A Travellerspoint blog

a whole raw muskatnuss

still not a chef


Example pumpkin pie recipe found through Google:

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix one 15-oz can pumpkin, one 15-oz can condensed milk,
two tablespoons pumpkin pie spice, and two eggs in a bowl.
Whisk until smooth.
Pour into ready-made pie crust, bake for 40 minutes.

Oh, okay, that looks totally easy! Awesome. I can do this!
Germany! The following cannot be found in Germany:
Canned pumpkin
Ready-made pie crust
Pumpkin pie spice
Pie dish
Devices using ‘cups’, ‘ounces’, or Fahrenheit as units of measurement

Clearly, there was no way this plan could go remotely wrong !! Clearly.

This pumpkin was, like, the size of a small cow, you guys. I mean it was MASSIVE. All the recipes I could find online (that didn’t just say ‘go buy a can of canned pumpkin, you nitwit’) were like “take your small sugar or Hokkaido pumpkin, six to eight inches in circumference, blah blah”…YUP WELL THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE IN THE BACKYARD SO DEAL.
Pumpkin! That stuff is crazy amounts of work, yo. Lobotomizing it was actually not as difficult as I’d imagined, and using the wonders of modern microwave technology made each round of giant hunks take about 25 minutes instead of an hour as it would be in the mini-oven. I ended up straining it through tea filters to get some of the water out (so watery!!), and then managed to get the food processor to cooperate, and then just as I was going YES I AM THE PUMPKIN MASTER ALL HAIL I discovered that, although Germany has no such thing as Pumpkin Pie Spice (Trader Joe’s, please come to Berlin. Do it. I am on my knees imploringly), they also are not huge fans of ground spices in general.

You need zimt, aka cinnamon? Here’s a stick!
You need muskatnuss, aka nutmeg? Here’s a large…whole…nut.
Okay, first of all, can we appreciate for a moment just how much the word for nutmeg in german sounds/looks like muskrat. I was lolling intensely throughout my baking adventure every time I had to get out the muskatnuss, because…MUSKATNUSS. I was picturing unacceptable muskrat with every instruction.

Also, fun fact: when you be grinding and peeling and grating these interesting plant products fresh, they are STRONG. I needed to use literally HALF as much muskatnuss as the recipes all called for, okay; fresh muskatnuss is MUTHEREFFING STRONG. Did I mention I was grating just whole round nuts and sticks and crap here. Making pie from scratch? FROM THE SCRATCHIEST OF ALL MADE FROM SCRATCH.

Then, since Germans do not bake pumpkin pies or apple pies or any pies, there was no pie pan. There was nothing that resembled a pie dish. T ended up getting me the closest thing they had, which was a super-wide, super-shallow pan thing meant for making the sponge cake bottoms of fruit tarts. Okay, so the pie would be really shallow. Fine.

Have you ever played Myst and/or Riven and/or excavated the ancient ruins of Xerxe’s library and/or visited an extraterrestrial pictorial culture? Then you will be perfectly familiar with how to work the oven here!
As it was, I was drawing copies of the various pictographs on the back of receipts and showing them to Hill over skype going BUT DO YOU THINK BOX WITH TWO HORIZONTAL LINES OR SQUARE WITH THREE TRIANGLES MEANS ‘BAKE’ ?!

We could not figure it out. We made our best-educated archeological deciphering guess.
It was the wrong guess, one that went on to have deeply tragic consequences in the near future, but there you go.

I whisked and rolled and flouring and pressed and mixed and WHOO I AM A BAKER CHECK ME OUT and Hill was the best advisor ever and mom serenaded me with ukulele covers and it was so fun to have all my skype lovelies so I wasn’t alone for six hours in the kitchen! And after I put the pie in the oven and converted F to C and all was going well, there was suddenly SMOKE coming from the pictograph oven.

Because the top of my pie was ON FIRE.

See, later we learned that I had chosen the bake-from-the-top-or-caramelize oven setting, and hence the crust was not baking in the slightest, while the oozy orange top was developing a crystallized shine FOLLOWED BY FLAMES.

