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Weird June weather…

I thought maybe we’d go out yesterday. The weather has been nice lately, and it’s been awhile since I last had a proper outing. But then the sky opened up with rain, so we decided to stay in…

It’s sad when a Saturday is messed up by rain, but we do actually need the rain to fall. It’s been pretty dry lately. Our rain barrel was so depleted that I put in a few buckets of water from our tap. We use the rain barrel water for the plants Bill is trying to nurture into bearing fruits and vegetables, since there isn’t a spigot in the back yard (but there is one in the garage).

Bill went to the store yesterday to pick up a few things. He says the plexiglass barriers remain, but the cashiers aren’t wearing masks anymore, nor is there anyone “standing guard” to enforce wearing them among shoppers. We also got our tickets to FINALLY see Keb’ Mo’, who is scheduled to visit Germany again in November. He’s doing a show on our anniversary. I’ve been wanting to see him for ages. Hopefully, this will go on as planned and we’ll have our chance. We’ll see. At least Mainz is close to home for now.

Our landlord says he’s going to send in his work crew to check out a piece of siding that came off during a windstorm last year. He asked Bill about our plans, especially since Trump is making noises about reducing the number of troops in Germany. As far as we know, we will be here for at least another year and probably longer. On the other hand, one never knows about these things. Personally, I think Trump is full of hot air, especially right now. Our landlord also worries that we’ll leave Germany for Poland, since Trump has been building up our relations there and there had been talk of a “Fort Trump” (God help us). When we visited Poland a few months ago for Bill’s work, the landlord wondered if it was to house hunt (it wasn’t).

Honestly, I don’t know if a move to Poland would ever happen. I guess I wouldn’t be opposed to moving to Poland if it ever came down to it. Poland has been steadily improving since our first visit in 2008, and I have heard that Americans are moving there to work. But we did reassure the landlord that we like Germany very much and don’t want to move unless we have to. We didn’t want to leave Stuttgart, either, but that turned out to be a the best thing that could have happened, if only because it got us out of an abusive living situation. Our current landlord is a much better fit for us, treats us with respect, and leaves us in peace.

I’ve been reading a lot about the new rules regarding flying. To be honest, as much as I hated flying before COVID-19, I think I’ll hate it even more now. I am not on the mask wearing bandwagon. I know a lot of people think they are helpful, and wearing them is the considerate thing to do, but to be very honest, I think their effectiveness is limited, especially since many people don’t even wash their hands when they use the bathroom. I do know how masks are supposed to work, in theory. In fact, one of my degrees is in public health, so I probably know more about this subject than a lot of people do. I just think the masks are mostly more about comforting the masses than actually preventing infections. When it comes down to it, social distancing and hand washing are a lot more important, and we’re hearing much less about that because they are impossible to monitor or enforce. Simple, loose fitting masks do not stop viruses from spreading, especially when people are constantly touching and fidgeting with them, although they might slow the viruses down a bit if they are worn properly and laundered or replaced regularly.

Masks are inconvenient and uncomfortable, and the idea of being forced to wear one for hours on a plane is very unappealing to me, especially given that air travel is already unpleasant and expensive. Being glared at, judged, and harassed by strangers over the wearing of masks is also unappealing, especially given how expensive it is to fly. I will wear a mask if I have to for essential travel (say, if my mom dies while we’re in Germany or we have to move), but I will not be happy about it, even if it makes other people *feel* safer, *judge* me less, and *think* I’m more polite.

And so, this blog is probably going to be less interesting to most people for the foreseeable future. That makes me sad, since we really had a great time a couple of years ago, visiting places near Stuttgart. I enjoyed writing and taking pictures, too. Maybe I’ll get back to writing about local spots again, but I doubt we’re going to be taking as many great trips, although Bill definitely wants to. I probably won’t be updating this blog as often, either, since no one wants to read about our life at home. It was fun while it lasted.

So sad.

Speaking of things that are going away. It was announced the other day that our neighborhood restaurant, the Alt Breckenheimer Stübchen, has been forced to close. Bill and I only ate there once, in January 2019, because it was always packed and reservations were essential. Now, thanks to the coronavirus, it looks like yet another great local haunt is being forced to close its doors. This virus has really screwed things up for a lot of people. I also read that the wine stand is going to be dismantled at the end of June. That is especially tragic, since we really enjoyed attending last year, and getting to know our neighbors.

But people are trying to keep up their spirits. Kids in Hofheim and apparently other communities, according to my German friend near Stuttgart, are making painted rock snakes. Here’s a screenshot from our local group about that.

Anyway… I try to keep perspective. I’ve noticed that the kids at the local school seem happy and are still playing. Some wear masks and some don’t. I’m grateful that people where I live are sensible and reasonable about mask wearing, and don’t freak out if people leave their residence without one, since it is entirely possible to stay more than six feet away from others in our neighborhood. I also realize that this is certainly not the first or last time humans have been confronted by pandemics. They always eventually pass or become controllable. This particular pandemic has only been a thing for a few months, so people are still very scared. Some are downright panicky. That’s understandable, given the horror stories about people who have come down with COVID-19. However, I think most of us will eventually be exposed to it and most of us won’t die. Some will die, and some will be left debilitated. And hopefully, there will be some semblance of normal life and travel again at some point in the future.

We’ll see what happens. This blog has been slowly dying anyway, since we left Stuttgart and I quit promoting it and left most of the Facebook groups (which was really a smart thing to do, but that’s a rant for another day).

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Our local haunt… the Alt Breckenheimer Stübchen

This place is within stumbling distance of our house.

 

In both of our old stomping grounds near Stuttgart, we weren’t that close to places to eat.  In Unterjettingen, we had Tommi’s Bistro, which was a great steak place with limited hours, and Zum Schiff, which was a Swabian place, also with rather limited hours and menu choices.  In Pfäffingen, we had a really campy American place called Buffalo Bill’s that served scary versions of American food.  It closed sometime during our five year hiatus from Germany, and is now a casino.

One of the things I like about our new home is that it’s very close to a really cute German restaurant.  The Alt Breckenheimer Stübchen is not even a three minute walk from our house, and it’s super cute and charming.  Because we’d heard that it gets crowded on Friday nights, we made reservations at 7:00pm.  It’s a good thing we did, because they were busy last night and the restaurant is pretty small.  I loved the cozy bar area, though, and could see myself tipping a few beers there.  They also have an outdoor area that will be nice when the weather is better.

Last night’s specials presented on a chalk board.

We went with menu choices, which mostly consisted of German staples like schnitzels, steaks, and sausages.

The people sitting at the table next to ours seemed rather curious about us.  I caught the man staring a couple of times as Bill and I chose our schnitzels, both of which came with the salad pictured below.

We were seated in a sunken area with just a few tables.  I took the opportunity to get a shot of the bar, which looked really inviting.

Bill had a schnitzel with green peppercorn sauce.  It was pretty good.  I usually don’t get sauces on my schnitzels because I never finish them as it is, but I might make an exception for this one.  I also liked the “homefries” that came with his dish.

I went with a plain old Wiener Schnitzel, complete with crinkled fries.  It was good, although I have yet to run into a place with a bad schnitzel.  It seems to be the kind of thing that is hard to mess up… if you’re German, anyway.  I’ve never tried to make one myself.

 

I caught the couple sitting next to us staring again, so I smiled and said, “Hallo!”, which seemed to take them off guard.  Sometimes, I can be a little forward, especially when I’ve been drinking.

Service was very friendly and professional and the wait staff graciously boxed up our leftovers for us.  I don’t know how parking is for this particular restaurant, since we can easily walk to it.  There is street parking on our side of the street, but it’s usually fairly full.  On the other side of the block is the main drag through our little town.  I noticed a couple of parking spots on that side.  Free WiFi is offered to guests and Tuesday is their Ruhetag.  Otherwise, they’re open from 5:00pm until midnight every day.

And here’s a picture of the little church whose steeple so often shows up in pictures I take from one of our balconies.

I definitely see us becoming regulars at the Alt Breckenheimer Stübchen.  It seems to be a local gem.  I’m not sure what we’re doing today, although I’m sure it will involve spending money.

Maybe we’ll have pretty skies here, too.

The little restaurant near our house certainly does make us feel welcome!

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