Donnerstag, 20. April 2017

|Stefka reads| Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude - Neuerscheinungen (April 2017)

Eigentlich bin ich niemand, der sich in Verlagsprogramme vertieft und lange Listen mit Wunschbüchern schreibt. Ich bin da eher spontan und lasse mich von verschiedenen Quellen inspirieren (Besuche in Buchhandlungen, andere Blogger etc.). Trotzdem gibt es bestimmte Autoren oder Reihen, bei denen ich die Neuerscheinungstermine auf dem Schirm habe. Genau über diese Bücher, auf die ich mich schon Monate im voraus freue, möchte ich heute schreiben.


Julie James


"The Thing About Love" von Julie James | Erscheinungsdatum 18.04.2017

Es ist kein Geheimnis, dass ich großer Fan der Bücher von Julie James bin. Jedoch darf in diesem Zusammenhang nicht unerwähnt bleiben, dass mich die letzten Bücher der Autorin eher enttäuscht haben. Sie schreibt immer nach dem gleichen Schema. Dieses Schema beherrscht sie zwar so virtuos wie keine andere, aber ich würde mir trotzdem wünschen, dass sie ihre Komfortzone verlässt und den Lesern etwas neues präsentiert. 

"The Thing About Love" bewegt sich zwar ebenfalls in Julie James' bewährtem Kosmos, denn es treffen zwei FBI-Agenten mit gemeinsamer Vergangenheit aufeinander, jedoch verspricht das Setting in einem romantischen Strandressort, in dem die beiden verdeckt ermitteln müssen, eine Geschichte ganz nach meinem Geschmack. 

"Schwarzwasser" von Andreas Föhr | Erscheinungsdatum 01.06.2017

Ich mag gut gemachte Regionalkrimis und Andreas Föhr ist in diesem Genre mein absoluter Lieblingsautor. Die Reihe um den Streifenpolizisten Leo Kreuthner, Kommissar Wallner und Opa Manfred vereint für mich auf perfekte Art und Weise eine spannende Krimihandlung mit Witz und Lokalkolorit - ohne in Albernheiten abzurutschen oder sich in Nebenhandlungen zu verlieren. Da kann sich so manch anderer Autor aus dem Bereich Regionalkrimi eine Scheibe von abschneiden. Den von der Kreuthner-und-Wallner-Reihe unabhängigen Krimi "Eisenberg" kann ich übrigens ebenfalls wärmstens empfehlen.

In "Schwarzwasser" schlägt Leichen-Leo wieder zu und findet die Leiche einer Person, die es nie gegeben hat. Kommissar Wallner steht vor einem Rätsel: wer ist der Tote?


Shelfie

"Im Grab schaust du nach oben" von Jörg Maurer | Erscheinungsdatum 27.04.2017

Mein zweitliebster Regionalkrimi-Autor ist Jörg Maurer. Ich liebe seine Geschichten aus der großen Kurstadt / der Bindestrich-Stadt (= Garmisch-Partenkirchen) rundum den zurückhaltenden Kommissar Jennerwein und sein urbayrisches Team sowie die ganzen lokalen Größen wie das Bestatterehepaar Grasegger, die sich an so illustren Treffpunkten wie der Bäckerei "Krusti" (bester Name EVER) treffen. 

Im neuesten Band scheint besagtes Ehepaar Grasegger wieder eine Hauptrolle zu spielen, denn der Kriminalfall spielt auf dem Friedhof und vor der Kulisse des G7-Gipfels.

"When It's Real" von Erin Watt | Erscheinungsdatum 30.05.2017

Ich stehe dazu: "Paper Princess" ist mit Abstand das fesselndste Buch, das ich in den letzten Monaten gelesen habe. It's a guilty pleasure. Von der neuen Reihe verspreche ich mir, dass sie genauso mitreißend wird wie die Geschichte rundum die Royals. Wobei ich auch zugeben muss, dass ich ein bisschen skeptisch bin, denn die Storyline "Popstar meets normal girl" erinnert frappierend an "Johnny Be Good" von Paige Toon. 


Shelfie


"Fallen Heir" - The Royals Book 4 von Erin Watt | Erscheinungsdatum 28.08.2017

Wenn dieses Buch erscheint, ist der Sommer fast vorbei (und die Muswiese naht...). Dabei kann ich es kaum erwarten, mehr über Easton Royal - meinen Lieblingscharakter aus "Paper Princess", "Paper Prince" und "Twisted Palace" - zu erfahren. Sofern es möglich ist, sich in einen Buchcharakter zu verlieben, habe ich es hier definitiv getan. Schade nur, dass das Autorenteam Easton Royal kein eigenes Buch sondern lediglich eine Novelle widmen wird. Easton hätte ein komplettes eigenes Buch definitiv verdient!

"Save the Date" von Morgan Matson | Erscheinungsdatum 05.06.2018

Ausgerechnet auf das nächste Buch einer meiner absoluten Lieblingsautorinnen heißt es noch ewig warten. Dafür hört sich der Plot ganz wunderbar an: Charlie kehrt für die Hochzeit ihrer Schwester nach Hause zurück und trifft zum ersten Mal seit längerer Zeit auf ihre vier älteren Geschwister. Dabei bewegt sie vor allem ein Gedanke: dass alles so perfekt werden möge, wie es früher (vermeintlich) immer war. Aber dann kommt alles anders als gedacht, und das Hochzeitswochenende droht ein einziges Desaster zu werden... Der einzige Lichtblick: der süße Neffe des Wedding Planners. 

Nachdem ich die Beschreibung des Buches gelesen habe, kann ich mir die Atmosphäre, die Morgan Matson kreieren wird, bildlich vorstellen. Sie schreibt einfach die schönsten Bücher mit Sommer-Feeling. 


Abschließend bleibt mir nur zu sagen, dass es wenig schöneres gibt, als nach langer Wartezeit das neueste Buch eines Lieblingsautoren in Händen zu halten.




Montag, 17. April 2017

|Stefka reads| "Geheimzutat Liebe" und "Küsse zum Nachtisch" von Poppy J. Anderson

Ich habe vor ungefähr drei, vier Jahren zum ersten Mal ein Buch von Poppy J. Anderson gelesen. Es war einer dieser typischen "mega heißer, bindungsunwilliger Footballspieler trifft auf Mädchen von nebenan und BOOM! es ist um ihn geschehen"-Romane. Ich fand die Geschichte nicht schlecht, hatte aber auch nicht das Gefühl, unbedingt mehr von der Autoin lesen zu müssen. Hinzu kommt, dass sie es geschafft hat, mich vollkommen zu verwirren, denn sie war die erste Vertreterin eines Phänomens, von dem ich mittlerweile weiß, dass es unter deutschen Autorinnen recht weit verbreitet ist: obwohl sie Deutsche ist, schreibt sie unter englischem Pseudonym und auch die Schauplätze all ihrer Geschichten liegen in den USA. Kannte ich bis dato nicht und entsprechend habe ich damals nach der englischen Originalversion ihrer Bücher gesucht.

Vor einigen Wochen ist mir Poppy J. Anderson im TV wiederbegegnet. Sie war zu Gast in einer Talkshow und hat ihre erste Reihe vorgestellt, die auch in gedruckter Form und nicht nur als E-Book erschienen ist. In dieser Talkshow fand ich Poppy J. Anderson so sympathisch, dass ich mich entschlossen habe, dem ersten Band dieser Reihe eine Chance zu geben. Hinzu kommt, dass die Geschichte rundum ein Restraurant in Boston perfekt als leichte Lektüre für meine Reise nach Helsinki geeignet war.


"Geheimzutat Liebe" von Poppy J. Anderson

"Geheimzutat Liebe" 

Poppy J. Anderson 
Taste of Love #1 
Chick Lit Deutsch 
E-Book 
4 Sterne (von 5 möglichen Sternen) 

Eigentlich müsste Andrew Knight vollkommen zufrieden mit seinem Leben sein. Das Restaurant, das er in Boston aus dem Boden gestampft hat, floriert, und es sind nicht wenige, die ihn auf dem Weg zum ersten Stern sehen. Seine Gefühlswelt sieht jedoch komplett anders aus, denn er fühlt sich ausgebrannt und leer. Er zieht die Notbremse und entschließt sich zu einem spontanen Kurzurlaub in Maine. Dort kommt es zu einem folgenschweren (und buchstäblichen) Zusammenstoß mit Brooke Day. Diese versucht gerade mit allen Mitteln das marode, aber kulinarisch durchaus liebenswerte Restaurant ihrer Eltern über Wasser zu halten. Andrew entschließt sich spontan, ihr unter die Arme zu greifen, ohne jedoch seine wahre Idendität offen zu legen. In der bodenständigen, ländlichen Umgebung erwacht seine Leidenschaft für das Kochen wieder zum Leben. Und auch die widerspenstige Brooke lässt sein Herz höher schlagen... 

Diese Geschichte hat einfach Spaß gemacht. Das lag zum einen an der Chemie zwischen Brooke und Drew. Zwischen den beiden hat es von Anfang an geknistert und erfreulicherweise war die Phase zwischen Kennenlernen und tatsächlichem Zusammenfinden als Paar wunderbar lang. Ich mag es einfach, wenn die Protagonisten sich langsam annähern. Am allerliebsten ist es mir, wenn das ganze - wie hier geschehen - durch Rededuelle untermalt wird.

Zum anderen hat mir der Hintergrund der Geschichte wirklich gut gefallen. Ich mag die Ostküste der USA sehr gerne, so dass ich es super fand, mit diesem Buch nach Boston reisen zu dürfen. Auch die Idee, ein bzw. mehrere Restaurants als Spielplatz zu wählen, fand ich klasse. Eine super Abwechslung zu den üblichen Anwälten, Spitzensportlern oder Popsängern. Außerdem passt dieses Setting ganz wunderbar zur Autorin, die selbst eine begnadete Köchin ist und schon an diversen Kochshows teilgenommen hat.


"Küsse zum Nachtisch" von Poppy J. Anderson

"Küsse zum Nachtisch" 

Poppy J. Anderson 
Taste of Love #2 
Chick Lit 
Deutsch 
E-Book 
4 Sterne (von 5 möglichen Sternen) 

Nick O'Reilly ist nicht nur Koch im "Knight's", dem Restaurant von Andrew Knight aus dem ersten Band, sondern auch dessen bester Kumpel. Im Gegensatz zu seinem Freund, der einer reichen Bostoner Juristenfamilie entstammt, ist Nick in einfachen Verhältnissen bei seiner Oma aufgewachsen. Gerade deswegen arbeitet er um so härter an seinem Traum, ein preisgekrönter Koch zu werden. Entsprechend hart trifft in ein Verriss in einer Lokalzeitung. Wutentbrannt schlägt er dort in der Redaktion auf. Als er sieht, was für eine junge, hübsche Dame die Kritik verfasst hat, nimmt ihm das komplett den Wind aus den Segeln. Er ist hin und weg von Claire Parker-Wickham und möchte unbedingt ihr Herz erobern. Und welch bessere Möglichkeit hätte ein Koch bei einer Feinschmeckerin, als dies auf kulinarischem Wege zu versuchen? Er bietet Claire eine Wette an und hat nun sechs Wochen Zeit, sie von seinem Essen und seinen sonstigen Qualitäten zu überzeugen. 

Nick O'Reilly fand ich als männliche Hauptperson fast noch ein bisschen spannender als Drew aus dem ersten Band. Ich glaube, ich bin seinem raubeinigen Charme etwas verfallen... Außerdem hat Poppy J. Anderson ihm ein spannendes "Defizit" (ich möchte an der Stelle nicht näher ins Detail gehen, da ich einen Spoiler vermeiden möchte) angedichtet. Das hat mir gut gefallen, denn das war für eine Geschichte aus dem Bereich "Chick Lit" ein ernsthaftes Thema, bei dem ich zudem das Gefühl hatte, dass die Autorin den Hintergrund gut recherchiert hat.

Claire Parker-Wickham blieb im Vergleich zu Nick etwas blaß. Sie war mir nicht unsympathisch, hat es aber auch nicht geschafft, mich für sich einzunehmen.

Insgesamt wurde ich durch den zweiten Band ganz wunderbar unterhalten. Vor allem die Mischung aus Ostküstenatmosphäre und Küchengeschichten fand ich wieder überaus faszinierend. "Zart verführt", den dritten Band der Reihe, der am 26.10.2017 erscheinen wird, plane ich deshalb ebenfalls zu kaufen.

Freitag, 14. April 2017

|Stefka reads| "Liebe mich nicht" von Marah Woolf

 "Liebe mich nicht" von Marah Woolf


"Liebe mich nicht" 

Marah Woolf
GötterFunke 1
Young Adult
Deutsch
Hörbuch
3,5 Sterne (von 5 möglichen Sternen)

Wie bereits berichtet, habe ich mir nach langem hin und her endlich ein Hörbuch-Abo gegönnt. Mein erster Download war "Liebe mich nicht" von Marah Woolf. Marah Woolf ist ein deutsches Internetphänomen, also eine jener Autorinnen, die durch Selbstverlag und das Internet bekannt wurden. Sie heißt in echt Ina Körner, ist gelernte Bankkauffrau und Mutter von drei Kindern. "Liebe mich nicht" aus ihrer neuen Trilogie "GötterFunke" ist das erste Buch von ihr, das ich gelesen oder gehört habe. 

Als Jess gemeinsam mit ihrer Freundin Robyn auf dem Weg ins Ferienlager in den Rocky Mountains einen Autounfall baut, ist nichts mehr, wie es einmal war, denn Jess hat plötzlich das Gefühl, dass in ihrer Umgebung übernatürliche Dinge geschehen. Im Feriencamp lernt Jess den überirdisch schönen, manchmal aber auch überirdisch arroganten Cayden sowie seine Cousine Athene, seinen Cousin Apoll und deren Eltern kennen. Jess fühlt sich sofort zu Cayden hingezogen, wird aus dessen heiß-kaltem Verhalten jedoch nicht schlau. Das Gefühlskarussell dreht sich immer schneller, vor allem als Cayden auch noch mit Jess' eigentlich vergebener besten Freundin Robyn zu flirten beginnt... 

Nebenbei versucht Jess den seltsamen Vorkommnissen im Camp auf den Grund zu gehen. Langsam keimt in ihr der Verdacht, dass die Eltern von Apoll und Athene nicht nur eine Vorliebe für Namen aus der griechischen Mythologie hatten... 

Die Anleihen aus der griechischen Mythologie haben mir super gefallen. Nicht erst seit der "Starcrossed"-Serie von Josephine Angelini weiß ich, dass sich die alten Götter ganz wunderbar als Vorlage für ein Jugendbuch aus dem Bereich Fantasy eignen, ging es dort doch wilder und intriganter zu als in "Dallas", "Beverly Hills 90210" und "Gossip Girl" zusammen.

Auch der Schauplatz der Geschichte in einem in den Rocky Mountains (die ich 2015 live und in Farbe gesehen habe) gelegenen Feriencamp (wollen wir spätestens seit "American Pie" nicht alle unbedingt ein typisch, amerikanisches Ferienlager besuchen?) ist ganz nach meinem Geschmack. 

Weniger gefallen hat mir, dass Jess sich ständig von Cayden um den Finger wickeln lässt und keine klare Linie fährt. Das hat zur Folge, dass sich die immer gleiche Situation immer wieder abspielt (Jess und Cayden kommen sich näher - er weist sie ab - sie steht trotzdem wieder auf der Matte alternativ wird er eifersüchtig - und das Spiel beginnt wieder von vorne...), was mich als Leser/Zuhörer ermüdet und viel von der eigentlichen Spannung genommen hat. In diesen Momenten habe ich mich tatsächlich zu alt für dieses Buch gefühlt. 

Auch die anderen Charaktere sind mir zu klischeebeladen angelegt. Alle (nicht nur Cayden, Apoll und Athene) sehen wahnsinnig gut aus, die Mädchen haben keinen anderen Lebensinhalt, als einen Jungen zu finden, der zumindest für die Zeit des Camps mit ihnen "geht" und die Jungs sind sich der Situation nur allzu bewusst und spielen mit ihren Bewunderinnen. Auch hier fällt mir sofort das Stichwort "ermüdend" ein. 

Dass ich trotzdem Spaß an "Liebe mich nicht" hatte, lag vor allem an der zugrundeliegenden griechischen Mythologie und der Tatsache, dass ich das Buch gehört und nicht gelesen habe. Da man erfahrungsgemäß nicht ganz so aufmerksam hört, wie man liest, machen einem auch wiederholende Schilderungen nicht ganz so viel aus.

Eigentlich wollte ich deshalb dem noch nicht erschienenen Teil 2 eine Chance geben. Doch dann kam das Ende. Wobei "Ende" die Übertreibung des Jahrhunderts ist, denn das letzte Kapitel ist völlig offen und enthält so überhaupt keine Abrundung der Geschichte. Das finde ich dermaßen nervig, dass ich mir nicht vorstellen kann, Band 2 zu kaufen. Ich komme mir veralbert vor.

Mittwoch, 12. April 2017

|Stefka reads| "Wir Kassettenkinder - eine Liebeserklärung an die Achtziger" von Stefan Bonner und Anne Weiss

 "Wir Kassettenkinder - eine Liebeserklärung an die Achtziger"  von Stefan Bonner und Anne Weiss

"Wir Kassettenkinder - eine Liebeserklärung an die Achtziger" 

Stefan Bonner, Anne Weiss
Sachbuch
Deutsch
4 Sterne (von 5 möglichen Sternen)

Dieses Buch und ich haben eine witzige, gemeinsame Vergangenheit. Als ich mich letztes Jahr vor der Frankfurter Buchmesse durch die Lesungen und sonstigen Veranstaltungen gearbeitet habe, ist mir auch die Lesung mit diesen beiden Autoren ins Auge gefallen und auf meine Liste gewandert. Ohne, dass ich vorher jemals etwas über das Buch gehört hatte. Tatsächlich habe ich nur das Ende des Auftritts von Stefan Bonner und Anne Weiss gesehen und konnte mir somit kein richtiges Bild machen. Deshalb ist das Buch bei mir auch in Vergessenheit geraden. 

Als ich die Geburtstagsgeschenke von meinen Eltern ausgepackt habe, war da u.a. "Wir Kassettenkinder" dabei, und ich habe mich sehr gefreut. Meine Mutter hat die beiden Autoren im TV gesehen und - völlig unabhängig von meiner Begegnung mit Stefan Bonner und Anne Weiss auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse - gedacht, dass dieses Buch perfekt zu mir passt. 

Sie sollte recht behalten, denn ich habe dieses Buch an zwei Tagen verschlungen. Es hat einfach so viel Spaß gemacht, in meine Kindheit zurückzureisen... 

Die beiden Autoren berichten in dem Buch aus ihrer eigenen Kinder- und Jugendzeit in den 80er Jahren. Sie gliedern ihre Erinnerungen in verschiedene Teilbereiche wie Fernsehen und Medien, politische Entwicklungen etc.


 "Wir Kassettenkinder - eine Liebeserklärung an die Achtziger"  von Stefan Bonner und Anne Weiss


Das Buch kam zu seinem Titel, weil wir Kinder der 80er mit Kassettenrekordern aufgewachsen sind. Jeder von uns war im Besitz von Hörspielkassetten wie "Benjamin Blümchen", "Bibi Blocksberg" (= Bibi ohne Tina und Pferde) und "TKKG" oder hat erste Moderationsversuche auf leeren Kassetten mit der Aufnahmetaste gestartet. Die Autoren hatten auch Kassetten mit den Liedern ihrer Lieblingsbands. Da macht sich mein Altersunterschied zu den beiden bemerkbar, denn ich habe hier bereits CDs und keine Kassetten mehr gekauft. Ähnlich ergeht es mir, wenn von Atari und Commodore berichtet wird. Damals war ich noch zu jung für einen Computer. Ich kann mich erinnern, dass meine Freunde mit Technik affinen Eltern bereits mit Windows 3.X und nicht mehr auf DOS-Basis gearbeitet haben. (Leider fiel insbesondere mein Vater nie in diese Kategorie, weshalb wir weder einen Computer noch einen Videorekorder und erst ab 1993 eine Satellitenschüssel hatten. Aktuell kämpft meine Mutter für einen Internetzugang und hofft darauf, dass die Telekom die analogen Anschlüsse abschafft und mein Vater so zwangsweise auf digital umsteigen muss). 

Dass bereits wenige Jahre Altersunterschied in dem Zusammenhang eine große Auswirkung haben, geben die Autoren selbst zu. Auch erwähnen sie, dass sie nicht die Kompetenz besitzen, um über die 80er in der DDR zu schreiben.

Mir hat es trotzdem super viel Spaß gemacht, dieses Buch zu lesen und in Erinnerungen zu schwelgen. Vor allem in den Momenten, in denen die Autoren an Dinge erinnern, bei denen ich eigentlich der festen Überzeugung war, dass sie außer mir kein Mensch mehr kennt. Wie z.B. den Mehrteiler "Wilder Westen inclusive", der Ende der 80er an Weihnachten in der ARD lief. Darin begibt sich eine deutsche Familie auf eine abenteuerliche Reise in die USA. Das eine oder andere Fettnäpchfen inklusive. Könnte die ARD ruhig bei Gelegenheit auf "One" wiederholen... 

Besonders gerne erinnere ich mich außerdem an die Werbung der 80er Jahre. Das waren noch Zeiten, als man mit der "Allianz" unbesorgt in einen italienischen Tomatenstapel fahren konnte... 

Daneben wird aufgezeigt, dass unsere Kindheit und Jugend einerseits wunderbar idyllisch und geborgen war, andererseits auch in den 80ern Katastrophen und Skandale an der Tagesordnung waren: kalter Krieg, gehäckselte Küken in Nudeln, hochgiftige Stoffe im Rhein, Tschernobyl und das Waldsterben - um nur einige zu nennen. Den größten Aha-Moment hatte ich hier beim Lesen, als die Autoren aufgezeigt haben, wie dämlich und unverschämt sich die CSU (inklusive des exklusiv zitierten Seehofers) bereits damals beim Thema AIDS verhalten hat. Die Themen sind andere geworden, der menschenverachtende Ton ist geblieben. 

Die Welt stand also auch bereits in den 80ern am Abgrund. Es wäre nun interessant zu wissen, ob das trotzdem vorherrschende Gefühl der Geborgenheit von unserem damals jugendlichen Alter herrührt, oder ob wir mit dem zeitlichen Abstand vieles verklärt haben.

Ich kann das Buch allen, die ungefähr zwischen 1973 und 1985 geboren sind, ans Herz legen. Ich finde, "Wir Kassettenkinder" eignet sich auch ganz wunderbar als Geschenk für Geburtstagskinder dieser Jahrgänge. Insbesondere für die, die einen runden Geburtstag feiern...

Sonntag, 9. April 2017

|Behind the Screens #17| Helsinki, Frühling, Introvert

Ich nehme wieder an der gemeinsamen Aktion von Stehlblüten und book-walk teil und habe einen Wochenrückblick fabriziert.

Ein Bild aus Helsinki. Ich wollte schon immer ein Bilde vor einer rosa Blogger-Wand haben... :)

Wie war Deine Woche? 

Bunt gemischt. Ich bin erst am Montag Morgen aus Helsinki zurückgekehrt und hatte deshalb den Dienstag frei. Somit hatte ich nur drei Arbeitstage, von denen zwei auch noch eher kurz ausgefallen sind. "Überschafft" habe ich mich also nicht gerade. Es war etwas seltsam, aus dem winterlichen Helsinki direkt im deutschen Frühling zu landen (oder soll ich lieber Frühsommer sagen? Zumindest heute war es wirklich abartig warm). Ich war nur sieben Tage weg, aber in der Zeit ist die Natur regelrecht explodiert. Einerseits schön, andererseits habe ich mich heute nach dem Aufwachen so "allergisch" gefühlt, dass ich mich nicht getraut habe, joggen zu gehen. 


Waffeln
Sonntägliches Waffelfrühstück

Rezensionen sind das Kernstück eines jeden Buchblogs. Aber mal ehrlich: Liest du jede Rezension?

Hier muss ich ehrlich zugeben: nein. Zum einen lese ich nur Rezensionen zu Büchern, die in mein Interessengebiet fallen. Warum sollte ich auch die Besprechung eines blutrünstigen Thriller lesen, bei dem mir von vornherein klar ist, dass ich diesen nie lesen werde? Zum anderen bin ich bei Büchern, die mich grundsätzlich interessieren, etwas vorsichtig, denn man möchte nicht "gespoilert" werden. Sehr gerne lese ich Besprechungen zu Büchern, die ich bereits gelesen habe, denn da ist es spannend zu sehen, ob ein anderer Blogger denkt wie ich. Erst letzte Woche bin ich in dem Zusammenhang über die Rezension vom "Medienmädchen" zu "After Passion" von Anna Todd gestolpert und fand es erleichternd, dass sie meine Meinung zu dem Buch geteilt hat. 

Im Umkehrschluss muss ich natürlich auch akzeptieren, dass diese Kategorie nicht zu den meist geklickten hier auf dem Blog gehört.


Gemüsetarte
Immer, wenn ich von einer Reise zurückkomme, freue ich mich darauf, wieder selbst kochen und backen zu können. Nach der Rückkehr aus Helsinki gab es eine Gemüsetarte. Ich liebe es, bei so einer Gelegenheit ein schönes Muster zu legen.

Was war Dein Wochenhighlight?

Dass es so viel Spaß gemacht hat, mein Travel Diary über Helsinki und die Weltmeisterschaften im Eiskunstlaufen zu schreiben. Es war schön, das alles noch einmal zu erleben. Außerdem so viel entspannter als früher, als ich viel ausführlichere Berichte (inklusive Benennung aller Sprünge) geschrieben habe.  

Lesenswertes

Ich hatte mir schon länger vorgenommen, hier Links zu Blogartikeln zu teilen, die mich die Woche über besonders begeistert haben. Nur leider habe ich immer vergessen, mir die entsprechenden Highlights zu merken... Diese Woche sieht das anders aus, und ich präsentiere einen Link, den ich bei "Die Liebe zu den Büchern" entdeckt habe:


Dieser Text steht für einige Artikel, die ich in letzter Zeit zum Thema "introvertiert sein" gelesen habe, und die mir geholfen haben, mich selbst besser zu verstehen und nicht mehr unter dem Druck zu stehen, dass man so sein möchte, wie die Gesellschaft es fordert. Also z.B. einfach dazu zu stehen, dass man am Wochenende gerne alleine daheim ist und nicht ständig unterwegs sein muss. Dass man sich selbst genug ist. Außerdem weiß ich mittlerweile, dass es einen Unterschied zwischen "introvertiert sein" und "schüchtern sein" gibt. Ich habe mich zuvor viele Jahre gefragt, warum es mir nichts ausmacht, vor großen Gruppen fachlich zu sprechen (ich daran sogar Spaß habe), ich aber in jeglicher Small-Talk-Situation kläglich versage. 

Dazu passt auch, dass ich es super finde, Menschen zu kennen, mit denen man schweigen kann. Das ist mir erst in Helsinki wieder aufgefallen. Manch Außenstehender hat sich vielleicht gewundert, wenn wir beim Frühstück kaum geredet haben, aber ich finde das ganz wunderbar. 

Blogrückblick

Travel Diary Helsinki:



Freitag, 7. April 2017

|Stefka travels| Travel Diary: Helsinki during 2017 Figure Skating World Championships - Day 6 and 7

April 2, 2017 

Riesenrad Helsinki
At the harbour of Helsinki.

As the exhibition started at 14:00, we had the morning off. We went by boat to the fortress Suomenlinna and had a walk there. When K. and I had been to Helsinki in 2006, we had also already visited Suomenlinna. But back then, it had been super sunny and warm and today, it was foggy and cold. That's why it was like visiting a totally different place. Everything looked mystical...


Suomenlinna
One of the bridges of Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna
Fog over Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna
Typical Nordic houses on Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna
Café on Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna
Passing an island while leaving Suomenlinna

sea gull
Sea gull

Exhibition

Team Unique

  • Misha Ge - music by Justin Bieber: Evgenia Medvedeva was sitting on the boards for him. This was one of coolest exhibition programs ever. This boy can dance! If he really retires as a singles skater, I think he should give ice dancing a try. He showed more dance moves in this exhibition piece than all the ice dance teams in the FD combined. He probably needs a partner who is not that tall, that's why I would suggest Yana Kokhlova as his partner... 
  • Emmi Peltonen - TFB (typical female ballad) 
  • Cappellini & Lanotte - "La Cumparsita": I had already seen this program at Nebelhorn. Fun to watch.  
  • Shoma Uno - TMB (typical male ballad): he is really cute and has a looot of devoted fans. Kind of like the German ski-jumpers in the millenium years... 
  • Stolbova & Klimov - "Please, Don't Stop the Rain": they have the best throws (alongside their teammates Tarasova & Morozov). 
  • Gabrielle Daleman - "Confident": a real loud disco beat. 
  • Boyang Jin - Cowboy: he had amazingly fast toe-steps. Oh, the good, old times... 
  • James & Cipres - "Unsteady": they ended with a headbanger which was totally appreciated by the audience. 
  • Mai Mihara - "Meditation": very pretty. 
  • Shibutanis - "Do You Remember": choreography by Stephane Lambiel. 
  • Valtter Virtanen - "Island Song": looked like coming straight from Baccardi Island. I liked it. 
  • Team Unique: first time ever I've seen real synchro skating. Interesting to watch. 
  • Törn & Partanen - Joe Cocker: bizar and very short number. They wore fat suits! 
  • Savchenko & Massot - modern "Romeo & Juliet": she died at the end. 
  • Kaetlyn Osmond - "Hallelujah": one of my fave songs - NOT. 
  • Bobrova & Soloviev - "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White": probably the most real dancing we've seen in ice dance all week long. I loved it! This would make such a cool Latin OD. Plus, the music brought back memories because Viktor Petrenko had a pro program to the same music. 
  • Javier Fernandez - "Touch of Evil": I found the music kind of unnerving. 
  • Duhamel & Radford - "Heros" by Eric Clapton: an angsty program. 
  • Carolina Kostner - "Claire de Lune" by Debussy: so, so beautiful. It touched my heart. I had goosebumps. 
  • Papadakis & Cizeron - "Belvedere": surprise, surprise, another contemporary program. 
  • Jason Brown - Jamiroquai: it's just so much fun to watch him. And never boring. I looove his over-extended Russian splits. More of this, please. 
  • Sui & Han - Andrea Bocelli 
  • Evgenia Medvedeva - "Meditation": what a talent, doing triple-triple combinations during the exhibition. She makes one feel kind of blessed to be allowed to watch her. I know, there will be more difficult times coming for her (maybe a growth spurt, injuries, a time she realizes the pressure she is under) but right now it's just pure joy to watch her. I hope everyone around her takes good care of her.   
  • Virtue & Moir - "Sorry" by Justin Bieber: I missed the moment when Justin Bieber became a bing thing in figure skating. Nevertheless, kind of a cool program. 
  • Yuzuru Hanyu - "The Swan": he looked so much like Johnny Weir in this costume. An elegant, classical program. 
  • The grande finale - "Light Up the Ice": the offical song of these World Championships is really cool, I think. It has a stirring beat, perfect for such a final. The skaters were having a lot of fun and it was a sight to remember seeing Medvedeva do a triple-triple-triple combination - just for fun. She beat Hanyu here hands down - who was struggling to do two quads in a row or a combination with a 3 axel. 

Exhibition final
Grande finale of the exhibition

That night, we wanted to eat something Finnish and had reserved a table at restaurant "Zetor" which has a connection with the "Lenningrad Cowboys". The restaurant itself is kind of bizarr with a lot of old stuff hanging around and some tractors standing inside and in front of it. The food was good. I had a pearl barely risotto (something I had always wanted to try) with chanterelle and some roasted blueberries with a cookie dough cover and vanilla ice cream for dessert. This was very, very yummy. A nice and relaxing ending to our fabulous trip to Worlds in Helsinki.



Graupenrisotto
Risotto

April 03, 2017

The next day, we had to get up really early as our flight was leaving before 8:00 in the morning. I was wide awake when I couldn't find the second keycard to our hotel room. It had accidentally fallen into the bin standing in front of the desk in our room. 

We took a taxi to the airport and the security check went much smoother than in Frankfurt with the exception of K.'s jacket being deemed "explosivly dangerous". 

The flight was unproblematic and I had a very nice moment when I left the plane and the stewardess told me she liked the way I had braided my hair and that she had been looking at it all flight-long. What a nice compliment. 

And this is also the end of my travel diary from Helsinki. I hope you had fun reading abut my Finnish adventures. We plan to be back with a review from Nebelhorn Trophy in September. 2018 or 2019 Euros would have also been an option (we are so motivated to watch some more live skating right now) but Moscow and Minsk seem to be too complicated to reach.

Donnerstag, 6. April 2017

|Stefka travels| Travel Diary: Helsinki during 2017 Figure Skating World Championships - Day 5


My Helsinki


April 1, 2017 

Today, we were greeted by a mixture of snow and rain which K. had to endure without an umbrella because she had forgot and lost hers at the rink the day before. I forgot my pillow there as well but luckily it's blue and blended in with the actual seat so well that it was not spotted and I could still find it at my place. 

Men LP 

It feels like I've known Michael Christian Martinez from the Philippines forever. Special thanks to him for doing the comeback of the "Charlotte". 

Keniji Tanaka woke up the audience by skating to Yagudinesque circus music. 

Paul Fentz is another skater I've seen quite often over the years and I've definitely never seen him nail an LP like he did here. I can still remember the times when German men were struggling to do a 3 axel... 

Julian Zhi Jie Yee is another crowd favourite from Nebelhorn Trophy. He rocked the ice to music by James Brown and is coached by Michael Hopfes, a former German skater now living and coaching in Canada. Julian presented the Vakhtang Murvanidze element (the real name escapes me, you glide over the ice and lean back until your body is parallel to the ice) which I loved seeing again. 

Moris Kvitelashvili "put a spell" on Sissy Krick (considering the fact that Germany has reached the status of a developing country in skating, there are still one hell of a lot German judges and officials around...) and some Japanese fans by playing to them and moved up several places in the standings with this LP. 

Misha Ge's "Nutcracker" LP was simply fantastic. What a balletic masterpiece. I loved it. It was one of the rare programs you wish would go on and on and not end after 4:30. Most amazing moment was when he showed his emotions and the audience just screamed in response. Gave me goosebumps. I definitely need to watch this again... 

I'm sorry to announce this but the last Czech skater being able to hold it together in the LP was Petr Barna. Michal Brezina (and also Tomas Verner when he was still competing) managed to have another melt-down in the LP. 

If I look in Deniss Vasiljev's face, I see little Ilia Kulik winning 1995 Euros. I have to mention once again how much he moves like his coach. His final combination spin was fabulous, too. 

I was glad Brendan Kerry wasn't overly nervous and did a solid LP to music from "Pirates of the Carribean". Oh, how I would love to hear this music again in ice dance... 

The third group was the most boring and inconsistent group of all four. I found most music choices rather boring. Mikhail Kolyada was the first one with upbeat music but, unfortunately, he made some mistakes. 

I love how Jason Brown can make something interesting out of even the tingliest piano music. It's such a pleasure to watch him skate. The way he holds his body, how he keeps his free leg straight after every jump landing... He even brought the spiral sequence and the Russian split (with over extension - kind of like a Russian rhythmic sports gymnast) back on the ice. Another program I need to watch again. 


Yuzuru Hanyu
Yuzuru Hanyu


Yuzuru Hanyu was pure magic. He nailed every single element and this is definitely one of the skating moments I will never forget in my whole life. The audience went totally wild and covered the whole ice surface with flowers and stuffed animals. A program I have already re-watched. But I can't believe people are criticising his costumes (something along the line of looking like a Russian ice dancer from the 90's). What do they want? Everyone skating in all-black-everything? How boooring... I love how his costumes remind me of Johnny Weir. 

Who in all world is picking the music for Nathan Chen? This kid has not much more than the quads uptonow and then, you're making it super difficult for him by choosing music like "The Polovetsian Dances"? A music made for grown-up, super dramatic ice dancers like Bestemianova & Bukin? Something a little bit lighter should have worked so much better for him. 

Boyang Jin may not be the most artistic skater, either, but he was very enjoyable to watch both in the SP and his "La Strada" LP because he chose his music wisely and sold his programs very well. Luckily, no "stone-faced Asian warrior". What a quadfest he delivered! 

Patrick Chan's music composed by Eric Radford was a bit on the monotonous side. The first part of his program was flawless but, then, he started to make some mistakes and lost any chance of winning a medal. 

I liked Shoma Uno so much better in the LP than the SP. He skated to Tango music and fought his way to silver. I liked how he never gave up and his 3 axel 3 Toe combination was one of the most explosive things I've ever seen in skating. 

The Canadians next to me left before Fernandez. Huh? I'm trying to imagine how many ski races in Garmisch I would have had to leave early, if I had left after every disappointing performance by Aksel... 

Javier Fernandez' "Elvis" LP was even shakier than the one from Euros and catapulted him out of the medals. 

Yuzuru Hanyu during the medal ceremony
Yuzuru Hanyu during the medal ceremony

Medal ceremony of the men
Medal ceremony of the men

As we had no intention to watch the complete FD, we went to town again and had lunch at some Mexican restaurant. Nevertheless, we managed to be back at the rink during group 1. Us skipping parts of a competition never seems to work out... 

Nicolaj Sørensen must be very handsome because I mentioned again in my notes how "easy on the eye" he is. 

I liked Tobias & Tkachenko's "Swan Lake". And not just because I've always had a soft spot for him... 

One can't thank Kaliszek & Spodyriev enough for their music choice: their "Dirty Dancing" was hands down the most fun to watch FD of the whole night. If someone had told me in the 90's about Sylwia Nowak choreographing the most entertaining FD for 2017 World, I would have laughed (because I had Nowak & Kolassinski in the "boring" category). 

I called the third group "the Spanish group" because it consisted of two Tangos and "Concerto de Aranjuez". Therefore kudos to Cappellini & Lanotte for choosing "Charly Chaplin". 

Because nothing was able to grab my attention, I started to wonder why I don't like today's ice dancing that much anymore. I came to the conclusion the dancers are spending ¼ of their FDs with going in and out of lifts and doing them. Add the unnerving dance spin and the twizzles and there is not much left for REAL dancing. 


Rahkamo & Kokko
Best thing about ice dancing in Helsinki: costumes of Rahkamo & Kokko on display at the rink ("La Strada", Beatles, "Valse Triste")

After the last group, I was more than ready to dig out an old ice dance tape with footage from the 90's... I kind of liked Chock & Bates but, unfortunately, they had a disastrous skate. All the other teams of the last group looked like they were competing in "Dancing with the Stars" - all of them doing "contemporary". The only difference to the TV show: they were not barefoot. Yes, it's nice Papadakis & Cizeron "invented" something new with their FD from 2014/15 but must they go on doing the same FD over and over again? And must everyone copy them? Yes, there have always been "trends" in ice dancing (the story-telling from the early 90's, going back to "real" dancing for 1994 Olys etc.) but it has never been lacking diversity as much as it does right now. I was seriously craving some Russian folk at the end of this FD. Or some "Man in the Iron Mask". Hell, I would have even taken something by the Duchesnays... ;-)

Mittwoch, 5. April 2017

|Stefka travels| Travel Diary: Helsinki during 2017 Figure Skating World Championships - Day 4


March 31, 2017 

We could not believe our eyes at breakfast: after two days with picture perfect (but cold) weather, it was actually snowing. Yet, I must admit that I kind of liked this weather. I looove snow and the climate in Helsinki was just so much better for my allergies. 


Snow in Helsinki
Snow in Helsinki

Short Dance 

It has never been our plan to watch the complete SD. But we arrived almost on time at the rink, anyway - even though we went by tram (and not the faster train) that day. Maybe, we would have stayed in bed instead, if someone had told us beforehand about K.'s joke from yesterday becoming true. We had wondered about which music would be used during the SD (shows you how well-informed we are these days...) and we had laughed real hard at K. suggesting a combination of Blues and Hip Hop. Oh well, the first two couples used EXACTLY this combination. I still can't believe it and to be honest I don't know how I survived sitting through over 20 "Blues combined with something else" short dances. Especially as I already hated the good, old "Midnight Blues" CD. I demand the comeback of the "Yankee Polka"! And yes, the Polka OD from the 1991-92 season is my favourite OD of all time. There should be more Dirndl and Lederhosen in ice dance... 

Smart & Diaz were the only dancers of the first few groups who were able to hold my attention. Apart from this, I took helpful notes like "the Belorussian guy is rocking a see-through shirt" or "the costume of the Georgian guy looked like a copy of Evgeni Platov's 'You'll See' costume". I was suffering from such a huge Blues overdose, I even mentioned I would have preferred watching Rauer & Rauer's "One Night in Bangkok" FD or Vernekohl & Kurakin's "Shakira" FD... 

The Polish girl changed her costume before the Hip Hop part (on-ice costume changes seem to be quite en vogue these days) and suddenly, I found myself wondering what Kauc & Zych are doing these days?! Would Ziggy have enjoyed today's ice dance (RIP)? 

At least, there was some eye-candy present: Nicolai Sørensen vom Danemark is quite hot. Moreover, I have seen Ilia Tkachenko for the first time at 2007 Junior Worlds and he is still an example for my type of ice dancer: a tall guy with good posture. 

It was the first time ever I've seen Virtue & Moir skate live and I liked the first part of their SD but the rest was still ... Blues. 

Alexandra Stepanova looks like she could be a model and little Bukin has some Bukin in him which makes them quite the nice couple. Which led to me thinking about what my three favourite FDs of all time are. The result: 1) "Air" by Klimova & Ponomarenko, 2) "The Feeling Begins" by Grishuk & Platov and 3) "Polovetsian Dances" by Bestimianova & Bukin. Looking at this result, what would make ice dance great again for me? Tarasova doing some choreo... 

And what is K.'s and my summary after this SD? We could have saved us watching the whole thing because our favourites are still the two SDs we had already seen at Nebelhorn this past September: Gilles & Poirier's Blues and disco combiantion where he looks like Tom Selleck's long lost brother and Chock and Bates' program to some not so unnerving Blues music, including some cool moves performed by them. 

BTW, I don't want to offend anyone. If you love today's ice dance, good for you. I on the other hand can't help myself sounding like the rabid fans of Torvill & Dean I never wanted to be like. Oh, the good old times... 

We treated ourselves to some pizza during the break before the ladies LP. The waiter at the pizza place looked like a Russian tenor (you know, like the guys Anna Netrebko is dating) but actually surprised us by speaking German. 

Ladies LP 

I just wish there would be more girls choosing music like Laurine Lecavelier did with "Grease". Her program totally stood out because she was skating to some fun, upbeat music. 

Free WLAN at the rink is nice but it also leads to people staring at their phones instead of watching the skaters on the ice. I found some lady sitting next to me during ladies LP quite rude because she did this pretty much the whole time during the early groups. 

Everything comes again, I guess. Like Sarah Brightman's "Adagio" which was interpreted quite passionately by Loena Hendrickx. Now, I'm patiently waiting for the comeback of "Time to Say Good-Bye". 

I really like Ivett Toth but, unfortunately, she followed the example of her coach Yulia Sebestyen at the LP here in Helsinki and popped and aborted several of her jumps. 

Mariah Bell's "East of Eden" LP totally made me think of Michelle Kwan. 


Worlds Helsinki Japan
The Japanese going wild.

Mai Mihara skated a perfect and very cute LP and whole Japan went wild for her. 

Have I already mentioned that everything comes again? This is also true about "Riverdance" and toe-steps (as performed by Rika Hongo). 

The flower girls wore blue and when I saw tiny Elizabet Tursynbaeva in her blue dress that night, I thought she was one of them. She was actually smaller and I wondered what Carolina feels like when being on the ice alongside her. Like a mommy? Elizabet Tursynbaeva had a good skate and made me think of two very young skaters from the past who had also worn a blue dress: Oksana Baiul (at Worlds 1993) and Tara Lipinski (at Olys 1998). 

At first, I was a bit heart-broken about Carolina Kostner not having a clean skate. I've always dreamt about seeing her do a perfect LP but I've mostly only been able to watch her do disastrous stuff like at 2005 Euros, instead. In the end, it was okay, I think, because she moved up in the standings and it was such a beautiful program choreography-wise. 

The last group was an emotional roller coaster ride and that's the reason why I barely took any notes (unlike during the SD...). 

I had tears in my eyes after Anna Pogorilaya's disastrous LP. I like her so much and it was heart-breaking to see her fall all over the place. But I also think one must really give her credit for never giving up and trying again and again. The support she received from the audience warmed my heart, too. One of the best crowd reactions ever. 


podium ladies
The podium.

Evgenia Medvedeva was simply mesmerizing. Everything she did was so perfect (and this after her two teammates had bombed which I'm sure she must have seen/sensed before her skate). I'm very happy I saw this live. One of the skating moments I will never forget in my entire life. Just amazing. 

The two Canadian girls Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Osmond were very good, too. I had feared pressure could be too much for them and they could go down a similar way like Josee Chouinard at 1994 Worlds (not sure about the year, she was placed in the top three after a wonderful SP (where she wore a cute blue dress with flowers) but bombed in the LP) but they were able to hold it together and brought home silver and bronze to Canada. What a great surprise!

Dienstag, 4. April 2017

|Stefka travels| Travel Diary: Helsinki during 2017 Figure Skating World Championships - Day 3

My Helsinki

March 30, 2017 

Skyline von Helsinki
Die Skyline von Helsinki

We did some sight-seeing before the men SP and had a look at the Uspenski Cathedral and the White Cathedral of Helsinki. We also went inside both churches and the Uspenski Cathedral is a typical Russian orthodox cathedral (with loads of gold) whereas the White Cathedral is very plain and typical Protestant. 

Uspenski cathedral
Uspenski cathedral


The ceiling of the Uspenski cathedral

Turtle at the harbor
Turtle at the harbor

Men SP

Even though we didn't plan to do so, we arrived in time for the first group of the men SP and I recognized them all: Igor Lukanin, Anthony Liu, Michael Hopfes... The coaches, not the skaters. 

Martinez and Yee (two more regulars from Nebelhorn) were as consistent as ever and Kevin Reynolds impressed us with his spectacular hair looking like a super dry-blowed haircut straight from the 80's. He skated to Finnish folk music and performed a flawless program even though he is still lacking something in his overall skating.

Alexander Majorov (who was still a little boy in my memory) skated to Finnish folk music, too. The audience loved this, of course, and he also skated without a mistake.

Moris Kvitelashvili made me smile because he skated to a song straight out of the 90's: "What Is Love". I wish more skaters would make good use of the new music rules and try something new.

Brendan Kerry from the upcoming skating super power Australia did a great performance to "Singing in the Rain" which made me think of Kurt Browning.

Apart from this, group 3 could have been a Euros competition from the 90's because it had Urmanov and Zagorodniuk as coaches. 

I met Dorota Zagorska with Mariusz Siudek and their son at one of the food stands and had to smile because we had seen a picture the night before which had made us think that Dorota had aged very badly. In reality, it had not been Dorota in the picture with Mariusz and their son but probably the granny...

When you watch Deniss Vasiljevs' skating, it's obvious who his coach is. The way he moves his body, the way he holds his head - it looks just like Stephane Lambiel. Surprisingly, people seem to be more positive towards this combination than Joubert looking like Yagudin. I just hope Deniss didn't receive too many gifts on which there was written "please, pass on to your coach"...

We were kind of shocked when we saw Stannick Jeanette: he looks about twice as big as he did when he was still an active skater. He also is bald now and looks more like Scott Hamilton than his former self. 

I absolutely loved and adored Misha Ge's "Liebestraum". So balletic, so many beautiful arm moments. He just stands out from the rest of the skaters and I was so happy he made a music choice against the trend of Blues and Jazz.

Mikhail Kolyada's cheeks made me think of Ilia Kulik. He performed a great Tango SP.

Finally, there was the quad lutz Michael Weiss had promised a looong time ago: done by Boyang Yin during his funny "Spiderman" program. 

As much as I like Denis Ten, after his SP it became obvious that one quad is not enough anymore...

Who in all world chose Nathan Chen's SP music? The first part of bombastic, classical music was way too heavy for this kid. Besides, he fell on the 3 axel.

Michal Brezina celebrated his birthday that day and had a better skate than I had seen him do in a long time. He only fell on the 3 lutz.


Yuzura Hanyu
Yuzura Hanyu and all of his presents

Yuzuru Hanyu's SP to music by Prince could have been epic without his mistake. But he still rocked the ice and I really like this program.

Shoma Uno couldn't impress me with his skating during the SP. Yes, his jumps were great but I thought the classical music he had chosen didn't fit his style at all. He actually reminded me body-type-wise of Elvis Stojko... But I can already reveal that I liked him much better in the LP and exhibition. There, he also looked much cuter because his hair looked way better.

Maxim Kovtun left the impression of something being wrong with his leg during the warm-up. This considered, he had a rather solid skate.

Javier Fernandez had a picture perfect skate to "Malaguena". But I must admit he has always left me cold and it was the same here. Sometimes, it just does not click with a certain skater. 

Patrick Chan is another example for a skater who has never been my type. But here, I actually liked his SP to "Dear Prudance" (including bird noises). 

I admire Jason Brown for the overall quality in his skating and how he usually delivers when it counts. He just looks sooo smooth... And I love the way he carries his free leg after landing a jump. Also kudos to him for staying up there without a quad. 

We made good use of the break before the pairs LP by going back to the city center. This time, we gave "Joe and the Juice" a try and had a very yummy avocado sandwich there. They had a charming sign asking for tip: "Leave us some money for Mika being able to afford Tinder Pro. Instead, you can also leave your phone number."

Pairs LP

The first group produced solid skates and showed it was a good idea to cut down to 16 pairs teams. No more shaky lifts and only double throws and jumps in the finale. No more Rennik & Saks moments...

I was happy it was a conciliatory ending for Stolbova & Klimov. Hopefully, they will get their act together for a (final) successful Olympic season next year.

Sometimes, I really don't understand the music choices of skaters. Finally, lyrics are allowed and what do skaters and their choreographers choose? Good, old "Love Story" with lyrics...

Seguine & Bilodeau had such a lovely LP here in Helsinki. I hope they have a bright future lying ahead of them.

Marchei & Hotarek rocked the house after a few rough skates with their "James Bond" LP (to music by Adele who isn't actually one of our faves). I felt so happy for them having such a great competition here in Helsinki after one or two rough seasons. I think one can't admire Valentina enough for her transition from single to pairs skating. 

Yesterday, I was talking about music by Patricia Kaas as a new possibility for a skating program. Today, my wish (joke) came true... I don't think it was the perfect choice for Duhamel & Radford who  should be better of with some more upbeat music. Today, they looked heavy on their feet, probably due to his injury.

Tarasova & Morozov had - especially considering her injury - a solid skate with one wobbly lift and and one messy throw. I always have to smile when I hear their "Music was my first love" because it's just so 80's (used by Rigel & Nischwitz back then and later by Berezhnaya  & horrible Shliakhov). I was so hoping they would not place 4th in the end. 

Yu & Zhang's LP had some very ... mediative music and were therefore not able to hold my attention.

Savchenko & Massot produced a very good skate but I must say I'm not a fan of the thrown 3 axel. Even if she hangs on to the landing like she did here, it breaks the flow and perfection of the program.  The big support they received from the crowd every time they stepped on the ice here, made me wonder if them representing an obscure skating country plays a role in this...  

Sui & Han were flawless during "Bridge Over Troubled Water" except for her falling on one SBS jump. I was really happy about them finally being able to win the gold medal. They totally deserved this. 

Sui & Han
Sui & Han

Savchenko & Massot
Savchenko & Massot

medal ceremony pairs
medal ceremony pairs


The pairs LP wasn't as well skated as the pairs SP but, yet, enjoyable to watch.

|Stefka travels| Travel Diary: Helsinki during 2017 Figure Skating World Championships - Day 2


My Helsinki

March 29, 2017 

Like already mentioned, I loved the breakfast at the hotel. The design of the breakfast place was very beautiful, too. It looked like a real kitchen. Design is something the Finns are very good at. 

The way to the Hartwall Arena was quite easy for us even though the arena wasn't just around the corner. We walked for about ten minutes to the station and then we could take every train leaving Helsinki train station because every train would stop at Pasila where the Hartwall Arena is located. From Pasila, it was a 5-10 minute long walk to the rink. All in all, it took us about 1/2 hour to reach the rink.

Hartwall Arena
The Hartwall Arena

I was really annoyed by not being allowed to take full water bottles into the rink. I'm pretty sure this was not for security reasons only but also in order to sell more of the expensive drinks at Hartwall Arena (1 Pepsi size 0.4 = 4 EUR). 

Ladies Short Program

We arrived shortly after Anne-Line Gjersem (the first skater to take the ice) had skated her SP. Already after the first few minutes of competition, it was obvious how great the atmosphere at these Worlds would be all week long. Every skater was supported and the appearance of the Finnish girl Emmi Peltonen brought the house down. 


Carolina Kostner being introduced
Carolina's group

The first highlight was watching the comeback of Carolina Kostner - even though she messed up one jump and one spin (which made me think of an Italian friend who once told me Carolina always messes up her spins when she is nervous). Carolina has grown up so much over the years and it warmed my heart to see how much everyone in the audience seemed to love Carolina. I still remember all the criticism she has received in her earlier years (even from fellow Italians) and nowadays everyone seems to be so in love with her skating and grateful for her still skating. I dare to say she has reached the status of Noriaki Kasai in ski-juming and Ole Einar Bjørndalen in biathlon. 

When has Rafael Arutunian become THE ladies coach? It felt like he trained 1/4 of the ladies field here. Kind of a mystery to me as he has been for about ten years the coach of Sasha Abt and nobody else. But I bet most of his ladies are way easier to guide and much more disciplined than Abt... When I read the name of Arutunian's assistant coach Nadia Kanaeva, it ringed a bell. I did an online research and found out I indeed have her on tape from years back when she won a silver medal at Junior Worlds. Maybe, I'm not such a casual skating fan - even after all those years. 

We had already seen Mariah Bell at Nebelhorn Trophy a few years ago and that's why I could not stop wondering why she dyed her light hair black. This aside, it's always a pleasure to watch her.

I loved Ivett Toth's Michael Jackson program. She was totally on and rocked the ice. I like how fierce she is. And it's also wonderful to see Julia Sebestyen as her coach. Yulia still looks like what she did when she was skating herself. Unlike certain former male skaters...

Japan in Helsinki
Big in Japan

It was a magical moment when Wakaba Higuchi took the ice. Suddenly, it felt like being in Japan because a sea of Japanese flags went up in the stands. I will never forget this view. This was also the moment we recognized how many Japanese fans where present here in Helsinki. As they travel with flags from numerous countries, it looked like a mixture of several different nations before Wakaba appeared on the ice. 

Kaetlyn Osmond nailed every single element of her beautiful Edith Piaff program. Wonderful.

I wasn't too fond of Karen Chen's elevator music but kudos to her for presenting the first spiral of the event.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva's "I've Got Rhythm" made me go down memory lane and remember Gordeeva & Grinkov's amazing pro program to the same music. Elizabet is incredibly tiny and cute and it was so funny to see how embarrassed she was by her mom's exuberant behavior after her performance. 

Another magical moment was Evgenia Medvedeva's short program. I don't think I have ever seen a more talented skater perform live. It looks like she barely touches the ice. Just so smooth. And those soulful, big eyes... 

Ashley Wagner wasn't as good as last year but I liked her, anyway, and would like to thank her for making something out of the new freedom when it comes to music choices by selecting "Sweet Dreams" as her SP music.

Maria Sotskova had a rough warm-up but skated a flawless SP. She still looks a bit shy out there on the ice, nevertheless, I enjoy watching her clean style. 

Anna Pogorilaya has become one of my favourites over the last two or three years. She has never been one of the hyped super talents of Russian ladies skating but managed to establish herself up there in the Russian top three, anyway. Moreover, she is the most womanly, grown-up of all the young Russian girls. In that way, she reminds me a bit of Carolina, already. Here, she ruled the ice with her SP to a Tango from "The Scent" (we had a bit of a Sale & Pelletier afternoon with this music and also "Love Story" being used during the ladies SP). I just love her presence on the ice. 

We established a routine during the break before the pairs SP: we took the train back to the city center and had lunch there. This time, at the Espresso House - something like the "Starbucks" of the Nordic countries. 


The audience in Helsinki
The audience in Helsinki

Pairs SP

Both, the former and the current Junior World Champions (Duskova & Bidar and Alexandrovskaya & Windsor) rocked the short program. I hope both teams will stay together (and we will not see Bidar skating for Italy, one day...). And how exotic is this? A pairs team from Australia! Will we see Worlds in Australia, now? (Anyone else who still remembers the soap opera around 2000 Worlds in Nice?).

Hao Zhang (now skating with Xiaoyu Yu) looks about twice as big as when he had still skated with Dan Zhang. Yet, he has not learnt how to spin... 

I loved Ryom & Kim from North Korea. They had a very good skate to "A Day in the Life" by the Beatles (didn't - soon to be divorced - Michelle Kwan skate to this music?) and it was heart-warming to see how happy they were after their skate.

Whatever happened to the curls of Rockne Brubaker (who we saw winning the gold at Junior Worlds in Oberstdorf)?

I love the elegance of Zabijako & Enbert. She looks like a ballerina and he has one hell of a good posture. (Oh, how I miss Sergei Grinkov and Anton Sikharulidze...).

Marchei & Hotarek rocked the ice to "Seven Nations Army". Watching her skate is like meeting an old friend on the ice. 

Ilyushechkina & Moscovitch presented a very lovely waltz. It was pure joy to watch them perform. She seems to be so happy in Canada. 

The level of this pairs SP was so high, even Kiefer & Ziegler (who we know by heart from Nebelhorn) had the skate of their life - but couldn't make it to the LP.

Too bad about the wobbly throw of Seguin & Bilodeau. I love them (another Nebelhorn find) and no one can do "cute" quite like them.   

James & Cipres had a weird fall on the throw 3 twist (after already having landed it properly) but made a fantastic comeback afterwards and nailed every other element. 

Sui & Han are definitely my favourite Chinese pair team EVER. I'm not a big Blues fan (which should hunt me later on this week...) but they totally rocked the SP even with this music. Hands-down the best team, this night.

Savchenko & Massot have a great SP which I had already liked at Nebelhorn (especially the "leap of faith"-similar element). Even after this not flawless SP, Aliona looked so much happier than ever while still skating with Robin Szolkowy and under Steuer. Reading about how she and Robin never ever really celebrated any of their gold medals (together) made me think this is one of the saddest sports stories ever. I think the figure skating community should be stricter regarding "coach and athletes" relationships because there never seems to be anything positive coming out of it (the last happy couple was probably Tamara Moskvina & Igor Moskvin which was like a century ago). 

Stolbova & Klimov had a nightmarish skate with several mistakes (including another strange fall on the 3 twist). But it was great to see them support each other and not being mad at each other after their skate. This is how a pairs team should work. In good times and in bad times.

I have a huge soft spot for Tarasova & Morozov. The names (like Tatjana Tarasova skating with Nikolai Morozov). Their clean, old-fashioned style. The fact that they look like Tiril Eckhoff skating with Johannes Thignes Bø. I loved their SP and in my opinion they had the most effortless throw of all pairs teams.  

What a fabulous first day at these Worlds!