Sunday, August 22, 2010

die Nederlands

Much of the Netherlands still resembles the landscapes of Late Gothic paintings from centuries ago.

This is a view from a commuter train about ten minutes outside of Amsterdam. New Yorkers, Bostonians, Angelinos, imagine gazing at this idyllic pasture with your morning coffee on the ride to work! (Oh, L.A., sorry about your public transit system.)
It is so soothing to see flocks of sheep dotting these emerald expanses, and the dairy products taste like the cows are enjoying themselves.

These two were walking along the seaside on the dike between Noord- Holland and Fryslân (Thanks, Fokke!) Fryslân is a distinct part of the Netherlands, with a different language as well. North and South Holland are regions within the Netherlands, hence referring to the whole country as "Holland" doesn't make so much sense. Unfortunately, this misinformation is perpetuated by the Nederlands Tourist Board.

The Waag (the weigh station) is the oldest building in Amsterdam, started in 1488. When people were suspected of witchcraft, they were weighed here to determine if they should be put to death (always a lose- lose situation.) The surgeons' guild that occupied the top floor of the building commissioned Rembrandt to paint the surgeons at work. Amsterdam's Fab Lab is now housed here. Frustratingly, it is not yet wheelchair- accessible.

The Netherlands is especially famous for bicycles and cheese. Gouda, Edam- those are towns here. Imagine a bicycle with wheels of cheese, but not like in the configuration above.

Bicycles rule and car parking is scarce in Amsterdam so this tiny car is popular among those with four wheels.

Free bike parking is everywhere, even on barges that serve as massive, floating bicycle parking lots.

Drivers regard cyclists with respect and caution; families can ride about safely. I noticed that car drivers seems more patient at stoplights because the light cycles are quick.

This is a statue in Amsterdam that a lot of people can probably relate to. I believe the sculpture is based on literary characters of Bredero, a Dutch poet and playwright.

In Utrecht, this is the squatter's version of "Punk's not dead." "Kraken gaat door," means, "Squatting continues."

We were surprised to find this "ambulance" in front of an apartment in Utrecht. Keren told us that's what doctors use to make house calls!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hamburger Dom in Hamburg

Here's another interesting painting on a European carnival ride. This is in Saint Pauli in Hamburg, Deutschland. Hamburger Dom is the largest public festival in northern Germany.

We saw more King Kongs covered in rain- matted fake fur. That might be a cool summer job, combing his fur in the opposite direction after it rains.

To understand the scale of this carnival game, check out the man in the green shirt on the lower left.
Intergalactic miniature tow truck

German carnival eats

Rotisserie- cooked pretzel cups that get filled with a variety of saucy/ salty/ gooey things. These are like Hungarian chörege.

It seems "Mister Mais" is an American farmer. Click for evidence.
Pickled herring and fishcakes at the carnival!

Not so Kosher, not so punk.
Have you seen these German pedal cars? Everyone sitting at the bar is pedaling this vehicle through regular traffic, while drinking beer!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Onward to Berlin

Air Berlin's safety cards depict this very intense guy, who looks like he can't wait to tackle an airjacker. Click on the image to better see his seriously intense face.
Berlin is well- known for street art.
These are some of my favorite murals on what remains of the Berlin Wall.

I also got to visit the new Fab Lab in Berlin (only 3 months old!) It's called Open Design City and it's in the back of betahaus on Prinzessinnenstrassen.
I like their solution for collecting dust when using a drill.
Philip Steffan recognized my beard from the internet and wanted to try one, too.
This is the sign for the wild meat department at Rogacki. Note the scope.
I don't mean to post so much meat lately, but I thought these were very pretty.
Jewel- like aspics

Monday, August 9, 2010

Food in Barcelona

En La Rambla there is La Boqueria, a huge and beautiful market of specialty stalls.

There you can find beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Esoteric or harder- to- find tropical fruits are on display. Pictured here are starfruits, rambutan, lychees, passion fruits, mangosteen, ginger, tamarind, kumquats, persimmons, guava, dragonfruits, and some other friends I haven't yet met.

On the right side of the photo above are real candied fruits!

a tremendous selection of candies!
picking out candies for Debbie Glitterlimes
This is a butcher shop
where all of the hams still have hooves and if you want a quarter kilo, they slice it off the leg. Lots of meats in Europe still have heads, feet, fur, or feathers so there is not the same denial of death like in the States. Lots of American kids understand burgers and chicken parts only as the real versions of plastic toys, not as the carcasses of things that used to be alive, like their pets.
Note bene-- I am not a vegetarian.
We also found a market stall that sells frozen foods in bulk, even french fries and onion rings!
These are some kind of sugar- covered starch that were in a grocery store. Mom, have you seen these in the Philippines?
We ate some delicious, vibrant sandwiches. Mine consisted of goat cheese, fresh greens, walnuts, and really good honey.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

En Barcelona

fields of sunflowers between France and Spain

Nuestro viaje a Barcelona fue largo y divertido. Ahora mismo estamos en Barcelona, y estoy confudida entre de muchas lenguas diferentes. Pienso en Francaise, Español, Inglés, y Hebreo, pero todas las enseñas aquí están en Catalán. A veces quiero decir algo en Japonais o en Tagalog, pero ahora prefiero pensar mas en Español y menos en Francaise.

Our wonderful hostess is also multilingual, so when she slips back into French, we can still understand her.
Today we visited the Fab Lab in Barcelona, and it's so exciting to finally see it in person after watching it on the computer screen for a year!

This is their ENORMOUS laser cutter!