Friday, September 30, 2011

Pretty floral things

Anna!!

Terribly sorry for not blogging. I just can't find anything interesting to blog about lately. I haven't been out, I've given up on putting effort into going to events organised by the networking site and getting rather comfortable with work life. I really enjoy it now that everything is routine and I feel productive and content everyday. I wake up at 615am and I get home at about 6pm and I end up neglecting the blog a little especially this week because it has been unusually warm and I've been out soaking the last bit of sun during my walk after work.

I can't believe you put up that photo of us! I honestly forgot we even baked cookies but that photo brings back memories. Oh a trip down memory lane! Made my day to see that photo. Ha ha! I bet you've got more to dig out. Unfortunately I don't have photos dating before 2009 thanks to me dropping my HD. I can't believe how long we've known each other for and the things that we got up to. Remember Dunsborough? HA HA!

Thanks for posting all the photos from Salzburg. You look incredibly cute on the segway! That made me smile! :D  Loved the other photos and it made me want to go to Salzburg although I've only seen Sound of Music once and I can hardly remember any part of it apart from the woman singing in the hills and children. Nevertheless I am sure I would've loved it because of the scenery!

Now let's see where I can dig for some visual stimulation for you. How about some of my recent purchases from the weekend? Well below are a set of 3 different shades of recycled leather (first I've heard of recycled leather!) passport sized notebooks.
Can't get enough of polka dots and pretty florals!

One of them I've started to use for jotting down keywords that summarises the highlight of my day. So far I've written things like:
Irish yoghurt from Sainsbury
Chris's spicy chicken recipe

Yes most of my highlight of my day revolves around food but I also have written a few other ones like:

Video chat with Mr D whilst baking.

 I wanted a small notebook to compile at least one happy positive thing each day because it makes me really think about the positive side of life and it will be something I can flip back to when I'm having a downer to cheer me up. I still keep a diary, but I think this will be fun to flip through a few years down the track. I wished I did something like this earlier.

Today my Amazon order arrived and along with it came was a book called Guns, Germs and Steel. This was recommended by the Spanish boys on my Thailand trip and I've been meaning to read it since. I also purchased a blank fabric hardcover diary and an address book. Look at how pretty the covers are!

I'm going to see how writing in a blank diary goes. It's almost too pretty to write in!
I'm going to compile people's address and birthdays in this book
 I also bought this little purse to hold bits and bobs in my bag.

I realised it almost matches my bed covers when I got home
 YAY tomorrow is Friday! May be doing some celebratory drinking this weekend but we shall see! Goodnight!





Monday, September 26, 2011

Salzburg, and how it sings to my heart!

Chia! Again, your baking is wonderful! I remember that even in Perth you would always have some goodies for me to try and eat... remember this time:

You and Me in 2008, baking.
My god we look young. AND my pimplesssssss... yuck! Anyways, seeing your muffins reminded me of this day, and it made me miss you in Perth!

Yea the rides looked awesome! Though Kev and I didn't manage to go on any because we always were too full from food or beer, and those rides would have made us yack!

But yes... Salzburg... Ahhhh... it is the city where The Sound of Music was filmed, and also where Mozart was born and raised until he moved to Vienna. Our time here consisted mainly of two things things:

  1. Mountains; and
  2. Music
Let me go through all those things.

Mountains

As in my previous posts, I do find something special about being high in the mountains, or deep down under the sea. In both places, I feel like I am in a different world, and nothing else matters. Big love for nature. Love love love! When we took the train from Innsbruck to Salzburg... I had to film our ride:




The mountains are so mysterious and I think it is because we are so much higher, that the clouds are closer to us. I also think that seeing clouds touching land, gives an impression that that land is somewhat near to 'heaven' or where the mythical gods live. 

On our first day in Salzburg, Kev and I went on an ice cave tour to the largest ice cave in the world. What I didn't expect was the beautiful hike we would have to take to get up to the ice cave.


Some of the path that we walked


We discovered Mezzo Mix! I mix of coke and fanta!

Kev's Austrian alternative to beer!

The mountain birds standing at attention!
Unfortunately, we were unable to take photos once inside the ice cave, but it was huge! And so very cold despite being summer/autumn!

Mountains were everywhere! Even in the city of Salzburg we could see them. When we went on our Segway tour (organised by Kev), our guide said something really cute: "Sometimes the clouds are too heavy to get over the mountains, so they stay in Salzburg. Once it rains, the clouds get lighter and then they can get over the mountains."

Me on a segway

Music


Sound of Music

In the heart of Old Town, Kev and I ended up going to a 'Sound of Music' dinner performance at Sternbrau (a beer garden and restaurant). It had traditional Austrian pub-like food as well as a live stage performance of songs from the Sound of Music, some traditional Austrian folk music, and Austrian classical pieces including some Mozart. I enjoyed The Sound of Music songs of course, and though Kev and I were the youngest couple there, we were the only ones who were singing along! Anyways, mid way through, they had a traditional folk dance, and Kev was dragged on stage!!! He did really well actually! Later on, when they were singing the last song of the night (so long farewell, tea with jam and bread) I was then dragged on stage to sing along too. AH! We both had our share of the limelight!

Kev and I walked everywhere as Salzburg is quite small. We eventually made it to Mirabell Gardens which was beautiful! It was built by an Archbishop for his 'wife' that he was not supposed to have, but more importantly, it had scenes from 'Do, re, mi' in The Sound of Music. When we first got there, there were SO many people. It got SO annoying.

Augh! Tourists, tourists, and more tourists!
I got so frustrated, and poor Kev had to try and keep me sane. Eventually I just gave up with trying to get photos and said to him "I'm sorry, but we are going to have to get up super early tomorrow morning and come here when everyone is asleep!" 

So the next day, Kev had set our alarm, and we walked to Mirabell Gardens at around 8.30/9/00am and it was quiet. There were still tourists, but a lot less of them, so we had to wait to get certain shots. Eventually we got the photos and footage that I really wanted to take. By way of introduction, and to get you into the right mind set... here's a video from YouTube of the song 'Do, re, mi' from The Sound of Music, and perhaps you can see where my shots are taken from!











Other scenes from the movie include:

'I have confidence in sunshine! I have confidence in rain! 

The cemetery that the movie based the runaway scene from.

I think there is a scene here... I think. But anyways, its the horses bath - for horses (back in the day) to wash after a long journey.

I am 16 going on 17...

Mozart

We also visited Mozart's birth place and place of residence in Salzburg. We were able to go inside and have a look at things like Mozart's piano and original music sheets with his handwriting. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any photos. But from memory, the thing I really liked was seeing his handwritten notes. There is something about handwriting that is so special. It's so personal, and there is no denying that time was spent by that person, pressing down that sheet of paper, and creating fine strokes and shapes to communicate one thing or another. I just loved it.

Mozart's residence

I just realised that there is so much more to Salzburg, and so, I will have to do another post for the other special things about this beautiful city! Until then, I hope you had a great Monday Chia!






Quiet weekend

Aw Anna my love :)

Your post was fantastic! I love the videos! I know they take forever to load but they really take me to where you were. I feel like I was there too :P  I loved how each other videos seem to get louder, wilder, merrier and of course drunker!!!!

The rides look awesome too! I would've loved to try the one that Kev pointed out in the video, but since it was raining I'd be terrified of slipping out. Great to hear that you made friends along the way too! It's a whole lot of fun when you travel and meet some like minded friendly people who are out there doing the same thing as you are.

Like you say, now that we are both back to work it will be hard to find anything interesting to post about. I'm going to try taking random videos and see if you find  then interesting. Maybe you can suggest something I can take a video of.

Well for me the weekend was a quiet one. I didn't mind it too much actually. I spent Saturday shopping for work and winter clothes. Today was spent grocery shopping and baking two batches of raspberry and lemon muffins because the first ones didn't work out well thanks to my health conscious tweaking and using wholemeal flour instead of plain flour.

The second batch
For dinner I made spicy chicken using a recipe that a friend gave to me and boiled some rice-in-a-bag for dinner. I also just spotted Mr D's comment. HA HA very funny. Anyway, the spicy chicken was delicious and it reminded me of Indonesia.

It's almost 9pm here. I don't know where the weekend went. I still have to upload our photos on FB and also select one to print out and frame.Question is- which one?!!!

PS. Random and strange thought but I feel like drinking a cold glass of horchata right now!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ich liebe Deutschland!

Chia! I can't believe I am back in Australia already! So sad! The last few days I've been trying to get back into the swing of things with sleep. As a result, I have been so tired, that I couldn't even blog!

I am so happy that you have a full time job! I hope you enjoy it despite it being only a supporting role, but at least you get back into teaching the little ones! Where do you plan to go for your Christmas holiday?? Australia?!??! OMG! The beach Chia! the BEACH!!! =D

Well, the title of this post means "I love Germany". Actually, I love all the places that I have visited, but because Germany was the last place I went to, it is still fresh in my mind. I cannot believe that Spain has come and gone. I look at the photos and it's like a dream!

Dachau Concentration Camp

After that day at Oktoberfest Kev and I went to the Dachau Concentration Camp. It was something I had to do and see for myself after reading and learning about it all these years. I also wanted Kev to see this because he didn't really know much about it, and I thought it would be interesting for him. (Does that sound twisted to you?) Anyways, it was sad as expected, and it put me in a reflective state. I just think about what would happen if that happened to me, and it made me appreciate what we have today. My job, the boring routine of life, all my everyday stresses; they all seemed minor when you remember about what had happened in Dachau from 1933 till 1945.



It was such a cold, grey and wet day. I had not been prepared, and so I was freezing and just feeling like a wet rat for most of the day. Kev and I spent a lot of time in the bunkers where they kept their 'special' prisoners and prisoners that they were punishing. I didn't take any other photos besides the one below. After that, it just did not feel appropriate to do so.


Kev and I spent the majority of our time in the museum part, which had a very good display of chronology of events in Germany, starting from WWI, to the rise of Nazi power, WWII and the end of WWII. After that, we both were exhausted and cold, and decided to leave without looking at the barracks or the crematory. I remember telling Kev 'I feel like I need to eat something sweet, or something to make me feel better.'

Oktoberfest visit 2


Kev and I decided to go to Oktoberfest to find dinner, since it just so happen to be down the road. It's approximately a 15 minute walk away, and at night time, I can sometimes hear the cheering and thumping of the beer tents in the distance. The rain continued on from when we were at Dachau, so I changed into something a lot warmer, and we made our way out. Oktoberfest was less crowded (due to the rain) and the people who were there were usually those drunk on beer or other people looking for dinner.


Our Bavarian hats were super warm!

Pork Knuckle in a bun



Kev and I just tried different food stalls, which included the yummy pork knuckle in a bun. It was so moist, crunchy and just...well, yum! It was cold and wet, and this was such an appropriate bite to have!




Neuschwanstein Castle

The next day, Kev and I woke early to make our way to the Hauptbahnhof to meet our tour group to see Neuschwanstein Castle. It was again, a grey, cold and wet day too! Kev and I decided to wear the same clothes as the ones we wore to Oktoberfest at night, as we just wanted to stay warm all day, as the castle was far away, and there was no going home until the end of the tour at approximately 6pm.

When we met our group, and got on the train, a young American couple sat across from us, and they were super friendly and we all just talked for the train ride there, making the 2 hour train ride disappear! We also made friends with another pair of American couples who sat next to us, and the next thing we knew it, we had formed this small little group inside of our 80 people tour.

Me with Alyssa, Landon, Robin and Steve

When we arrived to the foot of the castle, it was sooo pretty! So mysterious. Just there on the top of this hill. The clouds and wet weather made it even more so mysterious!

Hiking through the Bavarian forest

We found a small waterfall

At the bridge with the best view of the castle

The inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle

The castle was beautiful, and the story behind it was just as amazing. Our tour guide was awesome. He was a great story teller, engaging everyone and creating the mystery and wonder that one looks for when visiting a castle.

Oktoberfest visit 3


On the train ride home, we were all exhausted, but conversation led us to a variety of things. The Bavarian hat that we wore got a love of love from people, and Robin said she wanted to get one for her daughter who she will be seeing soon. She then said that her daughter had been busy at a movie premier, and so I asked if her daughter was an actress or something. Turns out, she is! She explained that her daughter is starring in the upcoming romantic comedy called Crazy, Stupid Love with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Julieanne Moore! Her daughter was also a finalist in America's Next Top Model and she showed us some photos of her, beaming with motherly pride! It was so cute! Here she is on IMDb. Can you see the resemblence between her and the photo of her parents above? =D I can! I am so going to see that movie when it comes out!

Conversation also led to Oktoberfest, and as Alyssa and Landon had not gotten into a tent yet. So we all decided to give it a go, given that it was Kev and my last night in Munich. Alyssa and Landon bought some Bavarian hats to look the part, and then we made our way to the big tents. We were unfortunately unable to get a table (not surprisingly) and I felt quite dissappointed, as we had talked up Oktoberfest and sitting on a table. So, I then suggested that we try the tent that we got in last time.

I didn't see any lines outside, and but it was clearly happening inside. So I just looked at everyone, and said 'let just walk in and see what happens.' We were stopped by a door man, who asked "Are you eating dinner?" I said "Well, yes. We are hungry, but can we drink too?"  Then doorman said "I may be able to squish you in if you are having dinner." Landon then asked "Can we still have beer?" He smiled and said "Of course, but with dinner."

So we four were squished into a 2 person table (it looked like the only table in the room, the rest were all booths), and we were all so happy just to be in! I'll let the videos explain our excitement!



Getting a little beer happy



Ok... beer happy.



Ah Oktoberfest. Loves yous



Friday, September 23, 2011

Full time work

Hi Anna!

Hope you are well rested after your long flight! You're probably busy unpacking/ cleaning/ washing etc. and catching up on plenty of sleep so please don't feel like you have to blog anytime soon.

I can't believe tomorrow is FRIDAY! Sure comes around quickly doesn't it? For once in a long time I'm really looking forward to the weekend.

Well this week I've been working at the same school and they want me to stay there until next year. The role is a little different because I won't actually have my own class, but I'll be like a support teacher further extending or supporting kids in smaller groups for literacy and numeracy. Plus side is that it's regular work = regular income, down side is that I don't get my own class. That is basically it. I think I will keep going and see how it goes after a few more months. Meanwhile, I'm going to plan my Christmas holiday!

No pictures but on the weekend I'll get around to the blog that summarises our holiday! I wish I was in Spain. Problem is, I still can't decide which city out of three that I love the most.
Sigh...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ninja

Hi Anna!

My oh my! Your last post was splendid! I'm so jealous and I sure wish I was there drinking 2 steins of beer in less than 2 hours with you and of course the fun we'd have making drunk video calls/text to people. HAHA! I'm thinking about our drunk video chat that night in Barcelona.. heh heh heh.

Loved the photos and the one with the 'porn stars'. You know I wouldn't be surprised if they were. The photo of you and your beer belly was hilarious! Aww but all of your photos make me smile to see you having a super time :)  I remember from my Contiki tour 'Prost' and that I had sore wrists the next day from holding the beer too.

Today I had work at the school that I'm being trialed out for. It takes an hour to get there which is a bit of a pain but still I am grateful for some regular work. I left the school today thinking how I absolutely LOVE teaching. When I teach I forget about everything (and I mean everything! I never think about anything else) and it amazes how much energy I have and it's incredibly rewarding when the kids have a light bulb moment and they learn something from you.

I am going to seriously look for a little notebook to jot down funny/strange/random things that kids say and one day, make a killing by publishing it into a book. This school I'm at consists almost entirely of Middle Eastern  (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Aghanistan etc) origin students and one of the girls today said I looked like a

...ninja!!! Yea a NINJA?!! Maybe because I was wearing an outfit almost entirely of black (black leggings, dress and scarf with white polka dots) but I didn't think so because a lot of the mums were wearing the customary black dress. Then of course naturally the conversation of having small eyes followed and how one could possibly see with such small eyes. I didn't mind the small eyes discussion, but a NINJA?

 I don't think I'm over that one yet.

For now, it's time for bed. It's nice to be in the same time zone as you are because I imagine you are winding down and getting ready to go home tomorrow. I hope you had the holiday of your life and it leaves you wanting more! Yay! Come back soon :p It seems only yesterday that you were in London and we were about to set off for our Spanish adventure. I hope you manage to get those nut nougat things we got in Barcelona back to Pert and that you have a safe and pleasant flight back. Big hugs!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

Chia!

It's been a long time since I've posted!

Awwww! As always, your baking looks delicious! I remember that one piece of biscotti that you gave me when I arrived in London, and that was soooo good! Your raspberry and almond shortbread cookies look yum, and given all the weight I've gained in the past few weeks, I am in a way grateful that I am not there, otherwise, I'd be eating them all! I love your fun photos! Especially the last one! They did increase my interest!

I hope you are not too saddened by your dream of your family and thinking about everyone back home! Everyone is just a phone call/video camera away! Or, if it gets too bad, there is always Christmas time to come and visit us all! =)

Today, Kev and I are still in Munich. I am nursing a slight hangover from the joyous Oktoberfest festivities yesterday! OH MY GOSH Chia! Like my sms's and what I said in our phone call, we would have had so much fun if we went to Oktoberfest together! No joke.

Oktoberfest is like the Perth Royal Show, except 100% bigger and better! Yesterday morning, Kev and I hopped onto a train to Munich in Germany from Salzburg, Austria, to find the train platform filled with people dressed in the traditional Bavarian dress (instead of getting a traditional outfit, I made Kev and I buy Bavarian hats in Salzburg so that we could wear it at Oktoberfest. I thought that was a large leap to getting into the spirit of things! However I was proven wrong!)

When we arrived at the Munich train station, it was packed with even more of them! Everywhere you look there were women dressed in the Dirndl and men in the Lederhosen. Actually, even in Salzburg, you will still see people wearing the traditional dress. I really liked it!

Kev and I made our short walk to our hotel, checked in, then dashed out to find Oktoberfest. I asked the man at the desk 'How do we get to Oktoberfest.' He laughed at me and then said 'just walk out the door, turn right and you will find Oktoberfest. You won't get lost.'

When we walked out, we saw what he meant. There were herds of people walking in one direction, and there was a festive noise in the distance. When we finally entered Oktoberfest, there were rides, food stalls, drink stalls, and game stalls all around us. Everyone was there, young people, old people, families, everyone was there in traditional dress, enjoying the day. There were also, the huge beer tents. I was so excited, but very mindful about trying to get a seat in a tent- I didn't want to miss out on such an experience.


The Dirndl and Lederhosen everywhere.


So Kev and I attempted to get into some tents. We tried the biggest one, the Paulaner, and geez it was crazy huge inside! Unfortunately we were unable to find a seat there. I asked a beer waitresses how to get a place and she said 'All tables are reserved. Perhaps if you ask a table nicely, they will let you sit with them, and then, only then, will you be served beer.'


Outside the Paulaner tent- we tried getting in, but there was absolutely no room!

Inside the Paulaner tent. It is just crazy huge!

Another large tent
Kev and I walked out, and I started to get a bit frustrated at our slim chances of getting a table in a tent. I then saw a smaller tent, and saw a small line of people at an open door. So I pulled Kev against the traffic of people to hop into this line. We waited for about 20 minutes, before we were successful. The wait was frustrating, because Kev and I arrived earlier than 2 or 3 other couples who were- 1. A lot taller than me, and 2. Could speak German, and so, they were let in before us. I know I shouldn't complain, because if we were a bigger group, more than 2, it would have been impossible. But eventually, we got to the front, so the doorman could not avoid me.

