Over the rainbow and far away…. well, as far as Radom anyway.

This installation, by the artist Julita Wójcik has moved from it’s temporary home in Brussels to it’s new permanent (I hope) home on the super trendy, hipsterville of Plac Zbawiciela.  You can read more about it by clicking here.

Next a just a smattering of photos from my latest trip to Radom, there was a huge thunderstorm in the night, and although I didn’t manage to catch an actual lightning strike, I did do some long exposure photographs that have a strange glow in them when the lightning struck part way through the exposure time.

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Day 87 – 89, Berlin, April 5th -7th 2012

Tea 88, Fresh Mint Tea, Ankerklause, Berlin

Day 87, Thursday.  Today I spent the day wandering around for ages, Abigail had gone to her studio so I decided to explore the city centre.  It was one of those days of loads of inadvertent walking.  I walked back to Alexanderplatz in an, ultimately futile, attempt to find a tourist information, god knows where it is!  I should probably check the internet, but I keep on forgetting before it’s too late.  I did by a little notebook with a map in it though, so that is helpful to me.  It also makes checking maps in a more incognito fashion easier!  From Alexanderplatz I walked West and past a large area of museums and tourists.  I eventually, accidentally, made it to Checkpoint Charlie, the place was heaving with tourists carrying cameras and beggars carrying cardboard begging scripts.  I didn’t really hang around here for any time at all, the crowds of people putting me off.  There are two men standing in American Army uniform pretending to guard the checkpoint, which was one of the most tense and symbolic border crossings between East and West.

I escaped up a quieter street, which was a bit of a relief, walking past a car museum / rental place called Trabi world, the Trabi (or Trabant) was the most common car driven and produced in Eastern Germany.  This little place is filled with cars that you can hire and drive around the city.  Very old school…

A bit more of a wander, I thought I was on my way towards the Brandenberger Tor, although I never actually made it in the end, I think I did manage to walk all the way around it though!  Much more walking around in a large loop around the city before I made it back home.

That evening Sergej and I went out for some more drinks, where some of his workmates and an old friend were hanging out.  The place was so so smokey!  By the time we got home I totally stank and had to have a cold shower to get the stench of smoke out of my hair and skin.  It still surprises me that most places allow smoking anywhere in Berlin.  And it is kind of weird to see advertising for cigarettes, especially that still promote them in a life giving kind of way!

Day 88, Friday.  Today was a slow morning, Abigail and Sergej have gone away for the weekend, sort of for her birthday, which is next week.  Eventually I got up and started some work on my website, which is part of the reason for these belated, bunched up posts.  All the shops were closed today, it was Good Friday, though not the cafes and restaurants.  I met up with one of Abigail’s friends, Ulijona, and we went for a cup of tea at a cafe called Ankerklause.  This place is quite popular, and I am told, a good place for celebrity spotting (it’s apparently one of Quentin Tarantino‘s favourite places). The sun was mostly out, so we sat outside and I had a nice Fresh Mint tea and we chatted for a while about clubbing, Berlin, art, etc.  Then we both decided that we were hungry so Ulijona took me to the place she considered to have the best Falafel (I imagine there is a lot of opinions for a lot of different places!)  But it was good, I had Falafel with Halloumi and it was pretty good, and possibly better than the first place I went to, though mostly because the Halloumi had been cooked properly here.  After that Ulijona went home and I walked around trying to soak up as much sunshine as possible, though it was a little cold in the wind.  I got home and did a bit more work on my website and some more pondering about the future, which seems to be dominating a lot of my thoughts right now.

Day 89, Saturday.  So, finally!  A post that happens on the day it happened!  Today I woke up and had breakfast and then left fairly quickly, compared to usual.  However, as I got to the door and opened it, I was greeted by sleety, snowy freezing rainfall.  I decided to leave anyway, although changed my original plan (which was a walk through the Tiergarten!) and went back towards town and browsed in bookshops and found the Lomography shop which I had a little look around (Marta’s experience with the Holga has still inspired me to look for something of my own to use)  I basically did a big loop and wandered around some of the smaller streets, filled with high class galleries, and expensive shops.  Then I got back home, via the Chinese market where I bought some rice crackers and a can of Aloe Vera juice.  I sat and rested my legs for a while.  Then the sun peeped it’s head out so I went out again to try to catch it, I wandered around the remnants of a little market next to the cafe I visited yesterday, most of it had been packed away, but there were still a few stalls left.  I walked some more whilst the sun stayed up and then came back home, via the supermarket where I treated myself to some over priced Peanut butter, it was far too expensive, but I have been craving it for long enough to make it seem worth it!

Time for more work on the website.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter Campaign, if you don’t mind.

<CLICK HERE>


Day 76, Torun – Warsaw, March 25th 2012

Tea 76: Green Tea with Cactus Flowers, Torun

The majority of sunday was filled with more travelling back to Warsaw, most of the day was spent in the car and then the train.  We got back to Warsaw safe and sound though and then headed home, totally starving having not had lunch, not that we had been hungry at lunchtime due to the sheer amount of food consumed over the weekend!  But we got home then went about making a good tasty salad with feta cheese and all kinds of lovely things.  Then we went to meet Ola, a friend of Marta’s, at a club / pub near Pole Moketowski.  This was a student bar which we unfortunately had to pay to get in, but once inside the beer was cheap.  There was also another turn up for the books when Marta found 20 Zloty on the floor that no one wanted to claim back, so that paid for our entry!  The music was some Rock and Metal, taking me back to my teenage years, both with music and looking around at the fashion, which hasn’t changed very much in the past decade…. apart from the occasional bit of nu-rave neon…

Needless to say we stayed for a few pints and did a lot of chatting, and of people watching, especially of this guy who was part of our group but who seemed eager to pull at least two girls, at the same time, in the same conversation… good luck to him, he didn’t seem to be doing too badly!

We probably got home around two in the morning and collapsed in a heap.  There are no photos from this day I am afraid, so instead comes a little Torun photo recap!

ALSO!  Please don’t forget to check my campaign page and if you like the project, the blog, and would like to support a really great project and cause then every little would be massively appreciated!  I even offer tea handouts to people who donate that read my blog!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hellocollective/hello-collectives-summer-studio-2012


Day 25, Tallinn, February 3rd 2012

Tea 25: China White Monkey, Majasmokk, Tallinn

So, a belated post!  Went out last night and didn’t get chance to write this until this morning.  Yesterday was yet another freezing cold day, and I think today is going to be even worse!  But the sun still shines and that makes me happy, and I will be heading for Tartu later, hopefully on a warm bus!  I headed out around mid day again, this time I wanted to go back to the sea so I went down by the big old concrete Soviet Concert Hall ‘Linnahall‘ and looked out into the mist.  The sea is covered by this low lying but dense mist, this is apparently caused when the sea temperature is warmer than the air temperature, and you get this spooky, slow moving mist about 5 feet tall and dense as a cloud.  After I totally froze out next to the sea, my hands aching, even my toes through my big boots suffering a bit, AND my scarf freezing to my face!, I more or less ran back into the old town in search of a cup of tea and some warm sanctuary.  I went to this cafe called Majasmokk, a fairly old school, traditonal looking cafe selling various cakes and pastries and lots of Kalev chocolate goods (which I actually managed to resist).  I had a mushroom and pepper flakey pastry thing, and a cup of China White Monkey tea.  This tea is very interesting, quite a strong, nutty flavour comes out from the delicate green leaves.  They don’t seem to colour the water much, and so I was expecting a tea more like your standard White tea, but, as I said, it is surprisingly stronger and not like most white teas at all.  I thought for a while I was drinking a different tea, or that the filter had another flavour stuck in it, but after a bit of research it seems that is how it should be.

After warming up, and then psyching myself up, I ventured back outside.  After walking a little way the mobile phone Ingrid had lent me rang and she was on the other end, she had finished work early and was coming to meet up with me in town.  I escaped the cold and went into a shopping mall while I waited.  Looking through books and windows and pretending to be shopping.  I met Ingrid and we went straight to another cafe, this time the chocolate cafe, Pierre Chocolaterie, tucked away down a little side road in the old town.  We both had the same, a rum and raisin hot chocolate!  It was very good, warming and tasty, with raisins in the bottom and a decent hit of rum. The cafe itself is nice and cozy, full of cushions and wooden furniture, soft lighting and dark walls.  A lovely little place, but for treats only as it is a little expensive.

We then headed back for home, though via the supermarket to buy some food.  Another couch surfer and one of Ingrid’s friends were coming for dinner before we all went out to a couch surfing meet.  I cooked, the request from Ingrid was a Shepherd’s Pie, but it would seem that it is basically impossible to find any kind of lamb in Estonia, it had to be Cottage Pie.  I was quite pleased with the outcome, a nice tasty filling and I did my favourite thing, to put leeks in the mash potato topping, makes a big, yummy, difference!  Food eaten, and all of it was, we all hopped in a taxi and went to the Red Emperor, a bar somewhere in Tallinn, it was dark and I was in a car so exactly where it is I could not say.  We hung out there for a while, playing giant jenga, and watching people play pool, also laughing at the guy who was asleep on the sofa when we arrived (at about 10) and still there when we left at around midnight!  Poor guy!  We then went to a club, somewhere nearby the Linnahall again, danced for a few hours, to music that I’m more used to hearing in adverts and in my imaginations of bad mid-nineties clubs, than in today’s clubs.   There were a little too many people for what was a very small space, but the little group of us that had gone managed to keep our dancing circle going and the music began to improve eventually.  We left at around 3:30 and got in another taxi home.

Today I am traveling to Tartu, hopefully some point soon, though I have to pack, but will try to fill you in later!