Holidays: More Park Güell

Some more details of the tiles at Park Güell. It certainly is one of my favourite places in Barcelona, once conceived as a settlement for workers, with a sustainable water recycling facility and communal area. It was never finished, but has become one of Barcelona’s tourist attractions.

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You can see how the colourful tiles have been smashed up in order to fit them to all the curved surfaces.

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Here they look more random. Anecdote has it that the Barceloneses thought Gaudí was crazy for commissioning perfectly good tiles and the smashing them all up…

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The building to the left is not part of Park Güell but an older one.

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©Giliell, all rights reserved

This area is underneath the “balconies” we saw yesterday.

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It’s hard to see in the pic’s, but none of the columns goes up straight.

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Holidays: Park Güell

I think we had some of it already last year, and I noticed I didn’t take too many pics this year, but it’s still lovely, every single time. If you ever visit Barcelona and need some “Gateway Gaudí”, this is where you go. It#s reasonably priced, since this years there’s a shuttle bus from the underground station and you get all the quirky loveliness that characterises Catalan “Modernisme”.

©Giliell, all rights reserved   You get the best panoramic view of the city

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Part of it is under restauration, so you can see it without all the other people visiting.

 

Holidays: Friday Feathers

Two marvellous birds from the Zoo

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©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

 

And as an unrelated bonus:

A video I stumbled across indulging in my love for Peter, Paul and Mary: Puff, the Magic Dragon.

What I love about the performance isn’t so much the artists, but the audience who is singing along, or at least mouthing the words, from the toddler to the grandpa.

Tummy Thursday: Churros con Chocolate

One of the kids’ favourite places in the city of Mataró is the Xurrería, which absolutely does not offer tourists an authentical churros experience. It’s simply the real thing, as evidenced by the fact that is was closed for holidays during the second half of our stay, something no tourist oriented business would do at the height of the season. That’s something to say about the city in general: tourism is a factor, and a welcome factor, but it’s not a big enough factor for businesses, especially bars and restaurants to rely on it exclusively. This means they need to provide a service that makes regular customers come back. I understand that I’m the worlds biggest hypocrite here when I want to go for a holiday but not where there are too many tourists, but I can live with that. It means good food.

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Here you see “porras”, a thicker variety of churros with my “cortado”, an espresso with a bit of milk. Traditionally you eat them with “chocolate” as in the next picture:

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These are the more commonly known churros with their typical shape. The chocolate is thick and dark and not overly sweet, so you can dip your churros in and enjoy the whole thing. It’s more like custard in that respect, only that it’s delicious.

Holidays: The Eye of the Dragon

Komodo dragons are wonderful beasts and I simply love their majesty. I know they’re plain weird, using both venom and biological warfare to hunt. You got to give it to an animal whose hunting strategy is : bite once and wait for a week until it drops dead.

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©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

And as a bonus: self portrait in the eye of a dragon, a close up from the picture above. That’s how I want to go, trying to take a picture of a dragon and then being unexpectedly eaten.

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Holiday: Cute overload

Sorry for basically disappearing on you. Apparently I caught a “summer flu”, a viral infection that is similar in symptoms though less severe than a real flu. If anything it has reinforced my determination to get every single flu shot every single year. It completely knocked me out, I’ve been in bed since Saturday and today is the first day I’m up for more than half an hour apart from doctor’s visit and school run.

Here’s some cuteness to make up for it:

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©Giliell, all rights reserved

Cute? Right? That’s just to ease you into it because nothing says cute like a baby mongoose:

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©Giliell, all rights reserved

Of paper cups and plastic straws

Paper cup with coffee, creamer and sugar on the side.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

We all know that climate change is real, we all know that we need to fucking do something about it, yet nothing seems to happen. What is being endlessly discussed is always one small thing or the other small thing, like a ban on plastic straws, or how we should use reusable cups for our coffee. What is more is a tendency to declare one’s own behaviour to be benign while pointing the finger at others and it’s getting on my nerves.

You can easily find this one Twitter, where people proclaim that them getting a new phone every year and flying to X isn’t the problem, but people going on cruises is. Vegetarians point at people who eat meat as “the problem”. Folks in cities with a good infrastructure declare that “nobody needs a car”. There are lots of good discussions about how just making shit more expensive (like a proposed increase in taxes on meat, which will make factory farmed cheap meat slightly more expensive, but still enough to become a problem for poor people, while making ethically farmed meat a lot more expensive, thus discouraging people from buying it) is making fighting climate change poor people’s problem while those rich enough to go on three fucking cruises a year and flying to New York for a shopping trip will just shrug their shoulders.

