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July 23, 2018

Belgium - Kayaking on river Ourthe

On a short distance from Luxembourg, but in Belgium, you can go kayaking on the river Ourthe. The adventure starts in Durbuy (which is a very medieval looking small town, worth a visit) and you have to paddle for 8 kilometres. There are busses that take you back from the finish point to Durbuy and the whole experience is 17 euros per person. There are of course longer journeys, of 12 and 23 kilometres, but at the time we went kayaking they were closed.
 Needless to say, that if you are an inexperienced kayaker, 8 kilometres are more than enough. We did the journey in little more than three hours, but for us it was a Sunday fun experience, as there were people already trained, or at least people with a lot more experience in kayaking on the Ourthe. They had swimsuits and some buckets and they were ready for speed. We bumped into a few groups of those and let me tell you it was not a fun experience.
 This was my third time kayaking on the same route and every time it was different to the point when this time it was not funny anymore.

When we first did it, I think it was in 2013, there was a shack where it looked like a few friends opened a friendly business renting kayaks. It was laid back, we had time for pictures and we relaxed, people were stopping by the shores of the river to have picnics, the whole atmosphere was very friendly and familiar.
 The second time, two years ago, the shack was turned into a massive house and they were selling other activities, such as wall climbing and zip line, but the atmosphere on the river was still very friendly and we had a lot of fun.
 The thing is this time, Luxembourg and this whole region is under a heat wave and after a torrid week we wanted to do something involving a little bit of water and shade. Apparently we were not the only ones. The rules have changed, now you pay 7 euros for parking and the bus takes you from their office to the river. I have no idea of the timetable of the busses, but rest assured we made the journey in a crowded bus backed against the doors, because of course we did not want to hustle, but by the third bus we missed because of that, we concluded that crowding and hustling was the norm.

Then, there was no one helping us getting in and out of the boat (as they did last time), we had to actually fight for a life jacket and a kayak as they did not have any concept of a queue, the water was crowded, people were really speeding, talking loudly, throwing things in the water, smoking on the water, a lot of small children on their own boats not knowing what to do when the water was shallow, hitting other people with their paddle, the familiar/friendly picnics on the side of the river turned into screaming families, overall not a relaxed experience.
 As a result I now have a massive muscle soreness on both hands and my legs from paddling I guess, I lost one of my earrings, and I really loved those earrings, so this is a sign that we have to look for our relaxed adventures elsewhere.
The pictures are decent, though. I was afraid to get my phone out all the time so we have pictures from the beginning of the kayaking time when we were still in Durbuy or very close to it.

If you fancy such an experience good for you, I can DM you the details although there are clues in the text about the name of the thing. Also, if you know a nice, friendly, calm, place to do kayaking in this area, do let me know.

I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook.

Raluca

July 16, 2018

Nederlands - Things that matter exhibition in Amsterdam

We are surrounded by signs, if we choose to read them is another thing. One sign that I chose to follow was that in the exact day when one of my best friends told me that she is coming to Amsterdam for a short trip, I found out about this exhibition. Unknown are internet's ways, but it knowing my interests and finding out that I was in search for an accommodation near Amsterdam, pointed me to Things that matter.
I was intrigued by the title, in an era of minimalism, of de-cluttering, of freeing ourselves of possessions, here is an exhibition with objects, but not any objects, the ones that have sentimental value above anything else.

What people choose to take with them when they left their home, being forced to do that, or leaving willingly? More interesting than any Instagram story and more true than any Facebook post, what people consider worth keeping and sometimes protecting? A small window into a moment's reality, how could I say no?

First of all the exhibition is on the ground floor of Troopeen Muuseeum or in other words the Ethnographic Museum of Amsterdam. If you are interested in Ethnography, please do take a look at it as the whole museum is worth a visit.
The exhibition is divided up in 10 (I think) boxes, each of them curated by a different artist and with a different topic. I have to admit that the one with What do clothes say about you? and When is culture yours? got my interest. So in true spoiler fashion I will not write much about the exhibition, cause you have to see it for yourselves.

The When is culture yours? box spoke to me in different ways, as I am much involved in promoting the Romanian culture, but I sanction cultural appropriation. When is that border crossed? When promoting parts of a culture, becomes cultural appropriation? And as we are on the topic, what is culture?

