Monthly Archives: November 2011

Great wine and a good book

I have to admit I do not read as much as I should. Most of the time I read only the news or scientific papers at work, but not novels in my spare time (in my what?), although I like reading. In the first years of secondary school, I was one of those guys whose library card had to be replaced several times during the year, as it always got filled up pretty quickly. But now I am mostly just too lazy to find a new book and start reading. Still, once in a while I run into a good novel, and then I really can not put it down. Yesterday I was helping with the painting at Tijl’s house (if I have no future in astronomy, I am a good painter too, as it turned out), then we went out for dinner (I had the best pasta of my life, seriously – such a shame I did not manage to finish it…), and although I felt tired, I kept reading my book till 1 AM… It is The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer, and although I am only at page 250, I love it. It is the perfect story: a bit of history (jews and World War II), and a bit of romance (I like that), all well written. Oh, and some of the main characters are Hungarians ;) I first saw the book on Amazon while I was observing on La Palma in October, then when I was visiting my parents, I bumped into the Hungarian translation in the book store, so we bought it. Normally I would prefer the original language (especially in English speaking movies), but when you do not use your mother tongue 95% of the time, then it feels really good to read something in that language richer in words than the daily news…

And what can be better than enjoying a good book? Enjoying a good book with a glass of great wine (and matching background music). For that purpose, I have opened a bottle of Royal Tokaji Late Harvest 2009. It is a very nice, sweet dessert wine, check out the official site for the tasting notes. I am no expert in wines, but I am very picky when it comes to alcohol, and this is a very pleasing wine. And it is much cheaper than my other favourites from the same vineyard… If I remember correctly, a 500 ml bottle is only a bit more than 8 €. I should not forget to bring some reserves after Christmas.

Festina La Vuelta 2011

I can barely remember the last time I wore a watch, but now after getting new glasses, a bunch of new clothes, and a haircut, I decided to buy one as part of my move towards a bit more mature look… Of course, it has something to do with cycling, as it is one of the watches Festina made for the Vuelta this year ;) (Taken with a new Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens! Portraits, shallow depth of field, here I come!)

Budapest (27/10-02/11)

I have spent the last week (from the 27th of October) in Budapest, going home for the first time outside the Christmas break since I live in Belgium. And to make things even better, it was a surprise visit, with only a very few people knowing that I was coming, so my parents were completely shocked when I arrived home – but shocked in a good way :) I did not do too many things, I met only two friends (but very good and pretty ones :D), but I had spent a lot of quality resting time in the couch (with my parents and/or their iPad :D, or with my brother and FIFA12 – guess who was winning ;P), which I really needed. I got new glasses, some clothes, and of course I have brought back a huge amount of cookies (thanks Mom, I will probably not need to go shopping for a week now, I can live on the cookies) and some quality Hungarian wine. Sweet wine of course. (Click on the images for larger versions!)

Budapest is getting more and more beautiful, and when you get your salary in Euros, then everything is pretty cheap too. Like having a honey and biscuit flavored latte and hot red wine for a total of something like 3.5 € in a nice cafe, I could live with that here too :) The city is fabulous, several squares, big roads and one of our oldest bridges were recently reconstructed, and as you can see, the Parliament building got new night lights. So the downtown is one of (if not The) most beautiful cities in Europe (or the World), but the outskirts are still quite crappy in some given directions… The new airport terminal is also very European, but the check in is still a mess, I was at the airport 100 minutes in advance, and I almost had no time to buy the wines… When I raced out from the tax free shop, the boarding was already in such an advanced state, that there was no queue at the desk…

Now I am back in Leuven, I am completely knocked out as I went to bed at 2 and I had to get up at 4:30 to catch my plane (thanks Mom again)… I have slept something in the past hours, but now my throat is not ok, and I am still KO… I hope I will be better by tomorrow, or I will have to work from home.

While we were walking in the Castle district, a guy thought I was Italian :D Then I said, ok, let’s grab a pizza :P But instead, we had pancakes. Hmmm… :)