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Hold on to people, they’re slipping away

Open to everything happy and sad
Seeing the good when it’s all going bad
Seeing the sun when I can’t really see
Hoping the sun will at least look at me


Slipping Away, Moby

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No Nepal for me

Due to a last minute professional incident, I had to cancel my trip to Nepal. I am very disappointed, for these were the only real holidays of a really tough year.

I’m planning it again for March-April next year for two-three weeks.

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Nepal is coming

My trip to Nepal is nearly prepared. I’m leaving London on August 5 and coming back on September 6 (though I am again flying to Barcelona the next day, September 7 :S). Originally, I planned to go to Delhi and get a bus to Kathmandu from there, but because of the Indian visa I had to change these plans for a flight to Kathmandu the same day I’m landing in India. Shame. Next time. It’s entirely my fault. I didn’t think of the Indian visa on time! For it takes at least 15 days to get it in London if you are not a UK national.

I am going to stay a few days in Kathmandu Then I’ll be in an organic farm project of the RUWON organization, where I’ll do some farming and teaching for women living in rural societies. I hope I can also do some trekking in the middle. I expect to update my blog regularly with pictures while I’m there.

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We went far, we’ll go farer (III)

In late May, I went with a friend to Saint Petersburg. That trip was probably one of the best trips I’ve ever had. The company, the weather, the city, the country and the people around brought us into a state of mind and heart that was very special. We had a few experiences that have marked our lives. I’ve already told you about two of them – an orthodox religious ceremony and life and stones. Now I want to tell you about the third and last of these life experiences. It is about a museum, paintings, beauty and overwhelming feelings. It is about the Hermitage and its impressive collection. It is about what makes us human: creativity.

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We went far, we’ll go farer (II)

In a previous post, I talked about my trip to Saint Petersburg nearly two weeks ago. In it, I said that we had three experiences I wanted to dedicate a post to. The first one was about the emotions that an orthodox religious ceremony provoked in me, and what I learned from it. This second one is of a different kind.

At the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral (Isaakevsky Sobor), we first went to the museum part, which is actually inside of the cathedral. While getting out, we saw people at the top, in what is called the Colonnade outside of the dome (see picture above). So we turned around and got tickets to get up there (100 rubles). It was a fantastic day, warm and sunny, no clouds in the sky. Perfect for sightseeing.

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The longest is the shortest

I took this picture Sunday afternoon in Boulevard St Germain

I made it. On Saturday, after missing my early morning London-Paris Eurostar train, I got to Gare du Nord, Paris, at 18.02 after a fantastic eight hour trip from London to Paris passing by Dover and Calais. At the end, it was easier than I thought, and much cheaper than any of the other options, i.e. Eurostar or bus. I spent £27.50 + €41.50, that is a total of €75, when the bus was €124 and the Eurostar €196!

It was as interesting and entertaining as I foresaw when I wrote my previous post on the train from Charing Cross (London) to Dover. This first leg of the journey started with my first encounter of the day while I was waiting for the 10 am train to Dover before the gates to the platforms. To kill time, I asked to a member of the staff (a Revenue Protection Inspector) in which platform he thought it was going be. This question gave place to a nice little chat in which this guy, who had the job of checking the tickets and fine people if necessary, confessed that he doesn’t like to fine but to help people while on duty. He just had helped a couple who bought a 1st class ticket to get £20 each back, for on the train there is no first class, so they needed to downgrade their tickets. Then I told him about my trip to Paris, and he told me that he was leaving for Las Vegas with his family in the afternoon. His dream had always been to visit the Grand Canyon and fly over it on helicopter. Now he was going to realise this dream he had had since he saw the Grand Canyon in a movie (unfortunately I don’t remember the title).

Being Saturday in the morning, the train was nearly empty. I had a 4-seat place for myself, so I turned on my recently-purchased iPad, and while surfing the Internet, listening to music and eating a cheese sandwich with a mango smoothie, I wrote the post on how far Paris was.

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Paris is farer than it seems

I lost the train. This morning, for unfortunate circumstances I lost the 6.22 am Eurostar from London to Paris. A friend of mine was waiting for me on the train with a full breakfast (croissants, pain chocolate, fruit, juices…). And I missed it!

This trip has been planned for more than 10 years. All comes back to a night in Paris in 1999. Walking back home with a friend near La Bastille, we started to talk about the girl he was going out with. In the conversation I told him that my intuition told me that he was not going to be with her in six months time.

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The Will of Freedom

“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.” – Thucydides

On a recent post I distinguished between the speed and freedom of a life alone and the depth and fulfilment of a life together. Yet I was somehow wrong in this differentiation, for we are not necessarily more free when we are alone. We may have much more liberty by being with the person we feel connected to.

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“I don’t believe in coincidences”

“What is coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidences”. This is what Hendrik van der Zee (“from the sea” in Dutch), aka the Flying Dutchman, says to Pandora Reynolds when she sees her face on the painting he is making the first time they meet in the film “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman“. He’s painting Pandora, the first woman in Greek mythology (watch video of the scene at the end of this post).

The film is about the legend of the Flying Dutchman, a XVII-century man who, after killing his wife for jealousy, is doomed to wander over the seas until he finds a woman who is ready to die for him. It is set in the 1930s in the Spanish port of Esperanza, where a group of wealthy British and American friends, including Pandora Reynolds from Indianapolis, live. The arrival of a boat with Hendrik van der Zee, changes everything.

This film has been with me from the beginning of my life, because it was filmed where my mother and her family spent her summers as a child and a teenager, Tossa de Mar, in those times a paradise (the movie starts with a dialogue between fishermen in Catalan). In fact, my mother, who was 8, was filmed with her dog, though the scene was cut from the final version. She remembered very well all about it, and she has told us the story many times, including how Ava Gardner revolted the whole town! I always wanted to see the film, but never did. Yesterday, I did it by “coincidence”, in the last minute I went to the BFI to see a movie, and there it was the only one showing at that time, a restored version of “Pandora and the Flying Dutchman”. I didn’t realise it was the same movie my mother talked to me about some many times – she always used the Spanish title of the movie – until I heard the fishermen talking.

I’ve taken very long to do it, but it seems that fate wanted me to see it now, not before. From the beginning to the end, the whole movie is full of references to things that cover my life today.

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We went far, we’ll go farer (I)

Before I left Moscow on Monday afternoon, I went to Saint Petersburg for a short weekend trip with a friend of mine. We left Moscow for Saint Petersburg at 6.40 am on Saturday 22 May. We arrived back to Moscow at 10.50 am on Monday 24 May. We slept a total of 6 hours during the whole trip. It was a total success (except for the tiny detail that I lost my iphone on Saturday night 🙁 ).

On my previous post I wrote that it was always a pleasure to travel with David Luff, my companion in this trip to the imperial city, for

We both love to walk in cities to explore those corners out of the tourist trail that hide its real essence.

How truthful this is. We’ve enjoyed like “des fous”. The weather couldn’t have been better, the city is beautiful and the people are very open and smiley (the sun might have helped). Among many experiences we had in just two days (it looked like a week), I’d like to mention three, divided in three different posts. The first concerns two very special religious ceremonies.