Back in Nancy

Six years ago Nancy had been my home, while taking an one-year master course at the university there. Now it welcomed me with warm friends and rainy skies. So Sara (the friend who, you may remember, invited me to her parents’ house in Iran) and I spent a cold Sunday morning enjoying coffee and a book and, whenever the sun was coming out of the clouds, stayed out – as long as possible!


It was good seeing Claudia and Tom again: last time I had seen them, they were touring Europe on bicycles. Now, 6 years and two children later, they are thinking about their next destination. Warm conversation, shared memories and home-made boeuf bourguignon, clafoutis and flan nature. And good friends to enjoy it all :)


One last afternoon in Nancy: the city was glowing under the long-awaited sun, just like a cat welcomes the caresses of its master. Goodbye for now.

Little pieces of Lyon

I didn’t feel very much like leaving Aix-en-Provence: my next destination was Lyon, towards the center of France. Although I was eager to meet again my former colleagues (6 years ago I took a master course at the University of Nancy and some of my ex-colleagues were now living in Lyon), lots of rain and grey clouds were forecasted for Lyon. And in Aix-en-Provence, the weather was warm and gentle, and a house with roses, cherry trees and good friends was opening to me.

Well, finally here I am, on my ride found on a car-sharing site, 100 km away from Lyon, and the blue sunny sky turns to clouds and rain. I smile: my trip will take me north from so on, so I’d better get used to that!

I am left in one of the main squares of the city, a few hours before the friend who was hosting me comes back from work. So I have plenty of time to take the metro towards her house and find it. But before going into the metro I notice that on the last floor of the building where the metro station is, a “suspended garden” is supposed to be. I take my luggage and go up. Looking at the Ibis Hotel through the fig tree leaves, I think about other fig trees I will see later, in the summer, on the Greek island of Lesbos. Who knows what people and stories wait for me on the way until then…

Arriving close to the house of my friend, something tells me to take a little detour and go towards the riverside. And I find here the weekly local market, with fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, home-made sweets and local products. I slowly walk through it, enjoying the smells and sounds of the market. It’s been some time since I did not do that… After buying a bouquet of flowers for my friend, I go and sit by the river for a little while. A young boy and a girl are chatting in front of the water. A few rays of sun come out of the clouds and light the surface of the water. I felt good.. I felt like Lyon was saying “welcome” guessing that I was visiting it for the first time.


I spent the next few days meeting my former colleagues, talking about what happened in our lives since we last saw each other, having wine and cheese for dinner, visiting Lyon and hearing its stories, drinking beer on a boat and talking some more about life, politics, philosophy, Romania, France. My heart was full of smiles and ready to set for my next location: Nancy.

In Provence…

My next destination was Aix-en-Provence, the temporary home of my friend Roxana. And by temporary, I mean that she is going to work as a researcher at the Aix-en-Provence University only for a few months, returning afterwards to Verona, were she is doing a PhD in law.

Roxana and I met while working at a Bucharest law firm and we soon discovered that, before coming to Bucharest, we had both lived in Iasi and even went to the same high school. Even if we don’t have similar personalities or, sometimes, not even the same ideas on life and the world, we always had a very good time together, whether exchanging legal arguments, agreeing or disagreeing on philosophy or ideas from the latest book we were reading or just having shots and dancing in Gaia (i.e.: a Bucharest club). So I was really happy she moved to France and that I could meet her during this tour of France of mine.

After the cold and windy days of the Cote d’Azur, Aix-en-Provence welcomed me with a warm and friendly sun that kept on shining all the time I was there. And this made me stay one day more than planned, just enjoying the peace and quiet of the house with garden Roxana was living in, taking “sun baths” (as the French put it), eating cherries from the cherry tree in the back of the house and trying to cure the cold I had caught (ironically, you might say) in Nice.

My last night there was a combination of warm weather, Bordeaux wine, stars and moon seen from the window of Roxana’s room, singing songs, wonderful conversation and an impromptu photo shoot.

Meet you some other time, in some other place, friend. May your journey be smiling and full of insights!

Saying goodbye to the Mediterranean

It’s been awhile since my last post, I must admit. From Nice I set of to Aix-en-Provence and then Lyon, meeting old friends, getting to know new cities, listening to people’s stories, and sometimes telling my own, drinking warm cafe lattes in the morning, talking, smiling, catching up.

But I did not forget about my blog and I took many pictures which I want to share with you. For now though, I would like to show you some last pictures from Cote d’Azur: mostly Cannes, a cloudy first-day-of-the-festival, and a little bit of Nice, saying goodbye to our hosts and to the Mediterranean sea.