Hanging out in my temporary Wohnzimmer

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As Joni sings in my thoughts, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…’, I’ve spent this week in Berlin without wifi. It’s been more difficult than I imagined. Originally, I assumed I could make it work by just frequenting cafés that were wifi friendly. It hasn’t worked out that way exactly. Although there are plenty of places where you can connect, there are just as many that used to but haven’t altered their websites.

One place I’ve found myself going to again and again is Wohnzimmer in Prenzlauerberg. I could praise its virtues – it’s much more than just the wifi – but regular readers can look at the photo above and assume I feel right at home here. Art Deco entrance ways and comfy design couches. Weird and mismatched as some of the decor is, it’s definitely a great space.

Well, now my battery’s almost dead. Such is connectivity for me at the moment.

Bound to be adventures in Berlin

 

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Berlin Berlin…wir fahren nach Berlin

Going to Berlin tomorrow, and although there’s no wifi in the flat we’re staying in, the city is purportedly all wired up. You can connect anywhere there, or so I’ve been told.

I’ve written about the capital of Germany on this blog before. What, you don’t believe me? Check out these links:

Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin

Willkommen in Berlin

and some of my favourite photos are here:

another day in Berlin

Some of you who badger me with requests for more photos of my dogs Ella and Louis will be happy to know that they’ll be making their first trip to Berlin

There are bound to be adventures and there just might be hijinks involved. If you’d like to know more, watch this space.

Unterwegs with plenty I should be doing otherwise

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The FilmfestMünchen is thankfully behind us. It’s the only week of the year where we can see a variety of independent film and even some not-yet-released-in-Europe bigger movies; however, the way I do it involves quite a lot of screenings. My eyes may or may not be rectangular, as a result.

There are still reviews to write and other projects in the pipeline, but I got a call from a good friend who’s visiting from the States. On her way back home tomorrow, the only way I was going to see her was to hop a train to Passau for the day.

What about my dogs Ella and Louis? Well, they’ve been riding the train since they were pups. This is almost second nature for them.

Ooh, here’s a photo I took of them a few years ago in Passau.

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Passau is a gorgeous smaller Bavarian city on the Austrian border and not far from the Czech Republic. It was actually one of the first places I took the dogs after bringing them home from Hamburg.

Although Germans know about this gem of a city, I rarely see any English-speaking tourists there. Perhaps someone writing in English should be talking more about it. Someone who knows a bit about Bavaria and enjoys writing about all that’s going on there.

I wonder who that could be.

winding streets and churches and finally cake

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What could be along this winding street in Palermo?

Suppose I’m easing into the more conventional travel photos, but they’re finally here. Things like this street are what I find myself more attracted to at the moment, though. Having said that, here’s the cathedral:

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From behind the Cattedrale Maria Santissima Assunta

Quite a name, eh? How many churches do you know with Santissima in their moniker? Oh, and if you liked that angle, check it out from the other side:

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Flying Buttresses and everything…

Although there are plenty of churches here and you could easily only talk about the wide variety on offer, as many as I’ve seen I didn’t get the best photos.

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While very Baroque on the inside, here’s another exterior of a church.

Have been trying to figure out what these red silos on the roof of the church are all about. I’m sure a proper travel blog would find that out for you, but something in me wants to continue wondering. Incidentally, it’s called the Chiesa di San Cataldo.

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The fountain that Goethe purportedly liked

Elaine’s theory is that there was so much dirty stuff in Palermo that when Goethe happened upon this fountain, he was impressed primarily because of its relative cleanliness. To me it seems uncommonly clean. Strange, isn’t it? Something quite gorgeous, but here I am questioning its authenticity in some form.

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Even in the off season, there are scooters whooshing by…everywhere.

You can smell the fuel just looking at this photo, right? Much like Athens, the streets here simply reek of it. The temperature apparently rarely falls to freezing here, so even though it gets cold, one can ride scooters year-round. And ride them they do.

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This gateway is part of the Palazzo dei Normanni, which is under some sort of construction.

Have seen some fantastic shots of this, but mine got it when it was in the midst of its regular maintenance. However, I suppose you can still see the best of it. Are they guarding the palace? I don’t think the ones without arms are going to be of much help.

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Yet another mystery of Palermo

How did this tree grow in such an odd winding manner? It’s almost as if it wants to stay as close to the wall as it possibly can.

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The reward for all the walking and breathing in fumes?

Then, at some point, we had cake. That thing on the left was some sort of pastry filled with and then slathered with a butter fat icing. There’s a lot of injecting food with liquid food here. It’s quite delicious, but you spend most of the time eating it marvelling at the mechanics of the whole thing. Then the other ones were a berry-flavoured cake and then a chocolate layered thing. Both were delicioso, or something…

I think this next photo says it all:

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Post carnage

 

oranges aren’t the only meat

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oranges aren’t the only meat 

There are already more photos of Palermo than one can shake the proverbial stick at, but I just can’t be bothered to sift through them yet and decide which are interesting to anyone other than me.

So, I’ll give you one ridiculous shot and a bit of a story. The handful of you who still come here are doing so for the narrative anyway, right? The photos are gravy, I’m assuming.

What’s with the title of this blogpost, you ask? Well, it comes thanks to Elaine (@elaine4queen), with whom I’m conquering Palermo. There was talk of cake, but we’ve not actually found any of that yet. In the process of our hunt for cake, however, we did find these Orange Balls.

We had both heard of these, but the billing didn’t quite do them justice. Nevertheless, until technology catches up and allows me to upload the taste of something on a blog, a description will have to suffice.

It’s a ball of some sort of corn breading with a variety of different fillings depending on the whims of whoever’s cooking. In this case, we were offered either Ham and Cheese or Meat. When I inquired about what sort of meat specifically was involved in the latter, the woman behind the counter looked at me incredulously and said with an odd finality, ‘Meat.’

Some might have balked, but now I was genuinely curious. The decision was snatched away from us, when the woman announced that they were, alas, out of the Ham and Cheese. We were having the Meat, and have it we did.

They were delicious. There’s a reason why numerous people, upon hearing we were going to Palermo, insisted we try the Orange Balls. There’s nothing remotely citrus about them, incidentally. Orange is a colour here, rather than a taste. Yet they were filling and somehow decadent, and even before we were halfway done, it was clear that there would be no room left for cake.

You could possibly be one of those folk who believes there’s always room for cake. To such a person, I’ll only say, ‘Have an Orange Ball in Palermo and get back to me on that one.

A break in the mundane for a bit of Bon vivantery

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The Lenbach House in Munich’s Maxvorstadt neighbourhood.

Training for my new job has taken much of my time & nearly all of my energy, so the first thing that’s taken a backseat was blogging. Was recently alerted that this incarnation of my blogging is exactly two years old. Too bad I’ve not prepared anything more festive to celebrate the occasion.

However, I do have some rather good news for the excitement level of this site. Read recently that Elaine (@elaine4queen) was planning to run off and join the circus. Then I received an offer she thought I couldn’t refuse: Would I like to go with her? Run away and join the circus? Well, I don’t think either Elaine or I were cut out for the acrobatic or circus-like arts, but when she came up with a second option, I couldn’t resist. What, you ask, might that second option be?

WE’RE GOIN’ TO PALERMO, YOU MOTHER SCRATCHERS…

Now, up until now I’ve refrained from bandying about stale stereotypes about Sicily being overrun by mafia sorts. To be frank, I’m momentarily easily distracted by stories of Palermo being the international centre of cake. What’s in store for you neglected readers in the next week or so is quite arguably the best thing that’s been going on hereabouts for a very long while.

Let the cake-ing commence. I can’t promise there won’t be at least one utterance of the questionably-attributed Marie Antoinette quote. You know? The one about running away and joining the circus.

slowed to a crawl

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Getting out of the sunlight

Because of a new job and other obligations, there hasn’t been much time for blogging lately. Nevertheless, I was going through photos of Seville recently and  was reminded of the above moment when I escaped the burning sunlight. If you’re wondering whether this place was as peaceful as it looks, the answer is yes.

My friends who live in Seville, with whom I stayed  on that trip, were visiting Munich earlier in the summer, and it was such a pleasure to show off my adopted hometown.  There were a few evenings, after I’d been in the office all day and they had been traipsing around taking in the sights, where we sat and watched the dusk fade to nighttime.

There were no particularly profound things said. We reminisced about earlier times and momentarily solved some of the world’s more complicated problems. As much as I love the other seasons, this seems to be something particular to summer. That feeling of expansiveness after a good meal.

Some of us at the table had had what seemed to have been the perfect amount to drink, while others picked at the cheese plate that was served in lieu of dessert. Time may not have stood still, but it certainly slowed to a crawl.

Nothing like a meal with old friends, is there?

out of a funk…onto a journey

Where are we going, anyway?

Where are we going, anyway?

There’s only one way to ease back into this ol’ Dachshund Blog, and it’s not to ease in at all. My intention is to slog in full speed. As quickly as one can slog, I suppose. Where have I been? What have I been doing? Well, the specifics are rather unexciting for the most part, but there were a few moments in the last several months that have made it really difficult to blog. Difficult to do much more than the bare minimum, actually.

One incredibly traumatic thing happened, however, and I just couldn’t talk about it. Not here, not on social media…not anywhere for a while. There are people I’m relatively close to who didn’t hear about my moment of inexplicable horror until much later. I suppose it’s not fair for me to mention such a thing and then not to be any more specific, but that’s the way it has to be.

Almost immediately thereafter I had a moment where I questioned nearly everything. It’s not quite gone, actually. That moment seems to have spread out into a long surreal moment. I’ve lived in Germany for more than a decade and have really enjoyed it, but in an instant I couldn’t be here anymore.

What’s difficult for me is that being here is part of my identity. This focus of this blog has partially been about being an outsider in a very curious place. A place that’s equal parts charming, preposterous and inexplicable. How can one attempt to explain such a thing, you ask? Those are the best things to try to get at, actually. The ones that might at first seem insurmountable.

So, what happens next? First of all, I’m going to use this space to say goodbye to Germany. There’s no telling what’s in store for me, so it’s entirely possible that I end up back here someday. Perhaps I only come back here periodically. We shall certainly see.

I speak the language, am fascinated by the culture, and am genuinely curious about how they got to this point and where they’re going. My German experiment is by no means completed. However, things do change, and my intention is to take you along for the ride.

There aren’t any definite plans as of yet, by the way. What’s that line about a journey of an incredibly long distance starting with a single step? This is my first one of those. Right now I’m wondering if there are still any of you who’d like to come along.

 

blogging takes a backseat

blogging takes a backseat

Lately, I’ve been moving house, saying goodbye to the lady with whom I used to live and pretty much just trying not to freak the fuck out. Today, I’ve got no appointments for the first time in eons…getting on a train and just going. No-one knows where. You know there’ll be a blogpost about it. You know that, right?

Day in a feminine city one year on…

red morning on the roofs of Florence

It’s been almost a year since I began this blog, so I’ve decided to repost some of my auld material in honour of my blogiversary. Fun stuff, eh?

So, here was one of the very first blogposts I came up with. The thought of not documenting a trip to the Medici family’s city with a few photos here was unthinkable.

Florence is a truly beautiful city, and I was surprised at what you found once you got away from where the majority of the tourists go. Tea shops and real people and whatnot.
The very thought makes me want to book a flight and spend the weekend there in the very near future. One never knows…

Here’s the original blogpost I mentioned above:

Day in a feminine city