Weekly Image Of Life: Summer

It is almost summer, but the weather this year seems to think it’s not. And what summer means to me? I will show you at some shots taken in Southern Moravia 3 years ago during our family vacation.

Summer is seeing sunflowers at the fields.

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Sunflower field in Lednice

Summer is visiting castles and old palaces around Czech Republic.

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Lednice castle

Summer is doing nothing and enjoying the sun whenever and wherever you want.

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Garden coffee at Lednice garden

Summer is when there are flowers on the street.

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Mikulov

Summer is when you don’t go to sleep at the evening, because you go to the summer festival for music.

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Meky Žbirka at Bernard Fest in Humpolec

Summer is when you don’t go to sleep at night, because you are having fun with your partner and with your glass of beer.

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At Bernard Fest Humpolec

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

When we travel, we do not go All Inclusive, as we spent most of the day travelling the country and not in the hotel complex by the pool or at the beach. Therefore, the All Inclusive would be unavailingly profligated. But for our honeymoon we found a newly opened hotel with very nice prices in Tunisia on Djerba island, so we enjoyed the All Inclusive programme there. See some shots from our lunchtime for Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime.

The offer was really huge and it was quite difficult to choose our dish.

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Salat bar

Something lighter.

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First courses

Our dishes through the week.

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You think it is easy to go just for one style?

Moroccan theme lunch

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Moroccan dishes

Something sweet.

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Yes, I tasted it all … and it was delicious

And this was our most favorite drink, mint tea with pine seeds.

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Tea with pine seeds – lovely

A Word A Week Challenge – Industrial

I love industrial architecture and objects. In the Czech Republic we have lots of breweries and I like to make beer tours to see and taste. Therefore for A Word A Week Challenge – Industrial I will take you to some of the breweries, but without the tasting, sorry :-). The first brewery is the biggest and also the most famous brewery in Pilsen, the city which gave name to the Pilsner type beer. Beer is brewed here from 1842 and it is really the number one.

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Pilsen – Pilsner Urquell brewery

The second one is a medievel brewery. It is located in the beautiful city of Český Krumlov and the beer produced there is called Eggenberg. But my husband (beer-taste expert) says the beer is not that good. But I love the location and the brewery itself :-).

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Český Krumlov – Eggenberg beer brewery

On the other hand Regent is my husband’s most favorite beer and he tried hard to find a place in Prague where they sell it. After non-succesfull visits to shops and supermarkets he found a small dirty hashery a few steps from our home where he can buy it. I can say the beer is very tasty and even more, the brewery itself is beautiful. It is located in small South Bohemina city Třeboň, which worths visiting for beer and also for carp specialities.

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Třeboň – Regent beer brewery

Platan is a brewery in another small South Bohemian town Protivín, where you can also find a crocodile farm. The brewery is located in beautiful plane-tree alley and it is named after it: platan in Czech = plane-tree in English. We have a beautiful memory for very interesting excursion to the brewery, which ended up (as usually the brewery tours do) with a tasting. By coincidence our guide was not only a guide, he spent his whole life working for the brewery and he was very enthusiastic about the place and also about the beer. It made the tour even more interesting. Finally our tasting was much longer than the tour, the next group started 30 minutes after us and they were done quicker than we were. On the other hand they were able to stand on their feets after their tour, which cannot be said about us 🙂 (shots made after the tour are under the ban).

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Protivín – Platan beer brewery

Travel theme: Multiples

Multiples is my favorite theme all the time, therefore it was quite difficult for me to choose from hundreds “multiples” shots the right ones for this week’s Travel Theme. Finally, I decided not to go for the best shots, but I chose one day in Barcelona and multiples shots from this day.

When you are in Barcelona, you can’t miss one of the most beautiful market-halls. It is named Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria and it is located in the city center on Ramblas street. Enjoy my shots from there.

Vegetable and sea fruits

Vegetable and sea fruits

Nothing is better in hot day but fresh fruit drink. The offer is really huge.

