Top ten fictional places I would like to visit

Recently Metal and the Geek posted her top 5 fictional cities she would like to visit. Later I mentioned it to Jan and we had a fun conversation about the places we would like to visit (we changed it from cities because that was just too limiting!). And now I want to share my top ten list with my blog readers. I had to expand it from top 5 because I just couldn’t narrow it down!

10. The Inn of the Last Home from the Dragonlance Chronicles.

It’s an inn in a tree, how could anyone not want to visit! Also, I want to try the spiced potatoes. And hopefully meat some of the heroes of the lance, stopped by for a visit to chat about old times (obviously I would time my visit so there wasn’t a war going on!)

9. Many of the lands at the top of the Faraway Tree

Not the nasty ones though – I’d prefer to stay away from Dame Slap! The land of Birthdays would be nice. And of course I would like to meet all the characters on the way up – Moonface and the Saucepan Mana and Silky the Elf with her pop biscuits.

8. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory

I seem to be all about the children’s books, don’t I? That’s because those were the first ones that influenced me and got me imagining all these things in the first place. But who wouldn’t want to visit Willy Wonka’s factory, try all the goodies on offer (only with permission, of course!) and see the square sweets that look round?

7. Lancre on the Discworld

Partly because, in my imagination, it’s all gorgeous and green and hilly, but mostly because I want to meet the witches.

6. Rivendell

I love waterfalls, and what could be more magical than the waterfalls in J.R.R Tolkien’s Elven city?

5. Staying with a theme… The Shire

The scenery! The hobbit holes! I bet it’s even more beautiful than Switzerland. And of course I would have to pay a visit to Hobbiton and check out Frodo’s home for myself.

4. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Not to be confused with the Bar at the End of the World; that’s in Paris 😉 The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, or Milliways to give it its proper name, is a five-star restaurant located at the end of time and matter… but then you knew that, didn’t you? I would love to meet all the patrons, view the extravagent decor and see (but not necessarily consume) talking food.

3. La Céleste Praline

That’s the chocolate shop from Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Because Vianne would know exactly what my favourite is and if I was lucky I might even get to sample her yummy hot chocolate. Plus, I want to see Pantoufle (and yes, of course I would be able to!)

2. The Unseen University library

Well, the rest of the university too, of course, but my first stop would definitely be the library. So. Many. Books! I would never get tired of browsing its shelves. And then there’s the librarian to make friends with. All you need is a bunch of bananas and to make sure you never call him a monkey!

1. Narnia

I may have told this story on my blog before, but as a child I honestly believed Narnia was a real place. I spent hours trying to devise ways of getting there! If I was offered the chance to go to just one fictional place I wouldn’t even have to think about it – Narnia wins every time!

So, there you go. I also want to add that Night Vale almost made the list, but then I decided I probably wouödn’t survive two seconds there without breaking a law and being taken away by a vague yet menacing government agency, or accidently getting too close to the dog park and looking at a hooded figure. Nope… I think I’ll stick to listening to Cecil’s voice from a safe distance 😉

Which fictional places would you visit if you had the chance? Join in in the comments or write your own post – I know there are many more amazing places, but my post had to end some time!

A photo an hour: 20 June 2015

In the middle of last week I read about a street food festival that was taking place in Olten (about 45 minutes train ride from us) on Saturday, which seemed like perfect timing – usually I find out about these things just after they occur rather than just before. When Jane pointed out that Saturday was also photo an hour day, the timing felt even more perfect. Obviously it was my fate to go! I’m planning a full post about the street food festival for later in the week, but for now here’s Saturday’s photo an hour:

10 a.m. I’m up! As usual, a cup of tea is needed before I do anything else. Trying to switch things up a bit by taking a photo of my cups in the cupboard.

11 a.m. Shower time! Look, it’s the shower in the new flat!

12 noon. Sorting out dry washing. *Yawn*

1 p.m. On the train (actually not 1 p.m. because we were busy buying tickets then and I kind of forgot about the photo. But 1 p.m. ish).

