Art Stroll Around London: Guerrilla Girls at the Whitechapel Gallery

Art Review: The Guerrilla Girls Exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery

I’ve been doing a lot of (irrelevant) writing lately and when asked to write a review of an art exhibition i was quite thrilled!

I know, it’s been a while since my last post – I would love to put the blame at my full-time job solely, but that would be unfair. Truth is i have been busy with a lot of shit lately – but enough of my personal drama.

Guerrilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe?

guerrilla-girls

Guerrilla Girls, Poster from 1989

I have recently found myself in London and I was truly excited that I had finally the chance to explore the contemporary art scene in the city. One of my favourite gallery visits was at the Guerrilla Girls exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery.

The exhibition, named Guerrilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe?, with a duration from October 2016 to March 2017, had as a main subject the exploration of diversity in European art organisations. Guerrilla Girls are feminist activist artists, who i have recently encountered at a lecture in Athens, use anonymity to show facts, humour and outrageous visuals, in order to expose gender and ethnic bias as well as corruption in politics, art, film, and pop culture. At their latest exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery, Guerrilla Girls went beyond gender and additionally questioned the position of race and sexuality within European art institutions.

The exhibition itself included a mini video presentation of their work (installed at the gallery hall) as well as a one-room display of posters with outtakes from their new research. It presented responses to questionnaires sent to 383 directors about their exhibitions programme and collections around Europe, concerning the space dedicated to female artists. The questions were formulated to critically look at the narratives that are produced by cultural institutions. Interstingly, only 101 institutions responded.

Guerrilla Girls at the Whitechapel

Standing in front the main diplay at the Guerrilla Girls exhibition.

Re-inventing the f-word

Upon my visit, I was welcomed with a banner installed on the front of the gallery, clearly stating the main focus of the exhibition. The exhibition was held on the first floor, with the main display works spreading around a single room. As I was familiar with the artists’ work, I expected more use of their bold graphics and visuals. Instead, this exhibition had a clear focus on the statistical data, displaying the completed questionnaires of the survey, which were pasted onto the gallery wall and filled with the handwriting of gallery directors.

Personally, I value this exhibition as a successful one. The results of the survey were very informative, interesting and honestly disturbing. However, they were still presented in a sometimes humorous way that actually welcomed self-criticism (based on the comments made by some of the museums’ and galleries’ directors).

Concerning the audience (and given the fact that the admission was free of charge), I believe this was not an exhibition only aimed at those familiar with the Guerrilla Girls’ work or contemporary art lovers, but those who are part of the cultural institutions sphere as well as all people conscious about the affairs of the art world and the ‘real’ diversity in it. Upon my visit, I stumbled upon people of all ages (mainly 20+). However, this programme was not aimed at a younger audience (up to 14 years old), as it was constructed as an informative visual representation rather that an educational workshop.

Furthermore, in regards to the digital promotion of the exhibition, there were plenty of articles on the press (The Guardian, Art News, Time out London, Artsy, etc), social media posts via the Guerrilla Girls and the Whitechapel Gallery and newsletters sent to spread the word. Additionally, there were posters about the exhibition around London as well as informational leaflets at the entrance of the gallery.

Overall,  as I make my first ‘diving’ attempts at feminist art, i quite enjoyed the exhibition. However, the lack of more visual evidence, the limited space where the exhibition was held and the poor reading light were the issues I would like to be improved, in order to enhance the audience experience.

*This article is an edit version of a task asked (more juicy details to come!)

Till the next time,

Sometimes you’ve got something on your mind
that you can’t tell anybody-
In many cases it’s better to keep silent.
We were not put here to enjoy easy nights & days.

C.B.

Rachel

Advertisements

Travel Experiences from Rachel’s Caravan

Travel Experiences

Rachel’s Caravan Travel Adventures

In this blog post, I would like to mention some stories that happened while on the road and experiences I have encountered over my years of travel, so you can know little bit more about me. I will call it a Been There, Done That Guide of Rachel (catchy, eh?) Maybe it sounds a bit like I’m bragging (which I secretly am), but being on the go is always inspiring – for us travel souls – so this is my attempt to feed your wanderlust!

Travel Confessions from Rachel’s Caravan

As a beginning point to my travel lust, I have to mention my first trip abroad at the age of 17. Going solo in Germany was a crucial experience for me. Although I was visiting family friends, I was quite nervous, but excited! It also marked my first plane ride ever! – I was so thrilled! From then on, I have travelled infinite times around my country (Greece) and started travelling abroad as well. I have travelled solo, with friends & with my long-term boyfriend, John and discovered the value of people, but also the challenge of loneliness. Additionally, I have embraced frugal travel in all its terms; obviously I am not rich, so I made travel my priority. 6 years later, here I am with:

– 15 European countries explored
– The ultimate experience of living abroad
– Good friends from all over the world
– Tips of how travel can be achieved even with a small (or zero at times) budget!

The Been There – Done That Traveller | Or my Travel Storytelling

Every traveller has some kind of milestones; adventures, misfortunes, places, people or precious moments we collect. Rachel’s Caravan milestones are:

Have Lived in Lithuania for 5 months

It is thought that it is one thing to visit a place and another to actually live there. I couldn’t agree more. Being an Erasmus student in Lithuania, was undoubtedly one of the best experiences in my life. Not only I got the chance to explore a country so beautiful – but so widely misunderstood, but I managed to find unique friends with whom I still keep very much in touch.

Have travelled solo for 24 h without prior bookings between 3 countries and without speaking the languages

Remember the time when you were young & stupid enough to care about how you’re going back home? That was my case when I had to return to Vilnius from Budapest. Alone. After I caught a pricey last minute morning train to Warsaw (via Bratislava), I ended up in Zachodnia station by luck (didn’t know where to get off), trying to get info how to get to Vilnius almost in sign language (Some Polish seem to hate English). Luckily, a few hours later I managed to find the bus, paid the driver (Thankgod I had already had some zlotys on me) and relaxed on my – not so comfy – overnight bus to Vilnius! Et voila, next morning I was there! All alive and exhausted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Taking camera selfies before it was mainstream, on the train from Budapest to Warsaw.

Have Hitchhiked

As a frugal traveler, I welcome anything that comes with a cheaper (or no) price. Although, I kept pronounce it wrong for years (how embarrassing!), I have tried it solo a few times and have had only positive experiences to share. However, to be honest, I have only tried hh in my country and for relatively short distances, but hopefully I’ll give it a try when abroad again.

Have spent The New Year’s in a secluded house inside the Bavarian forest.

Maybe it sounds like a horror story, but it was absolutely amazing! Snow-white tall trees, interesting people from many different countries, long talks near the fire, gluhwein (non-alcoholic for me!), delicious ethnic recipes, skiing and canyon exploration can pretty much summarize my time there.

Have been unlucky with the weather while travelling

This category combines two experiences actually: Travelling in -30 c temperatures and my long bus rides in the middle of a snowstorm. Winter in the Baltics is no fun, especially if you stroll around Riga in freezing temperatures. On the other hand, the weather in the Balkans can be tricky at times, too: captured (twice) on my way to Bulgaria & Romania between a blizzard – Not cool at all!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Travelling with friends in Jūrmala, Latvia in – 30 °C. (See the stuffed mushroom here?)

Have being thought of a shoplifter

Not the best of an experience, but definitely a memorable one! I was waiting in the queue on a mini market right in the centre of Vilnius, Lithuania, when two odd-looking guys entered. I was last in queue, so I was minding my own business, as they were checking around for goods. The shop owner realized there was something off with them, when they started to empty the (chocolate candy!) shelves. She started yelling in Lithuanian and all of us customers were looking in shock. As they made it to the exit, the fight between the owner and the shoplifters was intense, with the first rushing from behind the cashier to reach them, only to . . . . . grab me by the arm and keep yelling at them! I looked at her in complete shock! She had thought I was part of their gang (probably because I was last in queue and relatively close to them)! When I managed to pull myself together, I furiously explained her in English that I didn’t know them, nor I spoke Lithuanian. Unfortunately, she didn’t speak English! However, my desperate sign gestures, along with the shoplifters’ sayings (I’m assuming they said they didn’t know me as well) got her to leave my arm and start apologizing. By that time the shoplifters had already vanished, with the rest of us left in a “What the hell did just happen?” mood.

Have met famous people on the road

Ok, so just one, but it still counts, since the person was Greece’s most famous chef, Akis Petretzikis. Have you had tea with a celebrity in Paris?

Petretzikis

With Chef Akis Petretzikis in Palais Royal.

Have peed in public

Probably the funniest and most embarrassing thing I have done. Well, sometimes nature’s call finds you in unexpected places; I’ve peed in alleys, roads, parks and oddly enough inside one of Paris’ cemeteries – I know it was disrespectful and I am not particularly proud of it, but what could I do?

Have travelled with a stuffed teddy (in shape of a mushroom)

You got to love your friends, no matter how weird they get, right? Due to a bet, my Portuguese friend Ricardo carried this toy everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. As it turned out, travelling with a stuffed mushroom is definitely a hilarious experience! [Check my previous image].

Have celebrated birthdays in Rome & Vilnius

I am one of those people who LOVE to celebrate their birthdays and I consider myself very lucky that I have people in my life, who made my birthdays special. From a rose in the Spanish Steps and fancy Italian dinner to Limo parties, surprise birthday cakes and a princess crown… Thank you!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The definition of being a princess: Wearing a crown and get your exclusive limo ride…Yay!

Have Partied Hard

Carnival in Torres Vedras, Halloween in Prague and Bucharest, summertime in Mykonos? Yeah, I’ve found myself around party places, I have to admit. I love serenity and peace in new places, but on the other hand I am a firm believer that you can’t REALLY ‘feel’ a place, unless you have experience it in nighttime. Crowded venues, loud music, sweaty dancers, tons of alcohol and the smell of vomit. Youth wilderness, I guess. Also, have you ever been to a trance club at 10 am? Hilarious experience!

Have drunk A LOT of beers on the road

(Way to set a good example, Rachel.)

Subsequently, from above. No, I don’t keep count, but hell that has to be a big number. I confess, I am a HUGE beer fan. And I love exploring a new country by taste. Beer taste, that is. My favorite kinds are ales and ipas and I am always in search for the best bottle of infamous microbreweries.

Prague Beers

Tasting Prague beers with John.

Now that you read some of my most significant (and crazy!) travel stories, let me know about your experiences! What are your travel milestones?

Adventure is the best way to learn.

Rachel

Christmas Traditions in Greece

20151219_170621_Night

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas in Greece

Shiny decorations, the smell of baked cookies & cinnamon and carols’ singing – it’s Christmas time again! The Holiday Season has arrived and families all around Greece have caught the Christmas fever to celebrate the birth of Jesus, along with the advent of New Year.

People usually think of Greece as a gorgeous summer destination – which is true- but little do they know about the mainland, the vast natural surroundings and the unique traditions of the country, which make Greece a marvelous choice all year round.

Now, when hear the word Christmas, you immediately think of snowy villages in Finland, or the shiny decorated markets of Vienna, or maybe the fancier city of London. Greece seems like a poor Christmas destination and you probably landed on this page in the search of interesting things to experience because you are ‘stuck’ in the country. Therefore, my intention with this post is to guide you through the unique Christmas traditions of my country.

10 Christmas Facts About Greece

1) The Christmas Boat

While decorating the Christmas tree is very popular, decorating a Karavaki (Little Boat) is a unique old tradition of the country. Greece is an islandic country and the tradition of Christmas tree was not part of the Greek Culture until its establishment by the first king of Greece, Otto. It dates back hundreds of years as a Christmas tradition, when decorating small boats was a way to welcome seamen back to their families during Christmas. Its popularity has grown over the last decades and it is likely that whenever you go in Greece, you’ll find a little wooden boat decorated with ornaments and lights.

2) Holiday Season in Greece

While throughout Europe, Holiday season is considered to end with the coming of New Year, in Greece it lasts until usually until the 8th of January, where students go back to school after their two weeks’ break. The festive traditions start on December with Christmas, climax on New Year’s Day and end on Theofania (Epiphany Day) and the St. John the Baptist celebration on the 7th of January.

3) Christmas Carols

Christmas carols are widely sung throught the country. Variations can be found on different parts of the country, but generaly the carol songs are of three types (three songs). Καλήν Εσπέραν Άρχοντες (Kalin Esperan Archontes) is sung on Christmas Eve. Children accompanied by instruments such as triangles or accordions rush from door to door on every city or village to sing the carols and earn treats such as sweets, candy or money. Αρχιμηνιά κι αρχιχρονιά (Archiminia & archichronia) is widely sung on New Year’s Day. And in the end, Σήμερα τα Φώτα (Simera ta fota) is sung on Theophania (Epiphany Day) on the 6th of January.