So, threw open the windows, pulled that baby out of Pictograph Oven, flailed…aha, if you peeled the top blackened layer off, all was well underneath! Fresh start! Back into the oven.

Long story short, the pie was 1.5cm thick, .5 cm being borderline raw dough and 1cm being LIKE EATING A RAW WHOLE MUSKATNUSS.

Delicious. I am starting a business as a pseudo-drug mule importing pie crust and pie pans and pie spice into this barren culinary wasteland! In the meantime, I am staying out of the germnanic kitchen.

I leave you with my COOKING IDOL, ==Käptn Blaubär==

Ja, he has my style.

Posted by dodie.does 13:14 Archived in Germany Tagged pie pumpkin Comments (1)

"is now in a relationship with the state museums of berlin"


sunny 15 °F


As you may have been aware, my camera suffered an extremely tragic accident two weeks ago and died an extremely tragic death.
so yeah um i have been getting in touch with my ~historical side~ yet again, with the power of my super-tiny scrapbooky sketchbooky thing.
It's actually kind of a fun challenge - before the invention of portable cameras, how did people record their memories or put things down to share what they had seen with others?
My art skillz are not the highest, but even just trying to get down the dynamic wavy lines of a 16th century statue of Meleager is enough to remind me why I liked it so much. Trying to think of the most evocative or accurate description of scenes or art also forces you to pay much closer attention to it yourself. So, in the absence of pictures of cool stuffs:
rubbings of super awesome antique flea market buttons, ancient greek marble bust of athena, angel imploring sassy Paris from a 500 BCE greek vase, the bode museum (prettiest exterior of museuminsel tbqh), meleager sculpture had the most fluid lines; blah blah dynamic but it was really striking, worlds colliding poster (berlin: bastion of kpop fans; who knew?), hand and snake from massive marble sculpture i think of antinous? idk I've been really into hands this trip, not sure why
in museums i'm forced to sit down a lot because of my ankle, and in the boonies i have muuucho time to kill alone in the internet/tv-less flat, so woo! practice time!

There are over 70 museums in Berlin! Many of them are super-cool, busting out the ancient artifacts stolen from other cultures, old artifacts from their own, er, exciting historical cultures, and other groovy stuffs!

They are also, unlike London, very much not free:

Altes Museum, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Neues Museum, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Neues National Gallery, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Pergamon Museum, one-day single-entry ticket: €15

Uhhh…Berlin, wowzas there. I’m in Berlin; it’s not like I can just be an hour away from the Ishtar Gate and not go. I was opening and closing my wallet as my soul cried, and finally resolved to do the sweet deal ticket where you get admission to ALL THE MUSEUMS for €20 – but only for three consecutive days. Bonus: they are only open 10am-6pm. Helpful! The Pergamon has a special exhibition on I thought might be cool to see – a reconstruction of the ancient city of Pergamon painted as a humongus cylindrical panorama – so I resolved to pay the €15 and just spend ALL DAY INSIDE getting my money’s worth gosh darn it.

Let’s take a moment here to impress upon you that one of my clearest surviving memories of my first visit to Berlin many moons ago is of the absolutely mental line to get into the Pergamon. The museum opens at 10:00, and by 9am there is a line at least two blocks long snaking out from the front entrance (clearly visible from the S-Bahn so commuters can laugh daily at the tourists’ pain).

So, woke up sehr fruh in the morgen and took the hour ride into the city ready to bite the bullet, wait my time, pay the big bucks, and knock one off my extensive list. I bought the best kaffeelatte ever from the snack stand at the S-Bahn station (seriously, the stand is tiny and super-ghetto and the coffee should taste like crap; they have to be putting drugs or something in this thing) and a big German pretzel, and I was READY TO ROCK IT.

The line, predictably, was three and a half blocks by the time I got there, and by 11:00am the timed tickets they were issuing were all set to let my section of the line into the museum at 3pm. Because four hours in line and three in the museum sounds swell!! The couple behind me were from Spain so I had super handy buddies when the girl went to do reconnaissance and find out what was up – turns out you can buy tickets to any of the Museum Insel museums at any one museum on the island, ie tickets to the Pergamon can be purchased at the Altes Museum, which also has a line, but just one block long. If you were willing to miss out on seeing the immersive panorama exhibit, you could skip the line, buy a ticket somewhere else, and bust in 15 minutes later. COMPELLING ARGUMENT.


