The neighborhood I heart: Clot

Last year I started a project of presenting the neighborhoods of Barcelona. After two posts my ambitious project went on pause (you can check it out under the tag barrios in this blog). This is so me: so many ideas, but not so much will to follow through. Does it happen to you too?

But – better late than never – I pick up that idea now. Because there are still neighborhoods for which I want to share my love. And today let me present my most hearted one, my secret pearl. In a way, I don’t want to attract too much of attention to it – but since my blog is not read by thousands of travelers (luckily, hehe), I can still share and not be afraid of mass tourism flooding that part of the city 🙂

Why do I love Clot? Because, first, whenever I stay in Barcelona my home is always there. Second, it is old and very authentic, close to the city centre but with totally different vibe. I remember my first visit to Barcelona as a tourist. My friend drew me to the beach, while I was dreaming of walking through narrow streets, looking into cafes, spotting locals and trying to feel the city’s soul. Little did I know then that I would be doing it regularly while visiting Barcelona more often than my home country Ukraine 🙂 And one of the best places to feel that local authentic life, not spoiled by tourist crowds, is Clot. The neighborhood is a mixture of old buildings and new blocks, with locals sitting on the benches of the market square, hanging on the bar terraces, walking with dogs and playing football in the park. This is where I feel the most of how Barcelona was meant to be. Before the mass tourism changed the face of the city.

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Color Hunt: Pink

Today it was snowing again. I went for a walk – to get some fresh air and to see some colors. And where do we get it here? Right, shopping 😊 While it is winter outside, it is spring in the shops. As I had mentioned before, the shops this year exploded with shades of pink and red. Which made my girly heart aflutter.

So today I went on a color hunt/color study – an idea I got from the book “A Paris Year” by Janice MacLeod (and she got this idea in her turn from another artist and photographer). The point is: you choose a color and then go out searching for it. Last year I did something like that when I dedicated to collect all things yellow. Suddenly they were popping everywhere. It was a fun way to wait for the spring. Today my goal was: pink!

I love pink. I never had a Barbie in my life. I was born in Soviet Union, and the Barbies arrived only aftee its fall. I was 12 then, I wanted a Barbie to make clothes for her, but in my family the scarce money could not be spent on dolls. Because of that I never got too much of pink, and when Austrians laughed of Barbie pink, when I lived in Austria, I secretly loved it. I still love it. And seeing it on trend this year makes me joyful. Our eyes get so tired of shy Scandinavian colors like gray and beige, and in winter there is too much of dark color. But when fashion gods said to wear red and romantic, Norwegians obeyed. Suddenly the streets were more like in the South, with red coats, floating ruffles and embroidered pieces. And now – pink. Lovely, just lovely.

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5 Things – At Home

The soul is asking for color while the world outside is black and white. It’s been weeks since we’ve seen the sun. And then it popped out – for the whole day. Luckily, that day was Sunday so everyone took his skis and went skiing. We went for a walk around the lake Sognsvann, with hundreds of other sun-thirsty souls, who created a traffic jam around the parking space. But it was ok because – the sun! The nature in winter is so beautiful, I was sighing with regret of not having taken my camera with me, while simultaneously freezing my toes off. I didn’t check Facebook that day but I am sure it was full of happy sunny pictures with a capture like “ut på tur, aldri sur” which means “out for the walk, never sour” (a very well-used phrase that has become a cliche, but people still use it – without irony).

As I went to check the winter sale and see what’s new in the shops (my favorite activity), I was so happy to discover multiple shades of pink and red on display. At last! At last we can throw off our gray and black clothes this spring season. Norwegian street style is very careful in color palette, and it is great when fashion makes us wear red and pink. Some years ago it was considered way too girlish. Now it is officially in, and my inner child, who has never had a Barbie in her life, is rejoicing. Let’s rock that Barbie style! Let’s bring color to the streets!

It has been a while since I made a post for my hashtag “5 things”. I can’t even remember the last time. April? But these days I got inspired by the pretty details at home and collected them for this post. The most color-hunting I did at home was for pink (are you surprised? Me not). I hope also to go out for some color-hunting and share it with you. But for now let’s enjoy the small pleasures of inside life which feels so natural to lead in the winter season.

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Winter Lights

I wish you enough sun so that your days can be good. I wish you enough rain so that you know how to appreciate the sun.

Last night I read this phrase in the book “Kjemp for alt hva du har kjært” (Fight for everything that is dear to you) by H. K. Rohde, who was leading the police of Oslo when the terror attack of summer 2011 happened here. The book is a story of self-development and personal leadership. In Norway there are more than enough rainy days, cloudy skies and darkness – and here you learn to appreciate the sun and the light like in no other place.

Is it really dark here? You, guys, don’t live behind the polar circle and don’t have polar nights – so why winter darkness? Right, we don’t have polar nights and midnight sun like in the Northern Norway. But the days in winter are extremely short. In the darkest period, December-January, the sun rises at 9am and sets around 3pm. So the light day is short, and we spend more hours in darkness than in light. But calling it “light” and “sun” is really optimistic. Because of the low snowy clouds we happen to see the sun once in two weeks – if we are lucky. So the days look more like early evenings. You get up, wait for the light, live some hours through the grayness, and then it is night again. No wonder why winter is called mørketida, “darkness time” in Norway. I am not complaining here, but I feel a need to make this thing clear. I am not new to the cold and long winters, after all I come from Ukraine and Siberia is our neighbor (not really. Though some people believe it when I’m saying:)). My city can have colder winters than Oslo at times – but the light day is longer for a couple of hours. And I feel that difference now. After all, we all feel best with what we grew up with.

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The Perks of Being Norwegian 

I love flying from Oslo. And not in the meaning of leaving Oslo for some exciting or sunny destination (though I love that too). I mean, I love how smooth the process is. From when I step out of my front door till the moment I am in the air.

I take a tram or a bus to the central station. The ticket for it I buy in the app. I know the timetable of the trains so I know if I can make it – otherwise I take an airport express (which costs twice as much). The ticket for the train I buy in the same app (for airport express I just swipe the card, no paper ticket needed). While sitting on the train I can check in with my flight. I still often prefer to check in at the machine at the airport. Norwegian has also an easy bag drop in Oslo airport where you can scan your bag yourself and off it goes. The whole check-in process takes no more than 5 minutes. I still remember flying to Norway from Ukraine. Passport controls, eternal lines for check-in. And good if there were lines. Crowds. Like someone said: “When you are in the big airport like Amsterdam and looking for a check-in window to Kiev it is easy to find. All other destinations stand in line. Ukrainians stand in a crowd”. True true.

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First Anniversary 

My blog has turned one year some days ago. It turns out it was created on the day when they celebrate Los Reyes (Three wise men) in Spain. The 6th of January. Which is also Christmas Eve in Orthodox countries like my own Ukraine. So I have to divide my attention between three celebrations now. Not a bad problem, really 😊

A month before this little anniversary I started thinking about what I will write. I’ve seen blog birthday posts in my feed celebrating number of followers. I wish I could write: “And suddenly there were 2.000 followers, thank you guys for your love”. But nope, not possible. No thousands. And writing: “Now I have totally 180 followers” would sound funny, but not everyone will get the irony of it. Second, I don’t connect love and numbers. I tended to get caught in the numbers game, but not anymore. Well, only while playing bingo. But I lost the connection between feeling good and getting numbers of followers and likes  since I got off the Instagram. Instagram has even created a turn-off for numbers after I learned about mass-following: all those people who follow you so you will follow them back. There was a person who followed me three times. Wow, she really liked me! I wonder if the same things exists on WordPress. Do you think people follow you just to wake your interest for their blog? And those likes, omg, how I missed the like-button for years on Livejournal blogging platform! And now I feel like saying: “take it back! Turn it off!” The same reason: sometimes it seems to me that people hit the like-button even without seeing your post. Why otherwise can there be more likes than views of a post? Is there such thing like mass-liking here? Like you know, on Instagram you get likes from shops and other marketing platforms connected to your post.

Oh, I didn’t mean my anniversary post to be about numbers and blogging frustrations – but it looks like it becomes just about this. Lovely 😊

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The Best of 2017 (part 2)

I love writing gratitude lists to the leaving year and usually I use the first week of January for that. I also write visions for the new year (but not New year resolutions), plans and goals. As much as I love those activities, I never used to share them on the blog because that would feel like bragging to me. I am often concerned about the literature value, hehe. Like: “what would the reader get out of it?” However, doing the post about the best pictures and moments of 2017 felt so right to me – and I hope, that it felt like a positive sparkle to you. So I just have to complete that list and share the rest of that year – in pics and highlights!

after sunset in Rovinj 

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