Hemingway’s mojito – now is mint bloom!

One of the top classic cocktails, and now that the mint flowers are blossoming, a fine time to mix some mojitos against the heat wave Europe is experiencing :

fresh limes, cooled, partially peeled and cut into round discs

cane sugar and a pestle to grind the discs of lime with the teaspoon of sugar

ron añejo, one shot glass

fresh sprigs of mint

crushed ice / cold water and ice cubes

Put several rounds of lime into a mojito glass, a teaspoon of cand sugar on top and grind with the pestle. Add the rum, the crushed ice, some sprigs of mint and a cocktail stirrer. Enjoy while it ‘s hot!

Earnest Hemingway loved this cocktail especially,  as every Cuban tour guide will be eager to point out. He was known for his drinking habits, his intrepid nature when in Cuba or in the Spanish Civil War. Whoever looks for clues, will be able to find them in his short stories: one tenth meaning and nine tenths buried in the underneath currents of meaning like an iceberg.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Everybody knows of his physical prowess and his symbols of love, friendship, those bewildered repetitions when his characters must adapt  to a new environment, the search for love, light, orderliness, human warmth,  not agony or the strain of war. As to a list of good reads, I’d offer you a library shelf or two, my faves were “A Clean Well-lighted Place”Farewell to Arms“, For Whom the Bell Tolls“, “Fiesta“, “The Old Man and the Bridge“… take your own pick! Oh yes, and for fun, look at his old boat, tiny but double sturdy!

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Photo by Ruel Madelo on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

Coco Malé

I’d like to be

under the sea

in an octopus’s garden   in the shade

sings Ringo Starr in his “Yellow Submarine” – how true, the best place in the world at times!

 

This was an Easter trip – unforgettable! We met a marine biologist working for Nature for the owners of the Coco Island near Malé, Maldives. She explained all the plastic garbage / rubbish/ microplastic awfulness in the Oceans of the World.

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Meanwhile I am the proud owner of two cute stuffed turtle fellas and have actively filmed and photographed as many turtles as I could. I have also checked out the corals, dead near the Family Islands in the Great Barrier Reef, ditto in the Red Sea in the Coral Park, ditto but less less awful in Malé, near Denià I didn’t see much due to the wild tempestuous weather leaving a long deep scratch that took a year to heal (no big deal).

And yes, this is the place I’d like to be most. Not only because of the snorkeling, but because of the lovely people and the great meals and the wonderful surroundings and the fantastic bungalows etc. I made more friends here than in other places, which is why we are planning to come again. I also know of others who similarly make repeat visits.

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The cotton turtles are only a reminder of what still needs to be done to save these and other animals from disappearing from the face of our planet. Treating trash and residue lightly or not recycling will have fatal consequences for us all some day. Yes, I am worried about my carbon footprints, but I have not yet learned to fly on my own, anybody out there who knows how?  I just can’t wait to go back in the near future.

 

Total ticketing tourist tricksters

Okay, my Austrian girlfriend had put this tick into my ear: you ought to go to Bregenz and see the See. No, sorry, see the lake-theater (German: Seebühne) built right into the water. How cool can you get! Very!!

Yes, I can very much recommend it if you like Austria (CHECK, our backyard, unless our politicians come up with stupid ideas),

 

if you like operas (CHECK, especially if hubby is more into the mainstream operatic ones featuring real songs he can sing) (can he sing?),

if you don’t mind being cramped up for about 2 1/2 hours on the hard plastic seat (CHECK, don’t forget fat cushions and yoga class beforehand) (forget about breaks or walking or standing up in between),

if you had a yummy dinner (CHECK CHECK at La Scarpetta in Dornbirn and the Kleines Gasthaus am See, bliss, except fot the three screechers & wailers whose parents couldn’t care less about their offspring’s wails),

So, if you don’t mind all the above- mentioned things, then a weekend trip from Munich to Bregenz (about 2 1/2 hours cramped in a car) and lots of extra cash is just the thing!

Our Travel Agency took out a chuck by charging our credit card the minute we booked with them.- that is a NO-NO. Normally, your card gets charged for 20%  immediately as a kind of promise and the rest about a week or two ahead of the event. Our agency  pretended now to know about this etiquette, but I had a long talk with them. After all, there such things as a Terminüberweisung and the bank will make sure the money is transferred right on time.

