15 things I learnt about Austria

I can proudly call this country my second home, because I spent 3 weeks there when I was 12, one month when I was 21 and 6 weeks when I became 22. Although I’ve been to a lot of places, there are still many to visit. Can’t wait to go back someday! 

  1. Austria lies in the middle of Europe, and it is surrounded by Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic.
  2. It is the 12th richest country if the world concerning the GDP.
  3. Its capital is the beautiful Vienna, that has 1.8 million people of population.
  4. Its territory was occupied first by Celtic tribes in the ancient times. The famous Venus of Willendorf was found in Austria, it dates back to the paleolithic age and is now in the Museum of Natural History in Vienna.
  5. Its history can not be separated from the Hungarian because of mutual monarchs, wars and other events. We Hungarians call them our ‘Austrian borther-in-laws’.
  6. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 started World War I.
  7. The most famous Austrian people are: Erwin Schrödinger, Sigmund Freud, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Gustav Klimt, Billy Wilder, Johann Strauss (both of them), Franz Schubert and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  8. Austrian German is their national language and it is not identical to German.
  9. Austrian people are very polite and always ready to help. They are used to foreigners in their country. Although they speak English perfectly well, they don’t always show it. They all lead healthy lives by doing sports and eating food only of very good quality.
  10. The most famous Austrian movies, the Sissi trilogy was made about Queen Elisabeth, played by Romy Schneider in 1955.
  11. The Christmas fair in Vienna is very popular among tourists from all over the world…
  12. … and of course because of the Alpines, Austria has many ski resorts.
  13. Glühwein or mulled wine is a spicy drink that brings Christmas in your mouth. They are always sold at Christmas fairs in different mugs every year.
  14. Famous Austrian dishes are Wiener Schnitzel (very thin, deep fried meat), Frittatensuppe (cattle soup with cut pancakes as paste), Marillenknödl (noodles filled with apricot), Kaiserschmarrn (thick pancake-like paste with fruit or jam), Apfelstrudel (strudel filled with apple) and Sacher cake (chocolate cake filled with jam, chocolate on top).
  15. Their very famous chocolate, the Mozartkugel was made by a confectioner from Salzburg and it won a gold medal of the Paris World’s Fair in 1905. It is a pisctacchio marzipan mix coated with nougat.

Amazing people VII.: Bolega Niki

These days I’m looking for photography inspiration. Photographers I can look up to. This is how I found the amazing Niki from Hungary, whose stunning portraits had a great impact on me. Introducing the next guest of my interview series: 

Lady Fraise (LF): When and why did you start taking pictures?
Bolega Niki (BN): I started dealing with photography 10 years ago. First I was interested in make-up photography the most and this set me off towards it.

LF: Do you work as a full time photographer?
BN: Yes, I’ve been working for 9 years as a photographer and I have no regrets. I am very lucky because I can do a job I truly love.

LF: How did you learn about the background and basics of photography?
BN: I’m learning about its conception these days as well. There are always new situations you have to find a solution for. When I started to become interested in photography, I learned things from the internet. Then I went to a short course, but that wasn’t so useful because the things we learned about I already knew from the internet. After that I got lucky because I got to work with Tamás Kaunitz as his assistant. That was the best decision I have ever made. If someone wants to learn about photography, the best he or she can do is to become an assistant of an experienced photographer. I got most of my knowledge from Tamás. I would like to take the chance and thank him now that he chose me then. Those were the best 3 years of my life. Afterwards I did an other course as well. I started doing it for the certificate, but at the end it became more. I learned the essence of photojournalism with the help of Sándor Újvári. He may not even know how much impact his classes had on me. Thanks, Sándor! 🙂

LF: What do you like photographing the most?
BN: I like photographing people the most. Mainly composed portraits, but nowadays I’m shooting food more often because I became the photographer of Lila Füge magazine and I also really like that a lot.

