A Trip to Dracula's Castle In Romania (#241)
Travel: Germany's Quirks - Really only foreigners can see clearly the cliches of other countries. I've lived here for nearly twenty years now, and I thought I knew all the special quirks and foibles of the Germans. But the Russian writer Maxim Gorski has written a tongue in cheek book that confirms everything I've always suspected about Germans and a lot more besides.
Design: Container City - Moving to my country now, known for its eccentrics - and I guess it's no surprise that it's an English architect who thought of recycling boring metal shipping containers into interesting living environments. Eric Reynolds has been creating container cities for years by piling old ones on top of each other, giving them porthole windows and all mod cons. The results are quite surprising, these rectangular metal boxes have become quirky, environmentally friendly homes.
Travel: Dracula's Castle - The Irish author Bram Stoker put Transylvania on the map when he wrote his novel Dracula in 1897. Transylvania today is a part of Romania and many tourists come looking for Dracula's castle. But like all good legends, nobody's quite sure where exactly Dracula's lair is. Bran Castle in the Carpathian mountains is the most popular choice for tourists but there are other spooky haunts that lay claim to being the home of the bloodthirsty count.
Photography: The Red Sofa - Horst Wackerbarth: The German photographer Horst Wackerbarth has been wandering around the world with a huge red sofa for 25 years now. All sorts of people from politicians to artists and just normal passersby have posed on the sofa for his "gallery of mankind." Now he's doing the same thing closer to home visiting all 16 German states to document the locals on film. And the colour of the sofa has changed slightly too.
Cooking: Sophie Dudemaine - sweet French Baking: Sophie Dudemaine is France's answer to Jamie Oliver. Her TV show is a huge hit there, her cookery courses are booked out years in advance, and her latest book has sold one and a half million copies in France alone. Her speciality is baking - both savoury and sweet - and she's constantly dreaming up new recipes to wet the palette of anyone with a penchant for cakes.
Music: Five Corners Quintet - Jazz: The Five Corners Quintet from Helsinki were initially set up by composer and producer Tuomas Kallio with the idea of releasing a few vinyl singles of stylish jazz music for the dance floor. But success has taken over. The Finnish group is a combination of live playing and samples taken from classic jazz records of the 1960s. The title of their first album explains it best "Chasing the Jazz gone by". [26 minutes]
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