Once upon a snow in Rome

I still have one day till the end of the winter, so I better post this before its too late. Hate being late (Yeah yeah, Spain is not the right country for those who don’t like being late). But anyways, so, snow. Snow in Rome. It was the first weekend of February and I went to Rome, when it unexpectedly started snowing.

snow in rome

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The Bondi to Coogee walk

So finally I did it – went for this amazing costal walk, it is 6km and  the views are amazing. Perfectly spent Saturday if you add few hours of sunbathing and swimming in Coogee on top of the walk.

Bondi is a crowded and touristy beach, it is quite hard to get away from there in afternoons as the traffic is not the best. But it has some advantages like quite a lot of restaurants and a shop where you can get Karums. Coogee beach I discovered just during this visit and this is my second favorite after Manly beach.

It turns out this walk has been around since 1930 (source).

Here are some of the best images I got:

Bondi beach

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Rest, beach and voting

Have you ever noticed how warm weather makes people seem more happy and more open? I think that is partly a charm of the Sydney, most of the time even when it is raining it is warm, so you can just enjoy a nice summer rain.

Last weekend was all about rest, beach and voting.

As you may have heard, there was a referendum in Latvia last Saturday if we should have Russian language as second language in Latvia. I generally did not pay too much attention to this up till I saw a dream of my mother and brother voting for and me being very angry. Maybe it was a sign, but I did found out it is possible to vote in Sydney. And turns out there is a Latvian house in Sydney. Seems that there could be around 300 Latvians in Sydney who can vote, at least according to the rumors I heard in this Latvian house.

So I was done with my vote around 11am on Saturday so it was a perfect timing to catch 12:15 ferry to Manly and spend some time on the beach. It was very crowded as there was surfing competition. I managed to escape the crowds by moving to “not so interesting” part of the beach.

I did get some tan and got a bit sunburnt. And managed to buy a book that kept me busy all weekend. If you like fantasy, I recommend Brandon Sanderson’s book Warbreaker. If I happen to get a good book in my hands, I just cannot put it down till I am done with it. Same happened with this one. But it was all worth it. And I must say, books in Sydney are crazy expensive.

And yes, I got a certificate today, all because I put peanut butter in my oatmeal. Don’t think it is so crazy though, I like peanut butter. And it goes well with oatmeal and blueberries. You should try :)

I have been wondering, is it possible to prove the fact that the more kilometers you run the happier you get? I think there is a connection there. :)

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The Influencers @ CCCB

The Influencers – a festival of non conventional art, communication guerrilla, radical entertainment was happening in the Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) last weekend.

It was nice. It was very nice. If that can be said based on the fact, that I was only there for an hour or less, but the fact remains – what I saw was very and very inspiring.

So what I saw, was this guy Evan Roth, a co-founder at F.A.T. What gets Evan Roth hard, is something called Urban Hacking. He is even teaching a class with the same name. Evan is all about hacks. I don’t recollect the exact definition, but the punchline goes like – convert one thing into another using primitive or advanced avaliable technology.

All theory is best explained with examples – Roth showed some of his projects, most hilarious of which were:

1. Fake Google Streetview car

So apparently, you can mount up a car, which looks strikingly similar to Google Streetview car and drive around the streets, behaving how Google wouldn’t like to behave. More coverage here:

F.A.T. Lab: Fuck Google Week Wrap Up from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

2. Preventing passengers in front of you from lowering their seats

Annoyed by people lowering the seats in front of you? Here is how to solve it:

How To Keep Motherfu#%s From Putting Their Seats Back from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

3. White glove tracking

For those, who are not fans of Michael Jackson’s white glove, Evan Roth offered an opportunity to help isolate Michael Jackson’s white glove in all 10,060 frames of his nationally televised landmark performance of Billy Jean.
And isolate they did:

White Glove Tracking (2010) from Evan Roth on Vimeo.

Roth told about many many things more, the audience was laughing like crazy, and so was I. Now I just have to think about the implementation of the Urban Hacking in Barcelona, or just go and take over the world instead.

More of Evan’s works here – seriously recommended.

The best steak place in Sydney?

If you decide to try to find the best steak place in Sydney, I do have a suggestion that you should try Prime Steak Restaurant on 1 Martin Pl. The place is a bit hard to spot at first, but it is defiantly worth a try. It will require a trip to the basement to find it :).

I was given an advise, if you do go to a pricy restaurant, then at least enjoy the menu. And that is exactly what I did!

For starters we tried scallops and oysters. I had scallops, they were absolutely amazing, I enjoyed every bit of the dish.

Then the wine we ordered for dinner came, absolutely gorgeous french Cabernet Franc – La Petite Cave.

And of course lets do not forget about the steak:

It was done medium, as per recommendations, very soft and with amazon flavor. Enjoyed every piece of it. If you want to find it on a menu, look for Chateaubriand – F1 Wagyu.

And then came the dessert. Nice wine to go with it, again French one, – Domaine Singla, Rivesalt Ambre, Languedoc Rousillon . I got Chocolate Brûlée with Cherry Sorbet. The one I would go for the next time I get a chance to visit this restaurant is Passionfruit Souffle.

I am not sure if this is the best steak place in Sydney, but one is for sure, it was the best steak I have had so far.

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This has been quite an intense work week, it is so easy to work full australian working day and do not even realize how you have managed to continue on for quite a while in European one. And it has been quite a rainy week, but at least not so cold as back home. I do hope to get some sun over the weekend, lets see how that goes.

So lets talk about Home now. And this time I want to talk about restaurant – a really nice thai one on 299 Sussex street.

This place takes no reservations, instead you need to sign up on a paper by the door and take a sequence number. And then you need to wait outside, or go to some near bar or just go and buy some wine for dinner at near by bottle shop (BYOA – bring your own alcohol, quite popular concept in Sydney). Do bear in mind that the line moves quite fast and 15 people in front of you might mean 30 minutes wait time not 2 hours, we did almost missed our turn when we went there last time.

So now lets talk food, a very good food and reasonably priced one (starters from 5-10 AUD, single dishes from 9 AUD). And you can see the food being made.

My first favorite of tonight – Kanom Jeeb, no pictures as it turned out quite foggy one.

The second favorite was a really nice and fresh steamed chive dumplings. Really recommend.

The third starter we got was fish cakes (Pla Hed), nice and spicy ones.

And just when we were already full, the green chicken curry arrived, ordered extra spicy, made my cry, but in a good way :).

Near to this thai restaurant I noticed a place called “Chocolate Factory”, sounds very tempting indeed, but to my great disappointment they did not have so much actual chocolate in there. So got some dark chocolate with blueberries in shop and a really nice red wine – Penfolds Shiraz.

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Ich war ein Berliner

My friend Rūta and her friend my friend Irita were doing gastronomic tourism in Berlin. In case this is not self-explanatory, this is when one goes to another city or country to eat. Yes, eat -  apparently, this is what chefs do.
I was there to only partly share this precious experience, so my gastronomical encounters mainly consisted of 4 am kebabs. Anyhow, what we did do a lot was pub crawling. I was sooo impressed how diverse is the pub culture in Berlin – surely nothing new for most people.
From what we did cover:

Bateau Ivre 

Address: Oranienstr. 18, 10999

beateau ivre

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A long day

So after sleeping 6 hours and waking up at 6am this morning, i am still awake, and it is 1am. I am totally confused with times. I should go to sleep I suppose but don’t feel like that at all at the moment.

So decided to share some highlights of today…

It is raining all day, and raining is mildly said, it is jut pouring down. Not something I expected from Sydney at all. And next days do not look any better. I was thinking of buying a swim suit and sun glasses, instead I should go for an umbrella and rubber boots. I just keep reminding to myself that at least it is warm, lets see how long this will help.

Otherwise I did finally get the 10 dollar steak for lunch at Cargo Bar. I think it will be my lunch at least one time per week. It was really good. Just the red wine could make it better but I suppose I cannot do that for lunch really.

Managed to try out the apartment building’s gym also, a small one but nice to have it just downstairs. I think I will be one of the frequent visitors for next few months.

Tomorrow is a public holiday here – Australia day. Supposedly they have better fireworks than on New Years eve, but with this rain don’t think we will see anything.

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All the way down under

All last week I was imagining myself walking the streets of Sydney. And now I am here, well, after some 28 hours of traveling.

First I must say that I almost did not get to come here as I did not think of applying for visa, well, for a person that has been to Sydney twice this is quite blond, but after very stressful Saturday night I did get my visa without any problems.

My first flight to Amsterdam was quite early – 6:25, so I had to wake up around 4. As I did not want to take my winter boots with (as I am coming back to Europe in late spring), I purchased summer ones, but did I managed to go through a pile of snow and get them quite wet, but, oh well, I am saying goodbye to winter now!

Had to wait some 4 hours in Amsterdam airport, not the most exciting place to be (unless you like casino’s as a place where to kill time while waiting for flights), but you can get 1 hour of quite slow internet for free, so at least there is something.

Next flight was 11 hours, to Guangzhou, with China Southern Airlines. The plane was nice and quite empty but did not manage to sleep as it was a day time in Europe still. Did watch few quite bad movies, lost in Scrabble and did not manage to do any of the studying I thought I will be able to do. 11 hour flights are not easy, especially when you know there is one more 9h one in front of you.

Guangzhou airport I remember as a very cold place, had to wait like for an hour for security checking for international flight, there was just 1 station for everyone who had transfer flight there and they scanned you, your belongings and yet again checked your boarding pass. Don’t really want to go back there.

The last 9h flight was quite a torture, plane was old, full, quite a lot of turbulence (yes, it still creeps me out), no option to choose movies, tried to sleep just to wake up every 20 minutes to see that we are not there yet. And a piece of advise, do not wear new shoes for long flights, it gets hard to put them on in the end.

Security check in Sydney went quite fast, no questions asked, no baggage scanning. Sydney greeted us with some rain last night, but I forgive it as it is nice and warm here.

So after 6h of sleep I am awake and enjoying some coffee. It is almost 7am in the morning and it is warm here!

Sleep well everyone back home!

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Just winter

Have been really lazy lately to sit down and write. And really not because there is nothing to write about, but just because inspiration is not here. I blame the winter. And as for the winter, I will soon be escaping it to spend some time “down under” in Sydney.

Last time I was in Sydney in 2010, got the chance to go there twice. The place has a special charm I must say, don’t know if it is because it is so far away or because of the nice weather. But when I now think of Sydney, I remember sun, beach, nice food, long waiting by traffic lights by pedestrian crossings, making pancakes on Sunday mornings, banana bread, 10 dollar steak, checking my shoes for spiders, Blue mountains.

Hmm, hopefully in a bit more than a week I will be here:

But at the moment I am trying to find different excuses (yes, also making this blog post) not to finalize my Java homework that is due very soon, so I suppose I should just get back on interfaces and subclasses now. Unless I manage to find some other good excuse of course!

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