Santa

Let’s knock on Santa’s door in a typical Christmas dreamland in Greece.

4) Aghios Vasilis – Greek Santa Claus

On the contrary to latin based languages, Santa Claus in Greek is not translated as Father of Christmas but St. Bill (Aghios Vasilis). While kids from other countries wait anxiously for their gifts on Christmas Day, Aghios Vasilis visits Greece on New Year’s Eve! The reason is probably because st. Vasilis Day is celebrated on New Year’s Day and thus the tradition. That is why, if you celebrate Christmas in Greece, make sure to leave cookies & milk for Santa on New Year’s Eve.

5) Theofania (Fota) & St. John the Baptist Day

Theofania (also know as Fota – ‘Lights’) are celebrated with the Great Blessing of the Water. It derives from an old tradition that wants the waters to be cleaned from the evil kalikantzaroi (goblins) who try to harm the Christians. At the ceremony, a cross is thrown into the water, and the men try to retrieve it for good luck. The 7th of January marks the celebration of st. John the Baptist, when the numerous Johns & Joans celebrate their name-day.

melomakarona

From the left, Kourabies & Melomakarono – Via.

6) Traditional Christmas Sweets

I’ ve written it again, but i need to remind you; Greeks love to eat! Christmas season is much beloved amongs Greeks partly because of the food feast; tables full of extreme amounts of food & sweets waiting to be gobbled up. There are 3 types of mouth watering desserts that are usually been made only through Christmas Season: Melomakarona, kourabiedes & diples. Melomakarona are spiced cookies made with olive oil & honey and topped with nuts. Kourabiedes are butter cookies topped with icing sugar and diples are deep fried folded honey rolls. (All delicious – Now i’m getting hungry!)

7) The Custom of Podariko

Podariko (footprint?) is a tradition of New Year’s Day. With the coming of New Year the first person who enters every house has to be a lucky one, in order for the house owners to have a lucky and prosper New Year. The person usually carries a pomegranate, which he/she cracks outside of the house. The pomegranate is picked during the autumn season and is kept until New Year’s Day. The pomegranate grains symbolize the abundance & fertility, while its deep red color is supposed to bring luck to the house. On my island, the person who enters first the house has to carry the pomegranate, a branch of olive tree that symbolizes peace, a stone taken from a field or a river, (a bramble root and/ or a water jar) – yes all of that together – crash the pomegranate and sing a song about prosperity & luck.

8) Vasilopita (St.Vasilis Pie)

Vasilopita is a traditional cake that is cut and eaten on New Year’s Day. During the preparation of the cake, a special coin is placed in it. The person who cuts the cake (usually the father or mother of the house), makes the sign of the cross three times above it and then starts serving the pieces, one piece for the house, the Christ, The Virgin Mary, Saint Vasileios and then each person. Whoever gets the coin in his/ her piece, will have luck for the rest of the year. (I got it twice last year!)

DSC_0033

Skiing in Lailias Mountain, in Northern Greece.

9) Christmas Destinations in Greece

Lush natural surroundings and picturesque villages with narrow alleyways are the ideal places to spend Christmas in Greece. While the big cities such as Athens and Thessaloniki boast their festive spirit with different types of events (Check out The Christmas Factory in Athens), Greece’s countryside gives Christmas celebration a real traditional spirit. If you find yourself in Northern Greece, check out the Christmas Dreamland in Drama with Santa’s village right in the center of the city or the Mill of Elves in Trikala, Thessaly to get the naughty spirit!
I bet you didn’t know this, but there are plenty of skiing centers in Greece as well! If you are fond of snow, try the mountains of Parnassos, Kalavryta, Pertouli & Pelio, Kaimaktsalan, Vasilitsa, Falakro, etc.

I will be writing about more winter destinations in Greece on a next post 😉

10) Celebrating Christmas with family

The most important part of Greek holiday traditions is undoubtedly family. Greeks love to celebrate altogether. We like the mess, the food, the loudness, the company; we talk, we eat, we dance, we drink, we sing together with family and friends. Because Christmas in Greece is equal to love.

Kala Christougenna se olous! – Merry Christmas to All 🙂

Let me know in the comments about your country’s traditions!

Till the next post,

Happy Holidays!

Rachel

 

Top 10 Things to Do in Athens Like a Local

Top Things to do in Athens

Probably you’ve pictured Athens as a capital of Crisis, full of people demonstrating or you have heard from a friend that Athens is not a very beautiful city. Well, I am not typing to convince you otherwise. Athens is not like Rome or Prague, it is not a fairytale city; the once capital of Civilization & Democracy is now an urban, authentic, and intense city full of sunshine & life.

Experience Athens Like a Local

One my favorite things about Athens is how the ancient element blends with the modern vivid life to create a unique aura. I have been living in the city for the past 5 years and I am really proud to call myself an Athenian. That is why, I compiled a list of my favorite activities throughout the city with the aim to inspire you to explore the Greek capital!

Parliament Building - Syntagma Square

The Greek Parliament on Syntagma Square.

1) Experience Ancient Greece in Athens

Ancient Greek Ruins can be found all over the city, providing a glimpse to Athens’ long existence.

Acropolis: Pay a visit to the hill of Acropolis, where Parthenon, Erechtheion & the Temple of Athena Nike are situated, to admire the Ionic rhythmed architecture & the great views to the city of Athens.

Ancient Agora: Located right in the heart of Athens, between Thisseio & Monastiraki district, the Ancient Agora is the place where philosophy ideas were born. Pay a visit to the Stoa of Attalos and find yourself 2500 years ago in Ancient Athens.

Roman Agora: After the decadence of the Ancient Greek civilization, the Romans ruled Athens. The Roman Agora is a great example of how deeply Roman architecture was influenced by Ancient Greece.

Special Highlight: Library of Andrianos in Andrianou Str.

Temple of Zeus: Situated between Syntagma Square & Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus stands proudly, defying the power of time. Built between 472 and 456 BC, the temple is an imposing site, that will make you feel humbled and in awe. Right outside of the site, you will find the grand Gate of Andrianos, built during the Roman occupation of the city.

