this is the archive for the ‘traveling’ category:

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

what we ate in london

it’s been hard finding the motivation to write. in between school and postcrossing, by the end of the day i just want to tuck in bed and sleep. if can make it through an episode of doctor who without falling asleep, i count that as a victory!

so where were we…? ah yes, london! there’s food to be celebrated! here are some of the highlights of our trip.

fish and chips! greasy and ubiquitous and delicious!

dear lord, the crisps were out of this world… especially with vinegar! who knew? or maybe it was just because we hadn’t eaten chips in years…

sandwiches, sandwiches, sandwiches! there was a street food market going on near the london eye, so we hopped through the stands and choose the meatiest options :)

crumpets covered in jam and scotch eggs… just because they’re so exquisitely british in our heads, and we’d never had them before! :)

omg, this bagel at borough market… when the man asked if we wanted mustard on the bagel, we said sure! but after the first bite we were cursing up the skies with burning sinuses, eyes tearing up and mouths open like fishes trying to grasp a bit of air… jesus christ, that was some strong mustard!! i bet one could clean some pipes with that – it certainly cleaned our noses for a few hours…

chinese! it was great to discover london’s chinatown, and grab some dumplings and takeout :)

and last but not least on the photographic series, custard cream on cake and chocolates. how come anything made out of chocolate is so cheap in the uk?

the high point of the gastronomic part of the trip though, is not portrayed here, since i didn’t take any photos. it seemed… disrespectful to the chef to waste time with such trivialities when there was real, proper, delicious food prepared for us. we had lunch on st. john’s, a small indulgence and our first foray into the realm of michelin starred restaurants. fanciful establishments don’t really attract me… they’re way out of our league, plus, i’m not a big fan of having to dress up to eat. but st. john’s was different. it’s all about the food here – and not just the finest pieces of steak, but the whole animal… literally, nose-to-tail.

(funny thing: i had heard so much about the place that i already knew some of the dishes i wanted to order… and in the weeks before the trip, i had the oddest nightmares in which we were eating there but had forgotten to order the bone marrow…)

between us, we had the famous toast with roasted bone marrow and parsley salad (uff! i didn’t forget!), fried eggs on black pudding, welsh rarebit, lamb sweetbreads with peas and bacon, eccles cakes with lancashire cheese and meringue with strawberries and cream.

it was… magnificient, from beginning to end. every dish so simple, yet so mouth-wateringly delicious. everything so serene, never distracting you from the purpose of your visit. i was a bit uncomfortably full by the end of it, but oh so happy to have had the change to eat there. i couldn’t help the giddy smile – it was worth it! :)