Sunday, August 6, 2017

Schloss Restaurant Schwante

While I do like to travel far, something I also really really like is go and explore the Speckgürtel of Berlin. Thus, I took the car to Schloss Restaurant Schwante in, guess where? Schwante!

Above you can see the entrance to the kitchen and below the entrance to the restaurant. On a beautiful summer day, it's just as nice to walk around the castle though as you want to sit outside in the courtyard anyway.

The courtyard is decorated really nicely, I mean, a real chandelier outside? That's my kind of thing. The only thing I don't get are the palm trees which seem very odd in Brandenburg, but then I don't have to understand everything, right?

The restaurant serves a small, but nicely curated menu inlcuding locally sourced pulled pork, chanterelles, Schnitzel and locally made cheese. I opted for their interpretation of Ceasar salad which came with lots and lots of lettuce and pulled chicken. The dressing was a delight and the portion so generous that I almost wasn't hungry for dinner that day.

I never claimed I was normal which is why it is totally ok that I took photos of the lady's bathroom because the tiles! The flowers! The window! I wish I was the princess to go with the castle...

After lunch, I strolled around a bit, though there were too many mosquitoes for me to sit down in the deck chairs waiting for guests at the little pond.

Schloss Restaurant Schwante is just North of Berlin and open Fridays to Sundays from 11 am to midnight. Make sure to check their homepage just in case they are closed for a special event the day you plan to visit.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Meals on wheels, South Korea, Jeju, day four

For our last day on Jeju I had had the intention to just relax...
But then I decided that we would hike to the hill that we could see from our hotel before breakfast!

Now, I am the person that gave a face to the portmanteau hangry (hungry+angry), so me taking the decision to take a long walk before breakfast is really really strange, but my mind was set and so we ventured out! 

And really, when the colors are so vibrant and the sky so blue and when there are even a bunch of horses along the way (how can they stand upright on that slope?!?), it's not possible to get hangry!
But after breakfast, which of course we had at Café delmondo again, we stayed right there and were reading and sleeping in their deckchairs until I, again, decided that we had done enough relaxing and that we should after all climb all the way Seongsan Ilchubong, the sunrise peak that Jeju is famous for.
The hike up consits of an estimated one million stairs, but the view, when you see the tuff cone from its edge, makes up for it all! It's difficult to do justice to it in a photo but below you have two shots of the tuff cone's edge.

I had read in our guide book that every day at 14:30, the Haenyeo, the female divers that Jeju is famous for would show their skills right below the sunrise peak and so we of course also wanted to see this.

The women looked like they were all over 60 years old which made their diving even more impressive. Apparently they can dive 30 meters down and hold their breath for more than 3 minutes! Now what are they diving after? Sea snails, sea urchins and octopuses!
They are sold right there at a little restaurant they operate and we said, hey, we are here, let's have a sea snail, after all, that's what you do when you are on Jeju, right? These little babies are pricy though and we just about scraped our last bills and coins together to be able to afford one!

It turns out it was good we didn't have enough money to buy one sea snail each because, what can I say? After sea urchin, which until then had been the culinary low point of my life (as in: I almost vomitted with every bite I had to eat), raw sea snails come second! I had expected something soft and chewy, like scallops, but each piece really took some effort to bite through! The only way to describe it is that I imagine biting through a human auricle must taste the same! Apparently there was one soft piece, which my sister was lucky to eat, but I really had to force every single small slice down! At least we impressed the Koreans sitting right next to us which was also why we couldn't just leave a piece and loose our faces! They had also offered us some of their Schnaps that one apparently should have together with the snail and though we declined, I could very well understand that you needed Schnaps after I had taken the first bite...

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at one of the many cute cafés along the scenic road (totally recommended by the way, what a view! Even when you are the driver) leading from Seongsan Ilchubong to Jeju-Si. Give me some coffee and chocolate cake pölease!!

After some more relaxation, we had dinner at another restaurant where if I remember correctly you could chose between two set menues? In any case it was an assortment of good things and just what I needed after a sea snail for lunch! The day after, I returned to Seoul where I was too exhausted to do anything substantial, and unfortunately, the city museum (as most other museums) which I would have loved to sea, was closed on Mondays, so I headed out to the aiport quite early to catch my flight back to Berlin! Will I travel to Korea again? I am almost positive! I really really had a great time, and I hope my posts conveyed this!

copyright of all photos j.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Meals on Wheels, Jeju, Korea, day three

This is probably one of my favorite photos I have taken during my trip to Korea! Just look at that blue sky and the clear air and the happiness that all those vibrant colors exhale!

When on Jeju, it is mandatory to do at least one of the Olle-path hikes, at least in my book! There is a fantastic free guide you can download here that shows all the 21 olle hiking trails. We chose one that had the most coastline and was doable for people who are not the most avid hikers. So, we set out to the small island off the coast of Jeju called U-do where Olle hiking trail 1.1 welcomes you! It's easy to get to the ferry harbor by car but make sure to bring your passport as you will need it to buy a ferry ticket! We hopped on the ferry and about 20 minutes later, reached U-do.

Another one of my favorite photos from my Korea travels. For some reason, I find that this composition has something from an 18th century French painting, maybe because of the wave the line of women forms...
Anyway, hiking the olle trail is mostly easy. You just have to follow the blue and red ribbons sporting the Ganse, which is a small kind of horse typical for Jeju.  While in most instances, it was easy to spot the ribbons, there were also occassions were it was a little more difficult for us to know where our trail was, but after all it was only a matter of following the coast line around the island...

The black lava stone walls are the traditional separaters between the fields of each farmer on U-do. Koreans go crazy over rapeseed flowers and we saw numerours people taking selfies in a rapeseed field which, coming from Southern Germany where the monoculture that rapeseed fields mean almost makes you puke, we found that quite amusing.

After about two thirds of our hike, we reached the lighhouse from where you have an amazing view of U-do and Seongsan Ilchulbong, the sunrise peak on the main land which is a vulcano bowl.

Earlier that day, we had bought some roasted chestnuts and roasted Ginko nuts which tasted a little like chestnuts and we snacked on those during the hike. Actually, we had no clue what exactly they were until we googled them later that day and learned that even grown ups should apparently not eat more than 10 of them a day because they contain some kind of toxic substance. Hehe, oops, says me who had just gobbled down about 50 of them...
Anyway,  when we got to the end of our hike, we decided to have some real food on U-do.
Again, the condiments, I just can't get over them. Especially those tiny, fried fishes? So so yummy, as in, one of my favorite food memories from Korea!

We ordered this yummy grilled makerel, also just impecably delicious together with a bowl of rice and sashimi. 

And this was our view... not bad, right? Note that all plates are empty except for those with too much spicy red stuff on them... We were so stuffed from this meal that according to my photos, we skipped dinner that day (though one could also say that this was like a very early dinner).

copyright of all photos j.