CFFC: Vienna’s Naschmarkt

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week,  with the topic of five or more items in the photo, I am breaking out of my usual travel chronology because this was the perfect opportunity to tell the story of a visit to an open market in Vienna, where most of my photos have many items!

On July 6, we took a tour to the “nosh market” (Naschmarkt) in Vienna. There were many kinds of foods for sale, of course, but many other types of merchandise as well. For anyone visiting Vienna, this is a fun and interesting place to take a break from the the city’s majestic old buildings and history. That is, if you don’t mind crowds and are willing to do what it takes to find a unique souvenir to take home.

This was one of Viking’s “optional tours” that I had signed up and paid for in advance. It was a scorchingly hot afternoon (actually, more or less normal for Chicago summer, but not in northern Europe, where few places have air conditioning).

Our guide was a young man from Italy, who decided to come to Vienna to study and ended up getting into the tourist guide business, which he really enjoys. He led us to the nearest subway stop, where he bought us tickets and instructed us to KEEP THEM until we were clear of the station. (At random, officials ask subway goers to show them their ticket and if one cannot produce it, there is a heavy fine with no excuses accepted!)

Achim (our guide’s name) told us that he hoped we would get an air conditioned train – the newer trains do have air conditioning but the older ones – a majority – do not. We were lucky to get an air conditioned subway car, all the more so because it was packed on a Saturday afternoon!

We got off and walked through the station, took a flight up and the market was almost right in front of us.  We were met by the chef from our ship, Marc Anthony (on the right in this photo), who explained what kinds of foods a chef looks for in a market and getting to know the vendors so you know the food products are good quality.
We walked by fish sellers…20190706_151239
produce stands…

and cheese vendors.
Finally, we stopped in front of a shop where a young man was busy clearing off and setting up tables for us. Marc Anthony had prepared some delectable samples of finger foods for us!


We all got a refreshing fruit drink (at the very bottom of the photo), then tried various kinds of olives, falafel and hummus (the two outer swirls – orangish and green – were savory; the pink and yellow were sweet flavored) and a plate of various stuffed fruits and vegetables. We ended with baklava and there was plenty for everyone!

As we walked farther, we saw more produce and some cute little souvenirs.
There were many stands that sold spices, nuts and other flavorings.
And, to mix and pulverize these flavorings, there were mortar and pestles…
There were also places that sold candy …
and brightly painted dishes.
Our last stop before exploring on our own was a wine and cheese tasting – there was actually only one kind of wine to wash down two different kinds of cheese, sausage and pieces of poppyseed cake.


The server encouraged us to dip the cheese in a small bowl with a mixture of olive oil and spices.

We then had 45 minutes to explore or shop on our own. Before that time was up, Dale and I had returned to the meeting place, in front of a café which had clean facilities. Of course, if you avail yourself of the facilities, it’s polite to order something – so we had some refreshing cold lemonade!

I didn’t go to dinner that night – I was still full of the tasty samples we’d “noshed” on at the Naschmarkt!

Cee’s SYW: On Classes, Cooking, Phobias (etc.)

Cee’s challenges are back! Here are my answers for this week’s questions in Share Your World:

A class you wish you would have taken?
There are actually several! I wish I had transferred to a university where I could major in anthropology, which was my first academic love.

I always wanted to take art classes, but they were always full, since art majors had priority. I enjoy art and did take a drawing class at a community college, where I learned techniques that allowed me to produce some fairly good drawings of my classmates, good enough that I still have them! Recently, I went to a wine and painting event, and everyone liked my painting of a cat, so now I’m working on another painting.

Since I included the cat painting in a post the other day (RDP#72 – Cat), I’m posting one of the drawings I did of a classmate many, many, many years ago, and a more recent doodle of myself in a hat when I had longer hair.
classmate (charcoal pencil)  Doodle-woman in hat

I also wish I’d taken photography classes. Everything I know I learned from a photographer boyfriend I had in high school, and of course, from experience. My husband is an amateur photographer too and I admire some of his great photos. He has good powers of observation and knows where to stand to capture his subject at the best advantage. I would like a class just in learning how to use all the features of my camera.

Here’s a photo of a shooting star flower that I took in May with my Sony Alpha 380, working on sharp close ups with blurred background.SONY DSC

The great thing about this is, now that I’m retired, I can easily take classes in art and photography, which are available to seniors at a discounted rate! I’m trying to find a photography class that my husband and I can attend together.

Are you scared of heights?
Not really, unless I think about it. Although going up some of those mountain roads in Colorado this spring was pretty harrowing!

My husband, though, is very scared of heights. He doesn’t even like to drive over high bridges! The first time we went to Rio de Janeiro, he would not go all the way up to Sugar Loaf with our son and I. He stayed on the lower level and contented himself with taking photos from that vantage point. However, we went back to Rio in 2016, and this time he went all the way up to the top! He stood in the middle of the cable car, surrounded by people, so he couldn’t see out. Once he was up there, he was OK and loved watching and photographing the setting sun.

Brazil 2016c 640

One of Dale’s photos of the sun setting over Rio de Janeiro from Sugarloaf

Are you a good cook? If so, do you consider yourself a chef?
Occasionally I will whip something up that’s different from normal, with more color and flavor than usual. Or I’ll make Christmas cookies when I’m in the mood. My husband does most of the cooking, and his meals are very simple. I like to rib him about the lack of color on our plates when we have chicken or fish with corn! Both of us are sort of lazy at this point about cooking, so we often eat out. Now we’re thinking of moving to a retirement community in a couple of years, where we can eat in a community dining room!


I made these Christmas cookies in 2014, the last time I made homemade cookies!

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
I had to buy some birthday cards, because several family members had birthdays and we were celebrating them all together. I usually have some funny cards on hand for these occasions, but I was out. So I stood in the birthday card section at the supermarket and read all the humorous cards. Several of them made me laugh out loud! Fortunately, there were few people at the store at that time so I was free to appreciate the silliness without anyone staring at me!

funny birthday cards

This photo was downloaded from Google Images.

Louisbourg, Nova Scotia

This is my travel journal for October 3, 2017, but also fits into Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week: The letter L with at least two syllables!

Today our ship docked at Sydney, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. We had signed up for an excursion to the fortress of Louisbourg, which my husband visited back in the ’80s, and likened it to Williamsburg, Virginia. The excursion was to leave at 11:00 but we were a little late getting started due to difficulty in placing the gangway. It caused a people jam on the stairways going down to Deck 3, but eventually we were all on our way.



The port of Sydney, Nova Scotia from the m/s Veendam


On the bus, our guide introduced herself as Almina, and the driver was Edmund. Almina told us a lot about Cape Breton Island, Sydney, and Louisbourg – which she pronounced “Louburg.”

She had put a map of the fortress on each seat so I followed along on the map as she told us what we were going to do as a tour and what were the highlights to see on our own.


Diorama of the Fortress of Louisbourg

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht gave Newfoundland to the British. During the period between 1719-1744, it was populated by cod fishermen, merchants, and pirates (besides the native people, of course). At this time the fortress was built and expanded.
The period of 1745-1748 was the siege of New England Loyalists and France gained control of Louisbourg. In the second siege, during the French and Indian Wars, in 1758, the fortress was attacked again. The battle lasted seven weeks, France lost, and the fortress was destroyed.

SONY DSCUntil 1928, only ruins remained – foundations of houses and other buildings, including the house belonging to the Fizel family, above. After that, a team of archaeologists and historians began excavating the site and detailed documents about the fortress were found.


Fizel family effects



20171003_124246In 1960, a reconstruction project was begun, which hired mainly unemployed people for the meticulous rebuilding of the fortress. The reconstruction expanded and continued to add more structures up through the 1990s.





SONY DSCLouisbourg became part of the national parks system and uniformed guides reenacted life as it was in the 1700s.

Almina gave us 3 questions to find the answers to:
1. What is the difference between a fort and a fortress?
2. What vegetable did they NOT grow here and why?
3. Why do some of the buildings have a fleur-de-lis on them?


Some of the buildings are topped with a fleur-de-lis.

As a group, we first went to building #13, the engineer’s residence, where a servant – a woman dressed in period costume and acting completely in character – showed us how she made hot chocolate, while another servant passed out cups of cocoa to everyone.20171003_114045

The female servant said it was time consuming, so she had to get up early when the master wanted it. She told us she’d been up all night making ours! Assuming we were guests of her employer and having to serve us hot chocolate, she concluded we “must be rich.” But, she noted as she looked around, “I don’t see any lace.” She wondered about the women who didn’t have husbands, asking if these women worked. One of the women in the front said she had a pension.

“A pension? I don’t know what that is,” the servant said convincingly.20171003_114140
She herself was not married, she told us – she’d worked in this household since she was a teenager and if she’d fallen in love and wanted to marry, she would have lost her position. She said this matter-of-factly, but there may have been a tinge of bitterness behind her words. Now that she was older, she didn’t expect any of the young men or soldiers to take an interest in her anyway. But on the other hand, being single meant she didn’t have to share what she had with anyone. As for the family she grew up in, she left them behind in France to take this job and lost contact with them.


Furnishings in the engineer’s home:

She talked about an important part of her job, preparing food: lobster was a poor man’s food – it was so common and besides, rich people didn’t want to eat creatures that were “bottom feeders.”