When we were allowed in, the beer waitress told us that we had 1 hour and 30 minutes at the table, as there was a booking at 3pm. We said that was fine, and once we arrived at the table, we saw 4 smiling men. Two of them I had recognized as men who had been let in before us. A little nervous at how they would respond to us joining them, I was surprised with their openness and their merry attitude. All of them were super friendly and enthusiastically ordered us a stein of beer each and half a roasted chicken. The man I was sitting next to was named Andres, the man Kev was sitting next too was also named Andres, and then the other two were named Kai and Frank. They all were German except for the Andres next to me, who was an Austrian from Salzburg. After drinking half of my stein, I knew that I was very happy to have been seated next to such friendly people.

Our merry merry table!


There was a live band playing, with merry drinking songs and Andres would sing to me, explaining the meanings. One of the songs was quite rude, and it simply said "penis in, penis out, a good day today." I would not have known it, if Andres didn't explain to me, because it sounded so merry and so friendly. But then again, I believe that the song wasn't intended to be gross, but just a little bit naughty to encourage the silliness in everyone. 

Andres saw my shoulder bag from Charles and Keith, and at first asked if it was Chanel. He was disappointed that it wasn't and then went on about how much he loves Chanel, because it is beautiful. We then went on a long conversation on fashion and bags. He then took his phone and showed me a photo of this large leather bag from an online store and he just said 'Look at it, I love it, I love it!' The other Andres next to Kev then explained that they were coming back to Oktoberfest, but have booked seats in the biggest tent for the gay event. I got so excited, and they said to try to enter at 5pm, and they will try to get us in!

More and more friendly and fun conversation continued, and by the second stein, my memory starts getting a bit beer googled. I do remember Andres sitting next to me saying 'you must eat more, you don't understand the German beer, most Australians don't understand it. It is easy to drink, just like water, but it hits you hard after an hour or so.'

Me, Andres and Kai

Frank, Andres and Kev


Kev with 'my' Andres

Andres disgusted with my beer belly

video

At around 3pm, our new friends departed, and I turned to the table next to us, who were openly merry, and attempted to slide into their table. They were a bunch of young Americans.

Crazy Americans
Nipple cripples- for some reason, it's the international handshake

We ended up leaving the tent with them and started talking to them for a while. I asked what they did, and they all insisted that they were porn stars. This went on for a while, and so I let the topic slide as it was getting stale. They were a lot of fun though.

After we left them, we had a random conversation with a Dutch family, who were waiting for their 26 year old son who was in the toilet from drinking too much beer. The mother was very sweet, and the other men with her (I assume were other members of the family) were very talkative, and again merry.

Kev and I soon left, to make our way to the toilets, and then afterwards, Kev wanted to go back home because he was feeling a little under the weather from the 2 litres of beer. (We both drank 2 steins each). Let's just say, that Kev needed to lie down as soon as we got to the hotel. So I kept my merry self happy with an excursion to the train station to buy some water and then returning to the hotel to drink a litre of water, have a nice telephone chat with yourself (thank you soo much for calling Chia!) and then also found myself needing to lie down 2 hours later. Kev then arose from his slumber and made way to obtaining water and food supplies.

We then arose later on that night to meet up with Tam, who had made the journey to Munich for Oktoberfest with her friends. Of all places in Munich, we met her at the Hautbahnhopf in Burger King!


Sorry for such a huge post! Also, I will have to post about Salzburg when I return to Perth!







Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bake day

This is how my raspberry and almond shortbread turned out. I'm glad I halved the ingredients otherwise they'd be too many shortbread to eat and with all the butter I put in = too many calories.

The little fork marks are my own addition. Not looking perfect but yum!
 I also made carrot cake. Good thing it's healthier. I will freeze these and have them over the next week.

Without icing
With icing



Yeah the last couple was me being silly to increase your interest.