lectrix_lecti: (Retro travel)
Ohgod how I HATE the fact that my workplace has made a deal with the most incompetent asshats in the history of travel agencies. We HAVE to book every damn trip through them or else.

As of yesterday we've sorted out their idiotic and completely unsanctioned double-booking of hotel, we've sorted out the 40-minute transit in Munich they booked for me and made them book an hour-and-a-half transit in Frankfurt instead, and we've sorted out the stupid hotel management as well (suddenly they had booked rooms for two people we've never heard of, and cancelled one of my co-workers). Hey, it's only taken us since FEBRUARY to get this right. Or rather, to get them to get it right.

As a bonus, they got us more expensive plane tickets and hotel rooms than a blind monkey on drugs could find.

True story: they booked a plane trip for our director with the neatest transit ever. Plane 1 was to arrive half an hour AFTER Plane 2's take-off.

Also, Tripadvisor users hate our hotel. It's a 4* "design" hotel with lousy reviews for hygiene, comfort, breakfast, you name it. The owner/manager apparently enjoys leaving comments on the reviews, and those comments are quite interesting. If you find the spewings of a highly offended and highly defensive whackjob interesting, that is.

lectrix_lecti: (Retro travel)
Honeys, I'm home. I have a sunburn tan and all.

Holiday pros:
  • Croatia is flat-out stunningly, staggeringly beautiful.
  • Since the food in the restaurants has to satisfy picky Italians on holiday, it's very good.
  • The hotel room was the largest we've ever had, complete with a balcony even larger than the one we have at home.
  • The water was incredibly clear, with lots of cute fishes and crabses in it. This pleased my husband the fisherman immensely.
  • The old town in Poreč was absolutely beautiful. Quite touristified, yes, but the only people near the Roman temple ruins, for instance, were young misunderstood locals dressed in black and drinking beer.
  • We got in a day trip to Slovenia too, to the wondrous Postojna Cave and to Lipica. I don't particularly like horses, but I'm fascinated by Lipizzans and it was a joy to get to see them.
  • Thanks to lovely dutyfree shopping, I now have ten wonderful 50-grams packs of Drum Halfzware, which they stupidly have stopped importing to Norway.
Holiday cons:
  • Insects. They loved me. There is hardly any place on me that isn't swollen and itching, including in my ear, for fuck's sake.
  • I've come to realize that I hate pebble beaches and cliffs even more than I thought I did.
  • The hotel room wasn't cleaned very well.
  • Bizarre breakfast routine in the hotel.
And here's the kicker - I managed to forget my camera in the hotel room every single time we went for walks. I think I got maybe two or three photos that are somewhat worth looking at. Go me. Plus, when I was planning on photographing the Roman temple ruins, they were infested with the aforementioned misunderstood young locals. I contemplated telling them I know several proper black metal musicians and gain their respect so I could ask them to get the hell away from my photo opportunity, but I didn't.

Oh, and Chris - I just got the booking confirmation. We're all set!
lectrix_lecti: (Retro travel)
I think we have about seventy kilometres worth of cable in the house, and I can't for the life of me find the cable for my camera... Oh, wait. Got it.

I don't seem to have taken as many photos as I usually do. This has something to do with us only purchasing one photopass for Prague castle, where we spent two days, and with me just pottering about with my jaw dragging behind me. Prague is beyond beautiful.

We stayed in a hotel in Malá Strana, the Lesser Town, which was recognised as a town in 1257. Naturally, there was so much to see there that we really didn't have to leave that part of the city (but yes, we managed to get ourselves across the Vltava a few times). Pretty, pretty, ancient buildings chin to chin with more modern ones, intricate paving, so very good restaurants and a really odd (but good) one in a 17th century chapel, Prague Castle, the Petrín Hill, statues and gargoyles and spires, an ultra lovely hipster café with a marvellous Sunday brunch offer... Can you tell I haven't quite managed to sort through all the impressions?

