Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Strasbourg and La Petite Pierre

Day 1 of my brother’s visit was spent in Karlsruhe, eating crepes and having a wander around. He had been before (about seven years ago!) so it was interesting to see what he remembered. Of course, some of the things he might have found familiar are now no longer visible due to ongoing construction for the tram tunnel!

After checking the weather for various places, we decided to make our first trip of the week Strasbourg simply because it wasn’t supposed to rain there! Strasbourg is about an hour’s drive from Karlsruhe (or between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours by train, depending on whether you take the express of regional transport). I didn’t actually take as many photos in Strasbourg as I normally would on day trips because I’ve been several times before (there’s only so many times you can photograph the same building!), but here are a few:

After walking around for a while and taking in the “main” sights (cathedral, canal), we decided to stop for lunch in the Petite-France area. It’s pretty touristy down there, but whatever. We were tourists, right? ;-) I decided to go traditionally Alsatian and have Tarte flambée (actually not 100% traditional, because while I did go with the baon and onion topping, I chose one that also included cheese… because cheese! No further explanation necessary).

Tarte flambée, or Flammkuchen in German

Tarte flambée, or Flammkuchen in German

Once we’d eaten, I wandered down the water’s edge and attempted to take a photo of a mother duck and her ducklings. I swear I’ve seen ducklings in Strasbourg every single time I’ve visited! No matter what the time of year, there are ducklings! (The one exception is the time I went for the Christmas market, but we were nowhere near the water then.)

Strasbourg

From Petite-France, we wandered down to the Barrage Vauban… the Vauban weir. Inside the weir there are sculptures and, when we were there, also an exhibition showing the various suburbs of Strasbourg as they used to be and as they are now they’ve been incorporated into Strasbourg (most were originally little villages). Vauban, who built the wier, was actually a military engineer and built numerous fortifications, all in a very specific style. On top of the weir, there is a panoramic terrace with a lovely view of the various bridges.

After walking around for a little longer, we decided to head back to the car. Instead of heading straight home, we used the sat nav to look for places of interest in the general vicinity and came up with La Petite Pierre, where there was supposedly a castle. It meant a bit of a detour, but still wasn’t too far from home, so we added it as an intermediate destination. Also, Jan told me the name of the village means “little rock”, which amused me because that means anyone whose name is Pierre is actually named rock! (Yes, the mame Peter actually means stone or rock as well, but that’s not the same as having the actual name Rock). By the time we arrived, the evening sky was the perfect colour for taking photos! Here’s the castle and the little church beside it:

In the grounds of the castle there was the following sculpture, carved entirely from a single tree branch. I thought it was cool!

There was some kind of exhibition in the castle, but none of us was really interested in seeing it, so instead we wandered over to a little garden/picnic area opposite. There, we found large stone coats of arms from the neighbouring villages. I’m pretty sure the hat on the first one once belonged to the Sorceror’s Apprentice ;-) Sorry, but I don’t actually remember which villages/regions the coats of arms were for. Any French people out there want to help?

On the way in to La Petite Pierre we had driven past a tearoom, so we decided to have a walk back down the hill and head there for a drink. On the way back through the village, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of a tiny door with carvings of girls carrying pretzels on it. It looked to me like it should be in a fairytale!

La Petite Pierre

The tearoom turned out to be fascinating… crammed full of all sorts of odds and ends, from various different teapots (okay, not that bizarre) to shoes randomly hanging on the wall. Sorry my second photo is a bit blurry, but I’m sure you get the idea!

After a quick look at the menu, I decided a hot chocolate with cream was the way forward.. and once it arrived the cup and saucer just begged for me to take a photo! We also all decided to have a piece of cake – lemon meringue pie for my brother and I and something with bergamot for Jan (I tried his – the bergamot doesn’t taste quite as perfumy in cake as in Earl Grey tea but it’s still not my favourite thing in the world!). My meringue was slightly chewy, but not too bad.

Once we’d finished eating and drinking, it was time to return to the car for the drive back to Karlsruhe. Day trip one done! next up is Basel, which I’m counting as my July trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge. Stay tuned!


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A photo an hour: 16 August 2014

On Saturday, I took part in the August edition of A Photo an Hour with Jane at Is That You Darling? I am being cheeky and also including this in Amanda’s Day in the Life linkup for August.

9 a.m. I was actually awake at 8:30 (thanks construction workers!), but somehow I find it easier to take my photos on the hour(ish), so I waited til 9 to take my first one. A nice cup of tea to start the day!

Tea

10 a.m. Doing a bit of cross stitch! I’m working on something for my kitchen as part of my 35 before 35. Can you guess what it is yet?

cross stitch

11 a.m. I noticed it had stopped raining, so I decided to head into town while I had the chance! (I promise I didn’t go out smelly – I showered and brushed my teeth between the last photo and this one!)

sky

12 noon. Still in town. My dad paypalled me some money for my birthday, so I decided to pop in to Douglas and see if I could find a perfume I liked. (Is to paypal actually a verb? Never mind, it is now!) Am I the only one that would rather browse in peace than constantly be asked if I need help? After two shop assistants approached me, I decide to leave the shop and head elsewhere for my perfume… which turned out to be lucky because I found a special offer with a 30ml bottle of perfume and some shower gel for just €29.95. The perfume on its own would have been something like €45!

