The Easter egg tree

A centuries old tradition in Germany, Austria and ex-German territories (such Alsace, France) is decorating the branches of trees and bushes with eggs for Easter. They call them the “Easter Egg Tree”. We’ve seen many of these in Hungary, too, and of course, we will be missing the plate of sliced cakes which Maria, our Hungarian neighbour, traditionally offers us every Easter Sunday morning. Oh well, it’s great to experience how Easter is celebrated in different places in Europe.
Happy Easter everyone!

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The month in Photos: February 2016

04_feb
04 February 2016
(from the front garden)

The sign of Spring is here, finally, and one of the first few flowers to come out is the crocus.  Not only that they give a wonderful patch of colours in the garden (they come in white, orange, purple, yellow, dark blue…), their filaments  are the saffron used in cooking paella.

05_TGIF
05 February 2016
Hoerdt, Alsace

It’s TGIF and we are here, at 7:30pm,  in search of a takeaway meal for dinner. Am bingeing on beef gyros but couldn’t find where they sell it.  After much searching – and photographing ancient buildings on the way – we later found a fastfood shop selling Lebanese finger foods.  So mouth-watering!  06_Gengenbach
06 February 2016
Gengenbach, Germany

We went back to Gengenbach today to buy the pair of flip-flops I saw  last time we were here.  Thought the Jester Festival was all finished last January but to our surprise, the town was still heaving with costumed  characters like these four “witches” we met infront of the shoe shop.  After  exchanging hellos  in four languages (yes, the one infront talks French, English, German and a fourth one I couldn’t remember), they graced us with a family photo.  Their masks is in wood, by the way.

07_bee
07 February 2016
Forest walk along the Rhine

A clear, bright day for Sunday walking so we pushed ourselves to keep advancing till the very end of the peninsula and voila,  this is what we found.  A bee farm with several dozen honey bee boxes painted in delicious colours.  Nobody was there and it’s not even fenced around so I had the chance to get closer to take photos.

12_02valentine
12 February 2016
Strasbourg, Alsace

Two days to Valentine, I took the 25-minute train ride to Strasbourg to go on a valentine window shopping.  I love taking photos of Valentine window displays and the city has so much to offer for my wandering eyes (and camera lens).  To wrap up my (photoscouting) day,  I bought a pair of Villeroy & Boch coffee mugs as Valentine offering for both H and myself.  Some items are on sale and I’ve always dreamed of owning a V & B so this is my chance!  A dream come true which is not too hard on the wallet.   Happy Valentine!

13_tumulus
13 February 2016
Sessenheim, Alsace

This pergola stands on a mound discovered as a prehistoric grave in the late 19th century.  The spot now called Goethehügel   is named after Goethe who, in the 18th century, used to hang around here with his lady love,  Frederique Brion, a daughter of Sessenheim.  It is not far from Goethe’s Memorial also built in memory of the German writer.

21_seltz
21 February 2016
Seltz, Alsace

Today we discovered another French town  along the Rhine which is great for walking Charlie.   We noticed a car ferry terminal on the area which could take us to the German side.  The crossing takes probably a mere two-minute as you can see the width of the river is quite narrow.  Unfortunately, the ferry is closed for the winter and will start operating only in April.  We are stuck.  We were looking forward to getting into the Fatherland to spend the rest of our Sunday but, to our dismay,  had no choice but to drive several kilometers back to Roppenheim or Gambshein in search for a proper bridge.

We didn’t go to Germany in the end.  Too late to go on.  Shame.

22_walk
22 February 2016
Cherry Blossoms Park, our town

This is a postcard beauty of our town church as seen from the park where we take Charlie for walks.
24_horsefarm
24 February 2016
Our town

The beauty of walking Charlie 2-3 times a day  in our sleepy town in the country is this vast opportunity to commune with the natural world.    We have the forest, the park, flowers, birds, squirrels, deers, horses and many more.  Each time we come face to face with these living creatures,  it seems to spark our creativity making us more productive, and happier, each day.

25_daff
25 February 2016
Home

A bouquet of flowers.  This corner of our front garden is so divine to look at each time.  As Debasish Mridha quoted:  “Flowers are the smile of nature and the mirror of our soul.”

26_tgif
26 February 2016
Bischwiller, Alsace

TGIF. hurray!  Friday evenings, when H arrives from work, are getting to be our most awaited moment.  It’s even more exciting than Saturday and Sunday combined.  It’s the mind telling us, “Hey, you have two days off ahead of you so go celebrate!”.  Because when Saturday comes, you have only one day left.  Sunday, few hours left.  See what I mean?  And one last thing, it’s always an opportunity to go on a take away gastronomic experience.  Each TGIF is a different food trip.  Lebanese last time.  Turkish gyros tonight.   Next is Italian (Pizza), then Chinese (Peking duck).  I could go on and on….27_antiksasbachwalden
27 February 2016
Sasbachwalden, Black Forest

Nice antique bric a brac shop in Sasbachwalden but it’s closed Sundays.  I can see a nutcracker on display, a gadget we’ve been desperately wanting to buy as we have a sack of walnuts brought all the way from Hungary and can’t wait cracking some.

28_walk
28 February 2016

This squirrel lives up a tree in the cherry blossoms park and everytime I see it leaping about, I can’t seem to get my hands steady enough to take a sharper image of it, hence I made this watercolour layering in Photoshop hoping to come up with a more squirrelly image.  Not bad.

Grieving for Brussels Series: Brussels, city of comic strips

Previous:  Grieving for Brussels Series: The Mannekin Pis – Symbol of Belgium

Not only that it is the capital of Europe for being the seat of the European Union , it also prides itself as the capital of Comics.  Not that there is a correlation between European policymakers and comic characters, but if you have been a fan of Tintin when you were a little boy (or girl), did you know that Belgium is the birthplace of your heroic reporter who was always trying to save the world?

Aside from Tintin, we can also count many generations of comic strip heroes that originated in Belgium and that’s why the country, particularly its capital, Brussels, is very proud of them that they made them visible to every passing locals and tourists.

Come, join me on a trip to the Comic Strip route of Brussels.

 

Adventures of Tintin

Adventures of Nero

L’Ange De Engel

 

Broussaile and Catherine

Victor Sackville and a friend

Blondin and Cirage’s Life Scene

And of course, our hero – Tintin and his dog, Spirou

Even the locals have developed a comical-mind attitude.