Some things very worth remembering:
Hot chocolate at the restaurant on the Petrín Hill, with one hell of a view.
Seeing the Charles Bridge from another bridge (crossing the Charles Bridge was nothing but annoying and awful, but it's quite a sight at a distance)
The insanely cold and marvellously interesting Prague castle history exhibition (in the Gothic part of the Royal Castle, partly below ground and not heated).
Discovering that in order to visit the old Jewish cemetery (rabbi Löw's grave!) you had to pay way too much money and get admission to a shitload of not-so-interesting synagogues. We passed on that.
The food at a restaurant that shall remain nameless, because we couldn't find its name on the facade or on the menu.
The Mucha Museum. Small but sweet.
The large group of people with dark glasses and white canes sightseeing, heh.
Orbis Pictus.

And and and...

A couple of photos )
lectrix_lecti: (His master's voice)
I knew there was something I had forgotten about our Berlin trip.

We went to the Musical Instruments Museum!

I'd say they don't really get many visitors, as the ticket said it cost 4 € to get in, while in reality it cost 2 €... Had to lower the price, eh? It was quite interesting, though, but we remarked on the fact that they had a gazillion cembaloes, but no moog and no theremin, for instance. However, if you (like me) fancy looking at cembaloes in every shape and size and with barely imaginable features (foldable travelling cembalo, anyone? Or maybe one with a built-in virginal?), it's a brilliant museum.


This is an insane instrument. How many organs have you seen that have a fucking tuba? Timpanies? 97 tibia clausa pipes?

We didn't quite understand the madness of it until we stumbled upon its chambers - a floor above the keyboard part of the organ.

It's played every Saturday, and I swear, the next time we're in Berlin I'll go for a listen. The museum offered recordings for the visitors' endless pleasure, but it's just not the same. Not that the recordings weren't impressive.

Just look at that monster. It pleases me enormously that there are people in the world who will dream up and build something like The Mighty Wurlitzer.


Sep. 26th, 2006 05:22 pm
lectrix_lecti: (Retro travel)
So. Berlin.

The hotel was bliss. Lovely big room, light and airy, tea and sherry in the lobby each afternoon, good breakfast, very nice staff. I got particularly fond of the barmaid, Mme Somethingfrenchsounding, who was far from professional but very charming. A shoehorn in the complementary basket was a new one, to me at least.

Also, the hotel was conveniently located right near buses and S-Bahn and Ku'damm.

We went all-out tourists for the occasion, including a 3-hour boat trip on Landwehrkanal and the Spree (which involved among other things a dinner served in the most sickly yellow light you can imagine. My Würstsalat looked like zombie puke). We also went to The Story of Berlin (not really worth the money), Brandenburger Tor (mostly by accident), the Zoo (wheeeeee), Bahnhof Zoo (where the husband got to loiter and pretend he was Christiane F.), Altes Museum (mummies!), the Pergamon Museum (amazing) and the museum in the former Stasi headquarters (which was absolutely brilliant).

And we saw Cirque de Soleil's show Dralion. Holy hell. That was incredible. It even cured me of much of my hatred for circus clowns.

A few highlights, with photos )

I suppose I should mention the food, if only to satisfy my food-obsessed spouse. Near our hotel was the most brilliant restaurant on the planet, a South American one with the best veal I've ever tasted and a banana panna cotta which was to die for.

For our wedding dinner, we went to Ana e Bruno, where the food was, well, delicious. Which was to be expected. At least two of the wines tasted like poorly filtered piss and then turned to nectar when matched with their food courses, which was a bit of an eye-opener to a wine philistine such as myself. They did, however, quite overdo the gourmet restaurant thang. I don't really appreciate being led practically by my hand to the toilet or having my glass of water topped off by one of the three hovering waiters every time I take a sip. Still, it was very memorable and great fun. Bruno's big thing is apparently to hold a speech on the menu for each guest, but we missed that. I gather this was because he only speaks Italian and German, and our German isn't good enough for this treat.

The Berlin fastfood, the Currywürst, tasted just as good as Bruno's creations to me, though. But I'm a food barbarian.

Oh, and we tied the knot at the embassy, complete with Sekt and forgetting the camera in the taxi (but retrieving it moments later, thank dog).

Have I forgotten something? Probably lots.
lectrix_lecti: (Smoking)

To sum up the weekend: Madrid is a lovely city, [livejournal.com profile] blue_chris is a great guide and I feel like I don't have to eat again ever.

Oh, and Chris' cat has to be the horniest cat alive. She humped my leg. And bf's. And Chris' bf's. And Chris', which was positively incestuous.

Best parts: croquetas in the tavern in the picture above, Goya's black paintings at the Prado, coffee Bombon (with condensed milk), tapas tapas tapas, the elevator in Chris' house (the tiniest elevator in the world), cheese, the tropical garden in the central station, pretty pretty buildings, the cosy little café with the "reserved" table, I could go on listing things forever.
lectrix_lecti: (Default)
Yesterday, I went to the hi-fi shop to see if my headphones were back from service and was told that because AKG is currently switching to another import/service firm in Norway, they hadn't even been sent over yet. Had to stamp down on a hissy fit, and good thing I did, because the clerk went to check with the manager just in case, and the manager told him to get me a new set.

Brand new K26!

Besides, work is going very well indeed these days, the boyfriend got me this and a very beautiful silver thumb ring for my birthday, we've decided where to go on our summer vacation and we've got plane tickets for Madrid in April.

All is well.
lectrix_lecti: (Default)
We're ill. We have raging diarrhoea. We're in tremendous pain. Rolf is worse off than me for a change and just went to the emergency ward.

But up until yesterday, it was a pretty nice vacation.
lectrix_lecti: (Default)
To avoid Harry Potter spoilers, work-related stress, rainy cold fucking Norwegian summer days, Internet addiction and the comfort of enjoying a quiet holiday in one's own admittedly very nice city, I'm off to Romania tomorrow.

Where there's been two massive floods over the last few weeks.

At least it's warm there.

Problem is, it may not be possible to visit Dracula's castle (there's actually two of'em, one that was just picked by Romanian Tourist authorities as a cool sight to see and one where it's quite probably that Vlad Tepes lived once) because of the damn floods. And here I've been considering re-reading Anne Rice and all. Plus, one of the most interesting museums has had to close down due to leaks in the roof. Woo fucking hoo.

Back in a couple of weeks. Unless I'm bloody evacuated before that.
lectrix_lecti: (Default)
In a week I'm going to Romania.

Romania just happens to enjoy the worst flood in 30 years.

I'm not joking.

On Rome

May. 10th, 2005 07:25 pm
lectrix_lecti: (Default)
Il Vecchio Gandalf
A minute's walk from my hotel in Rome there was a bar called Il Vecchio Gandalf - The Old Gandalf. That bar in itself is a good reason for returning to Rome as soon as humanly possible, because whenever I had time for a drink there it was closed, and when I hurried past on my way somewhere it was open. Every bleeding time.

So I never got to have a drink in The Old Gandalf.

I did, however, visit enough bars to develop an unhealthy addiction to Amaretto.

And to think I was in Rome to work.

Istituto di Norvegia in Roma
Up on a height in Trastevere, there's a really beautiful old Roman villa housing the Norwegian institute. There are rhododendrons and lemon trees and lots of greenery, it's walls are a deep orange tone and it has a lovely roof terrace overlooking Rome. I felt dead privileged to be working there for a couple of days. We even managed to get some work done, amazing.

But in truth this work trip to Rome was an excuse to reward my co-workers and me, for working our arses off all autumn.

What's "towels" in Italian?
We stayed in a wonderful hotel. An old 18th century palazzo, run by an extended family, complete with terraces (my room had a terrace all to itself) and strange non-English speaking old night porter. It was a bit worn and rickety, which added to the charm, and with a stunningly beautiful wooden ceiling. I'd love to post a dozen pictures of it, but I brought my old-skool camera (with real film) and I have no scanner, unfortunately. I feel like insisting on showing that hotel to everyone.

The cleaning was a bit rickety too, though. Not that it wasn't clean there, but one of the days I got no new towels. A very exhaustive enquiry ensued - I had to learn quite a bit of Italian and talk to four different people before getting my towels. The day after I was issued a triple amount of towels to make up for it...

The breakfast lady looked like an aging Gina Lollobrigida (who, come to think of it, is actually aging) and was mightily fascinated by my request for tea instead of coffee. I was very much the odd one out with my milky tea, but she appeared to enjoy my weirdness immensely and behaved positively motherly towards me.

Oh, the footache.
I had already ruined my feet in Copenhagen (see previous post) and so was utterly unsuited for Roman streets and traffic. Somehow I managed to hobble around looking at Insula Tiberia and a few such things. My shopping spree was a hilarious travesty, though. It consisted of buying a bag in a street near Campo de Fiore, then limping to the Campo, sitting down at a bar and ordering an Amaretto, then a while later, buying a book in a shop on the Campo, limping to another bar and ordering an Amaretto et cetera et cetera. As shopping goes, it was pathetic.

Neither did I get to see the Pantheon or the Colosseo or anything - my feet couldn't take much walking and I didn't have all that time on my hands anyway. I did, however, learn a lot about the trams and buses and metro in Rome, which will be useful when I go back. And I will go back as soon as possible.
lectrix_lecti: (Default)
On the importance of good shoes part I
When packing for a weekend in good old Copenhagen, to be followed directly by four days in Rome, it's important to remember a pair of good, comfortable shoes, because one will be walking a lot.

I brought my old well-worn Ecco sneakers. Then I got a nasty reminder of how well-worn shoes can suddenly turn into worn-out shoes.

[livejournal.com profile] wasteman_r and I arrived in Copenhagen Friday, April 14th. Saturday, April 15th we walked and walked and walked, until I discovered (the painful way) raw wounds on my right foot, on my heel and two of my toes. My good old shoes had, with extraordinary timing, started eating on my feet. After this discovery, he walked and walked while I limped and limped.

This led to me fucking up some bones in my right foot as well, because I placed my weight awkwardly on that foot in order to avoid rubbing the wounds more than absolutely necessary. This in its turn led to a more pronounced limping and more weight placed awkwardly on the left foot.

The big tendon in my left ankle, don't know it's name in English, is now inflamed and has been for two weeks...

On doing touristy things
I've been to Copenhagen more times than I can count. My father was Danish and when I was cuter and littler than I am now, we visited my aunt and my sleazy uncle in Copenhagen. When I grew less cute and little and started going to the Roskilde festival, I always spent time in Copenhagen before the festival, buying necesseties in Christiania and drinking in Nyhavn.

The thing is, except from a visit to Bakken when I was a child and few visits to Tivoli, I've never really done any touristy stuff in Copenhagen. When visiting aunty and icky uncle, we just looked at their aviaries and got bitten by their mean German Shepherd and such. When I turned 18, I just hit Pusher Street and the bars and might as well have been lighting up at home, except for the quality of what was smoked. I've never even visited Rundetårn.

This time around we were big time Tourists.

Thanks to my Foot Thing, I managed to talk Wasteman into going on a canal cruise - complete with multilingual and disinterested guide - so we looked at The Little Mermaid and The Black Diamond (but we've already been there, inside it and all, it's the library and we went there on a rainy day in '96 before going to Christiania) and the people enjoying the sun in Nyhavn and Christianshavn.

We also went shopping. Very, very tourist-ish, that. I bought a pair of shoes and Wasteman got a pair of pants, and everyone in the shops were Norwegian and it was all infinitely embarrassing. I felt less idiotic when it started raining and all the real tourists took shelter in doorways and stood around staring cow-like at the rain, not knowing what to do or where to go, while we slipped off the main shopping street and went to find a bar.

Incidentally, this particular bar visit landed me with a brand new addiction. It was a bit cold, so we had hot chocolate with Amaretto, which tasted absolutely wonderful and is highly recommended. The problem is, I've been drinking Amaretto on a far too regular basis since. This morning I craved a bit of Amaretto in my tea, but this was cruelly denied me by a slightly worried boyfriend.

On Sunday 17th, we went to Tivoli - we paid up to get in and sit around in the cafés and on the benches and look at things and at people and take exactly one trip with Ballongyngen. It was a good day. The Tivoli season started the day we arrived in Copenhagen, and it was the queen's birthday on Saturday, so we managed to pack quite a few ultra-Danish things into one weekend.

We looked at artworks displayed around the town. We strolled along Peblingesø. We contemplated visiting Rundetårn but put it off because I would have had to be carried down. We fussed with a city map and with our cameras. And all the time I felt like an imposter because Copenhagen is a town I know really, really well and acting like a tourist is something I have never done there before.

It was really, really fun.

On food
You can't go anywhere with Wasteman without having a disproportionate focus on food. He must suffer from some brain malfunction, because he seriously has problems thinking about or doing anything but eating. He must also suffer from some body malfunction, because he's skinny.

Travelling with Wasteman means endless perusal of café and restaurant menus, annoying dithering about where to eat because he doesn't want to miss any really good eating and instead be exposed to inferior food, fighting about where to eat because I grow weary of his inability to decide which place he wants to eat and resulting Ceaucescu decisions taken by me.

Things were also complicated because our favourite café in Copenhagen, Universitetscaféen, had closed.

We did, however, manage to find a new fave café - Skilpadden on Gråbrødretorv. Wonderful food. Nice place. And just across the square we found one hell of a restaurant - Philippe, where even I turned food obsessed for a little while. On Sunday we had dinner in a Tivoli restaurant, olde Danish inn style complete with energetic and incredibly nice and funny bar maid. And she wasn't joking when she asked if we wanted another serving of bacon and parsley sauce, there were more servings included in the (low) price, but at the point of asking we hadn't even managed to finish the first one. Danish food and generosity. Bless the Danes (and let's discuss their blatant racism some other time).

On the importance of good shoes part II
We went to see Einstürzende Neubauten live (see previous entry). On Sunday night, my consciousness spent most of the gig being 90 % ecstatic about the band and a nagging 10 % worrying about the increasing pain in my feet. And worrying about going to Rome on Monday. And hoping that it would be more work than touristiness in Rome.
lectrix_lecti: (Default)

I've seen Neubauten live two times before. Sadly, this was the not the best gig. Not even the second best. Still, when Neubauten is not up to their best, they're anyway so good it's scary.

Blixa Bargeld announced that there would first be one hour-long set of their greatest hits, and then another hour-long set of, err, their greatest hits. It was, after all, the 25th anniversary tour. They kicked it off with Yü-Gung (Fütter Mein Ego), from the album 1/2 Mensch and one of my absolute favourites, and I was in heaven. An industrial, avant-garde, dada, noise heaven.

The Neubauten was as always one mean machine, grinding and hammering out Haus der Lüge, Perpetuum Mobile, the truly beautiful Sabrina, Selbstporträt mit Kater and Sehnsucht. I, who discovered Neubauten at 15, was finally treated to Z.N.S. live, they got everyone to sing along to Was Ist Ist (several hundred people screaming "Was ist ist/Was nicht ist ist möglich!"), and ended the second set with the song meant to round off all concerts ever; Ende Neu.

Oh my fucking gods it was great.

Blixa seems to become more talkative every year - this time around he told the Kango hammer anecdote ("Andrew did some architectural criticism with power tools"), bantered a lot with Alexander Hacke and told the story about the film they wrote Sabrina for and how it turned out that the song wasn't used for it's original purpose (including a wonderful Blixa-comment on "a boy losing his virginity for the first time").

I'm fairly easy to please when it comes to Neubauten. Still, I've seen heroes of mine live before and become truly disappointed (a big fat fuck you to Lou 'I don't wanna be here but I'll do a bit of guitar wanking if you insist' Reed). The reason this isn't the best gig of theirs is probably that the audience wasn't all that responsive, dampening down the band the tiniest bit. It was still impressive, as concerts go.

And, woo absofuckinglutely hoo, I got my hands on a copy of their anniversary celebration book, No Beauty Without Danger by Max Dax and Robert Defcon. Out of 500 copies made, I actually own one.


Andrew Unruh plays the shopping cart

Photographs by [livejournal.com profile] wasteman_r, a terrible but enthusiastic photographer who was in charge of the camera because I am too small. Being a recognised fan I could get a photo pass, but I didn't dare get one and then show up with a tiny Minolta thingy among the well-equipped photographers.

If you're curious enough and don't know Neubauten, visit their web site.
lectrix_lecti: (Default)
I should be submitting lengthy entries on my adventures in Copenhagen and in Rome and about the Neubauten gig and uploading photographs of Blixa Bargeld and of The Little Mermaid and of the bar by my hotel in Trastevere and all that but I'm to ill and tired and I must go to bed now good night

July 2009

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