German products, Germany

An insider’s guide to German grocery stores…

I’ve had the idea to write this post for… I don’t know… three years, maybe?  I actually remember when I got this idea.  I was in the city of Calw and Bill and I were at a Kaufland.  I started thinking of all the grocery stores on the economy where a non-German might find themselves shopping.  I thought to myself, “It might be useful to have a guide to some of these stores…”  But at that time, I didn’t have quite enough experience to write the post and it got pushed to the back burner as I toured beer spas and wrote restaurant reviews.

In about 24 days, Bill and I will be moving to Wiesbaden.  It will technically be our third German tour together, and his fourth in total (he was in Bavaria in the 80s, when he was a young lieutenant).  I’ve seen a lot of German grocery stores now.  Since today I was too lazy to do anything (because November is going to be a very hectic month), I’ve decided that today’s post will be about grocery stores, at least here in the Stuttgart area.

Here’s my usual disclaimer.  This post is more or less meant for newcomers.  It will consist of basic information, and does not represent all of the stores where you could be shopping.  I am posting this with the hope that readers will use German supermarkets over the commissary.  You will find that the food quality is mostly better and the cost of food is generally less expensive.  We do use the commissary for convenience and when we want items that are strictly American.  When we lived in Germany the first time, I will admit that we used the commissary more than we did our awesome local supermarket.  This time, we shop a lot more on the economy and are better off for it.

First thing’s first.  Grocery shopping in Germany is somewhat different than it is in the United States. When you shop at a German market, you either need to bring your own bags or buy bags at the store. Bill and I use RedOxx market tote bags.  I like the RedOxx bags because they are very sturdy, made in the USA (Montana, to be exact), have a lifetime guarantee, and the business is owned by a veteran.  They also sell their bags in a dozen pretty colors and will ship to APO.  We also have a bunch of their other bags, too.  Bill likes them because their design is very military and they are extremely well made.

Of course, you don’t need to use fancy bags.  The cheap, reusable bags you can get at the commissary will also do the trick quite nicely.  You will also have to do your own bagging, so after your stuff is rung up, prepare to pack your stuff.  If you do need to buy a bag, the German word is “Tüte” (tooti).

Grocery stores in Germany don’t sell medications.  If you want to buy over-the-counter drugs, you will need to visit an Apotheke (drug store).  You will often, but not always, find Apothekes near grocery stores.

In German grocery stores, you can find things like shampoo, soap, toilet paper, and detergents.  In some stores you can also find housewares, electronics, clothing, toys, and in many places, you can buy booze.  Germany also has “drink markets”, which sell all kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a limited array of shelf stable groceries and other goods.

When you buy produce, in some stores you may have to weigh it and get a price tag sticker, which you’ll put on your produce so it can be scanned.  The commissary has a similar system, so you’ll get used to it quickly.

Grocery stores in Germany are mostly closed on Sundays, with a few exceptions.  In the Stuttgart area, the Edeka supermarket at the airport is open on Sunday.  Although dogs are welcome in a lot of places, including restaurants, you can’t bring your dog to the grocery store.  And, at many stores, you will need to use a euro coin to get a cart from the cart corral.  They are chained together.  When you return your cart to its proper place, you get your euro back.  If you have ever shopped at Aldi in the United States, you know of what I write.

Many grocery stores have areas where you can drop off your empty bottles.  If your store has a drink market, you can bring back the plastic bottles and crates of glass bottles (say, a case of beer), feed them into the handy machine, and it will spit out a receipt, which you can present to the cashier and get money off your order.  Speaking of cashiers… do not be surprised, especially here in Swabia, if the person ahead of you counts out exact change, even if it holds you up.  More than once, Bill and I have been behind someone who pays for groceries with a lot of coins.  Remember that in Germany, some coins are worth more than two dollars!  Be patient.  Others will be patient for you.  Also, some stores have shopper’s cards you can collect stamps on and redeem.  Frankly, I never bother with them, but some people do.  Don’t be surprised if the cashier asks you if you want one.

Also, a lot of stores will have restaurants or snack bars within them.  In fact, even some hardware stores have food available.  Our local Toom (hardware big box store) has a snackbar, of all things.  Shopping in Germany is very civilized.  Many stores also have restrooms and most don’t have a Klofrau looking for change, although that’s not always the case.

