Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The time has come..

To launch the website we've been working on for quite some time:
It was a long but rewarding work - and we have learned a lot of interesting things along the way. It is our very first step towards online entrepreneurship, so we'll be very grateful for any kind of support people will offer us in the following months. The idea is to create a useful website that any traveler can consult whenever planning to visit places from Romania.
The work is far from over and I doubt we'll be able to say - anytime soon - that we've reached the end of it :)
We've just started and there are many useful features already in the works (English translation for example). So, expect some new updates on this matter.

The feedback received while still in Closed Beta was extremely useful, especially since the "testers" and their opinion came from various places on the planet - thank you Couchsurfing!
Also, some special thanks are in order to the entire team working on this project! ..and - why not  - to future members :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Elements of change.. learned from photography.

When you're not happy with the results, just change the angle.
In photography it can make the difference between a failed shot and a great one. In life, a different perspective often brings new understanding, opportunities and possibly better results in any kind of situation.

When you like the angle a lot and spend too much time in the same spot doing the same damn thing, you're certainly missing other opportunities.
Again - change the perspective and make sure nothing passes by unnoticed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Losing weight and learning usefull things (9kg - 1 month)

I've lost 9kg in one month and learned a few useful things in the process. I'll share these with you since some of them can be applied in a wider range of situations, not just for tailoring your shape:
  • The first and foremost important one is the mindset: don't just "try", DO it.
    You must really want to achieve your goal and decide to put aside any negative thoughts or influences that may lead you astray. Also you must be happy with the important choice of building a new
  • It's possible to eat less and have more energy than before.
    During the recent one month trip in Middle East - I ate mostly vegetarian foods for three weeks - and felt more stamina than before (keep in mind I walked and sometimes hiked all day long).
  • There's a clear difference

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The one month trip - in a nutshell (Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey)

Budget, time-frame, likes, dislikes - it's all here.
In case you didn't have the patience to read all previous post from our recent trip, then you'll find below a short sum-up, plus some additional information.

Budget: 1500 euro - each.
That was the maximum amount we were comfortable spending, but we had an emergency surplus of 300 more euros. So, 1800 per person, split in half: cash and credit card. When we got to Turkey for the second time - close to the end of the trip - we realized that we spent far less than expected: around 1000 euros each. Not bad at all since we couchsurfed only four times and stayed at hotels for the rest of the trip (budget hotels recommended by the Lonely Planet guide). In the end, the overall cost was around 1200 euros per person.

Egypt: June 6 - June 16 (Cairo, Aswan, Luxor, Dahab).
What we liked:
- All the places we saw - in this order: Karnak temple, Pyramids, Phylae and Abu Simbel temples, Valley of the Kings, Luxor temple;
- Dahab: a very affordable resort; a great place for relaxation and snorkeling (or diving) in the near blue lagoon with its coral reef and marine fauna. Dahab is one of the cheapest places in the world, for taking diving classes and earning a diving permit.
- Aswan city: cleaner than Cairo and Luxor, more relaxed and with an awesome Nile view.
- Egypt itself as a very affordable destination (if you bargain all the time and dodge the scams). A budget hotel room, with breakfast included and air-conditioning - was around 10 euros per night (some hotels even have a pool on the rooftop and sometimes a nice view over the area). There's also the alternative of sleeping in the roof garden and paying substantially less (we never did that, but it can help a lot in cutting down the overall costs).
- The one hour hot-air balloon flight.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To be continued..

Almost a month has passed since we've left our country and I'm writing what's supposed to be the last entry while still on the road. As in many previous cases, I'm doing this in a bus.

The flow of ideas sometimes stops and I resort to my "muse": long breaks watching the fast changing environment from the other side of the window.
When doing this, I sometime feel like vibrating at another level, on a bridge between worlds, where my mind is tuned to hear whispers that are either the answer to what I'm looking for, or an entirely new idea.
I have this image about ideas being like invisible schools of fish, swimming around us. From time to time, one of them comes close enough to me, not to see it, but to feel the ripples it creates.
It's there for a split second and then it's gone. I take a break from gazing and write it down before forgetting it.
I forgot a lot of them in the past.. but now I've learned to pick them up and store the unripe ones for later.

Andra interrupts my contemplation; she's telling me she just hurt her foot accidentally - on the chair in front. I discover I'm still not back into this world, I simply note the fact and somewhat coldly continue the introspection.
She's not going to be happy when she reads this.. But I like it here.. it's new and interesting for me. I'm going to stay for a a little while longer.


Outside we leave behind an imposing mosque.. an image that we've already grown accustomed with. And suddenly comes the revelation that almost imperceptibly - the new has turned into old - and soon enough - the old will be new again ..for a while.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Safe haven in Istanbul.

After so long relying only on hotels, we're once again couchsurfing and we're being hosted - for the second time - by our friends: Ercan and Ebru.

We continue to explore Istanbul for one day and half, the city with which we started this journey, almost a month ago.
It's really interesting to see so many changes and to discover the transformations the city has been through, since the last time we strolled it's streets. So, while revisiting some places, we take a stroll down the memory lane - just to compare the present and the not so distant past.
The streets are packed with a lot more tourists now and the local small entrepreneurs take advantage of the situation: there are taverns everywhere - offering all sorts of goodies - especially ice-cream and boiled corn.
We couldn't resist the temptation and already ate three corns in Sultanahmet area. And since we have some more Turkish lira left to spend, we'll try various dishes from the local cuisine.
Also, it's time to buy some souvenirs and add some goodies to the small stash we're carrying for our friends back home.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cappadocia - part II (meeting locals, trying pottery kebab and making pottery).

Beside just hiking, we also experienced some other interesting things while in Goreme village:

First, the day I started feeling sick, we searched for a place to eat a good soup, hoping it will help my condition.
We ended up in a cozy restaurant being run by a family. Although there was a huge language barrier and we barely understood each-other, we had a great time with the four old women preparing "ravioli".
While I ate soup and drank two coups of "├žay" (tea - pronounced "ceai"), Andra joined in preparing that dish together with the old ladies.

A short summer rain caught us inside the restaurant, so we stayed there until it stopped half an hour later.