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Why door knockers?
My mother always takes pictures of small details when she visits foreign places. She’ll go to Japan and not take a single picture of a temple, but a hundred pictures of leaves and sea glass. I picked up some of this habit from her, but I still have my father’s deep appreciation for grand buildings as well. These images are all from around Italy on our last trip.
Today seemed like a good day to share these knockers.
Hoping some doors open for everyone this week! (^_^)
And this Chianti farmhouse door is just cool without adornment…
When we last stayed in Verona for the last wine expo, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called Casa Guilia. It was a lovely place- full of soft greys and feathery blues.
The most magical thing about it was that a lot of the furniture seemed to be from Ikea- and yet the owner of this inn seemed to have better taste than those designers who put the Ikea display homes together in their stores.
or maybe Guilia just happened to have 3 things Ikea didn’t.
A very old house, very good taste…
…and an eye for beauty.
I learned to knit at Christmas last year. And thanks to classes at Fancy Tiger, I’ve been knitting and knitting and knitting! And not badly! =)
Ysolda Teague’s Pear Drop in Scrumptious Lace.
Arrowhead Mittens by Alexis Winslow / Brooklyn Tweed in Elemental Effects Natural Shetland Fingering wool. =) Warm!
Stephen West’s Geysir Stretch Knit Along Shawl in super soft Malbrigo Worsted. It looks more electric in person. (^o^)
And this is not knit, but I wanted to share. Made with the Liberty of London lawn fabric I got in Paris, paired with the neon/tan lace I got in Santa Fe, and the button I got down the road. Ha ha! It all comes together! A very fun and fast, but expensive scarf to make. I love Liberty! Their design team must be the coolest pattern geniuses on the planet. If anyone gets a chance to go to La Droguerie in Paris… do it. Miles and miles of Liberty Lawn, walls of ribbons, yarn by the pound, and beads and buttons in apothecary jars that make your heart melt. *Droooooooool* This is their button wall- all of which are tucked away in magical drawers behind the counter…
The possibilities are endless!
Do you know why I love photographing coffee? It’s because I can remember all the events and sights leading up to that cup, and the ones that followed. I recall the conversations I had over it, and the feelings I felt… taking pictures of coffee is the best way I know how to photograph Europe, because the rest of it has been photographed much better than I can ever attempt, so why bother? This is the important stuff…
My first coffee in Paris, France, just north of Notre Dame. I didn’t understand the system yet, so I ordered Cafe Au Lait, because it was the only thing I recognized! We had just seen our favorite of all places- San Chapelle, the chapel of glass and light!
Coffee at the Louvre! We had admired Napolean’s coronation only moments before, and afterwards we got very lost in the Egyptian section, where we discovered that the Louvre does not connect in some places and makes for a lot of walking.
My favorite coffee moment in Paris. This was on the Rue du Bac between the Musee D’Orsay and the Taxidermie Deyrolle. This was my first macaroon! I never understood the allure until I popped this pink pastry in my mouth, and now I’m an addict!
Clearly, I had discovered espresso… I believe “Cafe Richard” was a chain of coffee supply because every time we got a cup with the name printed on it, the cafe was nothing like the one before. Perhaps it is the Starbucks of Paris. This was on a busy street corner after having walked down the hill from the Pantheon (quite the Mausoleum!).
Ah, yes, this one! What a day! It was a dreary, cloudy sky that hung over us as we walked the quiet streets of Pere Lachaise Cemeterie. After hours of wandering and petting gravestones of famous loved ones, we settled in the cafe across the street with large Mucha paintings on the walls. Perhaps a tourist trap, but a safe place with hot coffee nonetheless.
We’ve left Paris, now! Here is the sole cup of coffee I enjoyed in Dusseldorf, Germany. A lovely bakery chain where I had my first German pretzel. Yum! Here the cups are twice as large, by the way. Whoa! It was challenging to find a coffee shop with a place to sit. It seems most folks like standing. Same with their bars! How intriguing!
Oooooo, Spanish coffee! This was at a hotel in Zaragosa, Spain, where we had just come from a flight, and then a bus ride to our final destination. A large and fit-for-a-king-dinner awaited us, and coffee was naturally served after.
Okay, this is actually liquid chocolate, not coffee, that I enjoyed with my hosts when we walked the streets to admire Zaragosa at night. This was the only non-alcoholic beverage we imbibed that evening.
Breakfast at Cafe Rodi, a small cafe near the Bodegas Aragonesas Winery in Campo de Borja. A delicious, hand-prepared meal with foods I’d never dreamed of before. And oh the Ham! Jamon with every meal! Woo!
