Toilet seat hunting… one way to crap off the week…a

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This post was written in November 2018.  Sorry for the confusion!

On Monday of this week, I wrote a tale of woe about the toilet seat in our upstairs bathroom.  The bumper on the old toilet seat in our current house busted the other day.  Bill decided to get a new seat.  Off we went to the Toom in Herrenberg to find one.

Bill was armed with the measurements he’d taken of our current commode.  We spent several minutes perusing the impressive array of toilet seats available at our handy German hardware store…

There’s a whole wall of seats.  They range from the colorful to the plain.

Bill found a couple of contenders.

I was amused by all the beach scenes, especially since I grew up pretty close to the ocean and miss it.

This one was in 3D!

I probably would have preferred the zebra.

I was eyeing the toilets jealously, but then remembered that our new house has new toilets… or so we were told.  To be honest, with all the houses we visited, it’s hard to tell who said what.  Suffice to say, I don’t think the toilets in our new house are “water saver” types like the one in our current house’s upstairs bathroom.

Bill paid about 30 euros for the new seat, then we headed into Herrenberg for lunch.  We could have had lunch at the Toom, since they have a full scale snack bar there.  We got to town a little bit later than optimal for lunch.  It was about 1:30pm, which is getting close to “pause” time.  I’m going to miss Herrenberg, so I took a few pictures.

I took a photo of this store because I hope someday to visit and buy a table here.  They have some really beautiful custom made tables in this shop on the main drag through town.  It’s called Lieblingsholz.

Closing down the Saturday market.

A charming sign…

Just before we stopped to take a picture of this sign, we stopped at our favorite local pizzeria.  It was closed today, just as it was last time we were in Herrenberg.  I was looking at the sign and an elderly German guy came over and asked us if we wanted to “have a coffee”.  I was actually talking to Bill when I said, “What did you say?”, but I guess the guy thought I was talking to him.  It turned out the German gent spoke perfect English.  He told us about a really nice bakery down the street that serves coffee.  We were very charmed by his inclination to help us find coffee, even though we were looking for lunch and have lived near Herrenberg a total of six years over two tours!  It was such a nice, welcoming gesture, though!

Herrenberg kind of feels like home.  I fear Wiesbaden may not feel that way to me, because it’s so crowded and people have more money there.  But I have met people from Hesse who live down here near Stuttgart and I have met a guy who is married to someone from Stuttgart who lives in Hesse.  So I guess we’ll find some friendly folks regardless.

Yesterday, Bill stopped by our vets’ office in Herrenberg to pay for the dentals we had them do on our dogs and take care of the VAT form.  One of the vets had recommended that we stock up on wormers and flea and tick pills, so it would be on the VAT, too.  I’m going to miss our vets, too.  They’ve taken great care of our boys and I’ve gotten to know them fairly well, for professional purposes, anyway.  I told them I wouldn’t be surprised if we came back to the area at some point.  This is the place for guys like Bill.

We ended up at Hanoi Pho.  We have eaten there once before and I remembered liking the food.  I liked it today, too.

Shot of Bill after he asked our waiter what the lady next him was having.  She had a bowl full of fried stuff that looked just right for me.

But I ended up having shrimp with vegetables and peanut sauce.  Unfortunately, this had a couple of mushrooms in it, but Bill came to my rescue.  It was otherwise very good and lightly spicy, if not a little heavy.  

Bill went with pho made with beef and noodles.  In the picture, you can also see the mushrooms he took from my dish.  Thankfully, there was just one cut into a few pieces.  It didn’t affect the flavor of the dish.  Bill used some red chili sauce in the pho and it was apparently very potent.  He ate the whole thing and even threatened to drink the broth.  As we were leaving, he was wiping his eyes and nose because the sauce had brought on the waterworks.

The proprietor dropped hints that he was ready for a smoke break when he brought us our bill unrequested.  It came to about 25 euros.  We were about finished anyway.  Bill had to go look for a wrench so he can install the new toilet seat.  Then he said, “I guess I better get some wine, too, since we only have two bottles.  One is Moldovan and the other is semi-sweet.”

My response was, “Oh God, yes, get some wine.”  That’s my Bill.  Always a provider.  He’s been busy today, taking care of some minor maintenance issues like changing lightbulbs and offloading trash.  When he removed the old toilet seat, the bolts were so rusted that one snapped clean off.  It was definitely time for a new seat.  Hope the new tenants like it.

Tada!  After Bill installed this snazzy new seat, he fetched a bottle of wine.  I have now christened the new seat and it’s a vast improvement over the old one.  

If you got through today’s post, I would like to share with you some glorious photos from a couple of sunrises this week.  I think the view at our current house is the best part of our experience here.  I’m going to miss it, too.

These were from Tuesday…

And these were from this morning.  For about twenty minutes each morning, especially when it’s going to be cloudy, we get amazing sunrises and sunsets at this time of year.  Unfortunately, the view from our new home will include a lot of rooftops.  We weren’t as lucky in finding a rural location in Wiesbaden.

I took these on Tuesday with my digital camera, which is capable of zooming.  I loved the big blackbird.  He sits in that tree all the time, looking for rodents.  Sometimes it’s exciting to watch as he and his buddies swoop into the fields, competing with the many cats that prowl the area.

I’m not sure what tomorrow has in store for us.  I suspect I’ll be purchasing some rugs at the PX.  Maybe we’ll stop by the Auld Rogue or something.  Next weekend, we’ll be in Baden-Baden resting up and celebrating our anniversary.

Lunch at Mangia, Mangia in Kronberg…

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Although we had wonderful weather again yesterday, Bill and I never managed to venture out anywhere. Instead, we stayed home and enjoyed our usual backyard wine and music. Bill also made a “savory cheesecake”, which was something I used to serve when I worked lunch shifts at The Trellis in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Trellis was started in 1980 and run by Marcel Desaulniers, John Curtis, and for some years, the late Tom Powers. Mr. Powers eventually divested himself of his share of the restaurant and opened a competitor, The Fat Canary, which is still running and very popular. When I worked at The Trellis, Mr. Powers was already out of the partnership.

Anyway, a savory cheesecake is a cheese based pastry… but it’s “savory”. It’s a cheesecake made with cream cheese and some other kind of cheese. In our case, we used Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheese, but in Marcel’s cookbook, it calls for Dry Jack and Gruyeres cheeses and at the restaurant, they made it with cream cheese and Swiss.

Bill tries his hand at cheesecake. Yes, it looks like a sweet cheesecake, but it’s not… and it’s not a quiche, either. It’s cheese based, not egg based.

While we were enjoying the cheesecake, Bill asked me if I would like to go out to lunch today. I said that would be fine, so we made reservations at Mangia, Mangia, an Italian eatery in Kronberg im Taunus, which is just on the outskirts of Frankfurt. Kronberg is right next to Koenigstein, which is where I had my birthday lunch in June, and not at all far from Bad Soden, a spa town that also has an Italian steak house and rib joint called Rocco’s Italian Grill.

Our reservation was at 1:00pm. We live about twenty-five minutes or so from Kronberg, so I had to hastily wrap up my guitar practice so we could get there on time. We needn’t have been so concerned. Although the terrace was bustling when we arrived, there were many tables available indoors. We decided to sit outside and enjoy the last days of summer before the weather turns to shit. There’s a parking garage very close to the restaurant, as well as an outdoor lot right by the restaurant itself.

Here are some photos from our visit.

Lunch was very good, although I probably wouldn’t get the Smokey Avo Burger again. I’m pretty picky about my burgers. Bill loved it, though, and ate what I didn’t want, as well as his own pasta dish. I think next time, I’ll go for a pasta dish or maybe grilled dorade or salmon. The pizzas also looked great, but they’re always too big for me. Despite appearances to the contrary, I don’t generally eat that much. I just drink too much. 😉

Service was a little slow, but basically friendly. I enjoyed watching and listening to the people around us. I noticed a lot of people who were there were Italians, which is always a good sign in an Italian restaurant. On Sundays, they offer non-stop service, though they take a pause on other days of the week. The inside of the restaurant is very modern and kind of glam. It looked a little like it was influenced somewhat by American tastes. The pizza bread burger buns are unique.

I noticed a young couple who appeared to be on a first or early date. They looked like they might be teenagers. It reminded Bill and me of when we had our first date, although we were well beyond the teen years when that happened. It’s hard to believe that this year, we’re going to celebrate our 18th anniversary.

After we ate, we decided to take a walk through the very quaint town, which reminded me a little of Ribeauville in Alsace, France. There are many beautiful half-timbered buildings and interesting architecture. I guess Kronberg was not too badly decimated during World War II. Here are some photos…

On the way back to the car, I noticed the garage had a pay toilet. Since I drank water and wine at lunch, I decided to spring for a pee before hitting the road. The WC wasn’t too dirty, but there was a lot of graffiti. Since I know I have at least one German reader who enjoys reading the public’s thoughts on things, here’s what was written on the walls. Who says Germans can’t be crass?

Kronberg begs for a return visit and further exploration. As nice as Hofheim was last weekend, I think I might like Kronberg even more. It’s a very ritzy town. Too bad we couldn’t take the Mini. It needs gas and air in the tires, which Bill will take care of tomorrow. Then, he’s off to Stuttgart to attend to business for a few days. Whoopee. Guess I’ll play Sims 4 and watch more Call the Midwife.

Lunch in lovely Hofheim!

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We have pretty weather today, so Bill asked me if I wanted to go out. I did want to go out, as I have a bad habit of being reclusive when I should be out enjoying Germany. Unfortunately, Aunt Flow showed up this morning… about a week delayed. I was hoping for a reprieve but– NOPE– no such luck. It always happens on a Saturday, too.

Anyway, I mention Aunt Flow only because we were on our way to Hofheim in my Mini Cooper convertible (which really needs to be driven more), when I realized I had forgotten to arm myself with the necessary feminine hygiene supplies. Fortunately, Hofheim has a very nice Edeka located in a shopping mall that has a nice parking garage with low rates. We parked there, stopped by the store, visited the restrooms (50 cents), then took a stroll through Hofheim, which is one of the nicest towns near where we live.

A few months ago, when we tried and failed to adopt a dog from a German pet rescue, I joined the Wir in Hofheim Facebook group. It was one of many groups I joined in an attempt to try to locate the dog we hoped to adopt who escaped from his pet taxi as he was being unloaded. Unfortunately, the dog met an untimely end on the Autobahn, but I stayed in the groups, anyway. The Wir in Hofheim group is one of my favorites. I regularly follow it, because there’s a lot of helpful information in it and the people are very nice. It was from that group that I got the idea to go to Hofheim.

It’s not that we hadn’t been there before. Bill and I visited the outskirts when we first moved up to the Wiesbaden area and ate in a now defunct Italian place. Bill also visited the town to get take out for us when the COVID-19 restrictions were very strict. Unfortunately, one of the places we discovered in the spring, Blanca Bistro, is now closed. We passed by there today on our way into the old town. I was sad to see it sort of abandoned… there’s still liquor and glassware in there, and signage is still up, but the restaurant stopped serving food a couple of months ago. Several places have had to close due to COVID-19, including the excellent German place near our house. We only ate there one time because it was always packed! But it couldn’t keep going during the pandemic.

We did manage to find lunch, though. We ate at Ristorante L’Opera, an attractive establishment in a little alcove on the main drag. No one else was there when we arrived at about 12:30pm, but we were soon joined by a German couple who enjoyed smoking.

Bill filled out the contact tracing paperwork and the waiter handed us the laminated menus, obviously much abbreviated compared to normal. There were still a few dishes that were attractive, as well as some specials that were advertised on a sandwich board by the passage. Unfortunately, the uncomfortably narrow chairs, which are the kind often found at gelaterias, reminded me that I probably ought to cut back on my groceries.

I don’t usually get pizza in Germany, mainly because it’s always more than I can finish and I don’t always like the kinds of pizzas that are available. I will say that today’s pizza was excellent. I especially enjoyed the crust, which was absolutely perfect! I’m sure they have a pizza oven to get such perfection. Light, yet chewy with a slightly crisp crust, delicious mozzarella cheese, and a light layer of tomato sauce made that very simple pizza creation a delight! And I even skipped the meat.

Bill enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich, which had a housemade bun. He especially liked the slaw, though. Bill likes cabbage very much. I noticed he cleaned his plate, while I had leftovers, which our attentive server was happy to wrap up for later.

The bill for lunch came to about 41 euros. Bill gave the guy 45, and we took a walk around the town. Hofheim is maybe nine kilometers from where we live, but it’s very charming. We probably ought to visit more often, if only because we like the Edeka better than Rewe.

Anyway… it wasn’t long before we needed to head home and rescue Arran from his loneliness. Although Hofheim isn’t a substitute for some of our favorite little towns in Baden-Württemberg, like Nagold, Esslingen, Ludwigsburg, and Tübingen, it’s not a bad place to spend a couple of hours. There are several nice restaurants there, charming ambiance, places to shop, and enjoy the last days of summer. I’m glad we took the time to go there today… and for any readers who are looking to move to Wiesbaden, this is one town I would recommend seeking a home nearby. It’s a very pleasant little hamlet.

A marvelous afternoon at Little Italy…

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Regular readers of my main blog may notice that I’ve been kind of crabby lately. I was especially irritable yesterday, since I was trying to write the blog post I posted earlier today while listening to kids outside my window shrieking and trying to respond to a private message. I get really cranky when I’m trying to write and can’t concentrate on what I’m doing. I probably should have been on ADD meds when I was a kid because I am very easily distracted. On top of that, I had a tension headache, and Bill was bugging me about going to AAFES. We did need to go to AAFES (military run department store), even though I hate going there, especially now that everyone has to wear face masks.

Military facilities are even more anal retentive about COVID-19 protocol than other places are. Although the guards have stopped giving drivers the third degree every time they enter the gates, there’s still a very strict mask requirement, entry and exit protocol, and handwashing detail. And while it may be necessary for sparing people from getting sick, I also remember that not too long ago, it was not uncommon to find the restrooms at AAFES in pretty disgusting shape. I have pictures of ones I encountered in Stuttgart as well as vivid memories of the remnants of other people’s dumps lingering in the toilets at the food courts. So while enforcing the over-the-top COVID-19 requirements may be a very good idea right now, they seem rather disingenuous to me after a lifetime of patronizing the BX/PX (AAFES).

I finally gave up on the blog post after trying to upload a few photos. I came back to my post, only to find that over half of it was somehow wiped out. After uttering a few choice words at the computer screen, I went downstairs, where Bill was busily “beagle proofing” (although Arran is probably more of a pointer than a beagle). He asked me if I was hungry. I legitimately wasn’t, although I knew that we were about to hit the dreaded “pause” hour of 2:00pm. Bill proposed picking up a pizza from Pizza Hut, because I had mentioned getting a pizza somewhere (I meant at a real restaurant). I used to like Pizza Hut pizzas, but they have really gone downhill over the past ten years or so.

So anyway, we went to AAFES. I dutifully put on the fucking mask and washed my hands, rushing to pick up the few items I needed… expensive Lancome face cream for my middle aged face, ponytail holders for my growing grey hair, and a couple of new dog toys for Arran to replace the ones he’s destroyed. I love that Arran is ten and still loves his toys. I don’t love that he only recently quit using my favorite rug as a Hundetoilet. God help us when the new pooch moves in, sometime soon. Bill picked up some more shit bags for the dog walking, of which we could soon be legally compelled to do twice as much of at some point soon (though I doubt it will be enforced).

As we were waiting in the obnoxious checkout line that stretched down the lotion and skincare aisle, Bill asked me what I wanted to do about lunch. I had no desire to eat in the food court, so initially, I said we should go by Five Guys and get takeout. But then I remembered Little Italy, a great restaurant I’ve blogged about several times since our move to Wiesbaden. There is a Little Italy on post. That’s not the one I’m writing about now. I am referring to a small restaurant in the heart of Wiesbaden, where they serve lovely Italian dishes, nice wines, and luscious desserts. Before the pandemic, we used to go there fairly often. Yesterday was our first time back since February, I think.

Bill made a reservation on OpenTable.de, noting that Little Italy does not take an afternoon pause. We got there at about 2:15pm. The proprietor, a friendly bald guy who speaks English, looked slightly panicked when Bill announced our arrival. Bill then noticed that the entire dining room was set as if there was going to be a large party. But when Bill said we had a reservation, he told us to find a table outside. The weather was glorious, so that was a pleasure to do.

A lovely young woman came over to take our drink order and have us sign the paperwork for contract tracing. Bill got me a glass of white wine from Sicily. He got himself a white wine from Lugano. Then, we both ordered dishes from the specials, presented on a chalk board in front of us. Bill had saltimbocca made of dorade. I had a salmon filet with rucola pesto, mashed sweet potatoes, and ratatouille (pisto).

While we were waiting for our food, a large group of well-dressed people showed up. I soon gathered that this was why the proprietor had looked a little stressed when we arrived. There were bottles of bubbly chilling in ice buckets until umbrellas near us. I had mistakenly thought they had set up a little wine stand, but no, that was for the people partying at Little Italy. Hopefully, none of them were carriers of the COVID-19 virus, since they weren’t wearing masks.

A tiny little blonde girl of about three came over to play with the Champagne bottles pictured in the gallery above. She had huge blue eyes and was sincerely adorable. We smiled at her while she played with the bubbly bottles and the nearby decorative water fountain. A few minutes later, I heard her shrieking as her mom struggled to contain her. Finally, mom put her in the stroller and methodically strapped her down while she wailed. I figured it was probably nap time for her… having been cranky myself a little while ago, I could commiserate, too.

I soon forgot about being cranky as we enjoyed lunch. I mostly enjoyed the bright colors of my dish, even if I’m not the biggest ratatouille or sweet potato fan. I managed to finish most of it, with Bill’s help. Bill really loved the dorade, which was accented with sage and bacon. He said he would definitely order it again if he had the opportunity.

As we were eating, the little blonde girl came outside. I watched her pick her nose while her grandmother smoked a cigarette. It occurred to me that kids are just so unabashed and unashamed about anything. Maybe watching that tiny girl explore the world around her without a mask is why I found this morning’s New York Times article about training kids to wear masks so very depressing. The masks have the effect of making communication and exploration more difficult, especially for the youngest among us. But, with any luck, there will be an effective vaccine or treatment that will make this brave new pandemic world less ominous and irritating. I always wanted to have children, but I am grateful I’m not a parent dealing with this pandemic stuff right now. I think it would drive me crazy.

For dessert, I had limoncello sorbet with mangos and pears, while Bill had tiramisu. Neither of us really needed dessert, but the weather was just so nice, and I was enjoying being out and about, watching people celebrate in a normal way. I used to take doing stuff on the weekends for granted. Now, when we get to have lunch somewhere nice, it’s a real treat. Maybe that’s one of the silver linings to the COVID-19 situation. I’ve often said that every bad situation has its positives. I don’t take a nice meal at a good restaurant for granted as I might have in 2019…

The bill was about 89 euros. Bill gave our lovely waitress a 100 euro note and said “Stimmt”. We really had a nice time. I hope we can do it again sometime soon. Then we came home and I set to work trying to wash the stench out of Arran’s Klo on my blue carpet. It’s now outside drying… and I fear that my efforts may have been for naught. Oh well… at least we had a good meal, and hopefully, we’ll stay healthy.

A delightfully normal restaurant experience at Villa im Tal!

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My husband, Bill, has been trying to get me to go out and do stuff for some time now. I kept demurring because I didn’t want to hassle with all the new rules. It’s just as easy to stay home and play with my new guitar. Bill finally insisted yesterday, after we wasted the day drinking beer in the backyard and waiting for a package to be delivered. He booked us a table for 1:45pm at Villa im Tal, which is one of our favorite restaurants here in the Wiesbaden area. I must admit, he didn’t have to try too hard. I’ve been denying him for weeks and it was only fair.

We got kind of dressed up for our outing. Bill dressed like he was going to the office. I put on a dress and some jewelry and fixed my hair and face. It’s the most dolled up we’ve been since I can’t remember… or, it’s the most dolled up I’ve been, anyway. Bill decided to drive my Mini, since it needed some road time, especially since it was just serviced. We arrived right on time for our appointment, dutifully donning our paper masks, and a delightful and familiar waitress named Petra led us to our outdoor table. Much to our amazement, she said we didn’t have to wear masks at all! Apparently, the rules in Hesse changed again very recently. We didn’t even have to put them on to go to the restroom, although we did see a few people wearing them and the waitresses all wore clear, plastic shields that covered their mouths, but not the rest of their faces.

So I put my mask in my purse; we sat down at a table and ordered a bottle sparkling water to share and a glass of champagne for me. It was time to celebrate eating normally at a restaurant, which we hadn’t done since March. After Bill filled out a form with our contact information in case there’s a coronavirus outbreak and we need to be contacted, we were handed our laminated menus, which are definitely the norm nowadays, and we made our choices… Below the pictures of a glorious meal, both in terms of taste and of sheer normalcy!

All told, we spent just under 180 euros before the tip. Bill left a generous tip for Petra and her colleagues, too, because they really showed us a lovely time. We definitely took dining out in restaurants for granted when we could do it regularly, and it was such a pleasure to be able to sit outside at a nice place– not in our backyard– and enjoy seeing other people. I was very happy to enjoy the hospitality, once again, at Villa im Tal, which is located in a beautiful, wooded, location. The food was, as usual, excellent, and the service was top notch and delivered with a smile . I think we love this place for very good reason, and it was so good to be back. I hope this trend of not needing a mask will continue for awhile.

I am feeling so grateful to live in Germany right now, for so many reasons. As much as I loved it here last year, this year, I love it so much more. Today’s outing was a huge morale booster. Villa im Tal is a classy restaurant, but they do cater to children as well as well-behaved dogs. Someone brought their sweet female pooch with them and she never made a peep. Petra brought her a big bowl of water.

Next weekend, we’re off to the beautiful Rhineland Palatinate area of Eifel for a long weekend. The hotel where we’re staying has an award winning restaurant. I look forward to returning and reporting on that adventure, too!

Mr. Bill gets rare Indian food on his birthday…

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Slow news day here in Wiesbaden? Perhaps…

Yesterday was Bill’s birthday. He wanted Indian food for his birthday dinner. I don’t eat Indian food, as a general rule. A lot of it is too spicy for me, plus there’s a lot of cilantro and cardamom used. Cilantro tastes a little soapy to me. Still, there are some things I can eat, and I trust Bill to know what I like. So he ordered some Indian food from Tandoorian, which is a restaurant located in Wiesbaden Mitte, right across from the Nassauer Hof. Bill visited there with his mom a few months ago, when she visited us. I needed some time to myself, so they went out for lunch together. They were raving about it when they got back home. Little did we know in January that we’d be locked down for weeks on end…

Actually, we could have gone out last night. Germany’s doing alright in terms of the virus. I keep reading news from my American friends and it makes me feel depressed and panicky, even though we’re fortunate enough to live in a place where the sickness isn’t so widespread. God bless Angela Merkel for her excellent handling of the pandemic. She’s been an excellent leader throughout this mess. I wish America could boast similarly good leadership.

Anyway, Bill ordered Tandoori Chicken for me, which is pretty basic grilled chicken pieces that have been marinated for twenty-four hours in yogurt and spices. For himself, he ordered Dhal Makhni, a vegetarian dish made with Indian lentils with butter, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, cream and fine spices. We also had naan and Garlic Kulcha, which was basically garlic flatbread. Lots of sauces accompanied this feast. I have to admit, it was very good and an interesting change of pace. It wasn’t too expensive, and it was delivered right to our door. We washed it down with a fine Armenian red wine.

Here are some pictures…

I really enjoyed the chicken. The spices were delightful, perhaps because they went so well with being grilled and they were novel to my tastebuds. Like I said, I don’t eat Indian food very often. I have to hand it to Bill… he’s introduced me to all sorts of foods I never ate before we met… stuff like sushi and guacamole and Chinese food. Seriously, I grew up on a bland southern cuisine diet, with a lot of stuff coming from cans and boxes. I got to be a pretty good cook as I came of age and even when I was single, I didn’t use a lot of boxes and cans. But my parents never took me to places with different cuisines, even though they were kind of adventurous themselves. I was a picky eater when I was a kid. I still am, to some extent.

Anyway, Bill had a nice birthday. He worked at home, and besides getting a lot of birthday wishes from his friends, he also got them from a lot of my friends. I think he’s pretty popular among my friends. He kind of balances me out a bit.

Perhaps we’ll pay a visit to Tandoorian sometime soon and try their cuisine in house. It’s getting easier to do that, thanks to “Mutti”. On another note, it’s weird to be an American in the European Union, as Americans are not currently welcome to visit. We are living in very strange times.

My pandemic birthday… part four

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Naturally, we needed to go out to eat for my birthday. We usually like to choose a nice dinner spot, but thanks to the pandemic, that’s become a more complicated endeavor. For instance, last year, Bill took me to Ente, a Michelin starred restaurant in Wiesbaden. I liked Ente fine, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to eat there again.

We decided to have lunch over dinner because when we made the decision, I was legitimately hungry. So was Bill. Hanging out at the Therme had brought on an appetite. We went on OpenTable.de and I found Lucullus, in Konigstein im Taunus, an adorable little town we had not been to prior to yesterday. It specializes in fine Italian cuisine, which is definitely not necessarily what many Americans think of as “Italian”. The dress code said “smart casual”, so we got cleaned up and slightly dressed up. Bill wore a nice shirt and pants and I wore a dress. And then we went and sat on their very nice terrace and proceeded to enjoy a beautiful two hour lunch.

Lucullus was somewhat different in how it handled the contact tracing requirements. There’s a QR code on the table. You use your phone to scan it after you download an app (or Bill did, anyway). It records your info and that’s that. Very simple, and takes only a couple of seconds. With that done, we had some fizzy local water, a beautiful, leathery, tobacco-ey Montalcino, and warm bread while we decided on lunch. The menu is on a piece of paper that doubles as a placemat. Here are the photos:

The wait staff was very attentive and friendly. Everybody working wore face masks, but at one point, I got up to pee during their pause (we were finishing up) and the waiter laughed and said I didn’t need a mask because there was no one in the indoor part of the restaurant. Awesome! I really liked the interior of the place, too. It was very stylish and homey, but in a cool, Italian way.

For dessert, against my better judgment, I had the dreaded lava cake. Lava cakes taste good, but everyone does them. I give bonus points to restaurants that serve a regular slice of cake. They didn’t have that, though, so I gave in… it came with a scoop of caramel ice cream, which was a bit melted by the time it got to me. Bill loved his choice, a caramel creme with a scoop of mandarin sorbet scented with a hint of sage, which gave it a fascinating flavor…

The bill came to about 150 euros. By the time we were done eating, it was getting close to 4:00pm, so we didn’t need much for dinner. I really enjoyed our lunch. I probably loved it even more than usual, since we’ve not been able to dine out in so long. The town was full of people, too. Many were walking around maskless. I did see one elderly lady with a face shield as opposed to a mask, as well as a restaurant worker with a shield that covered the bottom half of his face instead of a mask.

I got lots of photos, too… of people just enjoying life and the beautiful sunny weather and mild temperatures.

After lunch, we went back to the hotel. Bill did a German lesson, and I tried to read a news article about Tiffany Trump and promptly fell into a deep sleep. I guess the lunch and the sudden exposure to society wore me out… But it was a delightful afternoon, followed by another night at the Panorama Bar, where we were warmly welcomed. We drank beer instead of cocktails, which seemed to disappoint the wait staff. But we had a light dinner and tipped well, and as we were leaving, the waitress asked if we’d be back tonight. We told her we live only twenty minutes away… and you know, I think I would go back to that hotel for a night or two of fun. Why not?

Trip forthcoming?

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Saturday is my birthday. Bill wants to go somewhere. Germany opened up yesterday, as did much of the rest of Europe, although we are still forbidden to leave the country under General Order #1… or whatever they’re calling it now. We are allowed to do overnights, though, and we can go anywhere in Germany. I suspect we won’t go far, since Bill is only planning two nights. I’m kind of dreading/looking forward to it, if that makes sense. I mean, I want to go somewhere, but I dread the hassle of life in a pandemic.

I wrote in my main blog about the new hobby I picked up in May. I’ve been playing guitar. Bill wants to learn too, so I’ve ordered two new guitars. One new one for me, because I wanted one with steel strings, and one for Bill. I hope they get to us before the weekend. I can hardly wait to try the new instrument, although I have been enjoying my Ortega guitar, too. It’s just that it’s a classical guitar with nylon strings and I want something a little edgier.

And finally, while we didn’t go anywhere on Sunday, we did order some food. Bill had to go on post to pick up something on Sunday, so he decided to stop by the Bamboo Asian Restaurant, which is located on the installation in Wiesbaden, meaning that it mostly caters to Americans. They do delivery on post, but I doubt they’d come all the way out to where we live. He wanted Thai food. It was the first time we’d ever had anything from there, although I was kind of curious about it.

He got me duck with peanut sauce, and he had crispy fish in red curry, which was supposed to be spicy. I didn’t try the crispy fish. The sauce was loaded with mushrooms. However, I did notice that they packaged everything separately, so if I had wanted to try the fish by itself, I could have. I liked that a lot. I enjoyed the duck with peanut sauce, too. In fact, l like peanut sauce very much, because I never see it loaded with mushrooms.

He also got some appetizers– Japanese dumplings, pork spring rolls, and shrimp sticks. They came with a sweet and sour sauce that was very gingery. I think there was a little too much ginger for my taste, although I liked the appetizers. They were nice and fried, which suits me fine! Here are a few photos:

I think Bill is going to keep our trip a secret… we could just end up in Frankfurt, which would be alright with me. I still don’t really feel like dealing with the world due to the coronavirus mess. But it would be good to get a change of scenery, I guess. And it would definitely wake up my sleepy travel blog.

It’s amazing. Every day, I look at photos from years past and remember all the fun we had, and took for granted. I hope this mess will be behind us at some point soon. But I’m not holding my breath.

Asian food from Jit’s Thai Kitchen in Bierstadt…

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Yesterday was Whit (or Pentecost) Monday, a religious holiday in Germany. Consequently, all of the grocery stores were closed. We didn’t have anything good for dinner, and Bill didn’t want to visit the commissary. We ended up ordering takeout from Jit’s Thai Kitchen in Bierstadt, and had it delivered to us. I kind of giggle when I hear the name “Jit”, since it has kind of a slang meaning in English vernacular. The whole order was done contactless. Bill paid online and the driver brought it and left it for us on our front step. I think the coronavirus might finally make Germans less cash obsessed.

Bill ordered crispy sweet and sour duck and a “kitchen special plate” for two people, which included spring rolls, chicken skewers, spare ribs, wontons, and chicken wings. The duck came with pineapples and carrots. We also had a big container of rice. Bill ordered the special plate because it was kind of similar to the ever popular pu pu platter one can easily find in American Asian restaurants. The only thing missing was the crab rangoons, which I have yet to see in Germany.

The weather was glorious last night, so we sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine and perfect temperatures. This time of year is nice in Germany. As usual, I looked up at the houses on the other side of our big, tall fence, and saw that the big bird was back. That bird, which I photographed for my last post, has a habit of hanging out on my neighbor’s roof. It usually shows up in the evenings and perches over the neighborhood. I was curious as to what kind of bird it was, so I got my digital camera with a long range lens and zoomed in…

Jit’s Thai Kitchen has a very nice looking dining room. Maybe when the coronavirus is less threatening, we’ll venture there for a meal. As for now, we liked what we had last night fine. My only complaint was that one of the spare ribs was very tough. I ended up giving part of it to Arran. We also probably should have gotten a dish with something green in it. Maybe we would have preferred their Thai food rather than generic Chinese. Anyway, it’s been awhile since we last had Asian food, so it was a nice change. We’d order from them again.

Maybe this weekend, we’ll go find something fun to do outdoors. I’m getting tired of staying at home all the time.

More takeout from La Fonte

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Here’s another quick post during our self-imposed lockdown. Things have loosened up a bit here in Wiesbaden. We’re now allowed day trips in Germany, but I’m still not really wanting to venture out. Instead, I’ve been playing my new guitar every day, building up calluses on my fingers. I’ve made some progress, although I’m nowhere near ready for anyone other than Bill to hear me play. I made one music video this week. Singing well is a lot easier for me than guitar playing is. Bill says he might like to pick up guitar himself… if he does, I think I’ll get myself a Fender for my birthday.

Anyway, we did get some takeout last night. Bill had a frustrating week, mostly spent working from home. We decided to call on our neighborhood Italian restaurant, La Fonte, which we’ve only dined in at one time. They have good food. Lots of pizza and pasta on the takeout menu, but I remember when we ate in the restaurant, they had other stuff. I seem to remember having salmon the first time we ate there. It was Christmas time and they gave us a pannetone, which was really yummy!

Last night, I had black tortelloni with scallops, sugar snap peas, and baby shrimp. I think there were four tortellonis, and Bill and I each had one. It was plenty. Bill also got a pizza with ham and pepperoni wurst. Pepperoni in Germany is a pepper, but you can get pepperoni wurst, which is the sausage we Americans know so well. I’m slowly getting used to German style pizza made by Italians… it’s only taken six years. Bill butchered his German as he called in the order, but they all speak English at La Fonte anyway.

By the way, we learned last night that there’s a difference between tortelloni and tortellini. Tortelloni is bigger and sealed somewhat differently, although they’re both basically the same thing.

Here are a couple of photos.

The weather has been really pleasant lately, although we could really use some rain. Our rain barrel is almost totally depleted. Bill’s vegetables are growing and some might even survive long enough for harvesting.

I don’t know what we’ll do today. We probably could go out and do something fun… but I’ve kind of lost my mojo lately. It would probably do me some good to go out and see the world again. Maybe later.