Another Mini Trip Across the Border

So Covid is still ruling the day, so to speak, and that means no flying anywhere for the autumn holidays. We had plans to meet some friends to enjoy some good Chinese food in a restaurant just a hop across the border, which gave us the idea to go a day earlier, drive a tiny bit further and explore a town we have not been to before. We went to Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.

It’s a lovely university town and it made me miss my university days very much. We love the atmosphere and feel of the old town. The wonderfully modern glass covered university library stands out among the old buildings and yet it felt like it belonged. We walked past students gathering in groups, chatting and enjoying the open spaces, as well as an evening music/dance event. Of course, we saw students doing things only students would do, such as walking up the metal supports of an overhead bridge and sitting at the top to have a chat. The architecture of the old town is lovely and wandering around it was just enchanting.

Of course, we were in Germany so for dinner we went to a local brew house to enjoy a typical German meal. The food was yums and the beer was, according to the husband, good. The son tried a beer mixed with a sweet syrup which was interesting. The brew house is called Martin’s Bräu and it had a very buzzy ambience, and a long queue, however, it was worth the wait.

There is one downside to staying at a hotel with a pool and a spa during a pandemic; that is these facilities are closed 😦 But the hotel was nice and comfortable, and breakfast was good. Because of the current health and safety requirements, all the cold meats, fruits etc were individually plated and wrapped in plastic wrap, and we had to follow the arrows when walking through the buffet. i like the little glass containers the fruits came in.

Here are some photos for you to enjoy:

syc

Book Review: Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray by Jess Keating

This is one of the books i read during lockdown and it is also one which is part of my research into how much literary liberties one can take with historical figures. See this post for the first book i read for this research.

This is the first book in the Elements of Genius series, published by Scholastic. And i think it’s absolutely fab!

Nikki Tesla is based on the historical figure, NikolaTesla, who invented alternating current (AC) and has much to do with the production, transmission and application of electric power. Keating has taken this well-known person and his amazing genius, and created an exciting, fun-filled, yet so relatable story from the perspective of a young Nikki (female) who desperately wants to fit in but knows and has accepted that she will never be one of the “normal” people.

When her death ray lands her in “serious” trouble, Nikki is given a choice; join a special school for history’s greatest brains, Genius Academy, or else… Nikki feels she has no choice but she is determined that she is there on her own terms and will not be making any friends.

At Genius Academy, she slowly learns that she is not the only genius who does not fit in and that she can be part of a team, and people do like her and even care for her. Genius Academy is full of … well, geniuses… in different areas such as music, story-telling, mathematics, nature, etc… and together, they take on a villain who has grand plans for Nikki’s death ray and they must stop him.

i really like the way Keating writes; witty yet so on point, heartfelt with a great pace to the story. i think this is a wonderful story, which will turn into an amazing series, and will definitely get middle graders reading, even if they say they don’t like reading. i am so looking forward to the next book in the series.

Have you recently discovered a new author or a new series of books which you are excited about? Care to share?

syc

Mini Trip Across the Border

Usually, some time at the end of August, every year, there would be a long post with quite a number of photos, detailing aspects of our annual trip back to Singapore. But not for 2020, the year of Covid.

We chose not to go back to Singapore this summer because back in July, there was a requirement to quarantine upon arrival in Singapore and quarantine upon arrival back in Switzerland; 24 days in quarantine in total, plus in Singapore at that time, you could not quarantine at home but at specific hotels which had set aside rooms for this purpose. Of course, you read news reports about people who lucked out and got to quarantine is some 5-star or even 6-star hotel. But 3 persons in a single room for 2 weeks… even in the height of luxury, there would be some degree of cabin fever. Besides, there would have been only 10 days left of holiday after all those quarantine days, it was really not worth the while or the money.

So we had to content ourselves with staying where we are. Our one little trip this summer was across the border to Baden, Baden, Germany, to collect something Tobias ordered. It was just an overnight trip but it was nice and we got to see a nice little city, which i would definitely visit again; mainly because we didn’t get to do the bathhouses this time.

Here are some photos:

Did you go anywhere interesting or change your holiday plans because of Covid? Care to share?

syc