Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Home again

We got back home late on Sunday evening. We had an amazing trip. We spent most of our time in Germany, with a four day visit to Austria to see our friends there (actually one of those days was mostly spent in the Czech Republic) and a four day visit to France.

My favourite things, although they are hard to pick, were:

...going to the world's largest medieval knight tournament in Kaltenberg (Germany). There was a huge market there and a fantastic two-hour show with very gifted riders.

...visiting the Moët & Chandon champagne house in Épernay (France).

...and I really enjoyed our visits to old palaces (I could have gone to lots more): Charlottenburg (in Berlin), Neuschwanstein (in Füssen, Germany), Fontainebleau and one in Krumlov in the Czech Republic (I can't remember the name of it right now). The picture above is from Fontainebleau. Sadly, you weren't allowed to photograph inside any of the castles, palaces or forts in Germany.

And in general, I just loved walking in the old city centers of various towns and looking at the beautiful houses and knowing that some pretty well known people had possibly walked in the same exact spot and seen the same things (we visited, for example the hometowns of Bach and Luther). The picture is from Quedlingburg and the buildings date back to the Middle Ages.

We also visited several WWII and Cold War sites, including a concentration camp (Sachsenhausen near Berlin), which were interesting and, I think, well worth a visit, eventhough they made me feel very sad.

The weather wasn't really co-operating with us. For more than a week it was cold, windy and rainy, which was okay for driving in our non-air-conditioned car, but not so great for sight-seeing (especially if you forget to pack a jacket) and then the temperature decided to jump up by a whopping 20C and it was suddenly unbearably hot (around 35C) for a week.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Have a wonderful July

We're getting ready to leave. Just wanted to come over here quickly and wish you all a wonderful July! I'll be back by the end of it.


Monday, July 02, 2007

A summer cardigan

I finished this striped cardigan yesterday evening. I didn't have any buttons that were suitable and a quick stop at the nearest shop that sells buttons also resulted in nothing. So I closed it with pins for the photos. I'll be packing it and a needle and thread in my suitcase and hope I find something suitable :) I mean, I'll be going to the craft shops (fabric, yarn, cross stitch supplies...) anyway, so might as well buy something I actually need instead of just enhancing my stash. Though, I suspect I'll be doing that also.

The pattern for the cardi is from the latest issue of Novita (a Finnish yarn company that also publishes a magazine) and I used the yarn specified on the pattern (Novita Bambu) which is a lovely bamboo-cotton mix (the yarn is held double for this pattern, so it's not really that thick). It's soft, it has a nice sheen and it's not as heavy as pure cotton would be. I had to make some adjustements to the number stitches to get the right gauge, but it went surprisingly well. All in all, I'm very statisfied with it.

Oh, and to those who might be making this. I made the smallest size and had 3 extra balls of yarn (1 of the main color and two of the other).