Are clothes culture? Are dreadlocks culture? Are symbols culture? What about movies? Live shows? Books? Food? What is culture? and what as an European am I allowed to borrow from other continents?

I love wearing Romanian blouses. Should I be offended if someone from Asia loves them too? When is it OK for the big fashion labels to take inspiration from local culture and when that inspiration becomes profit?

You see, all sort of questions arose from this exhibition and if you are passionate about this topics you should visit it, too.

Just a word of advice, maybe plan your visit in the coming months, I've understood that the exhibition will become permanent, as they don't have yet any leaflets about it, or any books and I am positive that there are books about those topics.
Just to recap, the exhibition is in the Ethnographic Museum in Amsterdam, which is called Troopeen Muuseeum. If you travelled to Amsterdam by car, parking as a little bit of a hassle, but we did find a parking spot on a small street opposite to the museum. It is opened daily except Mondays. Have fun!

I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook.

Raluca

July 2, 2018

June 24th, the Day of the Romanian Blouse in Luxembourg

You all know by now my passion for Romanian Blouses, but I've never wrote in English a post about the Day of the Romanian Blouse which is June 24th and how we celebrate it here in Luxembourg, almost 2000 kilometres from our country.

The Universal Day of the Romanian Blouse was first celebrated in 2013 when in Romania people became interested in the traditional Romanian attire and started looking for old blouses, researching the patterns and eventually recreating them. It started online, a Facebook page called La Blouse Roumaine had the idea that on June 24th to celebrate the blouse all the women should change their profile picture with one in which they were wearing a Romanian Blouse.
It went even further and even in 2013 women wanted to meet and small events were organised all over the world, so much so that over 50 countries celebrated that day. Luxembourg was one of them. It was my first year living in the Grand Duchy and it was a good way to meet the people that later became my friends.
A year later I wanted to get involved in organising this celebration and that is how I've met my good friend Elena. I remember we chose to meet in the centre and I only had time to stay for an hour. Five hours later we were still talking and planning and that is how this year we celebrate five editions of The day of the Romanian blouse in Luxembourg organised together.
In 2015 organising the Day of the Romanian Blouse was a little bit intense, there were conflicts with some persons who thought that maybe we will stop organising something nice and free, so that they can earn some money from a payed event. When that did not happen a lady in particular started spreading rumours about me and my friends. Nonetheless, I was unaware of that and managed to have a lovely celebration. By that time, my hobby related to Romanian Blouses evolved into passion, I've started dreaming of maybe one day organising an exhibition... It was also the first time I was wearing an old Romanian Blouse from Muscel region. If you don't recognise me, I'm the one in blue on the left.
2016 was a busy year. In the morning I had the defence for my masters thesis and in the afternoon the celebration of the Romanian Blouse. I choose to wear a new blouse which brought me a lot of luck. I've passed the defence, I had my masters degree and the celebration was full of surprises. I found out that my colleague from high school was living in Germany, an hour away from Luxembourg. She came to the celebration with her family and that for me meant a lot. Also, I hope you can see Luna in the picture. After a depressing time we decided to have another dog and that is how Luna came into our lives.
In 2017 we decided to introduce some of the trademarks of the celebration, the hashtag in online, the lavender and a picture frame. There are still people who have a profile picture on social media done on that day.
I was wearing a blouse which is so dear to me. I found it at a fair in the Village Museum in Bucharest. It was so cheap for its value so I bought it on a spot and loved it ever since. It is a Romanian Blouse from Mehedinți region.
And that brings us to this year, the sixth of celebrating the Romanian Blouse in Luxembourg. I was looking at the pictures and I saw familiar faces. Some of the participants were there every year, celebrating with us. If you look closely you can see how the children grew and transformed and every year new children are introduced to our beautiful Romanian traditions. The lovely people of Romania for whom it is worth to sacrifice a few hours to put together an event. To them I say a big THANK YOU!
In the past year I've made new friendships, organised conferences and organised that exhibition in Luxembourg. I've met the people that I've followed for years on social media and learned a lot about the Romanian Blouse. This year I had a Romanian Blouse with "ram's horns" a strong and ancient symbol. I was passing through a rough time and needed some support when I spotted this blouse online. Although I now am able to tell that it has a lot of mistakes, I love its flaws. It's said that ram's horns when they are opposite means the fight for supremacy, well there is a fight all right, to stay strong, to stay me.

As you can see the Day of the Romanian Blouse is a very personal celebration. Despite organising an event for everyone to enjoy, it has personal meanings. This year I wanted to celebrate it in Romania, but faith brought me home earlier in time for June 24th. I was here and I was somehow happy. I'll leave you with some of the pictures from that day.






I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook.

Raluca

June 29, 2018

Romania - In Sibiu the houses are watching you

I was so pleased to see foreign tourists in Sibiu, you can't imagine! That means that there is something to see and do in Sibiu and that this town has touristic potential. Nonetheless, as much as I've looked on the Internet I could not find an explanation for Sibiu's eyes. I had to turn to Romanian and in my language there are some articles. So this post is meant to explain in English what is the deal with Sibiu's eyes and of course to post my multitude of pictures taken last week in Sibiu.

Now, a few things for the ones that never heard of Sibiu, like ever. Sibiu is a Transylvanian town build by the German population that came to Romania in the mid 12th century up until the late Modern Age. They called it Hermanstadt and the architecture that we are able to admire today in Sibiu is due to their influence. In 2007 Sibiu was together with Luxembourg the Cultural Capital of Europe and the connection between these two cities is maintained until today.
Sibiu's eyes are an architectural improvement for a problem that the people of the town faced. On short, they were not able to keep their edibles in the basement because the soil was moist, so they build their houses with large attics where they would store food. The attics of the houses in Sibiu's centre are two storeys high and the eyes are just ventilation shafts.

They are made in this unique construction way since 1700 and today the people of Sibiu lost the craft techniques to make them. Although I saw the eyes in Brașov and Făgăraș, the people in Sibiu claim that their eyes are unique. I guess you just have to visit all the Transylvanian towns to see for yourselves.
The eyes would help air the attics, but at the same time their shape would prevent the rain from coming inside. Essentially they are made of roof tiles raised from their place using clay. Today Sibiu's eyes are a trademark of the city and I have to admit, they look great in photos.

Every time I saw them I imagined that they are sleepy or wide awake and to me they don't look creepy at all. Somehow you don't feel alone in Sibiu. The houses are forever watching!
I only hope that the people of Sibiu would take more care of their heritage, because what they have is unique.  

  As you can see some of the eyes are left uncovered, but modern times ask for modern improvements. Some of the attics are habitable now so some of the owners covered the eyes with glass and some of them closed the eyes altogether. I was a little disappointed of Sibiu. Once you leave the city centre it becomes an old communistic town with angry and mean people.
I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook.
Raluca

June 25, 2018

Ce reprezintă cămășile românești pentru mine?


Dragilor,
vă mulțumesc că ați fost răbdători și ați urmărit pagina blogului și cât am fost inactivă. Am ales să scriu această postare în română pentru că în ultima perioadă am participat la vreo trei evenimente ce au legătură cu iile/cămășile românești. Primul a fost vernisajul expoziției IA Aidoma în Lausanne, Elveția, al doilea a fost vernisajul expoziției IA Aievea în Sibiu, iar al treilea a fost organizarea Zilei Iei în Luxemburg.
Pe rând veți găsi aici postări cu poze de la toate trei, însă azi vreau să stăm la povești. La Sibiu am fost întrebată ce reprezintă iile pentru mine. Și evident ca orice jurnalist care se respectă, mi-am găsit greu cuvintele, iar ideile alea geniale au venit seara în pat când momentul trecuse.
Pentru mine iile (pe care din rațiuni personale le voi denumi de acum cămăși) reprezintă legătura cu România.
Ca orice român plecat de acasă (fie că recunoaște sau nu, sau că e conștient de asta sau nu) îmi e dor de ce e al meu, dar în același timp ce a fost al meu nu mai este. E un paradox, dar e firesc, țara, orașul, lumea, universul meu, odată lăsat în urmă nu a încremenit în timp. Sunt noțiuni mobile și e normal să fie așa. Și cu fiecare vizită acasă sau cu fiecare contact pe care îl am cu România, o găsesc mai schimbată și mai îndepărtată de ce știam eu. Dacă e schimbată în rău sau în bine, nu e momentul să discutăm aici, însă pentru mine e schimbată.
Dacă mai țineți voi minte Amintirile lui Creangă, cum pleca el cu căruța din satul lui și cum ne punea profa de română să găsim metafore. Ei una era cea a universului pierdut, pe care o spuneam papagalicește, dar pe care viața m-a învățat că nu e o glumă.

Știu că probabil sunt eu mai artistă, mai sensibila (deși nu par), dar pe mine mă doare ca și cum aș fi pierdut ceva. E o frustrare, amestecată cu durere, cu dor, e un sentiment pe care nu îl pot descrie. Ei aici vin cămășile. Bucățile alea de pânză ce poartă cu ele un univers. Cămășile vin dintr-un timp pe care eu nu l-am cunoscut, dar pe care îl simt aproape.
Discutam într-o zi că eu nu vibrez la imn, dacă ma iei repede nu știu să îți spun ce culoare vine la băț pe steag, aia cu Gradina Carpaților nu am înțeles-o nici atunci, iar frunza pe bune că nu știu de la ce vine, Dracula e al irlandezilor, am mai discutat, așa că eu rezonez cu iile. Dacă îmi arați o cămașă sunt capabilă să plâng, dacă îmi povestești povestea ei o voi reține, îi voi visa culorile și modelele, mă voi chinui să o citesc și dacă e posibil voi dori să o port.
Pentru mine cămășile reprezintă România aia curată și cuminte pe care o știu eu, România aia isteață și îndrăzneață, România mea. De asta le adun, de asta adun momente legate de ele, de asta spun prezent când e ceva demn de a fi urmărit, de asta investesc bani, dar mai ales timp în promovarea lor, pentru că mi-a fost dovedit de câte ori până acum că sunt magice, că pot vorbi și că pot atrage oamenii ăia faini de partea lor. Și eu cu oamenii ăia rezonez.
Oi fi răspuns la întrebare? Nu știu. Însă am făcut o postare cu care să vă urez o săptămână faină!
Raluca

June 4, 2018

Luxembourg - "Knotted gun", a small sculpture with an important message!

I am writing this post for that one person who might look for this sculpture in Luxembourg. I've passed by it every day while it was in its former location, but when it moved it was sort of a witch hunt, because cultural news are still written in other language than English, in Luxembourg. So much so, that if you search for it today you will find only articles related to the death of its author and not its location.
So what am I talking about? The Knotted gun or the Non-Violence sculpture was made by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd after John Lennon was murdered. It is a Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver with a knotted barrel and the muzzle pointing upwards. Luxembourg, or to be exact the European Commission, owns one of the 22 originals. Also Luxembourg is related to that first one sculpture that the artist made, because the Luxembourgish Government donated that sculpture to the United Nations in the 80s.

Nowadays, the sculpture is in Kirchberg park, a very nice find which goes to show that you can live for almost 6 years in one tiny place and still have a tone of things to discover. The park is close to Coque Centre and the sculpture is in the middle of it together with other sculptures.

I only wish the Touristic Centre would organise the Art tour in Kirchberg, cause I for one am fascinated by the works of art that this place encapsulates.
Here you can see its place in the park. Basically the sculpture in the back is tall enough for you to spot it in the distance, walk towards it, brace the grass and you will find the Knotted Gun. 


In this day and age when the aggressivity turns so quickly into violence, the message this tiny sculpture is bearing is more important than ever. The gun is cocked, but the knot makes it clear it will never shoot. If you want this is a plea to think before acting, to filter all information and have an open mind!
I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook.
Raluca

June 1, 2018

Netherlands - Tulip fields of 2018

It has been the fifth year we went to see the tulip fields, hence the title, so it's become some sort of a tradition for us. Also, Nederlands is my favourite country in this area so it's good for my mental health to visit it at least once per year.
One thing though, as in all countries, the capital is somewhat different from the rest, not in a bad way, just different. I love Amsterdam as much as I love the whole country, it's just a different kind of love. I don't think this rule necessarily applies to Luxembourg, but there are slight differences between the German half and the French half.

As I said all of this, let's got to the tulips. This year I took over 500 pictures and in my opinion they are all great. So for you to see all the pictures in this blog post is a little bit impossible. I also wanted to make a movie out of them, but it was a 20 minutes long movie, who watches pictures of tulips for 20 minutes? So I will just post all the different kind of tulips and of course pictures of me and Luna.  If you want or need some pointers as what are the tulip fields, I wrote a post about that last year.
    

 




 

 



 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook.
Raluca