Laura's weblog Beauty, food, photos and more!

18Aug/111

Holiday in Germany, times two

I'm home! Actually, I've been home for almost three days now, I was just too preoccupied with beauty looks to post about my vacations. ;) But, here we go!

The first holiday I took was with my mum. We went to Nuremberg in Germany, to visit the city and its surroundings, as well as our friend Trixi. We left Thursday, July 28th, early in the morning, and arrived at our camp site in Nuremberg late in the afternoon. We set up our camp with two little tents, one for each of us, and then went over to Trixi who had prepared us a lovely dinner.

The next day, the three of us went sight-seeing together. We started out at the World War 2 tribunes at the Zeppelin field, where Hitler gave his speeches all those years ago. I had seen old black & white movies of it in history class, but it was quite impressive to see it in person!

Next, we went into the city centre, where we had lunch (real German bratwurst and sauerkraut), visited the St. Sebaldus church and had a nice iced coffee as the weather was quite nice that day. The next day, we went to Trixi's place for lunch first, and then visited the St. Lorenz church in the city, and went to the Bardentreffen music festival afterwards.

The next morning we visited a graveyard -- I guess this might seem like a bit of an odd thing to do on holiday, but they're often quite beautiful, decorated with statues and such, and very peaceful. When I was on holiday in Paris about a year and a half ago, my friend insisted we should visit one of the graveyards there, and none of us had any regrets about it afterwards. The St. Johannesfriendhof in Nuremberg was also quite a beautiful place, with lots of lovely roses and statues. Afterwards, we had lunch in a nearby park and drove around for a bit, and then we went back to the camp site. In the evening, my mum and I decided to take a short trip to the nearby city of Erlangen, where we had a look at the palace there. There was also an art exposition, but it was closed by the time we got there (about 6pm).

On Monday, we went out into the city again (just my mum and I this time), and visited the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) first. Then, we sat down at a cafe for some coffee and apple pie (complete with vanilla icecream and chocolate sauce!) as it was also my mum's birthday that day. Afterwards, we visited the city's castle and its gardens. It turned out to be quite extensive and we ended up spending most of the afternoon walking around there, making it back out just in time to reach the house of Albrecht Dürer (like a small museum) less than an hour before closing. In the evening, we had a nice BBQ at our camp site.

The next day, we first visited the city of Schwabach, where we walked around and shopped for a bit, and ate some nice strawberries fresh from the market. Then we drove around pretty much all afternoon, doing a tour of all the castles/manors in the surrounding area of Nuremberg, by simply using the TomTom's (satnav) POI feature and selecting everything that started with either "Schloss ..." or "Burg ..." in a row. ;)

Wednesday was already our second-to-last day, so we started packing up our things and getting some food for the ride home. Then we had coffee and cake at Trixi's place, to celebrate my mum's birthday a little belatedly, and also had dinner at her place afterwards. We returned to the camp site and finished packing, and went to bed a little early to get ready for the drive home the next day!

So, I got back home Thursday evening, spent all day Friday catching up on all of the internet things I'd missed (as I've mentioned in an earlier post), and then Saturday was spent doing laundry, getting groceries, and then packing my freshly-cleaned clothes right back up, because I left for my second holiday on Sunday morning!

(c) Andreas Buchholz -- click to enlarge

My next vacation took place at the Chaos Communication Camp in Finowfurt, a village near the German capital of Berlin. It was held at a former airfield (wait, does that term even apply if it's still used by small aircraft?), where 3000 hackers/nerds/security&IT experts/etc got together for a five-day conference. The actual event took place from Wednesday through Sunday, but we got there early (the Sunday before) to make sure we'd have plenty of time to set up. You see the really big red tent in the above picture, that kinda sticks out among all the others? Yeah, that was our lounge. I think it was something like 3000 sqft.

(c) lambda's -- click to enlarge

The lounge was quite a success -- it was completely filled with people every night, many of whom I didn't even know, but had simply strolled in because they liked the look of it. In front of the big lounge tent, we had three large grills that everyone was free to use (as long as they brought their own food), which I'm sure also helped.

(c) palimphread -- click to enlarge

There's really not that much I can tell you about the actual event, I suppose; I'm not really much of a hacker/other categories listed above myself, so truth be told, I didn't attend a single lecture or workshop for the entire five days. :P I just went there to hang out and have a good time with my friends, and that I definitely did. (Also, German booze is ridiculously cheap. ;)) We didn't even make it to Berlin to do any sight-seeing, though we spend a nice afternoon in the spa in Eberswalde, a nearby city.

I can tell you that everything was so pretty! An organisation called ArtEvent spent days decorating and adding lights, lasers etc. to the entire camp site/airfield, and as a result, the whole place just looked gorgeous, especially at night. It was a very fun week! The only thing that could've been better was the weather, I suppose. Between the rain and the strong gusts of wind that pretty much flattened out your tent (well, okay, and the drunken people having overly loud conversations right next to it... ;)) we were so knackered from lack-of-sleep halfway through the event, that a couple of us actually resorted to booking a nearby hotel for a night or two to catch up on some sleep, lol. But it was totally worth it ;)

Oh, and yes, I did end up watching the WhiCo midseason finale live on stream. In a windy, noisy tent (so I figured, since I was awake anyways... you know? ;)) at 3AM on a camp site over a shaky WiFi connection. Ha. You can't say I'm not dedicated. >.>

Oh, and there's more photos than just the ones up there! My CCC photos are up here (I literally spent maybe a single half-hour taking some pictures during the entire event... whoops) and you can find tons more by searching "cccamp11" on Flickr. I also have several more photos from my Nuremberg trip up here.

27Jul/103

Jildou’s birthday – in pictures

Jildou (above on the left) had her birthday party last Saturday, and it was a lot of fun! A summary, in pictures.

To celebrate, we had a nice BBQ in her backyard.

In between the rounds of grilled meat, it was time to give the birthday gift. Who needs gift wrap when you have eth0 promotional posters?

The gift is unveiled.

Time for some more meat!

When everyone's satiated, it's time to turn your BBQ into a campfire! Right? Protip: toilet seats don't burn very well.

Protip#2: making popcorn in the middle of a campfire isn't the best idea, either. It gets all ashy and such.

The log's finally caught on fire properly.

Roasting marshmellows over the campfire DOES work, at least.

Need! Moar! Wood!

Building up the campfire some more with the new stack of wood.

As it grows darker, the fire grows hotter...

And hotter...

...okay, I'm gonna quit now before you guys make me join Pyromaniacs Anonymous.

Yeaaaah so I kind of ended up snapping a ton of cool fire pictures and not very many of actual people. Oops. Head over to Bugblue's gallery for that. :P

18Jul/101

Mini break in Germany!

This weekend I went to visit a friend (Noëlle) in Goch, Germany. Friday after work, I loaded my things into the car and first went to pick up other friend Ilse. Together we drove to Goch, a fairly small town just on the other side of the border.

Goch, Frauenstrasse

When we arrived, it was already nearing 8PM, so the first thing we did was go out to dinner together. Behind the hedge that you can just make out at the end of the street is an Italian restaurant called La Grotta, where we ate a pretty good pizza.

Housewarming presents

We then drove on to Noëlle's apartment where we gave her our belated housewarming presents (she's been living there for about half a year now, but this was the first time we actually went over to visit). We then watched the sun set and moon rise while having a cup of tea on her balcony:

Me and Noëlle on her balcony

After that, we freshened up a bit and went out for drinks in Goch's city centre. In most of the pubs there, the folk were quite a bit older than us, but we eventually managed to find a place where the average age was probably around thirty rather than fifty :P

Goch by night

Ilse and Noëlle in the pub

We were back at Noëlle's apartment by about half past one. Ilse and I went to sleep on a double sized air mattress, which was fine in terms of quality and would've slept quite well, except that because it was the both of us on the single mattress, it would wobble around every time one of us turned over, jolting the other awake :P Noëlle didn't have such problems in her own bed, but then she had to get up at seven because the dog, used to getting up at 6AM, really wanted out by then :P

Ilse and I slept in until about 9AM, and then woke up to find Noëlle had also stopped by the bakery and gotten us a nice breakfast! Fresh croissants, strawberry cake... yummy! Once we had showered and eaten, we were ready to go out and drove to the nearby town of Xanten, a former Roman settlement. They have a large archeological park which we visited first.

Reconstructed temple

Foundations from the Roman camp

A reconstructed mill and bakery

To keep the younger kids entertained, they'd also built a large playground in the park, a great wooden structure with hanging bridges, slides, nets, monkey bars... and then, right next to it, a huge (like, 4-5 metres tall) inflated air mattress that was bouncy like a trampoline. Of course, we couldn't resist that...

The playground

Ilse and me on the trampoline

Once we'd had our fun with that, it was time to get a bit more cultural again and explore the rest of the park. There was a stone garden, a part where they'd recreated the walls/layout of old Roman houses with hedges, an old drain etc. And then there was the amphitheatre:

Old remains of the amphitheatre's walls

The reconstructed amphitheatre

Once we'd seen the amphitheatre, we were getting ready to leave and moving towards the exit when the rain began to pour down. We ran over to a nearby building -- which we thought was a cafe -- to stay dry, and it actually turned out to be the bath house that we'd previously missed completely!

Reconstructed bath house

Then we did leave the archeological park, and went into Xanten's centre to check out the church. This was a no photo zone, so no pictures there, but it was quite beautiful with stained glass windows, statues etc. By this time it was early afternoon and we were starting to get hungry and thirsty, so we sat down in the city square for some Kaffee mit Kuchen. Noëlle had strawberry cake, Ilse had Schwarzwalder Kirsch and I had raspberry cake with a rice pudding filling. Very yummy, and these weren't small pieces either :P

After we were satiated we walked around town some more and then went back to Noëlle's apartment. The original plan had been to go swimming for a few laps, as the apartment complex comes with its own swimming pool, but once we were seated on a the balcony for a drink first, we decided we liked that relaxing option better... After the either short or broken night, we could all use the rest and dozed in the sun for an hour or so. Then we went out again and took the dog for a walk.

Dazzle emerging from the river

Once we got back, we packed up and headed back over the Dutch border, to Malden, a town a little bit south of Nijmegen. We had dinner there and then went to the cinema next door, where we saw Shrek Forever After. And then it was already time for us to split up again, as Noëlle headed back home to Goch and Ilse and I drove on to Amersfoort. It was a very fun weekend! :)

12May/071

New kitty!

Poes

Well, the picture says it all, really :D

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30Apr/073

Nighttime skyline

Okay, so I've been good for a week or so, and then I kind of stopped updating this blog thingy. I haven't really been drawing, either, so after three weeks of waiting I don't even have a sketch for you... So instead, you get a photo. It's the sky outside our apartment as of a few hours ago, when there was a really bright sunset that made the sky do this pretty gradient from red to orange to almost white to light blue to darker and darker blue until it was almost black. Well, I guess you can just see for yourself :)

Nighttime sky

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