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.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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.

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:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

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

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Bricks and Mortar and Water – Part 1

It’s been a while since I put up some pictures of Macedonia – I did promise the aqueduct, and I’d hoped to pull myself together before my final trip to Skopje in June, but alas! It is July and here is the aqueduct.

First, a short background:

The Aqueduct is located in the village of Vizbegovo in the northwestern part of Skopje, about 2.5 km to the right of the Skopje-Kachanik road. It is a part of a water-supply system with a length of about 10.0-10.5km from the piping at the Lavovac spring, between the villages Gluovo and Brazda, all the way to the Upper Town of Skopje Fortress-Kale.The Skopje Aqueduct is the only aqueduct in Macedonia, and one of three largest and well preserved in the former Yugoslavia along with Diocletianus Aqueduct near Split, Croatia and Bar Aqueduct in Montenegro.

What’s interesting is that nobody seems entirely sure on when it was constructed:

Considering the period of its construction there are several hypotheses:

-during the reign of Rome (1st century), according to this theory Aqueduct has led the water to Legionary settlement Scupi

-during the reign of Byzantine Empire (reign of Emperor Justinian I), according to this theory, Aqueduct shipping water to new settlement Justiniana Prima.

-during the reign of Ottoman Empire, according to this theory Aqueduct is built in 16th century for a large number of Turkish public hamams.

Wikipedia concurs (for what it’s worth), while other sites push the Roman angle.

In numbers, we get:

The Aqueduct has 2 access ramparts, 53 pillars, 54 base vaults and 42 smaller vaults on the closed and open discharging openings above the pillars. The overall length of the Aqueduct is 387.98m, at an elevation of 279.46m of the southern rampart and 280.48m of the northern rampart, or a delevelling of 1,025m.

… which all sounds impressive enough, and the minimum of info was enough to get me interested (also considering it is reasonably close to Skopje itself, and my Lithuanian colleague and I were up for the walk – 5km in early March is quite nice).

Well, it was an interesting walk, as the straightest route goes through a military facility and thus was closed to members of the interested public, and the circuitous route has… no sidewalks along heavily trafficked roads.

This is actually on the way back, we took a slightly different route, but looking across the river Vardar, you can see the road along which we walked – up top is the militarized territory, and yeah, that road has no sidewalks. It looks quite a bit more daunting from here.
© rq, all rights reserved.

Towards the end of the walk, we got some traffic relief, as there was an older parallel road for a few hundred metres.
© rq, all rights reserved.

The aqueduct curves to the left, the gated road is the exit we would have taken had we walked straight through the militarized territory. At this point of the walk, I was quite angry with Google Maps, though I can only blame myself for searching “shortest route”.
© rq, all rights reserved.

The final piece of our route took us through one of the poorer areas in or near Skopje. Afterwards the locals told us this is not an area foreigners should walk through, but besides some rather suspicious stares and wondering faces, I didn’t feel too bothered.
© rq, all rights reserved.

And there it is in the distance, the first real glimpse of the aqueduct!
© rq, all rights reserved.

I’m going to stop there for now, because the rest is the actual bricks and mortar (very little water) and I still have to decide if the number of photos I took counts as over-abundant or not. The risk of going somewhere interesting, I suppose. :)

How To Travel With Grown-Ups

Actually, I’m looking for the opposite in advice, but now I’m reminded of this book (cover illustration here, for some reason doesn’t show up at the link), which was a regular childhood read – less for the text (which, if I remember, was quite sensible), more for the illustrations, which contained a lot of shenanigans and annoyed parents.

Anyway, I was going to make a request to the readership here on ideas on travelling by car in Finland with three children and a tent, but I’ve been outvoted, and it looks like we’re going to try for Poland (the Tatra Mountains, to be precise!) sometime in August. It’s much farther but also much cheaper (so I’ve been explained to).

But what the hell, I’m curious now and I still want some answers for future planning: what is worth seeing in Finland? How might you plan a(n affordable) trip with a timeline of 3 – 4 days? With a small flock of children that need (a) entertainment (castles, animals, food and such are good) and (b) activity (anything that can be climbed is a bonus, this category includes trees, mountains, large rocks, etc.)? Google insists on showing me All the Interesting Things and I don’t have a good grasp of distance and travel time way up North.

(Also any advice on Poland is great, too, although we have a few experts available on location here.)

Not the Tatra Mountains, obviously. © rq, all rights reserved.

(The thematic choice, obviously.)

The Art of Book Design: Little Curiosity, The Story of a German Christmas

J.M. Callwell. Little Curiosity, The Story of a German Christmas. London (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin), Blackie and Son, 1884.

Surprise! It’s July 25 –  the perfect day for mid-summer Christmas. I love that this cover has none of the usual trappings that appear on later books about the season. There’s no snow, no crèche, no tinseled tree and nary a gift in sight – just a happy little bird singing.

 

via: University of Florida Digital Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries

 

The Art of Book Design: Stained Glass Tours of France

Charles Hitchcock Sherrill. Stained Glass Tours in France. New York, John Lane Co. London, John Lane The Bodley Head, 1908.

Last week we looked at Stained Glass Tours in England by Charles Hitchcock Sherrill, from the collection of Anne, Cranky Cat Lady. It seems the author took his theme on the road and made it all the way to France.

 

Cover photo via: New York Society Library

The Book is available to read at The Internet Archive

Jack’s Walk

Mt. Joli with the Perce Rock in the background ©voyager, all rights reserved

Well, it’s not raining. In fact, it’s a hot, sunny day here which just goes to show that weather forecasting is an inexact science. Jack and I haven’t gone for a walk today partly because of the heat and partly because Jack got a bit over-excited last evening while playing with his best friend Leo (who is only 4 and half Jack’s size) and he’s limping a bit on his right back leg. It’s not serious, Bubba has a bit of arthritis in that hip and sometimes it gives him a bit of grief. Maybe tonight when the temp goes down a bit (it’s 30° C right now) I’ll take him down to the end of the street and back, but for now Jack has positioned himself in front of the A/C vent and is happily asleep. Our photo today is where Jack and I wish we were. This is the beach across the street from my mother-in-law’s house in Perce, Quebec.

Tree Tuesday

Embers and the Giants by Canadian artist Kelly Richardson – source CBC Arts

Canadian artist Kelly Richardson loves trees, especially the trees in the old growth rain forests on Vancouver Island where her latest work Embers and the Giants was filmed. Richardson fears for the future of these ancient trees and with good reason – deforestation is happening at an alarming rate and it’s recently been announced that another 109 hectares of pristine forest will be auctioned off.

Richardson’s work may prompt you to consider how we relate to nature as a species and to consider what the future may look like if we don’t choose a different path. In this video made by filmmaker Lisa Wu, you’ll travel to the forest with Richardson and get to see her at work making the landscape come alive in Embers and the Giants. The film was commissioned to participate in the XL Outer Worlds project celebrating the 50th anniversary of IMAX.

Canadian artist Kelly Richardson – source CBC Arts

Embers and the Giants will be at the Toronto Biennial of Art in Fall 2019, and then it’s travelling both across Canada and internationally. You can find out more about Kelly Richardson and her work here.

I’d like to thank rq for pointing this story my way.

via: CBC Arts