You might even find a CoinStar at your local store.  Our Real now has a CoinStar, which I think appeared somewhat recently.  After you’ve been here awhile and have collected a huge trove of coins, you’ll see how awesome that is!  My husband’s first boss dumped his collection of coins on Bill and his co-workers before he left, with the direction that they should all go out to dinner.  Someone took the time to count the coins and it added up to over 800 euros.  Bill and his former co-workers had dinner, including family members, and only spent 500 euros!  There’s still 300 euros left to use!  You will collect a lot of coins while you’re here!

Okay… now here’s a very brief guide.

General grocery stores– hypermarkets

Edeka–  I’ll start with Edeka, which is a very well-known German grocery store chain.  Many towns have an Edeka, and they are pretty much my favorite of all the usual German grocery chains.  It’s kind of a posh market, very clean, with really nice lighting and high quality products.  As of 2017, Edeka is Germany’s largest grocery store chain and holds a market share of 20.3%.  Chances are, your town has an Edeka.  If it doesn’t, chances are the next town has one.  We live in Unterjettingen and there is no Edeka in our town, but there are in Herrenberg and Nagold, both of which are less than a few miles away.  Frankly, of all of the grocery stores in Germany, Edeka is my pick.  It has everything I love about a grocery store.

Real in Jettingen.

Real– Jettingen does have a Real, which is a “hypermarket”.  Real is basically Germany’s version of Walmart.  Indeed, Real stores were originally Walmarts before Walmart was driven out of Germany.  I don’t know for certain, but I think Walmart didn’t survive here because Walmart is famously anti-union and Germans weren’t down with that.  Anyway, Real operates a number of stores in Germany and they’re a lot like Walmart, minus over the counter drugs.  You can find almost anything there, but I hate going in there because it’s usually very crowded and hectic and I experience sensory overload with every visit.  Still, lots of people love their Real, and I will admit we shop there often.  Parking at our Jettingen store is free, which is more than I can say for the Edeka in either Nagold or Herrenberg (but some Edekas do have free parking).

Kaufland– Germany’s fourth largest grocery store chain is Kaufland, which was founded in Germany back in 1984.  Kaufland now operates almost 1,300 stores in seven countries across Europe.  It reminds me a lot of Real, only with a slightly more upscale look and nicer lighting.  You will find groceries there, but you can also find housewares, electronics, and clothing.  Many locations also have drink markets.

REWE– REWE is a Cologne based grocery store chain with locations around Germany.  To be honest, I haven’t spent a lot of time shopping at REWE, but our new home has one very nearby.  There are also several locations in the Stuttgart area.  The last REWE I visited was in Wiesbaden and it reminded me a bit of Edeka, only with harsher lighting.

The actual experience of shopping at any of these grocery stores is very similar.  You typically enter through a “gate” and you have to pass through a cashier stand to exit, even if you don’t buy anything.

Discount grocery stores–

Aldi– A lot of Americans know about Aldi, because Aldi is slowly infiltrating U.S. culture.  If you’ve shopped at an American Aldi, you are probably already familiar with having to use a quarter to get a cart.  You also know that this store is no frills and has low prices.  Our town has an Aldi, but I don’t go in there very often.  It has basic stuff– frozen foods, bakery items, some beverages, ice cream, and some non food items.  It’s the kind of place you go when you need to pick up a few items.  Actually, according to Wikipedia, Aldi is Germany’s largest wine retailer.  Who knew?

Lidl– Lidl is another discount store that is slowly gaining a footprint in the American market.  Like Aldi, Lidl is very no frills, but it does have an interesting line of “American” products, which I blogged about last year.  I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Lidl versions of American products unless you need a laugh.  However, given a choice between Aldi and Lidl, I think I’d choose Lidl, mainly because the stores seem newer and cleaner to me.

A city version of Netto.

Netto– Another discount market.  Every Netto I’ve been in has been small and no frills, with an emphasis on frozen foods, a small array of beverages, and bakery products.

Penny Markt– Again, no frills supermarket.  Emphasis on frozen food, candy, ice cream, and low prices.

Specialty markets–

Denn’s Biomarkt…

Denn’s Biomarkt– This is a national chain that specializes in “bio” (organic) products.  The Denn’s chain is represented in several local communities, including Sindelfingen, Nagold, Ludwigsburg, Stuttgart, and Vaihingen.   You can find bio fruits, vegetables, wines, and cheeses, as well as other natural products.

The Nagold Mix Markt.

Mix-Markt– This is a European market that offers products from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  It was founded in Germany, but there are now stores all over Europe.  It’s a great place to shop for exotic wines from countries like Georgia and Moldova, both excellent wine producing countries.  Also, if you like Russian products, you can find them there.

“Feinkost” is another term with which you should familiarize yourself.  A Feinkost is translated as “delicatessen”, but in my experience, Feinkosts also offer upmarket products.  One well-known Feinkost in Stuttgart is Feinkost Böhm, which is a super fancy and expensive market downtown.  It’s fun to shop there for special occasions and to see how much they’re selling Pepperidge Farm cookies for.  Stuttgart also has the Markthalle, which has a lot of ethnic markets, meats, cheeses, produce, and desserts.  Your town might also have a Feinkost, but it may or may not be as fancy as the one in Stuttgart.

Your local town may have its own specialty markets.  You may find Turkish, Asian, Italian, Spanish, or even Portuguese specialty markets, depending on where you live.  Keep your eyes peeled, because you can find some great stuff in the little ethnic markets.

Also, many towns have produce markets that happen several mornings a week and/or on Saturday mornings.  You can also buy specialty meats at Metzgereis (butchers) and baked goods at Backereis (bakeries).  Some local areas also have farms where you can buy fresh produce, eggs, and fresh milk.  See my post “Farm Fresh” for more information about buying fresh food at farms– it’s frequently done on the honor system.  You will also find vending machines that sell things like eggs, milk, noodles, and lentils, among other things.  My “Farm Fresh” post has a video showing how to get fresh milk (which should be pasteurized at home) and pictures of the vending machines you might find in your neighborhood.

Generally speaking, I find grocery shopping in Germany to be a pleasure.  There’s always something to see and German stores offer a lot of good products, some of which will be familiar to you and others you may come to love and will miss when you’re back in the USA.  Some stores are more pleasant for me than others.  Some people love the local Real, but give me an Edeka any day.  I suspect I’ll soon be very familiar with REWE, since I know my new neighborhood has one.  Once you’ve been here awhile, you’ll be able to find a store to your liking.  If you like very fresh food, I highly recommend shopping on the economy as opposed to at the commissary.  Hope this post is helpful for a few folks!

Standard
Uncategorized

Just another Saturday morning in Unterjettingen…

I’m writing a second post this morning because Bill is out of town and I need to fill up my time doing something constructive.  I thought I’d write a quick post about some of the shopping in our town.  I know some people read my blog for information about daily life in Germany, as well as the “contractor” lifestyle.

Jettingen is blessed with a Real, as well as several other handy stores.  We needed to visit the pet store yesterday because our dogs’ beds were falling apart and we wanted to replace them.  Jettingen has a pretty nice pet store and we managed to find what we needed.  But while we were waiting, I caught myself reading the signs.

I was impressed by everything the store had.  They had a great line of premium dog foods, as well as pick and pay dog treats.

I learned the word for collar, which kind of makes sense.  “Halsband” literally translates to “neck band”.  That describes a collar perfectly.

 

After we bought the new beds, some treats, a couple of new toys, and shit bags, we went to the Real, where I was shocked to find an honest to God Coinstar!

This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I know we always have a huge load of coins at our house.  I’m glad to see this handy machine in Germany, at long last!

I kind of got a kick out of the “quiet zone/rest area”.  Basically, it’s a wooden bench in the middle of the bustling, big box store.  It has a water cooler, a trash can, and someone’s discarded package of toilet paper.  I don’t go into the Real very often myself.  It’s too crowded for me.

Someone’s graffiti on the Waschstrasse sign.  Bill says that’s been there for a couple of weeks already.  It’s not quite as funny as the word “penis” that was painted on a sign on A8 a couple of years ago, though.  I wish I’d gotten a photo of that.  What can I say?  I have a very juvenile sense of humor.

 

The dogs are enjoying their new beds.  One is a very fancy leather trimmed one that is quite well padded and comfortable.  The other is one that allows burrowing.  I’m not sure my dogs will get the hang of it, but they’ve already tested them out and seem to approve of the new bedding.  Of course, that doesn’t stop them from sleeping in our bed at night.

 
 
Standard
Uncategorized

Dinner at Restaurant Bei Stefan in Jettingen…

Last night, Bill came home from work in a great mood because he managed to do something very good at work.  Add in the fact that we didn’t have much in the way of dinner fixings available and you have a situation that calls for dinner in a restaurant.  There’s a Greek place at a sports club in Jettingen that we hadn’t tried before last night.  Although we are fairly regular visitors to Taverne beim Griechen, which is at a sports club in Unterjettingen, we had never been to Restaurant Bei Stefan, which is a Greek restaurant at a club very close to Jettingen’s Real store in Oberjettingen.  I’m always up for finding new places to review, so off we went.

It’s funny that we’ve lived in Jettingen for almost three years now and we’d never dined at the sportsplatz near the Real.  It’s located right next to a roundabout on the other side of the road from the big store.  You drive down a road into a lovely wooded area and can pretty much forget how close you are to Jettingen’s shopping mecca.

These were the specials last night.

A good shot of the sign.

The small building where the restaurant is.  It’s right next to a soccer/football field.

 

I approached the restaurant cautiously and was taken off guard when a gentleman sitting on the terrace said “Guten Abend” to me.  I probably came off as rude as I mumbled a response.  I’m always a little timid when I approach people or places I don’t know.

We entered the restaurant and were welcomed by a friendly guy who shook our hands and invited us to sit anywhere.  We sat at a two top and started checking out the menu.

Bill in his usual restaurant pose.

 

Bill went with the souflaki, which was one of the specials last night.  I went with the Rodos Teller, which was gyros with calamari and t’zatziki.

Our dishes came with salads.  These were pretty good.  I liked the yellow beans on the bottom.

My Rodos platter looked and smelled great and wasn’t too much food.  

But I was even more impressed with Bill’s dish, which included two skewers of succulent grilled pork and oven baked potato slices.

As we enjoyed dinner inside, we watched some guys playing soccer on the field and listened to the obnoxious pop music being played in the dining area.  We also talked about politics.  Fortunately, Bill and I have similar political leanings, so our chat wasn’t one to induce indigestion.

We were the only ones in the dining room.  All of the other patrons were sitting outside on the terrace.  We might have joined them except it was unusually chilly last night and I didn’t bring a jacket.  After about an hour, we asked for the bill.  It came to 41 euros.  Although we didn’t get a house shot of ouzo like we do at Taverne Beim Griechen, we thought the food was pretty comparable.

I noticed that Restaurant Bei Stefan offered an interesting array of dishes.  They have Greek food, but they also have rib eye steaks, roast beef, grilled salmon, and even an impressive list of burgers.  I am often a little cautious about burgers in Germany (they tend to like to use a pork/beef mixture rather than just beef), but looking on their Facebook page, I see what looks like a tasty burger.  We may have to go back and try one sometime.

I am continually amazed by the number of sportsplatzes near us with decent restaurants and Greek food is always a pleasure in these parts.  This one in particular offers convenient access to Real, so we took the opportunity to stop in for some ice cream for me and dog toys for our boys.  Friday night is a great time to shop at Real, by the way.

I don’t know what today has in store for us, but it looks like we’re spoiled for choice.  Stay tuned!

Standard
Uncategorized

Denn’s Biomarkt… where have you been all my life?

I know, I know…  I’ve been living in Germany for awhile now and Denn’s Biomarkt is a chain with locations all over the place.  I kept meaning to stop at one, but never got around to it.  Today, Bill and I decided to go to Nagold to shop for groceries.  We usually go to the Real or Aldi in Jettingen, but I felt like a change.

Although we were planning to hit the very nice Edeka in Nagold, I spotted a Denn’s Biomarkt location.  It had a huge parking lot that allowed free parking for up to 90 minutes.  Plenty of spots were open, so we pulled in and had a look.

I was immediately impressed by how quiet the place was…

There was lots of fresh produce and the lighting was very pleasant.  It was much nicer than the harsh, depressing lighting at the Real.

I was intrigued by this product for kids, although I didn’t pick any up.

They had a cheese counter, as well as this case of nice cheeses from around Europe.

And there was also plenty of wine from around Europe, including some enticing ones from Spain and Italy.

The wine of the month!

Fresh eggs!  

And, if the need arises, you can even buy socks, t-shirts, and underwear made of organic cotton.  They had a nice cosmetics area with a lot of natural products, as well as a small selection of organic pet foods and treats.

They even had fair trade chocolate eggs with toys in them.  I got one and will have to see what the prize is.  Hopefully, I won’t choke on it.  😉

And there’s a bulletin board advertising everything from rental properties to pets looking for homes.

I really enjoyed shopping at Denn’s Biomarkt today.  They offer some very nice products.  I noticed the store was particularly vegan friendly, which may be useful for some readers.  I also liked the fact that the store wasn’t too big or chaotic the way the Real is sometimes.

Unfortunately, we still ended up visiting the Real when Bill decided he wanted to make some hummus for lunch.  We also had a rack of empty water bottles to offload.  Many people who read this blog live in Germany and no doubt already know what is involved with returning racks of bottles at a German grocery store.  For those who don’t, I took a couple of pictures.

You put the rank in the bottom part.  It gets read.  A receipt for the “pfand” is printed…

You take the receipt and hand it in to the cashier when you check out.  The money you paid for the pfand is refunded.

I thought this dinosaur was funny.  Reminded me of a reverse Barney.  Of course, I always hated Barney…  Baby Bop perhaps?  

I must admit, I got a little sad walking through the store in Nagold, thinking about how much I enjoy that town and realizing that I may have to move again soon.  Or, maybe not…  I suspect I will mourn the missed opportunity of moving to Italy, too, if it turns out we stay here.  What a ridiculous problem to have.

Standard
Uncategorized

Good intentions and the Golden Arches…

I’m not really loving it, but it’s fast, cheap, and easy… 

I had every intention of trying out a new restaurant this afternoon.  Bill and I talked about it last night and he even did the research to see when it would be less crowded.  But then we got hung up with mundane Saturday chores.  First off, my dog repeatedly stealth pissed all over the inside doormat.  I guess he’s been sneaking down at night while we’re asleep and secretly unloading for a long while, because I suddenly smelled a strong essence of ammonia and noticed the thing was warped.  So we had to visit the local Real to get a new doormat and pick up a few other things.

I was actually surprised by a few items I found at the Real.  It’s always fun to see German style marketing at work.  But after visiting there, I felt kind of overwhelmed and tired.  I spend so much time alone that being in a crowded store on a Saturday is exhausting.  At least we found a brand new version of the old mat Arran whizzed all over.

Star Wars fans take note!  There’s a special drink for you!  Forty years after its debut, I still don’t think I’ve yet seen the whole film!

 

Nor have I tasted Duff beer, Homer Simpson’s favorite brew.

 

One enterprising German brewery is offering a free Beer Pong set with a rack of brews.  I would wonder about the quality of a beer that needs Beer Pong to help it sell.

 

Absolutely hideous…  jean style leggings.  Here, they’re called “Treggings” instead of “Jeggings”.  

 

And finally, here’s your ticket to getting buff.  I don’t think I wanna look like this guy, though.

Then we had to go to the dump to unload boxes and other assorted stuff.  That didn’t take long, but it did push us closer to the dreaded mid afternoon time span when things shut down.

After that was done, we went home and I changed into lighter clothes, since the temperature warmed up.  I put on a little makeup so I didn’t scare anyone.  Then we headed off to Sindelfingen for what I heard was great Turkish food.  Unfortunately, Bill missed the turn for the restaurant and had to do some fancy maneuvering to get to where he needed to go.  And then it was clear that parking was going to be more of a challenge than we wanted to deal with.

So we went to Breuningerland intent on having lunch there after we picked up a couple of vignettes for Switzerland.  There were people ahead of us, so I was looking at what they had for sale in the ADAC store.  Then a young couple reeking heavily of cigarette smoke came over and enthusiastically said something in German I didn’t understand.  Bill told the guy in German that we speak English, so he switched to perfect English and asked us where we were headed.  We told him we were going to Switzerland.  He said they were going to Austria, where they hoped the weather would be better.

We had sun when we walked into Breuningerland, looking for Swiss vignettes.

We looked for something to eat at the mall.  Truthfully, there are plenty of eateries there.  But it was very crowded with people and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.  I was also getting hungry.  When I get hungry, it’s not long before I turn hangry.  So we left the mall and Bill was trying to think of alternative places to go.  He suggested the Schwaben Galerie, which I am assuming would have been just as crowded.

I finally said, “You know what?  Just take me to McDonald’s.”

But the clouds were out as we headed to McDonald’s.  Maybe it was an omen.

Bill balked at first.  He hates McDonald’s.  I will admit, it’s not my favorite place to eat, either.  But I was in no mood to search for lunch.  My blood sugar was rapidly dropping and I was getting really testy.  So we went to McDonald’s, which was also packed.  I went outside and got us a table under one of the umbrellas.  Good thing I did, since it started raining.

I sat forlornly, waiting for Bill as the tables filled up.  I also watched some guy in a station wagon peeling out as if he was driving a Porsche.  He was about as cool as a heating pad.

Grumpily, I waited for Bill to get lunch and gazed at people passing by.  It seemed like the outside area was empty when I sat down, but it quickly filled up.  It seemed like everyone was staring at me, taking up a table, yet without any food in front of me.  After about twenty minutes, Bill appeared with our Royales… and he noticed the same couple we ran into at ADAC were also dining at Mickey D’s.  Actually, I think European McDonald’s are nicer than the ones in the States.  They have those McCafes, complete with real cups as opposed to paper products.

Well, at least at McDonald’s, you know what you’re gonna get.

I haven’t seen this movie, either… but I sure did have a Royale with cheese today.

 

I didn’t see McC, though.

After we were sufficiently fueled, we headed to Panzer, also totally mobbed with people.  The food court was overflowing with everybody and their brother.  I just wanted to pick up some face cream, but naturally, I ended up with a few more items.  At least Zane and Arran have new toys to play with!

Now I’m at home, digesting food from the Golden Arches and drinking one of Bill’s homebrewed chocolate stouts.  When I was a kid, I loved McDonald’s.  It was my favorite place to eat.  Now I’m not much of a fan, except when I’m desperate for food quickly and don’t want to have to think too much about what I’m eating.  I have a feeling we’ll make up for today’s restaurant fumble when we’re in Italy next weekend.  It’s hard to have a bad meal there, even if you’re eating at a truck stop.

Last night’s sky show.  I doubt we’ll see this tonight.

 Hopefully, tomorrow, we’ll be more successful on our outing.  But then, tomorrow is Mother’s Day and both years prior, we’ve ended up in crowds.  So we’ll see…

Standard
Uncategorized

Spotted at the Real…

Bill and I basically hung around at home yesterday because it looked like it was going to rain.  We did go to the Real (Germany’s answer to WalMart) for some food, though.  While we were there, I spotted some interesting stuff that I decided to photograph and share.

Pizzaburgers?  Hmm… Interesting concept that ranks right up there with the disgusting Cheetos fried mac and cheese sticks that are now being sold at American Burger Kings.  Since I have yet to have a really good burger in Germany, I think I might pass on this.

Interesting frozen pizza.  I have yet to find asparagus and bacon pizzas in the States, although it might be pretty good. I haven’t tried German frozen pizza, but it’s also been years since I last ate an American frozen pizza.

Our Real has a small section of Russian foods…

I took a picture of this because I immediately recognized them as sunflower seeds (Cemuchka).  When I lived in Armenia, you could buy little paper cones of them on the street.  They make a good snack.  Until yesterday, I didn’t know that our Real had Russian sunflower seeds.

More Russian edibles, including sprats.  Sprats are a canned fish.  They remind me a bit of sardines.  Yes, I did eat them on occasion when I lived in Armenia…  When I was hungry, that is.

 

Our Real also has Chinese, Turkish, and Italian sections.  Actually, their Turkish section is pretty impressive.  That makes sense, since there are many Turks who live in this part of Germany.

I got a kick out of the “American Style Cookies”, which are basically chocolate chip.  Last year, I was shopping in another grocery store and got a kick out of the American Sauce being sold there… as well as McDonald’s brand ketchup.

And finally, we have a large bottle of Jim Beam on display.  But the label is upside down.  I wonder if that’s significant in any way…  I am not a Jim Beam fan.  I had a really bad experience with it when I was in college and haven’t touched it since.

 

I probably could have found more interesting goodies at the Real, but for some reason, whenever we go there, I leave feeling exhausted.  I feel the same way when I go to WalMart, which is why I haven’t set foot in one since 2002.  We went home and I camped out on the futon, where I proceeded to watch more episodes of Desperate Housewives.  Maybe today, we’ll manage to do something fun.

Standard
Uncategorized

Sidelined by sickness… and German dialects

My husband has left town again on business.  Yesterday, I was hoping we’d get out and try a restaurant.  Unfortunately, Bill gave me whatever disease he picked up when he visited Burkina Faso a couple of weeks ago.  We only managed to visit the local Real.  For those who don’t know, Real is kind of like Germany’s version of Wal-Mart.  The one in our town is kind of dumpy looking, but it has a lot of stuff.  When I’m in the States, I avoid Wal-Mart at all costs.  Here in Germany, I have somewhat less of a problem with their version of a box store, even though it lacks charm the same way its American counterparts do.

The front of our local Real.

 

I was really out of it during our outing, though I did manage to put on some makeup.  I hadn’t realized how icky I was feeling until I started walking around the store, trying to shop for food for the upcoming week.  When I was single, I used to cook decent meals for myself.  Now that I’m married, I can’t be bothered as much.  I don’t enjoy cooking for just myself.

I get a kick out of the stuff one can find in German grocery stores.  It seems that Germans enjoy convenience foods as much as Americans do, though their offerings are somewhat more upscale.  They kind of remind me of stuff I might find in a Whole Foods.

Check out the beans wrapped in bacon…  I bet that looks just as appetizing just out of the box.

 

I would have taken a few more pictures, but the Real was crowded yesterday and I didn’t want to look too weird taking pictures of German frozen foods.  Besides, I’m sure I looked weird enough with the dazed look on my face.  Whatever virus I have made my brain even foggier than usual.  By the time we got to the check out area, I was exhausted.

I did manage to get a photo of these frozen confections.  I was particularly attracted to the one that resembles an American flag.  Too bad we don’t have much freezer space or I might have gotten one of these to cheer myself up.

 

When we got home yesterday, I found a very cool video made by an attractive German lady.  She demonstrates how different the German dialects sound around the country.

Very interesting… of course, it doesn’t matter to me which dialect she uses.  I still don’t understand.

 

I think I may need to go back to bed now.  Hopefully next week, I will not be so krank.

Standard
Uncategorized

Bill is home!

He arrived yesterday morning, missing his bright purple Red Oxx garment bag.  Much to the credit of the staff at Frankfurt Airport, the bag was returned yesterday afternoon.  My neighbors collected it because we went to the Real for provisions.  While we were at the Real, I spotted this in the condiment aisle.

I didn’t buy any so I don’t know what it is…  some say it’s Thousand Island dressing.

It looks pretty gross and caused quite the commentary on Facebook.  Maybe they were going for McDonald’s “special sauce”?  I have seen McDonald’s brand ketchup being sold here too, though it seems to me they used Heinz.

We decided to go to Tommi’s Bistro last night for dinner.  It had been closed since late July, so I was glad to see it open again.  We had steak, fries, and wine, lots of good conversation, and some disco music.  And we were waited on by Danni, our favorite Tommi’s waitress!

Bill tells me about Africa while we wait for dinner…

Never disappoints!

I learned that Tommi’s next jam session is on September 11th.  Unfortunately, we will be going to Austria that day.  Well, actually, it’s not unfortunate, since I have been looking forward to this trip for awhile now.  But I am sorry to miss the live music.  Maybe we’ll get back there for October’s jam session, which is on the 8th.

It’s great to have Bill home again.  I always miss him when he’s gone.  I’m not sure what we’ll do today.

Standard
Sundays

Lovely lunch at the Mineraltherme… then a nice long soak…

To celebrate the fact that it’s the weekend and Aunt Flow isn’t here yet, Bill and I decided to head to the Mineraltherme Böblingen.  Today’s visit was our fourth ever and our second since we came back to Germany.  I really just wanted to unwind.  I think it would have been good for Bill, too, though it usually takes some doing to get him to agree to go.  Once he does, he’s usually glad he went.

I reviewed the mineral baths last time we went, which was at Easter.  If you want to know about the ins and outs of the baths, click here.  Today, I mostly want to focus on the restaurant at the Mineraltherme, Restaurant Thermini.  Bill and I ate there once last time we lived here.  I seem to remember having a turkey dish with quark and quince.  It was good, but not amazing.  Today, we went back for lunch and things were different.  First off, I’d swear the restaurant was bigger.  Secondly, I really liked what we had.

We started with a couple of big beers…

Then the waiter brought out shot glasses with lentil soup in them.

I had a delicious lachs (salmon) filet with spinach and latkes.  There was a light creme sauce, too.

Bill had the antipasto.  Lots of veggies (eggplant, carrots, endive, and zucchini), cheeses, cold cuts, and olives.

 

We also got very fresh bread of the baguette variety.  I really enjoyed my lunch.  Unfortunately, I had an incident involving something getting stuck in my throat.  You know when you try to swallow a pill and it gets stuck going down?  That’s kind of how I felt today, though it wasn’t quite as uncomfortable.  I swallowed and kept trying to flush it with beer, but it wouldn’t budge.  Fortunately, I’d had enough food by the time this happened.  Once I got changed and in the pools, the stuck food feeling went away.  It sucks getting older.  Total charge was 28 euros!  What a bargain!

Very pleasant place… mood music, good service, tables not too close together, and an outdoor area that allows smoking for those who must.

After lunch, Bill and I paid 22 euros (11 euros each) for 3.5 hours in the Mineraltherme.  As usual, it was very relaxing and today it wasn’t all that busy.  I did see a few young couples making out and at least one pissy grandmother who seemed annoyed by all the face sucking going on.  But I also saw an adorable young mom who looked like Kirsten Dunst and her cute little boy, a smiling lad of maybe three who was having a blast.  No one bothered us as we soaked and floated in the many heated salty pools.  I kept looking at the stairs leading to the nude area, but Bill wasn’t having it.  Someday, I’ll brave the naked part of the Mineraltherme.  I have nothing to lose.  Seriously, no one cares what your goodies look like.

After about two and a half hours, Bill complained of being itchy and pruney skinned, so we covered up and tried the snack bar, run by the same people who run the restaurant.  Indeed, it’s attached to the restaurant, so you can use your chipband to “pay” for your order (you actually pay at the automat on the way out of the baths).  We each enjoyed a generous glass of Gruner Veltliner.  I “might” have also had a glass of rose.  Total for the three glasses of wine was 12 euros and it was interesting to watch people. Bill had a good time watching a couple of young guys being rebuffed by two girls who weren’t into them.  Actually, only one of the guys seemed to want to find a date.  The other guy just seemed to want to hang out with his buddy.

On the way home from the Mineraltherme, we passed a horrible accident on the north side of 81 involving a jackknifed and overturned horse trailer.  Thankfully, the horses seemed to be fine, though I can’t imagine how they escaped unscathed.  The trailer was literally on its side.  Traffic was understandably backed up.  Good thing we were headed south.  ETA:  My German friend Susanne has helpfully provided this link to a German news story about this wreck.  It includes 17 photos.  Again, I am truly shocked the horses were mostly okay after this, although the grey one was apparently and understandably traumatized and didn’t want to be loaded into another trailer.  Frankly, I can’t blame the horse for that!

We went to the Real.  Jettingen has one, but I have only been in it a handful of times.  Bill usually goes there on his way home from work.  It was a treat to go with him today because I goaded him into buying me some treats.

It was raining and sunny at the same time, so I was able to snap this shot…

Turkish food at Real.  We got some cheese for Bill to try.  It comes from Kars, which is a Turkish city very close to Armenia.  In fact, it was once part of Armenia.  I was once at the bus station in that city for several hours… and we had to take a bus from Kars to the Georgian border because you can’t get to Armenia from Kars.  I am not a fan of Ayran, but know what it is because Armenians drink a similar yogurt drink called tan (pronounced tawn).  

Good old crappy Efes.  Drank a lot of this in Armenia.  Shitty Turkish beer, but it’s not all that bad on draft.

Real Budweiser.  Good stuff.

And an obligatory bathroom condom dispenser photo.

 

All in all, it was a very good day.  I had made tentative plans to go to Cocina Mexicana if only because it’s such a controversial place.  We didn’t go today because it wasn’t open until 4:30 and I needed food sooner than then.

Bill and I were here when the Cocina Mexicana was by the Esso in Vaihingen and avoided it because we had heard the food wasn’t good.  Now we hear the food isn’t necessarily bad (depending on who you ask), but the owner is a bit nutty.  Given that, I want to see for myself, even if it means eating bad “Mexican” food.  And who knows?  Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised.  We will try to get there soon to try it.  Too bad it’s not open on Sundays, because that is when we are usually in Vaihingen.  If it turns out the food and service is too horrible, we’ll just head to Taverna Olympos.  Been wanting to try that place, too, and never did last time we were here.

Standard