The Best Muffin Baker

Puppenbuch
  
The best muffin baker of the world remerbered her duty and made me another piece of cake. Looked like a small chocolate cake regarding the colour. However it was made without chocolate. The taste was a bit bitter with a touch of coffee aroma. As I am nowadays more into tea the coffee taste did not convince me.
All in all: the last muffin was better. But not every suprise can be a highlight.
Puppenbuch
  last edited: Thu, 13 Dec 2018 08:49:29 +0100  
I also had my own lunch, perhaps that was the highlight of my day!
walduhu
  
I am not that sure, if your critical reviews will motivate your muffin baker that much! ;-)
Puppenbuch
  
Sometimes constructive critic is necessary to improve your skills.
Killing Time in the Nethelands

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Wed, 28 Nov 2018 08:27:54 +0100  
I visited last Friday the blues band of a colleague which performed in Kranenburg (Germany). Name of the band: "Blue Band".
I think I was one of the youngest visitors.

On Monday I visited the performance of a Jazz workshop of a different workshop. At least here I was not the youngest visitor (more of my colleagues joined). Before that we visited the "Kethelhuis" in Eindhoven --> one of my worst experiences in a restaurant in the Netherlands.
walduhu
  
Is "Jazz" called "Jass" in Dutch, or was that a kind of Freudian misnomer for "Jazz in the ass" ... ;-)
Puppenbuch
  
Spelling mistake...
Killing Time in the Netherlands

Puppenbuch
  
I wanted to join a boot camp yesterday evening. I even got an adress. However the adress was in a new village, the navigation device did not have an update on this area and therefore could not find the place.
So I missed that opportunity. On the other side it was outside and its damn cold at the moment. So I feel not to sad about the missed opportunity...
walduhu
  
What kind of boot camp?
Puppenbuch
  
For fitness
I think
walduhu
  
Ah I see, I thought so far "boot camps" are only for military recruits or criminals... and I supposed you don't belong to both... at least not to the former group! ;-)
Xian

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Mon, 12 Nov 2018 10:56:58 +0100  
Another weekend in Xian and a lot of choices to spend my time. However I have visited most of the downtown places and have extended my expeditions into the surroundings of Xian/ Shaanxi province. Therefore I visited this weekend (Nov 2018) the Qianling Mausoleum.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qianling_Mausoleum
For some history I recommend the Wikipedia article above. The Qianling Mausoleum is the grave of Wu Zetian (the only Empress in the Chinese history) and her husband Gaozong, both Tang dynasty. Wu Zetian has an ambivalent reputation, as being a great ruler and being a power-hungry b****. Oh well, success tells you who was right, and the Lady was very successful as Empress. For the Tang dynasty emperors would be buried in hills (like the pyramids) and the rest of the royal family, high politicians, generals, would get a small artificial mound. The Tang dynasty was also quite advanced, instead of sacrificing a lot of people for the dead royals they painted the walls of the tombs with servants and guards. Additionally, a lot of pottery figures were buried. You can find a very good collection in the Xian Shaanxi History museum (don’t forget your passport when you visit!), see one of my earlier blog entries in 2018. The whole day was rainy, and the view was pretty foggy, but the atmosphere was exiting. Additionally, the masses were gone, not as much as winter times but still reduced by a great amount. The main mausoleum also has a collection of stone figures (animals and diplomats) which is pretty famous.
How to come to the Qianling Mausoleum? Now after making some mistakes I can give the perfect description:
    Go to the west bus station in Xian (MRT line 1, blue, Station: HanChengLu Zhan, entrance A).
    Take a bus to Qian Country (25.5 Yuan, ca 85 km, 1.5 – 2 hours), of course only with passport.
    Take a taxi to the mausoleum (4 km, 10 Yuan).
    Only the graves of the lower members of the royal family have been excavated and they are distributed through the landscape. However, there is a busline (30 Yuan) connecting the various graves, hills.
    Entry was 100 Yuan.
In the evening I visited a popular restaurant at the Beilin Museum (the forest of steeles) which is localed in an old mansion. Was overrated.

On Sunday we had 11.11 – single day in China when all the singles are spending a lot of money to fill their emptiness with goodies (like black Friday in the US). It was invented by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba. Shopping is on this day cheaper! Me, being an opportunistic person, took of course advantage of the situation and visited the Banpo Museum (Line 1, Banpo station) which shows an exhibition about the Neolithic settlement (4000 BC) found in Xian. Was ok, Neolithic Villages are all over the world the same I assume. At this place they built a big exhibition hall over the archeological findings, you can almost walk in the old settlement. The museum is very new, a big part is in English – worth a visit.
Additionally, I found the tea market in Xian. It is also at the line 1 (4(?) Stations before Banpo) and covers perhaps 200 tea shops (tea & tea equipment). So, I spent a bit of time there to buy Sinterclaas gifts (yes, in the Netherlands its Sinterclaas 5th December and Christmas 24th December!) for me (and some friends…).
I did not see much difference in downtown Xian due to the single day. Was crowded like always, however I saw some poor youths who worked as clowns in front of some stores.

#China; #Xian; #QianlingMausoleum; #BanpoMuseum
Xian

Puppenbuch
  
It looks liek we have the calendar winter begin today (8.11) after the chinese calender. It seems that it is a custom in Xian to burn stuff (paper money, paer cars,...) for the dead on this date. So I saw the last two days a lot of people at the streets crossing tossing papers in small fires. The Xian government provided the fire pits as it looks like.


#china; #Xian
Xian

Puppenbuch
  
I am back in Xian, same customer after only 10 day break in Europe. That was just enough time for the jetlag adjustment.
Positive: I have now gold status on my flight miles. The "thank you card" for making the world a warmer place should arrive in the Netherlands on a short notice.
walduhu
  
You made the world a warmer place? -- thanks to you contribution to climate change?
Halloween

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Tue, 30 Oct 2018 11:53:20 +0100  
As Halloween is closing I joint a pumpkin cutting event. Beneath the result.

Image/photo
walduhu
  
In front of the church, 5m off your house, would even be cooler! ;-)
Puppenbuch
  
Perhaps I will make another one tonight...
walduhu
  
... for the church attendees? :-)
Middle Rhine Valley

Puppenbuch
  
I had a small vacation at the middle Rhine valley, the center of the german romantic and wine yards. We went from Koblenz (german corner, Mosel runs into the Rhine) down to  Bingen. The following day we went up again on the right river side. In principle the rhine valley is wine yard on one side, street, train, the Rhine itself and some houses pressed in between. So the visits/stops at the towns are always short.

Some of our stops were:

Koblenz
"Deutsches Eck" an awful looking statue from the aerly 20th century which is at the mouth of the Mosel. The other part were the four towers, a small street corner with 4 oriels. For the rest Koblenz was not so really memorable.

We continued to the south and made a stop at different castles and towns (all small, all with Fachwerk and all with wine).

Stolzenfels Castle
A romantic dream from around 1840. We just visited the garden as the guided tour was taking to long to start.

Boppard
Our next stop was Boppard. Again Fachwerk, again some castle. We did not stay too long.

We went over St. Goar (Lorely, no stop) further to Ubar and then to Bacharach. Bacharach was a nice stop and we stayed there over night and had a tasty Schnitzel. Also Bacharach was occupied by a chinese couple making marriage pictures for their big day.

The next day brought us to Bingen (boring) and we switched the Rhine side by ferry (so cool). On this Rhine side (the right) we were in Ruedesheim . Ruedsheim was a bit better than before, the interesting buildings closer together. Ruedesheim also has a wine museum which was closed.

Our next big stop was St Goarshausen and the Loreley. Both strongly overestimated. But the view from the top of the Loreley plateau was ok. slowly we went up the Rhine till we reached Unkel. Unkel is famous for its red wine ( I tried a white one) and being the former living place of Willy Brand.

On our last day I went over Cologne back home. My sister is now living in Cologne and I had a short stop there. I hope she finds the nicer areas of Cologne because so far I am not impressed.

