Thursday, June 29, 2017

Full English Breakfast

A full English breakfast is the traditional breakfast, especially on the weekend, in the UK.  As almost everything on the plate is fried, it is also called a "fry up".

The usual components of a fry up are fried eggs, back bacon, sausage links, fried mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding, along with toast or fried bread.  Sometimes hash browns are also on the plate.  Tea or coffee accompanies breakfast.

The bacon isn't the American style of streaky bacon.  English back bacon is leaner than American bacon.  It's from the back and contains a bit of pork belly.  The sausage are usually Cumberland links.

The beans are simmered in tomato sauce.  There aren't the brown sugar baked beans that you would have at a BBQ.

Black pudding is a a blood sausage.  It's made from pork blood, fat, oatmeal, groats, and spices.  In Ireland, a full Irish also contains both black pudding and white pudding.  White pudding is the same thing as black pudding except there's no blood in it.

I've heard in Scotland, a fry up sometimes includes haggis.

You can find English breakfasts across Europe.  Well, at least in any pub or cafe that caters to UK tourists.  Here's a YouTube video that covers all of the important details on putting together a proper full English breakfast.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Umbrellas 2017

Deštníky Brno celebrates Moravian-Italian friendship.  Red, white, and green umbrellas are hanging in the centre.

In July, Italy is opening a consulate here in Brno.  People are posting photos online with the hashtag #desknikybrno.  

Update:  Here's the new Italian consulate at Zelný trh.

Update:  In 2018, the umbrella display is for Kometa.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Acceptable Graffiti

There is a highway overpass that connects the Červinkova tram stop with both the IBM office and the Brno University of Technology.  I walk it, and so do probably at least a thousand other people, everyday.

Every summer, graduating students spray paint their name and new academic title on the bridge.  I guess some feels it's sort of a tradition.  While I still don't like tagging, for some reason this doesn't bother me.

The colors change each year, and sometimes the students get creative but usually it's just Ing. and their last name.  My favourite was back in 2011 where they included chalk outlines.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Honest Guys Brno Video

Janek Rubeš and Honza Mikulka are The Honest Guys.  They produce Stream International which is an internet television channel.  They give really good insider tips and great tips to avoid scams in Prague

They just produced a video guide showing how awesome it is here in Brno.  Be sure to check out their Facebook and YouTube channels. 

Here's their 7½ minute Brno video.  Too bad they missed out on Super Panda Circus as it's lots of fun.

© International

Friday, June 16, 2017

First Grocery Delivery

My old assistant, Jakub, had told me about before but I had never used them.  At least not before today.  Rohlik is a Czech-based grocery delivery service that offers 90 minute same day delivery.  They deliver groceries in Prague, Brno, Liberec, Plzeň, Pardubice, Hradec Králové, and Ústí nad Labem.

The website is only in Czech but on the bright side it's good language practice.  It was really easy to order online, the product was good and it was about the same price as going to the grocery store.  I received a text message letting me know how many grocery bags to expect and they were on time.  You can pay online or cash on delivery.  Super convenient!  

Tesco offers delivery service as well.  Claudia has used them for years, especially since their site has an English language option.

If I had to find a negative it would be that the minimum order is 500 Kč (~$22) but not that big a deal.  I will for sure use Rohlik again.  Thanks for the tip Jakub!

Update: The site is now also available in English.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2017 Global Peace Index

The 2017 Global Peace Index was released the other day.  Once again, Czechland remains one of the most peaceful countries to live in.  It maintained it's 6th place standing it earned last year.

Europe remains the safest region in the world with 15 of the top 20 spots.

Once again, Iceland came out on top.

Last year the USA placed 103rd.  This year it fell to 114th.

For the fifth year in a row, Syria is the world's least peaceful country, followed by South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

The top 10 countries are:
1.  Iceland
2.  New Zealand
3.  Portugal
4.  Austria
5.  Denmark
6.  Czech Republic
7.  Slovenia
8.  Canada
9.  Switzerland
10.  Ireland

Monday, June 5, 2017

Gate Theatre

On Saturday night we went to see Noël Coward's Private Lives at the Gate Theatre.  Thank goodness I finally received my clothes back after the BA IT outage.

The play was awesome!  The play only runs another couple of weeks so I'm so glad that we got to see it.

The Gate Theatre is at Parnell Square in Dublin and was founded in 1928.  It's a small theatre with seating for 371 people.  While small, a number of big time actors, including Orson Welles, got their start here.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol is often described as the Irish Bastile.  The former prison is now a Dublin museum.  It's well worth a visit but you really need to book tickets in advance or you won't get in.

The prison was built in 1796.  Up until the 1820s, public hangings took place in front of the prison.

The prison was rough.  There wasn't any segregation so men, women and children were all imprisoned together with up to five inmates per cell.  The youngest prisoner is believed to have been a seven year-old who had been arrested for petty theft.  The cells were about 28 square meters (~301 sq feet) with a single candle provided every two weeks for light.

As bad as the prison was, during the Great Famine, some people committed crimes in hopes of getting fed as a prisoner.

The prison was shut down in 1924 by the Irish Free State.  The museum opened in 1971 and it is one of the biggest unoccupied prisons in Europe.

The spot were the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed

For many the prison is a memorial for Irish freedom.  Many of the leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867, and 1916 were imprisoned here.  Many rebels of the 1916 Easter Rising were imprisoned and executed by the British here.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Irish Names

The official languages in Ireland are English and Irish.  In Northern Ireland, only English is official.  You don't need to speak Irish to get around in Dublin.  The only reason to understand a bit of Irish is just so that you don't butcher people's names. 

It's real easy to mess up people's names here.  The spelling may make sense in Irish but for everyone else the way people's names are spelled looks quite dyslexic or something.

Here are a few rules to help...
"BH" and "MH" can each be pronounced like a "V" or a "W".
"FH" is silent.  "GH" can be silent as well.
"PH" is pronounced like "F".
"TH" is pronounced like "H".
"AOI" is pronounced like "EE".
"EOI" is pronounced like "OH".
"EÁ" is pronounced like "AWE".
"SI", "SÍ", "SE", "SÉ", or "S" at the end of a word, are all pronounced "SH".

 For example, here are a few Irish girl names (and how to pronounce them).
Caoimhe = Kee-vah
Siobhán = Shuv-awn
Niamh = Neev
Aoife = Ee-fa
Gráinne = Grawn-yah
Sinéad = Shin-ade
Mairéad = Murr-ade
Ciara = Keer-ah
Saoirse = Seer-sha
Ailish = Ay-lish
Eibhilin = Ay-leen

And here are a few Irish boy names.
Séan = Shawn
Séamus = Shay-muss
Oisín = Ush-een
Cathal = Caw-hull
Tadgh = Tye-g
Padraig = Paw-drig
Ciarán = Keer-awn
Niall = Nile
Diarmuid = Deer-mid
Eoin = O-win
Conchobhar = Con-er
Ruairi = Roar-y

This is just a sample.  I'm sure that there are plenty of other Irish names out there which are often mispronounced.  Here's a short, fun video I found out on YouTube making fun of Americans trying to pronounce Irish names.

©Test Tube News

Friday, June 2, 2017

Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Dublin

The Irish National War Memorial Gardens is located near the River Liffey in Dublin.  It opened in 1940 and is dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in WWI.

It also commemorates the Irish who served in Irish regiments of the British, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, South African and USA military.  In total over 300,000 Irish served in various armies during WWI.

The garden contains a sunken rose garden, terraces, pergolas, granite book rooms and tree-lined roads.  Some gravestones are present as well.

There is a domed temple with a granite war stone with an extract of a poem by Rupert Brooke.

Although Ireland was neutral in WWII, many Irish served in other allied armies.  The memorial was later updated to include those who died in WWII.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Bag Arrived

Hallelujah!!  My suitcase was finally delivered to me in Dublin.  What a mess!

So when my bag didn't arrive in Ireland with me I was given a case number and an 800-number.  I was also able to check the status on line.  Of course, the online status was always "tracing".  In the initial report on Sunday morning, I told the guy that it was a black Samsonite hard case bag.  What he typed in to the system was a black soft case bag (no brand).  On Monday I informed the agent on the phone of the discrepancy and he said he would update it.  He was also going to add my e-mail address to the ticket. 

On Tuesday I spoke to another agent.  Gave the same information and she said that she would update it.  She said the bag might show up on Wednesday by 6 PM.

On Wednesday morning, the status still said "tracing".  And the online description was still not updated nor was my e-mail address there.  I got so annoyed that I took to Twitter and tagged #britishairways and #aerlingus about how I was still missing my bag and how bad the customer service had been.

Within 15 minutes, Aer Lingus sent me an apology message via Twitter.  I messaged back about the run around I had been given.  Twenty minutes later, I received another message assuring me that they had now finally updated the ticket.  At least I finally felt listened to.

My bag arrived a couple of hours ago.  I'm so happy to have my stuff.  I was supposed to work in the Dublin office this week but that didn't happen because I had no clothes.  Tomorrow will be a busy day because I need to squeeze five days of face-to-face meetings in to a single day.

On the bright side...I won't have as much laundry to do when I get back to Brno on Sunday.

Update:  Due to the delay, I received €400 from British Airways.  It took a couple of weeks but I finally received the deposit.  Since I travel so much I keep travel insurance with Allianz.  They gave me 5000 Kč (~€195) for the baggage delay.  This claim just paid for this year's travel insurance.