2) Visit at least two museums while in Athens

Athens is a city very rich in culture; a fact that is reflected on the numerous museums spread thought its premises, making it impossible to explore everything at once! However, I am going to recommend you the

Top Museums to visit in Athens

Acropolis Museum: Situated on my favorite street, Dionysiou Aeropagitou, the new majestic postmodern building of Acropolis Museum, was only opened in 2009. The Museum is home to the ancient findings of the Sacred Hill of Acropolis. I’ve been to Museum 5 times (!) already and honestly I am always surprised by the new details I discover each time.

The National Archaeological Museum: The Archaeological Museum of Athens owns a great collection of Prehistoric, Ancient Greek, Egyptian and Cypriot artwork; from enormous sculptures to jewelry and everyday life objects to complex works such as the amazing Antikythera Mechanism, the first ever computer type mechanism.

Tip: Make sure plan your day properly, as the museum needs at least 3 hours to be fully explored.

Cycladic Art Museum: The Cycladic Art Museum constitutes a cultural center in the heart of Athens. Its permanent collection comprises of numerous artworks & objects of Cycladic, Ancient Greek and Cypriot origin, spanning from 4000 BC to the 6th century AD.

Byzantine & Christian Museum: The Byzantine museum is home to – mainly -religious artworks from the Early Christian, Byzantine, Medieval, post-Byzantine and later periods with a focus on the Hellenic region.
Benaki Museum: Its permanent collection boasts a number of more than 40.000 items from antiquity and the age of Roman domination to the formation of the modern state of Greece. Additionally, it is home to The Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery with works of the great artist, the Department of Childhood, a vast collection of 20.000 toys & games with origins from antiquity to 1970, as well as Coptic, Chinese, Islamic & Pre-Columbian artworks.

Byzantine

The Byzantine & Christian Museum.

Tip: Most museums are free of charge every first Sunday of each month.

3) Take a morning walk at Anafiotika neighborhood

The oldest neighborhood in Athens and once home to workers from the island of Anafi, Anafiotika is the island like district surrounding the Acropolis hill on the west side. Unlike other districts in central Athens, it is a very peaceful and colorful neighborhood with an aura of tradition. Stroll around its white narrow streets to experience the islandic vibes.

4) Have a Greek coffee in Plaka

Right next to Anafiotika and Acropolis district, Plaka is one of those neighborhoods that never fails to amaze you; tranquil and vibrant at the same time. Taste a Greek coffee with a Glyko tou koutaliou: a complementary sweet made of fruits & sugar syrup, in one of the picturesque cafes of the area.

Plaka Street Art

Plaka Street Art made by Sonke.

5) Buy a pair of Gods’ sandals at Monastiraki Flea Market

On the left side of the usually crowded, multicolored & multicultural Monastiraki Square, you will find Monastiraki Flea Market. The market is one of the main touristic markets, where you will find different kinds of products made in Greece. If you want to fill the shoes of Zeus or Athena, this is the spot! The leather sandals are high quality and gorgeous looking!

6) Eat, eat, eat and …drink ouzo!

Food culture is really important to Greeks; Food consumption is an everyday ritual which includes a full table and a beloved company. There are many great places to grab a souvlaki (pita bread with skewed meat, french fries, veggies & tzatziki sauce – yum!) or to enjoy a greek frozen yogurt, so stroll around and let the amazing smells to allure you! If you want to lunch like a local, I recommend a visit to Koukaki neighborhood for ouzo & meze. Ouzo is our national spirit; an aniseed flavored drink, which is usually accompanied by meze (a mixture of different delicious stuff served all together: olives, feta cheese, fish, veggies, etc). My favorite hidden gem in Koukaki for ouzo & meze: Sfika at Str.Kontoulis street.

Ouzo & Meze

Ouzo & mezes in Koukaki neighborhood.

7) Fancy hiking?

You don’t need to be a sports enthusiast, to climb up to the famous hills of Athens: Philopappos and Lykavitos. Once the hill of Muses, the Philopappos hill stands majestic over Athens with its homonymous monument, built during the Roman occupation of Athens. A great spot for a romantic walk, Lykavitos offers unrivaled views to the city, as well as an open amphitheater in which significant artists have performed: Ray Charles, B.B.King, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, etc. If you don’t feel like walking, you can reach the top by a cable car.

8) Watch a movie with a view to Acropolis

Awarded as one of the best outdoor cinemas in the world, Cine Thisseio is a must when you visit Athens during summer. It operates from May to September and offers a wide variety of movies: from mainstream to film noir and classics. Oh, don’t worry the movies are in English (Greek subs are provided). Pick a full moon night, watch the beautifully lit Parthenon and enjoy your night! Magical!

9) Street Art Tour

Athens might be known for its existence through centuries, but antiquity is only one part of the city’s today character. Athens’ temperament is undeniably depicted on its streets. Take a tour in the artsy neighborhood of Exarheia, to feel the ‘explosive’ but at the same time Bohemian vibe of the city. Or stroll around Psirri to discover the little gems that comprise Athens’ urban stories.

Psirri Street Art

Psirri neighborhood Street Art.

10) Athens Riviera

Most travellers tend to spend their time in the centre of Athens, thus ignoring the fact that Athens is built very close to the sea. The coastal side of the peninsula of Attica is a magnificent change of the urban scenery: lush green surroundings and endless sea blue. Try to venture a day out of your stay in Athens to explore the Athens Riviera. Start with a walk at Floisvos, have a coffee or lunch at Glyfada and end your afternoon at Cape Sounion, where the temple of Poseidon is built, and enjoy the magical sunset over the islands of Cyclades!

Temple of Poseidon Sounio

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounio.

Undoubtedly, the list goes on & . . .on! Athens offers a great variety of sights & activities and that is, in fact one of the things i love about it!

What do you love about Athens? Have you ever visited the city?

Till the next post,

“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world”.

Socrates

What to See In Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu, The Wonder Of Transylvania

What to see in Sibiu

I never quite understood why travelers overlook Eastern European countries. Having lived in Lithuania for 5 months, I realised how much beauty was hidden between colorful narrow streets, gorgeous old towns, green parks and blocks with very old buildings. Eastern Europe rises from the ashes of its recent history, combining modern elements with urban architecture, unique cultures and unspoiled beauty.

Romania is a big country with lush forests, grandiose mountains, spooky castles, picturesque routes and friendly people. When I decided to travel to Romania, I wanted to see as much as possible. I have never heard of the city of Sibiu, so when I checked it after an online suggestion, I knew I had to visit it!

Sibiu lies in the centre of the country, in the heart of Transylvania. It is almost 300km away from Bucharest and around 150km from Brasov. We reached Sibiu by minibus from Brasov paying a little less than 5€ each. Little is known that Sibiu was originally built by Germans in the 12th century. (Originally named Hermannstadt).

