dental, trip planning

Our next trip is shaping up…

So, in my last travel post, I mentioned that I was planning our next dental side trip. If you are a regular follower and actually care about my posts (I don’t like to assume), you might already know we’ve done a few of these trips. Basically, they entail going down to Stuttgart, seeing our fabulous dentist down there, then taking a few days off to explore.

Bill and I love planning these breaks. These dental side trips give us a much appreciated break from Wiesbaden, and provide content for my travel blog… which is not as popular as it used to be. Of course, thanks to the pandemic, and the fact that we both had to get some work done last time we went to Stuttgart, we haven’t broken much new ground on the last few excursions.

We moved to Wiesbaden in late 2018, so prior to that, we had no need to do “excursions”, since we still lived in the Stuttgart area. In May 2019, we went down to Stuttgart to get cleanings and see Elton John perform, supposedly for the last time, but I believe he came back to Stuttgart again after that show. We never got around to coming down for cleanings in the fall of that year, because Bill was very busy at work. Then came the pandemic…

Our next journey to see the dentist occurred in August 2021. I got the bright idea to book a few days in Baiersbronn, which is a small town near where we used to live, famous for its many excellent Michelin starred restaurants. We stayed in a nice resort, but that only made me curious about an upgraded experience at the Bareiss Hotel, which is where we went last fall. We spent lots of money and ate wonderful food, but what really sticks out to me, besides the friendly goats and ponies, is the Bareiss Hotel’s incredible pool complex. I’d go back there just for that!

In the spring of 2022, we visited Sessenheim, an area of Alsace, France we had not seen on our many prior visits to the area. We stayed in an awesome little hotel that had its own Michelin starred restaurant, and we bought lots of new French pottery. We mostly decided to go to France because its COVID rules were much less obnoxious than Germany’s, but that was a great trip, anyway. I love Alsace!

Now that the pandemic panic has somewhat passed, it’s time to branch out a bit, and go further afield. As I revealed in the previous post, the Czech Republic won the coin toss. Folks, I think it’s going to be a really great trip. I think we’ve got a good itinerary shaping up.

Although Esslingen won the coin toss for local lodging in the Stuttgart area, I couldn’t find a hotel that was particularly exciting. I ended up booking us at Hotel La Casa, which is a boutique hotel in Tübingen. If you search this blog, you will see that we’ve spent a lot of time in Tübingen. We lived near there during our first Germany tour (2007-09), and visited often when we last lived in the Stuttgart area (2014-18). We have also dined at Hotel La Casa on three occasions.

Even when we lived down that way, I was keen to stay at the hotel one weekend. I actually thought about putting our dogs up and just doing a weekend at Hotel La Casa, even though we lived about 20-30 minutes away from the town. I liked the staff, the restaurant, and the hotel’s interior design. Now that we live in Wiesbaden, we have the excuse to book a stay. Plus, Tübingen is just a really cool town.

One of many iconic shots that can be taken in Tübingen… It’s a very beautiful city!

Once I booked that hotel, though, I realized we might have a slight problem. In retrospect, I should have listened to my friend, Susanne, who had suggested a visit to Schwabisch Hall, a very beautiful town about an hour north of Stuttgart. I decided against it, because traffic around Stuttgart is a nightmare, and I didn’t want to be stressed about getting to our appointment. But Schwabisch Hall is actually more conducive to getting to the Czech Republic, as it’s just off Autobahn 6, which is the route we’d be taking under normal circumstances. Staying in Schwabisch Hall would have been more convenient (and I do plan to stop there sometime– maybe in the spring!).

Tübingen is south of Stuttgart, so to access A6, we’d have to drive about an hour north, and that might involve dealing with more traffic. It would definitely require backtracking, which I wanted to avoid if I could.

But then I got to thinking… We really have no agenda. The one place I do want to visit in the Czech Republic is Brno, which is pretty far east. There’s nothing to say we have to access it via A6. We can always get there using a different route.

Then I remembered that in 2008, we went to Passau, Germany for my 36th birthday. I had been there before, in 1997, when I was coming home from my Peace Corps stint and spent a month hopping trains all over Europe. I knew nothing at all about Passau in 1997, and just got off there because I was tired of being on the train. I ended up loving the city. It’s very pretty… and it happens to be exactly halfway between Tübingen and Brno. Below are a few shots from our 2008 trip to Passau. I love the cathedral there, and it’s mighty pipe organ! And I love the confluence of three rivers: the Inn, the Ilz, and the Danube.

Then I remembered that October 3, which is the day we’d be traveling, is a German holiday. And I wanted to get out of Germany for the holiday, because things tend to be closed on German holidays, although restaurants, tourist attractions, and hotels aren’t. I’m as excited about German Reunification Day as anyone is, but I’ve been here for nine years (this time), and I already know how Germans celebrate that day. Besides, what better way to celebrate that day than going to a former Eastern Bloc country? Why not cross back over the eastern border for a chance of pace?

In the late 1980s, Bill actually used to help guard the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. When we visited there in 2008, he got visibly nervous as we approached the border, which, of course, was wide open! I remember stopping to change money and get a vignette, and two sexy Czech girls started cleaning the windshield of our Toyota RAV 4. I said to Bill, “I think you are expected to tip them”. He did, and we were on our way to a very memorable exploration of southern Bohemia.

The Czech border circa 2008. Bill was so nervous, even as two pretty teenaged girls cleaned the windshield for us.

I briefly considered maybe staying in Austria. I stayed in Linz back in 1997 and found it kind of boring, but we went back in 2008 and discovered a great Biergarten there. But other than the Biergarten, on our last visit, I still found Linz kind of boring. Other travelers’ reports confirmed that it wasn’t just me; there are more exciting places to be. So then I remembered Cesky Krumlov, which is a VERY charming town east of Passau.

Bill at said Linzer Biergarten… I’d love to go back to that place, but October is kind of when a lot of Biergartens tend to close, anyway. And I’m sure there are things to see in Linz, but there are more exciting cities nearby.

Funny story about Cesky Krumlov. We visited there in 2008, too. The owner of the hotel where we stayed in Passau had recommended it. The day we were there was my birthday, and it happened to be when they were having their annual Five Petalled Rose Festival. We ran into many locals dressed in medieval garb, and there were games going on. I took an awesome photo there that remains one of my favorite pictures of all time. I thought we’d stumbled into a theme park! I had no idea the festival was happening. I remember thinking the town was very charming, and I would have liked it even if the festival hadn’t been happening. The fact that it was going on only added to its charm.

From Cesky Krumlov, we went to nearby Cesky Budejovice, which is where the Czech Budweiser is made. 😉 I remember having lunch there and thinking I’d like to stay in that town. Below are a few shots from our 2008 trip. I wasn’t as much of a shutterbug in those days. I also used Microsoft computers, which aren’t compatible with my Mac.

For our upcoming visit, I found us a cute hotel in Cesky Krumlov that gets excellent reviews. We’ll stay there for two nights, then move on to Brno, which is maybe three hours away. I found another hotel in Brno that isn’t quite as cute as the one in Cesky Krumlov is, but has a lot of amenities. It’s located on the outskirts of town, but from what I’ve read, a lot of Brno’s charm is found outside of the city itself. Since we’ve never been to Brno, we’ll stay three days there, then move toward home.

At this point, I’m tentatively planning our last stop to be two nights in Prague. We last visited Prague in November 2008, as part of a trip we did to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. In those days, we had a lot less money, but thanks to Hilton Honors Points, we were able to score two free nights at the Hilton Old Town Hotel. I remember they brought us sparkling wine and strawberries because we were there on our actual anniversary. I also remember they had an awesome old school pool that was DEEP. But I think this time, we’ll stay somewhere different.

I still came home with tons of cool souvenirs from Dresden, Poland (Bolesławiec), and Prague. I’m hoping we can find some art for the house. Last time we went to Prague, I bought a painting at an art gallery with an Armenian proprietor! I got to speak some crappy Armenian with him. I had (and have) forgotten a lot. Below are a few shots from Prague. It was COLD during our visit!

I can’t book the Prague hotel yet, though, because we have to make sure Noyzi can stay an extra night at the Hundepension. I don’t expect it to be a problem, but you never know. I gave some thought to stopping at the Chodovar Beer Wellness Land in Chodova Plana (very close to the German border), but recent reviews of the place make it sound less than enticing. I’d like to go there, though, if only to pick up some beer and their awesome flavored mineral water. Last time we were in the Czech Republic, we found some at a grocery store, but there wasn’t much of it to be had.

Chodova Plana isn’t far from Karlovy Vary, which is a great spa town overrun with Russians (last time we were there, anyway). We bought two paintings from a talented Russian artist, last time we were there. The town of Chodova Plana itself, though, is pretty desolate, other than the brewery, beer spa, and hotel. Prague offers a hell of a lot more to do, plus they’ve now got beer (and wine) spas, too. That wasn’t the case in 2008.

From Prague, we can reach Wiesbaden in about six hours, barring terrible traffic. I think it’s doable… If it turns out Noyzi can’t stay another night, maybe we’ll stay somewhere a little bit closer to home. Brno isn’t super far from Prague. I think it’s only a couple of hours’ drive.

Hopefully, we can finalize these plans over the weekend. Bill is coming home from his latest trip today. I look forward to seeing him, as it’s been a very quiet, boring week here in Wiesbaden. On the other hand, my liver has gotten a break, as I have mostly been teetotaling. I had two beers last night, but they were my first since Saturday.

Anyway… I love trip planning. I hope to do more of it… at least until the next war or pandemic sidetracks everything. Maybe we’ll even get a chance to stop by the border of Slovakia, so I can get a new mug to replace the cracked one we bought in 2015. 😉

Sundays, trip planning

The next big trip was decided by a quarter…

October is approaching, which means it’ll soon be time for us to visit Stuttgart again for dental cleanings. We had originally booked the dentist for October 3, but that’s a holiday in Germany. Our dentist’s receptionist later called and rescheduled us for October 2. That got me to thinking about potential travel opportunities after the appointment. It occurred to me that maybe we should get out of the country for German Reunification Day.

As is my habit, when we go to Stuttgart, I’m making some tentative plans to go somewhere. Taking a side trip after seeing the dentist kind of lessens the trauma of the experience, even if it does kind of add to the cost.

For the past couple of years, when we’ve seen the dentist in the fall, we’ve gone to Baiersbronn, in the Schwarzwald. It’s a picturesque area, with many good restaurants and things to do. This year, as much as I like the Black Forest, I think it’s time to do something different. So, after our Hundepension confirmed that they have space for Noyzi, Bill and I started talking about where we might go for our dental side trip. Stuttgart is kind of an advantageous area, as it’s not too far from France, Switzerland, Austria, or even the Czech Republic.

We had originally wanted to book Noyzi starting on Sunday, October 1, but the dog hotel doesn’t do check-ins on Sundays. So that means we have to bring him on either Saturday or Monday, giving us a couple of days in the Stuttgart area.

When we stay in Stuttgart, we often book the Wald Hotel, which is a favorite lodging of ours. But while we like the hotel, we also enjoy other towns near Stuttgart. So, for our upcoming visit, I proposed staying in either Esslingen or Tübingen– two very pretty towns we both love that are near Stuttgart. We already know Tübingen very well, since we used to live very close to it during our first German stint. We’ve only been to Esslingen a couple of times. We decided either would be fine bases other than Stuttgart. To choose where we should go, we flipped a coin. Esslingen won, so now I’m looking for good lodging options in and around that area.

Then, we decided to plan where to go after the cleanings were done, since we’ll have a few days to burn, and the following weekend is a US holiday. We did another coin flip. First, it was between Austria and Switzerland. Switzerland won, so we flipped again between Switzerland and Germany. Switzerland won again! Then, we did one for Switzerland and the Czech Republic. That time, the Czech Republic won.

I’m happy about the results, because we haven’t gone to the Czech Republic since 2018. We used to visit the Czech Republic pretty often when we lived in Germany the first time, but we’ve been neglecting it lately. I’ve been very interested in visiting Brno, among other places… I am hoping to find some more art for our walls.

So… that’s the plan for our next big trip for now. I’m going to look for a place in Esslingen and/or its environs. Then, we’re going on a road trip to the Czech Republic, to show off our nice, clean teeth. Should be fun… Maybe this will keep me busy while Bill is in Bavaria this week, doing his TDY duty!

I really hate it when Bill travels for work without me, but at least we no longer have a dog with cancer to take care of. And our sweet Noyzi has really bonded to us. I suspect the week will be pretty peaceful. I do enjoy trip planning!

I wish I could write about something fun today, but Bill is busy preparing for his trip. I thought maybe we’d go to the Hofheim Wine Fest this weekend, but I just didn’t feel like it yesterday. My stomach was bothering me, and I didn’t want to upset it further with too much wine. We stayed home and hung out instead, which is always a pleasure. And… of course, I drank beer and wine, too. So much for babying my stomach, but at least I didn’t have to put on a bra.

The featured photo is the actual quarter we flipped to come to this preliminary decision… We’ll see what we actually end up planning, as even coin toss trip plans are subject to change… Heh heh… I said “change”! See what I did there?

Edited to add: After searching for a place in Esslingen, I ended up deciding to a book a hotel in Tübingen, after all. It’s one we’ve been curious about for awhile, as we’ve eaten in their restaurant a few times– Hotel La Casa. I got an apartment for three nights at a pretty reasonable rate.


It’s party time because Bill is home!

Bill got home at about lunchtime yesterday. It was so nice to see his fuzzy face– he has grown a slight beard since last week. We went to the wine stand last night and talked to a few people. Noyzi came with us and was a little agitated, but every time we go to the wine stand, he’s a little less freaked out. He went up to our friend, Hannah, and gave her a very proper hello. She was delighted by how happy he was to see her.

We met a couple who just moved to Breckenheim, though they didn’t come from far away. We told them about how we used to live near Stuttgart and they said what a lot of Germans say when we tell them about our Stuttgart connection…

“That’s a very SPECIAL part of Germany…”

Indeed, it is. The dialect is different; people can be extremely tight with money; and they can be very anal retentive about Kehrwoche– that’s the communal routine of cleaning up common areas in a building or a neighborhood. Up here in Hessen, people seem to be a lot more laid back. It’s probably because this area is a lot more international.

We stayed at the wine stand for a little over an hour, but when it started to get crowded, we decided to move on. Below are a few photos… just a few, mind you. It wasn’t super exciting, although we did enjoy meeting the new folks, and appreciated that their English was excellent. The wife said she works at the airport and had a rare three day weekend! I mostly got photos of Bill’s hairy face, and Noyzi behaving himself.

Today, we decided to go to the Street Food Festival in nearby Hofheim. Those are always fun, and different towns have them on different weekends. Next weekend, we could probably find the same fest in a different place. Right now in Stuttgart, the big spring festival is happening. That’s definitely more fun and rowdy than the street food fest is, but we still had some live entertainment to cheer us, and lots of food from different places– from Ethiopia to Venezuela…

The band was kind of fun. They were playing songs from the 50s and 60s, mostly. Unfortunately, they had some issues with their sound. The mics were too close to the speakers, resulting in a very unpleasant tidal wave of feedback. You could easily watch people cringe as the metallic, electric shrieks emanated from the stage. But they eventually got the sound system straight, and they were better… entertaining, at least. Meanwhile, we enjoyed Venezuelan cheese empanadas, barbacoa pork tacos, and churros, washed down with pilsner. I got a few clips of the band, along with some “witty” commentary…

A very friendly elderly lady sat with us for a short while as we enjoyed “street food” to the American songs of 50s and 60s, interpreted by Germans. They also did a few in Spanish. I love how there are so many fun events in Germany… and we never have to worry about gun toting maniacs.

As we were finishing our churros, I noticed the skies were getting cloudier and the wind was picking up. It was getting chilly, too. I told Bill I wanted to see if anything was going on by the Wine Chalet, in a nearby parking lot. The Wine Chalet is a permanent thing, but it’s outdoors, on the outskirts of where Hofheim has its weekly market on Saturdays. Sure enough, lots of people were enjoying wine, listening to a dreadlocked Black guy singing Sting songs. We decided to have some wine… or, I had wine, and Bill had sparkling grape juice. The guy was pretty good, even if he was basically doing karaoke.

Mid glass, we were asked to move the table to another area. Bill had to help the guy who made the request, who seemed to realize mid move that we were Americans. He thanked us in English, after speaking German the rest of the time. I don’t mind being taken for a local. I take it as a compliment.

We got home at just before 4:00pm, just in time to feed Noyzi. We stopped in the Edeka to pick up some wine, because I think we’ll enjoy the rest of the evening…

It’s great to have Bill home again. He really makes me smile, as you can see… For some reason, when I try to smile alone, I look completely deranged. With Bill, I only look half crazy. 😉

I dunno about that beard, though… We’ll see how long it survives.


Less than 48 hours with Bill…

Bill got home from his latest TDY at about 7:00pm on Friday night. Unfortunately, he has to leave again this afternoon for another three nights in Bayern/Bavaria. At least it’s just part of the week. I hate it when he travels without me. 😉 March seems to be the worst month for business trips.

I was kind of hoping we could go out for lunch yesterday, but Bill had some errands to run, and the weather was kind of crappy. We had sun, but it was cold and windy. Today, we have a wintry mix. March in Germany is typically like this, with totally random weather. One day, it’ll be sunny and kind of warm. Another day, it’ll rain or snow, or there will be terrible wind. Friday we had wind so scary that Noyzi didn’t want to go outside. Then there are the days when we get sun, rain, snow, wind, and hail in the same few hours.

Anyway, the upshot is, as usual, my travel blog isn’t very interesting. I promise more engaging posts are coming soon. We have to go to Stuttgart at the end of the month, and that means if Arran is still with us, he will probably be boarded. Or maybe we’ll take him and board Noyzi. I hate to put Arran in boarding now, even though I know he’ll be well taken care of. He much prefers to be with us.

Speaking of Arran, he just had another chemo treatment the other day. He’s still pretty sparky and vibrant, although the tumor on his side is about the size of a large plum or a small peach. It doesn’t seem to hinder him much, although I have caught his scratching it a few times. He still eats, sleeps, wants to take walks, and even runs around sometimes. Again… he’s done amazingly well on the chemo, and totally surpassed all of our expectations. And the chemo has been affordable, and not that difficult for him to endure.

Of course, not all dogs react the way Arran has. We never had the chance to try chemo with our late dog, Zane, but I don’t think he would have done as well. The lymphoma he had appeared to be much more aggressive, and he wasn’t as strong as Arran is. Throughout his life, he had more health problems. Arran has always been very healthy and strong, having no problems with allergies or sensitive stomach issues.

In any case, you can see by the below video that Arran is still quite full of beans…

The boys were so happy to see Bill! So was I!

Meanwhile, Bill and I have been talking about places we might visit at some point soon. Most of the places we’re thinking about would probably require a plane ride. I haven’t flown since November 2019. I discovered some interesting places in the Baltics, for instance. Yes, we could drive, but it would take a long time. On the other hand, we drove to Germany from Sweden in the summer of 2019, so it’s doable. Just got to use a ferry for some places…

Sweet Noyzi from Kosovo… he’s come such a long way, and he’s absolutely adorable…

Noyzi just came in here and put his head on my thigh, asking for a pat on the head. He just had a much needed bath, and it wasn’t easy to get him in the tub. But once I got him in, he stood there and let me wash the stink off of him. He sure has become an adorable, lovable family member. Arran is being nicer to him, too. I think it’s because he knows that pretty soon, it’ll just be him here with us until another dog comes our way.

I don’t look forward to saying goodbye to Arran, but I am ready to travel again. This week, the most interesting things that happened were that I drove to the store and bought more beer… and they had a noticeable shortage of Hefeweizen. And then, I went to the vet with Arran for his chemo, and didn’t have to wear a face mask. That was notable. In fact, I wondered if I’d ever see the day.

Arran has another treatment on Wednesday… When I brought him home the other day, he actually ran around the house like a nut after I took him off the leash. Don’t ever let people tell you that chemo for dogs is like it is for humans. It’s definitely not.

The only other notable things that happened involve the sound system in our house. I finally managed to tame the four Echo Dots I bought, so they are programmed to play in groups. And I got a new HomePod, which I put behind the TV in our bedroom. The sound is a hell of a lot better on the TV now. It will make watching movies better. I might buy another one for the other TV. It’s that much improved.

Well, that about does it for today. Hopefully next weekend, I’ll have something more interesting to write about in my travel blog. Cheerio.


The bed’s too big without Bill.

Sigh… Bill left a few days ago for his latest TDY. It’s only been since Monday, but it’s the third or fourth TDY he’s done since the New Year. You’d think after 17 years, I’d be used to this, but I hate it when he leaves town. I’m kind of a loner and usually end up spending a lot of quality time watching TV.

This morning, I finally decided to take my car out of the garage. It’s been ages since I last drove anywhere, and given that I almost hit the house as I was backing out of our little garage, my lack of practice really shows. Our house, like a lot of German houses, has a very small garage that fits the Mini Cooper perfectly. But backing in and out of it is a bit tricky.

We live very close to the Rewe, so I could actually walk there, but I knew I needed to pick up a few things. Also, I had a crapload of empty plastic bottles to deposit. I drink a lot of water, especially when Bill isn’t around. When he’s not home, I try to stay off booze. This week, I’ve had a bottle of wine and a couple of beers. So you can imagine, I went through a lot of mineral water with gas this week!

Now… ordinarily, this trip to the store wouldn’t be a big deal, except our Rewe was recently renovated because we got a brand new drink market. The construction workers spent all last year turning what used to be a field into a lovely new drink store, and they freed up lots of space that used to be taken up by drinks for the older grocery store. The work was done in early December, and yet I still hadn’t been in there. Let me just say, I was really pleasantly surprised at how nice the store is now. It’s a huge improvement. They have a much larger meat counter, a cheese counter, and a much bigger frozen foods section. There are more aisles and the crappy beer selection they used to have is greatly expanded in the drink market.

I took a few photos after I found the bottle depository, which is now in the drink market. I got 5,25 euros off my order, y’all! The bottle depository is also a hell of a lot nicer. It doesn’t mess up as much as the old one did and you can even get directions in languages other than German.

Germans are pretty serious about recycling, so everyone brings back their bottles for a “Pfand”. That’s the money you deposit for each bottle. I remember, as a kid, I used to collect glass bottles and turn them in for money. Then we moved to redneck Gloucester, Virginia, where everybody just took their trash to the dump. Here in Germany, you have to separate everything into different bins and I’m back to turning in bottles for cash.

I noticed that the store was stocked with pasta, toilet paper, and detergents. All week, I’ve heard that Germans have been panic buying everything– especially pasta, face masks, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer (and just a note from your friendly MPH– washing your hands is a better solution). Germans have a funny term for this type of purchasing– Hamsterkäufen. Yes, it’s akin to the fuzzy rodents known as hamsters, who are known for packing their cheeks full of food. In some places, Germans are likewise buying out stores because of the Coronavirus. But maybe they’re not so panicked in our neighborhood.

I picked up a few items I needed, along with a new rubber chicken for Arran. The cashier got a kick out of the toy and gave it a few squeaks before ringing it up. Arran was delighted to have a new plaything to destroy. He went freakin’ nuts with “crazy dog” when I gave it to him. But I think my most exciting score was sushi. Our new improved Rewe has sushi now! That will be a welcome change from the chicken I’ve been eating all week.

I think we’ll get through the next few days, while Bill visits his long lost younger daughter in Utah. They haven’t seen each other since 2004. There’s a long, painful, convoluted story as to why they’ve been apart for 15 years. I’ve written about it a lot in my original blog. I like to keep this one relatively tame whenever possible. Anyway, I suspect there will be an exciting reunion. He’ll meet his son-in-law and grandchildren. I’ll sit at home and eat sushi from the new and improved Rewe.

I suppose I could get braver and drive somewhere else further afield, but I think I’ve had enough excitement for one day. Besides, Arran went nuts when I left for the store, and I was only gone for about 30 minutes or so. I’ll wash the sheets, do some more writing, and maybe even record a song. I love it when I’m a busy bee.


One week down…

I’ve been quiet on this blog since last week, mainly because I’ve had pretty much next to nothing to write about.  I guess I could have written about last weekend’s wind storm, which blew dangerous winds across Germany and other parts of Europe for several days, but I’m not sure what I would have had to say about it.  I mean, I pretty much holed up in the house for that.

By Tuesday, the winds had died down.  My dogs badly needed a walk, so I took them for a quick one on Tuesday morning.  When I got home, I was confronted with a notice that the GSL delivery guy had tried to drop off a bottle of butterscotch liqueur I ordered from Amazon.  Naturally, he showed up during the 30 minutes all week that I wasn’t in the house.  Murphy’s Law was at work!  To get the liqueur, I’d have to drive to a kiosk in Bierstadt, an area with which I am still sadly unfamiliar, and present my passport and the notice slip within 8 working days.  I suppose I could do it, but I don’t really want to.  The liqueur cost about 15 euros and I’ve been on the wagon all week anyway, so I think I’ll just let them return it.  I’d call them to attempt a redelivery, but I didn’t see that option listed, which, to me, is a real con to using GSL for shipping.  Seriously… I could go and get the liqueur, but what if I couldn’t?  What if I had no way to get to the kiosk?  Seems to me, they should at least attempt one redelivery.

One thing I tend to do when Bill isn’t home is regress to childhood eating habits.  Before I was married, I used to make nice meals for myself in my kitchen.  Now, when Bill is TDY, it’s all I can do to just get through the meal.  So I tend to eat a lot of soups and sandwiches.  This time, I’ve been especially bad.  I actually ordered Kraft Macaroni & Cheese from (rather than going to the commissary to get it).  I was kind of curious to see if it had changed since my college days, which was when I tended to eat it, or a generic equivalent, the most often.  As you can see… it’s the same stuff.  It tastes the same.  And yes, I make better mac & cheese from scratch, but for some reason, this chemically laden crap is, oddly, a comfort.

I bought five boxes because they came in a set.  Once they’re gone, I’ll probably not try it again for another twenty years or so…  If I’m still alive and have teeth.  This stuff is definitely kid friendly and I don’t mind it when I’m feeling like a baby.  I may have to make some from scratch later, now that I’ve learned how to use the oven.  

A couple of shots from one of the balconies, showing the mercurial skies after the windstorm.  The sun was finally making an appearance.  Our view is less enchanting in this house.


I have filled the time reading, and rebuilding my main blog, which I moved to a new address a couple of weeks ago.  I’ve also been watching movies.  Last night, I had a Richard Pryor double feature: The Toy, from 1982, which also starred Jackie Gleason and future porn star, Scott Schwartz, and Critical Condition, from 1987, with Rachel Ticotin, Bob Saget, and Joe Mantegna.  Both were pretty crappy films, although I made up for their crappiness by also watching Children of a Lesser God and Broadcast News, both of which starred William Hurt.

At about 4 o’clock yesterday, the doorbell rang.  I opened it to a man bearing flowers sent by my long suffering husband, Bill, who is enduring overnight work shifts at Grafenwoehr until March 26th.  I am fantasizing about our next “real” vacation that lasts over a weekend, requires airplane travel or even train travel, and doesn’t include our sweet, but demanding dogs.  This morning, I was awakened at 3:00am, 4:55am, and 6:30am by my pooches, who needed to go out to do their business and then demanded to eat.  Bill usually handles them in the wee hours of the morning, because he’s often awake anyway.  When he’s not here, the duty falls to me.

And yet, as wonderful as Bill is to have at home, he sends me flowers when he’s away…


Well, I’ll try to be productive over the next week.  Maybe I’ll come up with a list of travel tips or some other newsy topic that doesn’t actually require any travel.  Eleven days to go until this nightmare TDY is over and spring is here.


When Bill goes away…

I run out of things to say…

Sorry the travel blog has been slow this week.

Bill got home yesterday from his latest business trip, but he leaves again next Sunday.  I’m hoping we might venture out today, but it’s kind of rainy and Bill doesn’t feel well.  He’s very tired and has a cough.  He no doubt picked something up in Africa that he will pass to me, though he claims the air quality just sucked in Burkina Faso.

I will admit that his picture of a public toilet in Burkina Faso was funny.  It was basically a hole in a slab of concrete.

Anyway, with some luck, we may go to a restaurant for lunch or something.  Or maybe not.  I think I’ll be glad when the winter is over and I feel less like I need to hibernate.