Friday, September 19, 2014

Herzlichen Glueckwunsch!

Stephan and Claudia returned to Germania a few months ago and have now gotten married!
The happy couple before the ceremony. Sehr schoener Tag

While I've attended a few weddings in Germany, I have to say, this was the first time I've attended a civil one. It was suitably official - things like birth dates and locations were cited. Afterwards, we all headed to a hotel where a wedding breakfast/lunch was served.
Stephan delivers his speech and toast

Clucky Claudia? hehehe

Stephan's dad presents the surprise wedding cake,

Which was duly inspected and given the seal of approval by the happy pair.

I can confirm that it was delicious.

Alles liebe, ihr zwei!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

In other news...

I am now writing as a blogger for a science magazine. Given that this is published under my real name, I am hesitant to provide a link here. 

If you're interested in reading these entries, please send me a message. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lago di Garda - Day 3

Last day it was, but not the last of our adventures around the lake! We decided to drive around the lake to visit another town, Bardolino, and then heading into some vineyards to try out the local wine.
I can't remember the name of where we chose to have lunch but I'm pretty sure I could remember how to get there!

It was truffle season and you're damn right we stuck into them! This is carpaccio with cheese and liberal shavings of truffle

Pasta with truffle and porcini. I never thought I'd ever say I wish I didn't have porcini in a dish, but the flavour of those mushrooms were more dominant in this :( Good thing I'd had the carpaccio beforehand.

Grappa, anyone? Anyone?

Then we took a stroll in the town. It was probably the most touristy/German of those we'd visited so far. 
Except for this guy. He was posing like an Italian.

So purdy

The weather this day, so perfect

We then drove around the lake looking for vineyards to visit.
During which we saw this BEAUTIFUL VIEW

Which called for a selfie!

And a portrait or two.

While we did visit some wineries, they wouldn't let us take photos next to the grapes. When Tammy saw a vineyard that wasn't fenced off, she turned the car off the road to take advantage of it!

And then we took a few more photos of the wonderful scenery before heading back over the Alps.

We all agreed - this trip was perfect and exactly what we all needed. So the road trip for next year is set - COMO!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lago di Garda - Day 2, part 2

The Thermal Baths at Sirmione! Thermals baths here have been known since Roman times, which is probably another reason why it has been a popular tourist destination for so long. To be frankly honest, I'm not a great fan of spas (hate massages, too ticklish), but it had been a while since I'd been swimming properly so I was willing to give it a couple of hours. There are a few located in the town, but we chose to go to Aquaria based on the recommendation of Tammy's friends. 

Based right on the lake, it had many pools of different temperatures including this beautiful (cold) infinity pool!

Here we are modelling the lovely swim caps we had to wear in order to enter the pools. It was worth it though - various pools had built in water jets that you could lie on let the warm water pummel you

Seriously, so relaxing.

We left the baths in time to quickly grab lunch because the restaurants were closing for their afternoon break. 
Which is how we ended up at Osteria al Torco - they agreed to stay open a bit longer for us!
No regrets though - I ended up with this dish of home-made tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms. Did I mentally sit there thinking about how I was going to recreate this at home? Yes I did!

We wandered around a bit longer and got some gelato before deciding to head back to the dock to catch the boat back to Desenzano.
Shadya, always photo ready ^_^

Also, here are some photos of Tammy and I having an intense conversation

I don't remember what we were talking about though. 

But it was engrossing enough for us to not realise we were being photographed

Oh hey, I guess the boat is coming!

Back at Desenzano, we saw this wedding taking place!

And scored a hug from gelati man!

And then Tammy made us the Brazilian sweet brigadeiro before we had to pack to leave the next day :(

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Lago di Garda - Day 2, part 1

On our second day, we decided to be super-touristy and fulfill one of the aims of our trip - takine a boat ride across the lake. Our destination: Sirmione.
Waiting (impatiently) for the boat to arrive to take us there.

Best way to kill time - taking selfies!

Bubbai, Desenzano! See you in a few hours.

Chugging across the very blue waters of the lake. 

Wooooh! Look at all those people who turned up to watch us arrive in town!

The dock leads to this super pretty little square

And super pretty little town is a great description for Sirmione. According to Wikipedia, it has been for centuries the holiday location for for the rich and famous such as Maria Callas, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and...
ROMAN POET CATULLUS!!! I may have geeked out at this. 

Oh hello, what's this?

It's the 13th century Scalinger castle that's built right in the lake!

We decided to not enter the castle, which was accessible via drawbridge as seen here, and instead decided to spend our time walking around.

Because why go inside when we had such a beautiful day?!

Feet in the lake!


This little pug. Totally unimpressed by the tourist hoard and his surroundings.

We spent a few hours wandering around the mediaeval town before deciding to head off to the other reason why we chose to go to Sirmione, to be covered in the next entry!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Lago di Garda - Day 1

After returning from Colombia a few months ago, Shadya had a welcome back party. At this party, Shadya, Dana, Tammy and I somehow decided that we would take a weekend road trip together to Italy. We literally pulled out our phones to check our calendars and settled on the first weekend in September. I therefore suffered through the first week of the month until I could leave work early to jump in the car and drive over the Alps and away from the gloomy Munich weather! And oh god we needed this vacation.

The drive took us over the Alps and past many castles dotted in the mountain range. But seriously, the higher the altitude, the worse the weather until we were suddenly on the Italian side and all the rain stopped. It was amazing. Dusk was falling as we checked into our apartment in Desenzano, on the south coast of the lake.
Oh hey, our apartment balcony did have a view of the lake! Ignore the clouds, it was very warm and humid on that balcony as we enjoyed a bottle of prosecco to celebrate our vacation.

Eventually we realised it was pretty late when we decided to stop drinking and look for dinner. This critter was on the wall outside of our apartment when we headed out.

And ready to party!

We ended up at Colomba (highly recommended)

My dinner - pasta with mussels, clams, and this yabby. It was a little bit epic. 

And the first gelati of our trip!

 Coming up next, our trips around the lake!