Impressions of Peru

It was a long awaited journey, one that took almost a year to plan, but Eurocircle’s second annual tour abroad, culminated into a week of physical and emotional upheaval. It wasn’t an easy voyage, as Peru proved to be a land of great geographical and cultural distances, but after enduring high altitude sickness and physical exertion to make an early morning trek to the top of Machu Pichu, we all agreed it was a journey we will never forget.

Planning an annual trip for EuroCircle, an organization largely made up of diverse, experienced world travelers isn’t easy. For the most part, as a group, we have seen it and done it all, so selecting an itinerary that would be stimulating and rewarding is always a challenge.

Let’s just say, that Peru and its national treasures did not disappoint. From our first day in Lima when we were welcomed into the Casa Diez Canseco by its illustrious owner for a scrumptious lunch and a personal home tour, we were always greeted warmly and experienced genuine hospitality.

The real journey began when we embarked for Machu Pichu, a destination that proved to be much more remote than we all expected. The first obstacle to this elusive peak was our descent into Cuzco. At 11,000 feet above sea level, this town knocked us all down to our knees, as approximately six hours into our arrival, most of us started to feel the effects of oxygen depletion.

From extreme nausea, to vertigo, confusion and massive headaches, our travelers spent the first day acclimating to the high altitude. Luckily, we rested at the breathtaking Sonesta Posadas del Inca, a beautiful 18th century monastery surrounded by lush gardens, delicious food and yes, oxygen tanks.

Upon recovery, we descended down into the lush Sacred Valley, where we were greeted by friendly llamas, alpacas, and vicunas. It was amazing to feed and play with the calm and gentle animals, but the respite was too short.

Without a moment to spare, we boarded a bus and set off for Ollantaytambo to visit the famous Inca stronghold built from immense blocks of stone. The climb to the peak of this fortress lead us to spectacular views of the valley below, and a great appreciation for traditional Inca architecture, still in use by the locals.

Another circuitous journey through the Andes, across the desert landscape and through the lush jungle, lead us to the moment we had been waiting for. The road to Machu Pichu was vigorous and demanding, but it was well worth the effort. As we climbed up the slippery steps and the rocky terraces, the scene that appeared before us was breathtaking.

A lush, green vista illuminated by the setting sun seemed almost eerie, with a ghostly silence that was almost unsettling.

At this point we had all heard the legends of the mysterious Incas who built this city, in the depths of the Peruvian jungle, high up in the clouds where no mortals could find it. But none of us was prepared for the high we all felt knowing we were standing at the top of the world.

In front of us was a never-ending panorama of green forest and mountain terraces that swirled down into the canyon below. As we looked down through the clouds below us, we wondered how the Incas managed to drag the massive blocks of stone up the narrow pathways to build a city in the sky.

In the end, we all took a deep breath and tried to find a moment of solitude to appreciate this beautiful scene. Some of us pushed ourselves even further, passed the vista of Machu Pichu and dared to walk the treacherous Inca bridge that skimmed the side of the mountain peak, trying not to look into the chasm below. It is amazing how a few hours among the clouds, and outside our own element, changed our attitudes and our personal energy.

They say Machu Pichu has mystical qualities, and I think each of us noticed and appreciated them in our own way. Some of us came here to simply see another wonder of the world, while others came to appreciate the ancient history. A few of us embarked on a personal quest to see and feel what the legendary tales spoke about, and after speaking with a few of the travelers, I think a few of us actually found it.

And now, on to the next adventure.

Sherry Kumar

Austin – Aug 25 2012

Award Winning Lyricist
BERNIE TAUPIN “Beyond Words”
A Collection of Paintings & Graphics

Russell Collection is also  taking preview appointments – keep in mind, all art is for sale and that’s why Bernie Taupin is here in Austin. Please call to set up an appointment for any preview (512) 478-4440

If you RSVP at EuroCircle site by 2 pm on Saturday, Aug 25 I will provide all the names to Lisa Russell & her team. Otherwise, please call them to RSVP.

Bernie Taupin describes himself ” A simple vessel with complex overtones, opinionated on occasion but willing to listen. Confortable with reclusiveness and devoted to privacy and family. Patriotic to a fault and allergic to cruelty, ignorance and bad music”.

Bernie Taupin to me is the greatest lyric writer that ever lived on the face of the planet.” – W. Axl Rose
Without Bernie, basically, there wouldn’t have been an Elton John. I mean, without that stroke of good fortune and kismet as it were, Elton John probably wouldn’t have happened. I’m just a purveyor of Bernie’s feelings, Bernie’s thoughts“. – Elton John
Umpteen million fans * 200 million records * 60 million albums
…Only one Bernie Taupin

Bernie Taupin, originally from Lincolnshire, England is DJ, lyricist, chef, cowboy, dad, PBR fan, singer, artist, poet, critic, producer, event planner, organizer, author, restauranteur, award winner and husband. Taupin is likely one of the world’s most amazingly talented men. At this event we’ll the artist side of Bernie Taupin.

Edvard Munch – To be a painter, one must work with rays of light

Edvard Munch, the iconic Norwegian painter, one said “Death is pitch-dark, but colors are light. To be a painter, one must work with rays of light.”

Walter Leistikow, “Die freihe Bühne” (German magazine) said about Munch that “Great poets and painters are seldom understood at first, seldom honoured. They can be glad if they are not shown the door and politely thrown out, like Mr. Munch…”

Munch looked at things in a distinctively different way from many artists of his time. I always felt that he saw only the essence and, consequently, painted only that. That’s why some people have taken such delight in saying his pictures appear to be ‘unfinished’. I disagree. To me his paintings are finished. Obviously I am no painter, nor critic but I loved his sad paintings even in high school. Must be the Nordic blood in me. I guess we all can agree that art is ‘finished’ when the artist has said all that he really wanted to say. I always thought this was the advantage Munch had over his generations of painters. His unique ability to show us how he felt and what truly gripped him, making everything else seem unimportant.

Munch had extensive art production during his 80 years. Norwegian travel tours provide a good introduction to Munch and his art combined with idyllic fjord life, small coastal towns and the proximity to the capital. There has never been a better time to visit one of Europe’s coolest capitals with the upcoming Edvard Munch jubilee in 2013.

Munch’s bequested to the City of Oslo around 1,100 paintings, 15,500 prints, 4,700 drawings, six sculptures, his graphic printing plates as well as some other objects. All of these works went into the collections of the Munch Museum. To understand how productive Munch was let’s just say those works represented more than half of Munch’s total production.

Even if you are not interested in art – and know nothing about Edward Munch you may have heard about The Scream sale at Sothesbys in New York. Sotheby’s sold a version of Edvard Munch’s masterpiece ‘The Scream’ in New York City on 2 May 2012, at the final sum of nearly $120 million. That is correct, $12o million for one painting!

The iconic “Scream” is one of the most instantly recognizable images in art history and also popular culture. Many have said it is almost as recognizable as the Mona Lisa. The current version of The Scream (which dates from 1895) is one of four versions of the composition. Incidentally it is the only version in private hands. The painting has been in the collection of the Olsen family, a ship-owning dynasty, for over 70 years. The Olsen family were neighbors of Edward Munch at Hvitsten in Norway.

“I was walking along the road with two Friends /the Sun was setting – The Sky turned a bloody red / And I felt a whiff of Melancholy – I stood / Still, deathly tired – over the blue-black / Fjord and City hung Blood and Tongues of Fire / My Friends walked on – I remained behind / – shivering with Anxiety – I felt the great Scream in Nature – EM”
– The artist’s hand-painted inscription on the frame of the present work

The life of Edward Munch was not entirely a happy one – but it was a life well worth of living. His legacy is unbelievable. If you visit Norway, do not miss Edvard Munch!

by Kaisa Kokkonen

Houston – August 16 2012

Join EuroCircle Houston Team on Thursday, August 16 at 17.30 for our next Houston event.

EuroCircle is a free informal community for ALL expats  (with European flair) – we welcome everyone .  Join us and exchange ideas, tips or contacts & meet people at our events or via the forums. Invite all your international friends/people interested in meeting more international crowd to join EuroCircle.

We will meet at Red Lion on Shepherd –  The room left from the entrance and bar
2316 South Shepherd Drive  Houston, TX 77019

We hope to see you there.

Mary Beth & Team

Austin – Aug 08 2012

Photos © Eurocircle. For privacy reasons we ask you not to copy these to Facebook or other social networks

Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden is a brand new restaurant, bar and music venue that opened on Rainey Street District of downtown Austin Texas this week (last week of July).

Dress light – we’ll hang out mostly outside as the garden area is HUGE – and they allow no table reservations inside.  However, you are welcome to hang out inside as well.

Banger’s happy hour special is from 6-7PM and it is half off ALL pints.

Banger’s is the area’s largest biergarten, first live music venue (Thursdays) with  a 27ft butcher block bar top, biggest artisan sausage purveyor, with a sprawling lineup.  There is  a massive wall of 103 taps whose numbered wood handles (crafted by Hatch Workshop)

NOTE: Since they just opened this week I really WANT to be able to give heads-up how many we will be so DO RSVP, PLEASE! By Aug 8 they have been open a week but anyone who has dealt with restaurants knows there may be unexpected glitches with the computer systems and so on.  I  am try to avoiding any additional stress on their part – or ours!

The sausages and other menu items include i.e  Boudin Blanc, Smoked Chicken apple, veggie cheese steak, beet and goat cheese, smoked mushroom & asparagu (so vegetarians can eat), Andouille, Bratwurst, Hot Italian, Louisiana Lightining, pickled mixed veggies, house-made chile cheese friend, chopped salad and so on…something for everyone I think!

Atlanta – Aug 07 2012

Greetings everyone:
We will have our August EuroCircle get-together next week on Tuesday, August 7th starting at 7:30pm. We will meet at Peachtree Office, located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, inside the 200 Peachtree building (old Macy’s across from the Ritz Carlton Hotel).

Alan Urech of Peachtree Office will present at our gathering and will provide further details as well as tours of the adjoining rooms of the building for those interested.

Exact address of venue is 200 Peachtree Street N.W., suite 206 / Atlanta 30303.

We will be meeting upstairs in the spacious room where free appetizers and live music (saxophonist) will be set up (courtesy of the venue) as well as two cash bars where $8 wine and $6 beer will be served.

For driving and parking directions, please go to .

Parking across the street will be $9 (reduced from the usual $12) – just bring your parking ticket up to the venue and pay there. In addition, one of our EuroCircle members (Denise Jackson of Emerging Art Scene) will be showing contemporary art by select Atlanta based artists – (Flight From Ashes).

We anticipate a great turn-put so please RSVP! (login with your email and password to RSVP)

See you next week,

Your Atlanta EuroCircle Team!!!
(David & Randall)

New York – Aug 07 2012

Join us for our Mardi Gras Party at this new French – American Restaurant in the Meat Packing District.

Eurotini’s on special for $10

Featured Co-host:
– Milena Koste, Russia,

Food will also be available for purchase throughout the night!
We hope you will join us for a fun night out!

Alexandra and the EuroCircle NY Team

About MPD:

MPD is a new French-American restaurant that serves more than just meals. It captures an appealing excellence rare to find. In the Meatpacking District of New York City, MPD is inspired by Paris.

The décor creates a posh vibe. Enter through huge magnificent glass French doors into a whimsical atmosphere. The bar is upon entrance where one can sip a cocktail made by a renowned mixologist.

MPD is the only scene to begin any night. It has all elements one would want to enjoy and have a memorable NYC experience. Enjoy a meal, drink and dance all within the walls of Paris without leaving New York City.