this is the archive for the ‘traveling’ category:

salmiakki ice-cream

we’re in moomin-land for some days, so the next posts will feature a lot of finnish things! it’s not our first time in the country, but we were eager for an excuse to come back, review some of the things we loved the first time round and explore some more.

when i started looking for interesting things to do on this second trip, something popped up consistently… salmiakki ice-cream! :) salmiakki (salty liquorice with a side of ammonium chloride) is an acquired taste if there ever was one. for a candy, it tastes very “uncandy-like”… i don’t particularly like it, and yet, once i open a package, i can’t seem to stop myself from reaching for another piece every once in a while. so the premise of salmiakki ice-cream was intriguing…

today, we saw an ice-cream stand in the market, and naturally we had to give the salmiakki a go. the color was fantastic! the ice-cream itself tasted sweeter than the actual candy to me, which was a pleasant surprise. i quite liked it, though the portion was rather big and by the end of it i was a bit sick… perfect example of “sensory-specific satiety”, my science of gastronomy teacher would say!

bonus: this video of japanese people tasting salmiakki for the first time is quite funny! have you ever tried it? :)

the bauhaus workshop

weimar is also the birthplace of bauhaus, a new kind of art school started in 1919 by walter groupius. it was characterised by the absence of ornamentation and the harmony between design and function – as gropius said, “we want an architecture adapted to our world of machines, radios and fast cars”.

and so, a visit to weimar wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the bauhaus museum. we joined a guided tour of the museum which was nice enough, but we had something else waiting for us… a bauhaus workshop!

after the museum, our guide showed us into a room on the historical university, where a lot of materials were waiting for us. the task: to make bauhaus-inspired lanterns!

paulo was really into his yellow pyramid! :)

everybody tried their best and with some help from the guide, we all managed to make some pretty (and working!) lanterns. here are the finished art pieces:

don’t they all look nice? everyone wanted to show their artistic talent! while we waited for night to fall to light our lanterns, we were served the evening bread, bauhaus style! the bread and salad were especially yummy… not to mention the hot chocolate!

there were still some minutes left to tour the university’s buildings…

… including walter gropius office!

and then, night felt and it was time to light our candles and cross the pitch black deserted park, with our lanterns in tow…

it was simultaneously eerie and yet so magical… like being transported almost 100 years back in time, to one of those nights when the bauhaus students did this same stroll with their own lanterns. i could almost feel the happiness and excitement sizzle under my skin! :)

i’m so glad we got to experience it, thanks to our friend (& weimar connoisseuse-extraordinaire) helena! if you ever visit the city, do not miss it! :)


a few months ago we had an invitation to visit weimar and erfurt. it was a special treat from a friend who had lived there for some years, and wanted to show her friends around in a weekend… we were really happy to accept, delighted in the knowledge that we couldn’t be in better hands! :)

accommodation was sorted out on a quaint bed & breakfast, cars were rented, and our group got on the way one early saturday morning!

the first stop was an autobahnkirche, or a road church, which was something new to me. road churches are churches near a highway, where people can go to pray or meditate on their trips. the road church of gelmeroda is especially famous because it was painted numerous times by lyonel feininger, a famous german-american expressionist painter.

in weimar, we headed over to the lovely duchess anna amalia’s library for a quick peek…

… after which we ran to the market square for some food! (priorities!):D

weimar is renowned for its cultural heritage – and especially for 2 very famous writers who lived here: goethe and schiller. between 1788 and 1805, the two of them led the cultural and literary movement known as weimar classicism. everything in weimar seems to have been touched by them, and so a tour of the city wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the houses of the masters!

both houses couldn’t be more different from each other. while goethe enjoyed success from an early age, poor schiller did nothing but work like a slave to sustain his family. this is goethe’s house:

you’ll notice the different colours in every room – goethe was fascinated with them, and published the theory of colours in 1810. he also spent some years in italy, from where he brought a lot of architectural influences to weimar.

in contrast, schiller’s house was very simple…

after a day filled with goethe & schiller, we were almost ready to retire… but little did we know, the best was yet to come! i’ll tell you more about it tomorrow :)

starbucks abroad

i have a starbucks travel mug, which i got in china. it says shanghai in big letters, and i take it to class every day, filled with tea.
one day, a colleague asked me if i’d gone to starbucks in china, to which i replied that i did. they looked at my mug with disdain, and told me that they’d never do that, their voice dripping with moral superiority… it struck me as an odd thing to say, “i’d never do something”… how do they know?

i didn’t feel the need to justify myself to an almost stranger, but thought about it for a while… and then i realized we didn’t go to starbucks because we particularly liked their coffee (though i respect any brand that has the talent to pull a ‘red bean’ frappuccino…). we went there because it was familiar, and consistent. you know what you’re going to get, and how you’re going to get it – which at times was more than you could say for the rest of the places in the neighbourhood. we went there because when you’re out of your element, feeling misunderstood and lost, you want what is familiar and comfortable. big brands do consistency perfectly, and it can be very soothing.

this is what i should have told him. damned esprit d’escalier!

the game is afoot

so guess where we were in london…

north gower street! :D which sounds completely random, and i bet you’ve never heard of before… but if you’re a fan of bbc’s sherlock, you’ll probably recognise the door, and the café next to it from the series. i’m a huge fan, and so we did a couple of little detours to visit some of the sites in the show. i know, it’s corny, but hey! i plead my right to be a nerdy tourist in a foreign country! :)

i also dragged paulo along to st. bartholomew’s hospital, to look up from the pavement to the edge of the roof… it’s a pretty big fall.

on a nearby phone booth, fans had left dozens of love notes for their heroes, like a little johnlock shrine.

aaaaand of course, we visited baker street as well, which ended up being the most crowded (and the least interesting) of the three locations. we skipped the little museum inside, which we heard wasn’t all that good.

and that was it for our little sherlock’s tour of london! i wonder if next time i’ll be able to convince the boy to visit some dr. who places… :P