somewhere near Stefan cel Mare

05 Jul

Although displaying already the stigmata of a metropolis – pollution, filthiness, overpopulation – Bucharest sometimes seems just a big conglomerate of small villages, of narrow cobblestoned streets, filled with houses of various ages.

This is why the smellscape of the city would have to include areas choked by fumes and dirt, as well as small oasis of rustic, raw, fresh scents which awaken a vague nostalgia in the city dweller, inspire bucolic fantasies in the passerby, and bring to life the ghost of the other, much older city which lies dormant beneath the layers of asphalt and concrete.

As it happens, my work assignment took me to one of the streets whose ends dissolve into big boulevards, a sort of a time passage between two black vortexes filled with hurried people and speeding cars.

On this small, quiet street, on the first floor of a house with many balconies, I sampled the flavors of the neighborhood. They were delicious and, alas, so rare in an otherwise generous city.

The smellscape there was like a Tiramisu: a soft, puffy, effulgent coating which hid delicious chunks of flavor. At first it smelled of warm cobblestones and wrought iron and, strangely, of something which resembled some slightly scented rubbing alcohol. Then came the delicious, crunchy smell of home-baked bread. Then the poignant flavor of freshly-dug soil.

It was like being on a trip far away from the hysterical city, a trip slowly coming to an end as I was tasting the warm, moist, sweetish smell of my own skin as it basked in the sun and creeping back into my old self.


Posted by on July 5, 2009 in smellscape


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “somewhere near Stefan cel Mare

  1. Iulianus

    July 5, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    This is one of the good things about Bucharest: it’s pretty easy to leave the hysterical city behind in most neighborhoods.

  2. sheherzadah

    July 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Hey, coming to think about it, you live in a house in a sort of a village-like area of Bucharest: ). There must be plenty of fine odors there that u could revel in, u lucky dog: ).

  3. Adriana

    July 11, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Bucharest falsifies reality and everything else you might have ever thought about it. Its existence should be able to confirm even the weirdest variants of social constructivism. Not only does it smell, but it smells differently for each and every one of us and therefore it is impossible to agree on what it smells like exactly.

    • sheherzadah

      July 12, 2009 at 5:21 am

      Da, reducand , totul miroase diferit pentru fiecare, asa cum totul arata diferit. Pe de alta parte, cred ca se poate desprinde un… “aer comun”, dar asta cu contributia a sute, mii de oameni, probabil.
      Ma mai intreb:oare prima impresie pe care ti-o face o tara e una oflactiva? Daca da, mi-e mila de doua ori de turistii straini pe care ii vad tarati prin Piata Unirii uneori.
      E drept ca desputzirea spatiului public lasa de dorit, dar, pana se intampla, o sa mai scormonesc un pic prin gramada de mirosuri, poate dau peste vreo comoara.:)


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