Pictures under "Germany"

#MiddleRhineValley
walduhu
  
What a great trip it was with you! Thanks Roman! :-D
Puppenbuch
  
I think we have to do more trips like that!
walduhu
  
Definitely, but maybe next time, I sleep in a different room, you are snoring to loud! ;-D
Back to Xian II

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Tue, 23 Oct 2018 01:38:55 +0200  
This weekend was my sightseeing trip through Xian. At Saturday my colleague was so nice to take me around with his wife and son (2 years old) and we went to the big wild goose pagoda
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Wild_Goose_Pagoda
I have visited it already in Winter this year but this time I went up all the way (and I am afraid of heights!) to have a round view of Xian. I assume the monastry is one of the most important ones in China as the famous monk Xuanzang lived here. Xuanzang brought a number of Indian buddhist books to China. His live is the inspiration for "journey to the west" (not read).

In the evening I was invited for dinner at my colleagues house. That was very impressive (not so ususal in China).

My Sunday was blocked with shopping. I went into the area of the Beilin museum - the forest of steles - and bought some stone rubbings. These are cheap christmas gifts! I also got stuck in a tea house and got another story (they change somehow in regards to province and teahouse I visit) about tea told. As it looks like during the Song a tea ceremonie took around 30 steps, nobles needed to kill their time. Luckily for me that has changed nowadays. Also the traditional japanese tea ceremonie is strongly influenced by the Song tea ceremonie. I also found an old temple (no english descriptions). In the afternoon I met two german tourists on their first visit to China and I played a bit local guide in Xian for them. To balance my karma as other locals do this all the time for me. They were older development helpers in Miamar. In short: Miamar is not a country I plan to visit after the stories I heard from them.

#China; #Xian; #Beilin; #BigWildGoosePagoda
walduhu
  last edited: Wed, 24 Oct 2018 21:22:33 +0200  
Am I a christmas gift receiver of you? :)
Puppenbuch
  
You will see on Christmas!
walduhu
  
Then I will better keep quiet with sarcastic comments! :-)
Back to Xian

Puppenbuch
  
I am back to Xian for a business trip. As I arrived on Sunday noon I could go for a small stroll through downtown, muslim quarters.
I found:
Daxuexixiang mosque
Seems to befounded quiet early (705 A.D.) in the Tang dynasty. Was ok, not as beautiful as the great mosque, two streets further but a small jewel.

Additionally I found
City God Temple
As almost every city also Xian has a city god temple. As Xian was sometime ago pretty important this temple was considered at his prime as one of the biggest in China. Oh well, I have seen better ones. I think a lot of it was renovated. I also do not like the position combined with the atmosphere of these city god temples in the city itself. Too open, too noisy for my taste.

Today I have my first trip to my new customer. Lets see how it goes.

#China; #Xian
walduhu
  
Wouldn't have expected muslim temples there... ?! :-O
Time Killing

Puppenbuch
  
I was invited to a horror movie night by colleagues in Bunnik (by Utrecht). But first we had pancakes. The pancake was very nice. I slept during the second horror movie....
Time Killing

Puppenbuch
  
After having a relaxing week without any social stress, I closed the week by having another visit in Karlsruhe (yes family). Additionally to the usual repairments at home I also wathced the premier of the newest theater play in " the kaeuze", the amatheur theater which mymother supports.

http://www.kaeuze-theater.de/

This time they played a play from Erich Kaestner ("Drei Maenner im Schnee"). Was pretty funny.
Time Killing

Puppenbuch
  
I had a very nice barbeque this weekend at a colleagues house. I do not know how but there seemed to be a consent under the majority of the guests that the next group work thing will happen at my place. No idea how I come out of that one...
walduhu
  
You have one major mistake: are too nice to all! ;-)
Puppenbuch
  
I fear so...
Puppenbuch
  
I had another weekend in Karlsruhe. On my way to Karlsruhe I made a stop in Bonn, the former capital of Germany. Famous for Beethoven and the Bonner Republic. I was not impressed. In my history lessons I always heard about the small-town character of the German republic in its earlier years. I now understand it.
My weekend in Karlsruhe was fine (as always I had to repair stuff….). But the highlight was the Karlsruher Schlosslichtspiele: http://www.schlosslichtspiele.info/ (“Light Festival”).
Some performance art is projected on the front of the Karlsruher Chateau which makes a great setting. The light festival stays for two months with different performance acts and is rather new, 2015 I think was its premier.

