Une nuit en Allemagne

At the end of February I was invited to a birthday party in Bonn. I told my colleagues about it and none of them had ever heard of the city. I said something along the line of “right next to Cologne”. “Isn’t that in Italy?” “No, that’s Bologne”. I also mentioned that it used to be the capital, before the reunification, which isn’t strictly true. It was only the seat of the government. Either way, I only earned shrugs – most of my colleagues were born around the time of the reunification.

The party was in a very special place: an indoor camping place. First, I was sceptical – I don’t do camping, really, and I feel like I’m way too old for youth hostel style living. But for one night, I’m prepared to try it. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Camping is taken literally – the big hall is filled with antique camper vans and a retired sleeping car from the Deutsche Bahn.

So in case you ever go to Bonn, be sure to check out the place. It’s called Basecamp.

On my way back I had a bit of a wait in Cologne / Köln. I keep forgetting about it, but the train station is right next to the city center. You walk out of the train station and the first thing you see is the cathedral. It was freezing cold but sunny, so I took a short walk around it for a couple of photos.

March started out lovely – the weather finally got better and we went for weekend walks and had our first outdoor coffee. Parisians have outdoor coffee all through winter. Most places with a “terrasse” have outdoor heaters. But I’m all about saving the planet and frankly prefer having my coffee without feeling like I’m in an incubator.

Then it got colder again and we had a lot of rain and no more outdoor coffee. Then it got worse and we had some more snow.




Because clearly having two sets of visitors and a move isn’t enough for one month, we had also booked a trip to London in November.

I was even more badly prepared than usual, because of the move and everything still in boxes and bags and the rest being pretty chaotic. I spend hectic 20 minutes going through all kinds of things to find my oyster card and the adapters, for example. The night before we left I had a look around what markets Time out London recommended and that was about it.

We left at 10 am. From the new apartment it’s really just 5 metro stops to gare du nord, so no stress. There were lots of people because an earlier Eurostar had been canceled and there were nervous pensioners in the queue. I can’t stand people who cut the queue at all and in France it’s not as uncommon as I’d like it to be. When there was a couple who cut in line in front of us I started complaining to Gergö about it, but didn’t say anything to them because they weren’t English, so I couldn’t say “You bring shame upon your country!”

Other than me getting unnecessarily upset by retired French people, the trip was okay and we arrived in St Pancras sans problèmes. We couldn’t take the underground though, because my oyster card was depleted, so we needed to recharge it. The machine wouldn’t accept any of our cards, though, so we had to find an ATM. The ATM seemed to work just fine, right up until the moment when it said, sorry, I can’t give you money right now. Only the third of three finally gave us pounds in cash and for a hefty fee. Then we only had to queue for an oyster card machine that accepted bills. Easy!

Because we liked the area so much the last time, we booked a hotel on brick lane again.  (I just re-read my blog post from then – I did the exact same thing like last year and went to the fancy chocolate shop for hot chocolate and took photos). We went there directly to deposit our luggage and went in search of the near by cat café to pass time until check-in. It was already full, though, so we ended up in a hipster pub drinking our first lunch beer within an hour or so of our arrival.

Most of the brick lane markets open only on Saturday and Sunday, so in the afternoon we decided to go to Battersea power station. I had read that there’s a “craft” market there, whatever that means and an old power station seemed like a good venue.

We took a bus and walked 3/4 of a circle around the power station in the cold, because the market was actually in an area that can only be accessed from Chelsea bridge and we didn’t know that. The market itself was disappointing and small and we were cold. I’m sure in nicer temperatures the area is quite lovely, (think museum quarter but smaller and less central) but as a lot of it is still under construction or very new it has a bit of a soulless vibe.

We returned back into town by river taxi. You can use your Oyster card for the boat and it’s scarily efficient going from Battersea back to London bridge, stopping for 30 seconds at every stop despite the access bridge being lowered and raised manually. I had promised a friend to take a photo of Big Ben, but I had forgotten that it’s under scaffolding right now (I can hear Gergö going “Big Ben is not the tower, it’s the bell!” but even Wikipedia thinks it can refer to both.)

We went to Old Street to meet with Gergö’s brother and ended up in yet another hipster pub. It was even called Craft Beer. When we entered Gergö thought for a second it’s a gay bar, because there were hardly any women inside.

A. showed us another pub, that was another 8 on the hipster scale with a vegan jackfruit burger on their menu. The burger was no longer available but the halloumi kimchi burger was good as well.

Saturday we looked at the various markets on and around brick lane (food! t-shirts! jewellery! more food! yet more food! streetart! So much awesome streetart! vintage clothing). We started the day off with the best pork roll I ever had. It had a fried goose egg! It was from a stall called swine dining. You know the kind – with a beardy dude really passionate about his product who tells you all about the breed of pig they are using that only exists in one place in Britain. I immediately grabbed what I thought was a plastic egg, put there for decoration. Well, it was a real goose egg, which I carefully put back on the pile. Re-reading my other blog post about our last London trip, a lot of the street art has changed. At least I didn’t notice many identical photos.

Later that day we ended up in Spitalfields market. There happened to be a craft beer and independent label thing at Spitalfields market. To Gergö’s amusement I insisted on bringing my little wheelie suitcase to London and not a backpack like Gergö. He stopped making fun of this fact when we started purchasing cans and bottles of beer from the many many stalls. Fruit infused pale ales are all the rage, chocolate/coffee stouts and porters are still popular. We also bought a spiced Christmas ale.

I thought we’d buy a drink or two and maybe a bottle if we liked it a lot. But the stalls handed out little cups to try, so it was our duty, really to try to support as many craft breweries as possible.

On Sunday we walked to Broadway market by recommendation of Gergö’s brother. The walk there led us past another flea market and Columbia road flower market, which is also very nice.

A man sitting at a table with four chess boards and a sign CHESS 4 FUN

Chess 4 Fun!

And Hackney city farm, so we visited the animals.

Broadway market is closed on Sunday, except for a very small Christmas market in a courtyard. There were people doing yoga outside in 5 degree weather. It was so disturbing to me, I couldn’t even appreciate the stall selling eggs that called itself “laid” and the obvious joke that went with it.  I was freezing by then and really needed to warm up somewhere inside. So we had a lovely meal at a place that ticked all the Verena breakfast boxes and consoled me a little bit about the fact that I couldn’t have a breakfast burrito at hola guacamole because the stall wasn’t open yet, when we walked past in the morning.

poached egg: check
Avocado: check
cuppa: check
fried mushrooms: check and win.

On our way back I felt human enough to take pictures again and fantasize with Gergö about him opening a hipster sourdough bakery in a former brewery.

We went through the food hall one last time to pick up dinner for our journey home. I was pretty convinced that I’d want to try Ethiopian food, but Gergö was sceptical about transportability of the food. It was a little messy, but it was so worth it. The Lithuanian stall is still here.



Another pretty view of little France across the river Ill


We went to spend a weekend in Strasbourg in October. It’s only an hour and 40 minutes by train and we really wanted to use our weekend card by SNCF. Everybody said Strasbourg has great Christmas markets, but I’m too much of a grinch to enjoy that, so we went in early October instead.

We met my friend V. who came from Brussels. We arrived on Friday night and walked across town, past the cathedral to our hotel. I liked Strasbourg immediately – a very walkable city with lots of cosy looking restaurants and wine bars and just generally a very pittoresque place.

V found the hotel and it was nice, too. I am not a huge fan of the wall decal trend, but our hotel had what I’m pretty sure is an ironic wall decal, in the loo, of all places, and that I like.

"Ici tombent en ruine les merveilles de votre cuisine"

We ate a lot of Flammkuchen and walked a lot. We did some shopping, drank some coffee and just generally enjoyed the pretty little town.

I took a lot of photos of half timbered houses and of street art – not a bad mix I think. On Sunday we spent a few hours at the Science museum, le Vaisseau. I had looked at the website and the reviews and while I noticed that they mentioned how great it is for kids, I only understood that it’s actually a kids’ museum when we entered.

It’s a place where you can touch and try out everything. They had a water playground to explore the power of water, they had a little parcours for kids to try out how to get around in a wheelchair or on crutches. Gergö and I tried a game where you put on a headband that measures your brainwaves. The goal of the game was to be as calm as possible. There was a little ball between the two players and by not making the EEG go crazy you could make the ball move in your opponent’s direction.

I figured I’d focus on my breathing. After all I’ve been practising Ujjayi breath for years now. Well. While I thought my brain was focused on breathing and relaxed the EEG was all over the place. Apparently when I think I’m relaxed my brain still goes “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!”. Gergö beat me in a few seconds.

We occasionally joke that when he’s quiet and I think he’s thinking about work or something, in reality he is more like Homer Simpson.




Le futuroscope

Last weekend Gergö and I went to the futuroscope. It’s a amusement park in the southwest of France, about an hour and a half by TGV. The train left from Gare Montparnasse, which is opposite from Tour Montparnasse, the only skyscraper of Paris. They say it remained the only one because it turned out so ugly. After visiting the catacombs I believe it’s because there are caves from former sandstone quarries underneath Paris.

La Gare Montparnasse La Tour Montparnasse

I vaguely remember drinking a very expensive coke in the café on top of Tour Montparnasse when I was 17 and visiting Paris for the first and only time before moving to Palaiseau.

We arrived on Friday evening at the futuroscope train station.


It still blows my mind, how fast a TGV takes you from one side of France to the other.

We discovered we had a bunk bed in our room.

bunk bed

and no key! Just a 6-digit code for the door lock. We tried to find a place to eat. On the bus to the hotel we saw a few places, but all in all the area surrounding the futuroscope is a pretty boring place. Cheap hotels, hotels not quite as cheap, and a restaurant called Pirates. Of course we wanted to try that, but they only had a buffet, nothing small.

pirate arrr

Gergö still could sneak a pirate photo.

On Saturday, we arrived at the futuroscope before it opened with quite a lot of people. It’s the same procedure as everywhere, with a security check before you enter the venue, but a little more thorough than usual.

futuroscope entrance

It’s a huge area, though. The park wasn’t nearly as crowded as I expected when I saw the queue.

We walked through the park and I took photos of everything. Just like with Parc Astérix, I love the amount of work that went into the decoration and the details. The architecture isn’t bad either.

The park itself is quite different from Parc Astérix – much bigger, fewer really intense rides, more 3D films and 4D adventures. A 4D adventure is basically a cinema where the seat also moves, and/or wind is blown into your face or water is dribbled on you.

We started off with the dancing robots which was probably the most extreme ride. It was the one and only time I’ll ever be “dancing” to Barbra Streisand, I suspect.


and continued to Artur et les minimoys.


Like everywhere, the decor was adorable. Artur is a kid that gets shrunk and enters a magic world in the garden. So in the pretty long queue you are surrounded by huge stalks of grass, for example. The ride itself is a chasing scene in ladybug car like this one. There’s lots to look at – a making of the special effects, for example. You can also get a picture taken.


The playground in front of the building is on topic as well. You can climb into an ant’s butt!

In between the rides and films there is a garden of carnivorous plants

In between the rides and films there is a garden of carnivorous plants

Do not feed the plants. Or they will rise up and eat the visitors.

Do not feed the plants. Or they will rise up and eat the visitors.

We tried the aerobar next.

Futur l’Expo is a exposition on technology of the future in our every day lives. The store had hoodies with built in headphones in the hoodie strings. And little trackers you can put on your dog’s collar. They also had a bar with molecular cooking

There are lots of 3D and Imax films. We saw close-ups of a scorpion mouse escaping a snake and chipmunks collecting acorns for winter. We went to the planetarium as well and used the long slide at the fun expo. One 4D adventure was advertising cleaning up the ocean, so you basically sat on a stationary motorcycle, shooting a laser gun at the screen while the bike bucked under you. Another one was a pretty violent drone video followed by mini drones going into the bloodstream to fight a virus threatening humankind.

The futuroscope is located in the départment Vienne. Apparently the tourism board of Vienne sponsored one ride as well. It was called Vienne dynamique and basically was a 4D ride watching a dude being late for his wedding. He jumps out of the train and goes on a magic journey through all the beautiful bits of Vienne. He meets a talking tree trunk who feeds him magic mushrooms that let him fly and swim. The flying and swimming makes for a good ride, of course. The recurring joke was the magic tree trunk figure sneezing. Whenever that happened, you were sprayed with a bit of water from a nozzle in front of you. Repetitive but surprsingly effective in grossing me out.

The lapin cretin / Raving Rabbids franchise is everywhere in the park. You can see them at the entrance, they wander around the park in full costume for photos. In the molecular cooking photo the hourglass shows a lapin cretin as well. I only knew the rabbits from a Wii game I played a few years ago. The goal was to make the rabbits burp. The better the burp, the more they destroy of Paris.

We went to the energy garden on Sunday morning. It’s a lot like the science museums Gergö and I like to visit. Visualisations of concepts where you can move things and pump stuff.

From the energy garden you could see the lapin cretin queue. Every few seconds people would open a door, you could hear “Bwaaaaaah!” and they’d laugh and close the door again. So we decided to join the queue and it was one of the best designed queues in the whole park.

The ice age franchise is also pretty present in the park. I met Scrat, the squirrel (?) who is really really protective of his acorn at the entrance.

In case Gergö ever records a record, I hope this will be the album cover.

In case Gergö ever records an album, I hope this will be the cover photo.

A couple more selfies for good measure:

20160924_101412  20160924_100529


Vienne, Linz, Budapest, Styrie

Gergö joined my in Vienna last Sunday. Somehow we managed to turn a week in Vienna the most stressful of the year – we decided to visit friends in Linz on Monday, his little brother in Budapest on Wednesday, and now I’m in Steiermark.

It was good to visit Linz, but far too short a time, of course. I was playing Pokémon Go in Linz and I noticed that I take fewer pictures now. When the game is loaded and stable, I don’t want to quit it, just to take a picture. Especially now that there’s so much dust in my camera lens that all pictures have weird light reflexes. At night there’s fog clouding up the image.

You have to take my word for the lovely weather and surroundings.

We took the train to Budapest on Wednesday. A met us at the train station and we walked to his new place. It was hot and sunny and I had no internet, so I had plenty of opportunity to take pictures of Budapest without missing out on Pokémon ;-)


A’s apartment is in the 8th district, which is called Jószefváros, which is just like in Vienna (Josefstadt). There are lots of old pre-war buildings, many of them run down.

girls school in joszefvaros

There are plans and renovations taking place in Budapest, but for now this mural looks more like a promise than an actual plan for Jószefváros.

joszefvaros kolibri

A’s apartment building is one of those run down on the outside, but nice on the inside buildings. The courtyard has Pawlatschen – a word I couldn’t find an English translation for. It’s a word for the covered walkways surrounding a courtyard. Here’s a picture, feel free to chime in with a suggestion:


We wandered into town, enjoying the Budapest feeling.


We came past freedom bridge (I’m not even going to start trying to spell it), which is closed for traffic for the moment.

don't climb the bridge

And spent the evening sitting by the Danube close to a building called the whale.

Jonas in the whale

There’s a craft beer place inside the whale called Jónás (get it?!) and they sell a beer called Arany Jónás. Gergö laughed at the name, but it took me ages to understand the joke – Arany Janos is the name of a Hungarian poet. Arany is also the word for gold, so it makes perfect sense as name for beer.

The whale is part of the pricier night life of Budapest, so beers are only about three times cheaper than in Paris, not five.

The next day we woke up to a very loud thunderstorm. The temperature drop was a huge relief for me, but I had brought nothing against the rain. We walked through the covered market to avoid the rain.

rakoszi market

A wild fearow appeared

Sorry, terrible photo, terrible Pokémon Go joke. I couldn't resist.

Sorry, terrible photo, terrible Pokémon Go joke. I couldn’t resist.

Because the rain didn’t stop we ended up taking the new driverless metro line M4 to the train station and wandering around a shopping mall to avoid getting soaked. The driverless metro is nice, all shiny and new. What they saved on drivers they invested in random people with yellow vests and walkie talkies standing around on platforms instead.

After checking out the mall we decided on Hungarian fast food: I had cold fruit soup (gyümölcsleves (I only had one accent wrong on my first attempt this time!)) and Gergö noodles with cream cheese (Túrós csusza (copy/paste job)). The lady behind the counter asked something, Gergö said yes, and I saw her pick up a bottle of what I thought was mayonnaise and pour it over his noodles. She kept pouring in circles, while Gergö was grinning happily. Only when I saw the result I realised it’s sour cream not mayo she added to the meal. It should have been obvious from Gergö’s expression, really. “It’s not that much sour cream”, was all he said.

topfennudeln mit speck fruit soup, kalte obstsuppe

We returned home Thursday night. I went directly to Museumsquartier to meet friends. I packed up my stuff at 1 am and leaft today at 9. Right now I’m sitting on the main square in Bruck an der Mur, waiting for a friend to pick me up in an hour or so. I’ll join her for the weekend and return to Vienna on Monday.

I never knew Enzis (the things people sit on in Museumsquartier) are exported to other towns these days.






Ce train ne va qu’au Port Royal

I booked a flight for Vienna a while ago. Because I’m cheap, I didn’t book any check in luggage. Turns out 8 kilo really isn’t much. I did pack knickers this time, but no second pair of shoes nor anything warm. I also decided to leave all the presents behind for Gergö to bring along when he joins me. He isn’t as cheap as me and booked a flight with check in luggage. But he stays less than a week, because he wanted to avoid the expensive Sunday prices.

My flight left on Tuesday at 9 pm. I left for the airport with plenty of time to spare. At 6:21 pm I was on the lovely air conditioned RER to the airport. About ten minutes later I was bathed in sweat because the air condition didn’t stand a chance against the heat and the amount of people joining us. Besides, the train was really slow and it didn’t take long for an announcement of delays on our line. Technical difficulties between Gare du Nord and the airport. The train will terminate in Port Royal. I’ve never heard an entire train of French people make that disappointed “Nawwww!” before.

The train driver suggested to get out at Denfert Rochereau, which has lots of metro connections, but I hesitated. By the time we were in Port Royal though it was 7:21. It should have takes about 20 minutes instead of an hour. I checked alternatives but the airport bus takes an hour from the city center which was still far away by then. So I decided to get a cab instead.

When I had flagged down a taxi on the street and told the driver where I need to go and by what time, he actually said “Oh la la!”. He seemed more nervous than me, which in turn made me more nervous. He told me the price (55€), checked the traffic information on his tom-tom and gave everything. We crossed at least one red light and honked our way through the étoile. He really leaned on the horn when a car blocked our way at a crossing. All the while he told me stories of how he is usually lucky when it comes to close calls. It was the last ten minutes or so when I started to get really nervous. You know, when after a highway you have to slow down again and everything seems to go in slow motion.

My fear was unfounded, though. We arrived with about 15 minutes to spare until boarding. I had forgotten how close the drop off point for cars is to the terminal (compared to the train station). I also realised about half way to the airport that I only had about 25 € in cash on me, so I asked if the cabbie accepted cards. Of course not. Cheques on the other hand are no problem. When I explained that I didn’t have any cheques, he suggested I get the money at the airport ATM, but we both weren’t sure if there was one. Alternatively, he suggested I give him as much cash as I have and post the difference to him by cheque. When I said that I don’t even have a single cheque he was quite surprised. He gave me his address to send the money by post but also accompanied me to the airport terminal. The ATM was about 10 metres from the entrance. I was so nervous about missing my flight, I even asked the guy ahead of me in the queue if I could skip ahead  in the line. I still have the cab drivers address in my purse somewhere and have vague plans of sending him a thank you postcard from Vienna.

Inside the terminal I was suddenly alone and didn’t need to pretend to be calm anymore. I actually ran the serpentines of the empty security queueing area. The queue consisted of one (1) single person. He waited patiently to be called to the security check while I danced around nervously behind him. I managed to skip ahead and gain valuable 10 seconds or so while he took of his belt. Then I harangued a woman who blocked the place where the luggage comes out of the x-ray machine to move out of the way. I walked out of the security check with 10 minutes until boarding and no gate announced yet.

It was only about then, that it sank in that I would not miss my flight. Despite the air conditioned cab and airport building I was sweating heavily and used the waiting time to buy an iced shake.

While I cooled and calmed down I messaged Gergö who had been following the drama from afar. Upon boarding I met the woman from the security check again, this time checking my boarding pass and ID and was relieved I had been apologetically nervous and even remembered French at this point in my journey.

We needed to take a bus to the plane. In true fashion I have come to associate with Parisians but have to accept is really everyone everywhere, people stepped on to the bus and then stopped walking. More people tried to get on, but nobody moved out of the way and further into the bus. Not even when airport staff asked and waved and made pushing movements with their hands. It took at least five minutes until people seemed to accept that we wouldn’t leave unless they let the remaining 10 or so people board the bus. When the bus stopped at our plane they didn’t open the doors, though, but waited with closed doors.

This lead to a red man in a pink shirt shouting the word “air condition” at the bus driver, who nodded his head but left all the doors closed. They started letting people off the bus in small groups and only by the front door. I assumed it was the revenge for taking so bloody long to board a bus. At some point they agreed to open the doors but asked everyone to only leave by the front door. That way we had a bit of air circulating. A guy in shorts, high brown socks and ugly sandals tried to sneak out though and was told off and sent back. Which confirms all my preconceptions of men wearing socks in sandals with belted shorts.

The flight was uneventful and arrived on time. I spent it sitting with my feet on top of my little purple wheelie suitcase because all the overhead compartments were full. After landing and firing up my Austrian SIM card, I learned that there had been no trains between Gare du Nord and the airport until at least 10 pm, because there was a fire that was thought to be arson. Apparently somebody tried to steal cables from a substation and tried to cover the theft up with arson. (I might be getting the details wrong, because at this point I was still coming down from quite a lot of adrenaline).

Since landing in Vienna I spent a lot of time picking up nieces from the kindergarten and walking them home in midday heat. I didn’t regret leaving my sneakers and hoodie at home, yet. The park across from my sister’s flat is finally open and she has a small spot in a community garden, where I took the image of the full moon rising over Vienna. In reality it was huge and red and much more impressive.

Au Royaume-Uni

A while ago we decided to spend a long weekend in London, simply because it’s only about 2 1/2 hours away by train and the tickets were on sale. Our journey started under ideal conditions.

oyster card and adapters

We found our oyster cards and adapters, packed our bags and were about to walk out the door on Thursday when Gergö said to me “Yes, I’ll lock the door.”, followed shortly by “Verena!”. I was reading something on my phone and didn’t notice the ominous use of my first name at all. I closed the door behind me, looked up and saw that Gergö was fishing his keys out of his pockets again. He shook his head, disappointedly. Naturally, I assumed he forgot something. “Your suitcase?”, he said after unlocking the door.

I grabbed my suitcase and didn’t even have time to be embarassed about forgetting it, because at that moment an upstairs neighbour joined us in the stairway and started talking to us. I understood most of what he said (“You live here? Since when?! Really? Since August?!”) But it didn’t make any sense, so I asked him to slow down. Instead he switched to English saying pretty much the same thing. He thought someone much older was living here, not us. Did we live here all the time since August? Really, August?! But then we must have heard them upstairs! I said yes, sure, we did, and told him not to worry. I hear what I assume to be renovations going on upstairs from time to time, but I don’t really mind and we never complained either.

Mystified why our neighbour appeared so upset about our presence we left for Paris in a hurry. The Eurostar ticket recommends to be at the station 45 minutes early to check in. I knew there was a check in process at Gare du Nord but I had not realised at all that there would be serious passport controls. One queue for leaving France followed by another one for entering the UK, and both actually looked at my passport and my face. They also scanned the luggage and had us walk through metal detectors. You can still bring liquids and don’t have to remove your computer from your bag, though. Bizarrely there was a notice posted about not bringing WWI artiller on the train with you. Apparently it’s a recurring problem.

je ne regrette rien

I was really excited about going through the tunnel underneath la Manche, but it’s no different from any other tunnel. It turns out that it’s more the concept of taking a tunnel through the sea than the actual experience that I like :-)

Our hotel was a budget place in Whitechapel right next to the biggest mosque of London. It’s an area that used to be famous for Jack the Ripper and now is famous for its excellent Bangladeshi curry. The street signs are bilingual in English / Bengali. Because it’s Ramadan right now, there were a lot of ads asking for donations. I remeber those by muslim aid. I also saw that some restaurants advertise the possibility to rent the place to celebrate iftar for big groups and many stalls selling dates and sweets.

We loved the area right away. It’s really close to Brick lane, with lots and lots of curry houses, shops, street art, and a former brewery with hipster street food. We had great curry that first night. Before returning to the hotel we found a nice pub selling craft beer. We had a pint of ale, sitting down at a large table. Soon, we were joined by three women drinking wine. One brought the bottle and a jug of ice cubes which she proceeded to distribute in her friends’ wine glasses before pouring the wine. I still wonder if they’d get kicked out of a French bar for doing that or if the barman would simply refuse to give them ice cubes in the first place.

We met Gergö’s friend J for breakfast the next morning in Spitalsfield. We decided to walk there and it was one of those walks where I stopped to take photos every 5 minues.

It was only possible to get a table at the breakfast club because it was a Friday and not the weekend. It’s so hip, not even Barbra Streisand can cramp its style.

Barbra Streisand was watching us eat

Barbra Streisand was watching us eat

And sadly, breakfast club was also home of the most terrible pun I’ve ever read. That says a lot, as I live with Gergö.

I ham so eggsited

<insert sad trombone sound here>

After breakfast, we wandered around the area some more. There was a magic store that was sadly closed. I’ll never find out what the ingredients are of the can of vague sense of unease.


And a shop selling craft beer. It’s a little comforting to know that it’s not only hipster coffee shops that have those terrible slogans on chalk board thing going on.

beer...now, there is a temporary solution 20160617_125436

And I found out that I’m not the only one resenting the signs and/or finding it all a bit much.

cupcake free zone - here to stay...not a pop-up

Gergö had really been looking forward to British ales. We like Belgian beer, but they are all comparatively sweet and strong. So we bought a few rare local craft beers to take home. We rested our feet down at the canal for a scenic cup of coffee.

canal  coffee with a view

On our way back to the hotel we stopped by Spitalsfield market. I snuck an illegal photo of the one tshirt that wasn’t on offer at every second stall. I got caught and very politely told off for it, too. I don’t feel too bad about it though, as the motive is already available on amazon.

crows before hoes 20160617_143159

Despite the bad treatment of red wine, I still want to see the UK remain in the EU. And as it turns out, Churchill agrees. Or possibly he has really bad indigestion, it’s very hard to tell from his expression.

We spent that evening at the London zoo. A couple of nights each summer it’s open late and there are street food vendors (notice a theme?) and special events.

I also saw Asian lions, an aardvark, a little monkey wee on a woman who got too close, a sloth, and spooning monitor lizards.