Road Trip June 2019: Kansas

While I did hope for just a teeny-tiny funnel cloud waayyyyyy off in the distance (cause I’ll most definitely soil my undergarments if one pops up within touching distance), I was rewarded with dramatic clouds instead. Much more civilized.

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Kansas is flat. Superduper flat-flat. It felt like it took us weeks to cross from east to west. One day was all it took. But it was one of the longest travel-days I’ve experienced.

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Who said corn fields are not romantic, huh?

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Above is probably my favourite Kansas-shot. Although I was sucked dry by the mozzies while leopard-crawling on the ground…..woke up the next morning and resembled a Klingon….

Stayed the night in a charming little town called Oakley and yes, we did the proper thing and slept in the Annie Oakley Motel after having a burger and beer at Buffalo Bill’s Bar and Grill.

Assimilation is a work in progress 😉

Killin’ Time

It was not ever on my bucket list to be awaken at 12 in the morning by The Husband with a wild look in his eyes. Mmmmm.
Actually, that sounds like it could be fun and a girl can live in hope….but this was not quite the scenario last night. What I should add is that while he was shaking me awake, he was serenaded by tornado sirens. That sort of dampens any lascivious thoughts.

A piece of advice I don’t mind parting with, is that if there is a prediction of tornados in your immediate vicinity, maybe consider sleeping without earplugs and with clothes that night. You’ll be able to save precious minutes before climbing into the bathtub (safest place if you don’t have a basement) not looking for something situation-appropriate to wear when the sirens start bleating. Or you could be like me and say fuck-it, roll over, secure the earplugs and fall asleep again. At least I had The Husband on duty and I’m sure he would have woken me up again if the roof blew off.

Coming from deep dark Africa (cough, cough) I have somehow survived all these years without being nibbled on by lions, licked by a snake, hit by lighting or contracting a deadly disease from vicious insects. In the almost 3 months that I’m calling the US home, apart from the extreme weather, I’ve had to dodge mosquitos that apparently carries the Nile virus and had to be on the lookout for crazed honey bees. Both of which come from my continent of origin. You see the pattern here, right?

The biggest threat I can recall ever facing from animals/insects/nature was having to avoid malaria on one or two occasions. Now all of a sudden, I have to evade a swarm of bees while dodging tornados and falling debris caused by strong winds because the houses are build out of twigs, all the while trying to not be sucked dry by a virus carrying mozzie that survived golf-ball-hail.

The long weekend extreme weather excitement started on Saturday for me. We took a trip through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and on the way back, my phone vibrated like a forgotten sex-toy with a tornado alert in the area which we were driving through. TAKE SHELTER IMMEDIATELY is not really something you want to consider while driving hell for leather on the interstate. I was hoping that I could see something in the distance but apart from dark ominous sky to the right and impressive cumulonimbus clouds in front, no funnel. Just rain. And lots of it. Oh and a rainbow! And Tilly The Tank kept us safe from killer bees and other deadly insects.

I would love to see a tornado and be able to capture the staggering cloud formations and the incredible almost other-worldly light.  But from a safe distance pretty please. And preferably during day-light hours. Although at night, I’ll be safe from the bees.

Exciting times.

 

Baby Steps

Right.
Note to self: Stop asking people stuff.

Question: What is that bird?
Answer: It’s a black bird.

Question: What is that tree?
Answer: It’s a purple tree.

Yup. Information in the Northern hemisphere is on a need to know basis obviously! I should really invest in a book or three on the plants, birds and wildlife in Ohio….or possibly make friends with people who are interested in the same things I am. What a novel thought!

At least I know a sinister, abandoned barn when I see one!

Central European Road Trip 2016 Part 5: A High-impact Bra and Buckwheat

Good grieve but the road into Poland from Germany is shite! Never in my life have I missed my high-impact sports bra more than on that road. 50km of pure jiggling hell. Sinkplaatpad se moer.

It was however worth the now very saggy mammaries. At a very unassuming road-side stop, just after the road from hell ended, I tasted a pierogi and am now converted for life to these doughy delights. Who knew?
But that’s not all folks! At the very same unassuming road-side stop, they had a buffet that went on for kilometres. From chicken doing the backstroke in oil, to a slightly healthier option of borscht, all the way to a schnitzel with a mound of rice. Again, do not forget that favourite side: the ginormous portion of sauerkraut. And the place was packed with fellow road users, which to me is a good sign that the food can’t be too crap.
Apart from the oily chicken, I had a great lunch of pierogis, a cucumber concoction and some unidentified meat…..the price you pay when you mingle and do not speak or understand one single word of polski.
I love finding these gems in a place that you would normally only stop to have a pee-pee.

This bode well for our time in Krakow.

(I seriously have the attention span of a gnat, the road-issue was completely forgotten until I started writing this!)

I absolutely adored Krakow and if you have not been there, put that on your to-do list immediately. Food was amazing, design is exciting and the city is breathtakingly beautiful. The people that we came into close contact with (in other words, people that you said more to than please, thank you, hello and good-bye), where all delightfully friendly and had a mean sense of humour. My kind of peoples.

We arrived in Krakow in the late afternoon and after dropping our bags at the Andel’s by Vienna House Hotel, we set off to explore the city. First things first: The hotel is very central, staff is exceptionally helpful and rooms, as well as the public areas, are visually pleasing and practical. They also have parking (at a price of course) in the basement.

Our first point of call was Rynek Główny, the main square where you’ll find a whole bunch of performers, overpriced restaurants and horse drawn carriages, manned (womanned???) by attractive women with sultry smiles. And a shit-load of people.

But it was golden hour and photos had to be snapped.

Just around the corner from the square, down a quiet side street, was our eating spot for the evening. Morela is a traditional polish restaurant and their speciality is buckwheat. Like the pierogis, this is something that I’ve heard about or seen on cooking shows but never ever tasted. And like the pierogis, I am converted to this as well. In fact, since we’ve been home, I’ve made buckwheat risotto twice already and it is delicious.
I should do something more adventurous than add mushrooms…maybe try to re-create the dish I had for dinner at the restaurant: Bacon & Prunes Buckwheat. The Husband’s dish looked quite tasty as well – he had Buckwheat with Polish Sausage, Paprika Peppers and Mushroom Sauce. Nomnomnom.

Day two in Krakow dawned slightly cooler – most welcome after the sweltering few days in Berlin. We set off on my planned route with the first stop at Plac Nowy for a double espresso. Plac Nowy is a pretty square in the Kazimierz area, with loads of restaurants and bars. Onwards to Kładka Bernatka Bridge where there are a whole circus act of sculptures swinging in the breeze. Just beautiful.

On our way back to the main square, we were forced to do some shopping. We walked away from Ciuciu with bags and bags of the most precious candies I’ve seen in a long time. All handmade right there in the shop. Next stop was Pasaz 13, an intimate shopping centre with disappointingly few local designers on show. Still, it is an interesting building.

We could not find Galeria Plakatu, a shop that sold communist posters. I don’t know whether they moved or closed down, and nobody that we asked seemed to know what the hell I was on about. Sad.
We did however found some pretty cool T-shirts at Red is Bad. And not only do they loads of anti-red shirts but also anti-blue. They were very proud about the fact that they frown on the whole euro-malarkey. Cool shop with cool people and one I can most definitely recommend if you are there and looking for a souvenir.

Forum Mody is a bit of walk from the main drag but it was a non-negotiable for me. It is a concept shop/gallery that promotes Polish designers – both clothes and homeware. And just again to illustrate how amazeballs these Poles are: when we arrived at the shop (after of course having a bit of a domestic on the way there….it had to happen at some stage), we realized that they were closed. Fear not. The nice man, after he heard that we travel a gazillion miles by air and a final few by foot to come and browse their goods, opened the doors and allowed me to roam free. I could have bought half the shop right there and then. Stunning goodies but a tad oversize for hand luggage on the return trip. Apparently, they do ship internationally and so all is not lost. Yeah!!!

Needles to stay, after all that, including the kiss and make-up part with The Husband, we staggered back to the hotel and collapsed on the terrace, weary to the bone. I was able though, to muster up enough courage to down a few glasses of wine (hello my old friend) and to ward off starvation with a plate of white borscht.

All in all, I LOVED Krakow and will most definitely return one day and spend longer in the city as well as travel a tad more in the country. It is a stunning city filled with great people.

Love & Light
xx