2 p.m. Still on the train. At least the view from the window was nice!

3 p.m. Waiting for some food at the festival! The weather kept switching from bright sunshine to rain literally within seconds – I felt like I was back in Britain! In this photo, it’s about to rain again.

4 p.m. Drinking lemonade from a Turkish stall. Very tasty and actually cheap!

5 p.m. Back on the train. I think we were near Sissach at this point.

6 p.m. Home! Doing a bit of cross stitch.

7 p.m. Erkältungstee time! I’m still not sure how a bunch of herbs can cure a cold, but anything’s worth a try, right?

8 p.m. Taking a break from cross stitching to read.

9 p.m. A late and light dinner since we spent the afternoon stuffing ourselves at the food festival.

10 p.m. (Ahem. Sort of). Rush (the film about Niki Lauda) was on Channel 4 so we decided to watch it. We get Channel 4 in Switzerland (and E4, More 4 and the BBC and ITV channels!).

11 p.m. Still watching Rush.

Midnight. Will this film ever end?!
It actually did end 15 minutes later then I went to bed without taking a photo. I don’t want to ruin my symmetry though, so here’s a bonus photo of the bedroom that I took a while ago to show my grandma our new place. You can see from the noon photo that we have different bedding on now.

The photo an hour roundup post isn’t up yet, but once it is you’ll find the link here.

A photo an hour: 8th November 2014

On Saturday, I took part in A Photo an Hour with Is That You, Darling? again.It took me a few days to get round to uploading the photos, which is why you’re only getting the post now. (But on our new computer, which I am in awe at the speed of! You’d understand if you saw what I’d been dealing with until now…)

9 a.m. I wasn’t actually planning on getting up for another hour, but bloody construction workers outside the window ruined my lie in!
10 a.m. Starting a new cross stitch image for a Christmas card

11 a.m. Out of the shower – time to get dressed
12 noon. Doing a few dishes before making lunch

1 p.m. A quick trip to the local supermarket
2 p.m. Time for a cuppa, seeing as my morning one went cold before I could finish it!

3 p.m. More cross stitch – nearly finished this one!
4 p.m. Wondering what to make for tea later. Please ignore the state of my fridge!

5 p.m. Time to start hacking up a pumpkin (it always takes me forever!)
6 p.m. Cooking

7 p.m. Wine? Don’t mind if I do!
8 p.m. Watching the first Hobbit film. (I still can’t believe  they stretched out that tiny book to make three films!)

9 p.m. Still watching the film, so here’s a selfie on the sofa!
10 p.m. Watching Jan get our new computer set up.

11 p.m. In bed with a book. And that’s your last photo… I turned the light out just after midnight but didn’t take another photo. I wish I had now though because this has ruined my symmetry 😉

book page

35 Before 35: Progress report 3

It’s been a while since I last updated you on my 35 before 35 progress. Seven months, to be exact. Since then, I’ve actually done quite a bit, so I thought it was time for another summary.

Number 7: Complete a cross stitch picture for myself.

I finished this one in September. It’s actually four small pictures, but I’m allowing it to count. For various reasons, they’re not up on the wall yet, but I completed the stitching and that’s what counts!

One of the four pictures
One of the four pictures

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

I was on three last time and now I’m up to six! I read The Last Lingua Franca: English Until the Return of Babel by Nicholas Ostler, Captain James Cook by Richard Hough and The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester. The last one was quite short, but fascinating!

Number 14. Go back to Austria and finally try Marillenknödel.

I must be the only person ever who managed to live in Austria without trying this amazing traditional dish, which is why it ended up on my list. During our trip to Vienna in June, I finally managed to consume some, and they lived up to every one of my expectations!

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

The last time I updated, I’d read 10 books. Now I’m up to 17 thanks to my boss bringing in a load of German translations of Swedish crime novels that she wanted rid of. The alternative would have been for the books to go in the bin and there was no way I could let that happen! You can see what I’ve been reading in German here.

Number 18: Bake 10 different kinds of biscuits

I’ve only baked one more type of biscuit since my last update, but they were delicious! I baked Pistachio and Cranberry Cookies just a few weeks ago.

Number 20. Attend a world cup rugby match

Obviously there hasn’t been a rugby world cup since I last updated, so I haven’t completed this yet. But my dad phoned the other day to say his application for tickets had been successful so I’m going to all three of the matches at St James’ Park! We had originally asked for tickets to two matches, but my dad bought us some for the third anyway as our Christmas/birthday presents so we’re only paying him for two.

Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

I was up to 8 (or 7 and two thirds) before, now I’m up to 9 (or 8 and two thirds). I still haven’t managed to finish the 3rd book in the His Dark Materials series because it’s too large to take on my commute and I’ve barely found time to read at home. I did read The Beach by Alex Garland though. I’m also still reading Middlemarch – I’m half way through now and it’s still boring as hell!

Number 29. Visit a continent I’ve never been to before.

Can you perchance guess what continent it was? Did my never-ending series of Taiwan posts maybe give you a clue? That’s right! I visited Asia for the first time in August.

Number 31. Watch 35 films I’ve never seen before.

This was originally 15 films, but after I watched film number 15 I decided that was too easy and changed it. Last time I updated you, I’d watched 5 films. Thanks to movie nights with friends, I’m now up to 16. You can see all the films I’ve watched here.

Aaaand that’s yer lot, for now. Not bad progress I have to say 🙂

The Liebster Award (again)

Dubliner in Deutschland nominated me for a Liebster award. Thank you my dear! 🙂

liebster-award 1

I’ve been given the Liebster award before, but usually the rules say to list some number of facts about myself and that’s haaaard 😉 With this version, I’m supposed to answer some questions set by the person who nominated me and then make up some questions of my own before passing on the award. Here are the questions from Dubliner and my answers:

  1. What do you mostly blog about?
    Everything! Although I suppose books, travel and food are my top three themes.
  2. What do you love about blogging?
    The community. I love reading/responding to comments and seeing what my favoruite bloggers have been up to. But I also like that it gives me an outlet for my thoughts. Even if I didn’t have a single reader I would keep blogging to save myself from insanity.
  3. What is your favourite movie?
    I have to pick just one? That’s impossible!I can narrow it down to three for you, but no further (and please don’t ask me to put these three in order!). 1. The Princess Bride, 2. Clue, 3 The Crow
  4. What makes you happy?
    many things! Sunshine (as long as it’s not toooo hot), spending time with my boyfriend, spending time with friends (and also actually having people to call friends!), good food, dogs, seeing the red pandas when I walk past the zoo…
  5. Tea or coffee?
    Tea! I am British after all 😉 When I drink coffee it has to be drowned in milk and preferably flavoured.
  6. Do you have a favourite song?
    That’s even harder than the films! There are so many good songs. I’ll give you four, okay? 1. Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler, 2. No Time to Sleep by Tina Dico, 3. Quick Fade by Feeder, 4. Belgium by Bowling for Soup.
  7. What’s the last book you read?
    The Surgeon of Crawthorne by Simon Winchester It’s the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary and one of its main contributers, an American who was imprisoned in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Very interesting. I can recommend it.
  8. Name three places you would love to travel to, if money were no object.
    Canada, Japan and Denmark
  9. Why did you start blogging?
    My first blog was an MSN space (later MSN Live Space) that came with my e-mail address. I started using it out of curiosity, having no real idea what it was. Later, I used it to blog about my time in Austria. I started this blog shortly after I moved back to Germany. I was bored, basically friendless and my boyfriend was busy writing his Diplom (German version a Master’s) thesis, so I started a new blog to keep myself occupied and get my thoughts out of my brain – hence my tagline.
  10. What’s your favourite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)
    You Know You’re Turning German When… is the first one that comes to mind.

I nominate:

Beth from Ami in Schwabenland
Marianne from Californienne
Becster
Sophie from Sophie in Clogs
Molly from The Move to America

And now here are my questions (only 5 because I’m not imaginative enough to think of a whole 10!):

  1. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2014?
  2. What is your favourite food to eat in autumn/winter?
  3. Where was the last place you travelled to?
  4. What is your favoruite snack food?
  5. If you could learn any language (and were guaranteed to actually manage it!), which would it be?

A photo an hour: 11 October 2014

I feel like I only just did a photo an hour post, but the September one was, in fact, nearly a month ago and yesterday it was time for the October version.
I actually got up at 10:30, but again I wanted to take my photos at full hours, so my first one is from 11.

11 a.m. Making breakfast

Toaster

12 noon. Out of the shower and on my way to get dressed.

PJs

1 p.m. Off to the supermarket for a few bits.

Trolleys

2 p.m. I woke up with the urge to bake, so now I’m back from shopping that’s what I’m going to do.

Baking

3 p.m. The cookie dough is chilling in the fridge, so time for a bit of cross stitch (I should really have been doing the dishes at this point, but whatever).

Snow cross stitch

4 p.m. Just finished hoovering

Hoover

5 p.m. Making a couple of baked potatoes for Jan and I to eat.

Potatoes

6 p.m. Preparing some snacks for movie night – this will be sausage rolls.

Sausage rolls

7 p.m. Snacks and a film… now all we need is for our friends to show up. (The sausage rolls were still in the oven at this point).

Snacks

Aaaand after 7 p.m. I forgot to take any more photos. For the record, our friends showed up and we watched Zombieland followed by Dogma. All the food was devoured (apart from a few cookies that I had for breakfast this morning), everyone left at midnight and then I went to bed.

For more Photo an Hour posts, see Jane’s blog Is That You Darling. Next month’s Photo an Hour will be taking place on 8th November. If you would like to join in, make a note of it now 🙂

35 Before 35: Progress report 2

Now that we’re approaching the fourth month of the year (eeeek!!), I thought it was time for another update on how I’m doing with my 35 before 35 list. My last update was in August 2013, just after my 30th birthday. Now, with 4 years and 4 months left to go, here’s how far I’ve got…

Number 3: Learn Spanish

After doing nothing for months and months and months, I recently started using Duolingo again. So far, all I’ve done is repeat the lessons I’d done previously to refresh my memory, but new words have been added since last time I logged on so it wasn’t all just refreshing. Better than nothing, anyway.

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

I’m really not good at reading non-fiction. No matter which book I choose to read, it takes me so much longer than reading a novel… I even read German fiction faster than non-fiction in my native language! Last time I updated, I had read 2 non-fiction books… now I’m up to three! I finally finished reading Crimea by Orlando Figes, a book about the events leading up to the Crimean War, the war itself and the aftermath. It ended up being quite relevant to current events… but I had started reading it some time last summer! Very interesting, but I’m so glad I’ve finished! Oh, and if anyone can recommend any books on Ukrainian history I’d be very grateful! The Crimea was the closest I found…

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

Last time I updated, the task was only to read 20 books in German, but I’ve been doing so well I decided to increase the number. I had read three German books in August 2013, and now I’m up to ten having recently finished Bis in den Tod hinein by Vincent Kliesch – a crime/thriller set in Berlin. You can see which other books I’ve read in German here.

Number 16: Spend New Year in Madeira and see the fireworks display

If you haven’t read about my trip to Madeira yet, you’re obviously very new to this blog 😉 For those who don’t know, the boyfriend and I spent New Year 2013/14 in Madeira… and yes, we saw the fireworks!

The famous Funchal fireworks
The famous Funchal fireworks

Number 18: Bake 10 different kinds of biscuits

Last time I’d baked one, now I’m up to three. Since August 2013, I’ve baked Honey Gingerbread Biscuits and Chocolate Brownie Biscuits. The latter went down very well with my colleagues!

Number 20: Attend a world cup rugby match

Not done yet, but the rugby union world cup is taking place in England next year, and I’ve already asked my dad to try and get us tickets once they go on sale.

Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

In August 2013, I’d read six books. Now I’m up to 7… or technically six and two thirds. I’ve read 2 out of 3 books from the His Dark Materials trilogy! Currently I’m reading Middlemarch by George Eliot (also on the list) and not enjoying it at all! I’ve barely started though, so hopefully it will improve…

Number 31: Watch 15 films I haven’t seen before

I hadn’t even started this last time I did an update and now I’m up to a whole 5 films. Woo hoo! Two of them are thanks to my little brother (age 7), who forced me to watch Planes at Christmas and Thunderbirds when I went over in February. You can see what else I’ve watched here.

Aaaand that’s all I’ve done since my last update. I do have an idea about which biscuits to bake next, though. Stay tuned….

 

Frog’s legs, football and snow all in one week

You know it’s been too long since your last post when you go to WordPress only to find you’ve been logged out! (I have mine set up to keep me logged in).
In my defence though it has been a busy, busy week.

On Monday it was Jan’s birthday. He turned 30 (causing a friend of mine to say “Wow, you have an old boyfriend” when I told her. She thought he was only a year or two older than me, not 3 and a half). Thirty being a special birthday I obviously wasn’t going to let him ignore it – like he has pretty much every year since I met him! So I started asking him what he wanted to do at the end of January, and finally managed to persuade him to let me take him out for a meal. We went to a slightly more expensive than usual restaurant which we had both seen from the outside but never been in. Actually, the prices were slightly better than I thought they would be, but the total still ended up being over €100. That did include an apertif each, a bottle of wine, starter, soup, two main courses and a dessert though, so not too bad. And we tried frog’s legs. In case you were wondering no, they don’t taste like chicken! They were nice and I wouldn’t object to eating them again but it’s not something I need to do every day.
Jan has decided he’ll be having a proper party once the two of us have found a flat, so there’s still that to look forward to as well. (We are officially looking now… exciting, yes?)

On Tuesday I went out for dinner with a friend. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas and it was sooo good to meet up. This time we went for a slightly cheaper option – a bar/restaurant type place that mostly students go to. I think it was the first place I ever went for a drink in Karlsruhe, way back in my Erasmus days. That was the same year I met my friend, so we spent some time talking about homw time has flown since then… my year abroad was 2003/2004 and now we’re three months into 2010. Unbelievable!

Wednesday was the day of the long awaited Germany-Argentina match and I was right there in the stadium! A friend of Jan’s got tickets ages ago, and since I had 2 days holiday from last year that had to be taken before the end of March I decided I would go along. Some things just have to be done at least once in a life time. The match was in Munich, so Jan hired a car and we left the house at 7:30 am to drive down there. I still can’t believe I was up that early on my day off! It took us until nearly 12pm to get to Munich (damn traffic! Damn roadworks!) so the first thing we did was go and get something to eat. I had the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! That alone would have been enough for me, but it came served with homemade potato wedges (with the skin left on. Mmmm) and salad. The best thing about it though was that the gherkins and tomatoes had been left on the side of the plate, so I didn’t have to pick them out before I could start eating. It also came with three types of sauce – ketchup, mayonaise and something that may have been mustard (I didn’t try it) all of which came in proper little jars. Excellent! We then went for a wander around town, did a bit of shopping (I got a new coat) took some photos and finally headed for the stadium. Those who watched the match on TV thought it was boring and that Germany were week, but from where I was sitting it was pretty good. Germany at least seemed to try for once (number 24 played excellently!) and I enjoyed myself, despite freezing to death the whole way throguh – the Allianz Arena is completely open and unheatable! Germany lost 1-0, which is a shame, but the goal was so pathetic that they almost deserved it. We left Munich after the match and drove back to Karlsruhe, finally arriving at just after 3 am. I’m very glad I didn’t have to work on Thursday!

Last night we were invitied to a friend’s place for a DVD evening, to celebrate Jan’s birthday. We watched Office Space, which is funny if a little strange in places. By the time we left (at just after 2am) it had started to snow. Not the nice kind of snow either, horrible little flakes that are basically just freezing rain… and all blown about by a nasty cold wind. We missed the tram as well, but luckily our friend has a car so he gave us a lift home. We went straight to bed when we got in, then woke up this morning to find it was still snowing (at least I did, it’s now 1:20 pm and Jan’s still in bed!). Snow in March is unheard of for Karlsruhe, and it’s meant to continue for the rest of the weekend. And there was me thinking Spring was on its way.

That was my week. Very enjoyable, but now it’s time to get back to the boring stuff. Housework and my dissertation are calling…

That was the weekend that was…

Thank you all for the lovely comments on my last blog post. We celebrated six years of being together by going for a meal at an Italian restaurant close to my flat. It’s fairly new and we hadn’t been there before, but every time I’ve walked past it was packed. As it was again on Friday night. We arrived at just before 8 o’clock and were told they did have a table for 2 free, but only until 9pm! We had a lovely meal, complete with wine and actually were finished by 9… not bad! Will definitely be going there again, but perhaps with a reservation next time? After the meal we came home and watched the Goonies on DVD. I bought it for myself the other day as a treat, because it was cheap, and Jan had never seen it! Slowly, slowly I am filling in the gaps in his education… I’ve already introduced him to Edward Scissorhands and The Breakfast Club… and now The Goonies. I wonder what other classics he’s missed out on?

Yesterday we drove over towards the Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Forest) and went for a bit of a walk through the trees. There’s still deeo snow up there! Afterwards we drove into Landau, had a bit of a walk around then went to a wine tavern for something to eat. I had pike-perch fillet in a really nice sauce. And a glass of wine of course… what else should one drink in a wine tavern?
We had a lovely day, culminating in a talk about the possibility of actually getting a flat together… but more on that tomorrow, it’s such a mile stone that I think it deserves a whole blog post of it’s very own 🙂

Today I have mostly been working on my dissertation.. or at least attempting to. I have a grand total of 536 words so far, which I may or may not be able to use in the actual dissertation. *sigh* Can someone please remind me why I wanted to do a master’s?

Oh, and I’ve just heard (courtesy of my sister) that a friend of mine back in England has become a father today. He’s actually the son of a family friend and I’ve known hi since I was about 10 years old… rather strange thinking of him having a new born daughter! We are all growing up, alas…

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?

Nothing to say ’cause I’ve said it all anyway

Sometimes I wonder why I bother writing new blog posts. Everything I have to say has already happened to me a some point anyway. I might as well just post a link to a previous blog post and let you all read that instead.
But, of course, we all know I could never do that. So you’re just going to have to put up with the fact that my life is incredibly repetitive. Ha!

So the boyfriend is at his choir thing, which is apparantly not a competition at all. It’s just something that choirs can turn up at and sing. Or something. To be honest I don’t even know where it is, never mind what it is, which probably say something about how much we’ve been communicating lately (I didn’t even know until Friday that it was happening this weekend!)

Last night we went to see Up. Very good film, and not just for kids. The story was brilliant. It made me cry though. Grr, I hate crying in the cinema! But at least I wasn’t the only one… I saw at least two other people rubbing their eyes. We went to the 9pm showing, so obviously there were no kids around. Instead the entire room was filled with couples (apart from one middle-aged man at the end of our row who seemed to be alone). I wonder how many of the guys actually wanted to go and see that particular film? 😉

Anyway, despite yesterday’s good intentions I still haven’t managed to clean my flat (no surprises there then) so I’m off to do it before I think of any more excuses to put it off…
Hope you’ve all had a great weekend!