The hotel chosen in Dornbirn was the right size and category and not too far off from the Seebühne, about 20 km along the B 190, but had definitely seen better days and did NOT have AC. Nor did it have appeal. However, it boasts a very good breakfast, albeit missing the more expensive choices, but I don’t breakfast that much anyway, and the employees are nice and offer cushions and shuttle bus and those things you didn’t know you’d need.

Our escapism took us first to the interesting Rolls-Royce museum in Gütle (8,-€ adult), then the Seilbahn/ incline up the Karren of Gütle (Oh yes, the view iS WORTH it! free overlook in plastic over the precipice) and a great lunch of Lumpensalat (a sausage – cheese – red-onion- vinegar – oil dressing kind) with good beer and even better Almdudler (what? you don’t know the famous lemonade with herbs?).

The hot afternoon was spent in the Waldbad / Gütleright next to the river or creek without much water in this drought, but interestingly full of big and small smooth rocks and pebbles. The Waldbad offers many treats for families, well run.

 

 

“Carmen” by Bizet is most certainly in all the operatic books and Wiki. The scoop was the fantastic Bühnenbild/ backdrop done by a lady from London with two gigantic hands tossing the cards of fate. At times, the cards will be lowered at ground level to go partially underwater, so the crowd gets emphatic with skirt tossing and head banging and running and splashing each other, which is just the build-up of suspense to Carmen’s tragic end (how did the singer manage that death scene???) – no, I’m not cheating, you go there yourself, please!

 

 

 

 

Curiosity killed the Cat – or nearly

As most people will affirm, I am one of the most curious people there can be and am constantly, consistently asking questions. I do believe I get on people’s nerves with my harrowing habit, but it does make people proud when they have been able to help me out and gain access to fresh knowledge.

As to killing a cat with its nine lives? (or possibly even more). When I started getting too close to the truth in a wide affair that went all the up to the top levels, I am quite convinced that I was purposely almost driven over by a a SUV whose driver had a red stop light whereas the pedestrians were flashing green, and I had instinctively stopped, as the driver was going top speed, over the top even. And this only weeks after a very good friend had died after being at the dentist’s for a root canal treatment (Wurzel-behandlung). I was feeling rather unsettled anyway. As if the near fatal accident was just the prolongation of what I was feeling while wandering outside of the  ceramics class, where I was trying to regain my inner balance  by checking out the café up the street and visiting some old friends. Neither did I like the way another vehicle revved up and nearly knocked over a nice lady I was talking to about the mini car series being more difficult to park near to, as they don’t have a longer front chassis.

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Be it as it was, I shall always be a cat with nine lives and continue to ask questions, it is the most fascinating part of life there can be anyway, finding out more about a certain area of life and honing one’s skills.  As with Schroeder’s cat, you only know if the cat is alive by looking into the box. Until then, you cannot know whether it is alive or dead.

The featured photo above, btw (by the way for those not used to acronyms) is not a painting nor a collage, but a flowery wall in a town that decided to make their place greener. I find it almost as fascinating as a painting of blue iris by Van Gogh. You may have noticed that a painting that make you happy always goes upwards from the bottom left to the top right.

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Gaudeamus igitur juvenes dum sumus!  Even the Romans knew about happiness. Perhaps that is why they also celebrated libertatis voluntas?

Or, as the song goes:

Happiness is              –      different things for different kinds of people!  Biography of hunger – hunger for more and more knowledge by Amélie Nothomb.

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Caipirinha – cooling cocktail while chilling the heat of the day

Ahhh, that sigh of relief when you finally manage to get home and put your feet up in the darkened living-room after a long day in the sweltering heat. No, it is not because one is not used to the temperature, Pittsburgh and NY City are worse because of the humidity and thunderstorms just about every single evening. After all, NY, NY. is on the same latitude as Madrid  – Munich, on the other hand, is waaay up north by comparison, like Nova Scotia.  But who wants north when you can head south  – to Cuba, my lovely little island, even though I’ve heard of many sad trends since Raúl C.

Howe’er it was…. Cubans make delicious cold cocktails. Caipirinha is easy and quick if your legs are aching for that footstool.

You will need (check the photo):

some limes  (possibly a stray lemon) cut into slices

a pestle (Stößel)

brown cane sugar al gusto

Pitú or Cuban rum, añejo

soda water

ice cubes

20180625_caipi.jpg20180623_120922        You take a larger glass, put in at least 4 slices of lime (or mixed, but not authentic),  1 – 2 teaspoons of cane sugar and grind it all till the sugar is melted. add in a wee bit of rum, lots if water and cool down with ice. My ice thingies are little plastic fruits that don’t water down my drink.

