Guess who’s back, back again!

No, not Shady… well, possibly him too. Isn’t he always back? But that’s irrelevant here. Nope… it is I, your very own Confuzzled Bev who is back! After two weeks of gallivanting around Britain (well, England and one town in Scotland – but I’m counting it as a Britain trip for the sake of my 35 Before 35), drinking gallons of tea, consuming mountains of proper bacon, scones, pies and fish and chips, walking on beaches and climbing up mountains, I am now back at work.

I will tell you all about our trip eventually… when I can be bothered to sort and resize the dozens of photos I took. In the meantime, here are two photos of bees on flowers in Cornwall – because bees are cool and deserve to have their photos shared whenever possible!

Hello readers! As fun as travel always is, it’s good to be home.

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February photos

Happy March everyone! I can’t believe another month is over already. Today is Jan’s birthday, so tonight there shall be a nice meal and gifts 🙂

Last month I started a new series in which I wanted to share the photos I took throughout the month that didn’t warrant a blog post of their own. So, with another month now over, it’s time to share February’s photos.

Nobody needs this many (bad) photos of small birds but I just can’t resist their cuteness!

The snow returned (briefly) and I discovered once again that it’s really hard to take photos while snow is actually falling from the sky!

snow

The photo above was taken on a Friday morning. The sun came out in the afternoon and melted everything that had managed to settle… and would you believe the next day was bright sunshine and highs of 12°C? The weather has been so confusing lately!

I had a week off at the end of the month and on a particularly sunny day I went for a walk into town (and beyond). It was 22°C that day. In February! I mean, it was nearly March, but still… 22°C!

There were signs that spring was approaching! Can you spy the bee below?

I walked all the way to the Birsfelden hydroelectric plant, which means nothing to you so you’ll just have to trust me that it was a reasonably long walk 😉 2km further and I would have been in Germany, but instead I decided to cross the river and head back since it was getting on for 3 p.m. and I still had to cook tea.

Look how blue the water is? Aah, I love living here!

And, to finish off, a yummy treat! Jan and I finally made it to the chocolate café I’ve been saying I want to go to ever since we moved here. I don’t even care that I went way over my calorie limit for that day -it was so, so worth it! Chocolate heaven ❤

And that was my February in photos. Tomorrow there will be a proper February recap post – with less imagery and more words (the type that end with -ing 😉 )

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!

A Sunday stroll

The sun actually came out today and I felt the need to get some fresh air, so I decided to go out for a walk.
First, I headed towards the train station. On the way there I spotted some daffodils dancing in the breeze.

daffodil

I walked along the front of the zoo, stopping to see whether I could spy the red pandas. On the photo below, you can see a red ball of fur curled up in the tree. The other panda was in a higher tree further along. Most of him was hidden behind a branch though, so I didn’t take a photo.

red panda

After calling in at the train station to see whether they still had my cross stitch magazine (they didn’t – I knew I should have bought all three last week!), I headed towards Beiertheimer Allee (a street leading towards the part of Karlsruhe called Beiertheim… although I actually walked down it away from Beiertheim). In the middle of the street, there’s a large area of green with paths leading through it and a play area part way down. When the sun comes out, the green area (it’s not a park or garden, really) is incredibly popular with parents pushing buggies, joggers and dogwalkers. I spotted more signs of spring in the grass.

flowers

Continuing my walk, I passed the Karlsruhe minigolf course… still closed for its winter break until 1st April.

mini golf

The play area that you can just about see beside the minigolf is actually inside the Stadtgarten bit of the zoo.
Leaving the minigolf course, I turned a corner and came to Festplatz, a square that houses the buildings belonging to the Karlsruhe Kongresszentrum (congress centre), where many conferences and trade fairs are held. The one pictured below is the Stadthalle (City Hall… not to confused with the Rathaus, which confusingly also means Town Hall or City Hall…).

Crossing over Festplatz, I made my way back to the Südstadt and home for lunch after a lovely walk in the Spring sunshine. If only we could have weather like this every weekend!

Look up, Look down: Madeira

I’m right in the middle of my Madeira posts, and I didn’t want to abandon the tales of my trip for look up, look down. Fortunately, I did manage to take some photos looking both up and down in Madeira, so I can take part in the challenge and still continue telling you about my holiday.

The first photo was taken from Eira do Serrado, a viewing point just beside our hotel. The town/village thing you can see surrounded by all the mountains is Curral Das Freiras, Valley of the Nuns.

Curral das Freiras viewed from Eira do Serrado
Curral das Freiras viewed from Eira do Serrado

My second photo shows some of the fabulous flora that is abundant on the island. It was taken in the tropical garden in Monte… I just love the way the red looks against the blue of the sky!

Madeira flowers

And finally another photo of the chilli stand that I posted some pictures of yesterday. This shot was taken from the lower level of the market, looking up at the stand.

Funchal market

Have a photo that would be perfect for the theme Look Up, Look Down? Check out Travel With Intent’s blog post to join in and see all the other entries!

Look Up, Look Down: Flowers on the wall

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for Travel With Intent’s weekly Look Up, Look Down photo challenge.

As the title suggests, the aim is to post a photo looking either up or down. Here’s my effort:

Wall flowers

The above photo was taken in the grounds of the Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham, Dublin. The flowers were growing on top of a wall, and I had to look up to see them. The building that houses the art museum is the former Kilmainham Royal Hospital and beyond this wall is the Officer’s Graveyard, where high-ranking army officers were buried (across the way from this graveyard is Bully’s Acre, where the ordinary citizens of Dublin were buried).

To join in with the challenge and see how other people have interpreted it, check out Travel with Intent’s blog post.

Birthday shenanigans

No weigh-in Wednesday today. Instead, I am going to tell you all about how I celebrated my 30th birthday yesterday.

As you already know, the day started off well with sausage and bacon sandwiches, provided by Jan. YUM! My friend then turned up bearing cupcakes with candles on them! For the record, I suck at blowing out candles… and there weren’t even 30 of them!

Jan and I then drove to Strasbourg (one of the great things about living where I do is that I can very easily just pop to France for the day! We walked around a bit then went and ate cake at a place called Christian’s, which is apparantly famous. Here are the cakes:

French cakes
French cakes

We choose two different cakes and halved them both. And because I am so dedicated, I even took a photo of the insides for you:

cake 2

cake 3

On returning from Strasbourg, we both went for a nap, then it was time to hit the pub. First we went and ate food at another place then we headed to the Irish pub. It was (mostly) great fun. I was given a bunch of flowers and a CD by my wonderful friends. Then I drank wine and waaaay to much whiskey – none of which I ordered or paid for myself. Then in a drunken state, I started telling people about my blog (mostly because our waitress is someone I originally knew through blogging). Despite me telling them it’s not particularly interesting, they all wanted to URL. So, that was the fun stage of drunkennes…. then the whiskey really kicked in and the tears started, as I told Jan he doesn’t care about me and I’m doomed to die alone and childless while all my friends get married. NOT pretty… and I’m sure I made one or two people very uncomfortable. If any of the people who were there last night have decided to read this, I hereby apologise most sincerely for my behaviour last night!! I don’t really remember most of the journey home. I ended up walking back with my neighbour, wailing and complaining at him all the way, then he came in with me because Jan wasn’t back yet. At some point, I decided I felt sick (classssy!!) and went into the bathroom, then I got a text to say Jan would be home soon so I sent the neighbour away and Jan arrived to find me sitting on the bathroom floor. I never was actually sick by the way, but it was embarassing nonetheless. Alcohol is evil people!!! Avoid it!

So that was how I turned 30. A good day surrounded by lovely people… until I ruined it all by being a drunken mess. But I wasn’t a mess until after midnight, so technically my actual birthday was all good 😉