Who are the artists, and who are the subjects in the photos? An artist called A Tonila has painted many of the electrical boxes.
Craiova, Romania’s 6th largest city and capital of Dolj County, is situated near the east bank of the river Jiu in central Oltenia. The population of 300,000 makes it the same size as Iceland. It lies around 145 miles from Bucharest.
There are many things to see and do in Craiova however the street art does not mentioned in any of the official websites.
Here are a few examples of what can be found downtown in craiova.
Craiova is a city around 4 hours drive from Bucharest in Romania. Some of the street art there is incredible and I will do a full article on that with photos, but here as an example we have a painting on the end of a row of buildings from which a casual passer by seems to have jumped out of the painting. Maybe he has.
This is a serious suggestion. Many football grounds are actually relatively bland now and could do with a bit of organised decorating. I am sure many will disagree but the standards of graffiti art or street art are so high now that under some sort of supervision the inside and maybe the outside of grounds can be somewhat improved. Thoughts?
The street art might be football related of course and even reflect previous players.
As I travel around Europe there is an ever increasing amount of street art to see and some is extraordinary and in fact only rarely is it average or poor.
Lets have a debate over this topic.
This is not a city that I find easy to enjoy. Maybe this is me and not Helsinki. Walking around the city seems bland in comparison with other Scandinavian and Baltic capitals. A kind of hidden vibrancy is missing, something almost invisible cannot be seen.
There were few smiling faces. Many engaged with their headphones, music and phones and not so much conversation going on even in the cafes.
The harbour and marina areas looked tired and uninterested in visitors.
There were indeed many historical looking buildings, some grand and some not. But none enticed anyone inside.
Even the high steps did not seem dangerous or challenging when walking down them. There were in fact few people around. Maybe at different times in the year the feel of this city will be different but in April this city seemed comatose. The only time it came to life for me was when sitting in a hotel bar and in the next room a private function was taking place , maybe a record launch, with a singer and her singing was amazing. Amazing enough to download Shazam and discover who she was. A rasping voice that oozed feeling. The singer is called Katea. The song was California Baby.
Much of the city centre is a melange of shops and shopping malls. There was little evidence of any pavement cafe society even allowing for the April weather. Few smiling faces. The architecture surely can be described as grand but is it beckoning? Even the trams looked sad as they slowly went their way through the city, with less self-esteem and grandeur than Amsterdam or Manchester trams, that would happily sweep you off your feet.
The only sign of life was inside coffee shops and the one that caught my eye was Strindberg down near the harbour area where enough people were inside to give me a feeling that I was not alone on this earth. The other one that also escapes my criticism is the Neuhaus cafe shop, that sold the delicious chocolates but also functioned as a pleasant street cafe. A cup of tea (3 euros for a teabag, but served in a curiously interesting mug) and some homemade mango cheesecake, though no-one ever states in which home it was made, kept me occupied for the best part of an hour.
The shop was run by a highly efficient girl who gave the image of being an academic student ( like a Latin or Greek scholar maybe) who not only ran the shop, sold the chocolates , took and ordered the food, but also made whatever had to be made. Clearly not a British employee.
The boats looked sleepy and disinterested. As though waiting for a different week or month to attract people.
In huge areas there were so very few people walking around. Part of the harbour area had some tents erected that were mini-restaurants selling mostly Finnish food, such as reindeer hotdogs and other more usual foods.
Restaurants in the city centre of course there were many but often impossible to know if they were open or closed. Food was expensive. In many restaurants, just average ones, the main courses were around 20 euros and with a starter and a drink that made a fairly simple lunch cost over 30 euros. It was easy to find set course lunch menus costing 50 euros or more. Lunch seemed curiously to start around 10.30 am and by 11.30 am ” ladies that lunch” could be seen sipping champagne and having important conversations in some of the more eloquent looking restaurants.
There was little evidence of the wonderful and artistic graffiti that adorns many European cities. In the central part of the city rather curiously the only sign of graffiti was on the door leading to the National Library of Finland. In short the best adjective to sum up 24 hours in Helsinki is Neutral.
As in all cities there were a few characters to be seen, together with some interesting takes on hair styling. The exceptionally tall man in the bowler hat I oddly passed twice in very different parts of the city. People observing us might conclude that we were both spies meeting for our assignments. Considering spies there was no evidence of a queue at the Russian tourist board office.
A plethora of expensive shops abounded. Tumi, who some might recall I encountered at London City Airport, when finding a small carry on case there that looked good, then finding the cost was £675 ( and yes I checked the decimal point), was present. I saw one professional beggar in the same position on the same street, who started ” work” at around midday, and who incidentally wore better clothes than I own.
There were sights to see of course, but even these were quiet and few tourists were visible. Maybe I need to go back here on a different day or different season.
My little reading flock of this blog would have read my salient words and viewed my photos last night on exactly why Sonnenallee is not a first choice holiday destination despite its label of “Berlin” and in fact one of the large conference centres in Berlin. If Stieg Larsson can write a trilogy then maybe I can try a trilogy of posts from Sonnenallee.
If you have nothing seriously important to do, like deal with death/marriage/criminal justice system or are detained under the Mental Health Act, then maybe go read that post first before continuing.
I had held some degree of excitement over visiting Berlin, but Sonnenallee is to Berlin what Tooting and Croydon are to London. Today I find things are worse than I had imagined. Immediately outside and within maybe 100 metres of the Estrel Hotel entrance lies the splendour that is a recycling plant complete with odours to match.
A little further brings one to a huge very industrial site that seemed to be making piles of sand and other aggregates. The road is dirty, dusty and has the usual affliction round here of vandalism style graffiti.
With one notable exception. And that is the curious thing about graffiti here, it is a complete admixture of some of the nicest graffiti I have seen anywhere in the world and some of the least pleasant graffiti, looking like it was painted by a hooligan undertaking a degree course in how to obtain an ASBO ( Antisocial Behaviour Order, a UK thing we do, where we send those who commit antisocial acts somewhere else to commit more, rather than lock them up. Don’t ask me to explain). A block had been painted on two sides with quotations from the literature including Oscar Wilde. So I can now truly say I have read Oscar Wilde, but have no idea what he is saying as it was written in I presume German.
Decorating the road further were some huge industrial cranes and to complete the package there was evidence of a homeless tent camp on the top of essentially a pile of rubbish near the river. In this era how can we as humans allow people to live in this environment? In the frankly excellent Estrel Hotel maybe 300 metres away people spend £30 on a bottle of wine which could be more than my tent dwellers spend in a month. Not reasonable, not ethical and not right.
This rapidly became a far more unpleasant area than I had presumed yesterday. Some halfway decent graffiti art on the side of the bridge next to Tent City was the only redeeming feature.
Daring to venture a few hundred yards in the opposite direction there were some nice smelling trees in blossom that gave the air a pleasant smell, and a single track railway line on which a tree had fallen and was blocking the line.
So my three highlights of Sonnenallee are in order:
Any followers of my blog will know I value graffiti and graffiti art where it is used sensibly and sensitively. In general terms Europe has seemed superior in their graffiti ability until recently. Some superb graffiti in an alley way in Merton was published a little while ago, and here are some simple photographs of graffiti on walls outside The Barfly in Camden, seen as the crowds of teen girls excited from a Charley Marley gig in Chalk Farm Road. Please enjoy and feel free to share this and the blog.