Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Interrail, #5: Nice

Hello, thar, I thought it was about time to continue the endless project of Interrail picture posts, and thus we timetravel back to July and arrive in Nice - with a set of pictures that are, from a meteorological standpoint, highly inappropriate for the Christmas season. But let’s have them anyways.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Very intriguing. I think I will want to watch this.

(Haven’t we always somehow known that Briony would turn out like this? She’s fierce.)

Monday, 20 December 2010

Snow - Snow - Snow

New and unheard Pallettiana ... listenable here ...! Squee! (No. 6!)
(I kind of love how on Soundcloud you can comment on any single second of a recording.)

The well known view from my bedroom window, on Saturday.

And the view from the tram on the Ringstraße on Sunday morning


My parents’ back garden looked like this today, at dawn.
There’s a yet naked, yet chilled christmas tree, also.

I’m loving the cold weather and snow, but I’m disconcerted by its effect on air traffic (of course not quite unselfishly). My fingers are therefore crossed for friends and lovers trying to return to their homes from abroad before Christmas - can you imagine the horror of spending your Christmas separated from loved ones, warmth, food and presents, but surrounded by hundreds of grumpy strangers, camping in an airport?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Experiments with Beetroot ...

In an attempt to buy most of my food as locally as possible, I’ve been using more winter vegetables than ever before this year. As I don’t have much experience with them, a good deal of experimenting and exploring is going on. One example: beetroot.

I’m not really sure if I like them in savory dishes but their wonderful sweetness makes them the perfect ingredient for cakes, as a possible, equally juicy replacement for courgettes, carrots or the like. Here, I tried beetroot cupcakes (using this recipe) with walnuts and cream cheese frosting and their aroma was really quite fascinating. Very earthy, almost a bit like forest soil ... but in a good way, if that’s imaginable? It worked really well with the nuts and the cheesy, creamy sweetness of the frosting.


Friday, 10 December 2010


I finally came round to downloading a couple of ancient photos from my camera. Here’s some from the demonstration against the government’s planned cut of child benefit on October 28th in Vienna. As you can see, due to the rather more complacent and laid back (and probably timid) mentality of The Austrian People (as well as our police), this demonstration (as well as the many others that have been happening during the last 12 months) was considerably less riot-y and violent than what is going on in the UK at the moment.
It seems the world is hardly doing anything but protesting these days. I wonder if this means anything, at all, to the people it is actually addressed to (politicians). The answer is potentially very depressing, so let’s just leave the question standing there.
And photos.

Partners in crime. Morale: high!

Augustin is Vienna’s Big Issue. Demonstrations = Hordes of politically aware and predominantly socialist/left wing people in one place = Great business for this guy. (Or so I assume!)

Instruments of protest

This photo was an accident, but I really like it.


Whoops, anonymity.

Will we still be able to afford books next year?

Heading towards the crime site ...

Darkness falls over Austria. You may read this in a figurative sense.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Winter Baking

It’s the time for baking wintery cakes and smittenkitchen’s applesauce cake recipe is simply brilliant for using up the apples from my Mum’s tree. I’ve made the cake in cupcake form before, and now I’ve tried my new mini-guglhupf forms.
Aren’t they dainty and lovely? Sadly, there’s no possibility to convey their amazing spicy cinnamonny smell and taste via the internet. You’ll have to come round and try one!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Unite, despite.

Timberland Fold-Down Fleece Boots!


You will be mine, and winter and snow will not be able to hurt me!
Also, I will stop shopping incontrollably (I’ve also already bought a new power adaptor for a synthesizer today) as of NOW, because shopping incontrollably is not to be approved of, especially not in the holiday season when everybody else is susceptible to it and you’re supposed to lead by example and not join in. Incidentially, I hope you’ll all remember that it’s BUY NOTHING DAY on Friday/Saturday.

(Oh, the sad irony of this post. Now we know where the ‘post’ in postmodern comes from.)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

It’s all downhill from here.

Yesterday, I took my diploma thesis to the bookbinder.
That’s a weight off my mind.
You cannot imagine.
Suddenly there’s room in my thoughts for questions like:
“Why doesn’t Voldemort sound more like he has a cold?”

And I’m reading fiction.
Not analysing fiction. Or reading theory.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Interrail, #4: Cinque Terre

Cue the sea, the sun, and the ligurian coast, in the midst of this damp November Monday.

Max on a boat: On the day we leave Florence for La Spezia and the Cinque Terre, the Italian rail are on strike ... We have to take a very early commuter train that is exempt from the strike, and then a ferry - which is more fun than Max’s facial expression gives away.

This is the sea, and the town you can see on the horizon is Portovenere.

Precariously perched. I like how the buildings are exactly the same grey colour as the rocks they are built on. Obviously, the rocks were used to build the buildings.

The rather more provincial version of Italian Gothic. But the stripes (see Siena) cannot miss.

Riomaggiore. It’s kind of breathtaking how these villages are nestled into the side of the cliffs and the vineyards above them, like colourful buildingblocks just tumbling down towards the sea.

More happiness.

Left Luggage options in Monterosso: The tourist office is not interested in keeping our luggage while we wait for the evening ferry to take us to the next village with a camp ground (Levanto). We unceremoniously decide to ‘hide’ our luggage in a fairly inaccessible spot between the huge boulders lining the bay.

We’re not in favour of public beaches. Most of the time you have to pay, and in either case you have no privacy or room, so we choose the ‘inhospitable’ rocky alternative, close to our bagpacks, exposed to the elements.

Levanto: Campground. Quite urban.


Riomaggiore, again. A postcard-y sort of place.


La Via D'Amore! It’s a clifftop path from Riomaggiore to Manarola (or the other way around), which is dedicated to romantic love, and it’s a tradition for lovers to leave signed padlocks in every place imaginable, or scrawl their names, hearts or messages, again, in every place imaginable. Even the plants are tatooed with love.

Do look down.
Sedimentary rock, flipped by the aeons.

Erm ... just say no, kids!


Disgusting graffiti all over the place ... something something ... your property ... something something? ... report this ... something.
 ((c) Angry Englishwoman)

In Flagranti! (He’s using a crayon!!)


The slantedness of the tracks keeps the train from tumbling into the sea.

Manarola. This is where we later had dinner. Seafood Pasta Vol. #2, to make up for the horrid Seafood Pasta Vol. #1 in Levanto the day before. (Don’t ever take dinner in a gelateria just because it’s cheap, in case you didn’t already know that.)