Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting to know Rieselfeld

We have been taking long walks through the neighbourhood. Bruce takes his wheels. I checked on delivery of my new bike and was told because it's a 2014 version it won't be in for a couple more weeks. Darn.

Found an Indian restaurant which will be good to try, it's tucked into a part of the neighbourhood next to the gymnasium. I have never seen advertising for it so it makes me wonder who their clientele are...

Been checking out what is in our local shops, we have a veggie and fruit shop which brings in really fresh produce at reasonable prices. The local grocery store we typically shop at has decent produce as well, and then of course there are the markets. The big one I keep going on about downtown and we have a local one on Wednesday afternoons and Saturdays. Gardens are wonderful right now! And if I get tired walking I can always sit on Bruce's knees and drive the bike. That'll be a sight!

I don't know what this tree is but it's pretty!
Someone has a sense of humour!

Pergola in the neighbourhood with park benches inside, nice place to chill on a sunny day and maybe meet a neighbour or two.

Went to a large big box store to find odds and sods and didn't! But exhausted ourselves in the meantime. Going and returning a huge load of school kids came onto the tram. I mean probably 50 kids all talking and laughing. Very noisy and such energy! And funny we ran into them returning as well. Two girls sat across from us and were quiet and recognized us on the trip back with smiles. They carry heavy looking satchels or backpacks, I suppose all kids do.

Four of our shipped boxes arrived this week - Christmas! But why, oh why, did I pack so much clothing? Bruce did too. I guess we were thinking we are going to be away for a long time but really I don't NEED that much stuff. Will sort and store or give away next week.

Foggy mornings turn into nice fall days lately. One morning it was so foggy I couldn't see the fields or the building next door even.

The voting station for the election on Sunday was at the high school. Lots of people were hanging around outside chatting. I was curious as to where they would have it in the neighbourhood, don't know why really since I couldn't vote.

Bought 66 colourful glass marbles at the market. Bruce is working on a project that is somewhat like a pinball machine. The fellow who sold them to us was really nice and quite interested. At home I put them in 4 champagne flutes for two reasons; they are pretty to look at, and to keep them out of Lexi's reach. Oh what fun she would have with them on these wood floors. Just not a good idea.

Due to Oktoberfest being held last week and on until October 6th in Munich we are seeing people wearing dirndls and lederhosen in the streets of Freiburg. Here is an article from National Post regarding the return of this fashion in Germany.

A couple of years ago (pre-Lexi) we arrived in Munich about this time in September. The Munich train station was jam packed with Oktoberfest celebrators in various degrees of sobriety, or not. There were vendor's stalls outside the station and people were trying on dirndls and lederhosen in what appeared to be a frenzy. Perhaps the vendors sold out? We had done no research except think Munich looked like a nice city to visit. I did wonder why the hotel was SO expensive though. DOH, yes Oktoberfest happens in September and we were in the midst of it!

We walked the city, found the fairgrounds on a rainy Sunday morning when nothing too much was happening. Had lunch at a pub and spoke to a couple of ladies wearing dirndls who were from Switzerland. They came to the Fest every year and loved it. So, while I can say that I've been there, I haven't done that. I didn't experience the crowded beer halls or the festival, not my thing.

Coming home on the tram the other day there was a demonstration that held up the entire system. We suspect they were crossing the tram line and police directed them to the roadway. Motorists can take a different route, trams cannot so it was a good solution. The demonstrators took up an entire city block and were very vocal about their cause (I still haven't found out what it was). Police were evident for blocks further along the route, they had full "riot" gear on but carried their helmets.

Cheers, Bx2 & Lexi Cat

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Painting and Long Cable Car Ride

Hello, Painting Project Day 1

The painters are here! Poor Lexi got quite scared with the noise so, after chasing her around the flat, we put her in her favourite place, under the covers on the bed.

They have the coolest and most practical tools that I have ever seen before. Our Canadian painters could make use of these I'm sure.

A ladder which can be mounted on both sides. It has a pouch at the top between the rungs for carrying things. The painter can then use the ladder as stilts. He sits on the top rung and "walks" it along the floor to reach high places. Great idea!

A small round brush on a stick that corners and does wall to ceiling crease. Very efficient.

A painting tape and paper machine that applies both at the same time to light fixtures or other odd shapes that can't be removed.

My favourite is the ladder though.

They have been here since 08:30 and it is now noon and both the living room and spare room are painted, including both ceilings. They spent about an hour taping everything and applying new plastic to furniture and floors. Now these two rooms are the least complicated, still it is fast work. More later as this unfolds.

Our comfort is important to them. Before going on I should name them - the owner is Raphael and his partner is Olivier. (from now on R & O) They come from the area around Strasbourg, France and speak French to each other. Our partners D & E sourced them for us and the estimated quote was for 4 days work which they finished in 2! The entire flat including ceilings - done!

Back to the comfort thing, we work at the dining room table and when it came time to paint that area they moved the table into the living room and set up our chairs for us to enable us to continue working. Then they proceeded to paint the kitchen, dining and hall way. They cleaned up including sweeping the floor, looking for bits of paint. They put everything back in it's place, drapes, furniture, rugs and left about 15:30 (3:30 p.m.). I am using the 24 hour time system because that is standard here, luckily I learned it years ago while working for a cop shop.

Painting Project Day 2

Today they did the bedroom, two bathrooms and the ceiling of the winter garden, that glass enclosed area we have. Lexi went back under the bed covers as soon as they arrived and since they are doing the bedroom today with en-suite we moved her complete with covers into the office area, she hasn't moved a muscle. Much smoother for her and us this morning! R calls her the Tiger.

The winter garden looks amazing now, the ceiling and low wall below the windows are painted and now the room looks like it fits with the rest of the flat.

They completed everything, including cleanup and presentation of the invoice by 14:30.  I really can't say enough good things about this team. Can you tell?

Pouring rain right now, coming in sideways. We got back in from the shops just in time!

This was our view one day this week - how threatening looking is that!
Stormy to the Max!

The doors are coming, the doors are coming! I'm not talking about the music group. We have been months without two closet doors in the bedroom. One got cracked (they are glass) and through no fault of our own and much frustration on our partner's side. They came, they installed, they wiped fingerprints off and left. Looks very nice and feels like our "chores" are getting done.

So we took the tram past Gunterstal and on to a bus to get to the longest loop cable car 1,284m in Germany. Took 20 minutes to "Lift me up"!  "Lift me up" is their tag line. The website for more information and great pictures. . So it is definitely a tourist thing to do but locals can buy an annual ticket. There are many hikes around the area and if you are a skier you'd be in seventh heaven! We passed wind turbines and were able to look down on them which felt a bit weird. The view from the top was, as expected, fantastic! All of Freiburg, the Black Forest, the French mountains ... Here are some pictures that turned out better than I expected.

Freiburg from 3.6 km up

Car on it's way up, we're going down...

Wind Turbines

Surrounding area, farming villages
We had a nice lunch in the cafe at the top amidst all the hikers with their nylon pants and hiking boots, although there were some others without.

All and all a very great day even though cloudy it didn't rain. Do go to the website noted above, it's worth a look and you'll get more information.  I don't want to spout facts and figures but it is certainly an engineering marvel!

Oh, our cows came home! They came back into the farmland this week, minus the older calves but there are still a couple of small ones in the herd. Instead of looking at the ocean, we look at cattle and horses. I do not consider it a trade-off, it's just completely different.

Cheers, Bx2 & Lexi

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 15, 2013

Hello again,

Last Saturday night we had a huge storm with sheet lightning, wind and rain. What a sight to see but a bit scary since we are the tallest building around! Power went out for 8 minutes according to our clocks which is unusual for here I think. Well that did it, mostly rain for the rest of the week. Darn, we were enjoying the good weather.

There was a big run or marathon in Rieselfeld on Sunday, seemed like the entire village was out and either participating or watching. Some had picnic baskets for their families. It caused the tram to stop running from the last stop before Rieselfeld so we had to walk home, past 4 tram stops. Luckily Bruce had his transport and I had a good walking day or I would have sat on his knees.

We've lost our cattle herd. They've been moved somewhere else. We kind of miss them because they moved around all the time and some had calves that were frisky and fun to watch. Just 5 horses left. Kind of made me think, with tongue in cheek, they were moved off because of breaking a city noise ordinance because one was mooing quite loudly every morning! Doubt it, just a thought.

No delivery of our boxes through Canada Post yet, I've been tracking them and been to our local post office to warn them they are coming. She explained that they would be delivered to our residence. I don't know how that will happen since our post people deliver on bikes. Wait and see.

Our partners left the flat in wonderful condition and added some plants and this! x 2.

I really like the colours on them!

Also added this African Violet for inside and three other plants for the winter garden which I mentioned before but now you can see them.

They really brighten up the space!

The house painter is coming this next week to create his version of organized chaos. He will be here at 0800 Monday morning so we will have to get our butts in gear earlier than usual. We have contracted him to paint the entire flat. I am not looking forward to the process but am looking forward to the results. He actually lives in France, about an hour north of here, just about to Strasbourg. I guess he works around here frequently because he was recommended to us by someone in our building.

I walked into a department store this week on a hunt for something as simple as hangers for our clothes. It was UNorganized chaos! Crowded with little people and parents choosing back to school stuff. You can bet I made a fast exit from that, whew, shows how out of touch I am to not have even thought about it ahead.

I did some cooking today, unusual for me really. As most of you know Bruce does most of the cooking in this household, but not so much in Germany. Making two types of German potato salad which, if you remember from before, I love. Also mentioned before the grocers sell a "soup kit" it's carrots, leek, celery root and parsley sprigs bound together. Celery is almost impossible to get here and when you do it's tough and chewy. The root is used frequently and does provide a nice but stronger flavour.

Another thing at the grocers, some fruit and veg comes pre-packaged usually in 4 or 6 pieces, some does not so you can choose the amount you need. There is a code associated with each type that you put into a scale and it prints off a label for the clerks to scan. You really get a dirty look from others in the line if you fail to do it and make the clerk run to the scale. Unfortunately I know because I forgot one day, bit of a rude reminder but my fault entirely.

Cheers! Bx2 & Lexi Cat

Sunday, September 8, 2013

We've arrived in Freiburg, Germany

I have moved to Google blog to gain a more steady platform. The previous site had issues that got tiresome dealing with. If you are new to my ramblings you can find my previous blogs at:

2012 -
2013 prior -

Have patience, or not, they are still having server issues.

Hello, we're back in Germany!

Ah, the sites and smells are wonderful, more on that a bit later.

We had intended to fly and train all in one day but had to amend that plan when Lexi cat started getting restive. Arrived in Freiburg on the 2nd of September and met up with our partners, D & E, at our flat. Had a nice dinner together at the Munster Platz (large church plaza) and then stumbled into bed.

The next day we moved into our flat and spent the day unpacking, finding things we'd left from before and settling in. In fact, that process takes a few days but it's pleasure to do! D & E left the flat in wonderful shape and added plants to the winter garden that are colourful and brighten up the space. The winter garden is a glassed off patio in concrete. It adds an extra room to the flat and more light.

Went downtown via tram and bought our monthly tram tickets. This allows access to about a 100 km radius around Freiburg to visit many little towns. Here's hoping we can find a Wine Festival in one, since this is the season!

I have ordered a bike. First in, oh, about, forty years! Yikes, I hope it's true that you never forget how to ride. Riding here is flat and we have pathways along the farms to a small zoo. We've been to the zoo but it is too far to walk, walking the zoo, and walking back, hence the need for wheels.

Went down to the Munster Market in the Platz and bought treats for ourselves for dinner, including artichoke hearts, cheese, meat etc. Being a sunny Saturday it was very busy so we spent time at a cafe to people watch. The most outstanding was a woman wearing a bright orange dress and matching orange hair. Guess she loves the colour orange. I noticed some people dress with such élan, both men and women, wear beautifully fit and classic clothing. Others, like me, are more the shorts and a T-shirt type.

This is an older picture - hence the tulips but gives you an idea of the colours.

The Wurst stalls were doing a roaring business. People walk, shop and eat their wursts in a bun as they go. Me, I like to stop and eat so I don't get mustard all over myself and everyone around me. Most stalls carry 5-6 different types of sausage with onions and the smells are fabulous! Then you add the smells coming from the stalls of fresh fruit, veg and herbs - especially dill right now, and the colours of everything and it is a wonderful thing to experience.

Kids love the bachle's around town. They are small streams that run on both sides of the road and sidewalks and were originally used for watering livestock and water for fires. A stall sells small wooden boats, complete with "mast" on strings for the kids to run up and down the water. Saw them again yesterday and the little girls started out wearing nice little dresses but by the time they had exhausted themselves ended up in just their panties. What fun for them!

This is a mural on a shop wall in Freiburg. The monk is really enjoying his beer. It is well done I think. That's Bruce in the tan raincoat with the crutch to the left - squint and you'll see him.

We had a thunder and lightening storm last night that was quite incredible. Sheet lightening lit the sky, it was windy and rainy and the power went out for 8 minutes as evident from our clocks. Everything looks a bit fresher this morning.

The first day we were here in Freiburg I wanted to visit all our favourite places all at once! So excited to be back. The feeling reminded me of the first day of self employment and I found it hard to figure out what to do first. Eventually I settled in, as I have here, and take one experience at a time to savour and enjoy.

So, that's a great first week! Will keep you posted. 

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat