My German adventures – part 2

The reason why I went to Braunschweig is to visit my friend A who used to live in London and then moved there because she found a job in their dance company. She is a dancer.
On Saturday evening I went to see her performing. The show was great and she’s changed so much since last year when I last saw her performing.

Braunschweig Theatre

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Since it was a première there was a food buffet open to everyone (I love free food) and a party for the dancers in the canteen where they eat every day. I was sooooo tired. I don’t know how I managed to stay awake all night – we went to bed at 3am – but I did and met so many wonderful people.
On Sunday we woke up at 9:30 (yes I had about 10 hours of sleep in two days). Braunschweig is a nice town, very small and quiet. The weather was lovely, so sunny and warm and we spent most of the day out walking around or sitting in a cafe. I did enjoy my time there but I would never ever live in a place like this. On Sunday everything was closed. Everything. Since we didn’t do much, I don’t have much to tell. I’ll just post some pictures of food.
Most if the time, as you know, I don’t eat meat. Turns out that not many German specialities are veggie and you know how much I love to have whatever is typical when I am on holiday. I decided then to try this dish called Leberkäse with fried eggs and bread. The Leberkäse is basically a thick cut of ham. Not my thing. And then I had a Flammkuche which is a puff pastry pizza with cheese, ham and spring onion. Slightly better but still quite heavy and salty.

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After all that food I decided I still needed a dessert. We went to a small cafe where they do massive slices of these amazing cakes. Apparently if you’re having a cake in Braunschweig this is how you do it.

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And in the evening we went to a typical German Stube where I had Schnitzel with a creamy mushroom sauce and beers. No picture of that. I was too tired to even lift the fork to my mouth.
The journey home was very long but not as eventful as the journey in. The most exciting thing was discovering that at Hannover’s airport a normal bar of Lindt dark chocolate costs € 10.00!!!!! Bye bye Germany, I had way too many shocks for one weekend!

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My German adventures – part 1

Truth is, reading this story you’ll probably think I’ve never travelled my whole life.
I am very stressed when I fly and I usually allow plenty of time to get to the airport. But on Friday night, when I fell asleep a little after 10pm, D called me to say he was coming home and woke me up (“Baby, I didn’t think you were already sleeping!”). Then the girl that lives above me decided it was a good idea to start playing music at a very very loud volume and slamming her doors and stomping around the flat. Then D arrived home and came to bed. I didn’ get any sleep until half past midnight. This basically destroyed all my chances of having a good day.
There is a reason why I hate flying from Stansted. Most of the time I have booked a flight that leaves between 7am and 8am which means I have to leave the house between 4am and 5am. Like the other day. I woke up at 4:30 to get a train from Clapham Junction at 4:44. Trains to Victoria Station are usually from platform 14 so why was my train from platform 12? When I realised my mistake it was too late and I had to wait 15 minutes for the next train. Which didn’t arrive in time for my Terravision bus at 5:10. So I panicked.
I started checking on my phone what time the next Terravision was and it was in two hours. I then checked National Express and found a bus that would have taken me to the airport just in time for my flight. I got off the train and started running to Victoria Coach Station. Arrived at the bus I asked the driver if I could buy a ticket on board. He said no, I had to go to the ticket office and no he wouldn’t have waited for me. I rushed to where he pointed at and there was a metallic gate to block the access to the ticket machines. I asked the cleaning lady that was there if she could open and she said to me, very angrily, it’s locked. So I hurried back to the bus driver saying that she wasn’t letting me buy the ticket and he was like, well ok if you have cash you can buy the ticket on board. Whaaaaat?? Why didn’t you say that in the first place? Anyway this is what I did and finally was on the bus to the airport. I arrived in Stansted just a little before my flight and went straight to Pret for a porridge. They have just the best porridge I’ve ever had in my life. I devoured it while walking to my gate. Flight was fine. And then everything fell apart again at Hannover airport.
I am not so convinced about the famous German efficiency anymore. Is it possible that at an airport’s train station there is no ticket office, no tourist information but just one ticket machine? I remembered reading online that to get to Braunschweig I should have changed at Hannover train station but when I checked the timetable on the (bloody) ticket machine it didn’t explain anything, it just said to get the 11:06 from the airport to Braunschweig. Which is what I did.

German countryside from the train

On the train there was no sign displaying where the train was calling so every now and then I checked my Google maps to make sure I wasn’t missing my stop. Problem is I found out I was going in the wrong direction when it was too late to do anything about it.  The F word started flashing in my mind like a neon light.
I arrived at Hameln, last stop of my train, where I ran to the information centre and a very kind lady printed a piece of paper for me with the times and platforms for trains to go to Braunschweig. She explained I would have to go back to Hannover and then get a train from there. I thanked her and then bought the biggest pretzel I could find along with a much needed dose of caffeine (Hameln rip off: € 2.30 for a cappuccino straight out of an automated machine).

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This is where I was supposed to go.

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This is where I ended up.

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This is how I got back.

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Oh well. Who doesn’t like a road trip in the German countryside after waking up at 4:30, missing the train and thinking they would miss their flight too? (Me)
When I finally arrived in Braunschweig and got off at the tram stop Schloss (= castle) I sent D a picture to show him I was finally there.
My friend later told me that the old castle is now a shopping centre.

The castle. AKA the shopping centre.

#AlmostPerfect

E’ che il più delle volte mi sento come se mi mancasse sempre qualcosa per stare davvero bene. Un jet lag perenne per cui non sei davvero mai a posto.

Ma ci vorrebbe così poco. So close to perfection.

Come fossi lo scatto che precede una foto famosa. Che non c’è niente di speciale un attimo prima, e l’istante dopo e’ storia.

EKA

beatles

Fiction – talking of immersive theatre

EKA how I wished you were here yesterday!

I think I mentioned that I currently volunteer in two theatres in my neighbourhood and last night I went to the Battersea Arts Centre. It’s a very special place, (you can see a video about them here), they have preserved the old town hall building as it was and it looks stunning. The next time I’ll go I’ll take some pictures but you can always ask Google in the mean time.

Anyway this is all to say that after helping with Front of House duties, I could to see the show for free. And if only you were here, I would have brought you with me! I know how much you love immersive theatre experiences.

Do you remember the show we saw in the old mental institution, when to reach the performing space we had to walk thought the garden in the dark and we thought we could hear the spirits of the dead patients? And do you remember when we went to see that other show, The Puss In Boots, and had to dress up as kittens and participate to the performance walking around with cat ears and tail?

Well, this was a thousand times better in terms of how much you would have hated me if I tricked you into coming with me.

Fiction is an immersive theatre experience by Fuel, a producing organisation for “adventurous people”. Like me and you!

We were in a pitch black room with headphones on. In the beginning I started to freak out a bit because the voice I could hear in my left ear was so clear that I thought it was actually coming from someone sitting next to me. And the the steps and the noises. I thought about removing my headphones and getting back to reality. But I persisted.

When I go home after the theatre I usually have trouble sleeping because my head is full of images and words. An experience like this, on the other hand, leaves you with sensations and feelings, more than images. I was scared at the beginning, the darkness was swallowing me and I felt I couldn’t breathe. I decided to close my eyes, I felt that it made the darkness my choice rather than theirs. Bit of a control freak here. I realised my mind was trying not to get too involved with the voices in my head because I didn’t want to lose myself in the fiction. But then I let my body relax and my mind concentrate. I let my self drift into relaxation, into sleep. And the dream began to become more vivid.

Julie, the French girl who was my chaperone in the dream, was a safe figure. She was always there whispering in my ear and making sure I was ok. When she separated from me at the end of the performance I was lost, I started worrying that the other voices would have hurt me. Then the explosions began.
And as suddenly as it started, the dream ended.

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Let’s talk sexism

My new Tee!

Don’t worry I still have my “Barbie wants to be me” t-shirt. And I still wear it. Often. Even at work.

What’s behind the new t-shirt:

Page 3 is featured on The Sun, a popular national British newspaper and it basically consists of a picture of a young topless woman with no more than her name and her age.

A group of people have started a campaign to kindly ask the newspaper to stop publishing it, (check and sign here in case you were interested) and I decided to support them, hence the t-shirt.  I think that this page can explain very well all the reasons behind the campaign, reasons that I mostly agree with.

I think my interest in having more active role to fight sexism has been triggered by the following conversation I had with my previous employer a while ago.
I said conversation? I meant monologue, he wasn’t really having conversations with people. He just liked the sound of his voice.

Men are genetically made to aim at independence. Money gives you independence. Women, on the other hand, just want to find a man that provides for them and makes them feel secure. Don’t you agree?

No. I don’t. You are a sexist pig.