In line with this is the argument that the problem isn’t people’s consumption and behaviour, but it’s just those evil companies, or to quote a tweet (not going to link to it, this isn’t about the person, but the argument), that:

100 companies produce 71% of CO2 emissions. The idea that climate change is an individual problem is a lie bought & sold by these companies to stop us from holding them responsible. If all academics stopped flying for a year, the planet would still be under their control.

Now, I don’t doubt that the number is true, and believe me, I have absolutely no sympathy for capitalist companies who will happily burn the planet for shareholder value, but how do you think they produce all that CO2? Hint: They don’t produce it by burning coal at the company barbecue. They produce it by making all those damn consumer goods that we buy every day. Yes, by producing your new phone. By producing your steak. By shipping your yoghurt container three times around the world because that’s cheaper than doing it all in one place. By producing the electricity you need to post that shit on Twitter. So a lot of the discussions well meaning people are having can be summed up by the German saying “wash me but don’t wet my fur”: I want to see results, but I am not willing to go through the process (obviously a saying from before the advent of dry shampoo). Of course, individuals are often caught up in this trap, without having good alternatives for more sustainable behaviour (if i wanted to take public transport to work, I’d have to leave home at 1 am or so before the train connection ceases for the night, because the earliest train in the morning wouldn’t be early enough to catch the buses I’d then need to take…), and an individual changing their behaviour will not make climate change stop (I dramatically reduced our meat consumption, the planet is still getting hotter), yet in the long run everybody will need to change.

To come back to the title: Of course 3 billion fucking single use cups a year in Germany are bad and unsustainable. But we won’t solve climate change by just all bringing our reusable cups. But we also won’t stop it while using three fucking billion cups a year. The solutions will have to be manyfold and they will have to change the way we live, before climate change changes the way we live without us getting a say.

Friday Feathers: Hornbill and Friends

As promised, there will be pictures. Lots, though I noticed that I took less pictures this year because after all, I went there before. Let’s start with some from the zoo. A great southern hornbill. I also add some others as to not spam my “own” blog with many different posts.

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©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved
Probably a breeding female. Or a napping one…

Now for some frogs…

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©Giliell, all rights reserved There was a lot of plants around acting as some sort of natural filter

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And finally a water lily. There be fairies.

©Giliell, all rights reserved Off focus but too pretty

©Giliell, all rights reserved No, absolutely no post production on this one.

Tummy Thursday: Cumpleaños feliz

Before we left for our holiday, we celebrated #1’s 12th birthday. From my short experience with having a 12 years old at home I can confirm that all the “what are you? 12?” remarks you throw at people with a dirty twist of mind are completely accurate. But you’re here for the cake, aren’t you?

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Lamas are currently very much en vogue, so she asked for a lama cake. The cake is the ultimate banana-chocolate-coconut-combination: Banana bread with chocolate chips and grated coconut. Vanilla buttercream and sliced bananas as filling, popcorn curls and since I forgot to make ears, laminated paper ears.

To go with the lama cake there were cactus cupcakes:

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These have a butternut squash-almond-raisin base (I simply love that recipe) with lemon curd frosting. I never made lemon curd before, but I so love it. The cacti are rice crispies with lemon curd buttercream.

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Free Carola Rackete

I don’t know how big a story this is outside of Germany and Italy, but the Sea Watch III captain Carola Rackete has been detained by Italian authorities, facing up to 10 years in prison. Racktete is part of the civil sea rescue operations that safe migrants in the Mediterranean, because our collective governments have decided to simply let them all drown. Rackete had rescued over 40 people and Italy simply denied her access to their harbours (as did Malta) while other countries simply ignored her requests to access their harbours (France, I see you).

As the situation on board became worse and worse, with people threatening suicide, Rackete decided to land in Italy, despite warnings and bans ( you can read up the whole thing in English here). She has quickly turned into a symbol figure, not the least because the Italian fascist in charge, Salvini, has decided to make her an example and because she really, really gets to him, because we all know that nothing threatens a fascist dude more than a young woman who simply won’t know her place and who is standing up to him.

So please show your support to this brave woman by signing the petitions and/or by donating to her support fund.

#FreeCarolaRackete