Monday, October 28, 2013

Lahr Part 2

I'm praying I'm Irish too, if I wear green will that help?

This was one of a few squares all done in chrysanthemums.

I didn't look closely on how these were attached to the building but very pretty.

They even have a Japanese garden and this fierce looking fellow was in it. See the red poles on the left, that's a Torii Gate. In my silly mind the water should be coming out his mouth, not his nose!

So, that was Lahr and I'm delighted we went! The town itself is pretty although I have to admit I concentrated mostly on the flowers.

We have been and are planning the winter in the United Kingdom, as said before. It just gets more complex and travelling with Lexi Cat makes it more so but we're not leaving her behind! Finally getting it built and should market the itinerary for the time it's taken! When travelling in off-peak periods it is sometimes nice to wing it, but not all places or transport take pets so we can't this time. Looking forward to our time in the UK, Ireland and a couple of days in Wales now included. It won't be warm but we came prepared with Canada Goose jackets so bundled in those and we'll be fine, put Lexi in a pocket and she will be too!

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Lahr Part 1

While bragging about sunny days we had a day of rain in-between, I had to laugh. We went to a big box store called Zoo Burkart. I have been before to get Lexi's food but never really toured the store like this time. There are many small animals for sale e.g. rabbits, gerbils, mice some with stripes, birds and fish of many kinds and colours. They also sell equestrian stuff. Quite the place! I really liked watching the rabbits, they crawl all over each other even though there is room enough for everyone in the cages.

I'm putting this in two posts because I couldn't edit enough on the pictures, too various and interesting in my opinion. Plus my internet connection keeps bouncing like a yo-yo.  So look for Part 2 also but I'll send another note...

Went to Lahr via train about 35 minutes north of Freiburg. Fall clours on the hills were wonderful. Took the bus into town, glad I planned it a bit this time, walking would have been impossible. Down to the old town where there is a chrysanthemum show all over town! And, yes, we knew about it...

Absolutely beautiful and I took so many pictures of the sculptures and arches. Everyone had a camera out and so I also captured people unintentionally but if you waited for a clear shot you'd be there until sundown!

There were displays coming out of windows, on lamp posts, up the sides of buildings ... It seemed like every square inch was used, only giving enough room for people to walk around. Most of the plants were growing in gunny sacks so they could be secured easily. There were sculptures too, one of a ballerina, a kaleidoscope, an artist, all on wooden carts, my guess is so they could be put away at night.

Many shops had sellers in the streets outside their businesses with samples of products like tea, marmalade made with chrysanthemums, of course, and muesli etc. They are really using the advantage of so many tourists in town.

There were walking tours led by red robed guides. They also had one of those mini-bus trains but we didn't take it. Had a yummy lunch of panini and salad and watched the tours go by. A bit off the beaten track so it was reasonable and very good. The festival runs from October 19 to November 10th so it certainly gives a person lots of time to go to their favourite events. In the main square there is a large stage for music events with food vendors and long tables to share, typical of Germany's festivals.

I had heard of Lahr from a friend who lived there while her father was stationed there with the Armed Forces. We saw the housing, now they are used for apartments and businesses.

Back to the Mundenhof this week, our "local" zoo. It was a very windy day! I kept getting pelted with leaves that somehow missed Bruce. This baby monkey was hard to capture, it was so active and mom was protective.

Look for Lahr Part 2 coming up next.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rainbow and Oh, Yes, I'm Irish .!!!.


I'm Irish (and stillCanadian) Diddly diddly do... Now for the passports, approximately 12 weeks they say.

Wow! Saw this beautiful rainbow out our window the other morning! Wonderful!

You know how sometimes the sun is just right for photography? This was one of those times.

The leaves are changing colour as they are everywhere else, so pretty!

We've been researching most of this week which makes for boring copy on a blog, but just a little bit of what happened. We are going to the UK the end of November. There are many rules about bringing pets across the Channel. The UK doesn't quarantine any more so Lexi just needs the usual, it's the transportation that is the issue. We cannot walk on a ferry with her, we were told she couldn't go through the Chunnel due to air pressure. So we've been scrambling to look for a way to get her across and just about decided to hitchhike a ride with someone at the terminal! Hiring a car doesn't work either left hand vs right hand drive etc. Now I've found a cab company that will take us across - Yeah! Relief! I am going back to our local travel agent and educate him. He is good but had never booked this trip for people with an animal before.

So we are booked now with a taxi service from Folkestone. The fellow who I've been corresponding with has a good sense of humour. Two of his comments:

"Stevan will be waiting for you at Calais Frethurn station at 13:23 on the 28th November. He will have a name board with your name on it but do not worry there will not be many ladies with a pet coming off that train."
"I was aware of two of you travelling but you only pay extra for your pets, your husband travels free (that will make him feel important,  about the same pecking order as in my house)."

We also grappled with Schengen 90/180 days rulings and European Zone rulings but too complicated to explain here. Know we've got it straight now, finally, thanks to our partners who have "been there, done that" research.

This week we've been to an Indian restaurant with fabulous food and service, nice surroundings. Also to a restaurant who lost eight patrons in the space of half an hour due to lousy service and a very grumpy waiter. He almost pushed them away! It was a sunny Saturday and we just wanted to people watch outside on the terrace. We ended up getting a young fellow to wait on us, friendly, and speaks five languages. We asked because we heard him speak Spanish, English to us, and French to another couple.

Here is a picture of a "Wine Office" called a Weinstube. I liked the angel signage. I Google translated the word again but have found that Google isn't always correct. It shocked me to see that it even translated a week day incorrectly.

There is another "angel" restaurant on the other side of the Munster Platz called the Golden Angel. Inside it is just stuffed with cherubs! Stuffed!

Here are some wild looking doors in Freiburg! Every time I walk past I've intended to take a picture so there you go, finally done.

Bought new duvet covers I just love! They area picture of a field of brightly coloured flowers, complete with blue pillow shams for the sky. Was going to take a picture but seemed a bit over the top to send a picture of our bedclothes! Trust me, they are beautiful and really brighten up the space. Backtrack... Bruce said I should so here you go... and the pictures that complement chosen by our wonderful partners. You can barely see a small lump in the middle of the left, that's Lexi, guess she likes them too.

Warm and sunny here the last few days so we've been downtown at the market mostly. A waiter now recognizes us at the Eis Cafe (Ice cream cafe, confusing when you ask for ice in your drink). He came over and shook my hand to welcome me back. It's a good people watching place so we go there fairly often.

So next blog hopefully will include pictures and story of our trip to Lahr for the chrysanthemum festival!

Cheers, Bx2 and troublesome traveler, but not her fault, Lexi Cat

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bad Krozingen and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! Gobble, Gobble... or not, if you are vegetarian.

I spent some time researching cell phone cameras because of my comment on the last post that I should have upgraded to a smart phone and use the camera on that. Well, while cell phone cameras have come a long way, the picture you often get isn't as good as what you get on a camera. That's the general conclusion anyway. So we'll stick to using two devices for now, predictions are that models coming out next year will have better cameras (of course, along with everything else). It was interesting to do the research because I also found out we bought the best point and shoot camera on the market, a Canon for about 100 euros. Not too shabby!

We've been wanting to take day trips and just haven't done so, until this week when we went to Bad Krozingen, a spa town. It was a puddle jumper bus which wound through all the small towns before getting there. Fabulous views of vineyards and villages! A bit of a foggy day so didn't take any pictures on the journey there. Very picturesque though, with tractors hauling vats of grapes and loads of grapes on the vines. Many wineries in this area and so close to Freiburg - bonus! We've got to plan another visit and pick up some. The area is called the Badische Winestrasse literally meaning bathing wine road. Baden Baden is a few kilometres up the road, the bigger and more famous spa town.

So we land at the bus terminal and wander around vacantly for a few minutes until we find the rail station and bathrooms. From there we can see the entrance for the town itself, doh, you would think we would research before going but there is something to be said about spontaneity. There are many water sculptures in the town spouting out in different configurations.

The buildings are painted brightly and it has a somewhat touristy feeling about it although we were there on a week day so more of the locals were out.

Many businesses in Germany close up mid-day for a family lunch and that was very evident in BK. At least half the shops and restaurants were closed. Didn't really matter to us because we mainly window shop anyway but would have driven a true shopper to distraction.

The muni people were hanging large wreaths on lamp posts and we didn't know why, but I've just found that they are having an Oktoberfest there this weekend. The town will not look so sleepy then! The wreaths were made with straw, blue ribbon and sunflowers. Very pretty and again, sorry, no picture.

We took the train back, much faster but sans the views.

Found these little statues in Freiburg in a floral shop. So goofy but cute.

Very pretty garden and the second duck looks red but isn't, probably reflection off the red plants around the pond.

Many German cities have frescos on their walls, Freiburg is no exception. This building actually has a dry cleaning business in it. I liked the woman holding the wine glass while bathing!

