Street art in Sofia

7 04 2015

During the break between the Aikido classes on Saturday at Kuribayashi sensei seminar in Sofia, a good friend, Stancho (local Bulgarian but currently living in Stavanger and practicing in the same place where I practiced, Jūshinkan Aikido) took Masha (good Russian Aikido friend) and I to visit some parts of the center.

Interesting walk through the streets of central Sofia and in particular “Tzar Shishman” street: a location that has been almost preserved as it was at the beginning of last century, typically visited for the architecture of the buildings that used to be from the local government. Also famous the old Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Temple, firstly built as a mosque and then became an Orthodox church. At the beginning of the century Tzar Shishman street was indeed still quite similar (with 2-3 stories building, differently from Sofia after WWII, past the destruction, of course, but where the buildings started getting higher).

But what I found extremely interesting has been the street art:

Street art in Sofia Street art in Sofia
Street art in Sofia Street art in Sofia

Since my good friend Vittorio introduced me to stencil and street art artists, I admit that when I travel especially to new cities (mainly I do it for Aikido, and now a “new” passion got linked to that!) I always keep an eye (or two) out for street art. To the point that I ask to residents where to find some hot spots for this kind of art. This time I did not ask before, but I was certainly very lucky!

Street art in Sofia

Thanks Stancho for the great time!





On the way to Sofia!

3 04 2015

Sofia, as the capital of Bulgaria, not as a pretty woman that can make my new life better. Sofia, as the place where I will enjoy another most probably very good seminar with Kuribayashi sensei, after Hungary.

I admit I had to refresh a bit my geography: I had not such a clear idea where Sofia and also Bulgaria were! I realized also why it has been a challenge to find a flight to Sofia that would have not required a stop over in Rome, Paris or Belgrade! Unfortunately, the direct flight I have will not allow me to use properly Easter Monday holiday: return flight at 7:15 am, back home probably at midday! And given the practice time,  not so much time to explore the city I will visit for the first time!

All in all, a typical Aikido weekend, I know!

Practice practice practice for an Easter period where I want to do all but stop and think..





Half of the planned way..

31 03 2015

End of March and I have reached more or less half way in the planned Aikido weekends.

After a nice time in Finland and Sweden with Endo sensei and Vanadis teachers, Lyly sensei and Nevelius sensei, unfortunately I missed the weekend in Sweden with Bachraty sensei but then things got better in the following trips:

  • Pécs & Budapest with Kuribayashi sensei
  • Vienna with Shimizu sensei
  • Wasquehal with Yasuno sensei

And the next weekends will take me:

  • Sofia with Kuribayashi sensei
  • Dublin with Irie sensei
  • Prague with Nevelius sensei

..then one long “free” weekend.. or better with no Aikido but with some other activities planned: visiting Keukenhof park to enjoy some colorful tulips, and then the Monday after it will be the King’s birthday holiday, looking forward to repeat the funny experience of last year.

But now seeing the “end” of this period coming up fast, and having planned only a couple of Aikido activities in May (one short week of practice with Lyly sensei in Berlin), then July (Lillsved summer camp with Lyly sensei and Nevelius sensei), I see the need to start planning for more weekends (got almost no holidays left and I still have one trip in the “almost impossible wishlist”: Irie sensei in Indonesia again), followed by Bachraty sensei in Stavanger in August and the Kuribayashi sensei in Oslo (September) and then in Belgium (October), hoping this latter one will not crash with the celebration of 30 years of the club where I started Aikido, Trondheim Tekisuikan NTNUI Aikido.

So, I’ll soon start having a look around, but, remember:

I am very open to suggestions as usual





On the road again..

10 03 2015

My trip to Stockholm was cancelled, but tonight I will be on the road to Hungary for 2 events (Pécs and Budapest) with Kuribayashi sensei, one of my favorite teachers, since the first time I met him at hombu dojo in 2008, when with a nice group of “Norwegian” aikidokas we were on the way to Tanabe.

A couple (more than 2!) of people will not leave my mind, but they never do. I will miss them and always hope they were with me, but it’s part of life…

Tonight I will test Budapest airport, certainly hoping it will be open during the night! Tomorrow morning train to Pécs where I have rented an accommodation through Air bnb, also for the first time!

Lots of first time things for my first visit of Hungary, and it will be mostly Aikido.. but I certainly will plan maybe a summer visit of Budapest!

Also, last but not least, I have never kissed a Hungarian girl.. hope in this first time as well ;-)

IMG_2660.JPG

IMG_2664.JPG





I want to fly to Stockholm!

5 03 2015

Looking forward to my first Aikido weekend of a long series that will take me to different European locations. Without practice in the weekdays, the seminars have been the only way to release some of both mental and physical stress I am accumulating on every day basis. For different reasons.

BUT…

yesterday already, while chatting with the organizer of Marc Bachraty seminar in Uppsala, Sweden (my weekend target), he told me about a huge pilot strike in Norwegian airlines!

Today news are not nice.. the flight to Stockholm I want to take tomorrow has been cancelled! Still good info for tomorrow, but yesterday all today flights were green!

Let’s see tomorrow, try to be positive (not that easy for me) and try to spread good feelings to the world, and be repaid with a great weekend seminar with Marc sensei!

 





Seagalize yourself!

26 02 2015

The other day I walked past the window of a book shop in Utrecht and suddenly got to a frozen stop, traced back my steps and stared at the window, with an unbelievable look into my eyes.. Did I see correctly? Yes I did:

Seagalogy... nightmare!!

I did not dream a book called Seagalogy, but then when I noticed the title I understood it was not a commemorative biography to the achievements of this great actor, martial artist, stuntman and performer.. but still seems to be a deep work in his “artistic” life.

I want still to think about his nice Aikido past, when he was at the beginning of his martial art life, and he had the chance to practice with good sensei of that time, but then he is a great example how money and fame can make people deviate from a given road and join others. Maybe I am biased, but I feel always a little sad when people say they joined Aikido because of Steven Seagal..

But, as said, there was lots of good stuff when he still was an Aikidoka!

Now I think he has start his own fight to catch up with Chuck Norris notoriety! Especially in the facts category (click for a real laugh)!!





Seminar thoughts: disconnection..

26 01 2015

I realized my Aikido went like my life recently: regression backward. At least I am getting lots of things to think about, unfortunately got no dojo yet (for the Aikido) and no partner (for the other issues)….

Last weekend in Strømmen I met my dear friend Karsten and had a chance to have a nice chat about how important is for us to have some weekly chances to practice Aikido (I cannot say anymore daily, as in my older days in Norway). Both mind and body needs the Aikido break, and I am not surprised we both agree on this aspect. His life has of course many more challenges, being a father of two gorgeous girls, living with his partner and the children and working as a teacher (another job that requires quite a lot of “homework” and preparation, not only for the students!).

Venting out mentally and physically gives quite a lot of pleasure, and the best way for me has been Aikido, in the years (I know what you might be thinking! There are different and maybe better ways to vent out ;-) but in many many years of single life, and not only, Aikido is certainly one of the best ways.. ).

Marc Bachraty sensei in Strømmen, with a twist :)

Marc Bachraty sensei in Strømmen. Group photo with a twist :)

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