Chachic's Book Nook


3 Comments

Europe 2015: Munich Update

I think most people who include Germany in their Europe itinerary usually choose to go to Berlin. But when I booked the ticket to Prague and was trying to decide what other city to visit, Munich was the first place that I thought of. Mainly because I wanted to see Neuschswanstein Castle, which I will talk more about in a different post. If I had done more research, I probably would have chosen to visit the Romantic Road from Frankfurt to Munich, which is a tour of medieval towns in Bavaria. I can always go back, right? :) While Munich is not always an obvious choice when planning a European tour, I did enjoy exploring and discovering more about Bavaria’s capital. As a bonus, I got to meet a long-time online friend in person! Again, more on that in another post.

It’s funny how we visited as many castles and palaces as we can during our trip. Our first full day in Munich, we chose to explore Nymphenburg Palace and its surrounding gardens:
Nymphenburg Palace Nymphenburg Palace - swan
Nymphenburg Palace - Great Hall Nymphenburg Palace - golden carriage
Nymphenburg Palace - view from gardens Nymphenburg park

Park palaces Amalienburg and Badenburg:
Amalienburg Badenburg

The Hall of Mirrors inside Amelienburg, a smaller version of the one in Versailles:
Amalienburg - Hall of Mirrors

During one of the days we were in Munich, we met up with one of Kim’s friends and she showed us around the area. We visited the elaborately decorated Asamkirche, which was built by the Asam brothers to be their private church:
Asamkirche

We explored the outdoor market Viktualienmarkt:
Viktualienmarkt - may pole Viktualienmarkt - fountain

The famous Marienplatz:
Marienplatz

Shakespeare and Co. is an indie bookstore in the Marienplatz area. It has the same name as the renowned bookstore in Paris. Unfortunately, most of their stocks are German titles so we weren’t able to buy anything:
Shakespeare and Co. Munich Shakespeare and Co. Munich - inside

The Munich Residenz is another royal palace located in the city. It was previously used by the monarchs of the House of Wittelsbach.
Munich Residenz - outside

The Antiquarium, the oldest room in the Residenz. It was created to house the royalty’s collection of antique sculptures. If these were antique during the 1800s, then they’re now ancient:
Antiquariam - side

One of the mirrors inside the palace and a super fancy cabinet for china:
Residenz Munich - mirror Residenz - china cabinet

Ancestral Gallery, which displays portraits of the rulers of Bavaria:
Residenz - Hall of Ancestors

A bejeweled crown and a ceremonial sword from the Treasury inside the Residenz:
Residenz treasury - crown Residenz treasury - sword

A traditional German meal that I had was cheese spatzle with Hacker-Pschorr Radler (beer with lemonade and my favorite out of all the beers we tried):
Munich - cheese spatzle with Radler

Have you visited Munich? If you have, what did you think of it? I’m not aware of any books set in Munich but I believe The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is set in a city nearby.


6 Comments

Reading makes us strong

I make a point of keeping my blogging life separate from my work life but I just wanted to say that last week was a difficult and demotivating week in the office. I know this will sound vague but basically, there were some big changes that weren’t managed well and that has an effect on morale. Anyway, this quote popped up on my Goodreads app on Friday:

“I feel free and strong. If I were not a reader of books I could not feel this way.” ― Walter Tevis, Mockingbird

I haven’t read any books written by Walter Tevis so I don’t have any context for these lines. But I think they stand well enough on their own and they resonated so strongly with me. I was just thinking that even though I’m bothered by stuff at work, I’m so relieved that I’m in the middle of a good book that is doing a great job of distracting me from my thoughts. Which means reading is indeed making me feel stronger or at least able to handle the situation better. It’s a good reminder of how we should never underestimate the power of a good book.


10 Comments

My Favorite Top Ten Topics

Top Ten Tuesday2

Happy 5th Anniversary to Top Ten Tuesday! As always, thank you to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting. What I like about TTT is how creative some of the topics are. I can’t believe they’ve been coming up with these topics for five years. That’s a lot of topics! Some of my favorites have been:

Top Ten Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit – This is something that keeps popping up in my mind, how I would love to reread the books that I devoured while I was growing up and see whether they would hold up. Sigh, if only I had more time to read.

Top New-To-Me Authors I Read In the Past Year (2013, 2014) – I really like recap posts like this one because they let me look back on the year that has passed and pay attention to the new discoveries that I’ve made.

Top Ten Places I Want to Visit Because of Books – I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like but I love to travel so I thought this was a great topic. I love reading books with such a strong sense of place that they make you want to visit the setting.

