coronavirus, Germany, live music, restaurant reviews

Wiesbaden is ALIVE again!

In celebration of our fully vaccinated and certified status, Bill and I decided to visit Wiesbaden yesterday. It was my first visit to the downtown in almost a year. I hated the COVID-19 rules so much that I just stayed home, where I could do my own thing without having to worry about confrontations, dirty looks, or judgments from other people. I realize that attitude was probably prompted by news articles and social media posts I was reading on the Internet about how things are in the United States. I read so many accounts of people getting into altercations about COVID-19 that it just turned me off of interacting with other people. So, visiting Wiesbaden was kind of a big deal. I guess our Heidelberg visit last weekend was a reminder to me that life is still going on where we live, too.

I took some photos of what was happening in Wiesbaden yesterday, as well as our visit to Scotch N’ Soda, an Irish pub and popular American hangout. We stopped in for lunch and got treated to a little concert by buskers… guys I’ve seen before in the city. They rove around town with their instruments. One guy has an upright bass violin. We saw him lugging it around before he met his buddies for their session. I was so happy to see and hear them that I tipped ten euros. One of them rewarded me with “twinkling eyes” (he squinted and smiled affectionately– I used to see this in Armenia all the time) and a hearty “Danke schoen!”

As we were enjoying beer and lunch at Scotch N’ Soda, the buskers played “my song”. It’s not my song in that I love it– although I do. It’s my song because I’ve sung it so many times that the lyrics are burned on my brain and I can’t mess it up. I’m the same way with Patsy Cline’s version of “Crazy”. I don’t actually do those songs very often anymore, because I’ve done them so many times. But people who know me and know my songs, know those are perennial favorites from way back!

Another one of our funny experiences in a Biergarten.

On our way out of Wiesbaden, a young woman with a child asked me in German if I had two ten cent pieces for a twenty cent piece. I was surprised when I understood her without having to think too hard about it. I guess seven years in Germany is finally rubbing off on me. 😉

I think we may head out again today… take my Mini Cooper convertible, which has suffered mightily from disuse during the pandemic. We had to replace the battery two or three times because it went dead from lack of driving. Finally, we bought a battery charger and an air pump for the tires, which also were going flat from temperature changes and lack of use. Normally, during the summer months, we use my car all the time!

I would like to drive to the Rhein– maybe to Eltville or Bacharach. I’m not sure how successful that would be, though, because Die SalzbachtalbrĂŒcke, which is a bridge on A66 is falling apart and will have to be blown up soon, because it can’t be repaired. That means a traffic nightmare for the next fourteen months or so, or at least that’s what the paper estimates. I’m pretty sure we usually go over that to get to those areas… and there are other places we haven’t been recently that need our attention. Maybe we’ll hit Hofheim today, instead. We’ll see… it’s just so nice to finally have the option to go out and be relatively free to be normal.

Wiesbaden was almost back to normal yesterday. They didn’t even do contact tracing at Scotch N’ Soda yesterday… no need to use the Luca app for checking in, like we did in Heidelberg last weekend. I hope the trend continues, although everybody is a bit worried about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.

I think now it’s time to plan for a vacation… and a trip to Stuttgart for dental hygiene purposes.

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Germany

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.

 
 
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fests, Germany, Sundays

Afrika Fest in Böblingen, 2017

Once again, Bill and I were confronted with a weekend and no plans.  After checking out the Stuttgart Area Events and Celebrations Facebook group, Bill and I decided we should check out the Afrika Fest in Böblingen.  It started yesterday and continues through tomorrow.  There’s a bouncy house for kids, lots of exotic things to eat, live music, and shopping galore.  Bill and I usually don’t buy a lot at these fests, but we made an exception today.  We came home with a few things for the house, coffee, and products for my skin.  Here are some photos and anecdotes…

After parking in a garage near the Hendl Haus (the bibliotek), we had a short walk to the fest.  The first thing we encountered was the bouncy house.

Next, we came across the first of many places to buy African clothes…  I am always afraid of humiliation, so I rarely stop to look at the clothes.  

I did end up buying some olive wood here… after we did some other shopping.  

 

The food at the fest was excellent.  There were several stands selling food from Ghana, West Africa, and East Africa.  It all looked and smelled wonderful and was a nice change of pace.  Bill and I shared a plate for two that included chicken, turkey, shrimp, rice, and coconut sauce.  There was also a really delicious slaw included (which I usually don’t like).  It was delicious.

If you want mixed drinks…

or smoothies…

Before too long, we found ourselves at a stall where cosmetics featuring argan oil were being sold.  We came away from there with soap, oil, and a lovely smelling face cream.  The salesman was very astute and managed to get us to part with plenty of euros.

Bill says this is a much prized oil in Morocco.  We’ll see what it does for me.

Plenty of seating for eating and enjoying the festivities, which includes live music and impromptu dancing from kids and adults.

We made a stop at this table with beautiful silver and pottery from Morocco.

My sister was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, so I recognized a lot of the stuff and liked it…

I was tempted by the shiny silver and then realized I’d have to clean it.  

Very cool toys for kids.  Made me wish I had one so I could buy stuff…

We sat next to the fake lake for lunch.

Our yummy shared lunch.  We didn’t wash this down with African beer.  Instead we had our ever present suds made by the Schonaich Brau.  That chicken was so tender it fell right off the bone, but I was most surprised by the slaw.  

The band was coming…

After lunch, we headed for the bank for more cash and went on a shopping spree.  It was handily located right across the street.

Lots of pretty things to see.

After a few passes through the market, we decided to walk around the lake.  It was our first time doing so, despite living in the area for a total of five years, off and on.

I got a kick out of this sign, especially since a little girl was feeding the ducks.

Those ducks are well fed, despite the signs prohibiting feeding them.

A pretty view from afar.

I did not know that the fair city of Böblingen has a rose garden dedicated to the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  I know this verse from a choral piece I learned in college.  That was before I realized how much Scottish heritage I have… or how much German heritage, for that matter.

The rose garden dedicated to Robert Burns.

Something strange happened at about this time.  I was standing at a table, waiting for Bill to bring us some beer.  It was pretty loud because there were drummers on stage beating their skins.  A woman came up to me and said in halting German, “Ist hier frei?”  I was so taken aback that I took a moment to respond and shook my head.  She moved to the empty table next to ours.  I felt kind of bad about it, but then again, no American has ever spoken German to me.  I must be fitting in.  If that lady happens to read this, I sincerely apologize.  I was genuinely shocked.

Here’s the loot… We got two bars of heavenly smelling soap, some skin cream, and lotion from Morocco.

A new stool for my kitchen because I’m short and the dog looks like Arran.  It was only 25 euros.  I hope I don’t break it.

The elephant plant stand and the beautiful Moroccan bowl on top of it…  The plant stand is from Thailand and is nice and heavy.

Coffee and a little olive wood container for nuts and such.

Because I have a foul mouth and a raunchy sense of humor, I was really tempted to buy a baseball hat with the word “Fuck” written on it in ghoulish florescent green letters.  I didn’t do it, because I knew I’d feel too self conscious to actually wear it in public.  But even as I was considering buying it, I saw a guy with three young kids wearing a wife beater shirt that said “Fuck, tomorrow is Monday.”  It made me realize that language really is a relative thing.  Germans don’t seem to care that much about the word “fuck”.  Still, as an American, I do have some shame.  Besides, I almost never wear baseball caps.  It was kind of funny, though.  I saw several Germans wearing shirts with German swear words on them.  Made me wish I’d worn this shirt…

Maybe next time.

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Germany, restaurant reviews

Lunch in Nagold…

Bill and I had heard of Nagold last time we were here in Germany.  Bill had a co-worker who lived there– and it turns out the guy is still here, still working for EUCOM (which is where Bill used to work) and is now a contractor working for the same company Bill works for.  I remember that guy with much fondness.  He’s quite into wisecracking, as I am too.

Anyway, Jettingen is maybe five kilometers from Nagold, which is a very cute town.  When we used to live in Pfaffingen, we’d go to Herrenberg or Tuebingen on Saturdays, both of which were about ten minutes away from where we lived.  Herrenberg is still maybe ten minutes from here.  I haven’t been back to Tuebingen yet, but I’m guessing it’s maybe twenty or twenty-five minutes.  But Nagold also has a lot of what makes those places charming.  It’s less crowded than Tuebingen is, too.

Today, we went there, walked around a bit, and had a very nice lunch by the Longwy Platz.  I’m not sure what the significance of Longwy is in Germany, but I know it’s a town in northeastern France.  We’ve driven through it.

We left the dogs with Kongs filled with peanut butter, which obviously served very well in getting the dogs to simmer down and be occupied while we were gone.  Our outing was about two hours, but it made a difference.  I feel better, now.

The Longwy Restaurant was where we ate.  Our waitress spoke perfect English with virtually no accent.  And as soon as Bill spoke German, she switched to it.

Sights around Nagold…

Bill had lemon chicken…

And I had cordon bleu…

And a dunkleweizen for dessert…

We stopped in Edeka for some odds and ends and paid only one euro for parking.  I think we could spend quite some time in Nagold while we live in this area.  It’s a great town.  Everybody had their dogs out, too.

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