LF: What do you think you can learn from photography?
BN: In my case photography had a great developing affect on my personality. Because I have to instruct people, conduct photo shoots, I became more determined and confident. I am now more open to people and to the whole world. I can see the beauty in almost everything. Photography widens a person’s thoughts. At least it happened to me. 🙂

LF: Is there something a picture can give you that other things can’t?
BN: I don’t see the point in comparing photography to other things. It gives each person something else. The most important thing for my photos is to make an impression on people. It is the best feeling when someone tells me that a picture of mine made her think or feel something.

LF: What would you advise to a beginner photographer?
BN: I would advise him or her to practice a lot. Anywhere, anytime. This profession is about learning all the time, and you can only progress if you are constantly taking pictures. We can never be good enough so I think being humble is the most important.

Bolega Niki’s homepage
Bolega Niki’s Instagram

 

I’m a Ravenclaw

One of my friends who also likes Harry Potter recommended me to check out Pottermore, the official fanpage made by J. K. Rowling herself. I was pretty excited to get to know which house I belong to. Of course I was sure to be a Gryffindor, because all the cool people are in that house. After seriously considering all my answers, I finally got the result: I’m a Ravenclaw. First, I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I’m not brave enough? Then I went through some articles about the house. I learned that a Ravenclaw is someone, who is ‘intelligent, wise, sharp, witty and individual’. Hmmm, not bad. The founder of the house was Rowena Ravenclaw, who thought learning was more important than anything. Her daughter is the Grey Lady, who helps Harry find the diadem in episode 7 (although she speaks only to Ravenclaws). The most famous members of the house include Ollivander, Professor Flitwick, Luna Lovegood, Cho Chang, Professor Quirrel and Sybill Trelawney.

Kind of cool, right?

Not long after completing the test, my friend Helen told me, she was a Hufflepuff and she wasn’t exactly happy about it. But I think no matter which house we belong to, we are all unique individuals. There are things we are great at and there are things we aren’t. But the most important thing is to respect others and try to bring out the best of yourself every day. (And don’t forget, at least we are no Muggles!)

This blog post is for my daddy, who finally started reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone after all this time, and now is only pages away from becoming a fan forever.

My favourite sequels and series

‘Although I couldn’t find a great quote, I wish to continue this wonderful tradition in my last favourites concerned post.’ /Lady Fraise, the Great/

Why do we watch series? Because we are trapped in the web of the Netflix Spider? Or we find them more entertaining then our own lives? Or is it just a good form of entertainment? I’m not writing this to decide, I just want to make a list of all my favourites:

Friends /Classic sitcom, iconic characters with iconic quotes. I can never get bored of it, even after watching it the tenth time./

Big bang theory /Science version of Friends. I have a place for both of them in my heart./

House /Best hospital series ever. Even though when everything is lupus./

Versailles /My newest favourite about Loius XIV. Amazing costumes, amazing actors./

Game of Thrones /Never get attached to any of the characters, or you will have your heart broken./

Gotham /How the little Bruce Wayne became Batman in the dark city of Gotham./

Vikings /Violence and blood everywhere but the characters will make you care./

Stranger things /This year’s other great discovery! A story set in the 1980s with awesome child actors./

White collar /Art crime is the best kind of crime. Mainly if Matt Bomer is in it! :D/

Gilmore girls /My favourite family and romantic series./

The Tudors /The story of Henry VIII’s wives./

The Borgias /Jeremy Irons plays the Borgia Pope and Francois Arnaud plays his son, Cesare Borgia. The family, that is surrounded by myths./

On the spot /Documentary series made by a Hungarian couple, Eszter Cseke and S. Takács András that wone the Gold Plaque in Monte Carlo. They shot about tribes, warrior, dictator’s children and births around the world. It is great to get to know people’s stories from all around the world./

My favourite movies

‘The whole of life is just like watching a film. Only it’s as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it out all yourself from the clues.’ /Terry Pratchett/

Movies have come a long way. The first one was shot in the 1890s and it took only 1 minute. Until 1927 they were produced without sound. Since that their progress is almost unbelievable, and they revolutionised show business.
Here are my favourite movies of all time:

Memoirs of a geisha /My favourite movie of all! Simply beautiful./

Amélie /The best French movie ever, starring the sweet Audrey Tautou./

The curious case of Benjamin Button /The most interesting and beautiful love story ever, played by two of the best actors of our time, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett./

The English patient /Ralph Fiennes as a Hungarian Count steals our hearts./

Coco before Chanel /How Gabrielle became a legend./

Sabrina, Roman holiday, My fair lady, Funny face and Breakfast at Tiffany’s /My favourite Audrey Hepburn movies./

Midnight in Paris /Would you like to meet Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway? In Paris everything can happen./

Sunshine /The story of 3 generations who were caught in the wind of history. True story of a Hungarian director’s family, Ralph Fiennes as the lead actor. Simply genius!/

The last samurai /’The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.’ -Katsumoto/

Inception /Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece with Leonardo DiCaprio./

The Harry Potter movies /They are not so good as the books, but they really try, and almost succeed -that was a major compliment./

Star Wars /Iconic. Must see for eveybody in the galaxy./

Superhero movies /X-men, Avengers, Batman: after watching these movies, I always want to become a superhero too./

My favourite books

‘I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.’ /Jane Austen/

As long as I could remember I loved reading. It’s not only a hobby, it became a part of me. I can not even remember a time I wasn’t reading anything and every time I finish a book, I feel a little lost inside.

Here are all the books that had an impact on my life, the books I love and cherish:

George Orwell: Animal farm and 1984 /These books taught me everything that is important about politics and the true nature of power./

Jane Austen: Pride and prejudice /’Flawless masterpiece.’ Sheldon Cooper
Best love story ever./

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The little prince /You can read about all the things that are important in life in this book./

Carrie Fischer: The princess diarist /This smart and funny woman’s memoir about being Princess Leia- which wasn’t always so glamorous./

Gillian Flynn: Gone girl /Best psychological thriller ever!/

Audrey Niffenegger: The time traveler’s wife /’Love is patient, love is kind.’ 1 Corinthians 13:4/

Sándor Márai: Esther’s inheritance /He is my favourite Hungarian writer, I love how he twiddles with words./

Dan Brown’s novels /Full of tension./

J. K. Rowling: The Harry Potter series /The books that shaped my childhood, and at the end me./

Agatha Christie’s Poirot stories /Always a great choice is you look for a crime story./

Philippa Gregory’s novels /Best historical novels./

George R. R. Martin: The Game of Thrones series /He is the master of stories that include at least 1000 characters./

10 people I would like to have dinner with

Not long ago, one of my favourite Youtubers answered the question ‘Who are the 5 people you really want to meet?’ in her video and it got me thinking (more than I want to admit,acutally…). I just couldn’t make it to 5 people, so I chose 10 at the end, and to make it even more interesting, I chose people who are unfortunately not with us today.

  1. Annie Leibovitz: she is my favourite photographer in this whole world. All her photos have a special colour palette and a great sense of humour and creativity. I love everything she does!
  2. Loius XII: Le Roi-Soleil, I want to ask him about his reign and how he built the wonderful Versailles.
  3. Ralph Fiennes: Heathcliff, Lord Voldemort, Charles Dickens… this guy can play anyone!
  4. Dan Brown: I read all his novels, still he manages to surprise me and I just can’t put his books down. I’m really excited for his next novel, The Origin, that takes place in Barcelona (faith, isn’t it?).
  5. Mayim Bialik: real life neuroscientist, actress, mother, who still has time to make Youtube videos about serious things that concern many people. (And a little secret: the most precious autograph I have is hers!)
  6. Leonardo da Vinci: the greatest polyhistor of all time! I love all the mystery that surrounds this man.
  7. Audrey Hepburn: my true style and movie icon, I just admire her.
  8. Christopher Nolan: the man who gave humanity Inception, The Prestige, The Dark Night and Memento. Need I say more?
  9. Elon Musk: although I’m not a space junkie, this man inspired me to work hard at anything to do. I’m certain, that he will make this world a better place (or move humanity to Mars, at least).
  10. Jane Austen: I want to ask what inspired her to write Pride and Prejudice, which Sheldon Cooper called ‘a flawless masterpiece’.

Oh my God, I read it all back! It would be such a party!!