Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!!!

Massive palm tree, Metropol Parasol in the background, read on.

This is Ryan's post about their visit with us and other friends in Freiburg. Great picture of him and Bruce.

Thwarted Christmas dinner, or when even careful planning goes amiss. I asked Ryan to contact the local butcher to get a pork roast, meaning to stuff it, he ordered for pick up Saturday. Turkeys can be found but large cured hams like we get in North America cannot, or at least no one here seems to be able to find them. Go to the butcher on Saturday and it is a zoo, just as we did, everyone else did too, poor fellow was so busy! Bruce gets to the counter and he asks for the roast, said pork roast three times, not understood I guess because we brought home a cooked beef roast and a tin of gravy. Pepe stopped by for a Christmas drink and he confirmed that Bruce had the words correctly but he said “that just happens sometimes” What? Well we’ll be fed and the beef is tasty because I opened it’s package to see what we actually had bought. (Read on, it was pork!)

Pepe showed us pictures of his recent trip to Marrakesh, Morocco and it looks to be very exotic, colourful, gritty and chaotic, Bruce said he’d be booking a ticket for next week if he didn’t have mobility issues. I’ve read bloggers stories and their opinions swing from loving it to hating it. We were glad Pepe had a good time there, he said it was like Sevilla about twenty years ago. His brother is in town so he took a bottle of Clamato juice to introduce him to a red eye, Bruce said hah! we’re converting Spaniards, well on a very small scale for sure. 

From my Christmas message mentioning dried sage I received an offer from a lady I know on the Coast to mail me some! Isn’t that in the Christmas spirit!  

I received so many lovely responses to the blog from friends for Christmas, it fills my heart! Thank you!

Christmas lunch worked out well, it was a pork roast, including gravy the butcher put in, well seasoned and we used the raclette grill to warm it, I thought the oven might dry it out. Stuffing done in the oven, not very traditional, included orange juice and rind, but tasted good. Mashed potatoes sent Ryan into heaven, hasn’t had them in a while, done with butter and cream. They brought a tasty mixture of snow peas, garlic and soy sauce, a perfect sharper mix to the lunch/dinner. 

There should be a name for lunches in Spain that transcend to dinners, brunch is a good word for breakfast and lunch, no word that I know of for what happens here.

I am good with a knife, can’t remember when I have cut myself with one, but a grater, well, not the same story, two grate marks on my fingers, not great, hah pun intended. 

That fancy, Dyson vacuum cleaner we bought? Doesn’t work well, battery life on it is shorter than advertised half hour, Rocio couldn’t even finish doing the couch before it conked out. She said it was cumbersome to use. So being rather expensive, it’s going back to the store. I was dreading this experience but it turned out well. I typed on my phone, translated and handed it to the clerk. He didn’t say anything but rang it through. Had an orange juice at our favourite little cafe and the owner of it recognized me and asked if we live near by, that’s always a nice thing. The cafe is a French one called Colette,

Saturday the 30th and a sunny, warm day so we go to the top of the Setas, Metropol Parasol. 

One of the 360 degree views, I took many more pictures, but into the sun, not good...
Been meaning to do that all the time we’ve been here, finally done! I actually had a bit of vertigo, don’t know why really, ramps are wide with high guard rails. The nice people at the entry booth saw Bruce’s chair, pulled us to the front of the line and issued us free tickets to go up. 

Beautiful tile work on the side of a church.
Had Japanese lunch first and good thing too, after we were looking around to have a drink at a patio and there wasn’t a table to be found! Couldn’t even see some of the restaurants, just the crowds of people with drinks in hand. We did find a table but were told we couldn’t have it and couldn’t at the moment figure out why, no indication it was reserved or people had left it temporarily. Sitting at home and I remembered Alonzo saving us a table when it was busy, we’d wait at the sidelines until one came free and he’d wave anyone else off who wanted it. Hah, mystery solved. Whole town was out with all their relatives, strolling along, not walking, mind, strolling, sloooowly, in family groups taking up the sidewalks. I remember Angela and Ryan coming to our table at our old local and almost begging for a seat, must have been this time of year, they’d been all over and couldn’t find an empty spot. Now if we are going out for lunch with them, we arrive early, get a table, otherwise people wait outside the tables and stare hungrily at you to guilt you into leaving. Custom here is that you enjoy your time, line up or not.

Well that's a wrap of this post and 2017. Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2018!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Our bits of decoration, I know, certainly didn't go "full out".
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Wishing you all the best for 2018!

We haven’t really been doing much lately but this Friday we bought a nifty Dyson vacuum cleaner for Rocio, she will need the manual to figure out the five attachments but it will make her cleaning time here much easier, getting rid of cat hair that replaces most people’s dust bunnies. 

Nice day and we’re having the vacuum delivered so hands free we had a coffee at a fav little cafe, then moved on to Plaza de la Encarnación under the Setas or the Metropol Parasol. We have been on a hunt for dried sage, salvia in Spanish, to spice up our Christmas lunch. It’s not an herb that is used often here but found some in the market. A couple were buying up the vegetable and fruit stand, obviously locals that shop there a lot, lots of teasing between the proprietor and them, we waited patiently for our less than  €5 purchase. Stopped at a Japanese restaurant and had a great lunch. There were many Japanese people inside so that’s usually a good indication food will be decent. Shared a Sapporo beer which was good and it’s been years since I’ve had one. 

Nice day out! Walked back to the flat through streets we hadn’t been down before with red streamers crossing the narrow street, past stores that had interesting themes, closed for lunch, past a couple of upmarket seafood restaurants. 

Note the next few pictures were mostly shot through windows, not great, but included anyway.
Hats and accessories for them
Door of the shop.
This doesn't do justice, it was beautiful!
Cute? Ugly? I don't know but captivating.
Door to a curio or antique shop.
Huge fish! Terrible picture, I asked permission and didn't want to push my luck taking another.
A church band played in the Museo Plaza the evening of December 22. They are pretty good, likely due to the numerous music schools here in Sevilla. A joy to hear! I remember last year, they played the night we had moved into our new flat and it felt like a welcome to the neighbourhood. This time of year you can stumble on many bands either practicing in plazas or in the evening providing a full concert as they move through the streets. Oh, and they aren't wearing street clothes, they wear full uniform including hats.

Bruce likes to give Lexi a kitty massage, mostly under the chin and around the head. Well she loves it but this time she got over stimulated and acted like crazy cat for an hour after, jumping around, sideways like she’s seen a ghost, tail fluffed to double the normal size, ears back, running from room to room with no intention. Hmm, probably not a good idea to over stimulate but she does have fun. Smart, inquisitive is she, Bruce had liquorice ropes in a package on the table (from British Shop), I watched her select one with her paw and drag it out to chomp on it. Now if it does to cats what it does to humans I’m very glad I stopped her in time or, well, let’s not go there.

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the crazy Lexi Cat

Monday, December 11, 2017

Enjoying Sevilla and Good and Very Bad Cooking

Here's Lexi, on Bruce's shoulder, something she did on their first meeting and continues.
I made stew, guess it’s good, well I like it, Bruce does too and called it beef bourguignon. Helps that the meat was good from the butcher, I partially used a recipe and then went my own way with it. Bruce has difficulty standing at the stove for lengthy periods of time right now so I’ve taken over the cooking duties. He has always done the cooking so now it’s payback time. I’m actually enjoying it, always have, so does he, but he’s a different kind of cook than I am. I take a recipe, or two, and modify by taste and what’s in the cupboard. 

Vegetable from our local shop and a splash of red wine, usually drink it not eat it but made a difference!
I’ve been cooking since about ten years old and using what was in the pantry. We had our own meat, vegetable and fruit off the farm so those were my only available ingredients, good variety and fresh or fresh frozen, nothing “fancy”, but good.

Pepe said we had permission to install ramps in the atrium to ease Bruce’s journey across it so Juan, same carpenter as last year, spent a couple of days making and installing those in wood. They work well until the cleaners move them and don’t put them back. Juan does generate a lot of sawdust and Rocio looked at the staircase last week and shook her head in mock disgust, told her to wait until he’s done. She agreed to iron our shirts for us, yes, we’ve been living wrinkled for a long time now but did appreciate the ironing Gilbert did for us in Amsterdam so asked her, now you’ll only see wrinkles in our faces, lucky you. Small things make me happy these days.

It is getting colder here and if there is a breeze, well you know … so our haunting of cafes has lessened considerably. Although we were at one in the early afternoon and a wedding party went by. What I mean by that is not the bride and groom, but the attendees. Wow, as I’ve said before people really dress for weddings here! Most women wear hats, over their curled and heavily styled hair (bizarre looking hats in my opinion, but that’s just me) high heels, and lovely dresses, they also cling onto their partner’s arms, or women go in two’s or threes, so as not to stumble on the uneven cobblestones.

