isetta stamps!

i found about these completely by accident, while on a postcrossing meetup in germany last year… and i adore them! :D


had i known these existed sooner, i would have sent all my postcards with them!!

visiting a lighthouse

visiting a lighthouse was another item i’ve put on the most recent 101 list, because it’s something i’ve wanted to do for a long time, but never really got around to. lighthouses in portugal are open on wednesdays afternoons though, and visits are free… so it was just a matter of finding the closest one and doing it!


at the end of november, we drove to vila real de santo antónio to visit their lighthouse. it’s a thing of beauty, guarded by a ferocious beast…


… which eventually let us in, after barking up a storm. we were the only visitors that wednesday, and the keeper showed us around with all the time in the world, patiently answering our questions and guiding our fingers away from the golden parts. the lighthouse was built in 1923 and is 40 meters high. the fresnel lens is home to a 1000W lamp (the bottom one in the picture) and a lower wattage spare (on top), in case the main one stops working.


the system has a photovoltaic cell that automatically starts working when the light is low… except for one detail: the curtains! the lantern room is shielded from the daylight with fabric curtains, which need to be manually pulled back at sunset. so every single day, the keeper will go up there and do this job. we were a bit early for the ritual that day… but as luck would have it, we saw another keeper doing it at cape st. vicent a few days later! i made this dodgy video on my phone:

although st. vicent cape’s lighthouse isn’t as tall as the one in vila real, it’s a bit more important: this is where “europe ends”, the southwesternmost point in portugal, and the place where ships from the mediterranean start their journeys north. so it’s no surprise that it comes equipped with double the power (two mighty 1000W lamps) and a huge hyperradiant fresnel lens (one of the largest in the world). pretty cool!


if anything, this visit to the lighthouse has only served to make me even more curious about these things…

walking on history, VIII: maulbronn’s monastery


hesse and kepler stepped on these same stones on their way to class on maulbronn’s monastery (which used to be home to a seminary). it’s a striking place — from the vaulted ceilings to the tombstones that lay on the cloister’s floors.

previously on this series.

the new year’s get-together

organising a new year’s get-together for friends was on the new 101 list, and 2016 was the year it got done! new years are usually a bit of a dread for us… by the time the end of the year rolls around, we’re still recovering from the xmas family extravaganza, and craving peace and quiet. so this year, we poked a few friends spread around europe and decided to find a quiet place where we could all stay for a few days. we found a cozy airbnb in a tiny town in south germany which seemed perfect for our needs (somewhere central in europe, quiet, near cheap airports, dogs allowed)… so we put on our winter jackets, loaded the suitcases with board games, and off we went!

turns out, we lucked out big time! lienzingen is a charming little place, the kind that you imagine from brothers grimm’s fairy tales. it’s full of half-timbered houses hundreds of years old, carefully restored with love and german precision. we stayed in one of them, and boy, was it pretty!


the weather was chilly but mostly dry, with soft rime on trees and even a bit of snow on the last days. together we chatted, cooked, played games, explored a unesco monastery, cuddled dogs, munched on warm laugenwecken, stoked the fireplace and discovered the local maultaschen.

it was the perfect start to the new year: low-key, unrushed and in great company. here’s hoping it’ll become a new tradition! :)

one second everyday — the whole 2016 edition

2016 started and ended with fireworks, so in a way, it feels like we’ve come full circle.

it was a good year, with a bit of everything. seeing it in a quick compilation leaves me feeling really warm and fuzzy inside… so many adventures, so many hugs. i’ll do my best to make 2017 just as exciting! :)