Feb 222012
 

During the past years I’ve been to many different places. As work trips usually mean work during the days in areas that are good for industry but not for tourists, I usually barely have the opportunity to do extensive sightseeing. Also, after a while I got tired historic church – birth place of <insert famous person> – unique architecture – outstanding park tourist program. Most galleries and museums are closed in after work hours. So there is not much excitement left. I find it far more interesting meeting different cultures and their kitchens. Local specialties at good restaurants I cannot resist. I discovered some quite unique foods, here is the list of my favorites:

  • Tromsø, Norway Lutefisk it is an aged, jelly like dried fish that got soaked in a liquid for a long while. I was told it was especially served in winter just before christmas. I had it with sweet brown cheese, mustard, fried bacon, potatoes and a local ale (Mack beers).
  • Lisboa, Portugal Bacalhau salted, preserved cod served in a vegetable soup.
  • Milano, Italy Mozarella Bufalata very creamy, mild bufalo mozarella.
  • Selengor, Malaysia Durian a very smelly, creamy, sweet, tasty and unique fruit. It’s
    a pity that it is not growing in Europe and usually out of season when
    we are in Hong Kong. Very tasty.
  • Singapore Hainanese Chicken a rice dish where the rice is soaked in a rich chicken broth with cooked and marinated chicken – a dish full of flavors
  • Yuen Long, Hong Kong Water Checstnut Cake cooked by the grandmother-in-law.
  • Sonoma, CA, USA Carneros Cuvée perfect sparkeling wine.
  • Dresden, Germany Chocolate Balls these were a surprise dish in our wedding, a rarely known recipe by Frank Ollhof (Petit Frank)

There are also a couple of restaurants experiences that were outstanding: Like a small restaurant in a small town owned by a soon to be retired Michelin star cook, or a surprisingly good delicatessen store in Nottingham that served outstanding breakfast, an Asian restaurant in Milano successfully creating an Asian-Italian fusion kitchen with e.g. Tartufo Dim Sum.

The flip site of work travel is that most of the time I eat 3 times a day in some sort of restaurant and I barely know what they put in the food, how it is prepared or how fresh it is. What I enjoy most after all is self prepared and home-cooked food with husband.

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Jun 242011
 

This year’s BRN was the reason why I booked tickets for a trip to Dresden in June together with my fiance. We arrived at Thursday afternoon and left Sunday afternoon after almost excactly 72h. It was a great long weekend stuffed with things even though we haven’t planned anything particular before. 

Day 1

My parents picked us up and took us to my uncles garden for having coffee and cake. So first stop was with fiance at a German bakery. Arrived at my uncle’s garden fiance got introduced to a few more of my family as well as the concept of German allotment associations. It was a great time, I haven’t seen my uncle in ages, so it was good fun to have a chat. After that we went to a restaurant in a pasta manufactury in Riesa. After that we wanted to go to a micro brewery which unfortunately had closed that day. We eventually got to my parents place and spent the evening there.

Day 2

We had to get up early as we needed to get to Dresden because I arranged a hair dresser appointment with the best hairdresser alive. To not bore fiance out of his mind I sent him togehter with my father to the Panometer in Dresden – a 360° experience of Dresden as of 1756. Once we all were finished we got to the historic city centre and had lunch at the Coselpalais close to the famous rebuilt church Frauenkirche. From there we did drive along the river to see the bridge in construction in Elbe valley which caused Dresden being deleted from the world heritage list in 2009. We finished our visit with my parents at Louisenhof with a panoramic view over Dresden’s skyline on a beautiful summer day sitting on a terrace. The evening we spent on a friends place having a BBQ with his family – his wife and 2 daughters. This was quite fun, it’s amazing to see how fast children grow up and develop their personalities. 

Day 3

After breakfast we left and got to Dresden city center to a place called Max for a light lunch and mainly to meet two friends of mine and chat for a while. I was surprised about fiance not complaining drinking a capuccino with 4 girls ;) From there we got to another friend’s place who recently moved. I love his new apartment and it was good to see him again. With him we got to the Neustadt part of the town to attend the BRN a pretty unique street festival. We strolled around all evening, tried random food and drinks, listened to random bands on one of the many stages – especially to mention The Blumenkinders as their singer is my friend’s buddy; they also were pretty good entertainers. 

Day 4

 

Last day started with a surprise for my friend. As he slept much longer than we did, mutual friends decided to stop by his place to say hello. They have a daughter which can already walk, last time we saw her she was a few months old baby and before that she was still in production. Time flies! We left at noon to meet one of my dearest, oldest friends to have lunch at the Schillergarten and a good chat. Due to unforseen circumstances we spent much less time with him than planned and wished :( Next time…

And that was it. 3 days in Dresden without planning and especially without any planned sighseeing turned out to be for fiance lots of new impression like the street festival, several local dishes at restaurants, a few panoramic Dresden views and lots of fun with good people. I am always happy when I return from Dresden as I had perfect days with well-entertained fiance, met people who matter to me and who I miss. But then, back home I get my blues about all the people and things I miss in my daily life here in Dublin. 

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Feb 212011
 

On Saturday I eventually got out of the hotel and booked a taxi to go to Kuala Lumpur, the capitol of Malaysia. As it is very hot and humid I didn’t plan on much outdoor activities.

Instead of queuing for the Sky Bridge between the Petronas Towers I followed a recommendation and went to the KL Tower in the morning. So no queue for me. I got a perfect 360° view over the city. When finished upstairs, I went downstairs and found a sculpture – unfortunately without further information. I could relate quickly to it, the metal sculpture in front of the rain forest seemed to be as mis-placed as me in the middle of the day in sunny tropical weather. There was an exhibition of architecture close by where traditional houses from all over Malaysia were shown. Accidentally I ran into a show introducing the audience to traditional dancing. From there I quickly walked to the rain forest entrance. Apparently this is the only piece of original rain forest left in Malaysia, the rest got destroyed and reforested again in the past decades. I didn’t expect this in the middle of the town which is so modern. Apparently a part of the building got build around a tree to protect and preserve this rare plant for future generations. As I did not have any mosquito spray with me and already lost liters of blood to those little bastards I decided to do only a quick look and not do the guided walk through it. From there I went to KLCC, to discover modern Malaysia. I tried my luck but as expected all tickets for the sky bridge and observation deck were already sold out, so I walked a bit through the shopping center – which was quite impressive. All brands you’d think of had their store there, even the Louis Vuitton with the red carpet and doorman ;) I went to the signature food court and had a surprisingly good lunch considering that this was from a fast food place and incredibly cheap. As usually I looked for the stall with the longest queue and picked a random dish, Nasi Lemak with spicy chicken. There was also a small exhibition about product designs from Europe – mostly German and French artists. There were some interesting objects; my favorite item was a broom in shape of a scythe; that was somewhat ironic I instantly thought of a couple of comic strips (Der Pudel des Todes) [de] I’ve seen before. From there I followed another recommendation and got to Batu Caves. There was a big Golden Statue in the front, a holy place for Buddhists. I climbed all 277 stairs up to the cave. As there was sun, hot weather and I kinda hoped to find something impressive up there. And I did. It was the largest stalactite cave I have seen so far, there was also a temple and some small procession. I was told when there is a religious festival there are a million people (sic) up there. After that I got back to the hotel and enjoyed some fresh fruits on my veranda – pink dragon fruits and a mango.

I took a lot of photos that day but then I did something stupid. I wanted to hide the photos I didn’t want to publish, but I deleted them instead and so most of the pictures are gone as I didn’t find undo or the trash can. The few of them which survived are available on flickr.

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Dec 172010
 

Today we had planned a lazy day doing nothing but strolling around some town centres and do some window shopping with one of Jim’s aunts. The day started with a great breakfast: water chestnut cakes, sweet potatoes and oolong tea. Then jim got some photos to look at and then we got into town for lunch. We killed some time and then met another aunt for viewing her new apartment. As I am still a bit out of sync with the current time zone I decided to have a power nap before we met up for dinner and dessert. Dinner wasn’t too impressive, the dessert tasted interesting – it was made of toad. Now we are back at the grandmother’s place and I am feeling already tired again. Attached some pics from during the day.











crazy dog lady…

the scaffolding is made of bamboo and ropes, even for building sites of high towers

renewing windows on 32nd floor





imagine that – an oyster take away – how cool is that!



random street view at night

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Dec 162010
 

Yesterday midday we arrived in Hong Kong, took the bus and the taxi to get after almost 20h after leaving home at jim’s grandmother’s place. Since then I mostly remember food, meeting more relatives and sleeping. Today we had an invite for dim sum for breakfast, then curry fish balls, roast pork, fried tofu and soup as ‘light’ snacks before dinner where we had a chicken hot pot with goose intestines, thin sliced beef, loads of vegetables, more fish balls, frog legs and more… Most plans made for us so far are meet up’s for dinner and other meals. As much as I love to discover new flavours and kitchens I hope this won’t continue like that all holiday ;) attached there are a few pictures from dinner, I am especially proud of the battlefield left afterwards, we apparently enjoyed dinner a lot…











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