All Posts Tagged ‘RDP

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Fear

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As a reporter I have been involved some dangerous situations related to war and terrorism. Once I witnessed and followed a Police operation against a terrorist group very active in my city. I went with the police to a terrorist safe-house where the terrorists had hidden lots of weapons and explosives and they have prepared a place ready to hold a kidnaped person.

One of the terrorists who was arrested was present during the search of the place as was I, and he threatened me and my photographer to death. He was looking at me madly as if I was the only responsible for his fall. I was scared of him despite he was arrested and handcuffed. He kept telling me he knew who we were and that we will pay for what we were doing. I said nothing a continued taking notes about the operations to write my article for my newspaper.

Soon, the police took him away and I felt better.

During the operation the police had arrested three members of the terrorist cell: two men and a woman. She was the boss. She had been wounded in a shooting with the agents. When they caught her she had two handguns, and three grenades concealed under her coat. She opened fire against the police when they stopped her in the middle of a very busy street. His partner tried to escape, but was caught nearby.

After that arrest the police found the third terrorist who was the owner of the safe-house and was present during the search the police made on the premises. They found weapons and bombs already prepared along with explosives to make more bombs. There were also maps and sketches of public places and some houses and itineraries of people they planned to kill.

The terrorists lived there and all three of them were very thin, but in the laundry, there were a very large pants size XXL and a matching big shirt. So I began to think that there was a fourth terrorist the police had no arrested and was on the loose, free to fulfil the threat against me. So From that day I began to do crazy things like change every day my route to go to work and back home, avoid big people with bulky clothes, and so on. It took me weeks to go back to normal. It was the irrational fear i had.

The terrorists went to prison and in less than 20 years they were set free despite they had killed 18 people and wounded over 30. Wonders of the Spanish Judicial System.

The one who threatened me, came back to my city sooner than that, and we sometimes met on the street. We ignore each other. But is not easy. They told me he has distanced himself from the terrorist group while in prison and is rehabilitated. But his companions are still politically active in extremists groups, and they never apologised for the murders they committed.

In the picture, me when I was a young reporter, at the age when those facts happened

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Fear

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Complete change thanks to my parents

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Change has come to my life since I wrote my first book and it was published four months ago. I was a retired Journalist , pretty sick, with not so much excitement in my life. Now I’m officially a writer with lots of events in my agenda.

I have been interviewed by the media, and I have found myself just in the opposite side where I used to be. I had made hundreds of interviews. But I was used to be the one making questions. It’s quite different being in the receiving end, not knowing what its going to come, especially when you are live and there is no room for an error.

Once I was interviewed not only live, but in front of an audience of 300, all of them journalists, in Madrid. My sister was among the public in the first row. At the beginning I was so nervous and focused that I waited for the questions with an expression pretty serious and focused. She, from her seat was trying to tell me: “Look up and smile!”. “You look like being in your funeral”.

Little by little I took confidence and at the end I could answer to the questions more relaxed. I never had been in such a situation, but it was fun nevertheless.

I have been traveling from city to city talking about the book and explaining how I wrote it. I even have signed dozens of copies after those events to people who had bought my book.

I have been living in a cloud.

And everything is thanks to my parents. My book is about their story which is really exciting. They passed away but leaved us their diaries from times of great sufferings and an amazing love during the WWII and the Cold War in Eastern Europe. Those diaries have an impressive richness. All what’s happening to me is their merit. And I’m immensely grateful to them. I love them much more every day after reading their diaries and writing about them because they have taught me so much about love. Not only when their were around, but also now that they are present thru those writings. Thank you dad, thank you, mom.

Ragtag Dayly Prompt: Change

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I love pretty shoes

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Isn’t pretty?

Yes I do. I love pretty shoes. I can’t wear them too much because of my balance problems, but I love them and now and then I can’t resist the temptation and I buy a pair of them, colourful and funny.

They lift my spirits because when I wear them I can wear as well my dresses and skirts, with colourful flower prints, and feel good out of the routine of the pants and the sneakers, which are very comfortable, but make look my feet big and my style boring.

Some people would laugh at me when they see me with crutches or a walker and heeled shoes, and would ask me what am I doing on top of the heels with my obvious problems to walk. But I don’t care. I walk carefully to don’t fall and I remember the good old times when I could walk normally and even dance.

I have to confess that I like to feel elegant in special occasions. Besides, I carefully look for shoes nice and comfortable at the same time with rubber soles, even rubber heels, like this one in the picture, my last acquisition.

I already wore them in some occasions for the presentation of my book and the tribute for the centenary of my dad in an event in Madrid, where I was interviewed in front of 300 people. I felt very confident in my outfit with my new shoes.

Ragtag Daily Challenge: shoe

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Thanks God for a talkative taxi driver!

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A talkative taxi driver saved me from loose for ever my phone. He told me so many things about himself that I could find him after forgetting my phone in his taxi
View of Zagreb (Croatia)

In one trip to Croatia as a journalist, many years ago, I had to go to meet with a very important person to make an interview. He was traveling, coming to Zagreb from another city, and told me that he would be at his home at eight pm.

So I decided to have a drink with my cousins near my hotel waiting for the hour, because I had many things to tell them after years without seen them.

Suddenly I got a call in my phone telling me that the person I had to interview had already arrived, half an hour before time, and was waiting for me. I had to left in a hurry and catch a taxi.

The driver was a talkative man. I told him I was in a hurry, and he asked me why. I told him very briefly the reason. I don’t know how, in a few seconds, he was telling me his story. How he was in fact a Geography teacher in the University, but there was no way to live with that salary in those days, so he decided to become a taxi driver at nights to have an extra income to survive and provide for his big family.

I listened without paying much attention because I was nervous with my interview.

We arrived. I paid him, and faced my job of the day.

When I was in the middle of the interview, I realised I have forgot my phone in the taxi. When I finished my work, I called my cousin who was still at the bar were we had meet an hour before, explaining the situation.

I didn’t know anything about the taxi nor the colour or the brand of the car, nor the license plate, nothing. Only that the driver was a Geography teacher.

My cousin went to the taxi station and said aloud: Who of you is a Geography teacher? Me! Said one of them Immediately. They went to the parked taxi and began to search. And certainly, right there on the back seat was my phone.

Ragtag Daily Challenge: Taxi

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My book is in the bookstores!

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My first book is in the bookstores! And they are selling them pretty well.

Here am I with them in a store near my house.

I think I already wrote about my literary adventure. This year is my dad’s centenary, and I decided to pay him an homage writing his story after I read his diaries from the 40s and the 50s and translated them from Croatian to Spanish. An then I found my mom’s memories. I put all together and the result was their story told by themselves in first person.

It’s an exciting story with adventures: My father was taken prisoner by the fascists of Mussolini and ,years later, he almost get executed by the communists. Both sides were against him, because he was an independent journalist. Later on he got separated from his family and was displaced, and found himself alone wandering across Europe.

His diaries contains this story but basically are a beautiful love letter to my mom in which he writes to her how much he loves her every day during the twelve years they were forcefully separated because of the war an the circumstances that developed after during the worst years of the Cold War.

For me has been a emotional journey and a challenge, because it’s my first experience writing a book. I’m glad I have done it. The book is in Spanish and has arrived to the bookstores last march 11 so I only have one reaction from a Spanish writer very positive. He says, I managed to tell the story in a beautiful way. I’m so happy!

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Book

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Canal: Oh Venice!

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Many years ago my boss sent me to Venice to write a piece about a choir from my city which was going to sing in a concert with an orchestra in that historical and magical city.


I had never been before there. And I have never had the opportunity to come back. I had just two days to enjoy (and work) in the city of canals and I was determined to take advantage of them.


When we arrived, the weather was sunny, but foggy, and maybe because of the atmospheric pressure, I got a hard migraine.


I couldn’t get up in time to take a tour with the group, but I took some pills to be able to got out. A little later, despite the pain. I was not going to give up and stay in bed in my ugly hostel room during my short visit to Venice.


So I did my particular tour. And it was fantastic. I visited some of the best art exhibitions I have ever seen, I walked thru fantastic streets, sailed across beautiful canals looking at palaces churches, bridges and family houses, I saw everything I wanted to see wandering on my own. The best part of all was that we were in low season and there were not too tourists. So it was relatively easy to walk around.


I met with the group again in a trattoria and we had a typical Italian meal. Because they were all singers, we had a wonderful evening with songs at the shore of the Grand Canal when the night lights reflected in its dark water and the city was quiet.

Note: This photos are some of the ones I took during my short visit to Venice.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Canal

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immerse in my book

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I have been immersed in the process of writing a book. That took almost all my time the last year, but most intensely these two last months, when I have been editing, proof checking, negotiating with my editor and all those things one have to do before having the book in the bookstores.

I just have sent to the editing house the last proof with my last corrections and my approval, and now I only have to wait for them to do their job. I suddenly am feeling very tired. Really exhausted. But at the same time excited and restless waiting for the moment when I will see the work completed.

It was not easy to reach this moment. I have written My parent’s story, pretty exceptional, during the war and the exile. For me was a very emotional trip. I began to dive into the diaries of my dad and the memories of my mom. They suffered a lot and loved a lot, and finally the love they professed each other was the winer.

When I sent my manuscript to the editorial house, they told me it was too long and instructed me to cut off 20.000 words. I was desolated It was like amputate a limb to your own child. Very painful.

I finally managed to do so without damaging the story and we reach an agreement.

All this is happening in the year of the centenary of my dad. The Regional Newspaper, where my dad had a daily column about International Politics during 28 years, published a page about him and another page days after, when the University where he was teacher of Journalism during 32 years celebrated a big event with many assistants.

This will be a year of celebrations here and in Croatia were My dad comes from. Lots of things will happen around his memory. I’m proud and happy.

(In te picture during the celebration of the centenary of my dad at the University, with my sisters, my brother in law and the dean of the Journalism School. I’m the last one at the right.)

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Immerse

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Squirrel

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squirrel
A little squirrel pictured many years ago

Squirrel was the nickname of a taxi driver we had hired to drive us to the most weird (or common) places to collect data as journalists working in Bilbao. 


I never knew his real name. He was a short, thin and resolutive man. He used to have his taxi stationed in a stop near our building waiting for customers when he was not working for us.


I used to go to the stop to look for him when I needed a ride to go in a hurry to work in an ongoing news in some distant place, usually with a photographer who would take the pictures for the report or the interview at takes.


Once we went to make a report about the tuna fishermen of Bermeo. My boss sent me to do it precisely when all the fishermen were in the high seas fishing. Squirrel knew that. He knew almost everything. It was an impossible assignment. And my boss wanted a whole page written by me for that very night. It was his way to test me. I was a rocky then. Just nineteen. Taking my first steps in the job. 


We went to Bermeo anyway. Squirrel helped me to talk with the women of the fishermen port (they spoke in Basque and very fast) and I got a good story about their way of life.
That night, I was able to fill my page with a human interest article. Not precisely what my boss had ask for, but something that was worth it. Test passed.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Squirrel

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Flag

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Kotor 2

This is the flag of the city of Kotor in one of the balconies of the main square. The city is a little jewel in one of the most beautiful bays of the Adriatic, the Kotor Bay, in Montenegro, just south of Croatia.

The city is completely fortified, and everything inside is baroque or medieval. It has plenty of history… and life. It’s my father’s home city and one of the most beloved places for me.

Ragtag Daily Prompt – Flag

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Oeuvre

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Ivan Mestrovic 8

This post is going to be a little reiterating, but today’s prompt has remind me my recent visit to the house and atelier of the Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović in Zagreb.

There were beautiful sculptures in bronze and stone finished into the house along with furniture made by him, and also sketches and studies of pieces for larger monuments in the garden and the atelier. It was very interesting to see all this works of art and also to see the house in which he lived since 1920 till 1942, with his beautiful dinning room and his characteristic ceramic stoves.

In the picture, a study of a hand for a large statue and a sketch for a relief in the atelier

Ragtag Daily Prompt – Oeuvre

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Tender Bronze

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Ivan Mestrovic 2

I have been recently in the atelier of the sculptor Ivan Meštrović in Zagreb (Croatia) which is now a museum. He has a great expressive strength in his sculptures in bronze and stone.

I was deeply impressed by the tenderness of the Pietà of the saint Mark’s church in the upper city of Zagreb, that you can see in the picture above.

After contemplating that, I went to the atelier were I saw sculptures very strong and angular, and among them, other very tender, always with the mother as a main figure, like the woman with her child, that you can see in the picture bellow.

Ivan Mestrovic 5

Ragtag Daily Prompt – Tender

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Blue

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Perast 5

My travel to meet my roots has come to an end. I have been in the bay where my dad awakened to the life and the hometown of my mom.

My eyes and my soul are filled with blue. The blue of the sea, the blue of the incredible landscapes of my parents childhood. Maybe this is why blue has been always my favourite colour.

Senj 2

Now I’m back at home, in the city, surrounded by asphalt, concrete and grey stones.I just had come home and I’m already longing to see once more the Adriatic sea.

I’m feeling a little blues. But I’m already making plans to came back soon to that fantastic place.

In the Pictures, Kotor Bay (Montenegro) and Senj (Croatia)

Ragtag Daily Prompt – Blue

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Bastion

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My city keeps its ancient walls all around the old quarter, with its bastions, battlements, bulwarks, part of its moat, its beautiful citadel, even a gate with a wooden drawbridge which is still working.

Obviously, they no longer are used as a defence against the enemy, and around the city walls there are parks and green areas. When I was a kid I used to play knights and princesses over there with my brother and my sisters.

A stick as a sword and our imagination in such a scenery made wonders. We made up thousand of stories; each one more fantastic than the previous. We could play for hours and never get bored.

Now I don’t see so many children playing around the city walls the way we used to. Maybe knights and princesses and castles are not “cool” any more, or maybe is hard for kids to imagine adventures of the lost centuries outside a video game. Who knows!

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Bastion

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I was in a pickle! (or the story of the Symphony Number 3)

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Many years ago, I worked as an intern in a radio station making interviews and reporting about culture. I had to fill a space of three minutes with news about the music events in the city. One day I had prepared an interview with the conductor of an orchestra who was going to perform that evening the Brahms Symphony Number 3. But he failed me at the last moment. I was in a pickle! I had three minutes empty to fill with whatever.

I decided to search in the archive of the radio station the record of the Symphony and talk a little about it and about the orchestra, but the archive was very messy. Plus I have a kind of dyslexia, so instead of looking for the box with the label Brahms Symphony number 3, I was looking desperately for the label Symphony number 1.

The clock was ticking And I heard from the archive my boss on air saying: “…and in a few seconds our contributor Olga will tell us the lasts news about culture in our city”.

So I prayed with all my strength: dear God let me find the record! …And suddenly I saw it! The box with the label I was looking for: the Symphony Number 1.

I took it and went running to the studio, gave it to the technician and sit down next to my boss, ready to talk at the microphone. When I checked to my notes, I realized in dismay my mistake. But just then, the technician put on the record and the music that sounded was the Symphony number 3 . The one I needed. The record was inside the wrong box! . I had would never found it if I hadn’t made that mistake with the numbers.

I really think my prayers were heard that day.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Pickle

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Purple

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I hate being negative, but purple reminds me to the dead, because is the colour of the funerals in the church.

I have too recent my mom’s funeral, with all the priests dressed in purple chasuble, singing songs about the everlasting life, in wich I firmly believe.

It was a very sad day, because is always hard to say good-bye. Above all when there is so much love involved.

Now her home is no longer a home, but a strange empty place. It was also a day of hope, because she went to a better life, stopped suffering and finally rested. And I’m sure she’s now with dad in heaven, wich was her biggest wish.

But we, down here, would like to have her more time, to hear her stories, laugh with her, feel her love for us, her children.

I have spent my last five years taking care of her since she had a stroke. I still getting up in the morning thinking: I have to go to take care of mom… And then the harsh truth strikes my mind like a hammer. I have no longer where to go.

Well, I have found places to go and things to do, but without mom.

My life has changed completely.I miss her badly.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Purple