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Swiss Meals I: Raclette, it’s not fondue…

Ever tried the dish called raclette? I hadn’t, before our recent trip to Zurich, but when I heard the following about it, I was excited to get into it:

1. It’s cheesy; 2. It’s potato-y; 3. It’s Swiss. By virtue of this point no.3, I knew the aforementioned ingredient at no. 1 would be super, super delicious (Swiss cheese really is amazing).

From the above, you’re probably thinking, “wow, she must really like cheese and potatoes!”, and you’d be right. Two of my favourite food groups right there, so I felt we couldn’t go wrong with raclette. Even better, we were lucky enough to be shown the authentic way on this most typical of Swiss dishes (after fondue, I guess), by our Swiss friends in their home.

Ingredients a-go-go.

Above you can see the spread of various ingredients prior to cooking (plus delicious side salad and unusual – to us anyway – accompaniments, such as preserved fruits and pickles). Read more

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

A fleeting moment could mean so many things. Certainly, trying to capture the moment you are at the top of your jump to give a sense of elegant floating defines “fleeting”. For a fraction of a second it might appear that you have gently left the ground, raised up by some anti-gravity (maybe a jetpack, jetpacks are cool, right?). So, here are two fleeting floating moments, captured in Paris. The first in front of Notre Dame, the second in the Grand Palais.


Photos by CIA, floating by PJD.

Super sunflowers

I was just sorting through some photos from last year and I came across this one. I snapped these sunflowers at the market one Saturday in Utrecht. One of the things I love about living in the Netherlands is the abundance of flowers – not only tulips, but of all varieties – on display at the Saturday markets which take place in town squares all around the country. Buckets and buckets of beautiful specimens are stacked sometimes five to ten rows deep, and flowers from every part of the colour spectrum are for sale (and for a fraction of the price that you would pay in other countries, I might add!). I couldn’t resist posting this photo here, because seeing this photo brought a smile to my face and just made me feel extra happy, so maybe it will do likewise for you too! The vibrant yellow is pretty special, don’t you agree?


Photo by CIA at Utrecht Market, June 2011.

Closing time – Centre Pompidou

As I wrote about earlier, our trip to Paris marked the first time I really began to experiment with exposure times. In these photos, I was set up at the last set of escalators as people were leaving the Centre Pompidou.

There is so much to say about what is inside the Centre Pompidou. Equally, there are many things to be said about the incredible building itself. Furthermore, they have one of the best logos anywhere. I could hardly have enjoyed myself more in the place. So much so, that as we were forced to leave I braved strange looks to set my camera up and capture the people also leaving: some reluctantly, some hurriedly, others casually, some, even, romantically*.

So, how does getting kicked out of a museum at closing time make you feel?

There is something about closing time, isn’t there?

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Éclair-ing at home

Well, true to my word, after earlier writing of our enjoyment of what some have pointed out to be the biggest chocolate éclairs ever on our recent trip to Paris,  I decided to try my hand at making some éclairs of my own at home. I thought you might enjoy to see the results…

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A slice of Japan in the Hague

Back in May, I planned a secret outing to a special place in the Hague that a good friend had told me about. The idea was to get PJD there without him knowing where we were going, which proved a really hard task to achieve, given his incessant “Where are we going?” line of questioning. All he knew was that we had to go there during a specific month of the year, and that our destination was outdoors. Little did he know that I was taking him to an incredible park in the Hague, which has a slice of Japan nestled in the middle of it.

You will see from our photos that we were not disappointed by this place. It is the Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park. Read more

Keeping time

I’m lucky to be the wearer of this watch, which consistently makes me smile due to its vibrant colours and quirky geometric design. It was a gift from PJD and as I have worn it over the past year since receiving it, I’ve become very attached to it. This is despite my ongoing efforts to become less attached to material objects and possessions; having a personality with a large streak of sentimentalism running through it does not always make this the most straightforward of endeavours. But still, I keep trying.

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