Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lakes, Cakes and Booty Shakes

On the second morning in Ljubljana I continued my city sightseeing.
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I met Tadej and a friend for a quick lunch then we drove to Lake Bled for some breathtaking scenery over the semi-frozen lake and a taste of the traditional Cream Cake of Bled.
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As the sun disappeared, we visited the nearby Lake Bohinj
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Look how clear it is!

For dinner we had massive amounts of Slovenian food at Rupa
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The fabric chicken was full of warm bread, which one could access by lifting the wing.

I had my nap back at the hotel and met the guys around 1am at Tiffany in Metelkova Mesto for a fabulous night of Eastern European pop, elbows and cigarette smoke.


My clothes had to spend the night in the corner.
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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Ljubljana, Slovenia

I've stopped in Ljubljana, Slovenia on the way to Germany for a business trip. I have a connection to this place via a dear friend who spent a fair amount of time here around the turn of the last century. Through him, I met Tadej, a Ljubljana native who was my gracious and excellent host during my three day stay, though we both agreed that Aaron was the guiding force behind our every activity. Through sheer determination and lack of sleep, we managed to check off everything on what I'm sure Aaron did not intend to be our to-do list.

I arrived on a Wednesday night without my luggage, it having been left behind by the airline in Amsterdam. The Nuremberg bag police said they would forward it on to Ljubljana, which is not a promise I had much faith in, imagining my bag one step behind me until I arrived back in Portland.

In my sink laundered shirt I headed out on Thursday morning to take in the sights of Ljubljana. My hotel was just a few steps away from the main square.

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Note the castle on the hill in the background, from where I would be snapping a photo of this very spot an hour later.

Winding through the cobblestone streets, I was photographing a strange door when someone opened it to leave the building, revealing the cathedral, which I had been headed to, inside. St. Nicholas!

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Then up the hill to Ljubljana Castle for some stunning viewage

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The big pink building is where I was standing when I took the photo of the castle from the main square!

Tadej met me for a cappuccino at Macek followed by lunch at Trta where we shared a pizza with a fried egg on top. Sunny side up.

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In the remaining daylight after lunch, we visited the Butcher's bridge, which couples in love attach padlocks to, and the Dragon bridge which, well...Dragons!!!

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Afterward I took my promised and much needed nap, which was difficult because when I got back to the hotel I received a call from the front desk to tell me that my lost bag had been delivered by the airline which is always very, very exhilarating!

Tadej made us pasta for dinner and I met his utterly charming kitten, Lumpa.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Vancouver

Yeah, I know what I said about having seen enough of the Vancouver aquarium, but we went yesterday and I loved it all over again!




The sun was out and it was gorgeous but with the added bonus of a punishing ocean wind that blew us straight to the front door of the aquarium.




Today we visited the MOV's exhibit of neon signs from the 50s, 60s and 70s followed by lunch on Granville Island.





Sunday, July 24, 2011

Guangzhou

Made it smoothly to Guangzhou, where everything promptly fell apart. Well, not really, but I broke my sunglasses and my luggage missed the connection in Hong Kong. Apparently it will be delivered to my hotel tonight, though the concierge laughed a little and told me it could also very easily be tomorrow.

In the meantime I'd like to take a moment to individually celebrate some of the items in my carryon bag.

1) toothbrush/paste(Yay!)
2) deodorant(Yay!)
3) plug converter(Yay!)
4) clean underwear(OMG YAY!)
5) Imitrex (Yay!)
6) Makeup (Yay!)

Conversation I had with the woman at lost luggage:

W: Your bag wll arrive on the next flight tonight (in a tone that implied: "and now I am done with you")
Me: ... Will you deliver it to my hotel?
W: Yes. (in a tone that implied: "and now I am done with you")
Me: ... Do you need the hotel information?
W: Yes. (handing me a pen)

Had a nice lunch with some co-workers and I have a pedicure in an hour (my first ever!). So things are looking up.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Madrid

Cordoba is linked to Madrid via high speed train, which we purchased tickets on, through a big stroke of luck, using broken Spanish at the train station.

The speed was shown on a monitor at the front of our car and the fastest we noticed was 270km/hr, which is pretty impressive. We crossed our longest distance of the four-city stop in the shortest amount of time: just under 2 hrs.

Our Madrid hotel is spacious and has a kitchen with a fridge, sink and range...but no pots, pans, silverware, coffeemaker, plates...nothing. You have to request them from the front desk but they are clear that they are not responsible for washing them but also won't provide soap and sponges unless you fork over a fee. Strangest kitchen policy I've ever encountered. For two days we've attempted the least messy breakfast we can think of: soft boiled eggs with cheese and wee toasts. We had to make egg cups from wads of toilet paper. I have decided not to share photos. This morning I wandered down the street to the nearest Churreria so we could see what this early-morning Churros phenomenon is all about. Verdict: Salt and Fat. Nothing wrong with that.

Continuing on the subject of food: We've pretty much experienced the wonderful world of tapas and feeling a bit exhausted, have glommed on to this Mexican restaurant down the street. I am almost perplexed by how much like a hug this place felt like.


Our first full day we visited the Palacio Real de Madrid. You might think that after the palaces in Sevilla and Granada we would have had enough of royal residences, but this was unlike either of the others, and quite lovely. Photos weren't allowed and the ones I snuck weren't fun enough to post, but here is one of us in front of a random statue that means nothing to us, but it is where the couple who asked us to take their photo wanted to stand, so this is where we stood when they returned the favor. This is the only photo of us together in Spain.

This morning we took the metro to the Parque del Retiro while it was still relatively cool (another 90 degree day).

Afterwards we visited the Prado Museum, which was very nice.
We had a nice Indian meal and will now power nap in anticipation of staying up all night in anticipation of sleeping on our (separate) flights home.
It's been a vacation of the crazy and tiring variety, and we've loved every minute.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cordoba day 2

Still wholly unsuccessful at locating some kind of breakfast in Spain that does not consist of bread, toasted bread or sweet bread. Today we had toasted bread with some kind of meat spread which, to the horror of a person in posession of a long-expired foodhandler's card (me), was served right out of the container at our table.


We stopped by the grocery store for apples to eat on the way to the Mezquita (mosque)/Catedral de Cordoba that makes the city famous. It was built, conquered and re-conquered, resulting in a large array of architectural styles all under one roof.





After, we went to a restaurant we'd seen yesterday where the lady who stands outside to try to make people come in was really nice to us and the menu had photos, which is a huge plus when you really want more than meat paste on toast. As it turns out they also have a gorgeous patio. And the food was delicious!




The soup is Gazpacho, which I had no idea could be anything but a glorified version of Pico de Gallo. This was like a salty cream of almond - it was delicious! The garnish was chopped apples and currants.

On the way home we had to flatten ourselves against the wall as you do in the narrow windy streets of Cordoba when you don't want to get brained by the mirrors on the sides of buses.


Finally timing our meals correctly, we're in the second half of our siesta back at the hotel room. Tomorrow morning we take the high speed train to Madrid, the last stop on our high speed tour of Spain.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cordoba

We were treated to vast olive groves and whitewashed towns on our bus ride from Granada to Cordoba today.



We stopped at the train station across the street from the bus station to buy tickets on the AVE (high speed train) to Madrid on Sunday.

Our hotel is right across the street from what appears to be a nightclub (one word on the sign outside: GLAM) so we are a little scared of what the evening holds, sleep-wise.

Once again, we got hungry at 4pm, just as all the restaurants closed. Luckily we caught the grocery store before closing and had a little tapa party in the hotel room (for 9 euro total!) with tuna pate, aged cheese, salami and wee toasts with oranges for dessert.


There is a fair going on the entire month of May to celebrate the weather (apparently after this month it gets ridiculously hot). We headed down to check it out. It was basically a makeshift town full of bars. Each had their own different music turned up to eleven and was full of swirling dancing people of all ages. It seems like this fair is enjoyed by every single person in Cordoba.



We had just enough time to check out the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos before it closed. It was a bit rushed but on the other hand so nice to explore with next to no other people around.



Afterwards, exhausted by hours of walking in the sun, we collapsed at a table at the first restaurant we saw and had some lovely tapas.



Tomorrow we explore the great Mezquita (mosque) which is now apparently a Cathedral.