My Vacation (in) Books!

The six books I read during the last two vacation weeks. All pics by Franzi.

Our (late summer / early fall) vacations are already over. Those two weeks were incredible relaxing and fun. And finally there was time for reading :)! Here are the six books I indulged in.

Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray:

In spring 1936 seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family owned “Café Paradis” in the small French village Juan-les-Pin. The already famous artist Pablo Picasso stays incognito in a nearby villa and makes a deal with the “Café Paradies” that they are responsible for his food. Thus, Ondine rides everyday with her bicycle to Picasso’s villa and cooks for him her extraordinary dishes.

Céline is a Hollywood makeup artist in New York of the present days. From her mother Julie, she learns that her Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso and that she may once owned a Picasso painting. But where’s the painting got to?

This was a perfect vacation book – French Riviera atmosphere, excellent food descriptions, a gripping story and plot that combines the real facts wonderfully with imagination.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

This is a historical letter novel that plays shortly after WWII and is about a young English author on the search for a topic for her new book and a bunch of people located on Guernsey who created the “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” during the German occupation on Guernsey. The plot is hilarious and entertaining and sometimes sad. But then there’s also a romantic story-line ;)… A big must-read recommendation!

A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie

This is the first book of a crime series around the Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his young sergeant Gemma James:

Overworked Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid plans to make vacation at the time-share “Followdale House” in northern England. Some of his fellow guests have been to the time-share hotel before. Others are newcomers. Then someone dies…

I am a big fan of good-written crime series (I love the Elizabeth George series!) and this book was a good start into a new addiction :).

Becks letzter Sommer (Beck’s last summer) by Benedict Wells

A bored teacher in his 30s, his depressed and addicted black best friend and a 17-year-old Lithuanian, who’s a highly talented musician. Those three people are experiencing not only a summer together, but also a road trip to Istanbul full of adventures that have consequences for all of their futures.

A nice German book that’s well written, easy to read and has a clever plot.

Ein Kind für mich allein (A child all for myself) by Elfriede Brüning

This is a German 1950s classic about a woman who is trying to find her life’s purpose. Shortly after the war ended, she works as a nurse in a hospital in Berlin. She falls in love with a doctor of the same hospital who is not interested in a long-term relationship with her. Then she believes she’s pregnant…

At the moment, I am interested into German literature of the 1950s – especially if it is about the life of women during this time. The book illustrates a woman on her search of independence – which was a lot harder in the 1950s than it is now. But some of her thoughts are nevertheless up to date. Like: What is one’s purpose in life? Or: When is the right time to get a child and with whom?

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This novel from 1926 was one of the first successes of Hemingway. It describes not only the “lost generation” of the 1920s in Paris but plays also in Pamplona during the Fiesta of San Fermin where the protagonist Jake Barnes travels with a bunch of friends to visit the running of the bulls. He is in love with a typical 1920s girl named Brett. Unfortunately Jake was injured during the war and, as a consequence, is now impotent. Brett on the other side loves life and men – her fiancée Mike is with her in Pamplona – as is also her latest affair Robert Cohn.

The story is typical Hemingway – fast and with a passionate plot it narrates the story of Jake and Brett and the destiny of all those involved.

I wish you a wonderful week! Have an entertaining one :)!

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New Hamburg Spots!

Schanzenturm“. Pic by Franzi.

After Hamburg was the G20 spot last week and everyday in the media, it’s time to calm down a bit in the city. Since I realized that many of my old Hamburg recommendations are not existing anymore (I promise to update those posts soon), it’s time to share with you some new favorite Hamburg spots of mine. Here they are…

Restaurants (Book a table in all of these, if you plan to eat there!):

Brüdigams… My all-time favorite in Hamburg! Classic cuisine with a modern twist. Always delicious!

Ti Breizh… Breton! Incredible tasty galettes and crepes!

Zum Spätzle… Cute little space that serves Swabian dishes.

Kleine Brunnenstraße 1… Little restaurant that’s perfect for special occasions (e.g. Valentine’s Day, Birthday dinners,…).

Bars

Vineyard… Perfect for having a glass of wine with good friends on the end of a stressful week.

Le Lion… The most sophisticated bar in Hamburg.

Coffee

Less Political… Located in the Sternschanze, this place is always crowded with young and hip people.

Black Delight… Small place that makes delicious coffee.

Ice-Cream

Luicella’s… An incredible variety of flavors!

Eisliebe… Always a good reason for a bike tour to Ottensen.

Eisprinzessinnen… Again: An incredible variety of flavors!

I wish you a wonderful July week! Enjoy the warm days :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Those Beautiful Days in ….Portugal!

All pics by Franzi.

We are back from Portugal. Somehow I made it through the plane flights …and it was totally worth it! The Algarve was a dream: On my birthday we had 30°C (a first in 35 years) and visited the most stunning beaches. The wedding of Isa and André was full of sunshine and love. Lisbon impressed me with its Fado sounds, the steep streets of Alfama, a hilarious tram ride, its elevators to reach the higher parts of the town and its many panoramic views. Here are some photographic impressions of our Portuguese adventures…

I wish you a wonderful fresh week! Let the sun shine in your hearts!

The Algarve:

The beach in Lagos.

I loved the patina of the houses at the Algarve …here in Aljezur.

The Algarve has the most incredible beaches I’ve ever seen … this is the Praia da Arrifana (view from above).

Praia da Arrifana.

The waves were huge! Like here at the Praia do Amado.

I was very impressed by the size of the Aloe plants!

The beach wedding of André & Isa was a dream: wonderful romantic and full of sun!

The light in the cathedral of Silves felt magical.

View from the Castle of Silves. I loved the orange groves!

Lisbon:

We had our apartment in the wonderful lively neighborhood of Alfama, the oldest part of Lisbon.

Sunset above  Lisbon. View from the São Jorge Castle.

The famous Lisbon tram (we made one hilarious trip with it).

On our last day we visited the impressive Bélem tower – one of Lisbon’s landmarks.

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Greetings from Vienna!

Today just a few greetings from Vienna! I will be back in Hamburg tomorrow. XO!

 Friday: Steffel, K.u.K. Hofzuckerbäckerei & Wiener Staatsoper! IMG_0267IMG_0275IMG_0287

Saturday: Long Breakfast at Coffee Pirates, (scary) Trabrennbahn, Prater & a nice “Beisl” (Zum Geschupftn Ferdl)!IMG_0310IMG_0331IMG_0338IMG_0369

Saturday: Coffee House Tour! At Vollpension, Bräunerhof, Hawelka & Cafe Korb.IMG_0373IMG_0377IMG_0400I wish you a wonderful start into the fresh week. Have a nice one :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.

Perfect Places: Summer Edition 2015!

I am craving to go away and to start vacations somewhere. Unfortunately this will not happen very soon. But hey, there is always the possibility to dream myself away! Here are some perfect places I can very well imagine myself in :).

I wish you a wonderful (vacation?) summer week!

shelterA big tent, a bicycle and the sea… that’s all I need! Via Instagram / Shelter Co.

ungarcondeparisLong train rides to knew adventures: Time to dream and read and dream! Via Un garçon du Paris.

instagrammFairylights & wine & good old friends: A perfect summer night! Via instagram / thiscactusheart.

holdurheadupA sleep in the sun on the balcony surrounded by the mountains, breathing the cool air! Via C’est la fuckin’ vie.

highestheelsThe first view after a night in a tent: A beautiful lake! Via Highest Heels.

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.

Den Haag (The Hague)!

Den Haag6All pics by Franzi.

Here are a few pics from last week’s trip to Den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands). …As inspiration to get you into the summer mood. It was wonderful – stormy and wild and simply adorable. That’s how I love the sea!

I wish you a wonderful start into this fresh summer week!

Den Haag5 Den Haag4 Den Haag3 Den Haag2 Den Haag1Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.

Iceland – the land of ice and fire

Happy Monday everyone. I’m lucky to present you another guest post by my pal Marie! She visited Iceland and shares this beautiful experience with you. Have fun!

What do you associate with Iceland? Björk? An island in the middle of nowhere? …That’s what I thought about when my friend told me he moved there. So I went to Iceland to pay him a visit and get a good deal more impressions on this country. Here’s what I experienced…

The people

The Icelanders are very welcoming people. They are open and relaxed and have a somewhat particular belief. Although officially, they are protestant, there somehow is a common belief on the existence of fairies, gnomes and elves. Or at least, they agree not to be sure of their non-existence. To be honest, having spent the few days I have spent on that island, at some point I think it wouldn’t have shocked me to see a fairy fly by or a gnome standing close. The landscapes are just so magical, it makes it almost real. No wonder Iceland is a scenery that is often chosen for movies such as Lord of the Rings or series like a Game of Thrones. In fact, we have seen quite some filming crews on our trips around the island.

The Community

The population of Iceland is small (around 300.000) – almost like a medium-sized city in Germany. It is in fact so small, that everyone is much more closely related to each other than anywhere else. No kidding, there is an app with which you can look up if you’re related to the guy you just flirted with. Most likely, you are to some degree. Then, when you’ve decided you like that person, you don’t go on dates – everyone would notice since it is such a small community. You rather go out partying with everyone and then leave together to spend the night. After that, you can decide on further steps. Quite pragmatic, don’t you think? And by the way, the general approach is not to move in, marry and have kids. In Iceland, it is more common to move in, have kids and then decide if you want to get married. It doesn’t even affect your name, since your family name is your father’s name with an “-son” or a “-dottir” at the end, according to whether you’re a boy or a girl. According to this, my name is Marie Marcsdottir.

The Customs

Amongst others, there is one custom that really impressed me – the hot-pot ritual at the end of the day. When the Icelanders have had a long rough and maybe cold day, they go into hot pots. These are – sometimes natural, sometimes not – really hot baths where you can relax, heat up and have a nice talk with your co-worker, your neighbor or whoever is enjoying themselves. How come we don’t have such a ritual? To me, it was the most stress-relieving thing ever after a hard day of tourism.

The Weather

Of course, Iceland is way up north, so it must be cold there, one would think. But it is actually ok! It’s just that the variation in temperature is very small, so it rarely gets really warm, but also rarely gets very cold. In July, it was mostly something between 9°C and 13°C. You need to be dressed for all kinds of weather at all times since a slight drizzle to a strong rain is always possible. More fascinating and at the same time more annoying is the amount of daylight you get: In summer, it is daytime all day and all night long, which is nice since you don’t have any time restriction for your activities. It is just the opposite for the winter, which is so depressing that people try to simply pursue their hobbies in order to have something to do to keep you up.

The Nature

Iceland offers way more nature variety than one would expect. It has glaciers, since it is way up to the north. But it also still has volcanic activity, which can cause trouble when erupting. It has large geysers and huge waterfalls. And there’s a lake under which the two tectonic plates of Europe and America are slowly drifting apart. From the animal side, there’s puffins (so cute!), arctic foxes, reindeers, seals, all kinds of birds and whales. And there’s one characteristic flower which has spread all over the island, painting it violet, although it is originally not from there: the nootka lupins.

Now that I’ve delivered some information on Iceland, how about I give you some impressions to see what I was talking about? Within this spirit of experiencing new and exciting nature adventures I want to say:

hafa mikil viku! | have a great week!

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Gullfoss (all fotos by marie)
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Laugevegur
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Hot springs walk at Hveragerdi
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Thingvellir
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Thingvellir
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Close to the geyser Strokkur
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the geyser
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Svartifoss
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Glaciers on the way to Jökulsarlon
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Jökulsarlon
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The blue lagoon
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A natural hot-pot on the hot spring route
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Skogar
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Skogar from the top of the waterfall

All pics by Marie. Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.

Those Were My Days … At The Sea!

My time at the sea is already more than one week ago. Oh, I am craving the sound of he sea gulls, the wind at the harbor, the cold of the water and the sallow thorn ice-cream. I miss the solitude, the little house near the tower, the church and its famous pipe organ. Why do vacations always have to end so fast? I am happy to be home again, but the melancholia of these past few weeks is still in my heart.

I wish you a perfect start into a wonderful week, filled with many memorable moments!

BeachThe beach …sometimes wild and dangerous (and cold!), sometimes calm like a lake! All pics by Franzi.

Barth4Barth …the harbor = the place I ate ice-cream ALL THE TIME.

Barth6Barth …on my last day there was a feast at the harbor and I rode with the ferry wheel!

Barth5Barth …one of the prettiest gardens I ever saw!

Barth2Barth …the small white house on the right is where I lived!

Barth1Barth …in this church I listened to two fantastic (!) concerts.

Barth3Barth …I tried to watch the sundown at the harbor every evening (while eating ice-cream).

Hiddensee1Hiddensee …I made a one-day trip there (3 hours on the ferry to the island, 3 hours on the island, 3 hours on the ferry back to Barth – so worth it!).

Hiddensee2Hiddensee …I love the wild feeling of this island!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.

Those Were My Winter Vacations 2014!

So, my winter vacations are finally over. …It was such a fantastic time. Thanks to my friends who were wonderful! It was a pleasure to spent this great week together with you :). And thanks again to my excellent guest bloggers – Marie, Dania & Youdid! To let you all participate a bit on my winter vacation experiences, I would like to dedicate a few posts this week to it. Let’s begin with a few impressions from the top of the Austrian mountains. Those were my winter vacations in the Zillertal!

Have an inspiring (and hopefully not snowy 😉 ) week!
winter11All pics by Franzi.

winter12 winter10 winter9 winter8 winter3

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.