Monday, December 28, 2015

On high rotation

Like all little girls (and quite possibly a few boys too), my eldest niece loves the Disney cartoon Frozen.  Santa got it for her this Christmas and we have been watching it over and over and over again. She never seems to tire of it. I, on the other hand, am well and truly over it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pre-Christmas bits and bobs

Well, Germany is all but a distant memory and I'm at the airport again...this time on my way to Canberra to visit the folks.

It's been a quick few weeks back in the office but the most memorable experiences have revolved around food and drink (they usually are).

First up, this interesting mocktail that a restaurant in Richmond whipped up for me last week (my friend's vietnamese beer sits alongside for scale). It's basically a fruit juice concoction served with a fancy stick of fruit and lots of ice. I'm not sure how much I paid for it but I don't think it would have been cheap. It was tasty though.
On Saturday night, I caught up with a colleague who is visiting from Europe. We went for Korean. It was a super hot day so I opted for this traditional cold Korean beef noodle soup. It was yuk. Definitely not to my taste (I think its the weird sensation of cold beefy messed with my mind. Broth should be hot).

The bad Korean experience was compensated a few days later when I was invited to high tea at the Park Hyatt by a couple of my colleagues. This was more to my liking (even though I regard myself as more of a 'savoury' person). The scones were great.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fish and food

My second full day in Berlin began with a visit to the aquarium at the Berlin Zoo. It is the best aquarium I've ever been to. It absolutely blew me away.

My friend insisted on getting us some curry wurst so I could have a taste. It was indeed delicious.
We then headed over to the Camera Work Gallery, which specialises in photography. The gallery was actually closed but the manager kindly allowed us to sneak in and catch a preview of their coming exhibition.

After getting our fill of art, we crossed the road to nearby Stilwerk, which is a design lover's paradise. I ended up buying a couple of new cushions.

Lunch was a very large schnitzel. The serving size was huge.
We spent the early evening checking out a couple more commercial galleries before I made my way back to the hotel. I have an early start tomorrow as I make my way back to Oz.

Friday, December 11, 2015


I'm in Berlin for a few days of R&R before my trip back to Oz. I had a busy (and fun) first full day in this most beautiful of capital cities.

It began with a trip to the moving Jewish Museum.

Then, a brief stop over at the contemporary art museum, which had very interesting architecture.
Next, my friend Brigitte took me to a Christmas market. No sooner had we walked through the gates, we were sitting down to a delicious lunch of roast goose (this time washed down with some non-alcholic kinderpunsch). My companion had a more grown up drink (a dark ale). I have eaten so much goose on this trip. It's a very German thing to do at this time of the year.

After a quick wander around the market, we were off to this amazing Department store which has the largest deli section in the world. I couldn't believe the sorts of stuff you could get here, from emu eggs to giant grouper fish. Here are some of the more conventional food items...

Dinner in the hotel room was a roasted pickled pork knuckle accompanied by cherry juice (both picked up from a local supermarket). I only managed to finish half of the pork knuckle (rest will be devoured this morning for breakfast). After dinner we went to see a German performance of La Cage aux Folles.

Monday, December 7, 2015


This is where I'm based for the next couple of days. Isn't it beautiful? It feels like I'm on the set of a wonderful European Christmas movie (or a theme park). Some of the buildings look like gingerbread houses.
I did manage to get myself lost on the way to my hotel after I turned up the wrong cobble-lined street but I' not complaining because I ended up wandering straight into a chocolate festival market.

Oh, and for dinner I had the most beautifully cooked goose breast served on a plate of sauteed greens, chestnuts, and gnocchi – all washed down with a big glass of cherry juice.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

The good genes

This guy has been blessed with very good genes. Trust me, I'm a scientist. I know these things. For those who don't obsess over reality TV, his name is Nyle DiMarco and he just won cycle 22 of America's Next Top Model.


In transit

I'm still in transit. Here is the plane I took from Dubai to Frankfurt.
I decided to stay at a hotel near Frankfurt airport overnight. There was a huge Christmas tree in front of the hotel.
I'll be catching a regional train later this morning from the airport ahead of the public lecture I am suppose to be giving tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2015

An interesting ride to the airport

It was an interesting ride into the airport this evening. Soon after leaving home, we were caught in traffic due to a car accident.

Then, as we got onto the Bolte Bridge, I caught sight of a man perched on the edge of the bridge with his arms outstretched in a pose that could only mean one thing...he was threatening to jump. Two police officers stood a few meters from the man. Another man and a distressed looking woman were standing nearby.

Lastly, as we continued on our way, I saw a guy drop his pants as he stood on an overpass flashing the cars below.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Germany next

I'm back form Portsea (which was terrific, by the way) but there's hardly any time back in Melbourne before I head off again.

Tomorrow night I'll be flying to Germany. I've been invited to give a public lecture about my research. The hosts are paying for everything. Sweet.

I'm going to spend a couple of days in Berlin afterwards visiting with a friend. Brigitte recently retired and has just bought herself a nice little apartment. She is planning on splitting her time between Australia and Germany. Fortunately for me, she just so happens to be in Germany while I'm there. Brigitte has promised me a couple of days of nice food and art. It will be lovely to visit with someone who is familiar with the city and the language.

I'll be back in Oz already on the 14th December. A whirlwind trip.