Altes Museum, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Neues Museum, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Alte Nationalgalerie, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Pergamon Museum, one-day single-entry ticket: €15
Bode Museum, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Neue Nationalgalerie, one-day single-entry ticket: €8
Gemaldegallerie, one-day single-entry ticket: €8

Student Membership to Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, with unlimited entry to all museums for one year: ===€20===

lol you guys I bought that thing feeling like the polizei were going to leap out of a Grecian urn at any moment and haul me off for committing highway robbery against Berlin museums; €20 FOR ALL OF THEM FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR
I got a totally sweet membership card that I have been entering and exiting museums at random just to be able to flash at the door guards and receive envious stares from three-block entrance lines (so far the Pergamon and Bode have been most satisfying; “Oh they’ve been in line for four hours don’t worry about it here’s your free audioguide c’mon in”).


Come with me now on a mini-journey into the wonders of MuseumInsel!

more amazing greek action:

Left: This sculpture is perfectly balanced to rest on only one contact point – the minotaur’s left knee. The result is kind of astounding; it looks like it’s floating and has amazing forward kinetic energy.

Right: oh it’s another bust of Alexander the Great. lookin’ good as usual bro! especially for 2000 years old! Guess what though, despite being worshipped as a god in Greece (this one’s from Priene) you are forever alone for all time because there are no surviving Hephaestions ever anywhere in the entire world even though you tried to deify him as the central god of a worldwide religious cult! I know, dude. Sucks.

You who follow my blog may recognize the ANCIENT BOYFRIENDS BOWL:
Official title: Achilles binds the wounds of Patrocles, Greek, circa 500 BCE
Ever-popular, I would estimate 95% of all the books on Greek pottery sold by the gift shop used this baby as the cover. I mean, ancient boyfriends are great, but it turns out this is an amazingly unique and fabo specimen for myriad reasons!
- they don’t know who made/painted this bowl, which is actually unusual (many vases and bowls are clearly signed by the artist). this is too bad, because this artist was kicking illustrative ass and taking names:
- it’s a rare/early example of eyes being depicted realistically in true profile. one of the first! go skilled artist!
- there is noooo mention of a scene like this in canon (you know, The Iliad). guys this bowl is the ff.net of the ancient world. the artist totally just invented it. go imaginative artist!
- stylistically, the bowl is really unique: virtually every depiction of Achilles and Patrocles ever is super-heroic (in battle, killing stuff, standing commandingly and looking fierce, etc). the museum’s rapturous image description was once again lol-tasticly hyperbolic, waxing poetic on Patrocles’ expression of agony and dramatically splayed limbs in the gentleness of this private moment blah blah blah, but it’s true: it’s unlike any other bowl or vase in the collection. go creative artist!

So, the Altes Nationalgalerie. I think? Or maybe Neues, I get them confused. Anyway. I actually haven’t spent much time inside BECAUSE I CAN GO BACK ANY DAMN TIME I WANT HA but seriously check this stuff out:

OKAY IS THAT NOT THE CREEPIEST FREAKING THING. These are actually only half of a set of four (the other two are equally delightful!!) which are supposed to depict ‘After Death’. Okay!
I love these for the visceral reaction they provoke amidst so many placid, flat expressions (I love you historical art, but man lively depictions of saints where are you) but YIKES
I mean, nightmare fuel here; these give me legitimate heeby-jeebies. The fourth carving is supposed to be in opposition to the rest, depicting the rapturous everlasting joy of a sin-free afterlife. Amusingly (sastisfyingly?), it is just as creepily horrifying as the rest, ha.

Also cheery! Maybe we are seeing why I have not spent much time in this museum?

Posted by dodie.does 12:47 Archived in Germany Tagged art museums berlin Comments (0)

guten morgen new deutschland life

my study abroad to 1825 commences


....October 4, a fateful day:
SO I MET MY FUTURE PEOPLE. Everyone is kind of a stereotyped larger-than-life character – I don’t know if it’s small-town life or what, but man.