On my way back to the Netherlands I stopped in Cologne and visited the "Praetorium" one of the oldest roman palaces in Germany (and with that one of the oldest administrative buildings in Germany). Always fun.

#Germany; #Karlsruhe; #Cologne
Shanghai III 2018

Puppenbuch
  
A taiphoon is coming to Shanghai. Perhaps Friday, perhaps Saturday - it is not clear if my flight back to the Netherlands will start. One trip with two cancelled flights due to storm is new for me. To be honest, already one cancelled flight due to storm was new for me.

We will see.
walduhu
  
Take some photos of it too, best nearby! ;-)
Puppenbuch
  
The typhoon passed us Thursday night - so no issues. However I used the maglev to go back to the Airport in Shanghai. We run 300 km/h. I think the first time I used it, we went 400 km/h.
Fun fact: most of the Highspeed trains in China also reach 300 km/h.
Shanghai II 2018

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Tue, 31 Jul 2018 01:16:27 +0200  
I have the pleasure of another customer visit to Shanghai. This time it is a short trip – only two weeks. So I could explore the whole weekend the Shanghai area.
As I have been in Shanghai before I have been picky. My first trip was to the water town Tongli. That is a suburb of Suzhou.
How to come there? Highspeed train to Suzhou (20 minutes), down into the MRT of Suzhou (line 4) till the end station Tongli. A small bus ride and there we were. I went with two colleagues from Shenzhen and Singapore so I had two good translators with me.
Tongli is a typical water town for the Shanghai/ Suzhou/ Hangzhou area. Full of small canals, some Chinese gardens, old houses, tea houses and of course restaurants.
The main gardens in Tongli were the “Pearl Tower” and the garden of Harmonie. The Pearl tower was a bit smaller and not so overrun. The garden of Harmonie on the other side is a UNESCO world heritage site. Additionally, we also went into a stone museum and some woodcraft exhibition.
On the second day we were only two left and visited Shaoxing (the origin of yellow wine). It was a bit of a pain to reach Shaoxing (MRT to Shanghai train station, the third biggest in china, 1.5 hours train and then bus/ taxi/ uber). But in the end after an not so enjoyable lunch we reached East lake (Donghu) which is famous for its scenery. Donghu lake is long but thin stretched under a cliff. We took a boat trip and were shipped under the cliffs for making pictures. Walking was too exhausting as we had nicely 35 degree. Shaoxing is also famous for its special boats which are rowed by using your legs. The technique is like riding your bike.
After we came back and had dinner we also enjoyed a nice foot massage. That was also needed after two days of walking around.
Image/photo
The Chinese garden "Pearl Tower"

Image/photo
Donghu in Shaoxing

Image/photo
The "three bridges" in Tongli
#China; #Suzhou; #Tongli; #Shaoxing
Puppenbuch
  
Every week, not every day. I am reaching that goal.
walduhu
  
So does the boss also read your posts here, or does he require you to write another report?
Puppenbuch
  
Of coure another report!
Shanghai I 2018

Puppenbuch
  
I have another buisness trip to Shanghai. Howeer due to the Typhoon my flight was delayed by one day and I am now flying (unsusal for me) over Paris.
Lets see how this airport has changed since the last time I was there.
Puppenbuch
  
Paris Airport was under construction and did not impress me at all.
walduhu
  
Which one you are referring to? - airport Charles-de-Gaulle?
Puppenbuch
  
correct
Sicily 2018 VI

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Mon, 23 Jul 2018 21:59:51 +0200  
Further down the south coast of Sicily we travelled to Agrigent. Agrigent is also famous for its temple ruins called the “Valle dei Templi”. Looks like all other Greek temples but the surrounding and size of the structures are impressive. Next to the Valle dei Templi is an old garden structure where the Greek built an artificial oasis which is now full of fruit trees. That ambiente is a nice contrast to the hot and barren land of the ruins. The valle dei temple is in reality on a hill (easier to defend) but if you look from the modern town it lies in the valley.
The names of the temples are dating back to the roman times (there seems to be documentation about what temple is what). However if the Greek used the temples for the same gods is unknown.

