Sylvie Tumorticchi – No place like home in Cote d'Azur

 

There was something magical about the mornings I spent along the Côte d’Azur — the warm sun and salty breeze, the smell of fresh coffee, and gentle murmur about art and travel through the streets. The French way of life is very spirited, and yet, serene — and artist Sylvie Tumorticchi elegantly radiates it. In between sips of her espresso and quick bites at her croissant, she passionately describes her life as an artist living on the Mediterranean coast of France. “I hold a deeply emotional and artistic bond to my hometown of Nice,” she says. And I can see it in her sketches and paintings which are displayed at her quiet art gallery on Rue Droite in the Vieille Ville of Nice.

 

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The life-long camper, Usedom Island, Germany

 

Summer-time ist camping-time! For Opa Oli, an 83-year-old retiree from Saxony, Germany it is the most anticipated period of the year. As a young boy, he used to go camping with his family on the Baltic Sea shore. Ever since camping became a very important activity and Opa Oli's main summer hobby. He now counts more than 70 summers spent on Usedom's prettiest camping spot, in Ukeritz.

 

As a silent observer, Opa Oli witnessed some of the most gripping periods while camping: the peak and fall of German national socialism, the wild '60 and '70, the restless '80, the '90 turnaround and more recently the revival of the camping culture combined with the DDR- nostalgia. No wonder that Opa Oli has an impressive number of uncommon stories in his repertoire. Listening to them is like taking a journey through time.

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The lone banana vendor of Negombo, Sri Lanka

Negombo – it's the fourth biggest city of Sri Lanka and still, it feels so small and mundane. Two days in Negombo first seemed unmanageable, but in the end, I came to recognize that city was the perfect spot to get accustomed to the Sri Lankan culture, scents, food and people. After all, its' slow pace and its' rather compressed size facilitated its' in depth discovery.

 

The Sunday afternoon heat caught me riding my pretty rental bike, on the main road, direction Dutch Canal. I thought that the destination was set, but then I suddently I turned right. There were spice, chicken, fruits and vegetable stands – all so colorful and inviting.

 

I have seen her from far – even if she was sitting in a rather dark corner of the market. The vivid color of her banana heap stood out. I wanted to buy four bananas – only four because I couldn't eat more, considering the fact that I was supposed to continue riding my bike in the Sri Lankan heat.

 

- Four, I pointed the number.

- She noded and pointed eight, zero rupees.

- I handed her 100 rupees and said „Istuti“ - Sri Lankan for thank you. The only word that I've learned. An important one.

- She leaned over to give me the change.

- „It's ok“, I said.

- She smiled modestly and handed me an extra banana.

 

Encounters like this - where body language, eye contact, smiles and energies replace words – are the ones that encourage me to always look beneath the surface. There are honestly good people out there.

 

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