Archive for the 'Food' Category



Now What?

Parma was wonderful but I had nothing to do.  So I rested and tried to catch up on things.  I started emailing people about apartments in Berlin, laying out a map on the floor and reading about ex-Pats advice for getting a German Visa.  I started smoking again and knitting like a maniac.

Some highlights from my Parma trip:

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Snow storm the day after I arrived with huge puffy snowflakes that made my Sister and I say “this snow is crazy” a few more times than necessary.

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The view from my Sisters apartment window, which I know I’ve photographed before and will probably photograph again.  Something about those chimneys and the window that I love but can’t seem to capture quite right.

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This is the beer bar in Parma, Mastiff, where Christiana (the best bar tender ever) jokes with my Sister, Kate, and I.  We went there a few times during my stay and always ended up meeting new people.  I loved it here because I was able to have a beer, get comfortable, and speak Italian.  It was nice to talk to people, tell stories, learn new words, and stop over thinking it long enough to really speak.  We talked about religion, art, love, history, and of course food.

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I took a lot of long walks, catching up on This American Life, and generally going through the cycle of excitement, anxiety, cynicism, astonishment, and butterflies that comes with figuring out my life.dsc_0896 I had an offer from London thrown into the mix, to be an Au Pair for a little girl.  It paid really well, with health insurance, and a place to stay.  I felt like kind of a jerk.  Hadn’t I just felt so wonderful about starting a life in the art world in Berlin? The scent of cash and job security was really making me put all that on hold? Then again it was a great offer, Berlin would still be there in a year.

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In the midst of all this, Jennifer (my Sister’s room mate) found a kitten in the back courtyard of their apartment.  She was limping and cold and even though they aren’t supposed to have animals we took it in for the night.

This won’t be the Last Time

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After an amazing three-day trip I had to leave Berlin.  Usually I hate such short trips, feels like you’re not being fair to the city or your experience by only seeing a fraction of the place.   However I felt like I covered a lot of ground and knew I would be back.

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Before getting on the train I walked around Museum Island and attempted to take some photos of myself in Jessica Victory style (she always has these fantastic mid air jump shots that make me happy).  Now imagine me 4feet in front of my camera, which is propped up on my bag on self-timer, at around 10 am, jumping and smiling repeatedly.  Needless to say I attracted a small crowd of onlookers across the street that were all smiling and giggling.  I smiled back; awkwardness is universal.

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“ALL ART HAS BEEN CONTEMPORARY”

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I had a nice fancy Cappuccino in a museum café and then some Curry Wurst (a Berlin dish of sausage with ketchup and curry) at the station and back on the train to Wurzburg.
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On the train I felt so strange, this ominous hum about me that seems to come and go frequently these days.  I suppose it’s a product of travel, the excitement and anticipation of the next place, but it seems stronger now.  It makes me want to photograph everything.

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It was really hard to photograph in a moving train but the scenery was gorgeous; I particularly loved these trees with what looked like tumbleweeds hanging amongst the branches.  It was lovely.

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Then I went to Berlin

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Although a bit sleepy from the train, I was really excited and so blown away by the Berlin Hbf station that I had to document the occasion.

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With map and camera in hand I headed to my hostel, the Back Packer in the Mitte (or center) area of town.

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After getting my bed (which was 20 Euro for a bed in a room of 4 beds), my locker, and a bit organized I was out on the town for a look around.

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For dinner I went to a great little Russian place called Gorki Park that I found in my guidebook, boasting great eats for cheap.  I got onion, mushroom, and spinach perogies with a yogurt scauce and a Russian beer which was pretty tasty.

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Then I was off for a drink at the Oscar Wilde Pub a self proclaimed hub of ex-pats and English speakers, which on a Sunday night was pretty empty, however I was able to chat a bit with the bartender and he said on Saturdays there’s a lot of Americans that now live in Berlin.

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After my first half of a day in Berlin I was feeling pretty confident and didn’t consult my map before heading back to the hostel so I ended up taking a long slightly round about way back.  It was actually quite a lovely stroll and I found these lit up trees.

Barbara’s Birthday

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After a lazy morning we hopped on the train and rode out to the Museum im Kulturspeicher where we saw a great exhibit about Gabriele Munter, Wassily Kandinsky, and the “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider) Group.

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Print by Munter and Kandinsky in Germany with their cat.

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Afterwards Barbara and I walked back into town and went to a beautiful cafe.  It felt like a really classic place, a bit of an Austrian vibe, and beautifully decandent coffees and desserts.

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I had apple strudel (which came with a light vanilla cream to pour on top) and Barbara had a refreshingly not too sweet slice of cheese cake.

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Later that night we went to an amazing live show of ‘La Banda Brassa’ which is a band from Barbara’s region.  She was explaining to me that even though they are singing in German it’s a different dialect than in Wurzburg so most people don’t know the lyrics, not just me.

Well it was truly one of the best shows I’ve seen, the first thing these guys did was play their version of german techno (mind you this is with tuba, trumpet, drums) which was hillarious.  Then after playing their set to a packed and dancing crowd; myself, Barbara, and friends included, they were given two or three standing ovations and started to play some classics I could sing along to.  “Around the World” by Daft Punk, really amazing in brass! And my personal favorite “Waterfalls” by TLC.  Can’t top that! Hopefully I’ll have pictures soon, I opted out of bringing my camera and instead brought a disposable.  And also wunderbar, the band did a birthday shoutout for Barbara!

Frankonian Wine, Pumpkin Soup, and Barbara turns 25

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Frankonian Wine at the supermarket.  Barbara and I went and bought some groceries and she made me a delightfully low key supper.  As I’ve mentioned, I love going to markets in other countries as I think you can learn a lot about a culture by seeing where and how they get their food.  At this place which claims to be the market for every generation (Barbara said they recently redid the place to include large signage for the elderly community nearby).  I enjoyed the huge selection of seeds and wasn’t sure what to think about all the weight watchers products which are apparently really popular.

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The next day we had lunch and a different Mensa, apparently there are 6 in Wurzburg for all the colleges and people of lower incomes to share.  A decent meal for 3 euro in a really clean place that promotes a sense of community was pretty wonderful (hey USA, get on it).

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Then we walked into town and admired the many Wurzburg churches along the way.  Above in red is the Market Square Church and that gorgeous yellow building in the center of the photo below is the Library, another favorite thing to see in every city I visit.  Oddly enough the last four or so I’ve seen have been similar shades of yellow.

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Then in celebration of Barbara turning 25 the next day we went out for a nice meal in Wurzburg.  More Frankonian wine, the best pumpkin soup I have ever had, and German wurst with potato balls (apparently a specialty in the area), and a wonderful salad.  Plus for dessert we shared a plum crepe. Wunderbar!

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Wonderful Visits

Well my visit back to the states was quick. I’m already back in Europe and it feels like I just left Italy. Being back in the states was nice, seeing my friends and family was wonderful.

Here are some highlights:

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Whitest Christmas I’ve ever had on Whidbey, and most productive scarf making week of my life.  Turns out being snowed in ain’t so bad.

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Hanging out with Liam, my nephew.  He kept pretending to take my picture then telling me I looked like Mikey Mouse.  It was so great to see him, my niece Annexea and my Brother Leaf.

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My Mom at our family friends for Christmas dinner.  Notice her festive Christmas lights necklace (which is available at Caseys Crafts of course!).

The clouds on my flight to New York were stunning.

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So was the view of the NYC skyline from Alyson and Este’s Apartment.

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Oh America I missed you.

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The best part was seeing all my wonderful friends!

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And of course a big shoutout to Layla and Isabella in Brooklyn and Rosa in Somerville.  I’m really glad my friends own cats.

dsc_0332Home Cooked meals including Mama Mushalla’s Quesidillas, Alyson’s Roasted Red Pepper and Polenta, Ross’s Pancakes, Triple E’s potato pizza, and (above) Amanda’s Mac and Cheese!

Walking around Boston and Cambridge bookstores was also fabulous.  No photos of those though.

And of course playing in the snow with everyone, which seemed to follow me everywhere I went.  First in Washington where it was out of control, then in NY a little bit, and then a snowstorm in Boston out of nowhere.  Wonder what the weather will be like in Germany.

THANKS EVERYBODY!

For more photos of friends and good times check out my facebook or my flickr in a few months when I get around to putting them up.

It Felt Like Years Disguised as Moments

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Saturday Market in SGV

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The best restaurant in SGV, Osteria D’Angelo.  My eyes are all a twinkle cause I was close to tears saying goodbye.

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Oh how much we grew, my fast growing plant friend

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When I got to SGV this was two teeny tiny little streams

Lucca

Went to Lucca again, this time on a school trip with Orazio guiding Elaine, Jan, and I.  Even in some ugly weather Lucca is near the top of my list of Italian cities I love.  And I can’t be all wrong because Orazio was saying it’s one of the highest ranked places for quality of life in Italy.  I wonder how they judge that.

I tried not to repeat photos from last time; I focused a bit more on the details and people.  Enjoy:

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Flora e Fauna

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Oh plants, they’ve always been so good to me.  Not only for making the air that I breathe cleaner and creating the food I eat but also because they remind me of the greater picture.  As some of you know when I was a little girl my favorite place was in a giant laurel tree, which I named Laura and referred to often as my best friend.  Every time I go back to Whidbey I see her, one year the neighbors over pruned her but in the last few times she’s still as full and glorious as ever.
I bought a plant here in San Giovanni, at the market more than a few Saturdays ago.  I know it’s a bit selfish since after four months I have to leave it but after Anna, Aneja, and Alex left it seemed essential to my stay here to have a constant.  Plants are really reliable friends.
Through all my travels they have given me joy and provided small reminders in their own way that I have friends everywhere.  So go let a plant bring you happiness and check out some of the ones I’ve met so far:

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Someone loves in Chianti loves Geraniums.  This especially reminded me of you EEE.

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Doorway in Rome

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A Sunday Breakfast

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SGV

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Flowers that were bigger than my head (and my head is quite large)

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A parting gift from Spain

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In a small town near the Balze a little vine on a big adventure

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Around San Giovanni, someones garden and a bag with a message (Defend Nature, Don’t throw out this bag, Reuse it)

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And last but not least the plant that happily lives in my room in SGV.

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Slovenia by the Sea

My last day in Slovenia Aneja and I went to the coast to visit some small towns, unfortunately the rain was still coming but we enjoyed ourselves none the less.  We stopped for a wonderful breakfast in the first town where we people/rain watched for a bit.

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The Adriatic Sea was gorgeous and despite the weather we could still see Croatia in the distance.

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Just as we climbed to the church on the hill of the second town the weather got better.  We saw yet another rainbow and enjoyed the rich colors drying in the sun.

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Then we stopped to have lunch in the third little town of the day which was the biggest.  I promise to add the names later but for now I don’t have my notes with me.  I didn’t take many photos there but I did like this statue.

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Then we drove up a very windy road to visit a gorgeous castle with a view.  I felt the need to spread my arms as wide as I could just to take in the enormity of it. At a safer distance from the cliff I spun around and skipped, new places get me all excited.

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The fourth and final little town was not on the coast but had a beautiful view of the rolling hills.  The dark clouds returned but by then we had seen weathered worse.  We strolled around the empty town and enjoyed the park.

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That night the whole family went out for an amazing Slovenian dinner, everyone ordered something different and we each tried the others plates.  My favorite were the mushrooms, native to Slovenia and especially fresh, all of the food was delicious not over complicated with too many flavors but made with careful choosing of the perfect ingredients.

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The whole weekend was really wonderful, Aneja and her family were such wonderful hosts and in a time when I really needed it.  I think every traveler will tell you the best thing about traveling is the people, you and your interaction with them determines your experience.  We had horrible weather the whole time but I will always fondly remember this trip because I really felt so welcomed and cared for by them.

While Aneja and I were packing Vlada came into the room with two beautiful glasses of Slovenian strawberry wine and a smile on her face.


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