Served after a luxurious meal of lamb chops seared over open fire at the Bodegas Aragonesas Winery in Campo de Borja. There were anchovies filleted with olive oil, mushrooms stuffed with foie gras, pimentoes also stuffed with foie gras… foie gras on everything why not! Did I mention the 16 wines served? I couldn’t keep up…
This coffee was across the table from me because my cup refused to photograph well. The table is at an elegant restaurant somewhere in Barcelona, where several bottles of wine were ordered, and I enjoyed a sinful dish of suckling lamb liver. My gracious host made the evening classy and memorable. Uh-mazing.
My last coffee in Europe 2012. This was in a restaurant down near the Barcelona Airport, where we dined on traditional grilled leeks and the most amazing garlic aioli that made my mouth raw the whole next week. This coffee’s acidity burned right through me, but I couldn’t help having it. Coffee had become a sort of signal that all was right in the world, and gave me a moment of peace to wrap myself up in.
Naturally I came home to our streets of Starbucks and experienced a kind of reverse culture shock. How different a world we live in! How I miss the cafe of Europe!
Those of you who read my blog have figured out that I’m a sucker for cool graffiti. Not the average tags and names- but cute stuff that makes me smile more than a blank wall would. While I was in Paris, Germany, and Spain, I took some photos of my favs. I now realize, that I have no pictures of German graffiti! Wonderous strange!
Saw these dudes scribbled on a Paris Metro billboard. I think they’re popes… or clergy? Not sure, but I love how much time this had to take the guy who was obviously drawing with a sharpie on public property in the middle of a metro tube… and no one else cared.
I know that the art on descending metro stairs isn’t technically graffiti, but it is so varied from stop to stop that I enjoyed every one individually anyway. This was my favorite. I think it’s the Rue de Bac station.
Who doesn’t love heads on a sidewalk? I don’t know how these were painted/drizzled onto the pavement, but it seemed the same texture as the paint used in marking out the lines on a street. From Paris outside the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.
This is my favorite by far. So favorite that I’m giving you two images of this bad-boy.
Understand that this image was taken in an extremely small alley around midnight while I was under the influence of tapas and wine. I was standing on someone’s doorstep to get this shot!
As you can see… pure awesome. Another example of an artist “borrowing” the billboard, but this genius takes the cake! I love the x-ray break used. Very cool. This artist also did a really tall rabbit in the same style that I saw while on a bus- I think someone faster than me took a picture, but I haven’t tracked that person down yet.
Well- that’s all the ones I have now. I know there are more on my mother’s camera, and like I said, some other travelers took some for me, so I’ll put them up as I find them. Enjoy the under-funded-city-improvement-happy art!
A Native American supply store in town carries skulls, and while they’d been out of stock, they called yesterday to say they got new skulls in. I fetched this awesome fox, a mink, and a muskrat. Can’t wait to dress them!
Sadly, it’ll have to wait. I’m off to Europe on business and won’t be back for two weeks. I’m excited to see a much talked about taxidermy shoppe in Paris. I promise to take lots of pictures! Cheers!
On cold nights, nothing comforts me more than hot chocolate. Marshmallows help, of course. I have an uncle that buys me different gourmet chocolates every Christmas. I’ve even had Elvis Peanut Butter Banana Hot Chocolate. Whaaaaaat? Yeah, you heard me! This year I got Dagoba Chai Hot Chocolate. Whew! Spicy!
Still, all my years of hot chocolate drinking experience couldn’t prepare me for this:
Not hot chocolate. Drinking chocolate! Found in a small shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico called Kakawa.
It’s thick, it’s rich, and it’s delicious. I tried spicy ones, sweet ones, and ones that hardly resembled chocolate they were so flowery! They call them Elixirs.
This is the way the Aztecs drank chocolate. They even had the recipe for the way Marie Antoinette drank her chocolate! You can drink about the amount you commonly find in an espresso shot, but not much else unless you’re a die-hard sweet tooth! That’s okay, because that’s all they offer.
This is my uncle drinking chocolate in their earthy, cozy shop. Don’t you love their porcelain? They really thought about their mode of transport for this stuff. They could have used a teacup and been all wrong!
Though I haven’t been there in a few months, I keep thinking about that smooth, flavorful chocolate, and I know it’s the first place I’ll hit next time I’m down in the painted desert. Maybe I can will myself there if I dream about it hard enough…