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Cologne, Germany

We made a road trip from Budapest, Hungary to Cologne, Germany

Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

My husband said that Germany is a very big country, I was expecting a higher level of efficiency on the super highways at some point. The roads to Germany was in fact wet as it was raining along the entire way. Crossing Austria, we made our way to Cologne. We were planning to first head to Helmond in the Netherlands and finally Amsterdam.

Nurmberg, Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

About the traffic jams which are kilometres and hours of wait, I couldn’t help but to mention this and to prepare any of you who are planning to use their super highways.

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

Their motor ways has literally ‘NO speed limit‘ when the leftmost lane allows vehicles to ‘fly’ at 180 km/h or more!! Not exaggerating at all. Some cars are even speeding at 200 km/h, ask me how does it feel? Well, it was pretty exciting!

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

Quite a surprise was the quality of the roads. An Australian exchange student, Lana was sharing with us about her road trip stories. Surprisingly, not Germany is having the best roads. The only good about driving across Germany is the maturity of the drivers who gradually slows down altogether seeing the need to observe the speed limitation. That makes you feel good in a way.

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

It is also pretty interesting to observe the things other drivers transport with them across the highways. You name it: from private motor vehicles

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road: Bridge

…to private boats

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road
…to splashy motor vehicles

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

to manufactured automobiles…

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

to agricultural vehicles…
Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

Quite funny to see these different things in the day, in a certain way they are good signs of the vibrancy of the economy. At night, there is almost a pitch black with lights of the other approaching vehicles in the opposite direction. In the day, I found the trees rather unique. In Rome, there are trees with shapes of the leaves on its top and a long stem following that. In Germany, their trees looks like this:

Trees along the German Highways

Rather tall, thin and lean. These colours passing you by at the speed of averagely 160km/h. A lot of them are these trees. They also have the christmas fir trees. Those are more beautiful and near the settles.

Germany to Budapest, Sights on the Road

Our ride was supposed to be about 12.5 hours from Amsterdam back to Budapest. However, due to the traffic jams, we arrived only in 20 hours!!! The lesson we learned is to not plan the arrival on a Friday. Somehow the traffic is heavier than normal.

It was good to start in the early hours like 2am. In the early morning, you can see the beautiful sunrise at 5:30am in Austria and have a breakfast while taking a little ‘Stretching’ break.

To drive in Germany, first you need to get a  Low Emission Zone emissions-control windscreen sticker from the TUV or from a TÜV partner establishment.

Environmental Badges Low Emission Zone

The way to arrange for it can be easier by ordering it online. It costs 5 Euros, but if you arrange for it to be delivered to you via postal services, it will be about 12 Euros. It is a regulatory offence if you drive in a low emission zone without the sticker and it shall costs 40 Euros.  If you possess a German driving licence you will additionally incur 1 point, which will be registered at the Federal Office of Motor Transport. So, you choose 🙂

My Eye

This is my eye.

I have been into painting recently. Something that amazed me is how much I enjoy painting eyes. Today, I gave a go for the first time for painting my own eye. This is my right eye. My heritage is Chinese.

My grandmother travelled by a ship to Southeast Asia, from China, ChaoZhou. So you got it right, I am Teochew. I could speak Teochew and Hokkien. I could understand Teochew, Hokkien & Cantonese. My first language is English, my mother tongue is Mandarin Chinese.

This I should say is a second Asian eye painting I have ever done. The first is here.

I find that painting the asian eye is more difficult than the caucasian eyes. Despite asian eyes have less creases, the asian eyes has more smooth surfaces like the eyelids are single, or even double eyelids are flat single stroke of white paint to achieve its shine (or presence of light as a contrast). The ‘play’ of shadow is more to make it look realistic. And since my pupils are dark brown that is closed to black, it is actually easier than the Caucasian eyes. Especially those with hazel eyes, there are more details and definitions within the pupil itself.

What do you think of this ‘eye’? Do you like it?





Smart Textile #smartcities

Have you heard of ‘Smart Textile’?

I was at the open studio day of ARS-i maja Avatud Ateljeede Päev and got to know that there are more than 35 design or creative professionals’ studios working here. Basically there are demos, workshops, exhibitions, working environment of studios etc. Supposed to see some animation and even ‘live’ music but I was working on a project discussion with a consultant, so I actually missed that.

There are about four buildings and the first number is the floor number and the door number following suit. It was my first time at the door of Spell disain, and was greeted first with carpet of a deer and forest, and a very friendly lady smiled and she is Kristi Kuusk.

This is Textales, watch it as it speaks a thousand words 🙂

“We hid some stories inside a textile. They come alive, to initiate family connection through quality time, from the touch on a traditional woven high quality textile. The stories come alive to play with the kids!
Using textile and digital material as a medium, we embedded meaning into the innovative connection of a woven textile and a smart device app to communicate stories.
Inspired and guided by old craft knowledge and qualities in the innovation process, we made technology that values heritage and tradition and gives them a new twist. It respects societal responsibility and openness of the community.
Basically, we made a very traditional and static textile to be able to evolve in time – to change – along with the user itself.
More info about the project:
Project realised by: Kristi Kuusk, TU/e, Johan van den Acker Textielfabriek, Unit040, Kerstin Zabransky
Video: Katrina Tang”

Main building
113 Elna Kaasik, tekstiil
123 UBUNOIR, offset litograafia,
128 Printbox, digitrükk
132 Kristina Kivirand, maal, keraamika
209 Margit Salk Disain, rõivadisain,
212 Katrin Karu, maal,
214 Spell disain by Kristi Kuusk, nutikad tekstiilid,
218 Tõnu Noorits ja Marit Leevik, fotograafia ja keraamika
221 KYLLIKE, moedisain
222 Kersti Karu, keraamika
228 Mokoko, LAAST, Kadi Paasik, valmistame nahast aksessuaare,
302 Takinada, Olga Good Dolls, kunstnik illustraator, Porcelain BJD
312 Varvara & Mar, kunst,
314 PIERRO, rõivatootmine ja disain,
315 Robin Nõgisto ja Olivia Verev, maal ja muusika
317 Arne Maasik, fotograafia,
320 Taavi Talve, kunst
321 Marge Monko, kaasaegne kunst,
322 Alissa Šnaider, koreograafia alane
324 Krista Mölder, kunst,
326 Fideelia-Signe Roots, maal, tegevuskunstid, video
327 Piret Rohusaar, maal,
329 Alisa Jakobi, maal,
331 Emer Värk ja Renzo Alexander van Steenbergen, masters of the Universe,
335 Laura Kuusk ja Camille Laurelli, kunst,
405 Arro Projekt, sisearhitektuur,
407 ARS Portselan, portselani maalimine
418 Atelier Aur (Anneli Oppar, Darja Popolitova, Triin Kukk, Mariliis Hopp, Miikael Danieljants), ehtekunst
419 EKA Maali magistrandid, maal
421 Scheckmann by Sille Sikmann, meeste käsitöö jalanõude ja muud nahast aksessuaaride valmistamine
421 Emma-Elfriide, kübaradisain
423 Taavi Suisalu, kunst,
Other buildings in the ARS territory:
1 Tõnu Narro, Tarvo Porroson, Märt Vaidla, metall ja kunst
3 Nukufilmi Lastestuudio, animatsiooni huvikool
5 Mirgoods, nahadisain


I still hope to revisit this place, in particular to see Nukufilmi 🙂

#Sustainability #Fashion #evakruse


This is an awesome speech!

On the brink of potentially dangerous climate change and with attention on corporate social responsibility soaring to new heights, the world needs innovators — both people and businesses – who can lead the push toward more sustainable solutions. The fashion industry has the potential to be one such innovator, working proactively to address critical environmental, social, and ethical challenges on a global scale.
Consumers — you and I – can play a pivotal role in transitioning the fashion industry towards more sustainable business models that significantly reduce the social and environmental impacts of the industry.
My talk is about what every one of us can do to improve our personal footprint and the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry.
Eva Kruse is CEO and President of Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Week. She is also board member of several organizations and companies among them for instance: Nordic Fashion Association, Wonderful Copenhagen and Birger Christensen. Danish Fashion Institute is behind the world’s largest and most important event on sustainability and fashion: The Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the next to be held April 2014. Since she graduated in entrepreneurship and leadership from The KaosPilots, Eva Kruse has worked within the worlds of fashion and media, including positions as editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Eurowoman and as a TV host with the Danish television. In 2005, Eva Kruse was one of the co-founders of Danish Fashion Institute and Copenhagen Fashion Week.