What to see in Sibiu

Sibiu can be easily explored on foot; on the Upper town visitors will find the majority of historic sights, while on the Lower town you’ll get a chance to have a glimpse in the past with the impressive towers and city walls.

Old Town

The historical centre includes the Great Square, Huet Square, the Stairs Passage which connects the upper town to the lower town, the romantic Bridge of Lies, the Goldsmiths’ Square and the Small Square. On our first day, we strolled around the Old town, only to experience its mystic atmosphere.

Piata Mare (Great Square)

The Great Square of Sibiu is the definite starting point of adventures. Surrounded by beautiful buildings (hotels, restaurants, museums), it is a great place to either relax, or start exploring around.

Great Square in Sibiu

The Great Square in Sibiu.

Piata Mica (Small Square)

Connected with the Great Square via the The Tower of the Council, this picturesque spot is a great place to unload and rest your feet while on the quest to the city’s most known museums.

Turnul Sfatului (The Tower of the Council)

For the greatest city views, this is the place! The ascent might be a bit tiring, but the view is totally worth it. The entrance admission is only 2 lei= 0.4€. To my surprise, the artistic element was not missing, as beautiful artwork can be found on the last floors of the tower.

The Tower of the Council

Nightview of The Tower of the Council.

Bridge of lies

The ultimate selfie spot that can’t be missed. The myth has it that the bridge was a meeting point of German soldiers and their Romanian girlfriends, promising them eternal love while heading back to their country. You get the point; they never returned, thus the name.

Bridge of Lies

Couldn’t resist to a Bridge of Lies Photo!

Piata Heute & Lutheran Evangelical Cathedral

Reachable through Piata Mica, this small Square is a place with vivid life, while it hosts the majestic Lutheran Evangelical Cathedral & Tower. The cathedral that is as impressive on the inside, is home to a big organ. Additionally, you can visit the Cathedral Tower to enjoy more incredible city views.

Pasajul Scarilor (The Stairs Passage)

The Stairs Passage is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places in the city. Built in the 13th cent, it consists of staircases & archways that connect the Upper to the Lower town. A place highly recommended for an afternoon walk.

The Stairs Passage

The passage from the Upper to the Lower part of Sibiu.

Museums in Sibiu

Although there is a number of interesting small museums throughout the city, the two most known are the Brukenthal National Museum & Astra National Museum. Unfortunately, during my visit in Sibiu the Brukenthal National Museum was closed (apparently it doesn’t operate on Mondays & Tuesdays), so instead we visited one of the largest outdoor museums in Europe, the Astra Museum.

Astra Museum Sibiu

Windmills at Astra Open Air Museum.

Astra Open Air Museum

The museum is located about 3 km away from the city of Sibiu, but it is easily reachable by a local bus. The admission fee is free for students. The museum depicts the Traditional Folk Civilization of Romania. It contains houses and several buildings built as of the pre-industrial era. It expands in a picturesque area with two artificial lakes and over 10 km of walkways between them. A must see in Sibiu for nature & history lovers.

Astra Museum Sibiu

Autumn Colors in Astra Museum, Sibiu.

Travel Tip (1): For Romanian culinary experiences I recommend a walk to Strada Nicolae Balcescu, where you will find a variety of gastronomy: from fancy restaurants to fast food chains. Don’t forget to try plăcintă cu visine (sour cherry pie) from the local bakeries!

Travel Tip (2): For pub crawling lovers, great pubs are located around The Great Square. Make sure to try the local beers; you will be amazed!

Pub in Sibiu

St. Andrews Scottish Pub in Iancu Str. with Haloween decorations & some delicious Romanian beers!

Have you been to Romania? What are your suggestions? I hope this post inspired you to visit Sibiu. There shall be more posts about Romania. Till then,

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life.

Rachel

The Top 4 Museums & Art Galleries to Visit in Paris

Top Cultural Places in Paris

Paris Museums to Visit

Whether you are a true art lover, or you just want to experience the cultural aura of a place, museums should be part of your journeys, as they offer a glimpse in history, while incorporating modern elements that truly give insight on a civilization. As a relentless traveller, I have visited several museums and art galleries, both inlands and abroad which lead me to appreciate even the slightest form of cultural authenticity. While in Paris, I couldn’t resist a visit to some of the most renowned cultural sites in the world. On my week long trip, I managed to visit these 4 museums/ galleries, which I highly recommend.

The Louvre

Hordes of travellers have queued for hours over the years, outside of the glass pyramid shaped end of the emblematic Museum of Louvre. On a rainy February day, I was one of them. The museum is located centrally and is easily reached by metro line x Stop Palais Royal / Louvre or metro line 1 Stop Louvre / Rivoli. The general ticket admission for the permanent collection is 12€ but if you are a European Union citizen under 26 entrance is free (yay!)

Now, you probably have heard how enormous the Louvre is. Well, this is arguably true. With a great variety of art objects, paintings & sculptures, spanning across 4 floors, the museum of Louvre, is almost impossible to be explored in a day. I spent 5 hours (!) on my visit there and I probably still missed or passed a few notable pieces. The museum of Louvre is a building that constitutes from 3 sides: Richelieu, Sully & Denon, composed of many rooms on several levels. On the ground floor, you will find French sculptures from the 5th to the 19th century, Antiquities from the prosperity period of Mesopotamia, Iran, Egypt, Greece, Roman Empire, as well as sculptures from Italy and North Europe during the 16th – 19th centuries.

GROUND FLOOR NOT TO MISS: The sculptures of: Aphrodite of Milos, Statue of Ramses II, and Michelangelo’s dying Slave.

The 1st floor mainly consists of paintings from Spain & Italy, as well as art objects from Greece, Egypt and France.

1st FLOOR NOT TO MISS: The glorious sculpture of Victory of Samothrace as well as the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting, The Mona Lisa or La Giocconda, presumably the world’s most visited work of art.

Victory of Samothrace

Proudly standing in front of Victory Of Samothrace.

The 2nd floor is actually a lot smaller consisting exclusively of paintings from west Europe (France, Germany, the Netherlands, etc) from the 15th – 18th century. On the -1 (underground) floor, you will find another vast collection of French, Italian, Spanish & North European Sculptures, as well as art works from the Islamic (7th – 19th cent), Greek Preclassical and Egyptian Eras, while discovering the medieval history of the Louvre itself. Additionally, there is another level beneath that (something like a semi-floor), where you will find the Inverse Pyramid (Yes, the one from Da Vinci code!), as well as more artworks, paintings & sculptures.

