Rome & Bratislava

Prolog

Last time I wrote you, dear readers, I had just arrived to Rome.

That same afternoon I walked out and got blown away by the beauty and density of history that the city offers. Soon after I meet a new friend called M, that I will introduce to you in the following.

Midweek I flew to Bratislava where my mother, or mama as I call her, joined me to spend the weekend. I also have some memories regarding our time together to share so far already.

Once again, I’m up against my Sunday deadline, but I will do my best to share the highlights with you!

Roma!

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Rome was just as I remembered it as a teenager; yet both seemingly bigger and smaller. What sometimes happens when I travel in a group, as I did with school back then, is that I see some things closer and clearer and remember them as gigantic; and then many other things get lost in the mix – for example how far apart one historic landmark is to another.

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Chairs in front of the Vatican

In my memories it took forever to walk to interesting spots and it was tiresome. Walking around alone the first afternoon however, I found everything close and within easy walking distance. Of cause I didn’t have to follow 20 classmates or listen to teachers on every corner. I walked from my hostel near the main train station Termini to the Vatican without a sweat.

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There had been some kind of marathon though, so the streets were crowded and people in mini shorts were humping around wrapped in gold and silver blankets everywhere. Near big crowds I get sort of claustrophobic and close to the famous fountain, that was used in the Fellini film La Dolce Vita, I escaped into a fancy and expensive restaurant. There I did a fast sketch of the interior that looked like something from a noir movie in the late 50’s.

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Meeting M

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Sketch from cafe where I meet M

The next day I also tried to escape the hordes of tourist as well as locals; seeking refuge in the side streets while searching for a small calm café where I could sketch and write. I found a nice little place and here I started chatting with what turned out to be a very kind retired professor from America, who was travelling to write on his first novel and to sketch.

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Forum Romanum

It came very natural to us to start talking about art, literature, culture, and politics. Soon we decided it would be nice to go to the Forum Romanum together. We never got inside the Forum, as we had trouble finding the main entrance. Instead we ended up in the cool Travestere area on the other side of the river from the city center, where we had lovely dinner with a good bottle of Sicilian red wine.

The next day we meet up and saw two art museums together. First we went to the Borghese that had breathtaking interiors, statues and paintings as well as a lovely garden.

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Me at the Borghese Gallery
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Borghese Garden

In the Modern Art Museum we also visited we amongst other nice art works also saw this philosophical quote on a large piece of glass:

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Me with modern art

Once again, like when I was in Fez, I’m grateful for the interesting people I’ve been so fortunate to meet on my travels – and whom I hope to stay in touch with!

 

A Night Flight to Bratislava

Before I knew it I had an early flight to Bratislava.

Because it was at six in the morning I had booked a rather expensive guesthouse near the airport. Sadly the guesthouse had an awful bed and the ‘taxi’ was a man with a minivan with two Indian passengers already in the back. He wanted 15 euros for the 10 minutes drive.

Not even in Morocco have I’ve been treated so much as a stupid rich tourist as in Italy.

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Airport near Rome at six in the morning

Although sleep-deprived and annoyed by the money spend in order to catch the ‘cheap’ flight, I arrived in decent time at the airport and later reached Bratislava safely.

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Flight landing in Slovakia
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First sights of Bratislava

It was raining and cold when I arrived, but the city seemed beautiful already anyway. The next days I had some lovely walks and tram rides. I enjoyed the colorful architecture and went to eat at a cool Asian restaurant.

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Road through Bratislava
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Cool Asian restaurant in Bratislava

I also found time to do a sketch after a slightly awkward but fascinating photo of three babies I found in a free magazine:

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Also, I went to their modern theater, ballet and opera building and bought tickets both for myself and my mother. For myself I bought a ticket to see Don Giovanni before her arrival – and for mama and me I bought two tickets for a contemporary opera by a Czech composer.

When I went to the Don Giovanni performance alone I did some quick sketches:

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Opera guests sketched

Mama & Bratislava

Soon came the day when my mother arrived.

She had booked a lovely hotel with pool, sauna and, well, everything.

Luckily they allowed me to check in before she was to arrive later that evening. Ecstatic I tested the pool within 15 minutes and then enjoyed the delicate luxury of having a whole silent room for myself to nap and chill in.

Just as enjoyable as spending time alone was finally seeing mama and later eating sushi for dinner, swimming in the pool and melting in the sauna synchronically before having a nice long sleep and then waking up for a glorious breakfast buffet.

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Mama’s watercolor

The first day we spend time in a cafe painting watercolors. My mother is also an artist and she painted a cute horse with a kid and a squirrel. I began by sketching and then painting after a black and white photograph I had seen way back in the modern art museum in Valencia. Admittedly I had taken a photo, so I wasn’t drawing all from memory.

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First sketch

 

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First watercolor
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Second fast watercolor just of woman on the left

Then we saw a nice exhibition at a small art gallery.

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Nice small art gallery in Bratislava

In the evening we went to see the contemporary opera piece in the old historic opera building. The roof and balconies were beautifully ornamented and there was a really cool modern globe lamp where there usually hangs a huge chandelier in other operas.

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Old opera entrance hall
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Mama walking into the opera

 

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The globe lamp

 

The next day we went to Bratislava Castle that had some beautiful interior. From what was called the castles: Crown tower, we saw a magnificent view of the city.

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Staircase in castle
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View onto Bratislava and the castle
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Bratislava
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Old school chandelier in Bratislava castle

We also went to a cute looking café where I sketched some fast portraits of mama and then some after photos of the sweet fat cats I had met in Valencia:

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Mama in cute cafe
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Quickly sketch portrait of mama
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Blue sketch of mama trying to choose good hashtags for her picture of lemonade

Epilog

Soon the weekend passed and now I’m sitting in the hotel room writing this post!

Tomorrow mama is leaving and then I still have some days left in Bratislava by myself.

It was wonderful to spend time with her and share our love of art and creativity. I rarely get to see her as she lives in England with my bonus dad – and I’m usually in Copenhagen.

I’m also thankful to have met M in Rome and the times we shared there.

After the next few days here in Slovakia I’m travelling on to Bulgaria and the coastal city of Burgas.

So next week I’ll write you from there!

 

Yours

Cille

 

Ps. here are some random leftover sketches I’ve made this week:

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