Herr Doktor is hysterical; he is literally Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn. There is seriously not much to add, except that he actually is Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn, has two giant sheepdogs, never closes the doors to his house (er, what?), smokes like a chimney, and is Jim Broadbent as Professor Slughorn.

Anna is nice and has pretty okay English, doesn’t work, and gardens a ton (A TON). She’s always picking up plants from trails and stuff; the house looks like a jungle.
Tom is a carpenter who has four huge aquariums, at least seven ear piercings (one of which is a large pencil-sized pointed crystal), a red handkerchief around his neck at all times and a vest with one pocket of dog treats, and not much English because he had to take Russian growing up in EAST GERMANY aldksjgkasgdskal not sure how to broach this subject but like OH MY GOD TELL ME YOUR LIFE STORY
Nola is a small dog with expressive ears who likes treats.

I live in Werder – small town is small. Reaaaally small. Two streetsl. It was its own village until like five years ago, when it got incorporated into Rehfelde, which is also small but bigger than two streets, so bigger than Werder.
I live in a house-flat-converted barn homeland, along with the EXTREMELY OLD like UNESCO old schoolhouse next door...
I got a whole flat to myself (yeah, whoa) with a giant bed and only antique furniture operated via actual antique skeleton key (a trunk and a wardrobe!)
And here is my ‘hood and how I open my closet trunk beasts:

This be some mad farmland, man. We’re talking middle of noooowhere village with wild boar, tiny deer, huge hare, fields all over everywhere, ancient houses…Just, you know, staying in a building older than the United States. No big.

Anyway holy hell it is windy here; I am living in a converted barn that’s like 250 years old and whoooo insect friends and wind making it sound like I am about to be crushed in rubble okay then. The heating system is…lol there’s a reason they rent this out for a summer home haha. Blankets I shall wear you on my body. Also one lightbulb went out in the already dark kitchen/living room place so OH YES LET ME USE MY SKELETON KEY BY CANDLELIGHT TO EAT BREAD FOR DINNER GUESS WHAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY DOING A STUDY ABROAD IN 1825 PLEASE TO ENJOY

Day One! Of my new mini-life. I am kind of Jane Eyre, except without a hot and brooding Michael Fassbender to weep over me in a cravat. I am employed as a semi-live-in English tutor (oho aka governess-type see how this goes), and the couple who own my lodgings are…very aristocratic. It’s definitely interesting. They have two servants (oh yes you heard me); one is a nice if quietish housekeeper lady who gets verbally abused by the groundskeeper/housemaster who lives upstairs (of whom I am kind of terrified, but maybe we can never have to interact ever? Please?).
Tonight we sat outside drinking wine in the dark and having A. tell us in her deeply posh British accent how she has had to deal with servants before and how her husband is the one who’s good with discipline since he spent time in the German army. !!!! OKAY. A hard conversation topic for me to participate in, I gotta say. Haven’t personally been giving underlings the hand and dismissing them for ‘conversations that are not their place’ so I did a lot of smile and nod and My Gosh and meanwhile internally screaming. Scary housemaster man in question kind of is my personal spector now, since I think maaaybe he can see in the upstairs windows? La la la changing in the bathroom lock all the windows tra la.

There are two awesome bearded collies next door, and Nola the small mutt, plus a tiny fierce/tubby terrier next door actually named something like Tubby? And a huge perpetually angry German Shepard I think named Al, who is burly and loud and lives with a lot of chickens and goats.

Downsides: TINY VILLAGE IS TINY. I found a post office (woo!), and there’s a train station about 25 minutes away by bike (in the rain…I shall become a tiny village hermit I guess because haha NO THNX), there’s a butcher and a guesthouse near the station and…nooooot much else. Oh, there’s a Kindergarten down the street, but I’ve never seen any kids (dot dot dot?).
Also, my flat has no oven, no microwave, and no freezer, which makes cookings times…even more interesting since NO SUCH THING AS CEREAL WHAT DO I DO WHO AM I
haha we had a talk about Cheerios last night and had to google them to show wtf I meant; everyone was like ‘How do you eat them? What do they taste like?’ I’M SORRY WHAT I wept for them a little. I gotta find some Cheerios somewhere just to show them the wonderment.


