Inside the Theme: Woodland Fantasy


I’m going to do something a bit different today…

A while ago I mentioned that I had signed up for a geeky pen pals site. But the IGGPPC is so much more than just a place to find pen pals. There are forums where you can chat and a blog that discusses the latest happenings in the geeky world (new computer games, books, films, TV shows…). Each month, there is also a different theme including various activities to go along with it, such as a watch-along of a film (everyone watches a film at the same time and tweets about it). There is also a set of questions to go along with the theme. This month, the theme is Woodland Fantasy and I liked the questions so much that I’ve decided to answer them on my blog.


  • What is your favourite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?That’s a difficult one to answer, but I think I’d have to go with Discworld. Pratchett was such an excellent writer. I love his humour, the way he incorporates elements of our world into his Discworld, managing to look at society critically while still being funny. The way he brings his characters to life. His descriptions. Just… everything about the series. Please don’t ask me to pick a specific book though!
  • What was your first experience with fantasy?It depends what you consider fantasy, I suppose. If animals that talk and dress in human clothing are fantasy then it was probably Beatrix Potter’s books. Otherwise it would have been something by Enid Blyton – maybe The Wishing Chair? Or it could have been Disney’s Alice in Wonderland – my favourite film as a child! Then again, there was also Bananaman and Superted. Which came first, books or cartoons? Hmm.
  • Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)Regular readers probably won’t need to be told this, but for me it’s definitely books! Real ones… no Kindles here, thank you. I do like a good fantasy film occasionally though.
  • Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)Dragon Eastside GalleryA dragon! Party because of the relationship between the dragons and their riders in the Dragonlance series, and partly because of Toothless. I mean… who doesn’t want a Toothless of their very own? Obviously I’m assuming I would have somewhere to keep said dragon and that it would either be harmless (no fire-breathing!) or very, very tame!
  • Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?I play a wizard in Warhammer Quest. Never anything else. I’ve also played the original Warhammer (the one with the huge table filled with different armies) where I was dwarves. I prefer Warhammer Quest though. I’ve never actually played Dungeons and Dragons, the original roleplaying game! And neither have I played on of the various computer-based versions (World of Warcraft or whatever).

So there you have it. Feel free to answer the questions yourself if you want – there’s no need to sign up to the website to do so!


Travel theme: Light

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today, but then I saw that this week’s travel theme at Where’s My Backpack is Light and my Sunday blog post was saved! Considering my obsession with taking photos of lanterns, this theme is absolutely perfect for me!

So, without further ado, let there be light!

I’ll start with my most recent trip, simply because the uploader is still in that folder. Here’s a rather elaborate lamp post on the Gendarmen Markt in Berlin:

Berlin lanterns

This light source in Luxembourg is rather fun:

Luxembourg face

There are three or four columns in front of the palace with these faces on, and when you pass them, they seem to turn and follow you. Creepy, but kind of cool!

A different source of light now… the photo below was taken in a cathedral in Brussels, Belgium:


Returning to lanterns (I swear, I could post literally hundreds of pictures of those! This one is attached to the side of a building in Heidelberg – I love all the colours!

Colourful lantern

My next lantern is in Bad Dürkheim.

Lantern Bad Dürkheim

I loooove this dragon light that I spotted in Ettlingen. So cool!! (Have I ever mentioned that I like dragons? No? Well, consider it mentioned…)

Dragon lamp

And finally, something a little different. The next few photos were taken at the Lichterfest (Festival of Lights) that took place in the Karlsruhe zoo/gardens in 2011. I’ve heard the Lichterfest is on every two years, so there should be another one this year…

Elephant lights

Bird lights

Swans lights

Pyramid lights

The final one represents the pyramid that stands on Karlsruhe Market Place. Here’s the real thing:

Karlsruhe Pyramid

The pyramid photo was taken by my ex-housemate when he came to visit me last year. All my pyramid photos seem to involve somebody posing in front of the pyramid, and I don’t like to post photos of people without their permission (especially considering I only post photos of myself in exceptional circumstances. I would consider that a little hypocritical…)

That’s all from me. For more photos on the theme of light or to join in yourself (you have until Thursday, after that there will be a new travel theme), go here.

This is the third travel theme I’ve taken part in. For those who missed them, my previous ones were Time and Bridges (click the words to view the posts).

Worms (not the squishy, wiggly kind)

I thought it was about time I did another post for my 30 German towns before 30 thing, otherwise I’m never going to get past 5 (despite the fact that I have definitely been to more than 5 places in Germany!), so I went through all my old photo albums and came up with… Worms. To pronounce it, think of the English word warm, then add an s to the end and pronounce the W as if it were a V. That comes somewhere close to the German pronunciation (it really has nothing to do with the wiggly invertebrates… that would be Wurm in German).

Worms is famous (well… for a given value of “famous”) for a few reasons. The first is that it has what is thought to be the oldest Jewish cemetry in situ in the world. Yes, that would be the one in the photo above. The second is due to its connections with the Nibelungenlied. For those that aren’t familiar with it, it’s a mediavel epic poem/saga – basically like a German version of Beowulf, except Beowulf kills a monster whereas the hero in the Nibelungenlied slays a dragon then bathes in its blood… as you do. Actually, while we were in Worms they had loads of dragons everywhere, sponsored by various shops and things. I’m not sure whether they had anything to do with the Nibelungenlied, but they looked pretty cool. Here’s the one sponsored by Sparkasse (a bank, hence the coin in the dragon’s back).

Oh, there’s another thing Worms is known for, at least if you have a clue about the Lutherean church (which I don’t). Does the Diet of Worms say anything to you? No, it has nothing to do with the eating of invertebrates (ick!) In this particular case, a Diet is an assembly, and this particular assembly was held at Worms. Hence the Diet of Worms – suddenly it all makes sense. Maybe. One thing that came out of the Diet of Worlms was the Edict of Worms, a decree by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (later Charles I of Spain) which said “[…] we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favour the said Martin Luther”. I don’t have to tell you who Martin Luther was, do I? Good, ’cause that’s enough of a history lesson for one day!

We were in Worms at Easter, which was the end of March that year (2008 in case you were wondering), so theoretically spring, but it was COLD, so we didn’t actually spend that much time walking around. Instead we went into the Nibelungen Museum, which is interesting but the audio tour takes AGES. It’s built inside the old town walls, which is cool but means it isn’t exactly warm! Here’s a not-that-brilliant photo of the town walls (these were taken with my old digital camera, which was even cheaper and lower quality than the one I have now). The bit along the top under the roof is where you walk along as part of the audio tour of the museum.

Worms is a nice little town with quite a lot of history behind it – it may even be the oldest town in Germany (Trier also lays claim to the title). We went into the town museum, which was interesting with loads of maps showing how the town has developed over the years. I would recommend choosing a slightly warmer day than we did though! Here are few more photos. I didn’t actually get that many though, what with us spending most of the time trying to hide from the cold…

Inside the cathedral
Town Hall
River Rhine, viewed from the Nibelungen Bridge