Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Fall in Freiburg

Cool little car
With this on the back panel!
I pulled out my Canada Goose parka I haven’t worn in some time. The zipper on the pocket of my favourite coat broke today. I’ve been looking for a replacement for months since it has become faded but I want the same coat, “stamping of feet” and sadly SunIce doesn’t make it anymore. Knowing the heavier coat I left in Sevilla is also wearing out, (before it’s time, in my opinion, it is a designer made coat and therefore cost the bomb, Bruce bought it for me in Switzerland but it hasn’t stood the time well). So here comes the parka to bridge the gap. Hung it up and then decided to take off all the labels that shout Canada Goose, put it on the kitchen chair and Lexi found it. Ohhhhh, thank you Mom, such a cushy bed, hours later and she hasn’t left. Well she has to pee sometime… and she popped up to have a bite to eat and immediately ran back to the coat. I guess I get to share it with her, not a bad thing really.

Went to Bad Krozingen to Corfu, Greek place for lunch with Christoph. We had bigger plans but both he and I are not too energetic due to our colds, so just lunch it was. The town was open for shopping today, unusual on a Sunday but apparently they do it more often there than Freiburg. Raining so all the outdoor booths were a bit soggy, well, those not under tarp roofs. Looked like all the stores just extended their retail space to the sidewalks, we didn’t walk around much but might be a good thing to do on a less soggy day. 

Snow has fallen in Feldburg which is a ski destination not far from here in the mountains. Christoph said it is the earliest ever reported and temps here in Freiburg have fallen about 10 degrees Celsius in the last day or so. It’s Cold Outside! My sister in Alberta will be saying “you don’t know the meaning of the word!” And she’s right, and I’m a wimp.

As you know we live in the tram turm, or turning radius for the tram, it travels completely around our building. The architect, who lives in this building built it. Apparently our neighbours complained about the screeching of the trams, worse than usual I guess. The architect complained to VAG, the transit people for Freiburg and guess what their response was? Well trams are going to be trams and make sounds on curves… i.e. NADA, you built there, you live there, your neighbours bought there, and now you complain? Quite ironic I think, the people at VAG are probably laughing at us. 

Sunday, Christoph is still sick with this cold and I’m not much better either so we postpone an outing with him. Bruce and I take the big bike to Shalimar for lunch, along the trail to the Mundenhof. Being fall many of the trees are bright red right now, beautiful!

Lunch was good, as always, and we drive back through the green space in the middle of our little burg. The pond has dried up, as have the streams but the vegetation is lovely. There are many trees with small red berries on it, the leaves in various stages of turning red.

These are mini's, good way to get my veggies.
Home and I walk into the ensuite bathroom to find a lot of ladybugs (also called ladybirds) on the ceiling and walls, I’d left the window open a crack and they flew in. We get the small ladder, a spatula and start getting them out the now open window, shoo! Bruce is up the ladder and I’m hanging onto him for dear life as he twists around to get them off their high perches. I actually like ladybugs, but any bug in a quantity of a dozen or more isn’t a good thing. I think they all made it out alive, I hope so. Next question I have no answer to, why are they there? We are three floors up, no plants, nothing visible to eat…

Well Done!
We’re out another day, daily occurrence, come back to Bruce’s plastic keyboard cover in pieces on the floor, looks like the brat, aka Lexi, had a really good time with it! Well that’s okay, they are cheap, but one has to go to a MAC store to get them, natch.

The box Bruce's order of popcorn came in.
I ordered new insoles for my Wolky shoes. They are very comfortable but insoles are wearing out They are big, grey, clunky looking shoes but I can walk a long way in them and since that’s what we do, practicality over fashion wins. Anyway they are delivered by DPD couriers, (not to confuse with DHL, more common here). The best thing is the tracking system online for DPD, you can see where the truck is, you are told how many stops before yours and within a half hour what time it is expected to be delivered! This is good use of technology that has been around for a long time, GPS anyone?, but hardly any other courier company uses it! DHL comes a close second but the post offices are way behind in Freiburg and Sevilla anyway.

Sunday out with Christoph although his cold has come back with a vengeance. I had found a Thai restaurant, but he had a better one in the North section of Freiburg, we live in the West. Drove through neighbourhoods we’d never seen, very interesting and varied between poorer ones and rich ones. The restaurant is in Malterdingen and is called Chada Thai and it was great! Food, service, pricing, all good, a definite return to. It was raining but they have a large outdoor patio area for seating that would be lovely in better weather. Poor Christoph is really under the weather and I’m still not 100% yet either so we didn’t make a large outing of it but did see another part of Freiburg we hadn’t before so all good.

Outside Chada Thai, all begonias.
 Oh dear, the Donald has invaded Der Sonntag, the Sunday paper, can’t escape the guy, his behaviour is being analyzed by a professor here, can't tell you more, doesn't translate well.

All for now, Cheers Bx2 and Brat Cat

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Letter to the Citizens of United States of America

This is a version of a letter Bruce found on the web so bring your sense of humour to read it, also note the picture caption is citing the photographer, not the author of this spoof.

By Joel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence -, OGL 3,

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II:

In light of your continuing failure to manage yourselves financially:  and also, in recent years, your tendency to elect incompetent Presidents:  and being therefore clearly unable to govern yourselves:  we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.  (Look up 'revocation' in a dictionary.)  

(If necessary, look up ‘dictionary’ in that big word thingy.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister will appoint a Governor for America without need for further elections.  Congress and the Senate will be disbanded immediately.  A questionnaire will be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour', ‘favour’, and ‘neighbour.'  Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise.’  Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.  (If necessary, look up ‘vocabulary' in a dictionary.)

Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ‘like’, 'you know’ and ‘rilly’ is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.  There is no such thing as American English.  We will let Microsoft know on your behalf.  The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of '-ize.' 

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.  Instead, Our birthday will be celebrated on a convenient Saturday in June, with strawberries and cream, not rockets.

4. You must learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent.  Guns should only be used for shooting grouse.  If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler.  (A permit will be required should you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.)

5. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side.  At the same time, you will go metric.  Roundabouts and metrification will help you understand the British sense of humour.  (For help, look up ’metric’ in a dictionary.)

6. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you insist on calling gasoline) of roughly US$10 per gallon.  Get used to it.

7. You will learn to make real chips.  Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps.  Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed with vinegar, not catsup.

The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all.  Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager.  New Zealand beer is also acceptable, as New Zealand is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer.  American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

8. Hollywood will henceforth be required to cast English actors to play English characters.  Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

9. You will cease playing American football.  There are only two proper kinds of football; 1) the game you call soccer, and 2) rugby. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

Further, you will stop playing baseball.  It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America.  (Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.)  You will learn cricket, and face the Australians until you understand the real meaning of ‘pitching’.

10. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

11. An inland revenue agent from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the retrieval of all overdue taxes (from 1776).

12. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups and saucers (NOT mugs); and with cucumber sandwiches, biscuits (the word “cookies” is henceforth forbidden, as infantile) and/or cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) in season.

God Save the Queen!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Visit with Good Friends!

Ryan and Angela of came to visit us here in Freiburg! We know them from Sevilla. Yeah!  We had a Kir Royale to celebrate their arrival and had dinner. 

Happy People!

Saturday we went to the Munster Market, lovely sunny day and lots of people out to enjoy it. Divan, Turkish, for lunch where Ryan bravely killed a wasp that was really after my lunch. Went to Schlappen for a drink and noticed they have Tinto de Verano on the extensive drink menu. Since we drink those in Sevilla we decided to have one, Bruce was the smart one and ordered a beer. Well our drinks were so horrible we couldn’t drink them! We kicked ourselves for ordering a non-native drink and ordered beer and wine. 

Ryan found lemon soda so we enjoyed properly made ones at home, yummy!

Mundenhof - Sunday, we packed up a picnic lunch (chicken strips, carrot and cucumber spears with dip, egg salad and lovely bread they brought) we bought beers for beverages, walked around to see many cute animals. Angela wanted to take home a meercat and a monkey, hmm, wonder what Louis would think about that! Being Sunday and a sunny day the park was choc-o-block with children, some not so very happy ones too, noisy.

Shalimar - Indian food Monday for lunch and dinner! Shalimar has good food as I’ve mentioned before so since we can’t get good Indian in Sevilla we went. Bruce ordered a dish for take-home and we all ate it for dinner. In fact they did get a feed of it since they returned with friends the next night.

Harvest time!

 Kaiserstuhl - Tuesday I relied on my memory, always a dangerous thing, but we had a GPS in the car which helped to get us to Bahlingen for lunch at Gasthaus Zum Lamm. 

Farm Sculpture

Really well prepared German food with good service, the waitress had a sense of humour. Then we drove through the Kaiserstuhl to Breisach, for a coffee, in view of the castle we’ve all visited before so didn’t again. They enjoyed the drive through the grape farms, some of which had been harvested, some not. We saw many tractors with large vats of grapes but actually didn’t see anyone in the fields.

Grapes and raisins

Wednesday, sadly they left for Frankfurt after dropping by to say Bye for now, we’ll see them in Sevilla beginning of November.

It was a really lovely visit with two lovely, interesting, people who’s company we treasure. Weather held up, it was sunny, just as Angela asked me for, "with a cherry on top", guess that did the trick!

German Unification Day, Monday October 3rd is a holiday celebrating when the wall between East and West came down in Berlin. We went out with Christoph to Staufen for lunch at the Kornhaus. The whole village was out for a local race, seemed to be run by age group, small kids to adults, made parking a challenge but we worked around it and were able to get a seat at the restaurant. 

We had lunch in Staufen to facilitate a visit to a silver mine Bruce had looked up and thought it might be interesting. It is just outside Staufen but into the mountain a bit so the houses we saw are like those of the Schwarzwald, Black Forest, with the low hanging roofs, the town is M√ľnstertal. It was a beautiful fall day and the colours very vivid on the fields and flowers. There are fields of “pick for yourself” flowers, many along this route. The gladioli are beautiful right now, they were my Dad’s favourite flower. Sunflowers are beautiful too but not quite as “stately”. At the mine we ran out of time to explore it fully but Christoph appreciated the chance to see it for his future tours. 

Entry, as far as I went...

He currently takes them to a coal mine but says it has more difficult and uncomfortable access, he was impressed with this silver mine. While neither is a working mine now there are different processes to collect the coal or silver, no gases are used in silver mining which make it much less dangerous. 

Alternative use for the old cart, note the duck...

So how did people find where to start digging for silver 1000 years ago? They knew of plants that thrived on it and looked for those plants in the hillsides. The Romans were the first to dig here and then people were brought from Switzerland to dig, perhaps there is a lot of silver in the Alps or conditions were close to what they were used to.

Driving through rows of grapes and I said the blue netting used on some was to protect the grapes from birds. In fact it is also to protect from wild boars in this region and Alsace, France. They will suck on the grapes! Christoph talked to a woman in Alsace who said the boars are really quite smart. When one is killed in an area they won’t return there for a couple of weeks. They also know most hunting for them happens on weekends so they stay “home” on Saturday and Sunday! My only guess on that one is they can hear gunshots… There are signs on the highway that picture a wild boar hitting a car, boars are mostly nocturnal so a hazard at night. Bruce read a train hit one in Alsace recently.

My apologies for being tardy in writing lately. We had our lovely guests here, no excuse, then I had no pictures, then went out with Christoph, got pictures, the next day I contacted the worst cold I think I’ve ever had! Has a flu component which makes it very nasty. The last three days I’ve stuck to home and hope to be better soon. I am grateful it hit after Ryan and Angela's visit!

Bruce did the food shopping and in taking a basket, (we now have to pay two Euro for, returned when you return the basket) got a surprise to find a Samsung tablet in the bottom of the basket! He turned it into the cashier and someone is going to be very glad he did I'm sure. Of course it's not so much the device's value, the value is in what is stored on it. 

All for now, Cheers Bx2 and Lexi Cat