Posted by sol in prattle
I took this picture with the birthday present I received from my husband’s parents. A beautiful digital camera, with very interesting options, like the one used for this shot: black, white and red. The flowers were instead, a gift from Michele, along with a very placid dinner at Nobu.
Unfortunately, the protective leather case for the camera hasn’t arrived yet, so I will not be taking the camera with me to Berlin, because it looks so delicate and expensive I don’t want to run the risk of ruining it.
Tomorrow morning, at 6.30 am I’ll fly to Berlin, and will be staying there for 4 weeks.
I have started another blog to keep track of the adventure, specially regarding the German learning endeavour. I will keep the blog exclusively in German, so I can look back and probe the progress done.
Birthday trip to Amsterdam for me and my father-in-law! (we were born on the same day, he’s just a bit older). It was a blitz trip, because we could go around only on saturday. Friday and sunday were used to travel.
I didn’t have much chance to take good pictures, and the lomographs are still in the lab, I’ll post them should it be the case as soon as I scan them!
Max told me abou the 36, and casually I spotted it when we took a trip with the dutch version of the bateau-mouche.
geh’ so oft wie moeglich ins museum – advice by vincent Van Gogh.
We even took a ride on the Ferris wheel!
When you happen to go to Amsterdam, go to have lunch chez Van Dobben. A place with real dutch food, dutch customers (very kind), and dutch personnel (veeery kind): We had a delicious REAL hamburger (small bun, big REAL meat ball), and their specialty, the Ragout Croquette, which was really good, though we rather not know what was inside. Something funny: people weren’t drinking water or cocacola: they drank milk. That’s why they’re all very tall and handsome.
Posted by sol in life
tomorrow is my birthday, and I lost my cellphone, so call home to say happy birthday. (or mail me!!!)
***update*** I got my cellphone back, so call me do.
I’ll be blogging soon about Amsterdam (maybe tomorrow)
Finally, after multiple attempts, I found the perfect recipe for brownies.
Brownies have to be:
Chewy is important.
Plus, they have to have one trillion calories per serving. Otherwise, they are not brownies.
Melt in a Mary’s bath 230 grams of dark chocolate together with 120 grams of fat butter (check fat content: not below 83%) . Stir well, without overheating. Chocolate should melt and blend with the butter, not cook. Then put aside and let cool.
In a large bowl, put 5 medium eggs and 380 grams of superfine (caster) sugar (not confectioner’s sugar). With an electric whip, mix until the mix doubles in size, and becomes like heavy foam (This is important for chewiness and mouthfeel!). Stir in the melted chocolate while still whipping. (my husband helps me on this one, he holds the mixer while I scrape the chocolate from the bowl with a spatula). Then add 180 grams of all pourpose flour and a hint of salt. As this mixture becomes heavier, go on mixing with a wooden spoon. Then add 50 grams of chocolate chips or 50 grams of crushed dark chocolate (In Italy there aren’t any good quality chocolate chips so I prefer to crush regular dark chocolate in the blender) and 30 grams of crushed hazelnuts or almonds. Bake in a low square baking pan at 180 celsius (375 F, I think) for no more than 10 minutes!!! (Time is important: if you overbake them, they will become a regular not so sinful chocolate cake, and loose the chewiness) Then, let them cool down for a couple of hours, and then cut them into squares. Cutting might not be a very easy task, but that means you did everything right because chewy=difficult to cut. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and then get away from them. They are very very dangerous.
Finally a chance drop in on Vienna. My aunt Laila and my uncle Alejandro happened to be there, amid their Anniversary trip to Europe. I found a good bargain on the train ticket so I could afford to join them. They were kicking off to Dijon on Saturday morning so we spent only one day together, but it was worth the trip: I love them very much, and I feel that they are fond of me too.
We had breakfast at their Hotel (The Sacher Hotel), and took some time for some good conversation. I updated them on my civil marriage, the plans of the Wedding, my job, etc. Then we visited the Albertina Museum together. There was a very interesting exhibition of an austrian watercolorist, Rudolf von Alt.
Then we did the usual shopping in Kaentner Strasse, though I did only window shopping because I’m saving my extras for Berlin.
We had dinner early in a 5 stars restaurant, Zum Weissen Rauchfangkehrer. I was totally blissed-out. That’s what a perfect restaurant should be: every detail was taken care of. And we drank a very remarkable bottle of austrian wine, which I had always ignored. My uncle gave me a bottle of it to take home, though a different vintage. The maitre of the restaurant told us to open it not before 5 years time. So I decided I will open my Pöckl 1999 on my 30th birthday.
My uncle had tickets to the Musical Romeo and Julia, which was a modern version of Shakespeare’s play, with modern music and dancing. I really liked it. I cought good part of the German, I am improving!
Since I was staying three more nights, I decided not to stay in the same hotel my aunt was. I rather went to a youth hostel, and felt like a globetrotting student again. The hostel was the Wombat’s Hostel. It was really very friendly and clean.
On saturday, I woke up early, bought a guide to the City and then started wandering around. I was very very lucky. First of all, because the weather was wonderful. Herbst in Wien. Autumn in Vienna, was warm and sunny. I got into this bookstore near Stephans Platz, and bought 3 German books from a very kind man, who wished me viel Erfolg! Then I went on walking, until I reached Schwedens Platz, where I took the first tram that stopped there.
This was a Romantic View from the so-called Bermuda’s Triangle.
I ended up in the Prater, a big park for runners and bikers and lost tourists.
There stood the Riesenrad.
Ever since it opened, the Giant Ferris Wheel has been a symbol of Vienna’s Prater district, and with its famous silhouette seen from far off it has become the city’s trademark. The Giant Ferris Wheel, erected by the British engineer Walter B. Besset, has the proud distinction, in contrast to other wheels in London, Blackpool, Paris, or Chicago, of having withstood all the natural catastrophes and acts of war to which it has been subjected. Following the destruction of the entire operating system and all the cabins in 1945 by bombs and fire, the Giant Ferris Wheel, like the city it symbolises, very soon began to rise from the ashes to turn again.
This is Hundertwasser’s House. A beautiful spot, with a beautiful philosophy underlying it. And actually people live in it.
This is the Kunst Haus Wien, a museum with a permanent collection of Hundertwasser’s art, and a showcase for other international exhibitions.
This is part of Hundertwasser’s philosophy: (click to enlarge).
This is a part of the Oper. I took this picture whie I was waiting for Tram #1, which goes around the center of the city clockwise. tram #2 does the same but anticlockwise. While on this tram, you get to see a lot of the city’s major attractions.
As I wrote before, I was very lucky in my trip to Vienna, and one reason was the weather. Another reason was that I happened to be there when Die lange Nacht der Museen took place. 74 museums were open on Saturday, from 6 pm to 1 am. There were buses connecting the Museums throughout the whole evening, and the single ticket good for all the exhibitions was 10 euro.
It was so exciting! I really missed Michele on that evening because I imagined how fun it would have been to run from one museum to another, together. Anyway, as soon as the thing started, I jumped on a bus, without knowing or wanting to know where it was taking me. It was a good idea, but here I was definitely unlucky. It took me to the Ernst Fuchs Museum, and honestly, I have never seen such a horrible place. The style of the house itself was terrible (The architect was the famous Otto Wagner – 1841), neo renaissance – neo palladin, something of sound bad taste. Then the paintings, were emetic. I couldn’t keep myself from taking a picture of this Christ on the cross. I know art is not a matter of beauty-uglyness, but this is my blog and I say they sucked.
This was a digital-virtual museum, but I liked the entrance. I got in, but didn’t understand a word they were saying so I left. Then I visited the Folter Museum (museum of torture), where I signed for a campaign against death penalty.
This was an exhibition at the Secession, with games of light and projections. Downstairs was Beethovenfries, a sort of fresco on three walls, painted by Klimt for a concert of Beethoven’s IX symphony by Max Klinger in 1902. The painter depicts his idea of the symphony: life through illness, madness, lust and then through poetry and love that cleans it all, in the kiss that flows to the whole world. Sorry, I have no pictures of that, but it still makes me shiver.
This is a very interesting construction that caught my attention because it is in the middle of a rushing street, and it’s all made of glass. The bar inside played live music, with lots of young people and an exibition of architecture students. It was cool.
Then I went to Palais Belvedere, to see the Jugendstil masterpieces, and I was really impressed by a temporary exibition: THE NEW AUSTRIA, to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the State Treaty 1955/2005. I learned many interesting things about history of the Second World War, life in Europe before and after the war, and about the Austrian people.
Of course I was enchanted by Klimt’s Kiss and it was so deeply touching that I cried, because of its tangible love and sweetness and beauty.
On Sunday I went wandering around once again. This is the Burgtheater. In the middle of each set of columns, the names of German and Austrian writers and playwrights are engraved. Goethe, Schiller, and so on. It is beautiful and impressive.
This one I took it at the University.
This was a nice building whose architecture caught my attention, near Neumarkt. I had lunch there, Wienerschnitzel of course.
This is a detail of Vienna’s City Hall. The building is very big and in beautiful gothic style, but I took only this picture because I prefer details.
My friends Patrick and Sylvia, who live in Vienna.
We had dinner in a very cool student’s pub-cafe’. Sylvia said it was a comunist place. I found it very cool and hip. Actually I found Vienna very cool and hip altogether.
On monday morning I headed to the Schloss Shoenbrunn. It was a warm and sunny day. The castle is quite impressive, though I didn’t go in. I mean, had it been raining, maybe I would have gone inside. But I prefered to sit on a bench and take some healthy sunbeams.
The Maze at the Shoenbrunn Gardens was very very fun. I felt like a little child must feel. It wasn’t easy at all!
Here were some workers and gardeners embellishing the gardens. On the background lies the Neptunbrunnen and the Gloriette.
This cute elephant stands in front of the…. of some Museum, near the Museums Quartier.
I think it was the museum of natural history, but I’m not sure on this one.
Heldenplatz. The Hofburg. This gave the place a natural appeal to Adolf Hitler who, in 1938, used the central balcony of the Neue Burg to proclaim to the crowd in the Heldenplatz that ‘As Fuhrer and Chancellor of the German nation and the German Reich, I hereby announce to German history that my homeland has entered the German Reich’. (This speech gave life to the Anschluss, which united Austria to Germany. During the weeks following the Anschluss (and before the plebiscite), Social Democrats, Communists, and other potential political dissenters, as well as Jews, were rounded up and either imprisoned or sent to concentration camps.)
My picture is quite flat (particularly dull is a parking lot in front of it), but I assure you, the building is impressive, and standing there in the middle of the garden looking at that balcony and thinking that 200,000 Austrians were there in 1938 writing dreadful history, that is impressive too.
A couple of hours before my train back home departed, I visited the Public Library. I went inside and read some newspapers on a very comfortable couch until it was time to catch the tram number 18 to the Suedbanhof.
6 minutes left on the internet booth. The ONLY positive thing on travelling alone is that you get to take loads of photographs. I’ll post them on tuesday, along with a report on my trip. (which by the way is only half through). *update* Here they are.
Posted by sol in prattle
I am a little bit sick these days, I got a flu because yesterday it was so cold and I was wandering through the city very lightdressed. Yesterday evening I had a very sore throat and maybe a fever too. Today I’m feeling better, and hope to be perfect tomorrow when I leave to Vienna.
We took this picture on saturday, as we headed to the SuperGulp, a great comic strip store in Milan’s navigli.
We had late lunch at the greek eatery, and went to the FNAC to buy some books and cd’s.
It was a fine weekend.
This week began with excitement about having new memories, of different places, different languages, meeting new people. So this month will be very rich with disparate memories: I’ll be travelling to Vienna tomorrow with a nighttime train. When I get back, on tuesday morning, I will be posting about it. Later this month we will be visiting Amsterdam, and hopefully at the end of the month, I will be taking a German course in Berlin.
Posted by sol in prattle
So this was our old working table. The picture is self describing (It was taken by the end of march, but the situation hadn’t changed eversince). Too small for the two of us and our multiple laptops, gadgets, books, etc.
check the mess with the cords and cables under the desk…..
Here’s a good idea I came up with after helping Max with his kitchen at IKEA.
We bought the legs and the top was actually a kitchen top. (They sell it like that, and then they eventually make the holes for the sink, the stove, etc). Michele did all the hard work (screws were hard to tighten).
This way we now can sit and work or study with both our laptops on the table, without knocking elbows, and maybe we will be able to keep the house tidy with more space for our stuff.
We fixed the mess with the power cords and cables too, with great satisfaction:) Now our internet is wireless and our printing as well. The power adapters for the laptops now are plugged on a switch we mounted on the wall. It’s a work of art.