Posted by dodie.does 11:12 Archived in Germany Comments (2)

bus bonanza

immigrant song times


First off: Toulous and KB’s: SO AWESOME. It was beyond fabulous to get to stay on her couch drinking wine and cracking up at our usual yogurt and quality internet literature pursuits.
I am crazy jealous of her rn, off in the sunshine getting paid (did I mention she gets paid!!) for helping with English classes, living in a super-deluxe apartment with a freezer and microwave and TV and internet with someone who she likes, who likes her, and who speaks English haha COME VISIT ME WOMAN

So update times! Back on October 3:
Wombats Hostel Berlin: yes! I am recommending it to you! And to everyone ever! The front desk girl was pretty bitchy, but then SEVEN FLOORS with a bar and a restaurant for 25 Euro a night… Also, the greatest showers OF.MY.LIFE.
I shared a room with two Australian sisters who were pretty rad and very friendly, you get a free beer or wine on the rooftop bar, there’s free wifi and bedding, and the bunks have a plugin, a shelf, a light, and a locked locker for your stuff. Goodbye I am moving in forever.

Anyway, the bus ride from Toulouse to Berlin. Would you like to know how far that is? It is 893 miles. It is 30 hours by bus. YEP.

I actually don’t particularly want to revisit it ever again in my life – I was actually physically sore, and mentally totally drained, and I was on the bus from 2pm on Sunday to 7pm on Monday…29 hours. Oh my freaking god, you cannot even imaaagine the psychosis I had to recover from. It was like passage on the Titanic or going to the New World or circle the wagons Manifest Destiny or immigrating across the sea where is Ellis Island IT WAS CRAZY OKAY. I slept maybe two hours tops, and we made ONE stop for food in that whole time and it was at 4:30am, and then at 7am as the red sun rose we were pulled over by the German police who hated on me for not having my passport stamped when I entered Germany (of course I had got on the bus IN FRANCE and had no idea we were even IN GERMANY wtf) and then from Hannover on I was LITERALLY THE ONLY PASSENGER ON THE BUS with three drivers who were broadcasting 80s music videos nonstop at top volume on the bus’ TVs and just w o w
Everyone I told was like You did WHAT?! And Haha I saved 200 Euro which is great, and it was okay being THE SOLE PASSENGER ON THE BUS because one driver spoke Spanish and one spoke German and they were super enthused to help me get to my hostel and gave me a water bottle since I had looooong since drank all of mine but it would be worth gainful employment just to not do that odyssey again.

But Berlin! Hallo Guten Tag Hallo you lovely demented poured-concrete graffiti-covered scarred messed-up awesome city you!

Posted by dodie.does 11:10 Archived in France Comments (0)

when you cry and your tears are also fireworks

barcelona, t'estimo


Last day in Barcelonaaaaaa
sad face. I am amazed whenever I find myself thinking in Spanish; I haven't done it in years and idk if ever this naturally it is kind of amazing

Anyway, woke up and Isma, rad dude that he is, made a fabulous breakfast !! I had mentioned that I was living off of Spanish/Catalonian junk food (slash cereal) and wanted to try traditional Catalan cuisine, and BEHOLD I wake up to this deliciousness:


You cut the tomato in half and then squeeze its goopy innards along the bread, drizzle some quality olive oil (which is an eighth of the price it is at home, oh my god it's like a gallon for two euros or something ridiculous) and a sprinkle of salt, and then drape some thin-sliced strange meat on top and YO IT IS TASTY

Also he had a bit of traditional sausage which was very similar to a landjäger; pretty good. Plus the weirdness that is Euro coffee - tiny and strong enough to blast your face off. Isma was complaining about how he's always trying to explain how to make American-style coffee to cafes in Barcelona ("add more water! plus some milk, and then also ice...") and they think he's nuts.

I ended up staying until almost noon chatting since Isma is way fun to talk to, but had to get over to my next couch since Isma and Ana were planning to escape the city for this last gigantic tourist-ful day of La Merce.

IT WAS POURING RAIN. I was probably the only person dancing with joy at this turn of events; it was so much cooler (ie not a raging sun inferno as previously) and everyone had umbrellas even though it was not that bad by Seattle standards, and phew SO much nicer although all the Barcelonians were griping big time (and the Castellers had to cancel their noon towers, but oh well).


Jordi was nice but really, really into walking EVERYWHERE along loooong scenic routes and I was like Ummm I need the metro because I am a gimp and he was like ???? but I convinced him to stop and chat for an hour or so drinking really really expensive Fanta Naranja so the ankle could recover. It happened to POUR RAIN again while were there, so haha good timing.

Then we went to a museum about the famous early automotive industry of Barcelona (lol whaaat) where the choices were Catalan or Castellano so that was good practice, and then we parted ways because I wanted MORE MUSEUMS MOOOORE and he wanted to eat expensive Tapas and walk the mile and a half to the museum (dude no puedo hacerlo okay).

The Museum of the History of Catalonia: THIS MUSEUM. THE BOMB. AAAAAH FOR REAL.

Unique and awesome yet repressed cultures of history! Me gusta!
So, this museum is freaking gigaaaantic. It starts in Prehistoric time, cave peoples of Catalonia, then Medieval times of Catalonia, Gothic times of Catalonia...there are like subsets of subsets of exhibitions like This Gallery Floor: The Birth of a Nation - This Gallery: The Power of the Nobles - This Room: Under the Supremacy of the Feudal Lords like whoa INFO OVERLOAD
This little kid is lifting a knight's suit of armor to see how super-heavy it was, while in the background another chick is riding a big model jousting horse !

Life-size medieval shoemaker's shop and house !! YES PLEASE

Moi in the 1960s Catalan drugstore ! (Caaaan you tell I got slightly sunburned...)
The also had a life-size interactive reconstructed 30's theatre where you could watch filmstrips of Franco 'n' such, and a 50's schoolroom, and a bomb shelter from the Civil War, and kitchens from the 1600s, 1900s, and 1960s and AAAH LOVE IT.

Beautiful evening sky on the waterfront!

Then I happened to come out of Plaze St Jaume RIGHT SMACK into the parade of Gigants, which was bizarro once again but cool! Then I went to a SUPER-SWEET Catalan bookstore with THE MOST GORGEOUS PICTURE BOOKS EVER IN MY LIFE I WANT THEM ALL.
Borderline tears aaaah need Catalan children so I can buy 700 Euro worth of the most beautiful art books in the world.

Then. Okay. Yes. I just. Can't really express what occurred because, just, I've only had maybe two really basically religious experiences in my life and here came a third, and no wordssss but the gist is:
I came back to Jordi's like No thnx do not want to go to 8345 bars/discos tonight; I am tired and my feet hurt like HELL, and also wandering alone at night = scary. So I was eating the rest of my whatever falafal thing I had ordered with my Spanish skillez and had my feet up, when




So I went outside onto the roof of Jordi's late-19th century apartment and it was the second night of huge fireworks displays down on the beach. I was far from the beach, but the sky in that direction was lighting up purple and red and gold, and I could allllmost see the fireworks so I made a very unwise decision and fearing for my life in a way I have seldom feared for my life before, I climbed the roof.

and i clung to the side of the roof and looked down (waaaaaaay down) at the super antique apartments around me and the street lit up far below and the whole city was rumbling with these explosions and the sky lit up and it was warm out but started to drizzle and i may or may not have cried a huge amount as i tried to avoid falling 75 feet while behind old rooftops things were on fire and yep

Then I went back inside once the rain was too hard and I seriously genuinely thought I might slip and actually die, and there was a LIVE FC BARCELONA GAME ON HELLZ YES !! Barca won 5-0 and it was sweeeet. Also I had Barca team chips to eat while watching haha.

So, another day of awesomeness, Barcelona let me love you down.

Posted by dodie.does 06:35 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona Comments (0)

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