 

And now, feet up and drink down:

Arriba

abajo

al centro

! adentro!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Cherry cupcakes

What can be more delicious than some cherry cakes from scratch? And it is really simple.

So here goes:

about 3 handfuls of cherries, pitted  or  one jar drained

one large cake pan lined with paper or two cupcake pans lines with paper cups

Mix in a large baking bowl, till fluffy:

200g margarine or butter

200 g sugar

aroma: vanilla sugar or 1 tsp. of Grand Marnier

2 – 3 eggs, one by one till fluffy

 

Sift on top:

200g flour

2 tsp. baking powder / soda

Stir in carefully, making sure all ingredients are well-mixed. Put spoonfuls into your cups or tin. Bake at approx. 190° C / 375 ° F or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Personally, I am like a Poppins and can always sniff out a finished cake or tart a few minutes before my timer can ring. Cool down slowly, the cakes can be left in the warm oven with the door opened.

Frost if desired or if you are making it as a whole cake, try out some Streusel:

100 g each of flour, sugar and butter, mix till you have a crumbly mixture and crumble it over he top of your unbaked cake. Along with whipped cream, deeelicious!

Ah yes, my latest fun line:

Und wenn ich die Schokolade im Dunkeln esse, finden mich vielleicht die Kalorien nicht.

(If I eat chocolate in the dark, the calories will perhaps not be able to find me)

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cherry cupcakes

 

 

I care – I kea

Fußball! WM! Soccer! WM ! (Weltmeisterschaft)

All the youngsters from around the block, who head down to the Kinderhaus 3 blocks south from their elementary school, and usually on their mini-scooters were chanting their “hymn” and hoping that Germany would win the World Cup hosted in Russia.

My idea on that ominous Saturday afternoon  was to head to IKEA to pick up an extra flag with the right colors should Sweden win over Germany (yes, I already own the German, the Bavarian, several francophone, anglophone and hispano flags, but not the Swedish one so far).  Never in my life could I have anticipated the Kroos-artige kick (modeled on großartig = great or fantastic) that saved German faces that evening. As it was, little did it help in the end.

But what was truly keen, was the fun I had visiting an IKEA shop after about 25 years or so. I used to go there every so often for my kids to play in the big ball room (no, not the waltz kind of room, more like a gigantic room full of plastic balls to dive into)  and watch the occasional “Pippi Langstrumpf”  VHS movie or just meander (the only word to describe going through an IKEA warehouse) through many departments, like “kids’ rooms” and “toy rooms” and kitchens, door knobs, cell phone holders and decoration, etc.

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I had the most fun waiting for the young man’s help in the office furniture department where kids and grown-ups could kick the soft soccer ball into a goal thingy. I waited patiently alongside Italians and Muslims. Only the little Muslim girl won a prize, which turned out to be a hot dog. Pure pork. Not Muslim-y. The young fellow rushed off to warn the management of their awkward mistake and inquire about a halal prize. So I skipped the waiting and meandered some more.

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Fact is, Ikea still has many of the classic assortment of shelf designs, like “Billy”. Ikea also officially sells lox / salmon, smoked and graved lox, if there hadn’t been a big empty gap on those shelves. In fact, the sales area wasn’t anything like the classy sitting area with a long counter like there used to be, but a tiny airport-sized vending area in which everything was boxed and shelved without seats, without class, without Smørrebrød, just pricey and easy to grab, all in Self Service.

The Quick Anti-Hunger sitting area in fact was SRO (Standing Room Only) and actually sold hot dogs (sic), that evidently being the new world dream of Swedishness. What a shame. The new checkout self-serve system was much the same : so easy you didn’t really need the help of the qualified young lady helping dumb shoppers to check out their goodies and treats, albeit no lox. In only took us about 10 minutes to get through the hassles of getting the machine to respond. The new system announced just recently on the radio of not being allowed to give back your wares, if you are merely unhappy about your shopping experience, still awaits trial-and-error feedback.

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all the goodies I found – yum yum

Needless to say, the new drive-in lanes to IKEA which also meandered for a long while and completely confused my navigation system and my fast-footed-but-still-too-slow big-building-meandering took me a while. I got home about an hour later than I had planned. Thankfully, the berry preserves and the kottbullar powdered gravy saved my day. Ah yes, and the paper flag, even though Germany won that round.