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musings. poetry. music. photos. life.



Updated: 2017-10-13T10:46:36.432+02:00

 



town of three rivers - passau, april 2013

2013-05-28T11:46:28.896+02:00

april did not only bring me a holiday in england, but also a reunion with my lovely turkish friend özge. we first met on the internet way back in the mid-nineties, saw each other in person for a day in budapest in 2002, then in vienna in 2006, and in istanbul in 2010, when heinz met her for the first time. this time we chose to meet in passau, a beautiful town on the german-austrian border, which neither of us had been to before, roughly halfway between vienna and where özge was staying at her boyfriend patrick's during her german language course. i'd heard good things about the town, which is situated where three rivers meet: black-looking ilz, the smallest; the green river inn; and the often bluish danube. and it turned out the rumours are true. we arrived on friday evening, when it was pouring down (i seem to bring bad weather with me just about everywhere i go this spring!). still, after our happy hellos, we ventured out to café innsteg - a definite recommendation for anyone who intends to visit passau. delicious food, nice and fun company - the four of us had a great evening. saturday was rather cool, but at least dry. we took it easy, walking along the inn, strolling through the old town with its narrow streets, beautiful buildings (cathedral, old town hall, churches, colourful houses ...), taking tons of pictures, talking, being silly. we stopped for cake in the café next to the cathedral - özge was in heaven! tough to choose only one thing from all those yummy-looking cakes, pastries, tartes, ... my rhubarb cake was ... well, mmmmhmmmm! :) we walked up to veste oberhaus, quite an impressive fortress, which dates back to the 13th century. we also climbed one of the towers to be blown away not merely by wind, but also by gorgeous views of the town, the rivers with their three distinctive colours, and the surrounding area. another lovely dinner at an italian restaurant rounded off a wonderful day. heinz had to leave very early on sunday, he had a hockey match scheduled for lunchtime. shame, too, especially because sunday was actually just that - a picture-book sunny day. we strolled around most of the town, then decided to take a short cruise on one of several boats. sitting on deck in the sunshine, being carried past colourful houses that reminded me both of certain parts of venice and of ceský krumlov ... bliss! a cruise makes you hungry, so we sat outside a nice little restaurant, soaking up more sunshine, watching the people - and there were plenty of them, because there was some kind of running competition on, enjoying our food and more conversation. after such a lovely weekend, we were actually quite sad when we had to say goodbye around 4 pm. but we were also very happy about this chance to meet up again. yay for old friends! old friends wow! it's a banana! rooftops three rivers nighttime in passau train on the bridge almost summer feeling veste, anno 1299 skyline song of the day: now or never by rachid taha feat. jeanne added. [...]



goodbye isle of wight, hello vienna! - england day 12

2013-05-27T11:29:13.946+02:00

my last morning on the isle of wight. i had packed most of my things the previous evening, so i was in no rush. one last walk along the beach - it looked like the beginnings of a pleasant enough day, though it was rather windy. i'd really gotten used to these morning walks - the wind, the cries of birds, the fresh sea air, the wet sand under my feet, the light ... i knew i'd miss this.

final breakfast at barnaby's, packing up the rest of my stuff, a last look out the window (ah! a view i'd definitely not mind waking up to every day!), and steve took me to sandown station. the little island train took me to ryde pier head, where i walked straight onto the ferry to portsmouth. waiting for my train to gatwick at the station, i sat outside, not even in he sun, and i did not freeze! it seemed that spring arrived just as i was leaving. plenty of time at gatwick airport, had a fabulous carrot & coriander soup at "giraffe" and the best ginger beer ever.

the flight was pretty uneventful. i had a window seat, which was nice, as it was mostly clear all the way to vienna. and i actually sat on the right side as we were flying over vienna ... the danube, the bridges, then i easily found the church near our home, and eventually made out our house! neat.

of course heinz came to pick me up at the airport - and i just knew that he'd bring at least part of our boy group (otto the croc, pruno the pig, heinrich the bear). i was right. otto and heinrich were perched on his shoulders. so dotty, my cute little travel companion, was reunited with some of her friends. it was pleasantly warm even at 08:45 pm. much nicer than the morning i left!

so, later than i'd thought, i was back home. despite the somewhat blah weather and missing out on several days due to illness, it was a good idea to go to england. i enjoyed being there. the hotel was nice, the owner extremely friendly, the vicinity to the beach was perfect. i loved the cream teas and it had been time for some fish & chips, too, anyway! anglophile that i am, i was happy to be immersed in the language, though there were days when i didn't talk all that much. i had some me time, and the illness forced me to slow down a bit, which perhaps wasn't so bad after all.

and now i'll go have another cuppa in honour of good old blighty, and a hobnob to go with it.


song of the day: goodbye england (covered in snow) by laura marling.




dinosaurs and a lot of rain - england day 11

2013-04-15T22:02:32.475+02:00

this morning it was windy but looked okay enough ... things could have gone either way. i walked along the beach after breakfast, the morning walk i've become quite accustomed to. this time, however, i didn't just walk for walking's sake, but to get to dinosaur isle, one of the attractions here in sandown.

geologically speaking, the isle of wight is extremely interesting. lots of fossils have been found around here, including dinosaur skeletons. i had a good look around, learning bits and pieces about life back then and being suitably impressed by many of the fossils on display - bones, teeth, skulls, antlers, footprints, sponges, leaves, palm fronds, snails, sea urchins, ... from tiny to massive.

i had planned to go on a guided fossil hunting walk today, to try my luck at discovering something. i guess you either find something by pure coincidence (i once sat down on a beach in new zealand only to find an ammonite right in front of my feet!) or you've got to know what you're looking for (and put in some work!). i found it very interesting to get some information about the whole research process. incredibly tedious work, but also exciting, i suppose.

when i left dinosaur isle, it was already raining. i walked back, uncertain what to do. would the rain stop? could it be nicer elsewhere? i decided to go and find out. while waiting for my connecting bus in newport, i picked up some earrings and a necklace at an oxfam shop. caught a bus to totland - it was pouring down. definitely didn't feel like walking weather, cold and windy. the pub had just closed, so i decided to catch the next bus out again ... in newport it seemed as if the rain would let up, but - no such luck. so instead of hanging around and eventually making my way to brook chine for the fossil walk, it was back to sandown. rain, rain, more rain. saw some nice shoes while walking along high street, so i did some more unplanned shopping. got me some fish & chips and enjoyed my early dinner while watching a wallace & gromit film.

it is still pouring down now at 09:45 pm. no night walk along the beach then. much cosier inside. i'm hoping for a nice morning, so i can take one last walk before breakfast.


song of the day: raindrops keep falling on my head by b j thomas.




monkeys & owls, sunshine & rain - england day 10

2013-04-13T22:20:28.546+02:00

i felt much better this morning. took a walk along the beach - it was terribly windy. i so enjoy watching the waves and the birds, and get a kick out of the patterns made by sand, wind, water ... the rivulets, the colours, foot/pawprints, and of course the ever changing light. breakfast time then, full english breakfast (minus the sausager), just as it should be. this is, after all, england. and when in rome, do as the romans do, right? though i must add i won't go so far as to walk along the beach barefoot in this kind of weather!

i made my way to the same area where i visited the butterflies yesterday, but today it was for quite different animals: mainly monkeys and owls, but also some other birds. the owl & monkey haven is an award-winning attraction that is home to rescued primates/monkeys and birds. i heard a few stories about some of the animals - they included accounts of neglected monkeys, one rhesus macaque that simply turned up in someone's garden on the mainland, owls that were ignored by their owl parents and were lucky enough to find human parents at the haven, monkeys that were "mobbed" by their own kind, etc.

i got to see a two year old male eagle-owl named ketch close-up, and to actually touch it. fascinating creatures. i must say the way they swivel their head around always slightly freaks me out - i swear i can almost hear the "snap!" sound of a broken neck! apparently owls are fairly lazy and won't leave their trees for days after they've eaten. there they sit until they start to feel hungry again ...

i had a good look around at the colobus monkeys (odd creatures, with their long whitish tails that fan out when they jump), rhesus macaques (such fun! and the noises they make! smelly though ... ugh), capuchins, marmosets (too cute!), langurs, gibbons, siamangs, eagle-owls, snowy owls, barn owls, tawny owls, the two buzzards, and the kookaburras. i learned something, i laughed, and took lots of pictures ... and (according to "when in rome ...) treated myself to some delicious clotted cream tea.

after a walk along ryde pier, i made my way back to sandown, where i went to the glassblower's round the corner and then had a pleasant chat with steve, the owner, in his overflowing gift shop. it looked like a pleasant evening, so i decided to go for another walk along the beach, grabbed my cameras, and ... as soon as i reached the beach (all of a minute away), guess what ... yep: rain! it's been like this all day today ... get on the bus: sun comes out; get off the bus: cold and windy or rain. but i didn't want to be beaten. i thought it might only be a two-minute shower. i was wrong. wrapping my big camera up like a baby, i marched on. and after only about 15 minutes, the rain stopped. yay! beautiful light, so clear, filtered by the clouds ... gorgeous. well worth it.

indian veg curry & garlic naan well deserved then! i was thinking about going out again to take some night-time pictures, but i think i've had enough rain ... ;) here's the only pic i have so far:

(image)
those eyes!


song of the day: l'anno che verrà by lucio dalla.




butterflies & a seaside town - england day 9

2013-04-12T20:35:56.794+02:00

the i felt worse when i woke up this morning than i did yesterday, so i stayed in bed reading and writing postcards for a while. then, despite my too-high-temperature, i decided to go to the isle of wight butterfly world anyway. i spent some very pleasant - and very hot - hours in the company of butterflies from all over the world: the tailed jay, the blue glassy tiger, the malachite, the common mormon, the tree nymph, various swallowtails, various longwings, the giant orange-tip, the blue morpho, and others. some of them would sit still for a long time, while others are the fluttery creatures we all know ... the giant blue morpho, which is the size of a small bird and reminds me of something out of some animated film, has bright, iridiscent blue wings. they do sit still - but then they immediately fold up. and on the underside the giant blue morpho is nowhere near as bright. it's brown, with what looks like differently sized eyes. so it's extremely hard to get a picture of it ... i think i managed two slightly blurry ones, that's all. one actually sat ON me for a few heartbeats though! some were frightfully hard to see - i am sure there were at least twice as many butterflies as i saw. one - not sure which species - seemed to have overdosed on banana: its wing got stuck to the banana slice, and it could not get away anymore. a staff member had to pick it up and put it on a leaf. there were also rows of chrysalises - bright yellow, bright green, blackish, brownish like leaves ... some of them looked like jewellery! i was hoping to see a butterfly hatch, but no such luck. a green one twitched a couple of times, but i was told they do that occasionally. apparently they even react to being tickled! of course i took lots of photos, here are the only four i have edited so far: orange meets pink pale close-up black & yellow i stopped in ryde on the way back, walked around for a while, sat by the beach as it was quite pleasantly warm and sunny, and then went in search of food - which i found in the shape of a pizza at michelangelo's restaurant, just across from the pier. and now, at 10:30, it's time for bed. song of the day: broken butterflies by lucinda williams. [...]



english weather & italian food - england day 8

2013-04-11T22:52:20.119+02:00

the nasty little buggers inside my chest are still quite well, it seems. better than i am, at any rate. i've still had a bit of a temperature all day, and i tire easily. breathing is harder than usual, and the sounds that emerge from my chest area alternately make me chuckle and worry.

i took a short, very slow walk by the beach before breakfast, and after breakfast went to look at the sunny day from my window seat, watching the tide go out and, later in the day, come back in. i love, love, love the sea!

i edited some of the hundreds of photos i have already taken (probably a blessing in disguise, this sickness, huh?), read some poetry, talked to heinz, dozed off a couple of times. thicker clouds moved in by mid-afternoon. it was quite cosy inside, and i was tired, but nevertheless - sick or not - a girl's got to eat.

i'd been craving italian food for days, so i checked the area for italian restaurants on the www. shanklin! practically just down the road. so i dressed nicely and ventured out. it had been dry since morning, but of course, as soon as i set foot on the street, it started to rain. not very nice, so i didn't walk around much in shanklin, but made for the restaurant (mamma mia, run by actual italians). delicious food (veggie lasagna and a huge serving of garlic bread), and for entertainment i watched two of the young employees putting up the last part of a huge wall poster.

when i made my way back to sandown, it was pouring down ... though it has gotten worse since. makes it all the nicer to be in my neat little room.

i'm glad i decided to change my flight back, because i probably would have passed out from fatigue somewhere along the way from here to vienna tomorrow, what with the luggage and flying and all. better this way, although i am missing out on a long overdue meeting with a former business english class and the psychotherapy fair on saturday.

i hope to feel good enough to go out for a few hours tomorrow. nice as it is in my room, i am beginning to get cabin fever!


song of the day: mamma mia by abba.




naughty bacteria, the iron lady & a poetry acceptance - england day 7

2013-04-13T09:39:44.592+02:00

so, a trip to the sandown health centre this morning for my 09:40 appointment. the verdict: chest infection. nasty little buggers in my chest had to spoil my well-deserved, much-needed holiday! for the second time this year i am on antibiotics. the last time i took antibiotics before 2013 was in the early 90s or even in the late 80s! crazy. apart from antibiotics - rest. i asked about flying out on thursday: not recommended. well. pharmacy, breakfast, www to do something about my flight. eventually found a rather cheap flight back, cheaper than changing my ticket at any rate! so i will be here till sunday. i hope by the end of the week i will be fit enough to venture out for some hours or i'll get a different kind of fever - cabin fever! i rested, then went for a 15 minute stroll before getting something to eat. the short walk and a trip to the shop left me more tired than my 14 km walk on saturday! but then, i still have a temperature. broken sun the good news of the day is that after a couple of rejection notes, i got a "yes" from red fez magazine, accepting my poem inspired by the element magnesium. i am glad it has found a home - and red fezes look stunning on poems. ;) of course, the big thing everybody is talking about here is the death of the iron lady, margaret thatcher, who passed yesterday. there are reports of street parties, of people rejoicing in her death. i understand where some of them might be coming from (though i believe many of them are too young to actually remember, or were not even born back then), but i still think it is wrong. (i'd actually like to ask them a simple question: let's say your mother is a controversial public figure. or let's just say the neighbours didn't get on with her. let's say she dies after a long struggle with cancer or a demented old woman. how would you feel if the people in your street had impromptu parties, singing songs about the wicked witch being dead?) the margaret thatcher who died yesterday was not the margaret thatcher of the 1980s, she was an old and very sick woman. and yes, thatcher steered the country into an entirely wrong direction, from my point of view - and obviously from the POV of many, many british people - but she did not do so single-handedly, and those who have come after her ... well ... they haven't exactly helped, have they, to put things right. thatcher might have started it, she might have messed up a lot of things ... scratch that, she DID mess up a lot of things for a lot of people, but what about her successors? will partying in reaction to the news of an old woman's death change anything, anything at all? 'fraid not. what it would take is for people to get organised instead. have they got that in them? still, i had to chuckle at the typo on some media website: "margaret thatcher died after a strike". if it was a typo, that is ... it might also have been cleverly sneaked into the article ... ;) and - i don't believe in an afterlife, but ... if there happens to be one, perhaps margaret t. can get stuck in a neverending miners' strike. *g* and okay, i can't resist choosing the following as my ... song of the day: stand down margaret by billy bragg. [...]



sweat, sleep & the NHS - england day 6

2013-04-09T17:52:37.488+02:00

hot & sweaty night. (not what you think. get your mind out of the gutter!) woke with a temperature of 38°C. not a promising start to the day. a trip to the pharmacy across the street then, to get some paracetamol, cough relief and vicks vapo rub. grocery shopping. i didn't even bother with breakfast, just had a pain au chocolat - the kind of pain that is actually sweet. ;)

back to bed - a little reading, a little lexulous, a little looking out the window, a little listening to my "the name of the wind" audio book. then more sleep. talked to heinz, who i'd asked to contact my GP in vienna. the thing is, in austria, if you get sick during your holidays, it doesn't count as a holiday, because holidays are for recreation, and being ill clearly isn't. so if you get sick on a holiday, you need to see a doctor to get a certificate or confirmation of being ill. my GP told heinz that i needed to see a doctor here in england to get some confirmation to take with me to vienna.

so i rang the sandown NHS health centre. after getting disconnected three times, the lady i finally got on the line wasn't terribly friendly or helpful. she said they could not give me any confirmation or anything, if anyone in the UK got sick during their holidays, it was "just one of these things". sorry. great. i decided to call my GP in vienna. he was surprised at the reaction of the NHS person and said if i could bring a bill or confirmation of an appointment, that would be fine. i tried a different health centre, in shanklin, and they were much friendlier. they said i could get an appointment card, certainly, but i would have to go to the health centre in sandown, because i was staying there, not in shanklin. so, another call (looking forward to my phone bill! not.) to sandown health centre, and fortunately i had a different person on the line. she gave me an appointment for tomorrow morning, to see a nurse. i hope that will get me what i need.

due to the paracetamol, my temperature has gone down, but i feel very tired and weak. i guess the sweating is actually very good, but i am running out of clothes ... i hate being ill away from home, and this certainly isn't the way i pictured my holiday. i'm quite upset and disappointed, and i think i am also unhappy with the way i went about it all ... i should have taken it easier the first couple of days, perhaps found some indoor activities instead. will i never learn?

i am feeling quite anxious this afternoon. i already dread going back to work, especially now that i won't feel rested at all. i am trying to be kind to myself and not to be angry with myself for overdoing it and falling ill, but it's not easy. i sat down to write this blog post, because i was beginning to feel panicky. and that's about the last thing i need.


song of the day: fever by elvis.




feverish bird-watching - england day 5

2013-04-08T18:09:05.454+02:00

i slept until 08:30, with a few minor interruptions. i still had a fever and felt lousy. i dragged my body into the shower, then to the co-op for some groceries and a packet of nurofen. at the supermarket i felt as if my knees would buckle any moment, and i would faint. blah. had a rather small breakfast today, then crawled into bed. found out that nurofen should not be taken while on SSRIs and/or anti-depressants, but i decided to take one anyway. i'm still alive and fairly okay 8 hours later ... but might get something else at the pharmacy tomorrow. just as i was about to put my laptop away, heinz called. it was only a brief talk, as i was almost falling asleep. i slept (and sweated) for three hours. did me good. i spent the afternoon reading, blogging, sitting by the window wrapped in blankets just looking at the sea, watching people and, especially, birds. it just fascinates me how they ride the wind, the currents, how they do as little as possible, just shift a little, adjust the angle of a wing now and again, move their heads here and there - and i found myself comparing them to kids on swings or water slides or merry-go-rounds or simply spinning, arms outstretched, doing the same thing over and over again, happily squealing with the excitement and joy of it. my temperature has gone down, though i feel rather tired now, and my eyes are aching. i will try to get as much sleep as possible after my dinner of coleslaw, cheddar, cucumber and bread (guess where i am, lol!). i have also thought about this fever/cold. i guess it's just another lesson in the ongoing tailor-made-for-michi programme "taking care of myself". i suppose i should have taken it easy and not walked quite so far on days 2 and 3, what with the chill wind and all, and not having walked so much since last autumn. i guess i should have listened to my body on day 2, when it seemed to try to tell me at the arboretum near newport that perhaps it was enough, that perhaps it was okay to take the bus back instead of ploughing ontowards east cowes, no? i remember telling myself that it was fine to go on, the exercise would do me good, make me tired, make me sleep well. but my body had a point. i really need to listen to it much more carefully. on day 3, at bembridge, i did that. i caught the bus back instead of trying to prove something to myself or whoever would care to watch or listen. looking back, i should have done less on day 2. walked along the beach, perhaps. and instead left longer hikes for a little later. i came here to relax, too, and of course, that's the first thing i neglect, because i always want to make the most of everything, forgetting that sometimes less is in fact more, is better for me. so yes, body, i got the message: you, we needed a day of rest. it hit home, and i might not forget so easily, because i really regretted having to stay indoors today, as it was such a lovely, sunny day. as for the drugs: i still feel dizzy and nauseous in the mornings, though better during the day - not sure if it's because of the exercise and fresh air, or because the side effects are beginning to disappear. my eyes still seem weird at times, but it's better, too. i'm hoping to get plenty of sleep and feel much better tomorrow! for now, i'll just watch some more birds. song of the day: i like birds by the eels. [...]



needles, cliffs, the sea, tennyson & half a dead fox - england day 4

2013-04-11T23:44:09.973+02:00

what did i wake up to? a blue sky! so i decided not to go to london after all, because i didn't want to risk missing out on a hike on what might possibly be the only sunny day during this holiday. instead, i took the bus to revisit a couple of places i'd been to in the 90s, starting at alum bay. alum bay is famous for its multi-coloured sands and the fact that, due to geological folding, you can find vertical layers of rock instead of horizontal layers - younger rocks to the west and older rocks to the east. quite stunningly beautiful. until recently i did not know that guglielmo marconi moved here at the end of the 19th century and experimented with radio, communicating with ships offshore. i did not go down to the beach, however, but instead walked to the needles battery and the needles viewpoint. the needles are three stacks of chalk rising out of the sea just off the shore at the isle's westernmost point. they don't actually look like needles at all, but that is easily explained: there was actually one shaped like a needle, called lot's wife, but it collapsed ages ago. the name, however, stuck. the needles lighthouse is iconic - just walk into any souvenir shop on the island, and it will greet you a hundred times. queen victoria may have been the most famous resident on the island, but another VIP, so to speak, spent many, many years here: alfred lord tennyson, poet laureate. he owned a house on the island and was a permanent resident for one and a half decades, before he "fled" from the starstruck tourists who kept pestering him, returning to the island during the quiet winters. it was up the hill named after him (tennyson down) that i walked to the memorial erected in his memory, up on a clifftop 147m above the sea, silently reciting lines from his "lady of shalott". i inwardly groaned when some folks up by the memorial were wondering what the "poet, wasn't he" had written and came up with "i wandered lonely as a cloud" ... call me a snob, but - ouch. poor wordsworth, poor tennyson. it was so beautiful up there, and though it was quite windy at the top, the more than welcome sun made such a difference! i walked on towards freshwater bay, where i stopped for a hot drink, then walked on along the coastal path towards brook. ah, the sea! if there is one thing i would change about my home country it is the fact that it's landlocked. i have always loved the sea. it has never scared me, always drawn me to it. there's something about it that is healing, comforting. i also love the fact that its mood can change like a person's ... from calm and inviting to turmoil, fury and bleakness. it's as if it reflected a person's emotions, inner life. i walked past tucked away little bays, among gorse bushes, encountered the first two bumblebeesof the season, saw a lot of smiling faces, took plenty of pictures, enjoyed the views all around, and - almost stumbled over half a dead fox. the first thought was "oh, brilliant!" what does that say about me? ha. it looked quite bizarre - only the front half of the animal was left fairly intact ... the rest ... well ... don't ask. i'll post a picture later. not far from the fox, a bloody wing. above me, seagulls and crows circling and screeching, riding the currents. life and death. i got to brook chine much sooner than i'd expected, so i went down and sat on the beach for a bit, soaking up some good sea, sun & sand vibes. at the bus stop i stretched out on the bench, face tilted towards the sun, listening to the crows making a racket in the adjacent field, and i could have fallen asleep there, it was so peaceful! back in sandown, i once again found that nothing beats a long, hot shower after a 14 or 15 km hike. bliss! i felt like dining out, so i put on some decent clothes for a change, no muddy boots or hiking gear. in celebration of me i [...]



of marshes, detours & clotted cream tea - england day 3

2013-04-10T22:32:32.178+02:00

not so windy in the morning, a hint of sun. i set out towards brading by bus, then attempted to walk towards the coast ... due to a lack of signposts in some crucial spots that was a bit more hit and miss than i'd expected. i walked across marshes, encountered several chattering but shy geese, and emerged on the other side looking like a piggy, at least my feet to well above my ankles did! instead of being some place near bembridge down, i ended up in yaverland, not all that far from sandown, where i'm staying. ah well. up the first ascent towards culver cliff. bunnies galore, snow flurries again, and the wind had picked up, too. and then, of course, the path was closed. i was greeted by a red DO NOT ENTER sign. sigh. back again. diversion number 1. along the road, too, and no idea how long it would take. but i marched on. eventually ended up back on the coastal path. i enjoyed the views as i hiked on uphill towards culver cliff and the earl of yarborough monument. up there the wind was definitely an issue, so i had a hot drink before descending towards whitecliff bay. fields, some wooded areas - those were nice, as they meant shelter from the wind. happy hiker girl, until ... diversion number 2. path closed again. there had been no notice of that part being closed back at yaverland, or i would have found some other walking tour. double sigh. again, country roads, then across the village, on to foreland, by the sea. there the wind jumped at me like some icy beast that wouldn't let go of me again. as there was no way i would have made it all the way to ryde as planned, and i dreaded more detours, i ventured to the nearest bus stop - and i was really lucky in that the bus showed up about three minutes later. back to sandown then. with all the detours, i have no ideas how many kilometres i walked, but certainly no less than 13. which meant, i really deserved some clotted cream tea, right? right. after a stop at the co-op, i sat happily munching my scone with cream and strawberry jam - and actually drinking tea the english way! it had been my hot drink of choice for many, many years, until i heard that caffeine was not good for me when i started having panic attacks in 2007. so i went cold turkey back then and didn't drink any tea with milk for nearly five and a half years. and i'm only having a few cuppas while here in england. because, well, it's all part of the experience, eh? here's a pic of dotty trying to pinch my scone:. dotty-d cream tea ;) speaking of the UK - there are some things i really love about it: so many houses have names here. that's so neat. if i had a house in austria, i'd name it, too. even in the new millennium, people still queue up. i often wish austrians had more of a queuing culture - especially at tichy's ice cream shop on a hot summer day. ;)passengers thank the bus driver when getting off the bus. and the bus drivers thank the passengers. friendly and helpful bus drivers who shout out your stop. salt & vinegar crisps. to. die. for. strongbow cider. original source tea tree & mint shower gel galaxy bars. clotted cream teas. the light. but this time around i am also shocked at the number of people who are not only badly / inappropriately, but also shabbily dressed: faded colours; jumpers that have gone baggy with age, overstretched wristbands; tracksuits that have seen much better days; worn-out trainers, or even only slippers that look like they were intended for indoors. along with that goes unwashed hair and a general impression of negligence. i'm not saying this does not exist in austria, but it really strikes me here this year. sign of the times, i suppose. some photos: two geese low tide view of sandown bay knock knock! - who's there? twisted blackbird scanning the sky for sun? song of the day: on my own from "les m[...]



snow flurries & seven minutes of sunshine - england day 2

2013-04-10T22:35:28.528+02:00

it looked rather promising in the morning - but sometimes promises are broken. the weather is topic number 1 here, too. i believe i've spoken to about two dozens strangers about the weather - at bus stops, in shops, while out walking ... and out walking, i was. after a hearty breakfast i took a bus to newport, and on to carisbrooke, where i checked out the churchyard of st mary's and then walked up to the castle, but didn't feel like going in (for nearly 8 pounds). i had printed out one of the walking tours from the official isle of wight website, the champions & churchyards trail. it took me around carisbrooke, newport, and then along the river medina. my companion dotty was shocked by the behaviour of her british relatives at carisbrooke pond - they bit her in the beak! ;) the swans and ducks all seemed to want feeding, but i had absolutely nothing on me that's part of swan/duck diets ... along the trail i came across some seriously old trees, among them an impressive cedar and a magnificent weeping willow. it was windy again, with snow flurries throughout the day, though it also often looked as if the sun would beat the clouds, but it only did for less than ten minutes, while i was in newport. of course i couldn't pass by waterstones ... and i managed to only buy ONE book! mainly because i only had my camera bag with me. ;) it's "being alive", the poetry anthology edited by neil astley. once i'd reached the river medina/ arboretum i was quite determined not to return to sandown just yet, so i walked on. eventually, i met a woman walking her dog, and i asked her how far it was to some bus stop. she suggested walking on to east cowes - 30-40 minutes. it got seriously chilly then down by the water, and the sun was well hidden now behind thick layers of clouds. even the birds looked uncomfortable. nevertheless, some people were wading to their rowboats ... i felt my toes freezing even only looking at them! on the road towards civilisation i saw a dead squirrel ... interesting, in a way. it looked almost intact except for a small hole in its belly, through which some guts were spilling, and the broken eye and a little blood around the mouth. i took some pictures of its tiny paws that looked as if it were trying to ward off whatever was coming its way, and the face. i just missed the bus back to sandown by about 15 seconds. so i pushed on. the last bit was a drag, and i actually had to run to make it to the bus into newport. now that felt like some major achievement after my approx. 12 km hike! i had to hang around the bus station for a while, but made it back to sandown tired, hungry, and a bit cold. and of course an indian curry is one good way of warming up a girl! highlights of the day: the old woman at the bus stop who let a strange dog lick all over her face and then moved away, disgusted, from the young men standing about a metre from her, smoking: "nothing worse than having smoke blown your way!" um, disagree. ;) the girl on the bus who kept coughing into her friend's face (until her friend moved to another seat). the few minutes of pure sunshine. the dead squirrel. (i know that sounds strange.)feeling tired but very much alive. i don't have many photos of day day 2 yet, but here are some: flawed daffodil cedar cleanly swan dotty meets the swans leafy greens my red-breasted model indeed song of the day: seven seas by echo & the bunnymen. [...]



from snow to sea - england day 1

2013-04-06T01:09:41.850+02:00

long day yesterday: it began in my bed at 04:00 am. it ended around 22:30 local time in room 5, montpelier guesthouse, sandown, isle of wight, england. it was snowing like mad when i left vienna. the pilot made "quote of the day" when he - a german - said: "we have to remove the plane ... uh, from the snow." not entirely unlikely in this neverending winter, actually. i'd never been inside a plane that needed to have snow removed. interesting. it looked as if they were washing blood off the roof ... some chemical, i suppose. frankfurt airport. i had not been there in ages. the wrong gate was printed on my boarding card - the same gate that was announced on the "connecting flights" screen as i got off the plane! tracking down some staff wasn't as easy as i'd expected, but i made it to the right gate in time. on to london gatwick. cornish pasty while waiting for my train. portsmouth, ferry across to ryde, cute little island train to sandown station. plenty of helping hands along the way, my bag was too heavy (again). steve, the owner of the guesthouse, picked me up. i settled into my little room with its stunning view of the pier and the sea. what it must be like on a bright sunny day - the kind of day i'd hoped for. for the first time in my life english weather has really let me down. steve says this time last year people were hanging out on the beach in shorts and t-shirts ... time travel would be nice sometimes! but ... overcast skies and the chill wind couldn't stop me from taking a walk along the beach / seafront towards shanklin. i was very glad i'd brought my warm hat and my gloves, but regretted not taking my thermal tights. seriously, that wind was freezing! i took lots of pictures of cabins and birds riding the wind, it was definitely a good idea to finally buy that 70-300 mm lens before this trip! i took the coastal path (clifftop walk) back to sandown, stopping for a hot chocolate along the way. frozen, but i felt very much alive. of course i had to have fish & chips, vinegar and all. yay! and heinz ketchup, so that in a way my dear man was with me. ;) i was exhausted, but couldn't sleep for a long time, because i was soooo cold! i don't remember any dreams, so i won't be able to find out if they come true or not. maybe tonight. here are a few pictures of day 1, some featuring my travel companion dotty. fish & chips with dotty dotty enjoys hot choc countdown blue & yellow riding the wind red wild water song of the day: black by danger mouse & daniele luppi feat. norah jones. [...]



pills, pains, poetry & pictures

2013-04-04T22:53:46.841+02:00

i've been on the full dose of 20 mg citalopram and 150 mg trittico retard for two days now. i haven't had any more of those early mini migraine attacks, but there is still plenty of nausea and dizziness, especially after getting up, no matter what time it is. i feel leaden, very tired and subdued in the mornings, as if i were wading through molasses or some such. i sleep well, but after taking my trittico ret. i still need an hour or so before i fall asleep. today i set my alarm for 07:15, got up about 25 minutes later, the earliest (by between one hour and six hours) in quite a while, and now, at 09:20 i still have problems keeping my eyes open, and i feel as if i'd just crawled out of bed after a particularly late night. my eyes, now, they still feel weird. i am no longer constantly conscious of them, but still frequently. and there are times, like this morning, when it's as if i were looking through mist or a dirty window (and no, it's not my glasses!). very unpleasant, that. i am trying not to think about it too much, but if this doesn't change (the tiredness, the problems with my eyes), how will i ever manage to get up at 06:20 and be fit for work at 08:00? they might as well employ a zombie! but now, of course, i am on holiday! i am leaving for the isle of wight tomorrow - the plane leaves at 06:20. don't ask me how i will go about staying awake long enough to get up, let alone get ready! the neighbours might object to blaring music at 04:15 a.m. ... also, i may have been a tad optimistic about england in april. but from my experience it had always been much nicer there than here around easter. this year, however, most of europe seems to still be firmly in the grip of winter. more snow is on its way to vienna, looks like i will be leaving home in subzero C temperatures! at least i take it for granted that the south of england will be warmer than THAT! i just hope it will be dry. and if not, well, perhaps i should just take another plane to somewhere warm once i arrive at gatwick .... the good news of the day are mostly poetry-related: stone highway review has recently accepted a previously published poem (a rare occurence), one that has always been very special to me, "Open Letter to a Poet". it's very personal, and i remember reading it at vienna lit festival in 2008. it was perfect, i think you really would have heard a pin drop, the audience was so attentive - i really "had" them. yesterday susan yount of arsenic lobster poetry journal told me i was top of her list of nominations for best new poets 2013, asking me if i qualified - and i do. so, i am now a best new poets 2013 nominee! i am very grateful to susan for her support, and whatever comes of this, i am honoured to have been nominated! i've arranged to meet a dear old friend - my girl in istanbul, özge - in passau later this month, and i'm looking forward to that. i've also finally edited the photos taken in venice in november 2011, my 40th birthday mini-break! editing pictures seems to be a perfect task for me at the moment, keeps me focused, and my hands busy. here are a couple of pictures, you can find more over on flickr. ghost gondolaghostly sunprostratewinter cabinsreverence (s. diaghilev's grave)speedboatbluefeline-human contacta different kind of tricoloreh&m in buranocandy colours & ubiquitous towertabletop bird song of the day: wasteland by woodkid. [...]



