La lavande

one of the things I enjoy so much during my exchange was the time when I saw lavender all over the place!

So I decided to pluck some and attempted to dry them (but turned out that I did it the wrong way! haha) oh wells. I still keep some of them though, despite the fact that I have to keep them inside a plastic bag to prevent them from falling apart…

But here’s some quick tips on how to dry your lavender – that I found online haha =)

Have fun! :)

Spaghetti-Eis

Yup! You’re right, it means exactly spaghetti ice cream. It’s believed to originate from Mannheim (another point for mannheim! :D), invented by an italian guy called Mr Fontanella! Unfortunately he didn’t register a patent for it; otherwise he would have made millions of euro from it. Nonetheless, Fontanella is still one of the best gelato makers in Mannheim! :D  It’s called that way because of its spaghetti shape topped with strawberry sauce yummm!

Don’t forget to give it a try when you’re in Germany. Just a heads-up, you might want to share it with your friends…the portion is pretty big, trust me!

P-I-S-A

it was kind of a sudden change in our plan, to go directly from Siena to Pisa (and skip San Gimignano — i’ll be back there one day!) people have been warning us saying that there are not many things to do in Pisa, except to see the famous tower. Well, to be fair, there are quite a handful of really nice architecture around. We decided to walk to the tower (it’s on the other end of the city) and since the city itself is not so big. and I’m glad we did it, because then we were able to catch a glimpse of the city itself.

and, of course, we took some of the must-take pictures :D

the reason why pisa is still there ;)

and so did everyone else….

There was a big park around the tower compound with really really nice grass :D Unfortunately (or fortunately?), people are not allowed to step on most of the parts..

defying gravity??

oh, and as we walked around the city, we walked past this book fair. my guess is that the place used to be where the wet market was (or still is)

2nd hand book fair

some tips if you are planning to go to Pisa:

1. you don’t have to spend the whole day there. A few hours will do, especially if you don’t have the luxury of time.

2. whenever possible, try to just walk to get to the tower, and get a feel of what the city is like

3. Pisa can be easily reached from cities like Siena, Florence, San Gimignano… so you can just make a day trip there when you use Florence as your base city, for instance.

last but not least, take that must-have shots with pisa tower! :)

ein besonderer Blick von Mannheim

to many, mannheim would not (probably never) be one of the most beautiful german cities on their lists. I wouldn’t disagree with them, to be honest ;) but if you stay long enough in mannheim, you would start discovering some hidden spots or pretty corners, that make mannheim charming in its own unique way.

One of the best views I’ve got in Mannheim was when my housemates and I went on the TV tower (fernsehturm) for dinner. It was actually a treat for my birthday (thanks all! :)) and only from up there that we realized how green mannheim actually is and it (indisputably) gave us the best Rundblick of mannheim.

it’s about 212 meter high :) and the dining platform rotates, making one round in an hour.

that’s luisenpark and the boats

its helpful that they put labels on the pillars telling us the directions

even though the labels are there, sometimes it still took us a while before we can spot some things :) we had fun playing the guessing game hehe

SPOT THE SCHLOSS!!!

SPOT ULMENWEG! :D

we wanted to wait for another round (i.e. another hour) to get back to the same spot to watch the sun setting on the neckar… but we decided not to do it in the end.

told ya mannheim isn’t so bad after all, eh? :)

Last but not least, I could not be any more grateful for the best housemates ever! They are simply a bunch of amazing people :)

Benedict, Iris, Behrus, me and Philipp :)

happy house

Burano. I have never heard of this place until that day when we were in Venice and tried to find out of the things to do in venice and its surrounding. There’s nothing really special from this tiny island besides its colorfulness! “The colours of the houses follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development; if someone wishes to paint their home, one must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colours permitted for that lot.” (Wikipedia) and some of the legends say that the houses were painted in different colors originally to allow the fishermen to recognize their houses from afar when they are out at sea. Cool, isn’t it?! :)

The island is really small that you can cover every corner within 1 or 2 hours. It was quite funny to see how the inhabitants are no longer affected by tourist who freely and frequently walk past their houses, sometimes being nosy trying to peek inside or watch them. As we were exploring the island, we saw many people were doing their household chores, and they didn’t look up anymore even when they knew that we (tourists) were there, as if we are already a part of their lives. I’m not sure if I would ever be comfortable having tourists or strangers strolling by every now and then in front of my house…

It is like a small, colorful version of venice :) divided by many narrow canals filled with boats. Once we sat by the canal trying to enjoy the scenery, we were surprised by the appearance of an old woman coming out of her house with a big cooking pot, and threw away some kind of black water (or whatever it is) into the canal and calmly walked back into the house as if nothing just happened. and it happened not just once! she kept going in and back out with something new to be thrown into the canal… sigh… how could she do that? and what would happen if everyone does the same thing?

using my shades as filter :D

anyway, coming back from this happy island to venice, i suddenly found venice to be very dull colored! :D