So, here’s the story.

Just a quick update on my extra curricular activities, since I haven’t seen you in ages and when we’re together we never have the chance to talk about this.

xx G

Some of my other favourite websites related to the topic:

Everyday Sexism Project
Let Toys Be Toys For Girls And Boys

3D Donuts

Ciao G,

Qui settimana dell’isterismo collettivo della moda. Se non vai a un evento o un’ inaugurazione non sei young & cool.

Ora, sorvolando la parte young che ci sta abbandonando pian piano ma inesorabilmente ( sì è lunedì e sono di buonumore), ho visto una cosa che per me e’ cool. 

Pao (daiiii il tizio dei pinguini  in giro per Milano che abbiamo visto mille volte anche insieme prima che tu mi abbandonassi per vivere nel Paese delle Spice Girls – sempre il buonumore) ha inaugurato una mostra molto molto bellina.

Si chiama “Black Hole Fun” e ci sono cubi e  ciambelle concavi che da vicino sembrano 3D ( spiegazione accuratissima mi rendo conto – ma apprezzate le foto fatte da me) e vigili panettone e pinguini panettone.

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Ma, cosa davvero cool, mentre giravo per questa minimostra mi hanno dato birra e delle vere e unte ciambelle americane da mangiare ( e qui le foto non ci sono perchè avevo le mani troppo impegnate). Cioè, arte e donuts. Goduria pura. Altro che i dannati finger food che BASTA NON NE POSSIAMO PIÙ.  Ecco, l’ ho detto. E comunque sempre al cibo ritorno io. Prevedo lunghe sessioni di corsa prima della prova costume.

 

EKA

Damn! Where did I park the car?

What I love about London is stumbling upon these kind of things.

Alex Chinneck for Vauxhall Motors – Pick yourself up & pull yourself together – London 2015

But Milan, as you may know, is not left behind. It did anticipate London, actually.

SHORT CUT by Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset – Fondazione Trussardi – Milano 2003

They got a parking ticket. Not sure if the Fondazione Trussardi had to pay it. 

xx G

I’m going to get a new tattoo. Another one.

Ciao G,

lo so che non sei patita di tatuaggi, ma sento che è giunto il momento di dare un fratellino al disegno sul mio polso. E quindi, oltre che a prepararti a mesi di una scelta dura e sofferta che avremo davanti, volevo farti una piccolo riassunto della puntata precedente. L’unica. Una overview del mio pregresso, per dirla come fossi un uomo e avessi una 500 gessata parcheggiata qui fuori e dei mocassini ai piedi.

Il mio primo (e unico) tatuaggio, risale a Dicembre 2013.  E non a caso. E tardi, ma comunque prima dell’invasione del collo di Fedez su ogni mezzo di comunicazione di questo Paese e delle principesse hipster a intasare le bacheche Facebook  di noi tutti (anche la mia, ammetto) . E questo  perchè un mese prima, avevo visto questa foto.

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Ed è così che ho scoperto Cheyenne Randall. E ho iniziato ad amarlo.

Lui prende foto (belle belle in modo assurdo) di personaggi (fighi fighi in modo assurdo) e le tatua. How to be cool allo stadio di purezza assoluta.

G e Gente, vi consiglio obbligo ad andare a vedere la gallery  dei suoi lavori. Sono belli, davvero, troppo. E non riesco a scegliere un preferito. E quando penso di averlo scelto, cambio idea. Esattamente come farò con il mio prossimo tatuaggio, G.

EKA

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mary

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What makes me sweat – music

EKA, this is my current favourite exercise playlist.

Use it wisely.

  • Good feeling, Flo Rida
  • Mr. Saxobeat, Alexandra Stan
  • We found love, Calvin Harris ft. Rhianna
  • Firework, Katy Perry
  • On the floor, J Lo
  • Eat sleep rave repeat, Fatboy Slim
  • I love it, Icona Pop
  • Stripper, Sohodolls
  • Girls just want to have fun, Cyndi Lauper
  • S&M, Rihanna
  • Domino, Jessie J
  • Moves like Jagger, Marron 5 ft. Christina Aguilera
  • Umbrella, The Baseballs
  • Flashdance, Irene Cara
  • Canned Heat, Jamiroquai
  • Rewind, Vasco Rossi
  • Call on me, Eric Prydz

xx G

My iPhone is blue, but I realised I can’t take a picture of my phone with my phone.