Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day! and Outings

Sitting under the wisteria tree attached to the building

We went out with Christoph on May 1st, Labour Day here and a holiday. He had a tour to do in the morning so booked a table for 2 pm for lunch at a restaurant in Staufen that shall remain nameless this time. We’ve been there before but the service was truly awful today. They didn’t give me the right meal, they didn’t give Christoph the right meal either! We sent them back and waited for the correct ones.

Yes folks, the white on the strawberries is salt, nice presentation though.

Salt was on Christoph’s desert strawberries, (how does that happen?!) a mistake they rectified, we waited ages for coffee. Food is good when you get it though and presentation is lovely, just today was not a good one service wise.

There was a brass band playing throughout lunch which was very good, just limited conversation a bit. Music played was much like what the Canadian Brass plays if you are familiar with them, good quality music. Very enjoyable outing! The fields are covered with spargel/white asparagus nets like long white worms. The strawberries have mostly been picked now, it’s a very pretty time of year with flowering trees also, we sat under masses of flowering wisteria, beautiful!

On the way back Christoph told me about a stork in one of the villages who steals socks off washing lines to line his nest, his name is Hansi and because stork nests can weigh up to 1000 pounds which would damage a rooftop they took his down. Many build platforms for the storks to nest on, but when they took Hansi’s down they found 60 unmatched socks in it! Here’s another little tidbit you may not know, Germans always wear socks, even with sandals, so I suppose we could consider Hansi a real German. Cute story, and true, it made the local newspaper.

Bird watching...

I truly believe we have birds that visit Lexi, tonight one brought her a worm, but they do visit and she talks to them. This is a common blackbird from this area, tail goes up when it chirps.

Into the Kaiserstuhl with Christoph on Tuesday, he is teaching in Strasbourg, France and it is a national holiday there on Tuesday May 8. He likes Strasbourg but it is an hour and half drive each way. We ate spargel/asparagus at the Krone, always good there, a bit expensive, but good.

Olives on the tree.

Then went to Landerer for wine, I think this is our fifth year. They employ Polish workers they like and trust but the season has started early this year and they are not available yet so lots of vine trimming needed to be done by the family. 

Bruce found a recipe for Swedish meatballs so we bought all the ingredients and planned to make them up on Ascension Day, a national holiday, May 10. Woke up to heavy rain, so what better thing to do - cook. Except dumb me didn’t think and I hard boiled the eggs we had. Now what?, everything is closed for the holiday. So I tram to a nearby bakery that serves breakfast and using the translator on my phone, ask to buy a couple of raw eggs from them, probably one of the more unusual requests they’ve had but they did for 80 cents! Now I can cook, Swedish meatballs here we come!

Admittedly I’ve never made meatballs before, and won’t again, fiddly buggers, decided after this lot I’m better with casseroles or one pot dishes. Anyway, they did turn out well, definitely not low fat, but tasty. The best Swedish meatballs, recipe critic, thank you, and Bruce loves it! If you want the recipe, let me know.

Happy Mother's Day to those that are! Cheers, Bx2 & Lexi Cat

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

It's May!

Sign at the Irish Merchant Pub in Sevilla

We flew Sevilla to Frankfurt, dull flight which is good these days, reminder to self to use media options or just take a novel. Overnight in the same hotel we use and the desk clerk recognizes us as does the bartender and he even remembers that we come in twice a year and like the chicken wings, which of course we order. He also makes a mean gin and tonic which Bruce has. 

Back to the train station, housed in the airport and we are ridiculously too early so spend time outside smoking and drinking water and coke. On board we met a fellow from Finland, a Laplander and a Sami from the north, and his wife, he had a hand held wheelchair which he walked along. We had been sitting with a lad, but this man booted him out of the wheelchair section and made room for the four of us to sit. They travel with a very lovely dog named Mikita, funny we got the name of the dog and not them. I came back from the dining car where they no longer have our fav sandwich, with a beer to share, to find the dog laid out happily on the sheepskin and wooden scarf that had been in their basket. Anyway, conversation with them made the journey feel faster. They got on at Offenburg and off in Freiburg to specifically go to Ikea. Well why not? 
Came home to this carpet of dandelions!
Christoph took us to Ikea after a Black Forest tapas lunch at Gasthausblume, we were there, at Ikea, specifically for another sheepskin for Bruce’s hips. Bruce found out it would take an hour by various modes of transport and only 10 minutes by car, made sense to hire Christoph. I warned Christoph I wanted to get in and out as soon as possible. He was surprised though when that’s exactly what we did. I weaved and dodged through the crowd to get to and return to cash with determination to make this trip as short as possible. As a kid, I got really good at dodging crowds, applied today, haven’t forgotten the skill. I think Christoph had a bit of trouble following sometimes and certainly looked around more than I did. He said I was super unusual for a woman and told Bruce I was a “keeper” because I didn’t stop or waver to look at anything else.
This little image was on the side of an elevator shaft
 It’s been unseasonably hot here the last few days, we stopped for an ice cream on the way home, too hot to sit outside, that hot, then it cooled off and rained a few days.

Frank owns a shop on Rieselfeldallee, same street as where we live, he carries cigarettes, tram passes, has a copy machine and various paper and pen products. He’s a small fellow and very friendly, has good English so we always chat when going in. There is a lady who lives in Rieselfeld that has a service dog, her affliction is not visible but we talked to her at length probably a couple of years ago now. You’ll wonder where I’m going with this… Well they are together Frank and Ina and her dog Rosalie. I’m so happy for them both and they are going on vacation next week to Nice, France, both visibly excited about the trip. Romance in the air, I love it!

We went to Zoo Burkart as we do for Lexi things, new scratch pad (better than the couch!), food, new litter box, t.r.e.a.t.s. (written that way because she knows the word…) There was a sitting circle of kids and they had a couple of rabbits out for the kids to pet. After they were back in their cage, another one was running and jumping over them. More action than we’ve ever seen, maybe they smelled a bit funny due to interaction with the kids?
At the restaurant Suden, read on.
Also there...
We had a wonderful day meeting up with Adrienne, and Jeffrey and Jeffrey’s friend from Seattle Tonja for lunch at Suden in Vauban. Vauban is another green neighbourhood in Freiburg, often compared to ours, since they were built around the same time. The restaurant was lovely, we sat outside and the food was good, lots of vegan choices for Jeffrey and Adrienne. We both liked Tonja very much, her husband comes next week, she was here on a three month training contract. Her German is pretty fluent due to the contract, but we all spoke English. Anyway, lovely to see Jeffrey and Adrienne again and to meet another interesting person.

This weekend is the Spring Festival at the City nursery, we were going to go on Saturday but lunch trumped it so we’ll go tomorrow. It’s an interesting “fair” and changes a lot each year, this must be our fourth or fifth year in attendance. We saw Tonja there!

Augustina, our friend and cleaner came the same day and told us she is moving back to Ghana where she is from. She cannot find a job here after gaining her degree, does not speak German which for her would be a major stumbling block and we wondered about that. She would be able to in a larger city with headquarters for a bank or large corporation but that isn’t here. She said she is from a family of eight children and has a twin brother who initially came here with her but moved back about a year ago. We are sad to see her go, she is a lovely, young lady, very religious, not pushy about it, intelligent, but this is likely the best move for her and her career. She has recommended a friend, so has not left us in the lurch, we will talk to her on Monday. We seem to make friends with the people who help us out by cleaning our places. They are important people to us, especially to me, since Bruce doesn’t clean, never has. 
Not an everyday sight, she is riding down the path to the Mundenhof.
The cuckoos (real birds) are here and yes, they sound just like the clocks.
Storm a brewin'

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat