Monday, November 15, 2010

Bloomy November

I do not believe that November is such a bad month, as tendentially Swedes/Scandinavian believe, instead.
As the matter of fact some of my flowers have decided to bloom and some are supposed to bloom now and got back to life.
 St. Paulia (African Violet)
 Pelargonium (terrible picture, the blossoms are pinkish and rose-like shaped)
 Pelargonium (classical red)
 Both the pelargonium
 Schlumbergera ready to bloom


Sunday, November 14, 2010

The name of the Rose

When the movie came out in the 80s, I remember that everyone was extremely interested in watching it. Of course, that was not a movie for me and I was sadly supposed to watch Labyrinth, which became a chain-view of 20 times in few days.

Nevertheless, it was just few years ago that I had the occasion to view the movie and I thought it was really beautiful. Plot, characters, a fantastic Sean Connery, the setting: it was just great and being an historical setting, it was plinging the right chords for me.

However, I haven't yet read the book. Strangely enough, since usually, if Mattias have been watching a movie, I have been reading the book of it. But here I was completely blank.
Thanks to a present, though, I finally got hands over it, in Italian of course (while Mattias had already read it in Swedish).

Must say that it was not the fastest reading I have ever done, and this can be of course due to several reason, but the book has a slow start (the author admits to have the first 100 pages to be quite deadly and decided to keep them as such although the editor recommended him to change them) and there and then, in the middle of the historical regressions, it was hard to keep track of all the facts.
Indeed, the book is incredibly complex, with the historical plot mixed with the novel itself mixed with the everything-but-trivial characters and the quite tough language.
I must confess I was losing myself in certain points, longing more for the detective part, which at the end can't be distinct that much from the setting/context.

One might come at the end and be very surprise of it. And I was. I was trying to remember the movie all the time and that helped for visualizing the scenario and give a more round taste to the setting, but there was really little in common between the two stories, in a certain sense.

A brilliant book, demanding a lot for the reader, but that will not let him down if he will manage to reach the end and understand at least some part of the several messages, stories and characters.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rain, wind and golf

Last months that we have been playing golf, it has been quite hard. Not only my scarce skills need much more intense training than this sporadic attempts to hit a ball, but the weather conditions have not been that friendly either.
Or helping newbies.

If we exclude last time, where the weather was ok, but it was like digging in a swamp, September and especially October have been quite cold, but especially extremely windy.
Playing in these circumstances has just been too annoying, but also too cold.

Instead of using some Mattias' old jacket, I thought it was time to look into buying something.
We went to some sport shops nearby, but we could not find anything that had a decent price and the features I was looking for: windproof, waterproof, nice cut and a bit warm inside and of course, not too expensive.

My last hope was the Esprit website. When going to the shops I can't really find anything inspiring, but the website has all the collection of this planet and I really wanted to try to buy something from there, since it has the possibility to return whatever item for free to them.

Must say, I was not wrong!
There is a quite decent collection of jackets available on the web, with different "features" and there was one that was absolutely what I was searching (actually there were two, but the second was over already in the right size!)
I decided to risk, and hence I ordered it. It took about one week to arrive, but for 5 euro of transport I was more than happy.
It is windproof, waterproof and it is warmish inside. It is quite tight to the body, so since it is not that warm, when it is quite cold I put an extra jacket on top (Mattias' old one) if we need to play golf and it works like a charm!

I am really happy of this purchase, and exploring the webshop for other items seems quite tempting after this positive experience!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A different weekend

Darkness and cold are soon going to take over completely and we decided to spoil ourselves and do something a bit different from usual.

We ended up choosing to go to a hotel with a spa and spend the night there (hoping that the cats would do a good guard to the apartment). Based on some seminar/conference/presentation/whatever that Mattias held in the place, the location and the reviews we went to Ystad Spa Saltsjöbad.
We had gone previously to another swedish spa and we were not super enthusiastic, but the premises here were pretty good and the expectations were kinda high.
Like always, of course, since I am not yet a professional blogger, I haven't taken 200 pictures to put here, but I will bore instead with my usual detailed stories...zzzzZzzz

We arrived to the place and the exterior was not what had imagined. I thought of something more classical and instead here it was a bit some sort of collection of buildings put together, without big harmony.
"Well, maybe it is just the appearance".

After checking in with a confused receptionist, we went in our room. Modest, but with a really nice view. I bet that during summer it is even nicer!

We enjoyed then some tea and scones, although not exactly in English style and investigated the dinner options. It seems that the restaurant was going to serve some sort of 3 dishes menu over a quite ok menu a la carte.

It was time for enjoying the SPA, but problems starting to arise. When in the room we got called by the SPA reception.
Guess what? We were late for one of the treatments and instead of offering some replacer, saying we could come down anyway and have it shorter, they just kindly told us we would not pay for this one.
Aha. Thank you very much! We never got the information about the time of this treatment!

We arrived, after a lot of walking, at the SPA section and the atmosphere was really nice. We explored a bit and there was a really nice atmosphere. One of the sections had big white beds were people were waiting to be called for the treatments.
The common SPA parts were quite small and we were a bit disappointed over this. There is just a small warmed pool, a whirlpool bath, a sauna and then some chairs to look at the sea where people were sitting and reading. Some also other minor amenities were present: a shower with RGB colors (!), a cool water small pool were people were going to bath between a sauna session and another.
We also found out the day after that there were warm pools outside and steam saunas in the changing rooms (pity nobody told us).

Time to get ready for dinner! We arrived at the restaurant of the hotel and the atmosphere was quite alright. There was a bit of queue to sit, but we had our table booked. We looked at the menu and we could find something to eat there for us, but then we saw what our neighbors were getting and it looked like the portions were for cats and even the quality... (or even worse!)
Luckily, also the service was terrible. We waited 20 minutes and then we just stood up and left!

And now? What to do?
We went downtown Ystad and we totally improvised. We reached the center of the town and we were looking desperate for places where to eat, ready even to eat at Max.
But, eventually, we spotted a place called Store Thor and we just went there.
Nice place in a cellar, with a really nice atmosphere!
We managed to get a place quite quickly and we looked at the menu and what everyone around us was getting. Big portions ;-)
We chose some things to eat and finally our food arrived.
My hamburger was just too small ;-)

What a dinner! We were really satisfied that we managed to escape the hotel restaurant and ended up there!!!!

On the Sunday, we finally had the occasion to deal with the SPA treatments, after an average typical scandinavian breakfast (not that many cakes and juice from concentrated :-/) and for my sake that was quite alright, in Mattias' case he was really happy about it!

Let's not talk about other misunderstandings with the receptionist, the SPA receptionist and whatever.
In general we can say for sure that the service simply sucked as well as the synchronization between restaurant, hotel and SPA. The SPA is nice, but too small for the amount of people that was there and surely should improve for what concerns organization (and prices).

Nevertheless, we had a lovely weekend (even though we missed Pico & Romeo) but that was the goal we wanted to achieve :)

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