Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Pearl Jam in Vienna

I don’t normally write reviews of concerts I go to because I’m even worse at that then I am at reviewing books! But a few people have expressed interest so here goes…

I actually bought the tickets for Jan as an anniversary present. I like Pearl Jam well enough, but he’s the one that owns several of their albums! So when I received an email saying they were coming to Berlin, I had to try and get tickets. Of course, the day they went on sale ended up being a day where I was travelling back from somewhere, and by the time I got online the venue had sold out. It wasn’t until the next day that I thought to check whether they were playing anywhere else in Germany. They weren’t, but Vienna was on the list and, amazingly, there were still tickets available. I chose the best seats that I could still get (standing tickets were obviously long gone!), but as I’m sure you can imagine, they weren’t exactly the best seats… (Although I have to admit I was actually glad we were sitting! It was so hot in there that I just know if I’d been in the crush at the front of the stage I would have fainted before the end of the first song and ruined the whole night!).

The sound wasn’t brilliant where we were, but halfway through the gig Eddie Vedder paused to say that when they were doing the sound check, he seriously thought the sound guy was screwed! Apparantly, the Wiener Stadthalle had the second worst sound of any venue the band has played ever. So maybe it wasn’t much better down in front? Although he did say that the sound was much better now the hall was full.

Despite the less than amazing sound, it was a really good concert. The music went on for about 3 hours with barely a pause and every member of the band played excellently. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been so hot (partly as a result of sunburn!) and we’d had better seats, but neither of things are Pearl Jam’s fault! Based purely on the band’s performance, it was an amazing gig and well worth taking the trip to Vienna for!


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Bratislava, Slovakia

Since we were going to be near water in Vienna, I was determined to go on a boat. Then we discovered that there are regular boats between Vienna and Bratislava… and Jan had never been to Slovakia (I’m pretty sure I was there with my grandparents on a European tour as a teenager, but it was only a stop for lunch and I remember literally nothing!).

On the advice of Steven, who had coincidentally been in Bratislava the day we met up with him, we decided to take the train there and the boat back. He also recommended a free walking tour (the kind where you give tips at the end), which he had taken and enjoyed. The tour was at 11 and we wanted to buy tickets for the boat back first so we decided to get the train at 8:20 a.m.! The train journey takes roughly an hour and, unsurprisingly, I slept most of the way! On arrival in Bratislava, the first thing we did was take a bus into town (public transport was included with our train ticket). It was immediately apparant that we weren’t in Austria any more:

Bratislava

To be fair to Bratislava, we did see some more modern looking buses driving around, but we managed to get on one of the old, shabby ones ;-) It turned out we could have actually walked into town from the station, but whatever. We were there now, and it gave us plenty of time to find a bank, get some money out, purchase boat tickets and then find the square where the guide was supposed to be waiting. The tour was very interesting, but loooong (a little over 2 hours), especially in the hot sunshine. I tried to stand in the shade whenever I could, but it wasn’t always possible and I ended up sunburnt. *Sigh* On that same day, it was actually raining in Vienna ;-) Here are some random photos I took on our walk around the city. The first few are from before we met our guide and the rest were taken during the walk (the statue of Hviezdoslav was the meeting point for the tour).

The second to last stop on the tour was my favourite! Apparantly the guides like to take groups there because otherwise no tourist will ever find it! Our guide kept telling us she was taking us the “the blue church”, and once we arrived we understood why:

She wasn’t lying about the blue! It’s real name is the Church of St Elisabeth (Kostol svätej Alžbety in Slovakian), and even though it looks like it might be Russian Orthodox, it isn’t (we asked). It’s actually a Catholic church, built in the Hungarian Art Noveau style. Next to it is a secondary school built in the same style (designed by the same architect)… our guide assured us that most schools in Slovakia, don’t like that, but more like the abandoned communist era hospital opposite the church… a horrid, spooky-looking concrete monstrosity (sorry, no picture).

I wish my school had looked like this!

I wish my school had looked like this!

After the walk, we wanted to go for lunch (and I desperately needed a drink, having finished my bottle of water about an hour earlier!). The tour guide had recommended a place along the route that was toruisty but inexpensive and with good food, so we and another German guy from the tour (who it turned out lives just down the road from Karlsruhe!) decided to go there. We were told to try Bryndzové Halušky, a type of potato dumpling with sheep’s cheese and bacon. Jan and I went for a sharing platter which included that, a dish with the same kind of potato dumpling but served in a cheesy Sauerkraut mixture and Bryndzové pirohy, semi-circular dough pockets filled with the same sheep’s cheese. All very delicious! The bacon was extremely crispy, but also melted on the tongue.

Bratislava

It may not look like much for two people, but it was extremely filling!

By the time we’d found the restaurant again (we’d walked quite a bit after passing it), ordered and eaten our food, and paid the bill, time was getting on a bit, so we ended up heading straight for the boat without heading up to the castle or seeing the cathedral. According to our tour guide, we didn’t miss much not seeing the castle itself (apparantly it’s empty inside), but the view from up there is good. Oh well, some other time…
Our boat left Bratislava at 4 and took an hour and a half, leaving us with plenty of time to head back to the hotel, drop things off, grab the concert tickets and head out to see Pearl Jam…

**I am counting Vienna and Bratislava as my June 2014 trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge.**


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Vienna: Day two

Most of our second day in Vienna was spent at Dialog im Dunkeln, which I’ve already posted about, but I would now like to reiterate that it’s a really cool experience and you should give it a try if there’s one near you. (Also, we are now planning to visit the one in Frankfurt while my brother is here). Before we headed over there, we stopped at the station to buy train tickets for a day trip to Bratislava the next day. Once we’d done that, it turned out we still had some time left before our tour was due to start, so we popped into a church. I don’t remember the name of it…

We also had time to stop for a coffee, which I just had to take a photo of because art!! Having a pretty picture on your coffe may be an everyday occurrence for some, but it’s not something you see much of in Karlsruhe so I still get very excited about it.

Vienna

Once we’d done Dialog im Dunkeln, we decided to head to the Natural History Museum, stopping on the way for lunch. We ended up stopping at a cafe where we both had Mango Lassis to drink and ate the Indian Dal (spicy lentil soup).

Vienna

After walking for aaaages, we reached the Natural History Museum only to discover it was closed! We later found out that a lot of places had closed for the afternoon, although at that point we didn’t know why. The cute elephant outside the museum kind of made the wasted walk worth it:

Vienna

Next, we decided to try going to the butterfly house. On the way, we randomly discovered another exhibition, so we had a look at that. It was something to do with cables as art and featured a lot of extension plugs and wires, plus a weird video. I didn’t really get it…
By the time we reached the butterfly house, it was 5:30 p.m… 45 minutes after closing time. *Sigh* Since it seemed like museums were a lost cause, we decided to find somewhere to sit and watch the football instead, seeing as it was the day of England’s last match in the World Cup! (Yeah… we suck and didn’t make it past the group stage.) We found an Irish pub, where I drank Stiegl, a Salzburg beer.

As we were leaving the pub, we found out the reason for various things closing early… Putin was in town and there were various demonstrations/protests going on because of it. Here’s one that we saw for LBGT rights (I know there is sometimes a Q in there, too, but the sign we saw only had the four letters):

Vienna

We were both hungry by this time (even more so after watching people eating burgers and nachos at the Irish pub), so we went looking for something to eat. Jan found a brew-pub called Salm Bräu that had good reviews on TripAdvisor, but mostly from tourists. It turned out to be an okay place, but not somewhere I would recommend. The food was nice but forgettable, and my beer mostly tasted of yeast. Jan had a dark beer, which I tried but can’t even remember what I thought of. Never mind, have a photo of our beers anyway:

Vienna

By the time we’d eaten, it was pretty late, so we decided to head back to the hotel. On the way, we passed some kind of monument/memorial with cyrillic writing on it that had been cordoned off earlier in the day. Jan was curious, so we went to have a look at it. It didn’t take me long to get bored with his attempts to interpret the cyrillic, so I turned my attention to the fountain opposite that was all lit up.

I also took a photo of it in green, but I think two photos of the smae fountain is enough for a blog post ;-)
After I went back to Jan, a Russian couple came up to us and helped with the translation of the cyrillic so we could finally get on our way! ;-) I wanted to get some sleep as we had an early planned the next day…
And that was Tuesday. Coming up next: A day in Bratislava, Slovakia.

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


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Vienna: The beginning

We arrived in Vienna late on Sunday afternoon after a seven-and-a-half hour train journey (including one change in Munich). Needless to state, we were quite tired and not up to doing too much that evening! Coincidentally, fellow Germany-based blogger Stephen of Doing Time on the Donau was in Austria at the same time, also for a concert! We had originally planned to meet for breakfast the following morning before he had to catch his train, but as it turned out he got back from his day-trip early and still had some time before the concert that evening so we decided to meet for dinner instead. On the train, Jan had spent some time looking for a restaurant that served Marillenknödel (surprisingly difficult to find in Vienna) and before meeting Stephen we went to scope it out and decided it looked nice, so that’s where we ended up eating. It was a warm evening so we sat in the pretty little outdoor area.

I decided to go for the Faschiertes  Kalbschnitzel (pictured above), which is basically meatloaf. Faschiertes is Austrian German for minced or ground meat (ordinary German would be das Hackfleisch) with the meat in this case being Kalb – veal. Der Kalb is also the German word for calf – unlike us English speakers, they don’t bother with different words for live and dead animals ;-) Dessert obviously had to be the long-anticipated Marillenknödel, but I’ve already told you about them…

Once we’d eaten, Stephen had to head off for his concert, so Jan and I walked down to the Donaukanal (“Danube Canal”), a former arm of the River Danube that’s now a regulated water channel. It borders right on Vienna’s city centre. Down by the water, there are a number of little huts selling drinks with sandy areas and beach chairs beside them. Obviously a beer had to be consumed – we were on holiday after all! ;-) I chose Gösser because I remembered it fondly from when I lived in Austria.

As the evening wore on, it started to get a bit chilly, so once we’d finished our beers we headed back to the hotel where Jan switched on the football. I saw part of it but fell asleep before it was over. It had been a long day!

The next day, we decided to go to the National Library because we hadn’t made it there on our previous trip to Vienna. The library complex contains various museums, and we bought tickets for four areas. The Prunksall (Great Hall in English), the Papyrus Museum, the Esperanto Museum and the Globe Museum. The Prunksaal is absolutely gorgeous! So many old books, and such a beautifully painted ceiling! When we went, they also had a special exhibition about the First World War (which, as I’m sure you all know, was triggered by the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 June 1914). Unlike other exhibitions, this one concentrated on what life was like for the people left back at home in Austria and was quite fascinating. Apparantly the Austrian Emperor, assuming that the war would be short and that Austria would win, had encouraged people to start sending in items relating to the war while it was still going on, which makes the collection at Austria’s National Library quite unique – everywhere else, documents were only sent in years after the war ended.

Our next stop was the Papyrus Museum, which contained numerous examples of writing on Papyrus, including Books of the Dead, extracts from the Koran, recipes for medicines and accounts (the financial kind). The Austrian National Library has one of the largest collections of papyri in the world and around 200 items are on display in the museum.

By the time we’d done the Papyrus museum, we were hungry and, in my case, incredibly thirsty, so we headed to the park in front of the library to eat the sandwiches we had bought at a supermarket near the hotel that morning. As we approached a fountain, we saw a crowd of people looking into the water and taking photos, so of course I wanted to know what they were all looking at that was so interesting. It turned out to be ducklings! All together now: “Awwww!”

We followed lunch with a visit to the Esperanto Museum, which was small but interesting. There was one station where you could listen to various constructed languages (including Esperanto). Then, last, but certainly not least, it was time for the globe museum. I adore globes, and this museum did not disappoint! They had enormous globes that I would need a ladder to see the top of and teeny, tiny globes. As well as ordinary globes showing the Earth at various points in history, they had celestial globes (showing the constellation), globes of the moon and even a Mars and a Venus globe. Something particularly interesting with the moon globes is that the very earliest ones only showed half of the moon… the side that could be seen through a telescope! The “back” was only filled in gradually once recording devices started to be sent up there and people actually made it to the moon! Until then, the other half of the globe was filled with explanations or symbols with a key.

Once the globe museum was done, we stopped for a quick beer then went to book a place on the tour for Dialog im Dunkeln the next day. There are no tours on Mondays, but staff are present in the building to take books. That done, we decided to try and find a place to watch the football. At the first place we tried, all the tables where you could actually see a screen were taken, so we went to the same beach hut we’d been to the day before, where there was a large screen. Of course, all the chairs there were taken too, but we sat on the ground by the water where we could just about see something. The match was pretty boring and the ground not exactly comfortable, so we ended up leaving at half time. Neitther of us was particularly hungry (we’d had a big breakfast and it was after 2 by the time we got round to eating our sandwiches), and I had a headache from spending so long wandering around museums without a drink, so we decided to go back to the hotel.

… And this seems like a good place to stop before this post gets even longer! More will follow soon. I’m counting Vienna as my June trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge.


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Dialog im Dunkeln, Vienna

In the continuing absence of properly functioning Internet (Jan has contacted the service provider… so now we wait), here is a post that doesn’t require me to upload any photos…

While checking the TripAdvisor app for things to do in Vienna, we came across something called Dialog im Dunkeln, which sounded really interesting. The various reviews warned us that we would need to sign up, so we headed over there to do so on Monday and were lucky enough to find that some people had cancelled for the following day so there was room for us.

The concept of Dialog im Dunkeln (Dialogue in the Dark) is pretty simple. An underground room (cellar) has been transformed into a landscape with various obstacles that one might find in the world outside… a bridge over a little stream, a narrow gorge, a shop with step leading down to it. The only catch is that the room is kept in complete darkness… and I really mean complete darkness (well, there was one point where you could see light coming through a door frame, but it didn’t help much). Before entering the room, you’re given a white stick (the type for blind people) and shown how to use it, then sent down a corridor with various twists in turns that gradually gets darker and darker. In the room, a guide is waiting for you… somebody who is a) blind and b) familiar with the landscape you’ve been introduced to you. The aim is to navigate the various obstacles in the room as a blind person would. The guide is there to tell you which way to go and, if necessary, physically lead you to the right path. At the end there is a bar, also kept in complete darkness, where you can buy drinks and ask the guide any question you like. And you really can ask anything… personal questions are allowed!

The experience of being in complete darkness is extremely disorienting! Suddenly having to rely on other senses is far from easy, but I actually managed to do surprisingly well in there! The place is set up very well, with an area that feels just like grass (I assume they don’t have real grass in there?), a rocky surface with water running down out for the gorge, a “road” (not a real one obviously, but there are sound effects and you’re supposed to wait for the signal to cross) and even a boat, which moves pretty realistically! This is a really interesting experience and I would highly recommend it if you ever find yourself in Vienna. Tours are available in German or English, so don’t let language put you off!

Alos, I’ve just read that the original Dialog im Dunkeln is in Hamburg, Germany. I’ve no idea whether that one’s any good, but if you’re in the area I’m sure it would be worth a try.


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35 Before 35: Eating Marillenknödel in Austria

Number 14 on my 35 before 35 list was to go back to Austria and finally try Marillenknödel! That’s right… despite having lived in Austria for almost a year, I had never tried one of their most typical dishes (although to be fair I lived there from September til June, so not exactly during Marillenknödel season!). Obviously this situation couldn’t continue, so I added Marillenknödel eating to my 35 before 35 list and finally managed to make up for my failure pretty much exactly 8 years after I originally left Austria!

Marille is Austrian for apricot (Austrians speak German, but their own variety of German which has some different words. In normal German, apricot would be die Aprikose), and Knödel means dumpling… in this case a potato dumpling. To make this sweet dish, you remove the core of an apricot, replace it with a sugar lump then form a dumpling from potato dough (or sometimes a dough made with Topfen… the Austrian/Bavarian word for Quark) and place the apricot inside said dumpling. The whole thing is then steamed, rolled in browned breadcrumbs and served with a dusting of icing sugar.Very sweet and incredibly delicious!


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The loveliness of Mainz

Mainz

Mainz Marktplatz

On Friday, I had to go to Mainz for a two-day seminar on the world of banks. I was worried that it would be boring, but the presenter did an excellent job of explaining things in an interesting and understandable manner. Always a bonus!

So, it turns out Google Map directions are crap! I took the train to Mainz Römisches Theater, which the seminar holder had said was the nearest train station, and followed a mixture of instructions from Google Maps and the website of the place to get into town. It was all fine to start with, but then Google Maps tried to make me go in a massive circle around the building to approach it from the other side while the website instructions simply said “walk straight down the street until you see the destination on the other side”. Needless to state, I went straight ahead. Silly Google…

After the first day’s seminar, I hung around for a bit with the others who were staying in Mainz and didn’t have plans so that we could arrange to meet up for dinner, then I headed off to find my hotel. The Google maps directions were fine up to a point, then they suddenly stopped making sense. I then bumped into another girl from the seminar who it turned out was looking for the same hotel. We compared maps and found that Google wanted both of us to “take the steps”… except there were no steps on that street! We eventually asked somebody, who said he’d never heard of that hotel or the street it was on, but the streets surrounding it were definitely on the other side of the train tracks. We were standing next to a bridge at the time, so we went under that then started comparing our maps to the street names again. At that point, a woman came up and asked whether we needed any help. She did know the hotel and was able to give us directions (basically follow this hill allll the way round until you get to a REWE. The hotel is next door). Lovely Mainz person number one :-)

We’d taken so long to get to the hotel that I only had time to quickly wash my face and renew my deodorant before heading back out. Part way down the hill I actually spotted some steps. As I was hesitating at the top wondering whether that was what Google had meant, a voice behind me asked whether I needed any help. I said I was just trying to get back to the cathedral area and was wondering whether these steps led anywhere useful. The guy replied that this was the shortcut and that he could tell me where to go. We then went down the stairs and I found myself ona platform at the Römisches Theater train station! So if those were indeed the stairs Google meant, it would probably have helped to be told to go through the station! Helpful Mainz guy then pointed out the ruins of the actual Römisches Theater (Roman Theatre) beside us… I had been wondering! I knew where I was now, so my “saviour” and I parted at the front of the station and I headed off on my way. Thanks to the shortcut, I ended up being early to meet the others and had some time to take photos of the old town. It was a gorgeous day, and the blue skies made the pretty buildings look even better!

I recognised these buildings from when I was in Mainz for the Christmas market If you look closely at the top right-hand corner, you can just about spot where the weird concrete/glass shopping area starts. Soooo not in keeping with its gorgeous old town surroundings!

Mainz

This is where we had the seminar. It’s a weird place, with many twists and turns. We had to go through the cafeteria to get to our seminar room, and finding the toilets was an adventure in itself!

Mainz

After we’d eaten, I headed back to my hotel. It was easy to find now I knew the way! I took the shortcut through the station again, and since it was still light I grabbed a few snaps of the old theatre. The next day, with some time to spare before my train left, I climbed the stairs again and took some photos from above. This is a combination of the photos from both days:

Back at the hotel, my first act was to fling open the window. Outside, things had actually cooled down for the first time in days (actually, as far as I know Mainz had been cooler in the evening all along…) but inside the room it was still hot. I lay on the bed savouring the breeze and following the BBC live stream of the Netherlands match (my TV appeared to be broken). Mainz is on the flight path for Frankfurt Airport so I also got to see some planes coming in.

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

After breakfast the next morning I checked out and headed off for day two of the seminar. We started earlier on Saturday, but were also finished earlier than planned, meaning I was able to get a train home at  5 p.m. instead of the 6:15 that I had originally planned! The seminar was interesting and this time Mainz had showed me its lovely side (the old town, of course, but especially the people – who I would literally have been lost without!).


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Looking forward…

Routine has got me firmly back in its clutches and I am not liking it at all! Any benefits I may have gained from the long weekend and trip to Konstanz  were instantly erased by several small jobs due the next day plus a badly written larger job that required me to do an hour of overtime from home in the evening. OK, an hour doesn’t sound like much… but when you already get up at 6 a.m. (wellll, alright… ten past), the last thing you want to do on arriving home is get back to work… But instead of dwelling on how tired I am and how awful working for 8 hours every single day is (I absolutely love my job, but something about the idea of spending 8 hours in an office every single week day for the next 40-ish years is just soul destroying!), I’ve decided to look forward to all the fun plans I have for this summer. Positive mental attitude, right?

June

On Tuesday, we are going to see a charity concert in Durlach starring our quiz master’s band, who will be accompanying (among others) Fish from Marillion (remember them from the 80s?), and Fools Garden, who became world famous with their song Lemon Tree but are actually from Pforzheim – just down the road from Karlsruhe!

In a mere 17 days, Jan and I are heading to Vienna. Last time we were there, it was New Year and freezing (we went into the butterfly house purely to warm up!), so I’m hoping for good weather this time! We’re actually going there to see Pear Jam perform on the Wednesday night (a gift from me to Jan for our 10th anniversary of being in a relationship), but personally I’m mostly looking forward to the Austrian food ;-) Hopefully this time I will finally manage to try Marillenknödel! This will also be my June trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge.

July

I love hosting visitors, but it so rarely happens. After my sister and her boyfriend came two years ago for the Formula 1, I insisted that now it’s my brother’s turn to visit… and he finally is, at the end of July! He’s actually been to Karlsruhe before, with my mum, but that was 6 years ago (when he was 17), and they were only here for two days. This time he can legally drink (well, he could have had beer or wine last time, but he doesn’t like either) and we have more time. I’m looking forward to showing him more of the local area.

August

Well, it’s my birthday month, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be working so that’s not too exciting.
BUT… I will be spending the last week of August in Taiwan! Jan is presenting a paper at a conference there from 18-22 August, so he decided to take a week’s holiday and hang around to actually see some of the place. Since he warned me far enough in advance this time, I was actually able to save some holiday so that I can go too. Jan will be going over a week before me for the conference, and I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to taking two long flights on my own (or the four-hour layover in Dubai for that matter!). But hey, I get to go to Taiwan! (And also cross “visit a new continent” off my 35 before 35 list.) We’re currently looking into where exactly we want to go while we’re over there (the tour will obviously start and end in Taipei because, well, that’s where we’re flying from/to), so if you have any tips please send them my way!

And that’s it. OK, officially it’s not autumn unti the autumnal equinox (23 September in 2013), but September to me is an autumn month. And besides, I don’t have any plans past August yet so I couldn’t include September in the list even if I wanted to ;-)

What do you have planned for the summer?


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A mini-break in Konstanz

We arrived in Konstanz at just after 1 pm on Thursday, following a roughly three hour journey on the Schwarzwaldbahn (beautiful scenery!). The above two photos were taken in the Petershausen area of Konstanz, which is where we thought our hotel was. Except both of us had apparantly failed to read the date correctly and we had managed to book a room for the night of Wednesday, 28th May instead. Of course, there were no rooms left at the IBIS for that night, but the receptionist was kind enough to phone another hotel where she managed to get us a double room. We ended up at Hotel Halm, which was slightly more expensive than we would have liked, but at that point it was a case of beggars not being choosers, so we went with it. At least it was convenient for the train station… as in directly opposite! And we got a welcome drink when we arrived which kind of made up for our complete stupidity ;-)

Welcome drink at Hotel Halm

Welcome drink at Hotel Halm

Once we’d drunk our sparkling wines, we decided to take advantage of the absolutely glorious weather and take a boat out to Mainau, an island in Lake Constance (or the Bodensee in German). The boat trip over took about half an hour.

Approaching Mainau on the boat. The builing is a palce owned by the Bernadotte family

Approaching Mainau on the boat. The building is a palace owned by the Bernadotte family

After a quick stop for a sandwich at the cafe, we decided to head for the butterfly house. It was pretty crowded, but definitely worth it. So many butterflies! Here are a few:

Once we’d seen the butterflies, we went for a walk around the rest of the island. Here are a few photos. It’s not known as a flower island for nothing!

Probably my favourite thing on Mainau was this rendering of the Bodensee in blue flowers!

Lake Konstanz in flowers

Lake Konstanz in flowers

 

Once we’d seen all the island had to offer, we took a boat back over to the mainland and went off in search of somewhere to eat. The first place we tried was closed on Sundays and holidays (Thursday was Christihimmelfahrt… Ascension Day), so we wandered all over town, finally ending up back down at the lake. Here are a few photos from our wanderings:

Seeing as we were at a lake, fish seemed like a good choice of food. Jan had “Felchenfilet”, which translates as whitefish (sooo imaginative!), apparantly the typical fish of the Bodensee. I went with sea bass, which was served on a bed of carrot and ginger puree (you can’t see it in the picture as it’s under the fish). Each of us ordered a side, which we shared between us… spinach for me and rosemary potatoes for Jan. To drink, I had a local Pils which came in a teeny glass!

The next morning, it was raining heavily so we decided to hit a museum first. There is currently a special exhibition on about the Council of Konstanz, which took place from 1414-1418. The aim of the council was to resolve the papal schism. Basically, three people were claiming to be the rightful pope, each with different followers. It took four years, but eventually the three popes were persuaded (or forced) to resign and the council was able to elect a new pope, who became Martin V as he was elected on St. Martin’s Day. The exhibition was interesting, but loooong! We must have been walking around in there for 3 hours! By the end my feet were killing and I was dying of thirst! No photos of that part of the day I’m afraid because you weren’t allowed to take any…

After the exhibition, our next stop was the Cathedral. We had a look inside then paid the €2 each to climb the tower for a view of Konstanz. By that time, the rain had stopped although it was still cloudy.

Back down on the ground, we had another walk around town, mostly on the look out for a place to buy water. Then we stopped at a place called Pano for something to eat. For a place named, well, bread there was a disappointing lack of bread, but never mind! Food eaten, it was almost time for our train, but before leaving we briefly walked across the border into Kreuzlingen purely for the novelty of walking to Switzerland! There was a park over there (the Seegarten), which I’m sure would have been nice to have a look at if we’d had more time, but instead I just briefly took a photo of some flags by the harbour then we headed back to Konstanz to pick up our bags and catch a train home. All in all, it was a nice little break and Konstanz is somewhere I would definitely like to visit again!


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Friday letters & some links

Friday is upon us again! I’m actually in Konstanz right now… yesterday was the last one in a series of Thursday public holiday in my part of Germany, so I decided to use some overtime and treat myself to a four-day weekend. I didn’t want to waste my extra day off sitting at home, so I persuaded Jan to take a break from his thesis for a couple of days and come down to Konstanz with me. I wish every day could be a three-day working week followed by a four-day weekend ;-)

Letters

Dear man on my train. There is seriously no need to stink that badly of BO at 8 a.m. on a Monday. It’s not even that hot at that time in the morning (yet). What are you going to do when proper summer arrives? For the sake of your fellow commuters, please invest in some deodorant!

Dear red pandas. You are definitely my favourite part of the my journey to work <3

Dear bookcases. I know you’re way too full already, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to prepare yourself for another onslaught of books. Amazon was just too tempting this week…

Dear May. Where did you go? It doesn’t seem possible that tomorrow is your last day!

And now for some interesting links I’ve come across recently:

  • A friend posted this article on Facebook and I’ve been sharing it everywhere! Some excellent points (and terrifying) points about rape culture, nerds and the “I’m a nice guy so I deserve sex” myth.
  • Ever wanted to speak Icelandic? Find some basic phrases at Unlocking Kiki. (Also, check out the rest of her blog. Her photos make me want to be in Iceland RIGHT NOW!).
  • It’s been ten years since the final episode of Friends aired in Great Britain (What? How is that possible?). Here’s a BBC article with things you may not have known about the series.
  • I came across this list of 18 German Castles that put Disney to Shame while looking for something else, and now I want to visit them all!

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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