Friday, August 27, 2010

Turkish Delights.

Not entirely culture shock, maybe it was just EXTREME HEAT shock, but upon arrival to Istanbul I was totally and utterly exhausted and overwhelmed! That soon passed though, and I began to really love the city. The city itself was described by a particularly enthusiastic local as "like a diamond", which I though pretty corny, but it was very pretty, particularly its mosques -sticking up around the city in place of skycrapers-, and their interior was a whole other story. Apart from the climate, celebration was in the air as it was Ramadam, and every night the park in Sultanahmet came alive with families breaking thier fast with picnics, and alot of live entertainment and vendors- a really great atmosphere. The cuisine was new and delicious, and apart from all it's savoury delights, the sweet side of the menu was very exciting for me, although I certainly overdosed because they were all so pretty I had to try too many (and it's hard to refuse a vendor who introduces himself as "Mr. Delicious") Apple tea and apple flavoured tobacco in the "Nargileh" pipes (hookah) were also a great novelty and were too consumed in abundance. Finally, I will add that I am deeply ashamed to have put my finger in one of the photos, but the birds would not pose like that again....

it's cuisine new and delicious, its people very friendly

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And best of all.....

....the Finnish design! I was in awe of items seen in shops and the Design Museum alike: all of a very unique style that is really attractive. Pictured are the Marimekko (amazing patterned fabric) and Iittala (glass, glass, glass) boutiques, and some glass items by glass artist Oiva Toikka, of whom we saw a retrospective at the aforementioned museum. The clear glass sculptures, pictured at the top, with abstract (but to me they are sea-creatures) glass forms inside them are some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and the skill and work in them was absolutely mind-boggling. His signature collection of bird sculptures (such as the owls at the bottom) were very pretty, and particularly interesting for their likenesses to the real things, even when totally abstract. Now that is real talent! I was extremely impressed.


Inspired by six months living alongside miss Minna Eveliina, I decided to pay her a visit in her home town to see what her much-described strange Finnish customs were all about! I liked what I saw (and what I tasted- salty liquorice snapps was, surprisingly, delicious!). Very pretty buildings in the middle of the city, often painted colours, and in quite a different style to that which we saw in Stockholm and Copenhagen (not that I have the vocabulary nor the knowledge to describe architecture). Those houses a little outside of the city were extremely exciting for me because they were SO foreign: many made of wood and dotted between the many Birch trees that are all around. It is hard to imagine this city heaped in snow -as it will be before long- as it was warm enough to demand one of these luridly-coloured icecreams that is melting down my arm at the top. Our host sits aboard one of the orange plastic snakes that is the Helisinki metro!


Another very cool city, like Stockholm, which I encountered briefly but liked immediately! Some cool alternative street art on a lamp-post, and Anna demonstrates just how much she loves all the fish we've been eating by giving a delicious smoked-mackeral a big smooch. The city itself was very pretty- reminding me a little of Amsterdam, but not entirely- with alot on offer culture-wise and friendly (and very stylish!) individuals!

At least they aren't Eucalyptus

Saw enough of this view to last a lifetime crossing country en route to Copenhagen

An encounter with the Swedish countryside

A very unique rave party by a lake about 20 minutes out of Stockholm. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking, even if the Canadians among us did believe it looked like home. It was as light as day by 4am, and the lake was warm enough to go skinny-dipping in amongst the ducks. Oh and as for the feathers; it was also Gay Pride, which we visited prior to the lake. An eventful evening and a really nice opportunity to have one last party with my dear friends from Amsterdam.


My birthday, celebrated uniquely in Sodermalm with the girls and a cinnamon bun for a birthday cake!


Sounds superficial, but I must say Sweden's capital is a very "beautiful" city, and I'm not talking about the architecture. The Swedish style phenomenon is certainly manifesting itself everywhere you happen to look exhibited on a very nice group of (almost exclusively) blonde coat-hangers who go about their daily business looking clean-cut, edgy and and very cool. The city seems to be a very nice place to live as a young person; with cool bars, cafes and boutiques in abundance in Sodermalm's "Sofo". Being on the water is nice too, except when the winds threaten to plunge you into it (the weather here was roughly the same temper as Melburnian winter)....

The likes of Zara this season....

The epitome of class is Anna in this white faux-fur jacket in Zara. Do not hold your breath for the rest of the winter collection either.... Skanky.

"Cabinet de Sorcellerie", by Maissa Toulet

So much symbolism! One of the nicest and most visually-attractive exhibitions I've ever seen. The artistic combination of real taxidermed animals with other vintage ephemera and craft items entranced me for along time!

Paris. Veliberation

Lucky me, the third time for the year. Lucy, Anna and I had a very nice time, staying at chez-elle. One of the highlights was finally biting the bullet and hiring the 'Velib' bikes to cruise around on. Alot of fun and a great alternative to the metro. Just watch out for the ones with flat tyres....


Brocantes were scoured, fresh produce was barbequed, bikes were fallen off, lake was swum in, tans were acquired, family was visited (Jane, Ken & Maya), new-season kittens were fed, Bastille day celebrations were enjoyed, the patisserie was religiously visited, walls were trediflaged and barn was cleared of hay. Fin.

Montaigu, deux-mille-dix

The annual pilgrimmage (not to be confused with the more hardcore version from Santiago de Compostela) to Montaigu-de-Q brings us all together once again, with some new-comers to introduce to the old town.