I watched this TED talk with awe and wonder so am sending it along for you to see. Magnificent!

If the link doesn't work just go to and do a speaker search for Paul Nicklen, he's a National Geographic photographer.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian friends!

Cheers, Bx2 & Lexi Cat

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Searching for Goats (Yes Goats!) and German Unification Day

Bruce and I are sad to hear about the fire at the Grasshopper Pub. It has affected four businesses (Pub, Hotel, Meeting room, Liquor Store) that were well liked and used in the Madeira Park community. Our best wishes to the owner and staff for a swift recovery.

Our partners D & E mentioned there was a greatly pregnant goat at the Mundenhof, our local farm zoo. We've been anxious to go see the kids so we headed off this week. Well the goat enclosure did have four goats in it but they weren't kids. I walked there and around so got tired, the camera battery died, so we decided to leave it for another day.

I made good my threat of riding on Bruce's knees on the way home and it worked for both of us. I got to drive - wheee! We did get a few stares though and a swear word out of a cyclist because I didn't signal before turning - oops! Sorry, forgot since I haven't been on a bike for about a hundred years. Before the camera died and we got to the goats we saw the camels. Missed them the last time so was good to find them. Seems weird to me to see camels in Germany but there you go, and here you go...

This sculpture like thingy is in the camel's enclosure. I don't know what it is unless it's a large scratching post? Or maybe a stork farm sans the storks right now? I liked it anyway.

So, one day before expiry and no access to the shops the next day due to the holiday, we purchased our monthly tram tickets. Heading downtown a woman gets on board, does what everyone else does by sitting quietly. Then she gets up and asks for our tram fares. This happens infrequently but when it did before, the people who asked were sort of mean looking. This woman wasn't and when she did catch someone she was matter of fact about it and not menacing. When she smiled she had a diamond on a tooth! It's a 40 euro fine if you get caught without fare. Ouch! A monthly fare costs 53 euro so it is worth paying it.

October 3 is German Unification Day, when East and West united. We looked for a parade or event that marked the day downtown but there was nothing to see, unless we missed it...

I worked with a woman who lived in East Germany as a child. She told me many of her relatives were in the West and they couldn't see them. They lived in a very small walk-up apartment with many people. They had rabbits on the balcony which, as a child, she thought were pets until they started going missing and there was meat on the table. She, and others have, said how grey their surroundings were. My sister has been there also and she described it like someone had painted everything grey. We visited Berlin a couple of years ago and it is not like that now. It is a vibrant, modern city.

We heard a different sort of motor and I looked out to find this flying around. Not this specific one, I took the picture off Google. Looks like great fun!

I have been greatly corrected! When I called Bruce's project a "pin ball like machine" he didn't like that description one bit. He calls it, and I will from now on, a Kinetic Sculpture, not a toy but an aesthetic experience. Well, that's a good tag line for marketing it!

Been wondering what shops are a few tram stops down because I see lots of people with shopping bags coming to the tram from this spot. Investigated today and found cheap clothing stores, a euro (dollar) store, cafes etc. But none of it was very appealing, at least I know now.

Walking past this clothing store and look what I found! Yikes, not a fashion I'll be adding to my wardrobe for sure! Someone will pay money for that? No accounting for taste, or depending on your opinion, lack of. I acknowledge being sceptical here.

See the large purse? Someone let me know if this is happening in Canada, but the purses people carry here are like carpet bags! I know I said the kids carry large bags, but women do as well. I am interested to find out if this is a Canadian thing also. Just another fashion trend I guess, I'm so out of it...

A bit concerned about four of our packages. They are in this building somewhere, with someone, but we don't know who. I'm sure no one will keep them but with the holiday it would make sense for many to take Friday off as well. DHL considers things delivered if someone, anyone in the building, will take them. They are supposed to leave notification of delivery in our mailbox with the person who signed for it, didn't happen this time. We have signed for someone else before too and then had a devil of a time getting it to them. Part of the problem is that none of the suites are marked with numbers, for security I guess.  We all have suite numbers but they are not shown on the outdoor buzzer panel or the mail boxes. We've found the best way to contact someone is to put a note in their mail box.

Having said all that, we were leaving and the courier was at the front door with two of them which Canada Post said were delivered on October 1st, it's now the 5th. I guess they mean delivered to our local post office. Takes time to figure out how systems work here, as in any situation when you move to a different country. All part of the learning process, one of the reasons we're here.

We bought a new camera and now I wonder if we shouldn't have just upgraded one of our cell phones to an iPhone. Ack, technology, I'm so behind on it too.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat