Recent doings #17

At the beginning of April I said that it looked like it was going to be the fastest month so far this year, and I was not wrong! How on Earth is it May already?! I suppose all the busyness at work has not helped! Last week I ended up doing overtime because it was the only way to get a job finished that had been re-planned to me because my colleague had too much to do, and tomorrow is my first time to go into the office this month (I now have to go twice a month), which means I’ll be out of the house from 6:30 a.m. until just after 8 p.m. Since I am only actually in the office for 6 hours on those days, in those weeks I have to make up the remaining 2 hours on other days. In other words, every two weeks I work an extra half an hour on four days of the week… and that’s before any additional overtime that crops up just because nobody can ever predict when things will get busy. So, that’s one reason my blogging has been rather sporadic lately. Others included going away for Easter, another friend coming to stay for a weekend, and cross stitching lots of cards. But anyway, it’s time to link up with Kristen and Gretch again, so let me tell you about April’s doings…

whats-new

Reading. I started the month reading a lot and then didn’t finish a single book in the final week and a bit of April! I had read a total of ten books by the 20th of the month though (but still haven’t finished the one I started after that). I will tell you about them soon, so I won’t list them all here. My favourite was a German crime thriller called Märchenwald.

Watching. I bought season 1 of The League of Gentlemen on DVD so Jan and I have been watching that. It doesn’t take up much brain power so I can stitch while I watch. Ah, the video cassettes and landlines. So 90s!

Eating. I had big plans to up my veg intake in April, but then I went to Berlin for Easter and ate all the bad (but tasty!) foods – and yes I’m aware I haven’t written about that yet. Then towards the end of the month Jan was out nearly every evening for choir stuff, so I consumed a lot of toast. May will be better (I hope)!

Visiting. My friend K in Berlin. Also…

Travelling. To Berlin to see K 😉 And to Chur at the beginning of April where Jan had a choir performance (which I didn’t see because I had already watched it in Basel – it was the concert I was at in March, but the people he was staying with invited me to come down for a night).

Berlin
Berlin being all atmospheric with clouds

Hosting. A friend from Karlsruhe who we had invited to come down and see an art exhibition as his birthday present from us.

Looking at. Art in said exhibition. Specifically, it was an exhibition of works by Monet.

Going to. Bern and Fribourg with the aforementioned friend on the same weekend that we looked at the art.

Seeing/hearing. Jan performing with another choir last weekend. Also some choirs/a capella groups in Fribourg. See my April photo an hour post.

Cross stitching. Lots of cards for charity. I promise to explain more sooooon (hopefully I will be better at blogging this month…).

Growing. (Well, hopefully). Lavender, Forget-Me-Nots and some herbs. I could have said planting, but Jan did the actual planting. I just give them water and beg them to grow.

plants
Something is happening!

Buying. Uh, what haven’t I been buying more like! Books, craft stuff, an awesome hat in Berlin (technically Jan bought it for me, but with his German card and the only money going into that account right now is from me… so in a round about way I bought it for myself. Weird!). I also ordered a dress but it hasn’t arrived yet.

Planning. Our summer holiday! We are definitely going to be in Britain and we even know where the first stop will be. Holidays from work are approved so the next step is to book a flight…

Okay, I think that’s all. What have you been doing recently?

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Kandinsky, Marc & Der Blaue Reiter at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen

Hello my lovelies! It’s been a whole week since I last posted (and almost as long since I came to visit anyone else’s blog. Sorry about that… I will be over soon!). Visitors, work and card making have conspired to keep me away from this little space of mine! But now I’m back with a post about a visit to an art gallery, which counted for November in Take 12 Trips. That means I’m actually caught up with Take 12 Trips posts since I haven’t actually taken my December trip yet!

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Outside the Fondation Beyeler building

At the beginning of November, a friend came to visit us because he wanted to go to an art exhibition in Basel… or rather in Riehen, a neighbouring town. The exhibition is actually still on at Fondation Beyerler until 22 January and it’s all about the artists Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, and an almanac they wanted to produce called “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider), which would collect together artwork and writings from various artists. It was supposed to be published annually, but only one ever appeared, in 1912. After that war got in the way and Franz Marc was actually killed at Verdun in 1916.

You were allowed to take photos of some of the art in the gallery (some things had a “no photos” symbol beside them), so here are a few of the ones I took:

Most of the work was too abstract for me, but it was interesting to look at – and especially to see Marc’s transition from relatively normal looking animals (in funny colours) to things that could juuust about still be recognised as what he claimed they were. Kandinsky is really not to my taste though!

After looking at the art, we headed out into the gardens, which at the time were filled with lovely autumn colours. A few photos from there:

Touristy bit: To get to Fondation Beyerle, take tram number 6 to Fondation Beyeler. You can also take tram 2 to Riehen Dorf, but from there you will have to walk a little bit.

This art gallery visit was my November trip for Take 12 Trips 2016. One more trip to go!

Wooden watchers

I was off work last week, using up some holiday, but since Jan didn’t have any holiday left and had to work, I didn’t actually go anywhere. Instead I read, did some cleaning and explored the local area a bit. On one of the days, I went for a two hour walk and ended up in the woods near Allschwil. At first it was all trees and birdsong, but then I turned a corner and saw these guys:

no-evil

“Hear no evil” seems to have had a bit of an accident… and I’m not sure who their weird looking friend is!

I thought that was everything, but then further down the path I found a whole collection of wooden carvings, watching me from among the trees…

Later, I spotted this friendly looking fellow in an entirely different part of the woods:

tree-man

A nice little local find that I really wasn’t expecting 🙂

What do you think of these wood carvings? Any favourites?

Floats and lanterns

After the Morgenstreich on Monday morning, Basel’s Fasnacht  continues with the first Cortège (parade) on Monday afternoon. Obviously I had to work then so I missed it. Tuesday afternoon is the time of the Kinderfasnacht, children’s carnival, the time to get the youngest citizens involved in the traditions of the town. Children who are too young to join cliques and wear the giant masks dress in costumes (often home made), join in with parades, hand out sweets and throw confetti. Tuesday is also the time of the small groups – people in costumes and musicians get together to wander around town, playing music, without being in an organised parade.

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Having a German employer means Fasnacht is not a holiday for me, so I missed most of what I described above. By the time I went into town after work last night, most people were already heading home. Many of the participants had already taken off their masks and started drinking and only a few musicians were still playing. In fact, the main clues that it wasn’t a normal day was that town was much more crowded than usual, no trams or buses were running in the town centre and there was confetti all over the floor!

I may have missed most of the action, but there were two things I wanted to go into town for: the exhibition of floats at Kaserne and the lantern exhibition at Münsterplatz. I started by heading to Kaserne so I could see the floats before it got too dark.

There were some pretty impressive floats – some of them were huge!

Baselstäbe (Basel staffs) were again a common image, along with various other aspects of Basel life. Every float had its own theme, and many of them had amusing little slogans or rhymes. Here’s one especially for you, Linda!

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“As long as it’s vegan, everything else is irrelevant” (literally: everything else is sausage)

This clique was clearly against veganism! Here’s another photo I took of their float:

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“Vegetarians are barbaric! I mean, a pig can run away, but what about a salad?”

A few more float pictures:

By the time I’d finished walking around the float display, it was starting to get dark, so I decided it was time to head over to the lanterns. The same Swiss girl who told us where to stand for the Morgenstreich also advised me to get to the lanterns for around 6 p.m. – any later and it gets too crowded to move around! So that’s precisely what I did.

Some of the lanterns I recognised from the Morgenstreich, others were entirely new to me – unsurprisingly. Apparently there are over 200!

They looked quite impressive all gathered together on Münsterplatz.

The float at Kaserne wasn’t the only thing taking a shot at veganism:

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“Being vegan is in, but does it make sense? Once all the carrots have been eaten, there’ll only be grass left to eat!”

My camera battery ran out before I even came close to seeing all the lanterns, but here are a few of my favourite ones that I did manage to get:

Even for people who don’t like Fasnacht/carnival/whatever itself, I can highly, highly recommend the lantern exhibition! You don’t have to attend the parade – just look on this as a large open-air art gallery. The exhibition is over for this year, but get it marked in your calendar for next year (7th March 2017 will be the date of the exhibitions).

By the time I’d finished looking at all the lanterns, my hands were freezing, so I headed off back through the confetti-covered streets to find a tram stop that was still in use. Along the way, I just about managed to get my camera to work again for long enough to take this (terrible) photo:

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Balls in the Tinguely fountain. Of course.

This afternoon there’s another big, official parade throughout the entire town and then this evening the individual cliques have their own march through the streets and alleyways of the old town (maybe I’ll make it to that?). Then, in the early hours of tomorrow morning, all the cliques meet again in the town centre to say goodbye to Fasnacht. When the clocks strik 4 a.m., the drey scheenschte Dääg (three nicest days) are officially over, precisely 72 hours after they began.

Tinguely Museum, Basel

The Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely was born in Fribourg but grew up in the Gundeldingen area of Basel (before moving to France in 1952), so obviously the people of Basel like him a lot. He has his very own fountain on Theaterplatz (Theatre Square) and also has a museum in Basel. As we had a friend visiting this weekend and yesterday was supposed to be rainy (which ended up being a lie!) we decided to go to the Tinguely museum. Jean Tinguely is best known for his mechanical, moving sculptures, known officially as metamechanics. I would show you a video of a fountain that was outside the museum (you were allowed to take photos inside the museum without a flash, but not videos – although it didn’t say no filming anywhere so I did make one video before being told off my a member of staff. Oops!), but it’s in a format that WordPress doesn’t accept so… sorry! Here are some photos:

You get the idea, right?

Some of Tinguely’s works are really cool… others are weird or slightly disturbing. A few examples:

If you’re thinking all of those look cool it’s because I didn’t take photos of the really weird ones 😉

The machines in the following galleries are all drawing machines. There was one in the gift shop which you could purchase a token and a piece of paper for and then have it draw you your very own picture. I didn’t do one but we did see that machine in use while browsing in the shop.

Currently the museum is also exhibiting works by the Swiss artist Eva Aeppli in one of its rooms. Aeppli was married to Tinguely from 1951 to 1961 and died on 4 May 2015. I only took a photo of one of her sculptures… how creepy is this?

Tinguely museumIt’s called The Five Widows.

My favourite thing in the whole museum was this sculpture that you were allowed to climb on. Parts of it also moved.

I was disappointed that the spiral staircase was off-limits!

Tinguely’s sculptures are not exactly what you’d call “classical” art, and neither are they particularly, pretty/decorative, but they’re definitely interesting! The museum is a great place to spend an afternoon, and I imagine children would like the moving sculptures as well (even though you’re not allowed to touch!). I really enjoyed our visit to the museum and will definitely take future visitors there.

I’m linking this post up with My Travel Monkey and Packing My Suitcase for Monday Escapes. Click the button to find out more!

My Travel Monkey

Funchal door art

Walking around the Zona Velha, or Old Town in Funchal, you will notice that many of the doors feature art work of various kinds – mostly paintings, but some other forms of art as well. These works are part of the  Projecto artE pORtas abErtas, or ArT of opEN doors project, a scheme that aims to “open” the doors of Funchal to art… and give new life to old, dilapidated doors, often of abandoned and forgotten buildings. Here is just a small selection of the photos Jan and I took of those decorative doors.

Obviously I couldn’t possible resist taking a photo of the following door… colourful artwork and one of my favourite things combined!

Boooooks!
Boooooks!

Here are some of my favourites. For a few, I took close up photos of the various details because a photo of the entire door just didn’t do it justice.

Have you ever been to Funchal? Which is your favourite painted door?

More from around the Internet

I couldn’t think of anything to write about today, so I’ll let the Internet do my entertaining for me… Here are some of the best things I’ve come across out there in the web recently.

  1. The artist Dave Devries has taken children’s drawings and turned them into realistic looking works of art. Fantastic!
  2. The Middlest Sister is my new favourite blog! It’s a web-comic based on the author’s memories of growing up with four sisters and it’s fabulous!
  3. This BBC comic about a Somali couple raising their family in Norway makes me sad. If Jan and I ever have children, I’m afraid they will end up being completely German and rejecting my culture as something that bears no relation to them. (This isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. I’ve heard stories of children in Germany who have rejected their English parent’s culture entirely, to the extent of refusing to speak English even at home).
  4. I loved these innocent things that will make you feel filthy. And I definitely had to look twoce at the one with the pigs…
  5. Finally, check out these incredibly bizarre and awful cakes. Warning: Some of them are not for the faint-hearted!