Da Vinci’s Demons; HiStory is a lie.

After a week holiday followed by week of catching up with life, I’m finally back! And thus without further delay(and without any spoilers!(with the exception of the official trailer), I present to you:

As a little girl my dream was to become an inventor, and Da Vinci was my hero. Needless to say, when I found out that there was a TV-series made about him in his younger years, I was intrigued. Within the last 3 days I managed to finish the 8, 1 hour long, episodes of the first season and fell in love with it. One thing that keeps reappearing in the series that I love in general, is the genius mad man. The Doctor, Sherlock, Casanova(Jack Sparrow, and many other characters of Johnny Depp have a place in this list too) they are all mad as a hatter, but incredibly intelligent and always doing things their own way. Da Vinci certainly didn’t disappoint me on this point.

The series is focused on the younger years of Da Vinci and deals with some of the problems he might have faced as a bastards son. I won’t say too much of what happens in the series, for I’m afraid that I might give spoilers. But I can tell you one thing: You’ll get to see a side of Da Vinci that had so far been un-explored (this part reminds me of the BBC series Merlin, where they focused on the young Merlin as well. The concept seems to work quite well for well-known figures of the past who were only famous at an older age. I’m curious to see whom they’ll come up with next!) On top of that there are his struggles of being a genius and problems with Rome.

The makers of the series clearly don’t shy away from any subject, may it be nudity or bloody torture scenes (I admit, the blood and torture was sometimes too realistic for me to keep my eyes on the screen but it does give it an more authentic feel, and it’s clear that it’s directed at an adult audience) as well as Da Vinci’s true colours of being a vegetarian and, bisexual. There seems to be some adversity around this topic because some historians would believe him to be homosexual. I actually prefer the take David Goyer has taken on the subject, as Da Vinci states in the series that he prefers neither men nor women, but rather loves the person, which in my opinion fits Da Vinci quite well. It’s only a small part of the show anyway so I don’t really see why people get their panties in a knot about it(It’s not like anyone can ever be a 100% sure that he was homosexual, bisexual, straight, or maybe even asexual! Taking the road of going for the person falls in line with Da Vinci’s character in the show, so why fret?)

Da Vinci's vision of flightDa Vinci's vision of flight

David Goyer’s writing is nearly as brilliant as Steven Moffat’s. He captures the genius of Da Vinci in a great way. Unlike Sherlock or the Doctor, Da Vinci is a more quiet thinker, he doesn’t ramble to work things out but instead you can see an amazing acting performance of Tom Riley, making it easy to believe that Da Vinci’s mind is racing at an incredible speed, supported by some the ingenious blue-print animated scribbles to express his train of thought. Aside from being a genius, Da Vinci is also portrayed as a man with guts and a good sense of (sometimes sarcastic) humour.

The only spoiler that I will give you is that you’ll see many of the real Da Vinci’s inventions in the series, which is quite cool if you have some background knowledge of Da Vinci. To me, it didn’t feel like I was watching a TV series. It felt more like an 8 hour long movie. The show has everything I could wish for in a good movie: Adventure, action, mystery, fantasy, humour and romance. Add to that the fact that the quality of the special effects/animation are remarkable and it all combines into the great experience the show gives. The series ended with a bang, one that left us all hanging, but! The good news is that the second season will already air next spring!!

I mentioned Doctor Who and Sherlock before and I’m convinced that if you like either of those shows, you definitely won’t be disappointed by Da Vinci’s Demons either. And as for those of us who haven’t seen any of the shows mentioned: Go do your homework, these shows are priceless! 😉

So what about those who already watched it? What is your opinion of the show?

Helsinki’s hidden vegetarian restaurant: Zucchini

Photo taken from http://libraloves.blogspot.fi/

Hidden on the Fabianinkatu 4 is Zucchini, a small local vegetarian lunchroom, where there is only 1 meal for everyone, served in an old-school lunchroom style and where strangers eat at shared tables. This was also my first restaurant when coming to Finland, the first, and so far the best. Even though the lunch menu doesn’t offer a lot (either you take the main course with or without the daily soup, or just the soup alone, the menu changes daily) it definitely has a certain charm, eating the very same meal as everyone else around you. On top of that, the restaurant is quite small and popular too, so this means that around noon it gets quite crowded and literally every chair will be taken. Sharing a table with strangers is definitely not something out of the ordinary here. Which amazed me even further; I never visited a restaurant where you shared a table. Picnic tables in the park, sure, but in a restaurant? Nope. To many Finnish people this might sound quite normal, after starting University here I found out that this is also how the lunch at the campus works (but then with 4 different choices instead of just 1). I never experienced anything like this back in the Netherlands, where all we eat during lunch is some slices of bread with something in between (like a slice of cheese or some peanut butter).

