Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Black Forest and Cooking Lessen, Given not Taken

Painting the entire flat done in a day and a half. Raphael brought two fellows with him the first day and finished up himself the second. One fellow did all the taping and laying out of plastic, Raphael and the other fellow painted. It is amazing to me how efficient they are and able to get so much done in so short a time but without appearing to hurry. 

You know I sometimes carry “weird” things in my purse, like lemons. Yesterday it was a hard boiled egg, today it was a small bottle of sekt, sparkling wine, given to us by the travel agent, I prefer the sekt. We booked our flight, rail, hotel for in-between through this agent for Sevilla and she jokes about how much bother the cat is, being a cat person herself. 

Bruce bought a beautiful leather coat with with wool inside that makes him look very dapper and while expensive is already a good buy since it was cooler today than it has been since our return. It is knee length so will keep his bum warm too.

Ravenna Gorge Viaduct

Took the share-car on another day trip, this time into the Black Forest or Schwarzswald. We stopped for lunch at Hofgut Himmelreich in Kirchzarten www.hofgut-himmelreich.de The food was excellent but what was interesting about this hotel and restaurant was that they hire and train people with physical and mental handicaps. It is a remote location but the train does stop there so I suppose people from Freiburg could be employed.

Hotel is actually a Best Western

After lunch we went further to Breitnau to a tourist destination called Hofgut Sternen www.hofgut-sternen.de There is a glass blowers outlet there showcasing glass from all over the world along with the local blower’s works. The real work is done at Dorotheenhütte in Wolfach. But they do demonstrations here, just not the day were visiting. 


There is also the largest running cuckoo clock which forms an entire outside wall of a building. Life size figures dance in and out when the hour strikes. It was a rather cold, wet day but we still enjoyed being out and seeing new things.

Mist coming down the mountain

Railway Tunnel through the mountain
These two pictures you can tell were taken from the car, which I don't like to do often but did want to show the rugged terrain.

Cooking lesson, given this time instead of taken. Christoph and his son came to our flat on a Sunday to learn some basic methods, more around use of herbs and spices. Christoph had mentioned he can cook but limited menu and didn’t know about how to spice things up or broaden flavour aside from using salt and pepper. I asked him if a lesson would help and he said a resounding yes! much like we did with Ivan’s offer to us of Spanish cooking lessons.

Christoph went to the library and got a book German/English on cooking terms to help his son understand prior to coming, wish I’d  done the same visa versa, was a smart move on his part! His son can string simple English sentences together which is certainly better than I can in German, and understands most of what is being talked about. 

We bought a raw chicken and made four meals from it and for a more vegetable based dish, I did a stir fry, which Christoph liked but honestly I thought was a flop! I taught his son how to chop vegetables and he was a busy fellow keeping up with all the chopping, two sizes for different dishes of the same vegetable, a pro by the end. 

What we wanted to convey, and think did, was that one can put together a tasty but inexpensive meal and they understood that by the end of the day.  We also bought some basic dried herbs for them as a starter kit to take home and a notebook for Christoph to take notes. After all he wasn’t going to remember everything told to him and timing of it, or the herbs used for each dish. They have not got an oven so limited a bit by that but Bruce found out how to cook a chicken in a large pot so even that was overcome. They are a little more self sufficient now after today’s experience and perhaps we’ll do another before going to Sevilla. 

What I liked about the day was that Christoph’s son was included, he’s fourteen so now is a good time for him to gain cooking skills, Christoph appreciated that, as well as learning himself and they are delighted to be able to try out these recipes on the other younger children in the family. 

What I also liked is that we are helping out again, missing my volunteer hat I suppose, while this was a small endeavour for us, it had a larger impact for them.

Very glad to have a dishwasher, I think we used every plate, pan and cutlery item in the flat! We also put out cheese and pickles, bread and shrimp chips (a hit) for nibbles so they wouldn’t starve while cooking. 

All for now, 

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall in Freiburg

Anybody know about these instruments?

Then we went on to the Munster Market to breathe in the scents of it, always a joy, and see the fall colours and produce. We heard very different sort of music being played on the street and found these fellows.

Going back a couple of days ...

Flight Vienna to Frankfurt was about half full so we were able to stretch out. It’s only an hour long, just the waiting in the airport then finding baggage, i.e. Bruce’s wheels takes what seems like forever. Overnight in Frankfurt with a cop convention in the hotel! All in complete uniform including their full belts with guns and handcuffs and other paraphernalia they carry. When I worked at the cop shop, and that's what they called it, those belts weighed forty pounds or about 19 kilos! There was an event in downtown Frankfurt they were there as security for. I tried to find out about it and didn’t. 

Train Frankfurt to Freiburg and no taxi for Bruce’s chair so we took the tram. Saturday and I’d written in my calendar BUT didn’t look at it, Darn! It’s German Unification Day and therefore a civic holiday, therefore meaning no food shopping. The larder is seriously bare of food and of course no shopping tomorrow either being Sunday. Maybe we’ll go to the train station. We did and there is a lovely market downstairs we hadn’t seen before. Nice, fresh fruit and vegetables and just about anything else one would need, filed under another “good to know”.

So we’ve just been unpacking and getting appointments set up. Lexi’s rabies vaccination expires this week so it’s off to the vet to get a jab and an update to her pet passport. We now know vets in four countries/cities which is handy when we travel with her. 

Came home to the lemon tree being just about dead. It’s got a white bug all over it and the orange tree has a small amount on it. We took the large wheels down to the Stadtgarten nursery where we bought them and took them a branch with bugs on it. The bug expert there said they were originally from Australia, hard to get rid of but he would try. I do think the lemon tree is toast but may be able to save the orange. They will come and transport them to the nursery for the winter again and work on the problem then. Hope they isolate the trees from others because this bug is invasive. I was quite disappointed since I think the bug originated in the nursery to start with but guess it can’t be helped. Coming back it poured rain and we were both dripping wet, good thing we weren’t walking though. 

Small update, I’ve made inroads on the bug, in other words, killed it I think! Research on the Net suggested several remedies but one was just plain old dish soap and water sprayed on. They are brown now so here’s hoping and there is new growth on the tree… 

Out with Christoph on a sunny Sunday afternoon. First thing up was looking for lunch, as said, restaurants close around 14:00 until dinner time in the area so he called around and we found one called Bräutigam in Ihringen. Able to sit outside in a garden area which was very pleasant and especially appreciated this time of year. Traveling the back roads the fall colour was beautiful, grape leaves red along with the green and flowers still in bloom. Did see a large field of sunflowers that looked dead on the stem, perhaps they dry them that way? Would be quite a waste if not, or perhaps they plow them in for next year’s crop.

"Wishing" well bucket

We walked through the village of Burkheim to the castle at the end which isn’t any more, it got destroyed and the property is being used by a winery and food co-op. Lots of motorcyclists and cyclists were out enjoying the day.

Interesting clock, translated, "time flies, seize the day".

See previous post of June 1st when we were in Burkheim last year. http://www.bevbrucelexi.blogspot.de/2015_06_01_archive.html 

 It was good to see Christoph again and catch up. He’s originally from Vienna so he had lots of questions about what we saw there.

We've only got a month and a half here this time around because of spending more time in Vienna. That's good and not so for me because I do enjoy this flat and Freiburg very much. But the flip side is that we will get to see our dear friends in Sevilla soon and that will be wonderful! I feel so lucky and appreciative to be living this lifestyle.

Cheers, Bx2 & the newly jabbed, rabies free, Lexi Cat

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Last days in Vienna, sigh....

Lovely day on one of our last, walking through the touristy areas of Vienna. The architecture here is so ornate, I’ve said that before but going through the Hofburg area has incredible statues everywhere you look, bigger than life with people battling each other or just standing there, it is truly amazing. 

We walked/rolled through the Museums Quarter to most of all the famous buildings we see from the window of the flat. 

Being Sunday the way was full of tourists as expected but we stopped at a legendary cafe called Aïda which is all pink. Let me elaborate for a minute, pink uniforms on waitresses, chairs, decor, down to the toilet paper, if you don’t like pink do not go there my friends! Vienna is well known through history for it’s cafe culture which is all I’ll say about it, you can read about it on the web if interested.

We had close seating as usual and this place is known for it’s great coffee and pastry so we have a really good coffee and pastry with cream cheese and apricot called marille here and they are considered to be some of the best in the world (their marketing, no research done). This is also the area in the Wachau Valley, that apricots are considered very special but that's another story, you can read about it here. http://www.thetraveltester.com/reason-to-travel-austria/ 

The fellow sitting directly next to me says there is a tram exhibition about to happen in about half an hour of all the trams in the last 150 years in Vienna. Celebration of 150 years of the Ring Road around Vienna. It took a wait of hanging about but was worth it. We saw the pride on the conductors faces and the different technologies used moving forward. I think what struck me the most was the early ones had no side, back or front protection from the weather elements. 

That's Bruce on the right

They were trailers with seats, the steam engine locomotive was the most dramatic belching grey coloured steam from it’s spout. 

It was followed by a fire truck!

Many, many people came to watch and photograph, standing on the track as I did until the last minute to get a view without someone in front doing the same thing, not always successfully. 

Nice uniform on this fellow

They even came in baby blue!

Or the more boring beige.

It was a treat to be involved and present at a truly Viennese event. Had we not stopped at that cafe we would not have known about it, sometimes it’s just happening that happens, some would call it kismet. 

We had a good couple of days, should say productive rather, not that they all don’t have good in them, it’s just getting personal things done, pedicure for me, haircut for Bruce, picked up my new glasses. 

Back to the Naschmarkt and it has even more construction going on in the middle, now completely splitting it in two parts making it awkward to get from one to the other. Some of the more permanent stalls are not accessible but others have moved, makes me wonder when it will be complete.

Saw this poster then ...
The Clamato story: I found Clamato juice! In a Mexican store just up the street, had a hankering for salsa and there it was on a shelf lower down. The Caesar we make is a treat drink, not all the time, but enjoyable when made. Bruce especially likes it and has been in withdrawal for the two years we’ve been in Europe because there is no such thing as Clamato juice that he could find in Europe. He has ordered clam juice from the States and tried mixing it, he’s bought powdered form and both are terrible, so to find the real thing is quite amazing. If you are not from Canada, or apparently Mexico, you have probably have never heard of it before, such a Canadian drink, I read the first Caesar was made in a bar in Calgary, Alberta. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_(cocktail)

Had to take a picture...

Flew home to Freiburg but may return to Vienna next September.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat