Lovely Las Vegas

Las Vegas - dusk

I went to Las Vegas for the first time a few weeks ago, and, as the plane descended, became immediately enamored of its sweep, sun, and palm trees. There’s so much to do outside The Strip (and on it too): The Venetian, Hoover Dam, Colorado River, Cirque du Soleil, Fremont Street Experience… I’m already looking forward to my next trip there, hopefully in 2015.

Sunset magazine had the most interesting info when planning my itinerary; here’s their article from a year ago that really sold me on going.

Quotable Rupert Graves

Rupert Graves and Helena Bonham Carter at the Room with a View premiere

1985: If only we could see what colors these shirts were!

It’s a few years old now, but this Daily Mail profile of Rupert Graves is wonderful. He’s open about quite a few things, but my absolute favorite quote is right here (bolding from me):

One night I was walking the dog and I just fell in love with the idea of life. It was one of those soppy but elemental things when you look at a tree and the sky, and you think, “This is brilliant.” Oh, there was one other thing,’ he adds. ‘I was dancing under a tree at the time – a beautiful horse chestnut with wide branches. I’ve never had depression since.” 

Vienna to Bratislava – by hydrofoil

Twin City Liner - Leaving Vienna

Leaving Vienna on the Twin City Liner, en route to Bratislava.

I’ve talked about what happened once I arrived in Bratislava, but now it’s time to share how I actually got there.

As it happens, this is another coworker recommendation–what can I say, I work with knowledgeable people! Back in January, when I was telling the world about my upcoming trip to Vienna, a well-traveled colleague mentioned he’d taken a hydrofoil along the Danube from there to Bratislava, and the experience was “really nice.”

This would end up being the activity I planned the entire trip’s schedule around, since the Twin City Liner hydrofoil opens each year in mid-April. (And let it be noted the planning took several emails back and forth with Twin City Liner, since their website’s booking setup didn’t totally work. But when you do email they are extremely friendly and accommodating!)

It turns out my coworker was indeed right–the 1 hour, 15-minute boat ride along the Danube did have a special feel to it. After running around Vienna for several days, what a relief it was to just sit back and contemplate the river.

First, the beginning: the Vienna Twin City Liner station (it took me forever to find this place!).

Twin City Liner - Vienna station

The Twin City Liner Vienna station. (Abgang Marienbrücke, Schwedenplatz, 1010 Wien, Austria.)

Before long, we were immersed in lovely Danube scenery. (You might notice most of my pictures are from the front of the boat; the first-row upgrade was without a doubt worth it.)

Scenery on the Danube River

The Danube River in its natural grandeur.

Here’s the boat’s interior:

Twin City Liner interior

What the Twin City Looks like from the last row. (There’s also a small deck on the back.)

Passing the Devin Castle ruins was one of the trip’s highlights:

Devin Castle ruins

The Devin Castle ruins, with my first of many dilapidated Slovakian buildings.

Not long after that, Bratislava came into sight, with its recognizable Bratislava Castle:

Bratislava from the Danube

Bratislava in the distance, from the Danube River.

As we approached Bratislava, it did dawn on me that I was finally about to go behind the once-“Iron Curtain” for the first time. So, here we go…

Bratislava Twin City Liner station

Bratislava’s waterfront, including its Soviet-style Twin City Liner station. (Fajnorovo Nabrezie 2, Bratislava 811 02, Slovakia [Staré Mesto].)

And one last look, before I ventured into unknown, historically rich territory:

Twin City Liner hydrofoil

One last farewell (or, in Slovak, “Dovidenia”).

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized onions

Good with salads, toast, quinoa, and almost any other food you can name.

I’m not the biggest planner-ahead of meals, but a coworker-friend recently clued me into a wonderful work-week staple: caramelized onions.

You spend 90ish minutes stirring 3-4 onions with butter (between tending to some other task like a book, movie, podcast, etc.), and then have these sweet, luscious, flavor-packed morsels that go with just about anything. Also, they last for 1-2 weeks and can easily be frozen for later.

This basic recipe from The Kitchn gave me the right amount of guidance–that said, as long as you don’t burn them, you’ll be set.


They Came Together

This movie received a not-so-spectacular 69% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I adored it. To get a sense of what it’s like, definitely skip the trailer and just watch sample scenes like the one above.

And there is a silver lining to these poor reviews: You can rent it on Amazon for only 99 cents! Do it.