Before going to Zucchini I never expected it to be like this, so upon entering the small room, which at that point was quite crowded, we were in for a real surprise(and a bit doubtful too!) But the people behind the counter were incredibly helpful and explained everything clearly. 1 meal: 10 euros: water, bread and butter to your hearts contents, included.

my first meal there(the bread is amazing too)

my first meal there(the bread is amazing too)

After settling at a table, shared with a young couple, we finally got the taste. And what a taste it was! The main meal included 3 different dishes and a salad of some sort, all perfectly attuned to each other. Now I’m not a food expert, nor am I claiming to be one, but the food was delicious and definitely a good price for a restaurant meal in Helsinki!

The two rooms are tiny but very cosy and add even more to the atmosphere of the place. We loved it so much that we actually returned the next day for lunch again. The only downside of the restaurant would be their opening hours; it closes at 3. But it adds to the Finnish culture of eating warm during noon(something I’ve become accustomed to now as well).

Aside from meals they also have some salads, delicious looking pies and cakes that I have yet to try out. Next week, when I’ll be back in Helsinki again with my friend is who visiting from Belgium, I will definitely take her to Zucchini for lunch!

When going there, take a good look at the map, we were walking around for a bit before finally finding it!

Dutch gingerbread drops (Kruidnootjes)

Dutch Gingerbread drops

The Dutch are not too keen on Santa Claus; instead they have the tradition of Saint Nicolas. The Saint comes to the Netherlands on the 5th of December and gives gifts to all the kids who have been good that year. This tradition is accompanied by a Dutch delicacy known as “kruidnootjes” which are available in shops from September until January. I will call them gingerbread drops, since this is the closest resemblance of English known food. In a lot of the western European countries there is a baked good called speculaas, and the specific combination of spices used for this are called speculaas spices. These resemble spices used in the well-known Gingerbread and are also used in the gingerbread drops. In the Netherlands, all you need to do is buy a package of these speculaas spices and just add them to your batter mix, but since these are not available in every country, for this recipe I will also explain how to make the right mixture of spices. It’s quite an easy and fast recipe, it is mainly the rolling the balls and baking that takes some time.

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The magic of tea in a mug

You know how, when you have so many other things to do, blogging random stuff always becomes the first priority, somehow. Procrastination? Definitely, no question. Today is one of those days. So onto my first post it is!

Yes, that is indeed a Tardis coaster under my mug of tea.

As mentioned in the about me section, one of my biggest smallest joy in life is drinking tea from one of my favourite tea mugs. I recently moved to Finland for an exchange of 5 months. The move meant that I had to leave my flat in the Netherlands, for good, and thus, store everything in boxes with my family. 5 months is nothing, you might say. But because I am also starting an intern-ship in London right after my exchange, I’ll be gone for a whole year. You might be wondering why I’m telling you this by now, don’t worry there’s a point to all this! Packing up my stuff wasn’t difficult for most of it. However, one thing I had never really realised before was this: packing up everything for a year also meant I wouldn’t be drinking tea from my favourite mugs for a whole year. And against all expectations, packing those mugs was a lot harder than packing up my favourite books!(which says a lot)

I don’t know how and when this happened. Maybe it was the influence of one of my besties from Belgium. But I had been enjoying tea for years. It’s just recently that I noticed, tea mugs are kind of magic; in the way that no matter how bad you feel, drinking tea from that one certain mug comforts you and make the world seem right again, if even for a few minutes. I know that part of this magic comes from the fact that most mugs I own were given to me as a present, or bought on a trip abroad, but one cannot deny the pleasures of hot tea with honey in a mug that fits comfortably between your hands! The mug shown in the picture above is one I recently bought here. My apartment didn’t have any cups or mugs, and the past weeks I’ve been looking around and this one was perfect(not too expensive, perfect hold and the right size) so now I can finally fully enjoy my tea here too!(The Tardis coasters recently arrived from my bestie in Belgium ❤ Making my tea even more pleasant!)

So what do you think? Do you have this one(or several) mug(s) that always manages to comfort you? Do you buy them yourself, or usually get them as present? Or did you never really think about tea mugs like this? Share your thoughts!:)