Wednesday, 1 February 2017

"The Naming of Cats Is a Difficult Matter" [Photo Diary: Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium]

 The waitress comes up to our table and, with a friendly flick of her cat-ears headband, takes our order: one "Alice" and one "Wookie" hot chocolate, please."Good choice," she winks "they're my favourites too!".

 No, we have not lost our way in London and wandered into a Maid café. We are in Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, a two-story cat café where trees grow underground and time always passes far too quickly. We are in Wonderland.

 To start off, I would like to put everyone's doubts to rest, regarding of how ethical Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is: the cats living here are all rescues. They have plenty of space to live and toys to frolic and have fun with. Their carers make no compromise with the health and happiness of these lovely felines. Remember, however, to always do your research on the cafés you visit.

 The admission fee goes entirely towards the needs of the cats (food, kitty litter, vet fees). Despite what many probably expect, the menu inside is reasonably priced and both the food and drinks are delicious and filling. Each of the speciality drinks bears the name of one of the thirteen cats, and all of those cats have fantastical and Disney-inspired names. "The Alice" was a soft and fluffy rose white chocolate (we Bulgarians love our roses). Neither the flowery aroma nor the sweetness were overbearing, as they tend to be in similar hot drinks, and the result was a soothing bedtime hug in liquid form. Mi amore's "Wookie" orange milk hot chocolate is a combination I normally dislike and actively avoid, but a single whiff of it was enough to make me briefly reconsider my choice. Plus, who could resist this adorable, fluffy face. I am definitely trying "The Wendy" Irish cream mocha next time!

 If you are hungry, then you are definitely in luck, because all of their bagels get served with a side of salad and crisps. I got a tuna sweetcorn salad bagel, and mi amore opted for  brie, rocket and sundried tomato one. After a lunch like that and ages spent playing with our fluffy hosts, we felt ready to tackle London. But that is a story for another time...

 I shall not name all of the cats pictured in this post, for I am afraid I will make a mistake along the way. I will, however, hint that Wookie is a feline you just can't miss!

Enjoy, kitty lovers!

Monday, 9 January 2017

"Daylight Lucidity" [Amsterdam, the Netherlands]

 Lung clouds. It's what I called them when I was too little to accept the fact that even if I jumped as high as I could, I still would not fly. They made the snowless winters more fun. I still amuse myself with the steam coming out of my own mouth sometimes.

 Lung clouds. The memory caught me by surprise whilst I was looking through the window of a toy shop. The remnants of my last breath slowly faded from the glass. Amsterdam looked more beautiful now than the previous times I'd visited it. Maybe it was the sparkling decorations, the Christmas carols. Maybe it was the search for material presents that would make my loved ones' souls happy. I felt like a child with a heartbeat fluttering faster than the bustling crowds of Damrak.

 I find it hard to look where I am going in Amsterdam. It is not that the streets and pavements are too chaotic. It is because every gabled facade, brightly-coloured shop window and suspiciously tiny alley fights for attention. Despite all of this, it is hard to get lost anywhere in the city, even if you try - its transport services are remarkably easy to navigate. You will find landmarks everywhere you go. Plus, just about everybody there speaks English and they will point you in the right direction.

 If there is one thing you can be certain about, it's that everything you have on your "To do in Amsterdam" list will be worth doing. With so many distractions around us, me and mi amore barely saw any of the proper tourist hotspots and museums. Amongst the places we did tick off were:

Gunther Von Hagen's Body Worlds. Skip this one if you are squeamish. Body Worlds is an excellent educational facility. Your teachers there are real bodies and organs, donated to the museum by people who passed away. Your textbook exercises are to laugh, run, jump, swing, dance, and enjoy life. Your homework is up to you to choose, after you have learned more about how your lifestyle choices affect your health and well-being. This is the only museum that my healer of a fiancé insisted on seeing, and both of us enjoyed our time there.
The Amsterdam Dungeon. We went in here expecting to get a bit of a fright. The fantastic actors there made sure to give us a few good jump scares. What we did not expect, however, was to laugh until tears streamed from our eyes. I was "voluntold" to assist in the autopsy of the infamous criminal Black John (thanks for raising my hand for me, darling). It could have been worse, though. I could have faced trial for witchcraft in "The Courtroom" and later been burned at the stake. Thankfully, I am good at hiding the fact that I am actually a witch.

"I wonder if he'll notice..."
Madame Tussauds
Contrary to the popularity of Madame Tussauds wax museum, I would not say that visiting it is an absolute necessity. Consider the cost of the entry tickets to convince yourself. Still, gave us the opportunity to visit this and many other attractions entirely for free. Given the circumstances, I could not miss out on holding a speech next to Angela Merkel, saving the world alongside the Avengers, or squeezing one or two celebrities' squishy bits!

The Sex Museum
 No, do not give me that look. Forget the rather blunt aesthetics of the Sex Museum. You will see that it has an impressive collection of art and historical photographs. What's more, it has managed to combine them all into genuinely interesting exhibits. Be warned that the constant soundtrack of moans of pleasure might make you feel rather uncomfortable. Take comfort in the fact that it probably has the exact same effect on everybody. Relax and have a good laugh. Photography is allowed, so make sure you take some pictures to show your grandchildren in a few decades!
The Red Light District
This infamous tourist hotspot hardly needs an introduction. If you are interested in the cultural peculiarities and the history of sex work in the Netherlands, I definitely recommend visiting it with a tour group, rather than on your own. I also suggest you have a stroll down the Rossebuurt during the daytime as well. In the daylight the displays do not hog all of the attention and you can see how charming the buildings truly are. Do not forget your manners when admiring the girls. No gawking at them, and certainly no taking photos of them are allowed.

Kopjes Cat Café
Yes, Amsterdam has one as well and it is just as lovely and cozy as you would imagine. The eight cats there are all rescues from shelters and they were carefully monitored. The staff caring for them were practically beaming the entire time. Who wouldn't if they were surrounded by cats all day? Bear in mind that you need to make a reservation before you visit any cat café anywhere. Only a limited number of people can be present at a given time. This is to prevent the cats from being overwhelmed by the attention. They also have a separate compartment they can retreat to, should they wish to get away from the humans. A tip is to go in the early afternoon, as all of the kitties will most likely be asleep towards the end of the day.

 As much as we enjoyed each of these places, however, the best way to get to know a city is through its music scene and its people. We had the pleasure of having a drink with Yoana and Lars, two of the funniest and most charismatic personages I know. After a long chat with them, they sent us off to Paradiso hall, where Delain were having a concert for the tenth anniverary of Lucidity. The show was amazing and we are eagerly waiting for the DVD to come out. And no, I did not cheat my way through my own guide to having an amazing trip. Delain are a local band, albeit one with a fairly large following now.

 If you are interested in reading more about the show from me, please, tell me through a comment or a message on any of my social media sites. I will oblige with a separate blog post.

 If I could, I would visit Amsterdam over and over and each trip would probably feel just as overwhelmingly fantastic as the first. Of course, when you live somewhere and spend each day walking down the same streets, you will inevitably get used to the scenery. Nevertheless, if you want a bit of variety, all you have to do is take a right or a left anywhere outside your usual route and look up at the buildings. You won't find the exact same ones anywhere else.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

"Bloody Tourists" [OOTD]

Top/потник: ONLY
Shorts/Къси панталони: Terranova
Backpack/Раница: Canterbury/Кентърбъри
Outerwear/Връхна дреха: Imperial
Necklace/Гердан: Norwich/Норич
Shoes/Боти: HUMANIC
Lana Croft... it does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
I must have been about eight years old, maybe even less, when my parents bought Tomb Raider for my PlayStation. In any case, I was below the recommended age and it definitely showed, seeing as my mother and sister ended up passing most of the game for me, my only real achievement being defeating the Giant Atlantian entirely on my own. Still, that didn't stop me from admiring the badarse heroine and attempting to manoeuvre and climb obstacles like her, much to the displeasure of any adults who might have witnessed those fiascos.

 Nowadays, I am happy with being a simple tourist, but I still receive the occasional flattering comparison to the famed archaeologist. It must be the combination of brown shorts and green tops I love so much, topped with a ponytail or a plait. Lara did not seem too good at adapting to the weather conditions in the first few games, however, so I've taken the liberty of adding another layer of clothing over my tank top - she might not have any trouble with arthritis, but I will definitely suffer in my old age! As for accessories, I doubt Miss Croft would like anything shiny to attract unwanted attention to her, or get in her way whilst she's trying to escape threats, be they human or mythological. A simple necklace on a string and a backpack will suffice, and I'm certain she would not say no to a pair of gloves and a hat, now that the weather is quintessentially autumnal.

So, really, the only difference between us is the fact that I would pet the animals attacking her, rather than pulling any firearms out. Which is probably why I should not try following in her footsteps.

Pictures by: mi amore

„Лана Крофт“... не звучи никак зле, нали?
Трябва да съм била на осем или дори по-малка, когато родителите ми купиха Tomb Raider за Плейстейшън. При всички случаи бях под възрастта на препоръчителния контрол и определено си пролича - майка ми и сестра ми минаха по-голямата част от играта, в крайна сметка, а единственото мое постижение бе, че съвсем сама победих гиганта от Атлантида. Въпреки това се възхищавах на тази внушителна героиня и правих опити да маневрирам и изкатервам различни препятствия като нея, предизвиквайки недоволство от страна на възрастните свидетели на тези сеири.

 В днешно време ме устройва да бъда обикновен турист, но се случва да ме поласкаят като ме сравнят с прочутата археоложка. Най-вероятно е заради съчетанието на кафяви къси панталони и зелени горнища, което толкова обичам, завършено с коса, вързана на опашка или на плитка коса. Лара, обаче, сякаш не се приспособяваше много добре към температурните обстановки в първите няколко игри, тъй че си позволих да наметна втори слой облекло върху потника си - тя може и да няма проблеми с артрита, но аз определено ще страдам на старини! Що се отнася до аксесоари, надали госпожица Крофт би желала нещо лъскаво да привлича внимание или да й се пречка, докато се опитва да избяга я човешка, я митологична заплаха. Един медальон вързан с връв би бил достатъчен, а сега, след като настана същинското есенно време, сигурно не би отказала една шапка и чифт ръкавици.

Излиза че единствената разлика между нас двете е, че аз бих предпочела да нагушкам животните, които редовно я нападат, наместо да вадя огнестрелни оръжия. А именно затова би било по-добре да не тръгвам по нейните стъпки.

Снимки: аморето