The Sprinkled Pepper Diaries Archived
Monday, August 16, 2010 The Prague Diner Manifesto (, )

On our third day in Prague, inspired by the Happiness Project which I had just finished reading, I set myself the task of coming up with my ‘personal commandments.’ I did it in a restaurant that our guide called a diner, hence the name. I wrote this down on the back of a spare place mat, in the time it took for our dinner to be cooked. I edited it a little on the plane ride home, and I have done a little re-arranging tonight, but the core of it reminds unchanged.

And so, without further ado, I present you with the Prague Diner Manifesto:

  1. Follow your heart.
  2. And do it with courage.
  3. Remember to pray for what you want, and you may just get it.
  4. Remember all the magic you have come across, and it will beget new magic.
  5. Act with grace, even, or perhaps especially, when others fail to do so.
  6. Don’t take the world’s imperfections personally; they are not because of you.
  7. Practice patience; impatience does not make things happen.
  8. Spend your attention wisely and well; it is powerful and precious.
  9. Keep the faith; there is a reason for this madness, although you may never know it.
  10. Love is the stick you throw.
  11. Love is the seed you plant.
  12. Love is its own reward.

Wait, gentle reader. Don’t go just yet. For once, I would like to ask something of you. If you do exist, please, please leave a comment with one of your own commandments. I would really like to know.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 12:35 am [12 people said all this]
Friday, August 6, 2010 Well, there was also the sunshine ()

Which way for the baths?

 The Szechenyi baths rooftops in sunshine

Yellow flowers, ochre walls, blue skies

Pool water

Which, on days like these, I sorely miss. The water, too.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:18 pm [say something]
Friday, July 30, 2010 Three and a half days ()

Fairy lights at the pit

Looking back, I like to think that the feeling I talked about in the previous post, of having arrived some place special was a premonition, and not my overactive imagination getting away with me. (Although, truth be told, the older I get the less convinced I become that there is a difference between those two.)

Because even though the three and a half days we spent there blur into a haze –a haze of swimming and sleeping and reading and eating and doing nothing much at all; even though no moment stands out except for one –walking through the city after dark and talking, urgently, breathlessly, effortlessly; even though I took no photos worth talking about; even though three and a half days is not long enough; even though it doesn’t make sense; even so: I left my heart in Budapest.

On Friday morning I boarded a plane knowing that strange things do happen, and wonderful things happen too. In three and a half days I’d made a friend and I’d fallen in love with a city; and in a small, or not-so-small way, nothing will ever be the same.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:40 am [say something]
Monday, July 26, 2010 Suddenly, magically, Budapest ()

Budapest station (one of them)

Departures board, showing a train to Thessaloniki

The city seen through the dirty glass of the station's gates

Despite the aforementioned midday nap I arrived in Budapest tired, confused and very nearly overwhelmed. I clang to my suitcase while Martijn wandered around in search of the new currency, almost wishing I didn’t have to go through the motions of getting to know a strange city all over again. But, determined to keep my resolution, I pulled out my camera and tried to capture the moment.

Martijn came back and pointed to the departures board: a train left for Thessaloniki in thirty five minutes. And –even though Thessaloniki, despite being my home town, has never felt like home, and even though the train took over a day to get there– this fact seemed, suddenly, magically, highly significant. Never before had my travels taken me to a place that was within reach of my hometown — my much-loved, so-very-familiar, yet-never-really-home home town. Suddenly, magically, I felt like we had arrived some place very special; like we had come full circle; like we were, this time, on our way home.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 7:50 pm [someone said this]
Monday, July 26, 2010 Another journey ()

The dining car!

This train had a dining car — a definite improvement on the previous one, and the highlight of the seven-hour, inch-slowly-through-the-plains, in-three-different-countries journey. That, and the midday nap.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 12:40 pm [say something]
Sunday, July 25, 2010 A study: the pavements of Prague ()

A heap of paving stones

Another heap of paving stones

Prague pavement

Prague pavement

Prague pavement

Prague pavement

Prague pavement

Prague pavement

Prague pavement

Prague pavement

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 10:01 pm [someone said this]
Sunday, July 25, 2010 Prague (Day 3) ()

Prague trams

Prague cathedral window

Another statue of another saint

All the umbrellas in Prague

A cafe with an internet connection

Sunday brought some kind of peace; a birthday; and the realisation that the things I liked most about Prague were things you can find anywhere — tram rides, an umbrella, a good cup of coffee, chocolate and marmalade pancakes, an internet connection.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 5:30 pm [say something]
Saturday, July 24, 2010 Prague (Day 2) ()

Charles bridge from the side

The statue of St John of Nepomuk

Graffiti on the bridge

Spires, and photos thereof

Saturday brought grief, of the sort I had rather hoped I’d left behind. So much for new beginnings.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 8:12 pm [say something]
Friday, July 23, 2010 Prague (Day 1) ()

Wet tiles reflecting buildings

An orange rose

My reflection in a toy shop window

Spires and telephone lines

A pink oleander flower against a pale green background

What started out as a good photo day ended up as a dream come true. As we ran in the torrential rain towards a taxi, and, a little later, into the hotel’s rooftop swimming pool, I realised that –on that day, in its own strange way– my life resembled ‘Lost in translation,’ just like I’d wished it would all those years ago, back when I lived in Athens and I took notes on the beauty in the way that we were living and I longed with all my heart to grow up and do something with my life.

And all the heartache –the heartaches– of the past six years suddenly seemed worthwhile, for this moment alone: to see an outrageous, half-remembered dream come true and to know, without the shadow of a doubt, that I am doing something with my life, while the rain hit hard against the windows and I jumped into the swimming pool.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 9:04 pm [say something]
Thursday, July 22, 2010 Arrival ()

Prague station with pretty light patterns

Even so, I arrived in Prague on a bright, hot morning with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 9:32 am [say something]
Thursday, July 22, 2010 The journey ()

A random shot of Berlin out of the train window

Carlos and Fransesca in the train

I found it surprisingly hard to sleep on the train. I finally fell asleep around midnight, only to wake up at 4 am; just in time to sit on my bed and watch Berlin unfurl outside my window in the early morning light.

I think the bears enjoyed it as much as we did, if not more.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 4:41 am [say something]
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 At the station ()

The night train to Prague, Copenhagen and Moscow.

Our carriage

The train night train went all the way to Moscow; a fact that excited my imagination; an excitement that reminded me of my younger self. I held out hope that my prayer would be answered this time.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 7:01 pm [say something]
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 Amsterdam ()

Amsterdam High Street

The obligatory canal shot

Amsterdam station with cranes

Nothing says ‘central Amsterdam’ to me like crowds of people rushing by. I took the obligatory canal shot regardless; then a few of the station with its cranes. I love the way cities mix the old with the new, the elegant with the practical, the evocative with the commonplace — it makes me feel better about the odd mix that is my life, I think.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 6:00 pm [say something]
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 In the beginning ()

A plane in Exeter airport

As I stood there, I prayed for grace for the days ahead; for happiness; for the ability to live in the moment.

posted by Dimitra Daisy @ 1:30 pm [say something]