Thursday, 29 December 2011

Interrail #9: Antwerp

Oh my god, do you still remember that I went on an interrail trip in the summer of 2010? I hardly do! And I’m still only halfway through posting the pictures on my blog! I really need to get this in order. So full steam ahead.

The last stop was Amiens. Then we crossed over, or more precisely under the channel via Eurostar and ended up in London. From there, we took the train to Ipswich, where we spent the night camping outside the station. (If you type Ipswich into google, the third auto-complete suggestion is "Ipswich murders". I did not tell my mother that.) In the morning, we continued our journey to Beccles and Henham Park, where we enjoyed three wonderful days of the very recommendable Latitude Festival. I will post pictures of this at some later point. They’re on film, and I haven’t scanned them yet. After the festival, we went back to London, and spent a very brief afternoon sauntering through the East End. Then we took the Eurostar back to the continent. And eventually ended up in Antwerp, Belgium.

Antwerp is nice. All in all I have very positive memories of it – the Rubenshuis, mussels, the botanical garden, just walking around the town and looking at those beautiful facades with their crow-stepped gables. The first, strange da Vinci-themed hotel we stayed at first, and the even weirder hippie-themed backpacker hostel we stayed at later. You know when you simply feel quite at home in a place, though you cannot really put a finger on the reason why this is so? Antwerp was a bit like that, for me.

Caution. Many pictures ahead.

Upon arrival, Max and I interact with the locals. Local statues, that is.

Strange architecture.

Some more architecture.

Guy Fawkes.

Crow-stepped gables, postcards, and my arse at the Grote Markt.

City Hall.

Oh dear, I'm kind of obsessed with these.

Beautiful botanical garden. <3

Drinking Duvel, looking very "German".


Visiting the Rubenshuis.

Antwerp Cathedral.

Walking on "water" outside the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten.

Odd but interesting exhibition at the KMSKA.

The incredible Railway Station. I LOVE railway architecture! Byebye, Antwerp.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011


What’s Christmas about if not cats going crazy about the wrapping paper and boxes and indecent amounts of food?

Yes, Bill, there’s treats in that stockings.

Wrapping to play with? It’s Cat Christmas!

Canapés. Here we have the shrimp, the salmon and the venison pâté. Nothing to see here, vegetarians! I admit, I kinda broke down toward the end of the evening and devoured several shrimp canapés. I am weak. Shrimp urges!

Christmas table total view.

Vegetarian canapés (lentil "maki", cheese-pear-walnut-chicory-ships, artichoke nests). And some non-vegetarian as described above.

A fairly large amount of devilled eggs. <3

Onion scones filled with goat cheese. These were so yummy!

Some more puff pastry artichoke nests.

Bratwurst canapés with sauerkraut on top. We made these because bratwurst with sauerkraut is (interestingly) the traditional Christmas food in my mum’s family. Oh and also: bacon-wrapped plums.

As you can see I took no pictures of people. I could say something self-ironic about my priorities. But I guess, even if I have no pictorial evidence of this fact, to me Christmas is also about having the whole family in one place. This year we did pretty well, I think. I mean, it went pretty harmoniously as family gatherings go.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

One year ago.

Approximately one year ago.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

If it doesn’t have a name it must be normal ...

I’ve been having a strange time in the last few days – or maybe it has actually been going on for much longer, it’s hard to tell. It’s definitely somehow “broken out” now, so that I can’t hide it from myself any more. I can hardly remember a time when I’ve felt this low, and so ill equipped to deal with the lowness. I cannot really say what the reason for it all is. It seems it is no reason and all reasons. I simply haven’t been feeling very good about myself, recently, and there is nothing that seems fit to pull me out of it. My thoughts keep going in circles as I’m trying to figure out what it is that makes me so unhappy. I keep coming up with too many different reasons, none of them very reasonable but none-the-less real and heart-felt. I’m a bit worried that I’ve somehow slipped into a full-blown depression because I’ve never been like this.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

In times of stress, I find it really hard to maintain an acceptable online presence. Sorry! I hope I’ll be back to a normal heart rate and posting frequency by approximately December 2nd.

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Yesterday, I saw Jens Lekman at the Odeon Theater in Vienna. The venue was simply amazing, a huge neo-classical hall, mostly empty save for the space in the middle that was used as 'stage' and the tribune with the seats for the audience.

There is only a crappy mobile photo but look:

It was the first time I ever saw Mr. Lekman play live, and it was great. He started out with a couple of songs that he accompanied with his guitar only, except for some occasional support from his drummer, and I must say, I almost prefer those simple arrangements to the album versions. Towards the end he sort of increased the volume, using more pre-recorded tracks. Then he walked away from the microphone and stood right in front of the audience and did Shirin. End of the set.

An encore was requested, but he just said: "That song just now felt like a good ending, and I wouldn’t want to spoil it. If you want to hear any other songs, just come to me later and I will play them for you personally." (He actually kept the promise, too.)

It was a good night.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Interrail #8

Dear friends, I am horrible with uploading and blogging photos.
One prime example is the seemingly inexhaustible stock of Interrail travel pictures, which are now over a year old and still waiting patiently on my hard drive to be posted and written about. So I figured it was about time that I continued the series. As you perhaps remember, the last stop was Paris.
After that we hurried on to Amiens, a small town in Picardy, famous for its gothic cathedral (built between 1220 and 1270).
Apart from that, it’s just an ordinary French small town, I guess. See yourself.
Upon arrival, we find the weather decidedly colder than we had experienced in the days before. Button up!
Here we go then! The façade. Much excitement. Amiens was my favourite gothic cathedral back then. (I’ve since decided that it’s not that easy to say.)
Max and a couple of headless martyrs. The sculptures in the embrasure of the portals are worth the visit alone.
Inside. (Can you see the cracks? That’s for trying to get too close to heaven.)
I walked all the way to the centre of the labyrinth.
This is sculpture is called la Vierge Dorée. It used to be gilt, hence the name. It also used to be on the outside of the cathedral, which is why it is no longer gilt.
More martyrdom!? Don’t you love catholicism and its crazy love affair with death? Don’t you love the executioner’s bum? Don’t you love the little dog looking on in wonder? One day I will write a paper on the significance of all the little dogs looking on in wonder in Christian art.
More death love! I would have loved to take this (decidedly un-gothic) little cherub with his skull home with me. It would have been great on my non-existent mantelpiece.
Outside: Official buildings are still decked out in Bastille Day decorations!
Well, well! (Haha, oh no.)
Are you in the mood for some flying buttresses? Honestly. How could you not be?
Me in full interrail gear. Go front-and-backpack! And already we say good-bye to Amiens. Efficient tourism, is what I call that. On to ... LILLE.
Hello, international waters. So the Dutch word for rental is cognate with "whore" and "Hure". Car whoring, anyone?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Film time & Bear suit weather

Today I spent two and a half hours queuing (and freezing) for tickets for the Viennale. As a result I have tickets for: Submarine, Le Havre, L’hypothèse du tableau volé.


Exciting. I will report back upon having watched.

Unfortunately, there is no trailer for L’hypothèse du tableau volé to be had, but instead here’s a picture of Susan Sontag in a bearsuit (photographed by Annie Leibowitz and found in this treasure trove of pictures), and that will be all for today.

Good night!

Friday, 14 October 2011


I figured it was time to kick-start this blog and write something.
I sincerely apologise for being like: "Aiee, lurkers! Y U no say anything!" and then disappearing for almost a month. I’ve been rather busy, and also I’ve been avoiding the blog out of guilt because I promised you Florence pictures, but the film I had developed came back blank and I cried bitter tears. It’s horrible. I will steal some of the digital photos from M.’s camera, though, so the whole trip won’t be entirely undocumented, visual-wise.

Also: What do you know? It’s autumn, already!

Several new things are in my life, like a tutoring job at university, to which I’m supposed to dedicate 2 hours of my week, which is what I get paid for. In reality, I’m kinda working over-time for free, because I really enjoy it (?). It might well be that I am – by nature or nurture – conditioned to be something like a teacher. It’s not a profession that receives much respect these days, but it’s still better than something that might be paraphrased “expert on books and pictures”. Imagine if the experts on books and pictures went on strike! Mayhem! (I’m being facetious, and I also have a strong futility complex.)

Another new thing in my life is actually a lack. Another one of my best friends (dot) has moved away, left the country, buzzed off, cleared out, absquatulated, gone expatriate. Considering the amount of friends I have, this is even more of a tragedy that it would already be if she was just one of many good friends. I made a list, and it turns out, as of now, I have two (2) non-related people in my vicinity who I would without doubt call my friends, and who don’t already have at least 15 people in their life who are much more important to them than I am. And one of them is my boyfriend. Everyone else is scattered across the globe. But the scattered people are not that many either.
I don’t want to moan, this is just something that I’ve been thinking about quite a lot, recently. I’d like a couple more good people in my life. Why am I so crap at making (and keeping) friends? Is there a way I can learn how to be better at it? Open University or something? I’m puzzled.

But anyway. Here’s two autumn outfits that I made today. I wanted them to reflect my new boring trademark style.

Allons-y au cinéma!

October Staple

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Safe as Houses.

Staying indoors?

Lately I’ve been wondering who the people who read this blog are.

Now, I know that a few of my friends read it more or less regularly, and they are the ones who leave comments, if they do. But unless the blogger statistics are lying to me (which I am not fully convinced they’re not), there are more of you.

Hello? How’s it going? Are you here frequently, or are these just coincidental hits followed by speedy and panicky retreats?

Who are you, where you’re from? What do you like? Where do you live?

I’m sometimes having a hard time writing into the void, so this is an attempt to probe and chart the unknown anonymity and fill it with faces and places. Drop me a note, will you?