Wednesday, February 26, 2014

02/22 - Chinese New Year Lantern Festival


Traditionally the last day of the lunar New Year celebration in the Chinese calender is the Lantern Festival, officially called Shangyuan Festival. Obviously the calender here in NZ is a bit different, because the festival itself was about 1 week later...

In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. Nowadays lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs and are now often made in the shape of animals. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year, they're almost always red to symbolize good fortune.

I strolled through the park and took some pictures of the lanterns which came across my way... I was surprised to see no horse being the new year the Year of the Horse...

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

02/14 - 02/15 - Cigars and lamb


It's Friday again... one of those Fridays of Andreas' emergency service... it's PHARMACY SMOKE!!

It's always a pleasure to come here and so we made the trip another time... no big issue, but I think that is not worth to mention. After the drive which took us a bit longer than usual (damn traffic jams) and after a first hello to Andreas we dropped our luggage at the Cafe Fritz where we also settled down for a nice steak dinner... a good basis for the rest of the evening.

Short past seven the backrooms were crowded with people and filled with thick smoke... still bearable but this time hard at the limit...

BTW: have you ever seen a meatloaf vanishing within a blink of the eye? Then you should come along one day... it's some kinda tradition since a while that one of the guys brings a meatloaf... and the whole gang seems to be crazy for it... this time it was gone in less than 4 minutes... maybe I should bring a meatloaf too one day... just to have a comparison... ;-)

It's another fantastic evening with very funny conversations and some good cigars, not to forget the Glen Scotia from the SMWS that Ralf brought... what an outstanding good Single Malt. Surprisingly I felt really tired at that evening and due to this I left the pharmacy as early as never before... I think it was about 2.15 am... it seems that I'm getting old!

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Upmann Monarchs AT from 1998




The next day we wanted to join the lamb dinner in Mommenheim that's been organized by Andreas therefore we decided to spend the day with some friend in the city of Mainz... doing some sightseeing...

St. Stephan, Mainz


Chagall windows







In the evening we drove to the restaurant of the Golf course in Mommenheim where we'd a separate room, smoking permitted. We all came for some tasty lamb but we'd to take some Serrano ham... tasty stuff and a really good starter... together with a Partagas Series du Connaisseur No. 1 from 1997.

Jupp cutting the ham

Starter plate


Then the lamb came to the table... a lamb soup... never had it before but it was very tasty (and of course I took a refill).... and then: the meat. Some potatos and cole slaw as a side dish... it was delicious... cooked to perfection, fork tender and juicy... a Montecristo C EL 2003 as dessert, what else do you've to ask for?

A great weekend which makes me looking forward to the next smoky weekend in May...

Lamb soup


Lamb

Montecristo C EL 2003

Sancho Panza Belicosos upside down



Sunday, February 16, 2014

Carribean feeling in the mountains


Water like in the Caribbean... that's what you'll see if you spend a visit to the Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki in the Mt. Cook area... little particulates caused by abrasion of the glaciers are a main part of the water and those are responsible for the reflections causing this stunning color of the lakes.

We're lucky enough to make this day trip on a day with beautiful weather and sunshine which made the atmosphere look even more impressive. It's good to visit first Tekapo and after that Pukaki. The reason is simple: Tekapo is fantastic but Pukaki is really breathtaking... especially after the clouds cleared up later... then you get a view on the lake in the foreground with the impressive mountains including the well-known Mt. Cook in the background... a stunning view that I could've enjoyed the whole day... just sitting on the waterfront, relaxing...

BTW: While you read this I am sitting on my suitcases and waiting for the take-off to another trip to NZ...

Lake Tekapo

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Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki

Mt. Cook and Lake Pukaki

Mt. Cook and Lake Pukaki

Mt. Cook and Lake Pukaki

Mt. Cook and Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki