Mozart and the Whale

This weekend we cleaned the new apartment,

We went 'dream' furniture shopping in the antique shops around Prenzlauer Berg. Then we did some rough sums and decided on Sunday to visit Ikea,

We bought beautiful old pots and pans at the Mauer Flohmarket on Sunday morning at... 8am (!). (Pictures to come)

Then went to Ikea where we bought a bed, wardrobe, chairs and many other "absolutely essential things" that you can't help not buy when you visit Ikea. Does that happen to anyone else?
After that exhaustion set in and all further plans were scrapped in favour of spaghetti and a movie. I got to choose from this awesome Video Shop near our house. This shop is fantastic. It has literally thousands of films - german, english, french, austrian (!)... it has a section where it groups movies according to director - amazing. And another according to actor/actress, and then another for genre. So cool. I could have spent hours just wondering around looking.
Mozart and the Whale was the final choice. Perfect movie for Sunday night - cute, slightly quirky and romantic. It's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime", but Christopher Boone is now grown-up and trying to navigate through life alone. There are spots where its slightly awkward and Josh Harnett doesn't quite get is right. But mostly its nice.

Now I have Matthias's mobile sitting next to me and I'm waiting for the Ikea delivery men to call. I have a 'script' in german beside me. I'm really nervous. Telephone calls in German?!?!


Knitting for Christmas

A sneak peak of things to come. A more ambitious project than the last lace endevour and I'm hoping it'll be done in time...



We have no furniture yet, and officially don't move in until next week...
But our name is on the doorbell... and I have the keys. Yippee!



Ohh.. Christmas just makes so much more sense in the Northern Hemisphere! Dark at 4pm, the lights on the street give the gloom a cheerful edge. And with it being so chilly, you can't resist drinking Gluhwein or Hot Chocolate to keep you cosy and warm.

I had so much fun in Vienna this weekend. We ate yummy food, visited an exhibition on 'Charles the Bold' at the Historical Museum, drank lots of wine, caught up with friends and, of course, visited the Christkindelmarkt outside the Town Hall. Am now 100% completely and utterly in Christmas mood.



In a few hours Matthias and I are going to be in a place very similar to this -
Good wine, good food and of course friends and family
Yep, we're flying to Vienna for the weekend!
Got'ta love short distances in Europe and cheap flights.

Hope everyone has lovely weekends planned too!


More photos

My head is fuzzy this week. I've started an intensive German course. It's only for two weeks until I go back to Australia for December, but I'm hoping it'll kick-start me into German mode. It's great, but 4 1/2 hours plus homework is making my head hurt. So pictures it is - these were taken at the East Side Gallery (on part of the old wall) in Kreuzberg.


On blogging

Not infrequently I find myself having a conversation about blogging where I find myself needing to justify why I blog and why I read other people's blogs. I find myself telling people that I write as a journal for myself and as a "letter home" to friends and family. That my blog, this blog, functions as a group email that is written in snippets every few days. People can log-on and log-off as they choose, moving in and out of my life as they see fit. This is usually sufficient for most people, although others still insist on ridiculing blogging and bloggers as narcisistic and voyeuristic.

What is less easy to explain is why I read other people's blogs. I follow close to 30 blogs. Many of these I discovered while in Botswana. With hours to spare I enjoyed surfing the blogosphere and discovering people thousands of miles from me enjoying the simple pleasures of life - photography, cooking, craft, family and blogging. Most of these people are women. Their blogs gave me strength in a way that others couldn't. Checking-in on their daily routines, both mundane and exciting, gave my life in Botswana routine.

I don't know much about media and communication. But it didn't surprise me to know that most of traditional media is written, directed and produced by men. The blog world seems different. Of course there are many men who write blogs too. But there are an awful lot of women blogging. Strong women with strong voices. And they write from home looking after children and husbands and boyfriends and girlfriends and sometimes no friends at all. They write beautiful words that accompany pictures. Words and pictures that don't conform to traditional media. And they publish these words and pictures away from the gaze of the (men-folk) who would edit their words to make them 'publishable' in today's mainstream media. I am not anti-men, but I am pro-women (and these are not mutually exclusive). I believe that blogs allow women to publish a story and a voice that is missing from current mainstream media.

Kirtsy, Take a Bow is a book about women online. Strong women, like the women I discovered while in Botswana. Women who have something to say to other women who might like to listen. Or not. The point is, it doesn't really matter. And this is why I blog. Other people blog for other reasons. I think I would like the book Kirtsy, Take a Bow. I definitely like the inspiring trailer (see below).

Neues Museum

The Neues (new) Museum has just been reopened and is now dedicated to the German Egyptian collection. There's been a bit of controvery of late, mostly because Egypt thinks that the Germans might have stollen a few of the peices.

The thing that they most want back is Nefertiti. To be honest, Egpytian Art isn't really my thing - I just don't appreciate the stuff - many pots, many statues...

But... The Neues Museum is an architectural masterpiece, creatively blending old and new styles into a really interesting exhibition space. And Nefertiti is pretty special too.


A Weekend in Berlin

We had brunch in a cafe in Prenzlauer Berg
Visted the newly repainted East Side Gallery
- part of the wall that once separated East and West
Discovered Nefertiti and her friends at the Neues Museum on Museum Insel
Ate Curry Wurst and drank beer at a Christmas market
Visited Brandenburg Tor by night (well it was 4.30pm, but it could have been 11pm)
before dancing the night away in one of Berlin's nightclubs

And the next day nursed our sorry heads
walking through the beautiful Autumn colours of Tiergarten.

Beautiful weather, great food, delicious wine and wonderful company - a better weekend couldn't be asked for!

And this week I start German classes...


Cabled Baby Booties

One of Matthias's colleagues just had a baby - with lots of dreary weather dictating 'inside' time I quickly knitted up these little booties to take as a present for some celebratory drinks. This pattern is easy and I like the cute little cable that is on the front, plus its another free pattern! (from here).
Pattern: Two Needle Cable Baby Booties
From: Barbara Beiter
Wool: Ronda Schoeller & Stahl in Cream
Needles: double pointed 4mm
Skill: easy
Alterations: None


9th November 1989 - 9th November 2009

Twenty years ago today eastern and western Berliners united and danced on the wall at Brandenburg Tor. There's been a lot of hype in the media about this so I thought that today, despite the pretty horendous weather I would wander around and see how Berlin was celebrating.

At Alexander Platz they have an interesting open-air exhibition detailing the steps leading up to the collapse of Eastern Berlin and the end of the Cold War. It surprised me to learn that approximately 100,000 East Germans sought assylum in Austria, Hungry and Czech in the months leading up to the wall falling in 1989.

The exhibition had lots of interesting pictures, but my favourite was the one above. This woman likely lived through both World Wars and the separation and reunification of Germany - you can only imagine what she must have been thinking!

Next to the exhibition these funny men were singing traditional ?Soviet songs. It gave the whole place a slightly comical feel, but it did keep things lively and intersting, which is more than I can say for Bradenburg Gate.

There were lots of people, and plenty of politicians giving fairly uninspiring speeches. Okay, so I couldn't exactly understand what they were saying - but even the locals looked bored.

Everyone, reporters included, seemed to be waiting. Lots of security, lots of news media, lots of politicians but unfortunately not a lot of excitment. And is was freezing. Seriously cold. So cold that I needed a Gluhwein to warm me up. And then I hot-footed it back to my apartment where the media coverage on the internet and TV seems to be more exciting that the actual thing!


I made a Hat

Knitting has been going on, although many things I haven't been able to share - partly because they've remained unfinished as I've moved onto other projects. This isn't solely due to a short attention span - I was missing some key 'materials' in Botswana. But yesterday I visisted a lovely shop, Woll-Haus in Prenslauer Berg and bought some 4mm double pointed needles and finished this little baby. It's already had an outing in the snow (yes it snowed yesterday) and kept my ears toasty warm.

And, I've discovered that self-photography of hats is tricky. Photographing midnight blue is also pretty tough. The next two photographs happened at around photo #20 and #28. You can see from my face that I've gone from "hopefully this one works" to "I've had enough, this one better be in focus/with me in the frame/some indication of the pattern". Ha! I did start out smiling and happy, but apparently the camera didn't want to focus on my happy face preferring desperate and cross.
Pattern: Butterfly Beret by Rachel Lufur (it's a free pattern!)
Wool: Rowan felted tweed in midnight
Needles: 4mm
Skill: This is a "I've already knitted one hat" kind of project - nothing tricky although you needed a little bit of patience to do the butterfly stitches.
Alterations: I made this bigger than the pattern suggests. I originally cast on the suggested 92 stitches but after a little while it was clear that at that size it was never going to fit over my head. I ended up with 120. And I think if I did it again I would add an additional butterfly row before decreasing to give it a more 'slouchy' feel. But mostly I'm happy.
Oh, and I've booked my flights back to Australia for Christmas - yippee!