Windows: a recollection until my 31st

Posted: January 24, 2013 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Miscellaneous, Photography, Travels
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Today I’m turning 31 years old, I was 27 when I left my home country, Cuba.

Give it or take, it has been 3 and a half years. During that period, I have been living in seven countries, sleeping in twelve different rooms, each one of them with a particular, meaningful view. Sometimes I lived in a room for several months, others were just a place to crash for no longer than 15 days.

I’m not planning to show a view from every single room I lived. Instead, I want to gather some of my most beautiful shots, not because of its technical virtue or the beauty of the landscape, but because I was feeling happy when I took them all.

This is the view from my window. My current window.

cc jennroig

cc jennroig: Tampa, FL, USA

I like windows, way more than I like doors. I always insist doors are meant to be closed, because such it’s their philosophical-metaphysical purpose. But windows are a totally different business, they were indeed meant to be opened.

Anne's, Copenhagen, Denmark

Anne’s window, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2009

When a window cannot be opened because it’s too cold outside, at least it must be made of glass. That’s the case of Anne’s window. Anne is Danish, but I met her in Cuba. She was studying cinematographic production while I was there to become a scriptwriter. Two years after she graduated, Anne received me at her house in Copenhaguen. She took care of me, of my timings so I didn’t miss my flight to Rome. I was totally a snow rookie, I couldn’t know how slower it’s everything after a snowfall. I flew from Billund, Denmark, and this is pretty much how the landscape looked back then.


On my way to Billund, December 2009

It was December 15th when I saw my first snowfall. I was actually still in Aarhus, at my dorm in the Vilhelm Kiers Kollegium. I had been cleaning my room for hours, and just before I took my shower and went to sleep, a checked my facebook and there was my Kenyan friend to tell me to open the window to see the snow.It was awesome. I remember I was amazed because it wasn’t even that cold. I got out of my room through the window to step over that white soft blanket. The grass had already disappeared under that layer of white dust. I think it took only a couple of hours to cover the grass completely. One step, two steps. I have no words to describe the sound of my shoes over the snow. I would like to, because I have friends in the tropics who might never feel the snow. I wish I could explain it. I touched it, I tasted it. I was soaked when I returned to my room. I had to wash my hair, and then dried it. I almost didn’t sleep that night. My last night in Aarhus.

Castel Gandolfo, 2010

Castel Gandolfo, 2010

It was dark and rainy when I arrived to Rome. My cousin was waiting me at the airport, I hadn’t seen her for years, but she looked exactly the same as I remembered her. After all those final essays, and travels, my body was exhausted. It hold until I arrived there, then I got sick, to follow a trend that lasts even today.

The weather and I recovered at the same time. One shiny morning we drove to Castel Gandolfo, one of those small towns on the outskirts of Rome that locals name “I Castelli Romani”. Castel Gandolfo is the site if the Pope’s summer residency, so the Vatican State also holds another piece of territory in this tiny town.

The lake, with the same name, is twice as big as the Nemi lake, and it was also originated as a volcano crater.

vaticano-2010Even if it doesn’t look like, this is one view you could see from one of the many windows in the Vatican Museum. It was a misty day. I must have been one of the immensly fortunate tourist that didn’t need to do a very long line to enter the building. I was so lucky that I didn’t do any line at all. I remember I arrived early, it was cold, but not as much as I could have experienced in Denmark. I spend the whole day inside that place, half of the time looking a the magnificent ceilings.

Vatican Ceiling

Vatican Ceiling

USA comedian Sarah Silverman recorded a video some years ago arguing that the Vatican could be sold as a solution to feed the world. I don’t exactly agree with her. I think it’s ok to have all that wonderful Art gathered in one single place, open to visitors from all over the world that come to admire it. However, I still believe there’s something of value in that idea. Maybe it’s not selling the Vatican Art to feed the world but devoting the entry fee to that purpose. Thousands of people visit the museum every year. I’m positive the Vatican makes millions only out of that museum, and it doesn’t pay taxes, so…

lavapies-madrid 2010

Lavapies, Madrid, 2010

This is a view to the sky over Lavapies, in Madrid. I was there for a week on March, just on time to enjoy the beginning of the spring in Madrid. Lavapies is indeed one of the most amazing areas of that city. It’s old, charming, full of squares, small galleries, bookstores, close to El Prado, El  Museo Reina Sofía and the Cinemateque. It is also the place to go if you want to find the best foreign food in Madrid.

I visited Madrid when I was living in Amsterdam, during my second semester of the master. I now find that I don’t have any photograph from my window room there. No surprise, I really didn’t like there.

Vigo, Spain

Vigo, Spain

But I do have a photo of the view from the Townhall in Vigo, Galicia.

I was there many times during that summer, covering press conferences from politicians, government representatives, and even I was there when Mötorhead was in Vigo for a summer concert.

Aside from covering local politics and having to eventually listen to Galician speeches from people who could perfectly, al almost, speak Spaish, the best thing about going there was the view from the windows.

And then Hamburg. I received 2011 in Hamburg, where I turned 29. I lived in the Reeperbahn neighborhood. The Fish Market, the immigrants and the prostitutes, can be found there. I could see from my window two young girls always standing in the corner, even in the winter, which made me feel half uncomfortable half curious. I was told later they were probably prostitutes. It is the crazy-night-out neiborghood, where there’s this one street with block closed to women and only men can get inside because it’s prostitudes kingdom. It’s in the San Pauli area, so I could see every once in a while a lot of fans of the San Pauli football team parading the victory or probably the defeat of their team.

That’s the end of my periplum for that first year. I’ll bring the rest of the windows some other day.

Reeperbahn, Hamburg, 2010-2011 winter

Reeperbahn, Hamburg, 2010-2011 winter

A bonus: Sarah Silverman vs Vatican


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