Agrigent itself (we stayed in the top) is ok but not too impressive to stay there for two days. On our second day we explored the back land.
Image/photo
Old city wall
Image/photo
The artificial gardens of Agrigente, built by prosoners of war (carthagians?)
Image/photo
Old temple
Image/photo
old temple

#Sicily; #Agrigent

Puppenbuch
  
Klabauter is a ghost, mostly found in ships I think.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klabautermann
But what I wanted to say is: "Kabouter" - thats dutch for kobold.
walduhu
  
So is the Dutch "Kabouter" and the German "Klabauter" related somehow?
walduhu
  last edited: Mon, 30 Jul 2018 13:40:33 +0200  
Seems so:
A Klabautermann is a water kobold that assists sailors and fishermen on the Baltic and North Sea in their duties.

While reflecting on "Klabauter" and its possible Dutch origin, I came to theorize that "Rabauke", which sounds somehow similar to me, has also some Dutch origin. And guess what, I checked it via Wikipedia, and I was completely right: 8-)

Das Wort geht über niederländisch rabauw „Schurke, Strolch“ auf altfranzösisch ribaut, „Lüstling, Hurenbock“ (vgl. frz. ribaud) zurück. In der deutschen Umgangssprache ist es seit etwa 1900 verbreitet.

(Quelle: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabauke )
Sicily 2018 V

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Mon, 23 Jul 2018 21:38:53 +0200  
Our next stop was Selinunte. Selinunte is an old Greek polis which existed for around 400 years. It was the main enemy of Segesta (in the north of Sicily). The site is very impressive with a lot of temples. However, like always – we have no idea what the temple was about. A Zeus temple could also have been an Apollo temple. Most interesting artifacts are in the museums (for example in Palermo). So what you can visit are the last structures of the temples. Most of them were rebuilt in the 80s. Be aware that the site of Selinunte is pretty big and almost no sunshine is available.
Next to Selinunte is the “Rocche di Cusa” where the material of the temples came from. We skipped that (we have seen enough stones in our lifes).
In the evening we stayed at an Agriculture Farm with a very nice homemade dinner. The owner was a bit extreme but nice. Also the food was the best so far in Sicily.  
Image/photo
That is an old living quarter
Image/photo
unkown temple
Image/photo
Pillar stack, normally 5 of them are over each other to reach the wished height. The reference is 1.7 m from toe to head long.

#Sicily; #Selinunte
walduhu
  
Still waiting for the photos!! :-)
Puppenbuch
  
There is a picture folder Sicily...
walduhu
  
ahh! :-D
Sicily 2018 IV

Puppenbuch
  last edited: Mon, 23 Jul 2018 21:29:39 +0200  
We left Palermo to go to Marsala, the wine town in the west of Sicily. On our way to Marsala we made two stops. The first one was just outside of Palermo called Monreale. In Monreale stands another Norman Cathedral with its mosaics. This one was built/ founded by the last Norman Emperor of Sicily. Also beautiful and the biggest advantage – entry is free. It is the last development of Norman Cathedral building. The rest of Monreale is pretty boring. After Monreale we went inside the country to Segesta. Segesta was a Greek (?) inland colony which is famous for its temple which is an impressive site. Parking is down the hill where the tickets can be purchased and then a bus (free) is taking you upstairs. The second part of Segesta is the old settlement (castle and amphitheater). It is a nice small hike upstairs. The people of Segesta were not so successful and got beaten several times by their neighbors. Still a nice stop for two, three hours.
We ended in a winery at Marsala where we spent the night. Marsala itself we did not visit but the winery was ok. Good food, nice swimming pool and a good collection of wine. We found out that I do not like the Marsala wine.
Image/photo
Temple of Segesta

Image/photo
Cathedrale of Monreale


#Sicily; #Italy; #Monreale; #Segesta
Puppenbuch
  
difficult....
Puppenbuch
  
How can you enjoy a good wine if you never had a bad wine?
walduhu
  
True philosopher, you are! ?