A big nosed plastic roman soldier guarding the entrance of the cinémathèque

Les lieux speciaux de Paris

I recently visited a friend who’s working as a barista on weekends and because she was busy took a little walk in the Bastille area. Not far from the little coffee shop there’s a cat café!

I also came across rue de Lappe, which has a lot of restaurants and bars. Shuttered for the day they look quite interesting.

Among them is a Caribbean restaurant where you can get a Bokit – a sandwich in fried bread.

And a bar called only rum that has the interior design of a jungle. There are fake plants and vines everywhere, you have to duck below them to get to the bar. The place is lighted entirely in green and has a citric smell to it that was still noticeable in my clothes the next day.

The drinks are served in preserving jars and are good, but nothing special, but the atmosphere definitely is. Unfortunately the bar keeper is a grumpy bastard who put up a sign that asks you not to tutoyer him i.e. not use the informal tu when talking to him, like duzen in German. There are other signs around telling you that you don’t have the right to touch this and change that.

Last weekend P visited Paris for the 4th time. I’d been seeing ads for the Goscinny exhibition on the metro for a while but as it’s in the cinémathèque, I always assumed that it’s in fact a show of films by Goscinny. There’s even a boar on a spit in front of the cinema. Turns out it’s not just a cinema, the cinémathèque also has an exhibition space. I’ve been living across the place for 9 months now and never even noticed it! We went to “visit our childhood friends” like P. called it: Goscinny drew Asterix, Lucky Luke and Petit Nicholas.

Afterwards we had coffee and cake at the cinematheque’s café, together with a dozen screamy children and their parents for Sunday brunch.

I had been telling P about Poké bowls and Buddha bowls. They have become fashionable a few months ago and I finally tried a Poké bowl in summer – It’s a Hawaiian dish consisting of raw fish and vegetables on rice. The Buddha version is vegetarian and sometimes the rice is replaced by other grains.

We wanted to have a Buddha Bowl lunch on Friday in a place recommended by a friend not far from Saint Lazare. But we left home so late we arrived after all the lunch places had closed – In France it’s still very uncommon to eat outside of meal times and especially lunch places close at 14:30. We ended up finding a place with good tartes and spent the rest of the afternoon walking to Montmarte. We came across a small Colombian shop selling Colombian coffee. It was tiny and you had to ring a door bell just to get in. Inside were two tiny women speaking rapid Spanish with each other. We also saw a chocolate place that had monkeys made from chocolate in the shop window.

A monkey made from chocolate
We went inside to check out their chocolates and ended up buying a cookie, a quinoa energy ball and a sweet on a stick consisting of meringue and gianduja covered in matcha frosting. The back of the shop was partinioned off by a glass wall and behind it you could watch the sweets being made by the chocolatier and we all know how much I love watching people prepare food.

On Sunday night we went to a pizza place that has fried pizza. They claim it’s a neapolitan speciality, but I’m not so sure I believe it. Gergö had to have it, of course, and it wasn’t bad. “It’s just like filled langos”, was P. comment and I think she might be right.

A golden brown bit crescent of fried dough.

I only added the photo to keep up my food photo quota.

During this dinner our Italian friend A mentioned that there is a Mozza Bar in Paris, where you can try different kinds of Mozzarella cheese. I’ve started to make a list of places I want to visit and cafés and restaurants I want to try. The cat café and the Mozza bar are on this list, together with a place that has minus 8 degrees and this list of the best desserts of Paris.

I already went to one on the list: the Japanese French Patissier. They have everything in a matcha version, but I actually took the yuzu tarte. I couldn’t have said if it’s any different from a lemon tarte, but it was a very good lemon tarte and very good green tea, in a fancy fancy little tea salon surrounded by chocolate with black sesame and matcha.


Mon chaud manchot

The day after Parc Astérix we went to the zoo. Paris has two Zoos, a smaller one that is next to the botanical garden and a bigger one a little further outside, close to the bois de Vincennes. It doesn’t have as many species as some of the zoos we visited, but the enclosures are much better, I found. Huge and often with more than one species inside.

Just as we came by the enclosure, the sea lions were being fed. So we stopped and watched, took photos (my niece) and listened (Gergö and I). The sea lions are called otarie in French, not lion de mer. Next on our path and also being fed next were the penguins. Although in French they are called manchot. There is the French word pengouin but it refers to guillemots (Alk in German) which are birds that can fly. I saw a lot of them in Iceland last summer. Guillemot is also really close to the French word guillemet which refers to the French quotation marks « ».

So in order to learn the new vocabulary and finally memorize these words I repeated “manchot, otarie” to myself. Gergö asked “Who are you calling a hot sea lion?” (Get it?!!)

My favourite part of the zoo is the giant rock which works really nice as a dramatic backdrop for photos.

giraffe

And the tropical glass house. This time it wasn’t even noticably warmer inside than outside. It’s huge and a lot of birds fly around freely. There are also sloths climbing on the inside of the roof. And there’s an aquarium with manatees inside.

The flora of inside the glass house is pretty impressive too

The flora of inside the glass house is pretty impressive too

tortoises doing it

I’d also like to include this picture to commemorate the fact that whenever my brother visits a zoo with tortoises, they are doing it. Very slowly.

bush dog / Waldhund

Other memorable animals we saw: dogs that seem to be related to either sausages or very small bears. They are called bush dogs / Waldhunde.

The giraffe enclosure is very big and also contains ostriches

The giraffe enclosure is very big and also contains ostriches. They seem to be permanently saying “Hi, I’d like to add you to my personal network on linkedIn!”

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That’s also a photo of the giraffe enclosure (hence the elevated feeder hanging from the tree, the zookeepers aren’t sadists). The deer (maybe kudu?) also live there and so does this bird who appears to be practising to become a cult leader.

The zoo also has a little botany section we looked at, mostly to remind outselves how depressing the state of our balcony is.

 

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Joyeuse Nouvelle Année

After Christmas, we boarded a plane to Austria to spend some time with my family and friends in Vienna. I almost froze my butt off – not only because it was cold (down to minus 7°!) but also because I only noticed in Vienna, that I had forgotten to pack any underpants. That was an absolute first for me. A suprising number of people told me they made the same experience once. I also brought the wrong SIM card, so for the first few days I had to stay really close to Gergö, who opened up a wifi for me. He thought I took the sim card news worse.

The cold really threw me. I wasn’t really equipped for minus 7 degrees. The weather forecast for Vienna had been less dramatic. Last winter was also much milder, so I kind of hoped to be able to avoid it all this year. Nuh uh. It was freezing, it was windy and there was snow. My friend Eva called my being ill-equipped and in complete denial about the possibility of snow “The Wiener Linien Syndrome”. I love it!

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Gergö and I are sad because of the cold weather, the snow, and the wind. Also, we really need to work on our selfie game.

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Snowmargedoon on Mariahilferstraße. Not pictured: my bag of new knickers.

3D glasses give me headaches, because they are so heavy. 3D glasses for Imax give me an terrible headache because they are ginormous. Without the snow, wind and cold, the selfie is much better, I notice.

3D glasses are heavy and therefore often cause headaches. 3D glasses for Imax cause terrible headaches because they are ginormous. Without the snow, wind and cold, the selfie is much better, I notice.

I spent every single one of these ten days meeting at least one group of people, sometimes two. I managed to see my grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins in Styria for one day and get a Schnitzel-fix. We saw two of Gergö’s brothers and went to a pub quiz with friends. I met former colleagues from fachhochschule. I spent new year’s eve with my sister and her triplets, hoping they would sleep through what sounded like war outside. I actually saw someone hand a handgun to a kid who couldn’t have been older than 11. He shot sparkly crackers from the presumably gas pistol.  We even managed to squeeze in a big meal and traditional Austrian Christmas biscuits with my dad’s family. Oh and we finally saw the new Star Wars film and then spent two days discussing it in depth. All those things involved food and drinks and it’s a miracle I didn’t need a seatbelt extension for my flight back. I do need to recover from my holidays, though.

The first few days we spent at a friend’s place who lives really close to my sister with the triplets. So we had a few chances to drop in, get them all excited and then slink off to let the parents deal with getting them to sleep. I feed them and bathed them as well, which was great fun, and both involved some splashing.

Our host returned from his family a little earlier than planned, but as luck would have it we scored an awesome apartment. Gergö’s friend Sebastian renovated his old apartment after moving in with his partner, and rents it out on airbnb. It has the best matress I ever slept on in my entire life. I cannot recommend this place enough. Should you ever need somewhere to stay in Vienna, check it out. It’s right around the corner to where Gergö used to live, 5 minutes from the metro (U3 Hütteldorferstraße) and tram (49). The kitchen is pretty well equipped and the shower has a ledge on which you can sit down, should you end up hung over and tired on new year’s day. Also, the couch is identical to the one we used to have, so for sentimental reasons, I like it even more. The only down side is that there’s no door between the bedroom and the sitting room. So there’s room for four people, but they have to really like/know each other. Oh and it’s all official and above board, so Sebastian actually charges visitor’s tax that he has to pass on to the city of Vienna.

— end of advertisment

Before we left Austria in August, we stored some boxes in Lower Austria, that we ended up having to move. We managed to squeeze that into the 10 days as well. With the help of my dad we brought them to Vienna. He also reminded me of another, final box of my stuff at his office. It’s just some old fabric/clothes I want to use to crochet another carpet with. I made one for the triplets and it turned out to be the most useful and least ugly DIY project I ever made.

crocheted carpet made from thirts

I was convinced that after emptying our luggage of our souvenirs there would be plenty of space to transport it all back, but it was a very close call in the end. Not so much for the luggage but for Gergö who kept complaining. Now that my dad announced he’ll drive up in May for a visit, I regret it a little. (By the way: if you ever want to get rid of old tshirts or fitted sheets or anything made from cotton jersey: I will cut it up and crochet a big fat carpet with it. Doesn’t matter if they have holes. There just might be a way to transport it all up to Paris in May…)

Which reminds me: come visit us! Our couch is not as awesome as the one in Basti’s airbnb, but it will do. Also: heated floors! I keep repeating the invitation and most people reply: We will! But then, nothing happens. So my new plan is to put a calendar up here on a separate page that shows when we are away or already have visitors and when we are free. Maybe that encourages people to come. I count on you for sightseeing and touristy things!