Saturday, January 15, 2011

The new Audi A6 and sportive generation Quatro, Munich

Audi is introducing his new A6 limousine with the sportive generation quatro. They claim to drive this luxury car on all terrains and are going to prove it at Munich airport. They built an artificial hill with lift, and have the intension to drive these cars up and down the steep slope. It looks super impressive.

Audi introduceert de nieuwe A6 limousine met sportieve quatro generatie. In hun slogan claimen ze dat deze luxe wagen zich op alle terreinen kan begeven en willen dit ook bewijzen op de luchthaven van Munchen. Hier hebben ze een kunstmatige heuvel gebouwd waarop de wagens langs de steile helling op en neer zullen rijden. Het lijkt heel indrukwekkend.

Audi New A6 Quatro
Audi New A6 Quatro
Audi New A6 Quatro
Audi New A6 Quatro
Audi New A6 Quatro
Audi New A6 Quatro
Previous Munich article: The first December snow in Munich

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Place and Palais Rihour in Lille

Place Rihour in Lille is a small square where Palais Rihour is loacted and many nice houses. The walls of some houses have decorations and masks, like on the first picture. In the Palais Rihour you now find the Tourism Office. For all the Belgians and beer lovers, there is a Leffe cafe on this square.

Place Rihour in Lille is een klein marktplaatsje waar het Rihour paleis is gelegen naast de vele mooie huizen. Sommige van deze huizen hebben als muurdecoratie maskers, zoals op de eerste foto. In het Rihour paleis is momenteel de toeristische dienst gevestigd. Voor alle Belgen en bier liefhebbers vind je hier een Leffe Cafe.

Place Rihour Lille
Place Rihour Lille
Place Rihour Lille
Place Rihour Lille
Previous Lille article: Amazing building on Place du Théâtre in Lille

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Not on a Friday

The document have finally arrived. Not a day too early. One thing very important to know about Spain is that you need a hell of a lot of patience when you're dealing with bureaucracies and administrative institutions. The fact that you will have to wait for things/deliveries/letters/emails/people much longer than scheduled, is something you just have to get used to and put into your calculations from day one otherwise it is very easy to go completely crazy over here. But Spain is, on the other hand, good in so many other ways so it might even out.

Anyways, the important boat document is now here and we are ready to go. Or at least I am but Alex refuses to leave today as it is a Friday and apparently it means bad luck to leave for a sailing passage on a Friday. Everyday you learn something new about the people around you. I never seen a superstitious side in my man before today. Very interesting. Or maybe just all sailors are living by this superstition. Who knows?

"In some cultures, Friday is considered unlucky. This is particularly so in maritime circles; perhaps the most enduring sailing superstition is that it is unlucky to begin a voyage on a Friday" - cut out from Wikipedia.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jewish Food in France

A couple years ago, my friend Joan Nathan, a Washington, D.C.-based food writer and author, called and said she was coming to France, doing research for a new book. I snapped to attention, not just because I love Joan but also because I loved the topic: Jewish food in France. Joan was looking for cooks, stories, recipes, family lore, historical documents--anything that would help her piece

Atardecer sobre el Tajo, Lisboa

01/01/2011: Una buena opción en Lisboa es pasear cerca del rio Tajo entre el monumento a los Descubridores y la Torre de Belem.

Nosotros nos dirigimos al atardecer a otra zona próxima a la anterior. En la parada de metro "Cais do Sodré" salimos y de allí fuimos paseando junto al Tajo en dirección a la Plaza del Comercio.

Nos sentamos un rato a descansar viendo algunas embarcaciones y gente pescando:

Transporte marítimo para cruzar el estuario del Tajo:

Cañas de pescar al atardecer:

Es espectacular contemplar el atardecer en el que se distinguen las diferentes tonalidades de luz a medida que pasan los minutos:
Al principio del atardecer se va formando un amarillo apagado que va cambiando a un amarillo verdoso y más intenso, luego el color naranja que va creciendo más y más hasta un limite en el que aparecen tonos rojos para luego ir debilitándose todos de nuevo al amarillo más débil hasta que mueren en el ocaso final:

Al fondo el imponente puente colgante "25 de abril", construido en acero:
El puente del 25 de abril tiene un vano de 1013 m, que lo cataloga entre los más largos del mundo:

Foto tomada junto a la Plaza del Comercio:

De Nievaert Cup te Klundert, Ballroom D-class

This was our first competition after an injury break of almost 4 months. The first round didn't go so well. We had problems with other couples on the floor. It was also the first time we had to dance the basic Tango but this gave us a good feeling. We were surprised to be placed directly in the semi final. The semi final and the final were a lot better. Our dancing improved round by round. We had high expectations but end the competition in place 6 out of 13 couples. We missed the price presentation because I had to catch my flight to Munich.

Dit was onze eerste competitie na een kwetsuurperiode van bijna 4 maanden. De eerste ronde ging niet zo goed. We hadden wat problemen met de andere paren op de vloer. Het was ook de eerste keer dat we de basis tango dansten, maar dit ging goed. We waren echter verbaast onmiddellijk doorgeplaatst te worden naar de halve finale. Tijdens de halve finale en de finale ging alles veel beter. Ons dansen verbeterde ronde na ronde. We hadden hoge verwachtingen voor onze finale plaatst maar we eindigden op plaats 6 van 13 paren. We bleven niet voor de prijsuitreiking daar Filip 's avonds nog naar München moest vliegen.

Filip Demuinck Kristel Pardon
Full result: NADB Nievaert Cup, Klundert - Result D-class

Previous competition article: No Benelux Championship for us

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Thoughts about the crossing

No we're not in the tropics yet, although these little friends looks like they are just from there. The document is still missing and we will have to wait here for it's arrival. Someone was asking about our feelings now when we're just about to begin the long crossing and I have barely thought of it from another perspective  than how interesting it will be and how great it will be to have it done. Am not worried or scared or anything like that as I cannot see any greater risks out there than in any other sea we sailed. I'm sure those nights in Golf of Leon with 5 meter seas and 35 knots of wind or that night of constant thunderstorm and 30-32 knots of wind while surfing on huge seas and praying for my life for us not to get struck by the massive lightnings which were all around us, were much more fearful than an Atlantic crossing can be in January. We will follow the established trade-winds anyway so there shouldn't be too much of surprises, at least not from the weather perspective. Some rain has no one died of and yes the waves can be a bit uncomfortable but that's something I've calculated to have to deal with anyhow. What we could be a bit worried for though and which Alex slightly is already, is the autopilots tiller arm and it's strength after that shock it had to experience in Morocco. The bracket is reinforced a bit but we would definitely have to get it replaced completely and that we haven't had the time for as yet. I am not too worried as I think we will be fine with it and also the Sailomat windpilot, and would both fail - well then it was our bad luck and there's not much else to do than hand-steer and even that is not a major concern from my side. If people have sailed around the world singlehanded without autopilots for almost thirty years now and someone sailed across the Atlantic with a 20-footer by himself for more than 150 years ago, well then we would easily be able to do it without self-steering if that would be our luck. 

I am sure everything will be fine and I'm confident knowing that we will always find a way to solve problems that might arrive. It is a new type of challenge after all and if we wouldn't love great challenges, we wouldn't live this life to begin with.

We feel well prepared and ready, just that goddamn document which has to arrive and then we're ready to go. Will call UPS now again and check what the hell's going on. /Taru

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What we're occupied with at the moment

So what do we have left before we can leave? This is one of those things. Alex have designed and mounted new teak seats in the cockpit and these gaps needs now to get filled with sika. Will show the final production once it's finished.

Rest of the list below. (and bear in mind that this is only what has to get done before we leave, there is another long list for not so super important tasks to fulfill when we have more time on some tropical island. ) So:

- Install a new cooler plate for the fridge. We'll be able to produce ice with this new one. Yes!
- One sail is on repair and needs to get back to the boat asap.
- Install the gps antenna for the MaxSea.
- Replace one of the navigation lights.
- Refill with more sika on some of the portholes.
- Fit the battery isolator.
- Install three new battery cables.
- Improve the earthing of the satellite unit.
- Install a larger engine starter battery.
- Clean out the boat and store everything properly.
- Await an important document that should have arrived today, better luck tomorrow I guess.

And.. that would be it for now. /T


I know I know, all you sailors out there would wish to see a bit more of the boat projects and such but bear with me for a while as we are in a very messy (literally) situation right now when our to-do-list seems longer than that one we started on for one year ago and we are supposed to begin our ocean crossing in about ... 24 hours.

Le Pastis d'Amelie is a cake that Alex sisters friend Nico sent home with us from France and it is one of the most delicate piece of pastry that I have ever tasted. It is from a special bakery in Mazerolles outside of Pau which nowadays are so famous for this round, sweet cake that they only have these on their baking list. When you take a bite of this buttery, creamy dream of a vanilla cake, you instantly get transported to the cake heaven beyond any you've ever visited before. I swear, it feels like you're hallucinating when having the pleasure of having this mixture on your tongue. It is simply ridiculous how buttery one cake can be and I'm mourning in this very moment as we've just finished the grand cake of 700 g this morning. I will definitely have to try putting together something similar asap.

Some other food notes from Las Palmas: I never thought that living with a Frenchman would mean that I would eat this much of foie gras, I think that we two together have eaten around 1 kilo (2.2 US pounds) only since NYE and let me tell you that that is some serious amount of goose liver. My only problem now is to figure out how to get rid of these many extra pounds which these cakes and livers have meant to my body. And somehow that has to get done before I get over to the Caribbean. Will keep you posted. /Taru

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

El elevador de Santa Justa, Lisboa

01/01/2011: El elevador de Santa Justa en Lisboa está formado por dos ascensores en el interior de una torre de hierro de unos 40 m de altura ubicada en el barrio de La Baixa.

Fue inaugurado en el año 1902 funcionando a vapor y con el nombre de Elevador do Carmo para comunicar los barrios de La Baixa y Barrio Alto.

En la parte superior de la torre hay uno de los mejores miradores para contemplar Lisboa desde lo alto.

A cierta altura hay una pasarela que comunica con la Plaza do Carmo:
Para llegar al mirador tenemos que subir una escalera de caracol:

Vista desde la terraza:
Ruinas del Convento do Carmo:

Pasarela de comunicación del elevador:

Vista de la pasarela desde la terraza:

Vista hacia la Plaza de Don Pedro IV (Rossio):
Vista hacia la Plaza de Figueira:

Rua de Santa Justa:
Rua du Ouro:

En lo alto, el Castillo de San Jorge:

Rio Tajo al fondo, a la izquierda se encuentra la Plaza del Comercio:

Arco Iris sobre la ciudad de Lisboa:

Nosotros accedimos al elevador con la LISBOA CARD, que es una tarjeta de diferentes precios según el tiempo en que entran accesos a diferentes museos, atracciones turísticas, transportes, etc. Si pincháis el enlace os lo explica al detalle.

Preparing for the Atlantic passage

Pan fried chicken legs with chinese mushrooms and scallions in a hot pepper-sauce.

And that was today's lunch.

As we're about to leave for the Atlantic crossing very soon (tomorrow or Thursday that is), we are now busy with the final planning of the food provisioning for the 18-22 days we will spend on the ocean.

It is a pity that fresh meat isn't lasting for more than the first five days or so and that many vegetables will go bad after 14 days, but we'll manage well with other reserves. What we've been focusing on mostly is to make sure there is enough fresh water (around 100 liters ((26 US gallons)) of reserves in bottles and folding water jugs in case the watermaker would fail), enough pasta/rice/potatoes/beans/noodles/cous cous/cereals/dried fruit/dried vegetables/dried mushrooms/juice/UHT milk and cream for the double of the time we'll be spending on the sea, plenty of baking supplies in case I get baking cravings and obviously everything needed to make some nice fish dishes like lemon juice, coco flakes, garlic, spices, dried basilica and other herbs, soya, wasabi, rice vinegar etc.. With these things we'll be perfectly settled. Will show some pics of how we're storing all of this in the boat, later on. /Taru

Monday, January 10, 2011

David Hockney's iPaintings

You still have time to see “David Hockney: Fleurs Fraîches,” an exhibit of images (flowers, places and people) created by the British artist on his iPhone and iPad.  It's at the Fondation Pierre Bergé - Yves Saint Laurent in Paris until Jan 30th. With “Brushes” and other apps, Hockney used his thumbs and fingers to create full-color images directly on the device’s screen, modifying the hues and

Readers reflections

Oh la la, thanks for the nice compliment, K! This women is comparing us with Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkin in the Blue Lagoon and flatters us with even more of her beautiful compliments. Check this out here.

We love your emails and comments and links you send to us, dear readers. Your interaction is one of the main reasons why we, or more specifically I (as I am the writer and producer of this blog) love working with this diary of ours. Every week we receive new wonderful links and trackbacks sent to us with our readers own thoughts about our tour and it is very interesting to see this whole thing from someone else's perspective. 

I have by the way tried to get Alex into the writings of this blog for many months now but he is totally not into it and as he is extremely busy constantly building and fixing with the boat, he also says that he doesn't have the peace of mind or the space in life to gather his thoughts into notes for the moment. We both have our areas in life where we feel most comfortable and writing simply doesn't appeal to him as much as it does to me. Just like boat projects, mounting of gear or mechanical installations might not be priority one in my world.

May be that the blogs content and writings often are angled from my personal perspective, but that is simply how it will have to be, I can't transmit much more than that in a realistic way so you all have too keep up with my ramblings. This blog is as much an interactive tool to stay connected with our families, friends and followers along the tour, as it is my personal diary with images, notes and reflections from these interesting and beautiful years on the sea.

Thanks for reading and make sure we all stay in touch! /Taru

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Back again (crossing the Atlantic in a few)

Are you really going to drink both whiskey and two bottles of wine, he asked with a worried look. You sober people do not understand this, she said and took a gulp of the wine. Please leave me to be at least a bit destructive in case the plane would fail and crash.

We're at home now. I never though I could miss a thing of material to this extent, but this boat - our home - most definitely have gotten me addicted. We both feel restless and anxious and worried as soon as we've been away from her for more than a day and it is hard to even imagine what strong bonds of attachment and separation anxiety one must experience when having own kids of flesh and blood to worry about, when only a boat can make you feel this much pain. Anyways, we're at home now and all is good. We'll be finalizing the last preparations tomorrow and then we're meant to be off for a long journey across the Atlantic. Can't wait to get it all started. /T

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Night contemplations on a train

In the winter forests between Toulouse and Le Pays Basque (Pau).

If sailing is number one of my preferred ways of transportation and flying the least favorable, train must be up there on number two. The tranquility which embraces your brain when being able to observe the colorful scenery rapidly flashing by gives time to breathe and think, and that is some of what I value the most in life, nowadays. There were times, many years, when I had hard to slow down and I was kind of always on the run and in rush and always looking for something new and now when I analyze those different episodes and chapters of my past life, I can look back on it all with a smile while wondering how the hell did I have the energy for all of that - because right now: peace and harmony is much more worth than anything else that I can think of. Gone are the parties till 9 in the morning, gone are the hectic social life that had to be nurtured and which I loved and valued a lot of course but it is such a distant life to now. Gone are also the constant stress which comes with always being on hunt for one more rush and one more kick and more and more excitements and although there might have been times in my past in which I never thought I would come to this stage, I must say that this calm and harmonic episode is the best time of my life. At least in another way. Obviously I wouldn't know the difference if I hadn't experience the extreme contrary, so for that too I am grateful, for all those contrasts my life has been filled with. Dear universe, I can't thank you enough for all of the opportunities to see so many things and worlds from so many perspectives. With my insights of life alone, I am a truly blessed and rich human being.

So when I was sitting there on that train the other day, listening to the metallic wheels gliding on the rails and while letting my body getting moved by the motion of the ride I asked myself: Are you happy now? Would you never change back to the other life for in that you were so rich, although in another way? Might not have been rich in love from the man of my dreams - but in other sorts of relationships. I had a newly invented business idea with a great future ahead for it and all the necessary contacts and investors ready to turn my ideas to a successful business, I was living in a trendy and happening city full of opportunities in a dream apartment just above Jimmy Choo and other luxurious brands and my balcony was facing Gaudi's trademark of a building on the best spot Barcelona had to offer for living. I was traveling every third week or so to other interesting places in the world and I was living my life to the absolute fullest in every sense of the word. I was strong and felt powerful as I had so many options and I most certainly didn't let anything come between me, my joy and my happiness. I had a driver, a luxurious car available at any time and people who cleaned my clothes and dishes whenever I needed a hand. I was getting spoiled and courted by many and I had a big bunch of friends with whom I had the time of my life in every aspect and both my bank account, my wardrobes and my jewelry boxes were constantly full and ready to give me that superficial glow and artificial happiness - just how many women only can dream of living. If you wish to make an comparison to make the picture more clear, Holly Golightly's life in Breakfast at Tiffany would have been far back in the shadow compared to my life adventures. I was happy. I was fulfilled, as to what were my preferences at that time. I remember I sometimes stood in front of the huge mirror observing myself in my marble coated Versace bathroom, I smiled and I said to myself: You are there now, this is what you have always fantasized of since you were a little girl and you have everything on hand that you could ever dream of. It was a happiness so strong and intense. Cause I had it all. Or did I, really? For what happened that night when I met Alex? How could I have replaced that life full of so much craziness and I'm talking in the good way - to the extreme contrary? I definitely do not mean to sound like a cliché but simply it was love what was missing. And while I've been evaluating and contemplating back and forth during the last 14 months since I decided to leave the past and move on to a new chapter (and it certainly wasn't easy, mind you) the foremost answer that comes up in my conclusions no matter how I twist and turn this thing, is that true love is the king of it all. 

So while sitting there listening to the rhythmical sound from the wheels of the train and with the camera in my hand trying to capture some sorts of balance and unbalance through the lens I quickly answered myself to my question: Yes I am. I am happy and content. I have lived both extremes and also much more lives beyond those two and I have had enough time and situations to reflect upon what really is true and right for me and the answer is already deeply acknowledged by every part of my body and soul. Yes, this is happiness. That type of happiness which doesn't bring you gold and diamonds but true joy and powerful feelings of love. I might not have a job or a stable income for the moment as I left all my security behind but I'm confident in our future plans and I'm willing to take the risk of being broke for a while just because I believe in this journey and in me and my man more than in anything else. This love, life and voyage might not take me on first class flights from one bling bling world to another but it takes me places, real places I've never seen before and it most certainly doesn't bring me black cards with unlimited spend with what you're able to do whatever you wish but it does give me a ticket to life full of purity and freedom and reality and adventures beyond anything I ever experienced and that is something which no titanium cards in the world can buy. 

For what else in life could ever be more important than love, harmony and a peace of mind. Even for a relationship anarchist, a true individualist and a cynical and somewhat destroyed soul who swore that she would never give her heart to a man for real - one day she had to give up the barriers and let it all go for the truth. We all need love and that truth is inevitable, even though the thought of that other type of happiness in another time of my life always will be a sweet memory of mine. 

Whatever happens in the future and wherever I/we're going, I will always feel blessed and thankful for what life had in store for me. Sometimes it takes only such small things as a ride on a train to realize and remember that we human beings have all the possibilities in the world to create our own dream lives. It all can be so easy, once we understand that we have the ultimate power in our own hands to make it happen in one way or the other. And when we get to where we wish, we must remember and have the humbleness to acknowledge that it might happen that although you think you know what is the best life can bring you, one day someone may enter your world and completely turn upside down and inside out on your believes. And for that possibility I am utterly grateful. /Taru