DSCN0491

1 p.m. Time to head home for lunch. Pictured is the Natural History Museum, which I passed on my way home. (Also, note the grey clouds returning… definitely time to head home!)

Naturkundemuseum

2 p.m. Wrapping gifts for a few children whose birthdays are coming up. This one is for a friends son and I also wrapped stuff for my little brother and for my godson (although his won’t be posted til I return from Taiwan).

gift

3 p.m.  Another tea? Don’t mind if I do! And back to my cross stitch while I drink it.

tea

4 p.m. I finally managed to post the last of my Vienna posts. Hurrah! Next up is all the travelling I did with my brother (I’m sooo behind!).

DSCN0495

5 p.m. Enough lounging around… time to make a start on tidying the kitchen! Here’s a photo of my hoover, plugged in and ready to go.

hoover

6 p.m. Dinner time! Ready-to-roast duck and boil-in-the bag potato dumplings. Also consumed but not pictured: peas and, of course, good old Bisto gravy!

food

7 p.m. Having made the (possibly insane?) decision to cross stitch all my Christmas cards this year, I got out all my cross stitch magazines and started going through them looking for ideas.

cross stitch magazine

8 p.m. What Saturday evening alone could be complete without a classic film? ;-)

Blues Brothers

10 p.m. (I missed 9 p.m.!). Still watching the film… nearly finished now!

Blues Brothers

11 p.m. Off to bed with the final book I need to finish for the summer reading challenge! I’m progressing through it… but verrrry slowly!

book

And that’s it. I turned the light out at 11:30 p.m. so I never made it as far as a midnight photo.

A Day in the Life: A Linkup by Break the Sky

 


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Café Pan, Karlsruhe

On the first day of my brother’s visit, we decided to go out for brunch. I had been to Café Pan, an organic café and creperie, once before and really enjoyed it, but had then promptly forgotten its existence until it was reviewed on Karlsresource. They are closed on Sundays, which limits the opportunities for me to visit, but being off work during the week meant I could actually go there. On my first visit, we sat outside in the courtyard, but as it was raining off and on the day my brother and I went, we decided to see what it looked like inside.

Inside Café Pan

Inside Café Pan

The menu mainly consists of numerous crepes, both sweet and savoury, but there are also cakes and a soup of the day. We, of course, opted for crepes. The savoury ones are made without egg and milk, so are suitable for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Sweet ones are not vegan friendly, but on request they will make a sweet crepe using the vegan batter from the savoury crepes. Here’s the list of sweet crepes, photo courtesy of my brother:

cafe pan menuMy brother went for the Schokolade crepe, which was topped with Nutella. Meanwhile, I decided to start my day with something savoury and had a spinach crepe, consisting of spinach (obviously), tomato and cheese… I asked for it without the egg.

Spinach crepe

Spinach crepe

To drink, we both opted for coffee, although various freshly squeezed juices were available. Maybe I’ll try one of those next time. My brother and I both thoroughly enjoyed our crepes and I will definitely be going to this café again… hopefully it won’t take me several years this time!

 


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Vienna: The UN and Donauinselfest

Our last day in Vienna also happened to be the first day of the Donauinselfest, Europe’s largest free open-air festival, so obviously we had to go! It didn’t start until the afternoon, so in the morning we decided to go to the United Nations office in Vienna. We took a general tour, which lasts for one hour. Vienna is one of four headquarters of the UN (the others are Geneva, New York and Nairobi). As well as the headquarters, the Vienna centre houses the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime… and probably some more. Those are the ones our guide went into detail about. Did you know that, as well as stuff to do with nuclear weapons and nuclear power, the IAEA also does things like advising  countries on the disposal of old X-ray equipment? Me neither! Here are some photos I took during the tour:

Once the tour was done, we headed to the island. There wasn’t much going on yet, but I got an ice cream from one of the stands and we watched some of the performers on the smaller stages. As it got closer to the time that official events would actually be happening, we started walking towards the large Ö3 stage, stopping on the way for food. I had some potato spirals… literally a potato cut into a spiral and fried, then covered in salt! In Germany, they’re usually served on a wooden stick but these ones were in a bag.

The first act we saw had apparantly won the right to perform in a competition. I can’t remember whether they were from Vienna, but all the band members were pretty young… like around 16-18. They weren’t bad though. Next came the official opening act… somebody called Thomas David. Apparantly, if we were Austrian (or at least lived in Austria) we would have heard of this guy. The announcer informed us that he’d been all over the radio over the previous few months. Not being Austrian (or having access to Austrian radio), we had never heard of him. He actually turned out to be good, though, and will be looking out for him in the future.

Thomas David was followed by Revolverheld, a band from Hamburg who I had heard of but never seen. (Apparantly they’ve played Das Fest in Karlsruhe before, but that must have been before I came to Germany). I didn’t recognise any of their songs, but every single other member of the audience seemed to be singing along… including Jan! Never mind, I enjoyed their set anyway. After Revolverheld came Nico and Vinz, a hip hop duo from Norway. Neither of us is into hip hop, so at that point we headed off to get some food, and found a stall selling baked potatoes. For the record, it’s hard to eat baked potatoes when you’re armed with only a plastic fork!

Revolverheld

Revolverheld

Once we’d eaten and been for a bit of a walk around, we headed back towards the stage for the act that I had actually wanted to see… Milow! Some people will be familiar with his cover of Ayo Technology (originally 50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake), others may know him from the song You Don’t Know (people in mainland Europe that is… I have no idea whether he’s even known in the UK?). I actually like Milow, and enjoyed seeing him live.

The final act of the evening was Rea Garvey, but since neither of us was particular interested in him (I think I’ve heard maybe two of his songs…) and we still needed to pack ready to leave the next day, we decided to head back to the hotel after seeing Milow. As we were leaving, hundreds of people were still arriving… apparantly every teenager in Vienna wanted to see Rea Garvey!

A huge free concert was a great way to end our time in Vienna… but I’m still disappointed that we weren’t able to stay until Sunday, when Conchita Wurst was appearing as a special guest. I would have loved to experience her live!

~ I am counting Vienna (and Bratislava) as my June 2014 trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge ~


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Friday letters

After the debacle that was my attempt to post on my birthday (I hit publosh and the computer just sat there going “posting…” for half an hour, which is when I got mad and gave up!), I’ve managed to find a way back to the old publishing screen, so hopefully this post will actually appear on my screen! In case anyone else is having trouble, it appears going via dashboard takes you to the plain text publishing page instead of that new fangled one that probably requires all sorts of things this computer doesn’t have! Anyway, on with the letters…
postbox

Dear boyfriend. As much as I will miss you when you’re away, I’m actually looking forward to having a whole weekend to myself. My plan is to sleep, read a lot and eat crappy meals that require no chopping of vegetables. And as for next week… eaten before 8 pm and getting a few early nights? Sounds like a plan to me! Then, in just over a week, I get to see you in Taiwan and have you all to myself for an entire 6 days! Yay.

Dear weather. Would you please make up your mind! I’m sick of either dressing in trousers because it looks like rain then coming home from work desperate to change into a dress because I’m so hot or heading out in a skirt because the weather looks fine only to get absolutely soaked and have to sit around in wet clothes all day!

Dear WordPress. Please stop fixing things that aren’t broken! The old way of publishing posts worked just fine! I am aware that most of the reason I can’t use the old system is because this computer is terrible (and hasn’t had any updates done to it for over a year), but that’s not the point! We can’t all have the latest technology and there’s no need to fiddle with things all the time!

Dear computer. I know most of your problems are Jan’s fault for neglecting you (and there’s nothing I can do about it as I don’t have an admin password!), but if you don’t stop doing things like refusing to publish blogposts, freezing when I go on certain websites and taking centuries to upload photos to anywhere (WordPress, Twitter, Facebook), I will not be responsible for my actions!

Dear friends/family. Thank you for all the lovely cards/gifts/messages for my birthday. I loved everything and I am so thankful to everyone who thought of me.

That’s all for this week. Slightly moany, I’m afraid. I’ll try to do better next time ;-) In the meantime, I’m scheduling this post, so hopefully it will actually publish!

Daily Diaries with The Lotus Creative


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(Belated) cake day

This was supposed to be yesterday’s blog post… except WordPress have gone and changed the bit where you write posts and I now literally cannot publish them on my home computer. I press publish and it just sits there saying “posting” for ages. So I’m posting this from work…

I forgot to take a photo of the cake I baked for work, mostly because by the time it was ready it was so late Jan had to take it out of the oven for me and yesterday I was too busy getting ready for work to think of it. But luckily a package from a friend saved my blog from being cakeless on my birthday… or it would have if I’d been able to post!

Anyway, this is what a mini Smarties cake looks like after travelling all the way from the UK:

cake dayAnd now I guess I’m officially “in my 30s” (as opposed to just being 30). *Sigh*


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Friday letters and links

Can you believe it’s Friday again? It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my last Friday letters post. I’m very pleased it’s the weekend though. This week has consisted of a tonne of train delays and more work than I would have ever expected to be able to handle. It was actually a struggle not to groan out loud every time I saw something new in my tray! Only two more weeks to go though, then I’m on HOLIDAY for a week!

Eye'm watching you...

Dear work. Please stop with the craziness. I need to breathe occasionally!

Dear birthday. You’ve crept up on my this year so I’ve planned absolutely nothing for you. Also, I’m working. never mind… I’m probably a little old to be making a big deal out of my birthday anyway.

Dear sleep. Sorry I’ve been neglecting you lately. Let’s catch up soon!

Dear weather. I’m invited to a graden party tomorrow, so please stop your nonsense and settle on one thing for a change (preferably sun).

Dear weekend. Please don’t go too fast. I really need a break!

Okay, a bit pathetic on the letters front this week. I can’t think of anything! Never mind, here are some links:

 

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