Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Visit to Bad Krozingen and a Crane

Depiction of before they get to the healing baths and after

Went back into the Kaiserstuhl with Christoph on a Sunday. He was a bit later than he wanted to be so first up was lunch, as usual. We decided Greek food at Griechisches Sonne - Corfu, would make a nice change so headed for Bad Krozingen about 15 minutes south of Freiburg by car. Note, we took the bus there the first year and it stopped at all the little villages along the way so it took about an hour but was a very lovely drive. Only problem was our driver was in a hurry I’d guess because he thought he was a race car driver, hmm, not so comfortable in a bus. Took the train back and while not as scenic, only took about 15 minutes. Bad Krozingen is a spa town with many clinics and bath waters to heal all ails. 

Pretty window boxes

Anyway the Greek food was excellent, again, large portions so Bruce and I shared a plate of really nicely cooked lamb. Then we walked a bit and looked at the church which was beautiful. 

Lovely, detailed altar

Then through the water park, water not on, and had a coffee. It was the perfect day temperature wise so nice to be out in it.

Rathaus, or City Hall
Door of the Rathaus, liked the angels, one writing the other playing

Downtown on a sunny day, yippee! Town was busy for a Monday and the Snipes store had a 70% sale on so there were lineups and body guards outside letting in a few at a time. I’ll bet the clerks were pleased about that. We had lunch at a pub next door to it and I’m amazed at the amount of product that left with people. I’ve never been in the store myself but gather it’s mostly trendy running gear which of course is why I’ve never been in! Trendy? running? not I. 

Went up to the Rewe just to get some plums for Bruce, they are especially nice right now, after a bit of walking I headed to the tram stop, Bruce went ahead, then I see him beetling back to me as I’m dragging my butt, to offer a glass of wine, yes please! We are sitting there and a woman started talking to us in English. We figure she may have been a teacher at some point because she gave us some history of the Balkan area where she is from. She was interesting and it was another great encounter. 

The building next to us has been scaffolded over the outdoor stairway since we’ve been back and of course we wondered why because no one ever seemed to work on it. Well I think I saw some painters one day but it’s still shrouded. On a weekday I looked out to find a large crane and several fellows. 

Bruce said it looks like an alien bug!

They were moving large glass panels to the roof of the building. The crane had a machine attached with four large “suction cups” to hold the glass. Hours later and the crane has moved on but the fellows remain doing what? Speculation on our part is they are glassing in the stair case… we'll let you know for those curious.

All for now, Cheers Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day and Augustiner Museum

Happy Father's Day to those of you that are! Here's a flower for you.

Our monthly trek to Zoo Burkhart for Lexi things. We take a tram then a bus and for once it wasn’t cold and rainy, always has seemed to be in the past, bonus! So you’d think it was her birthday and I suppose it is because we don’t know when it is, we can make it any day we like. Bought a scratching pad, needed, her basic food, a new litter box for travel and treats - yeah treats! They contain malt which is good to get rid of hairballs, treats for her, practical for us. Saves me the notification once in a while - hey mom, hairball for ya, not very nice to clean up.

The girl herself!

Weather has really been the pits, although it’s fairly warm but lots of storms rolling through at intervals not to be predicted. If it rained steadily we would be more inclined to grin and bare it but these short bursts of heavy rain would have us soaked in seconds, I would describe them as squalls. Whine, bitch, and I still can’t do anything about it, just getting it off my chest I suppose. 

We went with Christoph to the Augustiner Museum downtown Freiburg. What a wonderful place to visit! The building itself is newly renovated and they have kept the beautiful old planked ceilings, updated what was needed. It’s been under construction the entire time we’ve been in Freiburg, only opened recently. It is four floors of European history, much of it had been in the Munster and to keep the pieces intact they moved the statues and artwork into this climate controlled museum. Much of it also comes from nearby Strasbourg, France and Upper Rhine, and other parts of Germany. I applaud the curator, it is a beautiful, sometimes gruesome, collection of incredibly well executed art by masters of their time.

A surprise awaited us, students from the music school do a final concert on the organ in preparation for them to perform before an audience. Wow! what talent that lady had, essentially four keyboards to play, one with her feet and she moved so much she had to be in good shape to play it. Her partner was the page turner of the scores she played from and also hit a few keys to change tone. Hands and feet flew across the keyboards. They were professional but unassuming and it was a performance like I’ve never seen before and really, really enjoyed. A couple of fellows sat next to me and closed their eyes, best way to really hear the music and made me wonder were they the teachers, were the players judged, did this go for a mark in the course? 
The organ itself had been moved from the Munster and completely restored, floor to ceiling covering about three floors. So where does an organist make a living? Can they?

View from the top floor, yes, that is a pig on a trailer, promotion for vegan eating, seems an odd choice to me.

What I found great was seeing the evolution of paintings and statues, especially the paintings. They were flat and without embellishment in the beginning, didn’t show perspective. You could follow the improvement through the ages, for example, landscapes were added and detail of people’s clothing were added to give a more interesting depiction. 

One row of many rows of statues.

We saw very many saints, lots of Jesus, devils, mostly biblical and that is where Christoph came in and why we hired him to show us. He is a religious person and told us of the history of many of the characters we saw. He’d also talked with the curator to upgrade his knowledge so he had stories to relate about the art. Going on our own would not have been such a rich experience and getting the organ concert was a real bonus! There are three floors of stained glass, some painted as the originals, some real, originals, beautiful and both Bruce and I do like stained glass. 

Not stained glass but beautiful.

Another separate temporary display was of etuis or small boxes that held valuables, which fascinated me because, you probably don’t know this about me, but I like little boxes of any type, these were beautiful!

Lunch at a fav Italian restaurant close by topped off a really lovely and educational day. 

The herd of cattle we get to look at out our windows.
All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Visit to a Winery and Flowers

Out with Christoph on Sunday, a rather dull day after a storm the night before so we concentrated on Lunch! Not a bad thing to do. We went to Gasthof Krone in Friesenheim, Kaiserstuhl where they do a very good spargel (white asparagus)  lunch, remember the dome from last year? Well we had to sit inside this time, we wanted to sit out but wait staff didn’t want to come out if it rained, can’t blame them. Inside is cosy and noisy, food is a long time coming. We realized later they had put on set menu for French Mother’s Day and there were many French people there. Also there were many old varieties of cars, antiques some of them in the villages we passed through and a wine fest at Ihringen which we took the backroads through coming back. 

Clematis in our neighbourhood

We went downtown to get a couple of specific items. Our plane travel agent had worked with me for flights in the summer, then we went to the train agent, and we’ve booked everything by train, more on that later. So the plane agent didn’t get paid for her time with me and I didn’t think that was fair. She’s a cat lover and has one so I put together a little package for her in thanks for her time. Cat treats, card, Swiss chocolate in a gift bag that had cats on it, natch! Thankfully she wasn’t there and I could drop it on her desk. Bruce learned a while ago while in Japan that the person receiving the gift never opens it in the presence of the giver. That’s in the case if the receiver is disappointed and it shows, the giver doesn't see. Some would call that denial.

After we went to the Munster market and walking by a stall we had many many times before, but today is a spring day and the cacti are in bloom. This lady has been selling there since the first time we went three, no four years ago, and we’ve never really taken it in. Bruce is a self confessed cacti lover and his birthday is tomorrow so I asked him if he wanted one for his birthday. Face lit up and he chose one. 

It’s called a Mammillaria woodaii, common name is old lady cactus, is small, fuzzy, spiny, with pink flowers. The lady uses forceps to pick up the pots, wrapped it carefully in newspaper and a plastic bag and we toted it home. Found a place for it that Lexi can’t get at, don’t want spines in her nose, and decided Ms Cacti needed a name, Maggie it is! Why we’ve determined she is female I haven’t a clue but she is pretty. All this fuss over a cactus, I know, but Bruce is very pleased. Just a little bright spot in a week where it’s been cold and raining mostly. 

I found cards in a store that turn into mini jigsaw puzzles. You write your message on the back and then dismantle the pieces, put them in the envelope and let the receiver put them together. While dismantled they are a bit lumpy so not a good idea to mail that way but I do appreciate the unique idea. At least I think it is, do they exist in Canada?

Walked through streets in our neighbourhood we don’t often see, it’s not all that big a place really but getting to the back roads is interesting due to the multitudes of flowers blooming right now. Judging by the buds we saw, we’re just at the beginning of the season. There are several green spaces here between the box like apartment buildings and many of the areas between sidewalk and road are planted. 

Even the palm tree is flowering.

Bruce wanted Indian food for his birthday so took the long way there. Note to self DO not go through the school ground again, especially at lunch time! How to make a person feel really old and the need to dodge both running kids and balls. Well, this is their playground and I have no right to say a word, I’m the one in the wrong place and time.

At the Shalimar, while waiting to bring home the food I had a pakora, (like a small fried dumpling) expecting one but it was an appetizer dish of several vegetable ones with a couple of lovely sauces and a bit of salad. Also had a mango lassi to drink which was very tasty. They make what Bruce thinks is the best lime pickle ever, they just seem to use whatever vegetable they have, carrot, zucchini, bean and put a lovely sauce on it. He’s bought lime pickle before from the standard Indian spice jars available in grocery stores, I hate it, but this is good. We’ll go back and see if they won’t sell us a jar. What a delight to have good Indian food, of course India is such a large country that the food varies as it does in all countries, we’ll have to find out which part of India these folks are from. This is the sister/brother restaurant to the downtown one that has great reviews. A good birthday for Bruce I think he would say.

These next comments are a bit risqué but I do want to include them due to how well the campaign is done. It is one against AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, done with humour in cartoon like characters. Website (if you use Google Chrome there is a translate button) and what they are doing is educating people to use condoms. The website indicates personal support available, size of condom, disease recognition, information for heterosexuals and homosexuals. Well I won’t go on, but it’s a great campaign in my opinion, funded by the German Federal Government with health care partners. Until we figured it out we were a bit shocked to find the ads everywhere in all the tram stations, amused, but shocked because we are Canadian, eh, and I doubt we would see such a campaign in Canada. The way it’s presented, informative in a humorous way, it’s a great way to get an important message across to the public and perhaps even save some lives. Sorry, did go on.

Saturday and we visit Landerer winery for the third year in a row. Sadly the male owner passed away earlier this year from a heart attack but the family, wife and son and daughter seem to be handling everything well. 

Little grapes, I used some zoom, they were tiny!

There was a bus tour there so they were busy but we weren’t forgotten about and had seating in our own room away from the noise. Their offerings of wine seems to have expanded quite a lot with 37 offerings, some being hard liquor made from fruit. Looking around the walls they have displayed many of their winnings at fairs, one gold in Vienna! Prices for their wines have not increased, or if they have, very marginally. 

I wondered about the shells and then saw the slugs attached.

The slug "house" I think is to keep them happy and away from the grape vines. I do like going to this winery, it's a family run business and they are hard working with good attitudes it seems and very welcoming.

Then on for lunch in Opfingen at Gasthausblume (flower). We have been there before but it’s been along time ago now and it was really good. The fellows had schnitzel and Christoph said it was great so I asked him what makes a good one. Apparently really pounding the meat to tenderness, a good breading and properly fried so it doesn’t come out greasy. Then a good amount of lemon makes it taste even fresher.

All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat