Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Up the Mountain, Cooking and a Storm

Christoph drove us up to the mountain Schauinsland (meaning "look into the country") rather than taking the cable car like we did last year. We get to high places with him.

It’s a twelve kilometer drive along the side of the mountain, very curvy road!  Motorcyclists love it and some crazy, to my mind, regular cyclists were riding up. Christoph said the mountain is configured like swiss cheese due to all the mining of it. We drunk in the view and had a nice lunch. Walking down to the parking lot I saw a salamander, or small lizard, it moved too fast for me to photograph.

View all the way to France
For good pictures go to the following link.

Veggy fans, skip this paragraph.

We bought a grill and have grilled lamb and a good steak on it. The grill actually puts grill marks on it like a BBQ would, electric but works like a charm, very pleased with the purchase. Our oven is great, having a dry, mixed dry and steam options but not quite so good for a nice cut of meat that you would normally put on a BBQ. 

Spargel, or asparagus is in season, we buy the green variety and steam it to el dente. I like lemon juice on mine and Bruce likes a new brand of Hollandaise  sauce we found, he adds lots of tarragon to make it more like we used to make from scratch.

Why is it that 90% of the trips we make to Zoo Burkart, the pet food store, it rains and we miss the bus connection by two minutes? Each Way! When it’s sunny, we don’t seem to miss, oh well we don't melt. Rabbits and gerbils were frisky this morning, usually they are less so.

We’re in the meat shop and this woman says hello, not unusual, but then she asks to borrow 10 Euro. She says she lives in our building and will drop by later to pay it back. Honestly I didn’t recognize her and may not ever see the 10 Euro back but put it down to helping someone in need. 

She dropped the 10 Euro into our mail box with a note saying Thank You! Oh me of little faith.

I made lasagna! Haven’t done that in about twenty years I’d guess but it was fun. Bruce was sous Chef this time, reading recipes from the web and how to best put it together. Ah, the smell was delightful! It tasted very good too.


Went to Ciao Bella, our local Italian for a bite of lunch, since it’s lasagne tonight we didn’t want a heavy lunch. Decided a pizza would be good because we can take half home. Best pizza either of has had for a very long time! Now I know why people order take out from there. We also didn’t have Parmesan cheese so ordered a bit of that too, they shred it fresh so it was a good addition to the lasagne.

Restaurants in Rieselfeld are: three, yes, three Donar places, two Italian, one Chinese, one Indian and several ice cream, bakeries and coffee shops. There is a Gasthaus, typical German food outside Rieselfeld but not far. My question is with choices somewhat limited why the duplication of ethnic foods? 

We have used a product called Panko before, basically spiced bread crumbs. It’s an oriental product used to coat shrimp mostly. I stopped off at the oriental shop here in Freiburg and found it, well after we needed it mind. We thought we’d need it to cook stuffed mushrooms which we did three different fillings for. Reminded us of the New Years Eve party we held with two other couples. We bought a lot of ingredients for appetizers and let each couple figure out what to make from them. It was a fun evening with very creative and tasty results!

Had a very fierce storm march through this week, both kinds of lightening, high wind and the weirdest hail I’ve ever seen. It was uneven chunks of ice while the hail I’ve seen many times is usually round. We have two solar globes outside, they are plastic and both got shattered with the hail. Our citrus trees and all manner of vegetation suffered as well. Streets were lined with fallen leaves and branches. While it was beautiful from inside the flat, I was thankful not to be out in it.

Admittedly not the best picture...
We spoke to a neighbour who’s car got dented, he said 10,000 cars were damaged in Freiburg! Insurance and car body restoration companies will be very busy the next few weeks.

A fact about doing business in Freiburg. We broke the handle off a closet door, Christoph translated for us when the fellow came to look at it. He will send us a quote in the post rather than email it. I read that businesses do not respond to email and have encountered that myself. The post here is fast but I still don’t understand, perhaps they just haven’t their changed ways since it works for them?

I asked Christoph about this and he says a written quote allows for the company to legally bill up to 30% more on the job over the estimate or quote. It is also the first document they show for tax purposes. Small to mid-sized companies pay lots of taxes, insurance and the paperwork is boggling. Larger companies of 100 employees or more can negotiate with the government for lower or no taxes, being of service to the area by employing so many people. It’s a negotiation between the company and the government. Hmmm, doesn’t work that way in Canada to my knowledge.

It was different with the glass, plastic cutter for Bruce’s project. The fellow wanted cash so there was no documentation. He made a mistake with the cutting so could not charge more when he had to correct it. “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose” would apply here.

We returned to Staufen and the Kornhaus for lunch. Balmy day, good food and lovely village, always a favourite little stop. 

The ride there and back to Freiburg is through the Kaiserstuhl with all the grape farms winding up and down the hills. Roses are abundant in the villages. Christoph said we could be in Tuscany which I thought fitting.

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day and a View

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! to those of you that are! Here are some flowers for you. They are planted in our neighbourhood.

Beautiful Blue Irises

Perfect Purple Irises

Went with Christoph to a glass cutter for Bruce’s project. Nice village with many old homes and gardens. They were setting up for a wine festival, we may just “have” to go back this weekend.

Something I’ve wanted to do in our time in Freiburg is go up to the hill overlooking the City to a restaurant and see the view. There was a schloss or castle there but it got torn down. Bruce said the legend goes that the King taxed the people of Freiburg once too often, giving nothing in return so they ganged up and set ruin to the castle. Having just looked it up, it has had many lives under many rulers but I like Bruce’s version.

I hesitated to take this next photo, it is another boring one of being high and doesn't show Freiburg in it's best light. Perhaps a video would have been better to show the panorama.

Church Spire belongs to the Munster

The Munster is a very tall building so you can imagine how high up we were. It is under construction as you can see the scaffolding, seems like it's been that way since we've been here but it's very delicate work.

The road up is not for buses, narrow and winding, worth the drive to see the view, it is magnificent! The restaurant caters to large groups holding seminars as much as individuals. www.dattler.de Most people take the funicular (rail) up, the road way is not well sign-posted I would guess to discourage vehicular traffic. Being rather early on a Friday morning it wasn’t a busy place but would be on a Saturday afternoon I expect.

Bruce's wheels doing the work

When we shop we sometimes find it easier for Bruce's wheels to take the load instead of using the bundle buggy. Backpack holds bottles, bag on the left, lighter items and TP comes with a handle on the bag. Honestly there was a time where I would never show in public the purchase of toilet paper, why? Everyone needs it. Wisteria is hanging about all over Freiburg right now, it's really pretty.

Again, Happy Mother's Day, I hope you are being pampered or doing so for your Mom.

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Visit into the Schwarzwald, Black Forest

Black Forest which isn't really black anymore due to new planting replacing the pine trees.
We went out with Christoph on a rainy Sunday to St. Peter 


St. Peter former Benedictine abbey

St. Margen, Maria-Zell Augustinian Abbey 

We saw both churches that were monasteries or abbeys. Here is a website for both www.klosterdoerfer.de  Christoph said they were almost in competition with each other but worked together. St. Peter’s is Rococo and extremely ornate while St. Margen’s is a little less so. Both are beautiful in their own right and worth an afternoon’s visit.   

Traditional German lunch, very tasty, at the (guest house) Gasthof Jaegerhaus in the village of St. Peter im Schwarzwald or Black Forest.

It certainly seems to be a harder way of life up there in the hills than what they experience in the Kaiserstuhl. Long winding narrow roads up and down the mountainsides with fantastic views over the valleys and hills. 

Rainy day, rainy photo but does show the hills, valleys and sheep

Many large stand alone farm houses dot the countryside. These houses hold both livestock and humans making use of all the heat available. There are mapped, marked trails for hikers throughout the hills but many people mountain bike instead now, in the past family groups would all go hiking together. 

Street scape in St. Peter

Horse statue at St. Margen

We have a bird friend for Lexi, same one? Don’t know, but it comes and chirps on the edge of the balcony. Lexi “talks” to it by a strange cackling noise and she stays like this – you can’t see me! While it’s there, usually for some time too, just hopping back and forth. Google says it’s a common blackbird and certainly has a loud chirp!

"Hunting" a bird

We took delivery of our citrus trees this week and they delivered the wrong lemon tree. It looks like a citrus version of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We left immediately after delivery and didn't pay much attention. On our return we noticed – hey – this isn’t our tree! Now we need to correct the mistake the garden centre made so I emailed them using Google translate which we know is not accurate but it’s a start. Deliver was Thursday afternoon, not open until Monday. We drove the big bike down Monday morning and the office manager understood the problem. Further investigation did not find our tree but we were told to choose another about the same price. A bit of hassle for all concerned but resolved reasonably and amicably.

Bruce is enjoying cooking again, you’ve heard that from me before. Cooking for him, and I, for that matter, has always been a creative process. We made a wonderful chilli-con-carne with black beans because neither likes kidney beans. Black beans are a bit difficult to find here but we did at a natural store. Being "sous chef" I had to cut a bunch of onions up, felt like Julia Child in the movie Julie and Julia. (If you haven’t seen it she goes to Cordon-Bleu cooking school in France and one of the scenes shows her practising cutting up onions, a heap of them!)

We have wonderful, easy to use appliances here at the flat, once we figured out how to use them on our first visit. The partners have collected all operating manuals in English for use which are needed sometimes. That was a bonus when just last week I came into the kitchen to find the dishwasher, door closed, leaking soap suds. Oops, Bruce had loaded a dish that must have been impeding the rinsing arm either top or bottom. I really should have taken a picture but was in “fix-it” mode. Wasn’t a big deal, just found out exactly how much soap one of those tablets contains, a lot and a clean, clean, up job!

Creative tagging on a side street in Freiburg
Update as per my email sent to followers of this blog:

Here is another version of the Spring Fair in Sevilla, wonderful pictures by Ryan and Angela our friends that are there now, check it out, it's an outsider's version of what to expect of the Feria when you're not invited into the family or club tents, no worries, it's not a complaint....


I met Karen and Rich at the expat bloggers lunch we had in Sevilla. They are seasoned travellers and Karen writes books about their experiences. I just read this one and recommend it highly if you like reading about experiences in travel, and you do if you are still liking my blog! You know I do not promote any site for funding, just to give you another option to read something different.


Their website is www.enjoylivingabroad.com

That's all for now, Cheers, Bx2 and hunting Lexi Cat