The Temple of Literature

Everyone knows I love to read. So what better excursion than going to the Temple of Literature. But before I went there I had other things to do.

On my last day in China which I spent in Guangzhou I walked most of my time around in shopping malls. First a small one, and then a bigger one. Even though I tried my hardest to withstand all these offerings, in the end I gave in and bought some small things. Of course small things add up too and I had another bag in hand when I arrived at the airport.

So on this lovely Monday morning I walked first to the post office which I had noticed on my round about the lake.

As I said I only had small stuff but these few things added up to three kilograms. So now they are on the way to my office and will hopefully await my return.

I had looked up online what else there was to do in Hanoi since the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum was closed on Mondays. And on this list for day number 2 I saw that there was a visit to a restaurant to eat some fish. Since I had a lovely fish on the food tour I was ready to try this one. Of course it was still super hot in Hanoi but since I couldn’t change the weather, I would just work with it.

At the restaurant I met a French woman traveling for business who had gotten a recommendation for this place from a friend of her’s who had lived in Hanoi for a couple of years. So I was at the right place.

After lunch I was finally ready to see the Temple of Literature. It was only a 25 minutes walk but of course in the heat it felt more like hours. The temple was not only a temple but was also the oldest university in Vietnam established in 1076. It had steles right next to the entrance to remind the horse men to get off them.

    On these turtle steles the names of the persons successful at the royal exam were inscribed and are therefore very important documents.

      It was a really lovely building with five different courtyards. But there were no books on display which I would have preferred to see. On the other hand books in this heat and humidity don’t survive very long. I walked back in the heat to the hotel but made a small stop on the way to have a sugar cane juice and later a freshly made watermelon juice. So tasty!
Just by watching the women on the motor scooters I got hot flash. They really don’t want to get tanned here.

For dinner I met the Austrian guy again since it was my last night in Hanoi. The next day I would leave to Ha Long Bay. We stayed near the lake area and eventually settled on a restaurant right next to the lake. Th view was great but dinner was not so good and really expensive.


We said goodbye early since I wanted to do some shopping, but another torrential rainfall changed my plans. I had started moving in the direction of the hotel once it started but when the rain began in earnest I stayed the rest of it underneath a small roof. I was waiting for quite while. Yours, Pollybert

Five chicks and a sleepover

A great way to spend the weekend is to hang out with your friends. All the better when this is planned for a Saturday evening (which is really not such a great evening to go out to begin with) and includes a home-cooked meal plus some chick flicks.

Let me disappoint you right away, there won’t be any pyjama pictures. But I have some pictures for the foodies of you thanks to Sandra. Cat and I started by going shopping in the afternoon, hitting three different stores to finally get an organic chicken. The rest of the ingredients were found quickly interrupted by short discussions about buying more stuff. It’s not so easy going shopping with Cat when she is hungry. A firm hand is needed here.

Upon arriving at Cat’s place we prepared the bird and the vegetables. We really wanted to eat something light and healthy especially since the dessert from Sandra only looked guilt-free (but was so good!). 007008
It looked like a very happy chicken, don’t you think? Especially once it got a bit of a color and we added the vegetables to the pan.009

By now we were complete after a spontaneous arrival from Leni. I have to take a page out of her book for flexibility! Great call of her to come because the four of us devoured the bird. The Before and After of the chicken:010

From the chicken it was only a small step to go over to the next course, the dessert.016 On the right you can see the delicious galette from Sandra, on top a rich and creamy raspberry chocolate tarte from Fruth (a thank-you gift for babysitting from Ute) and lots of jelly sweets from our hostess.When we finally started with the first chick flick this is how the dessert table looked:014
But rest assured that most of the candy and all the galette got eaten during Love, Rosie and Crazy, Stupid, Love (not even Photoshop would have helped to make our abs look like Ryan Gosling’s after this evening).

All of this got washed down with rosé in every form (sparkling or regular). Once you choose a color it is good to stay with it. Anyway it fit with the vibe of the evening. It was the perfect girls night in which ended the next morning after a hearty breakfast (who would have thought that we could eat again?) and another movie.
Yours, Pollybert

The Holy Grail

bachelorette-night-to-rememberLife’s biggest achievement for a woman lies in marriage. Once you are secure in a relationship and snagged a proposal there is only one way to go. Either in front of the altar or the registrar’s office. There is no alternative, make it or break it. At least that’s what I heard!

I also heard that if you are going through life alone, you must be utterly miserable and when one begs to disagree you must be lying. So let’s celebrate this Holy Grail of womanhood, feeling enwrapped in love and as a bonus maybe financially secure. There is no higher status for a woman in life then being a wife!

My friend Ali will reach this status tonight by tying the knot and to this end we celebrated her bachelorette party on Friday. Every reason to party is a good one (ok let’s be honest usually we need no reason to party), but a bachelorette party for someone middle-aged (and I am allowed to say that because I am the same age) is so much better. When society has already given up on you finding a life partner at your age (or actually any partner. Isn’t there a higher chance to get struck by lightning than finding a man after 40?), all the more reason to celebrate that you showed society the proverbial finger. You did it after all!

Twenty black clad girls (ok maybe women when the mean age is 45) met at Le Cru, a champagne bar downtown in Vienna. The theme of the night was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and we all looked stunning! The bride herself dressed in black and white and got black a sash to let her stand out. And if some thought that we celebrated a divorce party, then it was probably just envy talking (but what a great idea for another party). IMG_9205IMG_9191IMG_9192IMG_9193IMG_9194IMG_9197IMG_9198IMG_9201IMG_9207IMG_9211IMG_9217IMG_9218IMG_9219IMG_9222IMG_9228IMG_9231IMG_9234IMG_9238IMG_9242IMG_9244
The owner must have been happy to see us leave, clearly we overstayed our visit long after closing time and all other customers took flight. Not that I blame them, twenty women with enough champagne are a force to be reckoned with.

From there we moved to Albertina Passage, Vienna’s only dinner club that has some international flair. A live band, international guests and an overall great atmosphere were the perfect setting for this emotional goodbye to bachelorhood.IMG_9261IMG_9262

Clearly our times for an R-rated surprise are over, nonetheless the maid of honor made sure that we still gushed “ah” and “oh”. Lots of alcohol was a good tactic to keep us happy, so when the cake came the effect on all of us was spellbinding.IMG_9257IMG_9266IMG_9270IMG_9273IMG_9278IMG_9280IMG_9284IMG_9287IMG_9290

The little sculpture on the right by the way showed a groom being chased up a tree. I am sure any similarities with real life were pure chance. (If you are wondering what the cake says: I succeeded as well!)

The party then took an unforeseen turn. The bride was not tired at all but astonished us all with an unheard of stamina. Not only did she dance the night away but took to the stage like a fish in the water and showed the younger girls on the dance floor how it’s done.IMG_9306IMG_9298IMG_9378IMG_9381IMG_9386IMG_9392IMG_9393IMG_9396IMG_9414
Clearly she was not the only one who showed us some astonishing moves. Definitely a night full of surprises (Videos are only on demand!).

So let’s all congratulate Ali on her upcoming nuptials. To quote Armstrong here: It’s one small step for a woman, but a giant leap for womanhood (over 40). We will think of her tonight! Yours, Pollybert

Update: The deed is done!IMG_9450