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вторник, 16 апреля 2013 г.

past equator

It’s middle of April. We’re past the equator which means summer holidays can be discerned on the horizon through the haze of two more months of studies. Time to plan new trips, work hard and look for inspiration – in past travels among other sources.
I’ve already spoken on the topic Reading & Travelling here, how written texts accompany any trip, amusing or bewildering you, providing food for thought. And it starts in the airport.
click on the picture for a closer view

Wien airport carries an ad of Austrian airlines with an inviting slogan We fly for your smile, promising a pleasurable experience, unique service and “new culinary heights while on board”. I can’t boast of this experience, but the flight with Austrian Arrows – Tyrolean Airways was really enjoyable, including cooking delights. When they were serving the meal, there was an aroma of freshly baked bread which was hot and tasted as if it had been made right on board.
Well, since I mentioned eating, why not tell more about it? When travelling, people sometimes skip breakfast or lunch, but you can’t go without a proper meal at least once a day, can you? What I mean is not gluttony or gourmandize, I mean, food can be part of sightseeing as well, part of exploring the city and culture.
Planning a trip to Venice, I knew where I would like to have dinner. One of such places was legendary Harry’s bar. Not even because of its history or impressive guest list: Somerset Maugham, Truman Capote and many more, but because there’s a lot about it in Hemingway’s "Over the River and Into the Trees", it was his favourite restaurant
Harry’s bar turned to be next to invisible: no flashy sign or exquisite interior. Simple and elegant, it offered more than authentic Bellini and fabulous desserts, which were hard to resist. It offered atmosphere. After a hearty meal I spoke to the maitre d' about Hemingway, asking where he used to work, and believe it or not, I had chosen the same table in the corner! Intuition? Might be, Hemingway is among authors I deeply admire. The maitre d' was most gallant, he showed pictures and books and I imagined how Hem used to sit there scribbling away with a glass of wine.

One more must-visit was café Florian. You can hardly escape this in Venice, as it is situated in Piazza San Marco. I’d heard a lot about Florian before I went to Venice, and I wanted to come to the place Brodsky, Byron, Dickens, Goethe loved so much. You shouldn’t ignore a true landmark, right? The interior impresses by refinement and perfect taste. In summer, however, grand inner rooms are not as popular as the tables outside. Small wonder; there you have the privilege of the best view – the Clock Tower and St Mark's Campanile! At night when live music is heard from all around, in Florian you’re offered a fine musical kaleidoscope: from popular opera arias to Kalinka and Tyrolean tunes.

But sometimes you come across a delightful place unexpectedly, that’s the best part of travelling in my view! It was this way with Buba Gump, a cosy restaurant in Victoria Peak Tower. We were so much absorbed with tremendous views of Hong Kong and Victoria Harbor that we realized what Buba Gump it was, only after opening the menu. They offered an extensive variety of prawns (deep-fried, steamed, whatever), Mama’s garlic bread basket (obviously, Forrest's mama)); besides on each table you could read Run, Forrest, run! There were other references to Forrest Gump, like pictures and quotes from this great movie: I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is. I love Forrest Gump, and I loved Buba Gump!
Another perfect dining place relating to cinema Osteria de Borg – is found in Rimini. Actually we were looking for Tonino il Lurido – Federico Fellini’s favourite trattoria. And we did find it, closed for holidays. So the proprietor of Il Lurido recommended this nice place, which was also frequented by Fellini and which now organizes events in his honour. In de Borg while your order is being made you’re offered a basket of warm piada (kind of flatbread), fresh from the oven. Formaggio is served with homemade jam (pomodori and other weird ingredients), and everything is incredibly delicious!
The restaurant in Bratislava attracted both by the catchy signboard and the figure spying from round the corner.
In all European cities you can find excellent coffee houses to treat you with something special, with local delicacies, traditional in the area. And I keep wondering why global chain restaurants, like Starbucks, Burger Kings, McDonald’s are always crowded in Madrid, Lisbon, anywhere? Why go for a regular Starbucks coffee in Vienna, when next to it there’s Demel café – 200 something years old – where Empress Sissi used to order her favourite candied violets, or Cafe Sacher serving authentic Sacher-Torte with a chocolate seal – proof that it is original? These are places to treat yourself, to relax for a long time instead of gulping down conventional coffee!

There’s one more perfect meeting-point in Vienna for bookworms – Pickwick's café. Should I explain what Pickwick is meant?)) It is cosy and home-like, furnished with old pieces of different style and fabric, bookshelves covering the walls up to the ceiling and friendly ambience. They practice book crossing, you can spend hours there!

Reading lovers in Paris would hardly go past “Dormouse in the Teapot” – a fabulous tea house making mouth-watering pastries for which people queue up outside.

With outdoor snacks you discover local tastes, like waffles in Belgium – yellow vehicles make and sell them hot; Ghent delicacies – cone-shaped candies named cuberdon or Ghent nose; grapefruit fresh at the market in Rome – just a couple of examples...

With signs and souvenirs you learn about peculiarities of the national (or probably, local) sense of humour, wit and character. Have a look at a selection of hilarious T-shirts in Sardinia: Italian sex instructor offering first lesson free or Student’s hard life with unambiguous prints. )))

Or a book store in Paris – what a yummy name for this kind of shop: Mona was reading!

Quite a Shock-o-latier Dominique Persoon offered an exposition of his products in Anrwerp. The chocolate head with an open brain called What’s on Dominique’s mind is a total riot!

There’s a lot more to speak on Reading & Travelling, the topic proved to be inexhaustible. I’ll wind up with the most inspirational – children and books. Is there anything better than that?

This curly creature reading a book was my first eye-to-eye contact in Venice. I fell for the city at once!

17 комментариев:

  1. С удовольствием прочитала твое замечательное "книжно-кулинарное" путешествие. Здорово! Какой-то совсем необычный взгляд на привычные вещи!
    Я рада, что ты нашла себя в этом. Продолжай обязательно!

  2. Austrian airline’s slogan is lovely. When I travelled to Germany and Austria, I was with Austrian Airline. Flight Attendants’ red uniform was impressive. Regarding a catch-phrase, I love “Drive your dreams.” by Japanese car company TOYOTA.

    In Vienna, I avoided Starbucks and entered a local German only café. I didn’t understand German, so I pointed the coffee on the top of the menu thinking it would be the most popular Vienna coffee. It tasted spicy and creamy.

    My daughter enjoyed a meal at the restaurant where Amelie was shot.


  3. I see I am going to have to come to you for advice when I go travelling. I never visit Starbucks or such, certainly not in Europe. But it has never occurred to me to follow in a writer's or auteur’s footsteps.

    I can recommend Richard Russo, he has written some excellent, if very American, books.

    1. Any time! For me, a philologist, it's fun to follow in their footsteps. Places like Florian are imbued with special emotions, you can feel kind of spiritual involvement. In case theae authors are your soul mates, eou know.
      I'll try Richard Russo, thanks for the tip!

  4. Очень верно отметили, что трапеза во время путешествий - это часть культурной программы, наряду с осмотром достопримечательностей, когда ты получаешь такое же наслаждение и удовольствие, когда ещё больше погружаешься в атмосферу страны и она пронизывает тебя буквально изнутри.

  5. After reading, I wanted to take my suitcase and go to these cafes. Unfortunately I can't boast of this experience, I mean travelling in Europe. But I'm just 20... But when I will be in Venice I'll necessarily sit at Hemingway's table. Who knows, I may be visited some bright idea)))))
    Speaking about food like an important part of travelling I can't but agree with you. Food is the part of culture like sights. During sightseeing we can have a rest in a little cafe and get acquanted with the peculiarities of the nation but from another side. We can notice and analise some interesting details of the mentality and preferences. Do they like salty food or a little bit sour? By the way, we can "steal" some recipe of the dish and surprise our friends cooking something extraordinary.
    Yes, it's a really interesting topic for discussing. And frankly speaking, it's hard to put all thoughts into few words.

  6. To be honest after reading your essay, I immediately wanted to eat something tasty. It goes without saying, in order to learn the culture of another country, we need to enter into their lives, even including national dishes. To my mind this is one of the important items while traveling.
    Actually, I think everyone knows a new TV version of Sherlock Holmes created by BBC channel, so, if I had the chance to go to England, I would visited that famous cafe on Baker Street 221b.It's cool, not only eat delicious food, but also realize that you are in such a famous place.

    1. LOL! I guess you enjoyed it if one longed to pack her suitcase and the other to eat something. How different the reaction can be!
      And how magical it sounds: I'm just 20...

  7. I think you’ve found a very interesting way of exploring new places. I suppose food as a part of sightseeing can make our travel experience more inviting because many of us don’t mind eating something tasty. No doubt food can tell much about culture and traditions of some nation especially when you get an opportunity to have dinner with the locals. But after reading your article, I was surprised to know that even a restaurant can have its own history and be a sight of the city. And of course it’s always pleasant to visit places where you can not only enjoy delicious dishes but see something beautiful and learn something new. To tell the truth, I had vever considered food to be a part of sightseeing. However now I’ll try to pay attention to it in another way.

    p.s. As for written texts accompanying any trip – it’s not about me. May be it’s not good but while travelling I don’t read even travel brochures. After reading a book or watching a film, I can’t do without discussing it with somebody, sharing my impressions. When I travel I already have many things to discuss – my impressions of new places.

    1. To Anna: A couple of words concerning your PS. Not only reading books is implied. Have a look at these to see how written texts do accompany any trip! (search window is on top left)
      Reading & Travelling
      Читать всегда, читать везде, до букв последних донца!

  8. After reading the article, I have changed my view of many things, including food. I mean, that during a trip, I paid my attention to the sights or interesting places. In order to learn something new, I visited museums or exhibitions. Frankly speaking, I’ve never attached importance to food as an attractive thing.
    But your article made me realize, that when we come to another country, everything around, even food is an important part of sightseeing. It’s not a surprise, that every country has traditional dishes, which tell us about tastes and preferences of the local inhabitants. That’s why during a trip we can not only enjoy tasty food, but and learn something new about the culture of the country.

  9. Julia Archipova
    I found the article very interesting, moreover, It made me change my mind about some things. To be honest, I'm fond of travelling, besides, I visit different places every summer, BUT I've never paid so much attention to food. Of course, When I travel, I always try to taste their traditional food, but I prefer to eat in McDonald’s and Starbucks, frankly speaking, these are my favorite cafes. After reading this story, I realized - Food is one of the important thing during travelling. When we visit another country, It goes without saying, Food can help us to understand the culture and traditions of some nations. I was surprised that some restaurants have its own history! It's amazing. You have a great opportunity to eat special food and, at the same time, to know some information about this place.
    P.S. Honestly, before reading this article, I wanted to visit a lot of European courtiers, except Paris and Venice, but now, I've changed my mind!

  10. To tell the truth, I have never considered food as a part of sightseeing on a trip, but now my opinion is changed. Turns out, it is an important part of the culture of the visited place. You can not only taste delicious dishes, but also learn a lot of interesting facts about tastes, interests and the nature of the locals. It is worthy of note that such a small thing as food can have a significant impact on the overall travel experience. Thank you for a very interesting article!

  11. Антон Г.
    There are so many great places to visit! That photo of café Florian is truly enticing. Somebody told me that it's one of the eldest coffee houses in the world. Am I right? Well, it's so far for me, but I am definitely looking forward to going there! It looks like a restaurant for many kings. I see that the rooms of the Florian are decorated with the works of artists, sculptors, photographers and cartoonists. As for me, I really enjoy everything that is beautiful. Who knows, will my dreams come true?=)
    So,trying new kinds of food is something that I always do while travelling, and I think that if you understand a country's food, you'll understand its people, its tradition and habits. The world over food brings people together and shapes, and it has been shaped by the nation's and its people's experiences. To me, travel and food go hand in hand. If you're not trying some of the well-known and unique native dishes on your travels, you're missing a huge part of the experience of the destination.
    That’s all for now.Thank you for your sapid article!

    1. Right! You should know what the country tastes like if you go there. And it’s a waste to have meals at McDonald’s anywhere but US, in my view.
      When I enjoyed cheese fondue in Switzerland I understood why local residents are even-tempered and balanced. This dish doesn’t like fuss.
      As for your dreams, not a single doubt that they will come true. You have a whole life ahead! Have you read Dasha’s comment? )))

  12. Murzina Anastasiya
    I totally share your opinion on food is an essential part of every trip. Because food is a part of local traditions, tastes, behavior and history. I don’t have chance to travel in Europe, I wish I had… but I really fond of China and it’s culture and I can share my experience with you. The Chinese had been paying attention to food culture for ages. They also have some dishes with extraordinary ingredients and names, for example «The fight of tiger and dragon» which includes meet of cat and snake. Besides, while travelling, I learnt that it’s natural for Chinese people to eat dog meat! As for me, it’s unacceptable to eat meat of animals who considered to be people’s friends.
    As the Chinese proverb goes «West – sweet, north – bitter, east – spicy and south – sour». It means that each area in China has own dishes and tastes which are the most preferable on the particular area. I should say, that Chinese cuisine in our region is adopted to Russian in a way. What I mean is there is meat, vegetables and fruits. But last summer when I visited several cities on the South of China, I got evidence that this proverb was right. Taste of almost each dish was really sour and for us – Russian people it was impossible to eat them. So, we couldn’t but go to McDonald’s, KFC cafes or Starbucks to be full. I suppose my experience is the proof that food is a part of travelling, a way of learning local habits, tastes and history, because though didn’t get pleasure while eating local dishes, we learnt the culture, the history, why is it so? Why do local people prefer sour dishes or sweet and so on.
    P.S. I was really inspired by Dasha’s commentary «I’m just 20..» I realized how young I am and there is the whole life ahead undoubtedly I’m able to make my dream (to visit Paris one day) come true!)

    1. Thanks for a glimpse of Chinese culture! I’ve never heard of this dish with a weird name (and I will definitely not ever try it – br-r-r!) or the proverb.
      I have to confess: once in Beijing we also went to McDonald’s. After a number of restaurants with authentic Chinese dumplings with improbable fillings and other exotic dishes my friend said: Enough is enough, no more! Would you like to know what she said after McDonald’s? – Unpalatable! )))))