What’s Going On?

I am not referring to the song by Marvin Gaye… No, I am merely repeating what you all must have thought the last 2 months.

The wedding is still on! But it is true that since March other thoughts have occupied our minds. To be honest, March and April 2016 have not been very kind to us. Lars has been plagued by administrative and linguistic problems in his attempt to regain his driver’s license. In short, Belgian law is overcomplicated and at some point we even had the feeling that we were the principal characters in a novel written by Kafka. It took us two months just to arrange two of the three tests he has to take. As you know, I am still recuperating from a severe depression and having to deal with impolite and/or incompetent people on the phone did not make me feel better, at the contrary.

But things are looking up. Lars and I have found a solution for all our problems and we can finally look forward to our first trip of the year: Denmark. Not a new horizon, granted, but at least a different one. Okay, we have had a couple of day-trips (Paris and London), but we have not been away for a longer time and boy, do we miss that… If travel is part of your lifestyle, not being able to do this is the worst punishment possible.

If you have been following us on our travel website, you must have seen that Lars and I had to postpone and even cancel some of our trips. We won’t be able to make it to Albania this year, but we probably will next spring. On the other hand, we postponed our trip to Romania to September 2016, so it coincides with the 6oth birthday of Lars. Not sure what other places in Europe we will see during that trip, but we do have wild dreams!

Before we leave for Romania, Lars and I will start the procedures for our civil marriage here in Brussels. In the meantime we will keep you busy with our dreams about the food and music at our wedding.

Earned It

Every couple has songs they would either like to hear during the wedding ceremony or during the party. Lars and I are no exception to the rule. The first song I would like to write about is Earned It by The Weeknd. In case you have never heard it, here is the official video clip.

Before this song was released, I had never heard about this singer. In the meantime, I had done some research on the Internet and especially on YouTube; and I actually have to admit that I don’t like his other songs. It’s simply not my cup of tea. And yes, I also know that this song belongs to the soundtrack of Fifty Shades of Grey. Nope, I haven’t seen the movie, nor do I intend to do so. And nope, I haven’t read the book either. Still I would love to hear Earned It during our wedding.

The reason is very simple: a very special memory is connected to this song. Sometimes I like a song, because it remembers me of a special event. Or a special person. In this case, we have to go back to May 2015, when Lars and I spent a month in Romania.

During that time, we spent about 4 days in the city of Brasov. We had been there before, in July 2011, but because of the very hot summer weather and the fact I was ill, I hadn’t enjoyed my visit to Brasov. Still, I was willing to give it a second chance and that happened last year. And because it was less hot and I was in quite good shape, I really enjoyed exploring the city and its surroundings.

I vividly remember the last day we were in Brasov. We had breakfast at the market square, had a look at the market and took some pictures. Afterwards, we drove to one of the local parks and decided to take the cable car to enjoy the panorama of Brasov.

Taking a cable car may sound trivial to you, but for Lars and myself it is quite something. The main reason is that we both suffer from a terrible fear of heights. Taking a cable car – even to a very high hill – is therefore quite a challenge. Especially when the cabin has seen better times, you can’t sit down because there are no seats and you have to share the narrow space of the cabin with fifteen strangers.

But … we made it. And when we arrived at the top of the hill and exited the cabin, I heard a slow song at one of the many stands that sells drinks, candy and snacks. What I really liked was the voice of the singer, that silky and emotional high-flying vocal style. I also loved the slow rhythm and a feeling of longing in the song. And although I only heard it once, it somehow got stuck in my head.

In June, when we were back in Brussels, I heard the song again on the Greenlandic radio. I used an app on my iPad, Shazam, to find out the name of the singer and the song itself. It was, of course, Earned It by The Weeknd. Afterwards, I immediately bought the song on iTunes and watched the video on YouTube. To be honest, I liked the appearance of the man with his crazy hairdo and the very erotic atmosphere of both the song and the clip.

Anyway, every time I hear Earned It, I remember that sunny day in Brasov, standing in the cable car, looking at the town becoming smaller and smaller and finally arriving at the top. I remember being happy and excited. I remember being grateful for another beautiful experience that I shared with my soulmate.

Getting Ready for Saint Valentine

I know, I know, … You should celebrate your love and that special person every day of the year. And, of course, it has become so commercial: for weeks now, we see ideas for this day everywhere on the Internet and in shops and supermarkets. Not to mention the fact that restaurants offer a ridiculously expensive menu. I am – of course – referring to Valentine’s Day.

Hopeless romantic people that we are, Lars and I usually do something special on that day. We don’t go out, but prefer to cook something special and have a bottle of bubbly wine. This year, however, since we announced our wedding plans, we decided to go to a restaurant after all. A new one has opened in our neighbourhood some months ago and I have read nothing but positive reviews; good food, excellent service and very reasonable prices.

And … we are both preparing surprises for each other. To be honest, I have no idea what Lars is up to. All I know is that he has been talking about it for weeks. And he keeps a watchful eye on our mailbox.

All he knows about my surprise is that I am working on a secret project. It is this website! Nobody knows of its existence, except for one blogger who has stumbled upon it… Of course, this is not only a website for him, but also for the people we have invited for our wedding. And anyone else who might be interested in a crazy Danish-Belgian couple getting married in Romania…

So, if you too have stumbled upon this website, I ask you to be discrete. Don’t spoil the surprise! On Saturday (13 February), I will reveal this secret project🙂

Why Romania?

In an earlier post, I explained that Lars and I really wanted to have an outdoors wedding in summer. And that we preferred Romania for this important occasion, thus avoiding the possibility of crappy summer weather in Belgium and Denmark (our two countries of origin). But there are – of course – other reasons for our choice.

I mean, if it was for the weather, we could have chosen a lot of other countries. The south of Europe for example is blessed with beautiful summer weather. But… our wedding venue had to be in a country or in a region where both of us had already been. This ruled out for example Spain, Portugal and the south of France. I have visited them, but Lars hasn’t.

Another important criterium was the heat. We didn’t see ourselves getting married in temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius or more. The idea of sweating ourselves to death in beautiful clothes or of fainting guests really put us off. So, we had to say goodbye to Albania, although we have already been there two times and have had a good time. But the summers there are simply too hot.

Lars and I also wanted to stay true to our travel philosophy: avoiding touristic destinations. A Tuscan wedding sounds very romantic, but also very … commercial. Not original. And while we had traveled to Croatia in 2010, it has since that date become very touristic as well. And getting married on a crowded beach really doesn’t have a romantic feel.

Moreover, our wedding location had to be a place that Lars and I both knew very well. Or, in other words, where we had traveled more than once. So, an enchanting country like Moldova didn’t make the cut either. We have only been there once, hardly enough to get acquainted with its culture, history or nature. This was actually the most important criterium; we want to get married in a place that feels like home.

When we considered all these criteria, there was only one country that met all of them: Romania. It had everything Lars and I desired: warm summer weather, not touristic at all, and we have traveled there extensively. We knew the country, we loved it and we had been to our wedding venue more than once. But to be honest: we had fallen in love with Romania in very different ways.

It was curiosity that drove Lars to travel there for the first time in 2006. He was intrigued by this country that was virtually unknown, by its history, culture and nature. He was also fascinated by its language, which he had taught himself. He followed the Romanian news via newspapers on the Internet. Talking about the Romanian language: did you know that this is the only Romanic language in the whole of Eastern Europe? All the surrounding countries speak Slavic languages. Anyway, you could easily say that for Lars and Romania, it was love at first sight.

I needed a lot more persuasion… To be honest, the first time I traveled to Romania I was actually very nervous. The media have given this country a bad name; the Ceausescus, the street dogs, the horrible orphanages, … And when Lars told me not to fall ill in Romania, because as soon as you arrive in a hospital, they give you an injection, … I was really not at ease. Especially since I am frightened to death, even when I hear the word “injection”.

In 2011, when we returned from a beautiful and exciting to Ukraine and Moldova, I set foot for the first time in Romania. And I simply could not ignore its beauty: the picturesque rural villages, the awesome landscapes and especially the magnificent mountains, the friendly people, the food, the drinks, …

But I really lost my heart to Romania last year, when we traveled there extensively for a month! Lars and I followed the footsteps of Vlad the Impaler, discovered majestic cities like Cluj, got stuck on top of a mountain (!), tasted more new dishes, visited Roman ruins and so on. I will publish all these adventures and more shortly on our travel website.

Let’s face it, folks… Lars and I are going to get married in an awesome country!