Tips for the Louvre Museum:

With all those masterpieces and artworks, a visit to the Louvre Museum might sounds pretty exhausting. Well, it is. Unless you:
1. Plan your visit really early (museum opens at 9am) to avoid the crowds and queues.
2. Book your ticket online – so no waiting time!
3. Visit the Museum website, study about the artwork. Be prepared and note the works that you really want to see or the paths you will follow – otherwise you are doomed to just wonder in which chamber you are!
4. Because of the crowds, the Louvre Museum is a great place for pickpockets. Make sure to be aware of your belongings at all times.

Pompidou Centre

A post-modern building right in the heart of the 4th district of Paris, which houses the Public Information and The National Museum of Modern Art, surely cannot be missed. It is situated close to Métro stations: Rambuteau and Les Halles and ticket admission starts from 14€.

The National Museum of Modern Art of the Pompidou Centre consists of about 50,000 works of art, of which about 2,000 are exposed publicly, including painting, sculpture and photography. As part of its ongoing exhibitions, different art movements are represented extensively to the public, such as Fauvism, Surrealism or Cubism. In addition, it houses an important collection of industrial design.

Centre Pompidou

Main interior space of Pompidou Centre.

Musee d’ Orsay

While, most travelers tend to skip this museum (probably due to lack of time), I have checked some reviews online and a visit there was highly top on my Paris list. Upon arrival, the museum seems majestic both on exterior & interior. The museum collections boast the famous works of impressionism & post-impressionism lead figures: Van Gogh, Renoir, Matisse, Monet, as well as collections in sculptures, photography and visual arts.

The museum has 4 levels: Ground floor (Level 0), Level 2, The Pavillon Amont level & Level 5. On level 0, you will find early works of Monet, Degas and Manet, as well as pieces by Delacroix & Moreau. On Level 2, you will be transported into the era of naturalism on the side of Seine, while admire the beautifully arranged works of the Neo-Impressionist & Post-Impressionist era with the works of Van Gogh, Seurat & Gauguin.

On this level, I was truly astounded by the amazing works of Vincent van Gogh. The agony of his troubled life, can be seen through his visionary paintings. Dreamy landscapes, expressive colors and portraits filled with sensitivity, Vincent van Gogh managed to balance between intelligence and alienation, providing us with his astonishing world of art. Undoubtedly, out of van Gogh’s works in Musee d’ Orsay, my favorite painting is Nuit étoilée sur le Rhône. With limited colors but intensive brush strokes, its beauty and simplicity made me dream.

Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh, Nuit étoilée sur le Rhône (1888).

At the next level, the Pavillon Amont, Art Nouveau masterpieces can be found traced back in different parts of Europe and America. By the end, the spacey level 5, is home to some of the greatest pieces in the Impressionist movement around 1860-1900: Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Manet, and Caillebotte.

Tips while visiting Musee d’ Orsay

1. The Museum closes at 6pm, but exhibition halls start closing at 5.30, so I suggest to clear your schedule and pop up for a visit at around Midday, hopefully avoiding the crowds.
2. Be careful with your carry ons and respect the rules: don’t carry any food / drink, umbrellas or big bags on. Ideally, there’s a cloakroom to leave all heavy stuff.
3. Although, photography is currently allowed, however be descript and leave your selfie stick at home!

Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum, dedicated to the work of the artist Pablo Picasso, is an art gallery located in the magnificent Hôtel Salé in the Marais district of Paris. The general admission ticket costs around 15€ and it is located very close to Pompidou Centre.

The Picasso Museum is house to over 5.000 works of art by Picasso including 3.700 works on paper, ceramics, sculptures in wood and metal, engravings and paintings. It is additionally complemented by Picasso’s own personal art collection of works by other artists, including: Cézanne, Degas, Rousseau, Seurat, de Chirico and Matisse. Expanding from the artist’s early works to paintings even a few years prior to his death, the visitor gets a full caption of Picasso’s artistic perpective and maturity: from The Rose and Blue Period, to Cubism & Surrealism.

Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Collage: Mujeres en el aseo (1937-1938)

Extra Tip: Make sure to visit the Museum shop for some interesting Picasso inspired souvenir!

There are plenty of other choices in terms of Museums in Paris: Musée Rodin, Orangerie Museum, etc. My choice on these 4 is based on the variety of artworks, their popularity and of course my personal experience. When in Paris, i hope you enjoy them as much as i did.

Till the next post,

L’art est un mensonge qui nous fait comprendre la vérité […]

Rachel

Alternative Things to Do in Paris: Visiting Jim Morrison’s grave

Visiting Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris

alternative things to do in Paris

Combining the love of music with travel

Next on the Paris series, I would like to write about my visit in Père Lachaise Cemetery to pay my respects to The Doors frontman, Jim Morrison. I am a huge musicophile of the 60’s era and the sounds of The Doors, with the mystical lyrics of Jim, the haunting keyboard melodies of Ray and the psychedelic guitar sounds of Robby, always fascinate me. Every Jim Morrison fan, knows the story of the last years of his life and consequently his death in Paris. So, upon scheduling my plans on my week in Paris, I decided I should pay a visit to one of the best performers and poets in rock history.

Père Lachaise Cemetery is located a bit far from the city centre, on the east side on the 20th arrodisement. There are several metro stations nearby, so it is easily reached. I decided to start my day at the Bastille Square and then walk towards Rue de la Roquette (about 2 km), since it is my preferable exploration style and I wanted to experience as much as possible from the Parisian aura.

Bastille-Square

Place de la Bastille.

After a cheerful morning walk, I reached the gates of Père Lachaise Cemetery. In the entrance I found a big navigation map, took a photo (this is very important! Take a photo otherwise you are lost!) and proceeded. I was happy to find out that more important figures were buried here (Frederic Chopin, Eugene Delacroix, Moliere, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and more). While walking inside, the scenery was kind of melancholic, some naked trees and sculptures ahead, with narrow streets leading to different parts of the cemetery. To my surprise, there were a lot of people around, trying to figure out the street numbers – Père Lachaise Cemetery is huge.

Pere-Lachaise

The main entrance of Père Lachaise Cemetery.

At first I wanted to visit several burial places, but because of my schedule at that day, I decided I should visit my two favorites Frederic Chopin & Jim Morrison. I tracked down Chopin’s graveyard relatively easily. It was small tomb with a statue on top and lots of flowers.

Chopin

Frédéric Chopin’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Then, on my quest to visiting Jim Morrison’s grave, I got lost in between narrow majestic graves – a bit spooky but funny. Finally with the assistance of some kind strangers, I managed to find the burial place; all hidden on a small hill on the right side of the cemetery. I found a few people there and by the time I left, there has been a mall crowd. The tomb is protected by railings, but I wanted to have a closer look. Again, with the kind assistance of an American traveler, I jumped over and found myself near the grave. I stood there in silence and awe, bringing lyrics and images of Jim’s music to my head.

Jim-Morrison-Burial-Place

“ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ”

To any Doors fans out there, if you find yourself in Paris, don’t skip a visit to Père Lachaise Cemetery, to offer a flower to the beautiful soul of an inspiring being.

Until the next post,

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.

Rachel

Sightseeing in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon Guide

What to see in Lisbon

Olá! I wanted to write a travel article for a while now, and while I was going through some old photos, I decided I should dedicate my next one to the country of wine, pasteis and discoveries, Portugal. As mentioned, last February I spent almost the whole month living in the country like a local. I was lucky enough to be hosted by my very good friend Carolina and her family, in a neighborhood close to Setubal city, where I was introduced to the secrets of the country.

Travelling around Portugal

During my stay, I had the chance to visit plenty of cities. But I would like to begin with Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese). Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, spanning across the hills with river Tagus in its foothills. Lisbon is not a big – or what might someone say – a busy metropolis comparing to other western capitals; but instead it’s traditional, tranquil, colorful and usually sunny. It is a generally clean city, with plenty of green spots and beautiful architecture, as it combines Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern elements in its structure.

To really feel the essence of Portuguese aura, start exploring by strolling around its narrow streets by feet, or use the metro and train systems which are reliable. For the more adventurous I recommend a bike ride, but then again Lisbon is the opposite of a flat city – so good luck with that!

Walk around Lisbon

Avenida da Liberdade

Start you tour in Marquês De Pombal Square and walk straight on the Avenida da Liberdade street to meet Restauradores Square, with maybe a quick visit to Lisbon Hard Rock Café and a beautiful theatre building down on your left, with some growing trees inside of it! Little further down the road, you will find the picturesque Pedro IV Square.

NOT TO MISS:
Igreja de São Roque: I am not a huge fan of churches I have to admit, but Igreja de São Roque was very impressive. Totally worth a visit.

Baixa Pombalina

Continue straight to find the Baixa Pombalina, Lisbon’s no. 1 hotspot. It is a relatively newer district, constructed after the 1755 earthquake that left most of the city in ruins. The neighborhood took its name from Marquês De Pombal, who undertook the assignment of rebuilding the city, under strict guidelines, transforming the city with modern and earthquake resistant constructions.

A MUST WHEN IN LISBON: Stroll around the ‘Calçada Portuguesa’ patterned pavements of Rua Augusta, which leads to the famous Terreiro do Paço (Praça do Comércio), to enjoy the Tagus River and sunshine.

Rua Augusta Lisbon

Rua Augusta, Lisbon.

Alfama

A traditional old district with narrow streets and mixed architecture, Alfama is the home of many shops, restaurants and fado bars (Fado is the national music style of Portugal – lyrical and melodical; with melancholy notes). With the air of authenticity, it surely is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods of Lisbon.

Azulejos in Lisbon

The famous Azulejos (tiles) of Portugal.

NOT TO MISS: Sé de Lisboa (Lisbon Cathedral), a Roman Catholic cathedral dating back in the 12th cent, the oldest church of the city.

Bairro Alto

Bairro Alto is the heart of Lisbon’s vibrant nightlife. A blend of classic and alternative cultural statement. Bars and clubs of all styles and niches (gay, metal, hip hop, industrial, etc) in one place. All you have to do is walk around to find your ideal spot to crush! Or pub crawling! – Whatever works! 😉

Tram In Lisbon

Lisbon’s trademark: The Old Yellow Tram.

Belém

Belém district lies on the west of Lisbon and can be reached with a train or bus, as it is far from the city centre by foot. Belém is a beautiful coastal area; once the adventure spot, from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off to discoveries.

Monument of Discoveries Lisbon

Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of Discoveries)
Belém is the place where explorers Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral departed for India in 1497 and for Brazil in 1499.

Start your visit at the famous Torre de Belém, a tower built as a fortified lighthouse in the beginnings of the 16th cent. Walk towards the Tagus River to find the modern touch of the area, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of Discoveries), dedicated to Portugal’s explorers. Right across the highway, lies the Praça do Império with its colorful gardens centred on a fountain. And just a few steps away you will find the majestic Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery). Little further on the road, you will find a pink guarded palace; don’t wander, it is the Belem Palace, which currently serves as a Presidential residency. (It is allowed to take a photo with the guard, so go ahead!)

NOT TO MISS:

With a small entrance fee, you can go all the way up to the Monument of Discoveries to experience a full view of the city.

Pasteis de Belém are the most famous sweets of Portugal; originally a variation of Pastel de nata, these mini custard tarts, are worth the endless waiting time in a queue. So, once in the cashier, make sure to buy some extra for the road!

Pasteis de Belem

Delicious Pasteis de Belém!

Chiado

Chiado is merely a shopping area, blending traditional and modern elements. On rua Garrett, you can find malls, book stores (the oldest bookstore in the city), cafes and chic restaurants.

NOT TO MISS:

The Coffee place A Brasileira, which the famous Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa used to visit.

Pay a visit to the refurbished Fundação José Saramago (Casa Dos Bicos), one of the most emblematic examples of Lisbon’s 16th cent architecture that contains vestiges from several periods spanning approximately 2000 years!

Fernando Pessoa Lisbon

At A Brasileira Cafe catching up with Fernado Pessoa. 😀

Castelo de São Jorge

By taking either the bus 37, or the famous tram 28, or even by feet, you will find yourself all the way up to the hill, occupied by the beautifully preserved Castle of Saint George. The monument consists of the castle, ruins of the former palace and part of the neighborhood for the elite. Admission ticket might be a little expensive (8,5 € – 5 € for students), but the spectacular views to the city will reward you.

NOT TO MISS:

Miradouros: Miradouros are places located on the upper side of the city, providing amazing panoramic views.

Miradouro da Graça: In a relatively close distance to the castle, you will find Miradouro da Graça with a view spanning from the castle, to the bridge of 25th of April and Tagus River. Extra Tip: Relax with a tea or an Imperial Sagres (Portuguese Lager beer), under the shaded trees, while enjoying the view!

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte: Another great spot for iconic photographs, so make sure you are well equipped.

Lisbon view from the castle

View of the city from Castelo de São Jorge.

Parque Das Nacoes

On the east side and a bit far from the city centre, you are introduced to the modern & family oriented side of the city: postmodern architecture, busy malls and restaurants – the exact opposite of the city centre of Lisbon. The area was originally constructed for the ’98 World Expo and has being developed ever since. It can be easily reached by train (Oriente station) or bus. Additionally, there are cable cars to drive you along the shore.

NOT TO MISS:

The Oceanário de Lisboa

Unfortunately, I decided to skip it due to the expensive admission fee (14 €), but I actually regretted after reading so many positive reviews. If you are an admirer of the sea depth, don’t miss it.

Uptown Lisbon

It might not brag about much tourist attention, however, uptown Lisbon is a residential and business area with cultural gems.

NOT TO MISS:

Calouste Gulbekian Museum: Housing a magnificent collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Asian, and European art.

Campo Pequeno (Praça de Touros do Campo Pequeno): A Moorish-Style bullring, housing malls, restaurant and cinemas.

Campo Pequeno Lisbon

Campo Pequeno in Uptown Lisbon.

I hope this quide was a helpful introduction to the beautiful city of Lisbon to fellow travelers. Feel free to add your own recommendations!

Till the next post,

A vida é o que fazemos dela. As viagens são os viajantes. O que vemos, não é o que vemos, senão o que somos.

Rachel

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Review

Montage of Heck

Cover Photo Of Montage of Heck.

Montage of Heck Documentary Review

After a long desire, last night I finally watched the praised ‘definite’ documentary on the life of the most influential figure in the 90’s, Kurt Cobain. I need to clear out that I am a huge Nirvana fan and have been quite obsessed with the whole mystery surrounding the band’s success as well as Kurt’s death, on my freshman year in university. Therefore, this review is based on my views as a hardcore Nirvana fan.

First and foremost, I would like to point out the simplicity put in the direction of this film. In general, I find it well-crafted technically. As the title implies, Brett Morgen used a variety of Kurt’s private material with the intention to enrich the film and provide an insight on his creative world. Sketches, home videos, obscure recordings and diary entries that consult in the raw depiction of his sensitivity and emotional spirituality. I absolutely loved how his sketches would come to life out of the paper. Additionally, the animated parts of Kurt’s youth, added an aesthetically creative touch to the film. The parts I really enjoyed were definitely the abstract material in between; sketches, dolls, intestines, writings, etc all of which lead to the inner exploration of his artistic intelligence.

However, the documentary lacks in many levels. Although its start is very promising, by the half of it, it fails to provide with an objective truth about Kurt’s personality. The whole project narrates the story of a fragile kid from a problematic environment, who suddenly rose to fame and hated everything, apart from his own music. Chronicling his life, the added interviews by his closest environment, seem to encourage this image of a lost, sad soul, who was always living on the margins and whose end was actually not at all surprising. Often too generic, with a lack of controversy, their sayings portray Kurt as a sensitivity victim; hostile as a teen, a miserable, depressed and addicted person. I can’t of course know, since I have never met him, but this whole depiction seemed a bit ‘phony’. Furthermore, the absence of critical people in his life being interviewed, such as bandmates like Dave Crohl, Pat Smear, friends from other bands like REM, Mudhoney, producers, people he worked with or admired, leads to an one-sided portrayal of his story. It seems like parts of his life were intentionally (?) left out. What about the Bleach era? The drummer search? His relationship with Dave? Krist’s interview was merely limited just to confirm the above.

Concerning the sound of the film, in my opinion was unsatisfactory. First, the decibels of the interviews were incredibly low, while on the contrary the songs and recordings were too loud. I assume it was Mr. Morgen’s way of showing the antithesis of Kurt’s sensitive being to his powerful raw music. Another aspect was the actual selection of songs. Although I love (really LOVE) Nirvana music and I truly enjoyed the covers of Smells like Teen SpiritAll Apologies and this unreleased song, I admit I would like to be surprised by a different musical background: punk rock music and music from bands and musicians that really inspired Kurt; from Leadbelly to the Melvins.

What really talks to the heart of the audience, is the intimacy found between Kurt and Courtney. The raw footage of his family, including his daughter Frances, is really overwhelming. For me, it is the most innocent part of the film. Those painful smiles, the jokes and love; nothing suggests a depressed person, right? And did you happen to see any syringes anywhere around their house? No? Hmm. (Food for Thought). At this point, I don’t want to expatiate over Courtney and her actual effect on Kurt. I believe they were truly in love, but also had some troubles. – But then again all couples do. However, the whole ‘Kurt attempted suicide because he thought I cheated on him’ claim had a pretentious tone, as the Rome incident should have been a wakeup call for her.

As far as the documentary reaches the end, Kurt’s journals and newspaper highlighted passages, climax AGAIN over his disappointment, depression and addiction, only to lead to a cliché sudden ending, that left me wonder.

So was Montage of Heck worth watching? Yes, definitely. Undoubtedly, some parts of the raw footage and photographs that were not seen before, were great and gave an insightful glimpse on Kurt’s life. However, as a hardcore Nirvana & Kurt fan I have gone through all the published material, rare recordings and interviews over the years, so I could recognize most of the material used in the documentary. What I was expecting from this film was a true presentation of his personality and creativity; what about the different aspects of his art – the paintings, the crafts and the short films he made. His guitars, his plans after In Utero album, his death? . . .

Truth is after all this hype, I had high expectations of Montage of Heck and in the end I was disappointed. I was hoping it would clear up all those media bullshit stories and shed light on Kurt’s world, but instead it seems to continue the propaganda.

I am not going to score this film, since I am not a film critic; this review was just meant to be written by a huge Nirvana fan. Whether you are going to watch or not, is entirely up to you – however if you are a true Nirvana fan, don’t get your expectations high. After all, “There’s nothing to say, man. It’s all in the music”.

Till the next time,

“I miss the comfort in being sad”.

Rachel

Untitled 1 – My Poetry

I adore the night. It makes me feel alive
Forcing me to think – what i’ve become.

Just a late night awakening –

Rachels Caravan Poetry