Heard a strange noise at 7 am outside the window, fellow in a cherry picker crane installing these on our street.
Wednesdays are THE day for appointments, we start with Rocio, cleaning and Angel, Bruce’s massage at 10:00 and it seems we usually have one or two appointments after that, next week it’s hair for me and dentist for Bruce. Other weeks it’s been the carpenter or computer fellow. Well at least we are accomplishing things and a routine is established, not very interesting to tell you about really.

Cooking disaster! Maybe disaster is too strong a word, failure would be better. We’d bought a cauliflower with the idea to pickle it with Ivan’s uncle’s olives, more on that in a bit. Didn’t make it to his Uncles, it was Wednesday, see above. So with it sitting in the fridge for a few days and neither of us wanting to eat it raw, it was time to either pitch it or cook it in some fashion to make it tasty to us both. My attempt at cauliflower soup failed miserably probably due to using Moroccan spice which was too heavy a spice for it and my use of about three recipes, well, all I can say is the twain did not meet. Oh well, I did lighten the load in the fridge and it all got tossed. Bruce was kind and honest, didn’t say it tasted like shite but came close. Guess I need the occasional cooking failure to stay humble. 

Today is Immaculate Conception day and a public holiday so many families are out and crowding up cafes and the start of Christmas craziness, as with most of the rest of the world.

Another type of Christmas decoration.
Ivan’s Uncle “makes” his own olives. He takes raw olives and brines them and adds spices. 
Ivan's picture see the garlic!
We didn’t get to see the process, it was Wednesday, so Ivan brought us a jar, complete with garlic and I think thyme used for spice. They are large, split, pit still in, and very yummy!

Olives are split by putting them through this contraption, important to get the spices through.

Just don’t breathe on anyone after eating, garlic breath for sure.

Nuestra Senora De Las Mercedes, Chapel of our Lady of Mercy

Under construction and finally finished but never seems to be open, do read the links, for good explanations. 

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the shoulder decorating cat Lexi

Sunday, November 26, 2017

First days in Sevilla

All uneventful on the trip Freiburg to Sevilla, good news these days. We walk in to a fantastically clean apartment, Rocio was here. We couldn’t get the gas for hot water to work so Pepe tried, he couldn’t either, so he called the gas fixer people. They couldn’t come until the next day, cold, brrry showers in the morning. 

Going out for a small shop for supper we again appreciated being back in Sevilla, it’s warm and sunny here, that special Sevilla blue sky! 

We visited the fruit and vegetable man who greeted us very warmly. On to a late lunch with Ryan and Angela, Pepe and Dawn. Dawn is originally from Queensland, Australia but now lives in Christchurch, New Zealand. She teaches yoga and had been at a retreat in the mountains of Malaga. Found Pepe’s Airbnb Experiences which is new in Sevilla (more on that in a bit) and had a bicycle tour with him in the morning.  Pepe invited her for lunch with us, part of his Joie de vivre, live in the moment, his chosen lifestyle. She was in Christchurch and had just purchased a home which cracked almost in two with the earthquakes that city suffered years ago. We were there for a tourist visit between the first two quakes, Christchurch Cathedral was damaged, but a complete pile of rubble with the second quake. I was certainly glad we chose the days we did to visit and dodged both earthquakes! Six years later Dawn can now move back in after fighting with the insurance company in court. She said it was devastating and took a toll on everyone’s health, mostly due to stress and so many quakes after, wondering if this was another big one. (I’ve heard this about other people who live there and it has devastated the real estate market, so people are stuck with  broken or partially broken homes, living in fear and no where to go, since it has calmed down, the situation has become easier I think.) Very nice woman, quite educated, open minded and a fellow traveller so we enjoyed asking her questions and learning more about Australia and New Zealand. She is travelling on to Lisbon, Barcelona and Amsterdam, cities she’s never been to before so we all could tell her a bit about each one. Bruce said we were quite the international group, Australian, Canadian, Spanish and United States.

Gas technician came to find out a flange beside the fridge had been closed, Pepe found it, not something we did, not sure whom … anyway turned into an easy fix, we have hot water yeah!!!! Minimum call out is €20,00, worth it to not have brrrrr showers while here. But they aren’t super hot either so Pepe returned and turned up the dial on the gas, sigh, better.

What’s with us and elevators? Heard that before haven’t you… Saturday and we’re ready to go out and ours isn’t working, the outside one, not the inside. The company knows that we are stuck on the third floor, well maybe I could get down and back but Bruce, only in an absolute emergency, they haven’t brought anyone in yet. Tomorrow is Sunday and most people don’t work, but they did so now fixed. 

I’m 59 today and no hot shower, damn it! Bruce was able to get one but not me, turns out it was the membrane, what ever that is, because it hadn’t been fired up in six months. Well that got fixed, truly fixed this time, by 7:30 pm, the gas fitter came at 4:00 pm, assessed the situation and we decided since the heater we had was old, finding new parts problematic, decided to get a new one, got it and installed in less than two hours, very pleased, delighted in fact! Pepe was here for us again, he’s now, admittedly addicted to “red eyes” (beer and clamato juice). Certainly not your average birthday but having reliable hot water is the best present I could have! Oh, in the meantime we had lunch at El Cortes Gourmet experience and things have changed there as well, a fav seafood booth has gone, replaced by a company with less desirable menu for me. While things change some stay the same, the parking fellow with “woolly dog” as we call him is around, as is Pepe who owns the bar across from where we go for a tostada with yo-yo dog, his daughter used to haul the dog by the leash over curbs, aptly named. 

Rocio came at 10:00 am to clean and show us pictures of her son’s wedding and grandchild. She has never done this before but asked for a coffee. I think she maybe needed a coffee, but also wanted to know how the maker, a french press I use worked, having seen it on the counter every time. 

Building across the street from us, see the Christmas lights, not lit yet.

I needed to buy new cleaning products and mops and such for her so went to get them while Bruce had a massage from Angel. Same day, Bruce has been having trouble with ads and an insidious computer program, which shall remain nameless, showing on his screen so we phoned Fermin to come in to fix the problem. He also started the process to upgrade us to fibre optics for a much faster connection to the net, another productive day!

I went to an ATM, withdrew €300 and only €230 came out of the machine! This was at a bank I don’t bank with and I used a German card. So we went to our Spanish bank after talking to a person at the withdrawal bank, who confirmed the shortage. The Spanish bank could not do anything, of course, but did give me an International form to send to the bank in Freiburg. What a pain!

Thursday and we are due our purchases for delivery of large things from El Corte, toaster over, iron and board etc, 

Friday and delivery came with one flaw. We didn’t get our toaster oven, damn it! I should have checked everything before the delivery fellow left, lesson learned. Failed attempts to find an English speaker on the phone meant we needed to go back to the store to get it sorted as soon as possible. Fly in the ointment, it’s Black Friday and crazy in the store. But it did get sorted and we’ll have to wait a few days for delivery. We were lucky to get the same clerk that sold the items to us and he fixed it, in fact he called that evening and it was delivered the next morning.

Ivan called and wanted me to meet with a new partner of his named Shane and bounce business ideas around, you know I love to do that! Met with them and liked Shane immediately, stand up fellow, from Chicago, lived in London, Glasgow and Brussels before coming here. His wife works for an International Finance firm (may have that slightly incorrect). He does International finance consultancy and is straight forward and has good intelligent ideas, and asks lots of questions about lifestyles of people here. They are experiencing some of the pains we have had in moving into a rented apartment, internet access, changing over the services, etc. It was a pleasure to talk business and non-profit organizations again, they want to set up one in Sevilla for expats.

Saturday afternoon and we have Pepe, Angela and Ryan over for drinks. Everyone has been busy with their businesses and us with appointments so it was good to get together again. 

Airbnb has added to their portfolio to enhance people’s experiences in cities they visit. Pepe has two experiences he offers, a trip to his family’s bodega for wine tasting, 

and a bike tour 

That is my shameless plug or advertisement for Pepe!

All for now, apologies for only two pictures!
Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat who is loving the staircase again.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Last days in Freiburg for now

Hello Friends, 

Went to Ciao Bella and the background music was an “Oldies” station, and was it ever, songs I haven’t heard in years and years, guess that puts me as old… Coming back I saw a poster which said “Let’s RieselRock” it’s a dance being held mid-November at the Glass House, our cultural centre here. I had lunch there the other day and very limited menu but what I had was good, almost the youngest person in the place really. I think from seeing the clientele it’s a place to have a cheap but filling meal and talk with others from the neighbourhood, kind of like the Senior’s group in Madeira Park. There is a sizeable library in there also but no books in English, I asked, they are available downtown but I’ve not investigated. 

We ran into Gunter Zoller our neighbour coming out of the Edeka grocers and he’d been in ordering meat for a later pickup, he was afraid they’d run out by the end of the day. He said it was a zoo in the store and "to be very brave". What we didn’t realize at that moment was it is two days of holiday mid-week not just one. Reformation Day is about Martin Luther’s disputes with the Catholic Church, read about it here

This year is the 500th anniversary and so while the day is usually not a public holiday, only in five German states, this year it is one the whole of Germany, also Halloween, not so much celebrated but getting more so. November 1st is All Saint’s Day, public holiday. So if you took Monday off you would have had a very long weekend, even including the extra hour for the clocks changing back, it’s a week later here than in Canada.

Anyway, about Halloween, the retailers have bounced onto this more and more every year, the change is noticeable. I don’t think the children go trick or treating but they do dress up in costume. Must disappoint them, no school today so they won’t be celebrating with school mates. My first costume was a white bunny rabbit complete with flopping ears (mom’s attempt to make them stand up with wire didn’t quite work) with bobtail and a real carrot. My sister was a panda bear, really cute. Since we didn’t live in a neighbourhood, a few miles to the nearest houses mom drove us around to family friends for trick and treat, fun times. My dad would sit home, curtains drawn, no light to the street, he’d probably eaten all the little candy bars that were bought for the meagre amount of kids we did get, he had a sweet tooth, that time of year was the only one when we had candy bars in the house.

Headed out with Christoph on November 1st, summer like day, really! Even the wasps were out. We were headed here  to Kirschzarten but they were full, had too few wait staff so didn’t have room for us. There was a small chapel at Hofgut Himmelreich, maybe held 20 people at most. 

This little fellow was outside, I don't know who he is....

They recommended Gasthof Adler in Buchenbach so with kitchens on the verge of being closed we headed there, Great food, great service, they allowed us to sit outside, inside was too stuffy and on such a gorgeous day it was lovely to be out. 

This town and the previous one are on the edge of the Black Forest and the house architecture shows it, low slung roofs, balconies covered in flowering window boxes. There was a church next to it but we couldn’t/wouldn’t go in due to a service being held for All Saint’s Day. Many old brick or stone buildings and one hotel with more windows than walls, it is a hotel, looked a bit like a doll house to me. Several small churches which Christoph said likely belonged to families. 

Cultural differences even within Canada, a friend from Ontario thought it nice to plant what we consider weed. An acquaintance I worked with bought a house with a lawn and told me she had no idea what to do with it, never having done so, apartments were all they’d known.

We’ve had some calamities in the house recently. I broke the glass portion of the Bodum coffee pot, thought it was tempered glass but guess not, they do sell replacement glass so bought one. Bruce left a simmering pot on the stove of beef broth until it turned black, I took it off and put it on the counter top, which put a circle of discolour on the top. All my scrubbing couldn’t get the pot clean, buy a new one, we’ll need to get a counter expert in to fix that and could mean replacement of the entire counter, ouch, or maybe they can resurface it. Thought that counter was indestructible too, apparently not. We bought ginger ale, Bruce likes it and although not opened, leaked into the storage cabinet we put it in, about half of it, real mess, cleaned up. So they say things come in three’s and we’ve had ours, thank you very much. 

Saturday and there is a football match going to happen, how do I know? Most everyone is wearing either red or blue scarves with team logos on them, and that’s all I know or care to about football in Freiburg or anywhere else for that matter. When the fans do come they come from other towns and the downtown is crowded, Christoph drove in to town to meet us and encountered traffic jams and trouble parking. We ate German food (Gasthaus Zum Lamm) under the horse chestnut trees, next to the statue of the crocodile in the bachle.

Waiting for the train to Frankfurt was cold! Time to leave!

Here are four, yes four pictures of a sunset we had in Freiburg, they are at the end so you can skip them if you wish but they are each different quite strikingly I think so that's why I am including them.

Next post is coming to you from Sevilla, warmer here for sure!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Staufen and ...

We went to Staufen, been before, it’s a pretty little town, quite touristy, but it's a town we like. Had an excellent lunch at Fauststube Löwen pictures are good in the link and there is an English button.

Now that's a roof! It's the top of the Rathaus or City Hall
Pretty statue in the main square, red building is the restaurant and guest house.
Little bird on a chair, happens frequently.
Another frog, this one with a crown, Christoph in the background
What is it with this area of Germany and statues of frogs? The restaurant had multiples of them too and my previous post had them in the store. 

Most of the grapes are harvested now, the patches of red grapes can clearly be seen amongst the green ones, the leaves are bright red. The corn fields are cut, there are still flowers in the “pick your own” places which are colourful to see.

We’ve been downtown most days last week and that is great but sometimes it just feels good to stay close to home. Finally we have an appointment for the trees to be picked up, that took three phone calls and the woman answering recognized me the last couple of times. Her comrade (which is what people say here for co-worker) was supposed to call with the date but didn’t. Weather is supposed to turn cold on Sunday so we need to put these trees to bed. Oranges off the one are not tasty Bruce says, rather sour, but the lemons are really lovely and so different, fresher tasting, than store bought. 

We made more soup yesterday, Bruce had a far more generous version in mind but I took some that we had made before potato, chicken stock based, from the freezer and added most of what he wanted. Turned out well and we have equal the amount of packets back in the freezer. It’s not a large freezer and we often out cook it’s capacity so give away quite a bit. 

Check, check, went to the store I visit annually for my 2018 Moleskin calendar, been using them for years now and they really work for me. Also bought Christmas cards although the selection isn’t quite there yet, still pleased with what I bought. 

Picked up our train tickets from the travel agent and had lunch at the Freiburger, a popular burger joint, then did our turtle act again in the sunshine. 

Our monthly tram passes had expired yesterday so I bought us eight trips each, you have to stamp the date and time at a machine on the tram, luckily we did because all fares were checked today and one fellow had trouble with the ticket agent right in front of Bruce but eventually produced a valid ticket. These agents are sometimes quite okay, just doing the job, others are assholes, excuse the language. The latter like the feeling of power over others and use it when they can to be mean. We talked about this, a monthly tram ticket is €51 , the fine for non-payment is €60, they do not check often so we wondered how many people ride for free and are willing to get that fine plus the embarrassment of being kicked off, probably quite a few I would think. Then I wonder if there is repercussion if you get kicked off more than once, do they keep records and check back? This being Germany, I would think so, sigh, more questions I have no answers for.

The fellows from the Stadtgärtenerei came to pick up our citrus trees on Thursday, friendly guys and commented on the view we have, one said “you get to wake up in the morning to "THIS” and he is right. 

I’ve been waiting for an order I placed end of April last year for underwear, boy shorts, too much information I know, but they are comfortable okay! I can’t find them here, or in Paris, Amsterdam, Sevilla, well any city, seem to be a North American thing. Order placed, takes at least a month to ship, didn’t get forwarded from Canada, our renter found them in our mail box, a box she doesn’t use. She forwarded them to me in Freiburg costing $45, and it took a month to arrive, except arrived at the customs office. Getting there is a real pain by transit so I splurged on a cab for €20 each way, duty of €13, expensive and time consuming goods! But worth it for me. I just wanted to get them before we go to Sevilla, now in hand, I’m happy, and the cab driver on the way played Flashdance on the radio as we were driving along, still remember that movie and like the music and dancing, wow, that’s been a long time.

Bruce bought spiced, dry roasted peanuts, have you ever had just one? Impossible! Good thing dinner tonight is a light one.

Met up with Adrienne and Jeffrey with Bruce this time, another very lively conversation and Mary Louise stopped by too, found out she’s a lawyer and works in a bank which probably explains her excellent English speaking. Jeffrey is originally from Toronto and has dual citizenship for USA. Adrienne is working through issues with her son.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beautiful Fall Weather

We’ve been very lucky weather wise, pretty warm and certainly sunny, I consider each good day a gift this time of year.

Took Christoph and his son to lunch at Mahatma Gandhi Saturday for good, spicy Indian food. The son said he liked hanging with us to experience new foods and practice his English. He speaks English well, hesitates on some words, but also understands most of what we say and asks if he doesn’t, truly does want to learn. He’s a polite teenager around us but his father has told us he has typical teenage foibles. 

Sunday and I spill wine on my computer, darn it!!! Of course it doesn’t work so it’s off to the computer store we go on Monday. We’d both be really rich people if we could find a fix to spills on computers but they aren’t ever covered under any warranty, human error. I wanted the exact same gold coloured MacBook which they didn’t have in stock so ordered for me, came in Wednesday so we picked it up, need to go back for the backup on Friday. So shiny new computer with a right shift key that works and no sticky space bar which I was willing to live with but this way I can type much faster and more accurately, bonus! Plus I am writing again which I’ve missed doing. Thankfully Dawna left me a paperback novel which has held my attention nicely.

Newly restored building downtown.
After the store we stopped at a cafe we haven’t been to for a long while and had an excellent lunch at Cafehaus. A lady next to us had a very big, beautiful Newfoundlander dog, black and white while usually they are brown and white, it was gorgeous and well mannered. Huge paws on it and a sunny disposition, just a pleasure to see.  Bruce paid the bill with a 50 Euro bill and received back two twenties with the change, hey, that’s not right, so we call over our waiter and give him back the extra 20. He was very pleased and because we figured it might come out of his wages and didn’t want that to happen even though his error. This square is a through point for many University students to walk or ride to reach the University, always lots of people going by. Nice day out too so it was a lovely time of good food, people and dog watching and sitting under horse chestnut trees. We have to grab those days while the weather still is cooperative, but in three weeks we’ll be back in sunny Sevilla which can be cool but is usually sunny.

Next door I checked out a unique store, held products from India and China I think, had a yoga theme with small statues of gold frogs in the lotus position and looking happy or smug depending on how you read them. 

Read about this gate in the following link, one of two, this is Martinstor (Martins gate)

Bruce took his wheels in to get new wheels and other minor adjustments done. He now has four shiny new wheels and doesn’t bob all over the place on cobblestones. His bar at the back to carry luggage and the shopping cart has also been firmed up which is helpful to us both. That bar has been a godsend for me so I’m not dragging two large suitcases across long lines to trains or in the airport. We have learned over time to let the bike take as much weight as possible and it really helps.

Met Christoph at Milano, Italian restaurant after looking for the lady who sells dried fruit at the Munstermarkt, wasn’t there, was on Saturday.That market smells so wonderful as I’ve said so many times before, I do wish there was a small app I could use to give you a scent of it. 

Munster spire, almost restored after years of painstaking effort!
Twin towers attached to it.
The mesh you are seeing in the two photos above is because I took the pictures from the balcony of a department store next door.

There were a lot of police downtown on Thursday 12th, walking around in pairs and threes, there wasn’t a game happening but it was noticeable and I don’t know why, we went down on Saturday and didn’t see any. These anomalies make me curious and I really have no way of finding out about them.

I visited the local ophthalmologist shop with the idea that I wanted new glasses, he’s always been good to us but haven’t seen him for a couple of weeks, maybe on holidays. Looking, I or we, didn’t find anything that struck us both in frames and since Bruce has to look at me daily, his opinion is important! The clerk there cleaned my current glasses with a “sonic bath” and they are much improved, brighter than ever and aside from checking the prescription I may not need new ones after all. Will look in Sevilla and expect to find cheaper frames and more colourful perhaps.

Downtown to the Munstermarkt and it is Saturday, lovely warm day so extremely busy. We sat in a cafe for a drink, away from the maddening crowds but could watch from our seats. Bruce knocked over his drink before getting a sip of it, there was just a sip left. Good thing there were no computers in the way! Lunch was doner kebab where they shave off the meat, we didn’t want too much so just shared one. 

Just added to show some lovely architecture!
Weird thing today, they are running sets of trams instead of singles out our way and we can’t figure out why. Nice day out though, fall colour everywhere and brilliant sunshine. 

Sunday and we’re back downtown but a much less packed city, lots of people travelling seen because we were next to the train station in the theatre district. We ordered a chicken salad from Divan, a Turkish restaurant we have gone to before, ordered it for take away and enjoyed a glass of wine while people and dog watching.

Zwiebelkuchen is Onion Cake, a dish that is served in the Fall in south Germany so I tried a piece from our local bakery. Some versions have ham or bacon in them, mine was plain. I liked the topping but not the crust, to describe it better, it’s basically an onion quiche, doubt it will become a favourite.

We've really enjoyed this fall in Freiburg, weather has been fantastic, warm enough without a coat, even some people are still wearing shorts!

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat