Sunny District meets Andy & Litle :)

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is that the world begins to feels a smaller, more connected place, a bit warmer & cosier. I read about others’ experiences and get inspired by new ideas. I get to e-meet fun people and sometimes, when I strike gold, I get to meet them in real life.

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Enter, Palesa & Andrew from South Africa! Here’s a couple of bold, adventurous & fun people who have taken off on a year-long trip around the world, whoa! I think it takes a lot of courage “taking everyday as it comes” as they say on their blog. Follow their journey across Asia, Europe and now U.S.A at https://our380.wordpress.com That’s where I found them & left a comment asking to meet when they were in Stockholm. And guess what, they did stop by. And remembered to reach out. How nice of you 🙂 They had only a couple of days in the city but going by this post on their blog, it sounds like it went pretty good 😉 I am so happy we got the chance to spend a lovely evening sharing stories over drinks. I was warmed by their spirit and wish them loads of great experiences along the way. Good luck, you two, wish you many adventures!

 

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Side trip from Venice to Murano

If you need a little break from the hordes of tourists in Venice, a welcome side trip could be the neighbouring islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello, all a short boat ride away. Mr.A and I made our way to Murano on a vaporetti earlier this spring. This is Venice’s little sister, just as pretty but smaller and cosier. You will still enjoy circuitous canals with boats bobbing past and bridges crisscrossing, old crumbling houses rising right out of the water, charming window boxes overhung with fresh blossoms, and of course, a quintessential display of Murano glass everywhere.

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Famous for using ancient glassforming techniques refined over the centuries, Murano remains a major player in the glass making industry. Incidentally, glass factories were moved to Murano in the 1200’s so that the risk of fires in Venice could be mitigated. Today, Murano not only remains a major exporter of glass goods, but is also an attraction for curious tourists who can enjoy visits to glass museums, excursions around factories that show you how it’s all done, and lots of shopping opportunities, from dainty earrings to gigantic chandeliers, and everything else in between.

Burano, on the other hand, is known for its lace, intricately woven by hand, another tradition nurtured over a hundred and more years. But no matter where you end up for a quieter day away from the bustle of Venice, as everywhere else in Italy, you’ll always find plenty of sunshine, a fine scoop of gelato and a good bowl of pasta close at hand 🙂

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Look, I baked my own bread!

I have tried to bake bread at home several times before, but sometimes the yeast wouldn’t rise, sometimes it would turn out to be a brick and sometimes it would taste like straw. In effect, epic fail, every single time. Until, that wonderful day when I chanced upon Alexandra’s Kitchen, and landed on her mother’s recipe for the perfect peasant bread. And if she claims that this is the best & easiest recipe, then just believe her, ’cause it just is! How she gets the ideal water temperature for the yeast to activate is the coolest tip ever, I tell you it always works. She uses 3 parts cold water to 1 part boiling water (right off the water kettle, for instance), and then equal parts of sugar & dry yeast. No more dormant yeast in my kitchen, hah! Plus it’s no-knead bread, so much better than one that requires muscle power, right? I’ve tried a few variations of the original, it’s turned out super delicious each time. As my colleague said, I’m now ready to be a grand-mom 😀 Here’s me showing off my newly acquired grand-mom skills 😎

My first attempt was to follow the recipe word by word. I really surprised myself with the result. I guess I didn’t have any expectations at all, heh heh.

Next time, I tried to mix the all purpose flour with wholewheat flour in the ratio 3:1, and added some dill. I also baked it in small cupcake moulds, and ramekins just to see how that went. The dill smelt & tasted so good, and these were great for breakfast.

The third time I tried to up the health quotient a bit more by changing the flour ratio to 5:3, the bread was slightly denser, but still quite fluffy. I think I’ll keep this as my standard, any more of the wholewheat will probably not be as yummy. I also put in some chopped up olives and sun dried tomatoes, which made by bread oh-so-fancy!

Do you have a perfect go-to recipe that you swear by? I’d love to know!

Travel checklist : 2016

2016 was a year of adventures, big and small. Early last year, Mr.A and I prepared a 2016 Travel Wishlist. And we went though quite a bit of it, of course, missing some here & there, but adding a few more in the end. By the end of it, I had ticked off 9 totally new countries! Whoa, I’m so lucky!! So, continuing on the tradition set down by my Travel checklist: 2015, here’s the lineup from 2016…

#1 Germany : Around my birthday in February, we visited Berlin, a city rife with such poignant history, yet so contemporary at the same time. It was an eye-opener, trying to imagine what the city might have gone through during those war-torn years.

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#2 Czech Republic : In spring, it was time for beautiful Prague, together with our friends N&G. The city of a hundred spires was as intriguing as we had expected. Like Berlin, here too, we experienced some heartrending snippets of history.

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#3 Croatia : May brought in a terrific week of road-trips, when we travelled through the length of Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. We visited several cities and witnessed amazing geography, enjoyed traditional food and met some really nice people along the way.

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#4 Estonia : Around midsummer, we took an overnight cruise to Tallinn, to see its charming old town and relax at a spa hotel. Mr.A’s little sis joined us on this fun trip.

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#5 Latvia : A mere 4-hour bus ride from Tallinn brought us to Riga, another really winsome town with its many spires, squares, parks and cafes.

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#6 Iceland : In fall came our epic road-trip around Iceland with our friends S&S, one of our most awe-inspiring trips ever. To say that the landscape is stunning, is a gross understatement. Every step of the way was a revelation in beauty and wonder.

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#7 Switzerland :  In September, Mr.A and I took my parents on a trip to Switzerland, the enchanting land of endless green fields, glorious mountains and postcard villages.

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#8 United Kingdom : And then there was a bonus office trip to London. Though it was short & snappy, I got a chance to see a couple of prime spots and became even more excited about returning to this groovy city.

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#9 Hungary :  In November, keeping up with an unsaid tradition of ours, we celebrated Mr.A’s birthday in Budapest. We were charmed by this city of bridges, and felt knowledgable while comparing it to its almost-twin, Prague.

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#10 India : And finally in December we spent time in India to connect with our beloved friends and family. I know this is cheating, ’cause I am from India, so this is not a new visit, but I just couldn’t resist the fun of getting down to a square ten-pointer 😉

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How was your year in travel? Keep going!!