Someone asked her about what vegetables she grew in the garden. She named some, like beans, but when someone inquired about potatoes and tomatoes, she said they didn’t grow them. Tomatoes, she said, are poisonous: “They’re a member of the nightshade family.” Although this is true, Almina said it’s not the real reason they didn’t eat tomatoes in 18th century Louisbourg. Although the people of that time didn’t know this, the real problem was that their dishes were pewter. Something in the tomato reacts to the pewter, rendering them unsafe to eat! (Lesson: Don’t serve tomato soup using a pewter ladle!)


Another fleur-de-lis

I was impressed with this “servant” – she totally stayed in character.


The soldier talks to our guide, Almina.

Outside, we met a soldier, dressed in a uniform with a white coat and layers of wool stockings. He told about life as a soldier in that remote outpost, and showed us how he primed and shot his musket – he could get off about 3 shots a minute, and that’s because he was very skilled at it.


Soldiers were issued uniforms upon arrival at the fortress, which they had to pay for, so right form the start they were indebted to their officers, since few of them had the money to pay for the uniform outright, and so they had to earn the money first. If they didn’t have a uniform, they would be cold and have trouble staying alive in this windy place.

Soldiers worked from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. They bunked in barracks full of fellow soldiers. The picture he painted of that life was bleak, but men enlisted in order to have steady employment and a certain amount of status compared to a common laborer or a man who couldn’t find steady work. They were dependent on the good will of their commanding officers, who “gave” them things (actually sold them, because it would be deducted from their pay) and looked out for them.SONY DSC
For a serious infraction, a soldier might be shackled to a wooden horse that stood in the yard. The offender would mount the horse and his feet would be shackled underneath. His hands would also be cuffed. He would have to remain there, enduring the vagaries of the harsh climate as well as the taunts of his fellow soldiers, until his commanding officer saw fit to unshackle him.


The sparse military chapel

From there, Almina took us to the military chapel, where she narrated more about the life and history of Louisbourg. We were given free time to explore the fortress, but we were to be back at the bus by 2:45 p.m.


Next to the chapel is a museum of found objects.

20171003_124143In the summer, there are lots of tourists here and the place is fully staffed with costumed employees demonstrating various aspects of life in 18th century Louisbourg. In October, things are winding down, but some of the staff remains. There is still lots to see.SONY DSC





Lackey’s room


We missed some of the demonstrations, though, such as the lace makers, because Dale and I went to the Hotel de la Marine to have lunch. It was 18th century food served by waitresses in period dress. We had pea soup, which contained sliced carrots and was served with bread. It was quite filling.SONY DSC

However, we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table and the service was a little slow. At the table where we were seated was a young German couple from Nuremburg in Bavaria, who were travelling on their own, although they did have an itinerary and booked places to stay. They had rented a car and were doing a lot of hiking. We enjoyed talking to them.SONY DSC





Answer to question #1: a fort houses only military, while a fortress has both military and civilians living there.
Answer to question #2: Tomatoes, because they thought they were poisonous.
Answer to question #3: The fleur-de-lis, the symbol of France, was placed atop buildings owned by the French government.



If we had more time, we would have been able to see everything there was to see in October. If you don’t mind crowds, however, you should visit Louisbourg in the summer when everything is in full swing.  It is definitely worth a visit if you travel to Cape Breton Island.

Feeding the Multitudes: A Galley Tour

March 24, 2017

The second full day of our Panama Canal Cruise was the first of two “sea days.” Generally more activities than usual are planned for these days when all the passengers are on board. Today they offered a galley tour. In groups of 20, we were ushered through the kitchen and food preparation areas of the Veendam, which otherwise we never get to see. Hidden from the view of passengers, the galley is where a lot of work goes on, since on a cruise ship, food is available somewhere almost all the time!  I think almost everyone who went on the tour came away with an added respect and appreciation for our dining room stewards and the chefs we never see.


The tour was really short – we just walked through and a steward told us which areas we were passing through. We also got a map and information about the personnel that work in food service.


99 people are on the dining room staff, mostly restaurant stewards or servers. In the kitchen, glasses are washed in a separate area from the plates, bowls and silverware. 80 people work in the kitchen. All of the staff works long hours.



There are posters on the wall showing every dish they serve and how it should look on the plate. One small poster informs servers to center the food in the middle of the plate. There’s even a tool for this!




This chart shows how various dishes on the menu are to look when they are served.




When the orders are ready, stewards carry them upstairs on large trays by way of an escalator.



We left the tour by way of the escalator that the dining room stewards use.


On the flier that was handed out, there is a list of how much is consumed weekly. For instance, the average number of eggs used in one week is 13,500! 5,500 lbs. of meat, 2,000 lbs. of poultry, and 2,700 lbs. of fish and seafood are consumed weekly on average.



20170324_143425 (2)


After exiting the galley via the escalator, we were also taken through The Pinnacle Grill, one of the premium restaurants on board the ship.