Top Ten Books About Friendships – I feel like I keep saying this but friendships are SO important in one’s life and this should be highlighted more in fiction. For someone like me who has been single for so long, I really wouldn’t know what I would do without the friends that I have in my life.

Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors – Who doesn’t want to talk about authors they love so much that they’re auto-buys? Of course I’m more than happy to list them out!

Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I Was A Blogger (my first ever TTT post!) – This was a nice trip down memory lane for me. It was interesting to look back and see what are the titles that I discovered and loved even before I had a blog.

Underrated Lists (like this one I made: Top Ten Underrated Authors in Epic Fantasy) – It’s ALWAYS fun for me to promote books that I’ve enjoyed reading that I think deserve more attention. That’s one of the reasons why I maintain a book blog.

I love topics that let me talk about my life as a book nerd and blogger:
Ten Book-Related Problems I Have
Top Ten Blogging Confessions
Top Ten Things That Make My Life As A Book Blogger Easier

I also liked TTT Rewind because it gives me a chance to post about a topic I missed. And freebie weeks are also fun because I can then try to be creative in thinking of what I want to talk about. How about you, what are your favorite TTT topics?


6 Comments

Sunday Book Haul: June 21

I had a nice and productive Sunday which started off with brunch with my flatmate at a new-to-us cafe called Symmetry. There are so many indie cafes in Singapore so it’s always fun to try new places and see whether their food and coffee are any good. Symmetry is one of the good ones, I wouldn’t mind going back there to try other items on their menu. After brunch, we headed back to the flat to catch up on weekend chores. And then I was able to laze around for a bit, always a good thing!

Late afternoon, I headed off to the bookstore. I wanted to get the UK edition of Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which is our book club’s choice for this month. But even though their website said the book was available in their main store, they didn’t have any copies. So I browsed around and grabbed these titles:

June 21 - book haul

This Is Hong Kong by M. Sasek – which is part of the This Is series of books

Rat Queens Volume Two: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth – I have a copy of Volume 1 but haven’t read it yet! I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Volume 2 was already out.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this children’s graphic novel.

There was also a copy of This One Summer that I considered getting but it was a damaged copy so I let it go. I’ve been reading mostly ebooks lately because they’re more convenient (easier to acquire and takes less space) but I can’t resist getting physical copies of illustrated books and graphic novels.

As if getting new books wasn’t enough, I also grabbed these other goodies: nail polish from Illamasqua (I’ve been waiting for them to restock these two shades) and almonds coated with dark chocolate from La Cure Gourmande:

June 21 - other goodies

What about the rest of you, how was your weekend? Did you visit a bookstore or buy any books? I always feel like weekends go by so fast. Fingers crossed that I’ll feel the same way about the work week!


4 Comments

Europe 2015: Cesky Krumlov Update

Cesky Krumlov is a UNESCO World Heritage medieval town (or city?) about three hours away from Prague. When we were planning day trips out of Prague, I initially hesitated about going to Cesky Krumlov because it felt like the travel time would be too long. But the pictures that I’ve seen showed how gorgeous the place is that I didn’t mind the road trip as much. Like with the Kutna Hora day trip, we joined a tour company for the day just because it’s hassle-free when it comes to transportation arrangements. The downside is that we felt a bit rushed while going around. We definitely felt like we could have spent more time in Cesky Krumlov, maybe even spend a night there. If I had to choose a favorite out of all the places we visited, I would go for Cesky Krumlov with its mix of renaissance, baroque and gothic buildings. It was founded in the 13th century and was developed until the 17th century. It really is very beautiful, the kind that can make you say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS?” If I could find a job in that place, I would live there. It looked like the setting of every fairytale or medieval fantasy novel that I’ve read. There’s even a medieval castle that has been very well-maintained. I don’t know why but a city or a town instantly looks better in my eyes when it’s beside a body of water. And the Vltava River meanders around Cesky Krumlov. Again, I don’t think my words can do enough justice on this place so I will let the pictures I’ve taken show you what I mean.

Cesky Krumlov again - for blog

Cesky Krumlov

Our first view of Cesky Krumlov included a bridge that looked like an aqueduct with corridors on top connecting the palace to servants quarters.

Cesky Krumlov - aqueduct / bridge Cesky Krumlov - aqueduct / bridge 2

After going through the bridge, we were treated to this view:

Cesky - first view of bridge Cesky - first view with man

We walked around the town leading to the main square, where there is a fountain dedicated to victims of the plague, since this disease took so many lives in Cesky Krumlov. There were some nice cobbled streets and of course, I had to take a shot of their manhole cover with the town’s seal.

Cesky - fountain Cesky - manhole cover

Cesky - nice cobbled street Cesky - water and town

Cesky Krumlov’s palace is the second largest in Czech Republic, after Prague Castle. We joined a lovely tour of the palace but unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed inside. So I can only share some exterior shots of the palace, and also a bear in one of the bridges leading to the courtyard.

Cesky Krumlov Palace Cesky - bear

A fuller view of the tower:

Cesky Krumlov Palace 2

The panoramic shots at the start of this post are views from the palace and here’s another one from the same vantage point:

Cesky - view from palace

All pictures were taken using my phone’s camera. I’m sorry if the brightness and contrast aren’t consistent in all the pictures – I edited some using my laptop and some using Instagram. Have any of you visited Cesky Krumlov? While I don’t know of any books set in this gorgeous place, I’m sure I’ll be reminded of it whenever I read a well-written medieval fantasy or fairy tale.


1 Comment

This Is… Children’s Travel Books

In my recap about my vacation in Prague, I mentioned that I bought only one book during our entire trip. It was a children’s book about Prague called This Is Prague by Michaela Kukovicova and Olga Cerna. I got it from an indie bookstore that was mostly selling Czech books and it was the last copy that they had. I probably would have been tempted to buy more than one if they more stocks. As mentioned in a previous post, I also thought it was pretty cool that the bookstore sold postcards with illustrations based on the book. wpid-img_20150618_121212.jpg I looked up the title and found out from the publisher’s page that it’s actually a tribute to Czech writer M. Sasek’s “This Is…” series of travel books for children. Then one of the friends I traveled with last year reminded me that he got a copy of This Is Paris from Shakespeare and Company. Now I want all of the books in the series that feature places I’ve visited! That would be This is Paris, This Is Munich, This Is San Francisco and This Is Hong Kong. I wouldn’t mind collecting all of the books in the series but I’ll prioritize the places I’ve been to because the books would make nice souvenirs. I need to find a way to get these. Unfortunately, they’re not available in Book Depository and shipping would be very expensive if I order them off Amazon. I tried looking for these books in bookstores in Singapore but they’re not available. Sigh, I’ll have to think of another way of hunting them down. This Is ParisThis Is MunichThis Is Hong KongThis is San Francisco Are you familiar with M. Sasek’s books? Are there any other illustrated travel books that you think are fun to read and collect?


5 Comments

Europe 2015: Kutna Hora Update

As mentioned in my earlier update about Prague, I’m also doing recaps of the day trips that we did in Czech Republic. Last year’s Europe trip really tired me out because I felt like we kept hopping from out city to another even though we only visited four: Paris, Barcelona, Aix-en-Provence and Milan. So for this year, I wanted to visit only two cities and just plan day trips from there. That way, we only had to lug our suitcases around three times (from the airport, from Prague to Munich and then back to the airport).

One of the cities we visited from Prague was Kutna Hora. We joined a day trip organized by one of the many tour groups in Prague. It was just more convenient for us to join a tour group for half a day because it included the bus rides (about an hour and a half each way) and a tour guide to enlighten us about Kutna Hora’s history. Kutna Hora and its neighboring town, Sedlec, is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Czech Republic. In its heyday, this mining city was the second richest in the country. Today, it’s a quiet and cozy city that has well-preserved historical structures.

Kutna Hora - for the blog

Near Kutna Hora is the Sedlec Ossuary, which has a creeptastic collection of bones that have been made into decorations. There is a huge chandelier of bones that contains at least one of every bone in the human body and also a coat of arms of the House of Schwarzenberg.

Europe 2015 - Sedlec Ossuary chandelier Europe 2015 - Sedlec Ossuary coat of arms
Europe 2015 - Sedlec Ossuary skulls Europe 2015 - Sedlec Ossuary vase

One of the well-known sites in the city is the gothic cathedral of St. Barbara, who is the patron saint of miners. Apparently it took 500 years for this church to be finished.

Europe 2015 - St. Barbara outside Europe 2015 - St. Barbara inside

After exiting the cathedral, we saw a path lined with big statues, like a smaller version of the Charles Bridge:

Europe 2015 - Kutna Hora with St. Barbara view Europe 2015 - Kutna Hora stone bridge

I enjoyed walking around the cozy cobblestone streets of Kutna Hora.

Europe 2015 - Kutna Hora streets Europe 2015 - Kutna Hora streets 2

We also saw this huge gothic water cistern that was used for water storage, it was filled with water through an irrigation system. And like with Prague, I noticed that even manhole covers have nice designs on them.

Europe 2015 - Kutna Hora water cistern Europe 2015 - Kutna Hora manhole

Have any of you visited Kutna Hora? I don’t know of any books set in this city but I think it would be a good inspiration for some authors, I’m sure Sedlec Ossuary would present various story ideas.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,494 other followers