelity of her husband, finds love for the second time at an unexpected place, and dreams to be able to give birth to a girl before passing away. The biggest gift she leaves to his second husband (who lost his unique girl in a car accident), to his gynaecologist (who was hoping to adopt a girl with his ex-wife and name it Natasha, but at the end, her wife decided to leave him and not have children) and to her own son as a reminder of herself is a baby girl called Natasha. When someone dies, a new life is born. It’s a heavy movie, but unforgettable!

The next one is dedicated to a seductive, irresistibly beautiful woman who conquers men’s world with her dances. The 2016 production of Mata Hara is a must-see. The story of this dancer, lover and spy continues to intrigue us nowadays. But before the fame, she had to endure the misbehaviour of her husband who takes their daughter from her, she needed to work for a living and find a way to earn more money without selling her soul. Mata Hari is probably one of the most influential and legendary women of all times.

The third one tells the incredible story of Waris Dirie – Somalian circumcised at 3, sold in marriage at 13 girl who becomes an American model. Desert Flower is a real story of a woman who becomes famous and uses her fame as a weapon to speak up and fight against female genital mutilation, a terrible tradition in her homeland. A Beautiful movie based on a true-life story.

This list won’t be complete without Frida Khalo. The genius of this charismatic Mexican artist is recognized worldwide. But behind the bohemian artistic lifestyle is the echo of a suffering body that paralyzes her at the end of her life. Beautiful Frida, your flowers in the hair, your temperament and the cultural heritage you left inspired and will continue to inspire generations of female artists around the globe.

Not only all the inspiring movie characters I am writing about are from different backgrounds, but it looks like they are from different countries. It’s time to write about a rebellious woman from Iran who chooses to stay true to herself and to her principles, no matter the political changes in the country. In her black-and-white Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi shows through her own autobiography how difficult is to comply with rules you don’t believe in and constantly strive to freedom. Marjane Satrapi is the co-director and the main character of Persepolis.

To go further, you can also check out the books based on the real stories of the women I mentioned in my review.

Femme Fatale: Love, Lies, and the Unknown Life of Mata Hari by Pat Shipman

Desert Flower by Waris Dirie

Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Cine club

Movies that will urge you to travel

Are you wondering what to do on a Sunday afternoon? Check my adventurous movie selection and get inspired to head to your next destination!

1. Paris je t’aimeThere are loads of movies about Paris….but this one tells the stories of people living in different Parisian arrondissements. My favourite excerpt is “Bastille” and the quote of the main male character that will always resonate in my mind: “A force de se comporter comme un homme amoureux, il devint de nouveau un homme amoureux –  By acting like a man in love, he became a man in love again”.

Paris je t'aime

 

2. A good year. Dreaming of Provence and the sunny vineyards. Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard will make you want to pack and enjoy la dolce vita in South of France.

A good year

 

3. Under the Tuscan sky. This romantic movie pushed me to choose Tuscany over Rome. I hope to visit Rome one day as well. But adored Florence, savoured chianti and enjoyed the postcard panoramic views of the Tuscan region.

Under the Tuscan sky

 

4. Wild. Wild is a movie about a new beginning and a solo hiking through the Pacific Crest Trail. I’ve been in Canada only once, but confirm that the landscapes are supernatural. The movie (as well as the book) will leave you speechless.

Wild

 

5. The world is big and salvation lurks around the corner. This is a Bulgarian movie with brilliant characters and absolutely unexpected scenario. It’s a tandem cycling a grandfather and his grandson undertake from Germany to Bulgaria through the countries in between. Full realism, humour and crazy adventures.

Svetut e goliami spasenie debne otvsiakude

 

6. 101 Reykjavik. That was the first Icelandic movie (excluding documentaries about Iceland) I’ve ever watched. Iceland is a very popular destination nowadays and a lot of movies have been filmed there. Game of Thrones is one of the most famous ones, so check out the Game of Thrones location tour if you are a fan.

101 Reykjavik

 

7. The Spanish apartment. Beautiful Barcelona, the city of Gaudi, beaches and endless parties. The movie is absolutely hilarious! The fun is guaranteed!

The Spanish apartment

 

8. The girl with a pearl earring. If you are interested in art and Dutch painters, you’ve definitely heard of Vermeer’s masterpiece “The girl with a pearl earring”. The movie based on the story takes place in Delft, the Netherlands. Delft is a splendid Dutch city which you absolutely must visit at least once!

The girl with the pearl earring

 

9. Moscow does not believe in tears (Москва слезам не верит). A movie from the social era filmed in Moscow. It’s an old classic and of course, a lot has changed in Russia since, but it will give you an insight of the Soviet lifestyle back in the days.

Moscow does not believe in tears

 

10. Ever heard of Dracula and Transilvania? A lot of cartoons on the legendary place and character were created. Never thought to visit the country? Give it a try. The Carpathian mountain is just breathtaking. Watch “Stars never leave their orbits” Bezymyannaya Zvezda (Безымянная звезда) it’s very old school Russian movie, but the story takes place in Sinaia – one of the biggest Romanian ski resort. Even in the summer, you won’t get bored there…

Stars never leave their orbits

Friends club

Autumn day trip in Bulgaria – 7 autentic cities to explore

Summer may be rapidly nearing its end and the weather in Bulgaria may not be warm enough to hit the beaches or ascend into the unpredictable mountains anymore. However, autumn still promises some pleasant and sunny days and there’s every reason to get excited about a romantic weekend getaway or a diverse day trip to one of the country’s numerous holiday destination.

From Bulgaria’s only fully preserved medieval castle to the town of roses and Thracian kings, kashkaval tourist sets the mood with 7 authentic Bulgarian towns ideal for an autumn day trip!

1. A hero’s hometown: Karlovo

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Spectacularly positioned at the foot of the mighty Balkan Mountains, Karlovo (Карлово) is a small but lively town in south-central Bulgaria. Its extensive and fascinating old quarter with its brightly painted Ottoman-style buildings will send you back two centuries. And the Vasil Levski National Museum will provide a historical insight into the events of the era by highlighting the biography of perhaps Bulgaria’s greatest and most tragic national hero, Karlovo-born Vasil Levski, the most eminent fighter for an independent Bulgarian state.

Fancy a short hike and a snippet of what’s there to see in the Central Balkan National Park towering above Karlovo? Then follow Vodopad Street – literally Waterfall Street – and at the end of the trail you’ll discover the surging 15-metre Suchurum Waterfall, one of many breathtaking waterfalls in Bulgaria.

2. Bulgaria in a nutshell: Kyustendil

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With its remnants of Roman baths, a medieval fortress, an ancient church, an Ottoman mosque, a mysterious tower and a picturesque National Revival quarter, Kyustendil (Кюстендил) is like a microcosm of Bulgaria in itself. Situated in the mountainous southwestern corner of the country close to where the borders of Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia meet, Kyustendil is a perfect day trip destination.

In the town centre, check out the impressive Pirgova Tower from the 15th-16th century and enter the vibrant art gallery which features the largest collection of works by one of Bulgaria’s leading artists, Vladimir Dimitrov, titled The Master. A brief walk up to the Hisarlaka hill will reveal a huge medieval fortress – and unforgettable views of the town below.

3. Wine, history and greenery: Pleven

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Placed in the middle of the hilly Danubian Plain not far from the Danube, Pleven (Плевен) was a regular feature in the international press… 137 years ago. Then, the critical (and bloody) Siege of Plevna was deciding the outcome of the Russo-Turkish War and the fate of independent Bulgaria.

Today, Pleven is a tranquil and beautiful Bulgarian town which draws tourists with its variety of monuments dedicated to the famous battle. Of these, the most memorable are the immersive Pleven Panorama and the town’s symbol, the awe-inspiring mausoleum and ossuary in the town square. Add the historic pedestrian town centre and the greenery of the Kaylaka Park with its rock formations and Wine Museum and you have a memorable urban day trip!

4. Bulwark of the northwest: Vidin

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Vidin (Видин), once a medieval stronghold of Bulgarian imperial power, is today an important commercial and administrative centre of the otherwise underdeveloped Bulgarian northwest. As a port on the Danube located in the vicinity of Serbia and Romania, Vidin has been noticeably influenced by these two countries as well as by Central European trends.

Besides the wealth of Baroque town houses, Islamic monuments from Ottoman times and the abandoned grand Jewish synagogue, Vidin’s greatest claim to fame is undoubtedly the amazing Baba Vida castle – the only fully preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria. Its impenetrable walls have been ruled by Bulgarian, Hungarians, Turks and Austrians and its towers and dungeons are soaked with dramatic history.

5. Of roses and Thracian kings: Kazanlak

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When you learn that the valley surrounding Kazanlak (Казанлък) is named both the Rose Valley and the Valley of Thracian Kings, you already have a pretty good impression of what to expect in the town itself. Kazanlak is a charming south Bulgarian town which hosts both a Rose Museum and a captivating historical-museum-meets-art-gallery boasting amazing Thracian artefacts.

However, the main attraction that draws tourists to Kazanlak has to be the vividly painted 2400-year-old Thracian tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While in town, don’t forget to try out the delicious Kazanlak doughnuts, a local speciality. And if you have a car, then, by all means, extend your trip to nearby Buzludzha Peak to see the world-famous “Communist flying saucer” – the disused giant memorial of Bulgaria’s socialist movement!

6. Below the peaks of marble: Bansko

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Bansko (Банско) may be a bustling winter sports centre in winter, but in autumn you’ll be surprised to discover a quiet and authentic Bulgarian old town. Bansko has a large number of traditional restaurants offering tasty regional treats and a variety of museum houses to check out. Look for the Velyanov House and the Neofit Rilski House for examples of the town’s typical stone architecture and enter the Nikola Vaptsarov House to learn about one of Bulgaria’s most respected poets.

And with the awesome backdrop of the Pirin Mountains visible from any point of Bansko, enjoyment is guaranteed at all times. Who knows, the weather may even be good enough for an entertaining high-altitude hike out of the Vihren or Banderitsa mountain huts above town!

7. Byzantine tranquillity: Asenovgrad

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Located just south of the future European Capital of Culture Plovdiv, Asenovgrad (Асеновград) is sure to draw your attention with its setting in the foothills of the magical Rhodope Mountains and its Byzantine architectural and cultural heritage. Religious monuments abound in and around Asenovgrad, with sheltered Orthodox monasteries, hundred-year-old chapels above the rocks and the stunning Church of the Holy Mother of God in the medieval Asen’s Fortress.

Asenovgrad has more to offer than history, too! Some of Bulgaria’s best wine is made in and around town, so don’t leave without treating yourself to a bottle of the unique Mavrud or the local variety of sweet Malaga.

This is a guest post written by Todor from Kashkaval tourist blog.

Kashkaval tourist is a blog about tourism in Bulgaria and the Balkans. From unbelievable cultural and natural destinations through the classics of Bulgarian food & drink to in-depth impressions about the local climate, kashkaval tourist offers it all in an entertaining list format.

Bucket list

Challenge №6 Learn how to cook

Are you ready for a culinary adventure?

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Do you remember the 50 things to do before you die? If not, I am going to remind you that we still have 44 to go…No worries, you have a lifetime to thick them all.

I am skipping challenge №5 Learn to drive, as I did not yet accomplish it…It’s a real challenge for me, but I am not giving up…

Today, I am going to write about challenges №6 Learn how to cook. I always thought that everybody can cook, but actually many many people could not. It’s not a big deal if you can afford to eat in a restaurant every day, but it can be very very handy in case you want to save money or want to eat tasty and healthy.

I learned how to cook properly when I moved to the Netherlands. I was looking for a job and at this time was very fond of all cooking shows especially Jamie Oliver and Annabel Langbein. This is how I embarked on my cooking experience and created my own weekly easy menus – which take me only 30 min./per day. I experimented with different dishes and different cuisines and discovered that cooking is super fun and a perfect way to improve your creativity. Also, you can not rely on takeouts and eat in bars and restaurants in the Netherlands as it is quite expensive. And the best of it is to invite all your friends to a dinner and make your signature dish…Yummy

Cooking is a survival skill that can be useful in our hectic life of stress, plastic bags and pre-fabricated food. So, learn how to cook and enjoy the taste of life.

Thanks for reading!