Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #32 – Roses and burrs

If I haven’t been posting lately, it’s because not much has been happening. That said, nothing happening is probably a good thing, taking into account all the bad news lately worldwide.

I still want to write a post about our hiking trip to the Alps in May, but I have to sort out all of my photos first. Anyway, for now, I thought I’d have a quick catch up over a Weekly small pleasures post. Weekly small pleasures as you probably know by now, is Mani’s blog event where you try to remember the good things that happened during the week. This is an easy way to be grateful for what you have and to focus on the good. Continue reading

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Mud-walking in the Wadden Sea

 

The Wadden Sea stretches across parts of the northern coastline of the Netherlands and Germany, and even to part of Denmark. In Dutch it is called Waddenzee and in German, Wattenmeer. The curious thing about the Wadden Sea is that it is so shallow that at low tide you can walk across it! This involves walking through a lot of mud, and a guide is essential as they can judge the depth of the water and how soon it will become too deep. Luckily for the Dutch, they are tall!

Some years ago I visited friends in the Netherlands, and they booked a guided tour in Friesland (a province in the north) to do some mud-walking (Wadlopen). I think they might have booked the guide through this organization. The whole sea does not have mud underneath, of course, and some point you get to more sandy ground, but the initial section is indeed very muddy. Before the tour we went to town to buy some cheap shoes, as my friends said the shoes might get so dirty that you would never be able to wear them again. In the end the mud did come off though, and I kept the shoes in case I ever go Wadlopen again! Continue reading

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Notes from the Czech countryside – June, the red month

In Czech, June is called červen, which might be related to the word červený, meaning red. Another theory is that červen could come from červ (worm), because the cochineal larvae used for making red dye were around in early summer. Apparently they are now almost all extinct. Either way, June is a red month. The red poppies are out in all the fields and some of the red fruits (cherries, strawberries) are ripe too.

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Roadtripping from Namibia to Cape Town: our 1-week itinerary

In December we flew to Windhoek, Namibia, on KLM’s new flight route which stops over in Luanda, Angola. The idea was to do a week-long roadtrip down to Cape Town, where we would spend Christmas. To get around Namibia it’s definitely best to have a car, as it’s a big country and the distances between sights are vast. Renting a car gives you the freedom to plan your route as you like, and if you want to drive south, it’s possible to return the car at Cape Town international airport with some companies. Continue reading

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Crunchies (a South African biscuit)

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of many German foods and drinks: Lebkuchen (and all the other Christmas cookies), Stollen, marzipan, anything with Holunder (elderflower), Knödel (dumplings), rye bread, quark, Mohnkuchen (poppyseed cake), Bergkäse (a smokey cheese), Mandelhörnchen (an almond confectionary), and so on. But as an expat, sometimes you just feel like eating something from home. As a result, every now and then my mother gets emails asking for recipes for things we used to make, and my latest craving is for Crunchies, an oaty baked square that is great for a quick breakfast or in-between snack. I honestly didn’t realize it was a South African thing until I noticed you can’t find them anything else. The closest thing we ate to them outside of SA was in the UK, and it was also good, but not as crunchy and a bit sweeter.

Here is the recipe she sent: (complete with her notes) Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #31 – Spring things

It’s the little things that keep you going. Weekly small pleasures is Mani’s blog event where you share the things that made you happy during the week and I have to say that the last few weeks it has been very simple things which have made me happy:  the birds starting to sing again, the wind rustling the newly formed leaves on trees that were bare for months, the smell of rain, the spring flowers, the increased light hours. Continue reading

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Visit the Tulips! – at Britzer Garten, Berlin

If you need another reason to visit Berlin in spring, here it is: in April and May you can visit Britzer Garten in the south of Berlin to walk among all the beautiful tulips. I didn’t even know there were so many different types of tulips before visiting this park, but they come in all shapes, sizes and colours! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so now I’ll keep quiet and post some photos so that you can see for yourself.

PS – the park is huge, so put on your walking shoes! For the elderly and those with kids, there’s even a little train that runs around the park. Continue reading

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Eating our way around Georgia

 

We’ve just returned from a short trip to Georgia (the country located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, not the American state), and apart from the beautiful snowy mountain vistas, one of the outstanding things about the holiday was the local food. The dishes were all freshly made and tasty, making good use of local ingredients, herbs and spices. I confess, I don’t have many good photos of Georgian food, because we were too busy stuffing our faces. But here’s what you can expect to find in Georgia when you’re looking for something to eat or drink: Continue reading

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Exploring Western Ireland in 3 days

On our long weekend in Ireland, people kept telling us we were blessed. “You’re here for the best weather of the year.” We were indeed lucky; our trip was only three days and we had three full days of warm sunshine and deep blue skies. A woman who’d brought her kids to play hide and seek in the ruins of an old stone friary told us that this could be their summer weather – it might not get better than this. Maybe they’d have another spell, but you never knew. People were sitting out along the river in Galway, walking through villages with ice-creams. We even saw a guy jumping into the 10 degrees sea one evening.

We’d arrived in Ireland at Shannon airport with a guidebook full of places we wanted to see, but only three full days to spare, so we asked our hosts along the way what they suggested and their great recommendations ensured we had a wonderful trip. Here’s what we got up to.

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