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?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Unadulterated pleasure.

I’m reading a book called Letters between Forster and Isherwood on Homosexuality and Literature, although the title is somewhat misleading, as the content of their letters isn’t at all restricted to those two themes, – mostly it’s just adorable invitations and attempts to meet up and then tragically missing each other, much like life in the twentyfirst century when your mobile phone battery is empty, but with the added tension of impending World War, and the increasing dilemma of how to deal with it on a personal level, both in very abstract and very, very real and specific ways, as in: “My lover is German, how on Earth is that going to work out???”. D:

I’m finding it wonderful and endlessly quotable. I think the personal memories and/or letters of literary people are my favourite thing to read by now, I don’t really know why. Obviously it’s because they’re always incredibly well written and witty, but what has happened to me + novels? I seem to be more and more interested in non-fiction. It’s strange. Is it a growing up thing? Can’t be, right? Adults do read fiction. Am I infested by a sort of high(er)-brow reality TV worm?
Anyway, you must bear with me whenever quotes from there crop up throughout my blog posts in the near future.

T., you must read the book!

“If you happen to be in Greece, please come and call. All you have to do is to get to Chalkis by train, then persuade some farmer to bring you as far as Chalia with his cart, from whence half an hour’s brisk donkey ride will bring you to the shore. From the shore you must shout very loud, and I will come over in a boat and fetch you.” 
Isherwood to Forster, 1933

On an unrelated note, I like these kids:

Friday, 9 September 2011

Impressions of Bulgaria, Part 4 (Food)

Before I will tell you any more ’bout Firenze, I’d like to get Bulgaria over and done with. So here’s the 4th and last batch of pictures, themed FOOD.
I admit that I was a bit worried about food, before I went to Bulgaria. It was right after my decision to turn vegetarian again, and I wasn’t really sure if the local cuisine would include an ample amount of vegetarian dishes or if I would have to live on bread and cheese alone (which isn’t per se such a bad thing). But it turned out, yes. Bulgarians do eat a lot of salad and their vegetables are wonderful. Most main dishes do contain meat, but there’s usually a way to somehow meander around them, and I never had to go to bed hungry. The contrary! Just one thing: it’s absolutely pointless if you ask the waiter at a restaurant if something contains meat. Meat seems to mean ‘a piece of meat’, so if something just contains minced meat or bacon, they will gladly assure you that it is a meat free dish.

First evening feast – Starters. Here we have the ever-present cucumbers and tomatoes, as well as Snezhanka Salad (the Bulgarian version of Tzatziki), some sort of Cream Cheese Paprika concoction (yum!) as well as Ljutenitsa (sauce of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.). All served on top of an enormous piece of flat bread, as you will see when you look closely enough.

First evening feast – Main course. Apart from the ubiquitous grilled chops which I didn’t have and which aren’t that interesting anyway, here we have a nice bean stew, and absolutely wonderful baby potatoes in a garlic-dill-sauce. How come I haven’t yet made these at home?! I remember writing that on my mental to do list as soon as I tasted them.

Chips from a ratty take-away in the middle of nowhere. Usually there would be grated white cheese (a manouri-like sort) on top of it, sadly not in this case. I did like the little salt cellar chef, though.

The typical Bulgarian flatbread called Parlenka. It’s sooooooo good.

So as I said, about one week before I went to Bulgaria, I had decided that I wouldn’t eat meat or fish any more. I do, however, make exceptions when I am by the seaside and I have it on good authority that the seafood is locally caught. This was the last time I had fish – we all shared a platter with an assortment of Black Sea fish, as well as these tiny fried anchovies, so-called tsatsas. They were absolutely worth overcoming my queasy qualms when it comes to swallowing fish whole. But it was fine, there was nothing unwelcome to be tasted. In fact, with a little lemon juice drizzled on top, and accopanied by Snezhanka Salad, they were delicious!

I’m a bit shocked that I never took a picture of a Shopska salad, which was indeed what I existed on mostly during my stay in Bulgaria. The recipe is always a little different, so it doesn’t get boring, but the main ingredients: cucumbers, tomatoes, grated white cheese on top. It’s all you need on a hot day, really. I love it.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Back From Firenze.

I have returned from Florence with a travel bag stuffed with new impressions and so much to blog about. I have no photos yet because most of them are on film, and Max has taken the digital camera away (;() so I cannot get right to work.

But, meanwhile, let me share two photo-booth-photos of postcards that show details in Michelangelo’s Night and Day sculptures from the tomb of Giuliano de’ Medici.

Details are the best.

By the way, the unfinished face of “Day” (not pictured) is one of the scariest and most fascinating things I have ever experienced in art. It is absolutely arresting to me.