published poems are more fun than depression

2013-04-04T22:53:31.481+02:00

day 1 on 20 mg of citalopram. day 2 on 125 mg of trittico ret. not enjoying it. i sleep okay, but i am leaden and extremely tired and slow when i get up. nausea comes and goes, last night i thought i was going to throw up. the headaches, at least, seem to have stopped. dizziness comes and goes, too. the funny stuff with my eyes, however, is really starting to bother me. it's as if i were constantly aware of my eyes, especially - for some reason - the left one. my neurologist is away this week though, so i cannot ask him about that.

i saw my therapist today, described my symptoms ... and, of course, she says, of course you feel like that. what you describe so beautifully, is your depression. duh. seems the panic has already been replaced by that dullness. we discussed strategies that will help me deal with it. i find it helps me to talk to myself, saying out loud what i am doing (e.g. "now i'm going to fold this ... and put it in the closet ...). editing the 16 months old venice photos works well, too - i can focus on that, when concentrating on some other things is impossible. dancing does me good. i've put together a playlist of songs that always make me want to get up and dance. and i ought to remind myself to do challenging things only when they are things i enjoy doing, and it's okay to neglect the rest.

occasionally i feel bad, or guilty, because other people's lives are so much harder than mine - refugees, people with terminal illnesses, homeless people, the list goes on. but i guess it doesn't actually make me a worse person to have this affliction for the time being and to take care of myself.

for the poetically inclined: three of my poems have just been published in the always fabulous IthacaLit magazine. grab your drink of choice and spend some time with good poetry.


song of the day: z'lied vor freiheitsstatue by sophie hunger.




side effects

2013-03-26T01:11:55.112+01:00

day 2 on 10 mg of citalopram. i know it's early days, but ... today i almost wished for my old sertralin back!

yesterday, a couple of hours after taking the first 10 mg, i started feeling dizzy, then nauseous, and then i had the strangest sensation of pressure behind my eyeballs for maybe 10-15 minutes. that was *really* unpleasant. nausea came and went for about 6 or 7 hours, dizzy spells for 2-3 hours. i had a couple of "headache attacks", which only lasted 5-10 minutes each. also, i didn't feel hungry most of the day.

today i've felt worse. i keep getting those 5-10 minute headaches, but they feel like mini migraines, make my eyes hurt, as if someone were squeezing really hard behind my eyeballs. i felt nauseous for a while, especially about 2 hours after taking the pill. and - something i didn't experience yesterday - i suddenly felt as if the weight of the world were on my shoulders. i felt leaden and depressed, and almost couldn't be bothered setting one foot in front of the other. at the same time, however, i felt restless. i didn't like that feeling at all. it lingered for maybe 20 minutes. that was enough, thanks.

i've got another two days of 10 mg before switching to 20 mg a day. we'll see how that goes. i guess it is a good thing that i am staying at home from work, because i expect the side effects to get worse when i double the dose. watch this space.

i have decided to record these things here for myself and also for others who might be in a similar situation or are looking for someone's experience with citalopram or trittico.

on a more pleasant note: i've had some poetry acceptances lately (most recently from the new Paris Lit Up magazine), and i have just made lovely sweet potato & tomato soup with coconut milk and served it with prawns. totally delicious! :)

(image)
sweet potato & tomato soup


song of the day: dancing in a minefield by plushgun.




i have actually seen a neurologist!

2013-04-02T08:51:47.626+02:00

and not only have i seen him, i have spoken to him! so - a) neurologists exist and b) appointments with them can be a reality. ;) this one, dr. k., is actually the neurologist i saw in 2007/8 at the crisis intervention centre at vienna general hospital, and he made a very good impression then, because he always took my concerns seriously and tried to answer all my questions regarding medication and every drug's mechanism of action as well as regarding the processes happening in my brain. it was a good session today - once again, my concerns were not brushed off, and this made me feel more comfortable. i voiced concerns regarding sertralin, which i took last time, and which had not so pleasant side effects (as mentioned before: zero creativity, rapid weight loss, weeks of nausea, anorgasmia over long periods). so we discussed alternatives. he ended up suggesting citalopram, which is also an SSRI, but slightly different from sertralin. the recommended dose is 20 mg. apart from that, due to renewed difficulties falling asleep / sleeping through the night, dr k. also suggested changing my dose of trittico retard from 75 mg to 100 mg for now, and then eventually to 150 mg. so here i am again - back on more meds as of tomorrow morning. i was told to expect nausea again, and perhaps some dizziness. but we'll just have to wait and see how it goes. i have another appointment after my holidays, on 15 april. it's not easy for me to accept that i need to take that stuff again, i am finding it difficult to regard the pills as my friends - although part of me knows, of course, that they are supposed to help me. i know i'd be way less opposed to taking drugs if it were only for a few weeks, like antibiotics or something, but this is mid- to long-term. and i am already dreading withdrawal symptoms. dr k. also told me it would be very wise to stay off work until my holiday, i.e. all of this and next week. once again, something that i don't find easy to comply with, because of my sense of duty and all that well-trained old stuff. the part of me that is learning to be different knows that he is right, of course. he is only repeating what my therapist and GP advised three weeks ago. so i guess i'll just try to be good to myself while getting used to the new medication. watch some good films, go for walks - even though the weather hardly seems to cooperate, we are in for eternal winter, it appears, cook nice food (if i don't feel too nauseous), maybe write a little, and try to rest. and on the NOT TO DO list: worry about work, guilty conscience, checking work emails every other hour, stress. here's a suitable pic, taken yesterday: dangling shoes ... and this quote Someone once told meTo hold on to what's meBut I must be too slippery[listen on youtube] is from my song of the day: my two feet by ida gard. [...]



the monster

2013-03-21T00:00:44.937+01:00

to blog or not to blog about it, that's the question i've been pondering since the monster returned a couple of months ago: the monster of psychological problems, the monster of burnout, the monster of me not quite being myself, the monster of control slipping out of my hands. i've wanted to write about it here, but then i thought about how some people told me in the past that it might be stupid to do so, because someone who is "somebody" at work could stumble on it. but - i guess, if they have nothing better to do, so be it. and i remembered how people emailed/messaged me five years ago, saying that my blog posts helped them feel less isolated, and a little more "normal" or "understood". i know my problems are minimal compared to those of some people i know, but they are still real and they still make me struggle and they make life very hard at times. so, i guess i am already in the middle of it ... i had hoped i would never have to deal with the emotions, the pain, the panic i experienced in 2007/8 again. and for a long time it looked like my wish had been granted. however, my world seemed to crumble again earlier this year: in my job i went from being blissfully happy with what i was doing, where i was doing it, with whom i was doing it, to a project that is utter chaos, where i feel i am being wasted, where i have to constantly lower my (high) standards in order not to burn out completely, where nothing is going to change in the foreseeable future. in my relationship, things weren't going too well either, because both of us have had too much on our plates for a while. there was so much aggression towards people at work, so much frustration (can't go into details here, but some not so pretty things happened). and - the biggest problem of all: me, my own worst enemy. me, as in - my expectations (of myself, mostly), my high standards, my extraordinary sense of responsibility (for basically everything), the way i tend to define/identify myself mostly based on performance, accomplishments, etc., how i always tend to give 120%, how i work myself too hard, my low self-esteem, my need to feel loved, the pressure that i put myself under, how unforgiving i can be towards myself. i make allowances for everyone, it seems, but not for myself. i could see where i was headed, and yet, i didn't do much about it. then i slept less and less. i saw the signs, in neon, blinking like crazy. i had been there before. one week in february, i slept less than 4 hours each night, and those were not a few hours of blissful, deep sleep, but half an hour here, half an hour there, and each morning i felt as if somebody had dragged me halfway across the city in my sleep. the last night of that week was the worst: i slept from 10.30 pm to 00:30, and that was that. i went to work, feeling like a zombie. i came home, feeling like a zombie. i couldn't sleep. i had a massive breakdown around 08:30 pm, started to cry, and couldn't stop. i cried and cried and had panic attacks and got caught up in ever the same thoughts, until i couldn't even move anymore, until i honestly thought i was losing my mind, that something would just snap. at 00:15, when heinz was home and saw me through another panic attack, i finally took a xanax, which knocked me out for some hours. little wonder that i left the door wide open for all sorts of nasty little viruses, and i was really ill by monday morning. even then i still contemplated going to work! and even during my time off i felt responsible for everything - i checked assessment tests, i was online via the remote desktop half the day, i started looking for a pl[...]



my 2012 in pictures

2013-01-01T04:08:32.759+01:00

i've written about it. now here's my 2012 in pictures: carla rocks - walkabouts concert, january 2012 between a rock and a hard place - shadows on the wall, february 2012 three bunnies, march 2011 archibald, keeper of the garden, march 2012 asparagus with poached egg, crisp bacon and raspberry vinaigrette, may 2012 strawberries! may 2012 lago di fusine, italy, may 2012 the resurrection of alice, may 2012 vermicelli salad, june 2012 new danube, june and october 2012 vienna from above, june 2012 shadow face, june 2012 fruity face, july 2012 oma in hospital, july 2012 motherly love, july 2012 paradise around the corner, july 2012 grassy hopper, august 2012 birds on a wire, burgenland, august 2012 peekaboo, brno, august 2012 the ghosts of dubrovnik, september 2012 cat in montenegro, september 2012 kotor bay with curtains of fog, september 2012 big sky with fish-bird, september 2012 lake skadar, september 2012 turquoise tara river, september 2012 pendant - poly clay workshop, october 2012 clinging vines, october 2012 richard hawley! live! in vienna! october 2012 autumn in vienna, october 2012 autumnal beauty - mariazeller land, october 2012 crossover, november 2012 i can have my cake and eat it, too: real and fake, november 2012 blushing tomatoes, november 2012 feedback snippet: michi - best teacher of the season, november 2012 bleeding heart, november 2012 poet! tiger lillies in action, december 2012 bohemian beauty, december 2012 light on leaves, december 2012 flower in the sky, december 2012 [...]



me in pictures, 2012

2013-01-01T03:00:11.807+01:00

here are a some pics of me/us taken throughout 2012. let's find out if i look older at the end of the year than at the beginning ... ;) me and my just-signed-by-the-fabulous-walkabouts bag, january 2012 close-up, january 2012 sunglasses, to hide behind, march 2012 with heinz at schloss eggenberg, graz, march 2012 with heinz in spittal, may 2012 new hair, fairly new glasses, june 2012 with heinz at st margarethen opera festival, july 2012 swimsuit michi, july 2012 before our anniversary dinner, august 2012 bright girl, august 2012 happy hiker michi, montenegro, september 2012 first bite is the sweetest, september 2012 legs, october 2012 freshly hennaed, october 2012 in the austrian mountains, october 2012 ms teacher, october 2012 november girl birthday girl, november 2012 winter girl, december 2012 two cuties, cesky krumlov, december 2012 hanging out with oma, christmas 212 [...]



bye bye 2012!

2013-01-01T01:41:42.250+01:00

so. perhaps this means i will post somewhat more regularly in 2013? i had been hoping and meaning to do so this year, but ... not until after my september holidays did i actually get around to posting anything! among other things, 2012 brought some excellent concerts, a few of them firsts: the walkabouts - one of my favourite bands of all times - played at a small venue, and i loved every moment of it. i got them to sign my bag afterwards, which they found amusing and puzzling, but they were actually not the first to do so, i have an old bag signed by feist. i got to see the amazing loreena mckennitt in spring, at a venue that actually has great acoustics, which is not the case with all concert venues in vienna. regina spektor, a second time, this time at konzerthaus - good show, but it was a bad day for me, so even this favourite of mine was secondary to other stuff, bad timing. then there was another springsteen "party" in the summer, a marathon concert, one of the longest the boss has ever played. good workout not only for the band, but also for me! to say i was thrilled when i found out richard hawley would finally, finally honour vienna with a visit, might be an understatement of extraordinary proportions. a small venue, good sound, and a great performance by this outstanding songwriter and musician. one of the highlights of the year. sophie hunger, the swiss singer songwriter, at konzerthaus was fabulous. i was sure i'd enjoy the concert, but i loved the whole show. that girl can sing! finally, in december, my first tiger lillies concert, a great performance, at the perfect venue for it. great musicians, these guys. poetry-wise: a poetry-filled spring, especially april and may, and the rest of the year, well ... not too much. but i got into some good magazines, among them arsenic lobster, thrush, robot melon, yew, escape into life. i got two best of the net nominations - from arsenic lobster and escape into life - and my first ever pushcart nomination from arsenic lobster (see previous post). so, good news! i am still working on (or: should be working on) my full-length collection, elemental, and i have almost got a chapbook together, too. i spent most of my summer afternoons outdoors, also many weekends, cycling, swimming, relaxing, reading, walking. i love that the prater and donauinsel are so close to our flat. our little garden did well, and we harvested our first ever water melon. a very sweet ca. 3 kg! more sports was only part of the changes i made to my life - the bigger part is healthier eating. i am basically (and sometimes a bit loosely) following the weight watchers guidelines, using mainly recipes from their wonderful recipe books. we have tried out so many new recipes and come across incredibly delicious food that doesn't take long to prepare. i've lost about 16 kilos and enjoy what i eat way more now. steps in the right direction. i took way more photos in the second half of the year than in the first, for a while i wasn't even using my canon much, only took some snapshots with the pocket camera. i missed being creative in that way, though, after a while. so back on track here, too, even if not as much as i should be. but ... there are only so many hours in a day, ad editing does take ages if done properly! i read a lot, and after a year of using it, i must say, the kindle was one of the best things i have ever bought for myself. one of THE discoveries, for me, was gail carriger - i devoured her miss tarabotti books! i could have read a lot more poetry, thou[...]



pushcart nomination. a first.

2012-12-31T14:17:58.401+01:00

one of the major surprises 2012 brought came right at the end: a pushcart nomination from arsenic lobster magazine, for an old poem of mine, "who's keeping time with the timekeeper's daughter when the timekeeper's out keeping time?", written long ago for a challenge at blueline poetry forum (write a poem answering an unanswerable question).

funny that this, my first pushcart nomination, is for a poem from that challenge when my first ever best of the net nomination some years back was also for a poem resulting from said challenge, "what's the sound of one hand clapping?" - it was actually selected, you can find it here.

to say i was thrilled at the news would be an understatement. it was so unexpected, and i want to thank susan yount and the arsenic lobster team once again for their support. i know i don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning, but i am honoured nonetheless. this will always be special.



gorgeousness overload: a weekend in český krumlov

2013-03-21T00:01:45.644+01:00

we finally got around to doing something we'd thought about doing last year - visiting český krumlov in bohemia. i'd heard a lot about it, and whoever went there, fell in love with it. many said just before christmas was a good time to go, because of the christmas market and the general cosiness and picturesqueness of the small town in winter. the journey by train was a bit of a travel back in time - from a very modern austrian commuter train we changed to an old czech train and from that on to a very small diesel thing that seemed like a cross between bus and train. pitch-dark outside, no announcements, so we had to ask locals in order not to miss our station! our hotel, na louži, was conveniently situated in the town centre. i'd found it on the internet, and found the pictures too inviting to resist. such a quaint, cosy little place, with rooms named after family ancestors, in a house that dates back to the 15th century. plus a generous breakfast, and very, very friendly staff, it turned out. lucky that the chilly spell ended shortly before we arrived - temperatures had been rather low, and who fancies outdoor exploring when it's -10°C (14F)? it was cold enough the first evening, especially when we went to take photos around 9 pm ... setting up the tripod, experimenting with exposure, ... refreshing. ;) saturday morning brought dangerous streets: the old, worn-down, smooth cobblestones all across town were covered in a thin layer of ice at first ... made for interesting walking! we visited the schiele art centre - enjoyed both the permanent exhibition on schiele as well as the temporary josef florian krichbaum (A) and gerald scarfe (UK) exhibitions. yes, the latter played an important part in making pink floyd's "the wall" a reality. there were plenty of interesting, disturbing, caustic caricatures to see. we explored the feature that dominates the town - the castle / palace. gorgeous views, what with the lightly snow-dusted roofs below, leftovers of mist on the outskirts of town, the river winding through town, the sun working its way through the clouds. i really do understand why everyone's raving about that place! charming, with the houses huddled together, as if protecting each other from the cold. as it got warmer, the streets got less slippery, and it did me so good to be outdoors so much! mind you, being indoors for waffles at deli 99 wasn't so bad either ... dinner was really good both friday and saturday night, at different places. interesting menus, too, with lots of funny little spelling and translation errors. we'd have loved to dine at one of the many places with live music, but they were all packed, and at our hotel they only have live music on sunday evenings, not saturdays. shame. must stay until monday next time! on sunday we did more exploring, including the christmas market and a part of town we had not seen the previous day. it was rather warm - and fortunately it only rained a little in the morning during breakfast. i love that the town is so full of lovely details - in the decoration, the paintings on most of the old houses, fanciful wrought iron in front of windows, gables, lamps, etc. quite breathtakingly beautiful. neat little shops, too. i bought a leather handbag and nearly bought a kind of designer skirt, but then decided against it. found some cute frog and giraffe earrings and cat necklaces, too. i could've spent quite some money in those shops, i can tell you! here are some photos take[...]



holidays 2012 - day 13: a short swim & a long drive

2012-12-30T20:21:38.105+01:00

it's sunny but very windy on our last morning. we have breakfast in front of our tent ...
(image)
michi honey


... listening to the waves, wondering if it will get warm enough to go for a swim before we hit the road back to austria.

after we have taken the tent down and put most things away, we go down to the beach, soak up some sun, play a few games ...
(image)
happy feet


... and eventually decide to take a dip. the water is rather on the cool side ... nothing like the previous year. but as the wind dies down and the sun grows stronger, we are fine and actually take another swim before heading for the showers.

we're off at 1 pm, have a quick lunch and an ice cream in tisno proper.
(image)
heinrich hearts ice cream


then we are off towards the highway. familiar sights along the road. the last glimpses of the sea make me a little sad ... but we've had such a great holiday, and croatia isn't all that far, it is very likely we will be back some time.

we leave croatia around 5.30 - hello slovenia! onward ... and hello again, austria! we stop at heinz's mom's for the night - 500 km from tisno. and this is where our 2012 holiday ends.

it did me a world of good - not being connected to most of the rest of the world for a while ... no phone calls, no facebook, no emails. much as i am online at home, i really don't miss all that when i am travelling for a couple of weeks. it's part of recreation for me. :)

photos of day 13



holidays 2012 - day 12: three countries in one day

2012-10-26T18:15:32.149+02:00

so it's goodbye to žabljak and durmitor - in the rain. grey curtains drawn before the stunning panorama. jelena is the only one home, and she doesn't charge us for breakfast nor the countless teas and coffees! i'm really sorry to have to leave - what a nice time we've had here, and what a beautiful area it is! of course we stock up on some more pastry in town ...durmitor in the rain so we drive towards rastovac in quite heavy rain, stop for a hot drink in an umbrella-friendly place ...the parasol protectorate? (for alexia tarabotti fans) ... and then look for the road towards the bosnian border near krstac. we drive back and forth a few times and cannot find the turnoff. that should tell us something. or it might have been better to just give up and take a different road. but - just then we find the turnoff. the rain lets up eventually. beautiful scenery: hills, mountains, red and yellow and green foliage, burnt trees, barely any settlements, entertaining traffic signs ... zorro was here! cow with square udder greased lightning ... relaxed cattle ... your road? my arse! ... and the occasional garbage dump: another road, another sofa and so we leave montenegro. drive down the street to the bosnian border post. hand over our passports. the guard disappears in the house. comes back. says "there's a problem for you." that isn't quite what we want to hear. "this crossing is only for local people, people who live here." argh. why on earth? not a chance? no, sorry. we are not experienced in bribery, so ... we turn around and enter montenegro once again. the border guard doesn't even stop us, he just raises the barrier. sigh. we lose about two hours driving to krstac and back, the only good thing is that i get to spend more time in montenegro! :) we take the road to trebinje, and this time they let us leave montenegro AND enter bosnia and hercegovina. doviđenja! not a hint of rain here, instead blue sky and a few fluffy clouds. the scenery is gorgeous - mountains, a lovely river, rusty bridges, and then, when we come around a bend - a view of the sea, dark blue and dazzling in the sunlight! the sea! the sea! another border crossing, this time into croatia. we stop for a drink and some fresh mandarins in opuzen at the beginning of the neretva delta, where the fruit vendor immediately cries out "falco!" when he sees our austrian number plate. we make our way to the highway and on to split and šibenik. our destination is tisno on the island of murter, where we spent a few days last year. we know we'll be arriving late, therefore it will be nice to be in a familiar place. it's 7:30 and nearly dark by the time we get there. we set up the tent one last time and head into the little town's centre for some delicious dinner. yummy calamari! the night is actually quite cool - what a difference to last year, when we barely needed a blanket in the tent! still, we don't quite feel this way: grim face photos of day 12 [...]