Fresh fruit drinks

Fresh fruit drinks

If you need something sweet, you can choose from any color you think of.

Something sweet

Something sweet

Full of sweets and fruits and vegetables? Why not to try something else?

SOmething meet

Something meet

And when you leave the market, take a bike and go for sightseeing.

Bikes

Bikes

Barcelona’s cathedral is not far away:

Shoals in Barcelona's Cathedral

Shoals in Barcelona’s Cathedral

In front of the cathedral you can visit a flea market with antiques …

Flea market

Flea market

… buy stamps and write postcards to your family and friends to delight them …

Stamps

Stamps

… and finally do some souvenir shopping :-).

Flamenco dancers

Flamenco dancers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

For this week challenge I was considering the meaning of the word “delicate” a lot. First, it meant to me something fragile, elegant, soft, and then sweet, tasty. And finally I found out what I would write about: about our gingerbreads because they are delicate in all meanings of this word and we make them during Christmas Season, so it is the best topic for now :-).

It is very traditional to make small gingerbread cookies in all possible shapes and they are decorated with sugar icing. Families share the recipes and decoration styles, ladies are competing whose gingerbread would be nicer. One of the recipes can be found here.

However, as I bake neither gingerbreads nor even other traditional Czech Cookies (when you havebigger family who does 50 different kinds, you don’t have to participate, you just have to eat it :-)), I can’t put here any pictures from the preparation of the gingerbreads.  I wrote a post about Betlem Exhibition in Prague few days ago and now I will use some shots of gingerbreads from this exhibition as well.

Advent Wreath with 4 candles, waiting for Christmas in Advent time

Advent Wreath with 4 candles, waiting for Christmas in Advent time

Nativity scenes, but also St. Nicolas with Angel and Devils, another Advent tradition

Nativity scenes, but also St. Nicolas with Angel and Devils, another Advent tradition

GIngerbreads for your table and taste

Gingerbreads for your table and taste

Gingerbread Village

Gingerbread Village

Christmas Tree decorations

Christmas Tree decorations

Really piece of art

Real piece of art

GIngerbread forms . different shapes

Gingerbread forms – different shapes

How sold at Christmas Markets

How sold at Christmas Markets

Gingerbread motif used for Bank commercial :-)

Gingerbread motif used for Bank commercial, displey and envelope

My Post about Christmas:
PragueChristmasSKOI

Betlémy – nativity scenes
Christmas Market in Prague Old Town
Christmas Crafts Markets in Prague
Czech Christmas Ornaments (Rautis)
Traditional Gingerbreads
Christmas Wish 2012
Family Tradition – Fire-crackers

Colors of Baltic States

Baltic states – Estonia, Lavia and Lithuania – are three small countries in North East Europe and are on my Top List of Favorite Places, where I was and enjoyed it there a lot. Even though the history of these countries is very similar, they are not the same and every one of them has its stunning beauty.

Tallinn garden festival in the park behind the walls of the old city, Estonia

From Estonia I will choose colors, flowers, Lahemaa national park, medievel hansa city Tallinn and summer town Parnu. In Latvia I like to swim (more precisely walking in the water, as it is rather shallow) in Jurmala, the kitchen is the best here, valley of Gauja river is beautiful and adventure as well, walks in Riga’s park are nice. In Lithuania you can’t miss baroque capital Vilnius with independent Uzupis distric, lakes are so beautiful in Aukstaitia, Palanga beach and park are must see, dunas and sea at Neringa (Curonian split) can’t be miss.

Colorful house and small garden in Juodkrante, Neringa, Lithuania

July’s looong sunny days offer us the best opportunity to enjoy the places around. What I love in Baltics are the colors on the streets and all the details. Flowers markets there are the nicest I have ever seen and traditional handcraft works are so beautiful.

Flower market at Central Market in Riga, Latvia

When you are in Latvia, tasting auksta zupe (cold soup) is so refreshing, that you can easily became addicted to it, so when you come to Lithuania you are immediately going for saltibarscaj, which is not the same but pretty close, served with potatoes.

Saltibarscai, beetroot cold soup with cream, how served in Rumsiskes, Open-air museum in Lithuania

There you will learn that black and grey are also colors and not mistakes on the color chart.

Black swan on the pond in city park in Cesis, Latvia, there is a pair of them and they had a small baby this summer

Flax jumpers and wool socks, grey is just perfect there

But when you don’t like it, you can choose from all the colors of the world

Socks stall in Central Market in Riga, Latvia

Hats in all shapes and colors at town hall square market in Tallin, Estonia; even more can be found in Lithuanian markets

Flax jumpers both in Tallinn and Vilnius (cheaper there !)

Very close to the old town of Tallinn there is a big ship harbour for ferries to all around the Baltic sea, very crowdy but nice place.

Naval flags in Tallinn harbour, Estonia

Our hostel in harbour was colorful as well

Visiting summer cities like Parnu (Estonia) or Palanga (Lithuania) or Ventspils (Latvia) is perfect chance to spent some time by the sea at the beach, that is pretty close to forest. The cities are colorful, but you can always find a quiet place for coffee, just sit there and enjoy the air.

At the small park cafe in Parnu, Estonia

Wooden weather vanes are in nice colors and shapes, mainly in Nida, but also in Juodkrante, beautiful village at Curonian Split

Braided trees in Tartu, Estonia, but also in Vilnius, Riga and other cities

The best time for visiting is July, but I believe autumn colors must be perfect specially in national parks as Lahemaa in the north Estonia or in Aukstaitia in Lithuania as well as in Gauja park in Latvia.

The winter would be also nice, but the days are very short there, to feel warm and cozy you can choose from many jersey’s designs in Tallinn. Also trees are protected against the cold carefully :-).

But in fact it doesn’t matter which time of the year you will choose for your visit, as long you are dressed well and you travel with opened eyes and opened heart, in Baltic states you won’t be disappointed.

Jersey at the wool market bellow the old ramparts in Tallinn, Estonia

Tastes of Asia

Do you know what is Sapa? Have you ever been there? I visited Sapa yesterday, and I don’t mean Swedish-based aluminium company nor the national agency of South Africa nor the frontier town and capital of Sa Pa District in the Lao Cai province in northwest Vietnam. With the last choice we are closest, but still more than 5000 miles away.

Temple in Sapa

Temple in Sapa

Streets of Sapa

The Sapa we will talk about today is Vietnamese Town in Prague. Sapa is a commercial center of Asian business for the whole Europe, everyday 25 of containers full of fishes go through its gates. You can visit this town in the city on your own, but also you can take a guide. I visited Sapa with the Chef of SaSaZu restaurant, one of the most fancy restaurants and clubs in Prague.

In the salon

Our tour started in the salon, where we chose to take a massage or get manicure, as we wanted to enjoy the visit Asian way. Our tour went through the culinary street, decoration’s street (the small lights glittered and everything was prepared for Christmas Season), business street for air plane tickets and all other kinds of business, shops with dresses etc.

In family restaurant we saw handmade preparation of rice paper and also taste it with explanations, what to use, how to flavor it and eat it.

Rice paper "pancakes" in the kitchen and on the table

Fresh vegetable and herbs

Our next stop in this labyrinth was in the main shop with fresh Asian herbs, where we bought coriander, banana leaves, some root, which looks like ginger but it is not a ginger. Shahaf (the Chef) taught us some recipes and we were buying ingredients for our dinner. We left another shop selling Asian specialties with Durian chips, Coconut and Jackfruit juices and rice noodles in our bags.

The last tastes we had in the market was a Pho bo, special Vietnamese soup that you finish on your own with the spices and herbs according to your taste. The closer was a sweet special kind of drink with small tapioca balls, unexpected taste, but nice.

Pho bo - spoon or chopsticks?

And our dinner? Yes, we prepared it accordingly to Shahaf advice and I have to admit it was very good, exotic but tasty. Chicken with banana leaves and coconut juice, that’s what I can only recommend.

Our dinner in a pan and on the table

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