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Our neighborhood Flohmarkt (flea market)…

I had the idea that we’d go out today. I found a couple of interesting restaurants that I thought might be fun to try. But Bill decided to make cheese soufflés for breakfast, and that made our morning get off to a late start. Then I started watching DUI videos on YouTube, and those are always a laugh riot. CoronaWarn told me the other day that I got exposed to COVID in Eltville last weekend, anyway. I’m not sick, unless you count the residual crap from whatever it was I got in Belgium. I tested for COVID twice and both tests were negative, but one never knows…

Luckily, our neighborhood had a little something special going on, giving us the excuse to stay home so we could wander around and see something new. I noticed there was a beer trailer at the neighborhood church clubhouse, which is where our Wein Stands are being held right now as the new public toilet is being built in the Dorfplatz. People around our village were opening up their yards, selling their stuff, and there was also a refreshment stand, selling the usual beer, water, Schorle, and sodas, along with brats and stuff. This was the very first neighborhood “flea market” or Flohmarkt. According to the Kulturklub Breckenheim, there were over 60 participants! It was a success, so there will probably be another one.

Cool!

I love that our community has these events. Breckenheim is a much friendlier village than our other neighborhoods in BW were. I saw one girl selling what looked like a ton of plastic and glass model horses. Boy, when I was a lot younger, I would have coveted those! I saw a lot of people selling books, glassware, clothes, CDs, toys and furniture. One lady had a table of stuff she was inviting people to just take gratis.

I might have been tempted to buy art. I would like a couple more pieces for our house. I know there’s an artist in our village, and her door was open. But we decided to take the boys with us, which was quite a thrill for them. Below are some photos. The participating houses had balloons to mark themselves, but it was pretty obvious who was in on the fun, anyway. I don’t remember there ever being an event like this in Jettingen. I know the pictures suck, but I had the dogs, and I didn’t want to be too obvious.

In other news… Bill and I are talking about our next big trip. I’m thinking we might see if we can go to Norway by car. We went to Norway in 2009 and enjoyed it, but that was part of a cruise that originated in Oslo. I would like to go there for a few days and just experience life in a pretty little town. Yes, it’s expensive, but Norway is beautiful, and I love the people. They are so friendly! And the ferry, while expensive, would be a fun experience, especially if we go from Kiel, because that is an overnight trip. The other option is to drive to Copenhagen and go through Sweden. We may do that going up or back… if this plan comes to fruition, that is.

Bill will be gone all next week, back to our old stomping grounds in Stuttgart. I hate it when he travels for work, but it’ll give me a chance to do some music recordings. And I’ll be researching potential trips, too.

Hopefully, we’ll go out tomorrow… check out a new restaurant, or something.

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farms, Germany, restaurant reviews, road trips, wine

A beautiful afternoon in Wiesbaden, preparing for our vacation!

We had beautiful weather in Wiesbaden yesterday, which was great, since it was Saturday. Bill wanted to visit the ADAC office downtown to pick up a vignette for Switzerland. I’ve written a few times about the vignette system that many European countries use to help pay for their high speed roads.

Some countries, like France and Italy, use tolls. Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, among other countries, use “vignettes”, which are stickers one can buy at gas stations near borders, at ADAC, via mail order, or at the borders themselves, that entitle a person to drive on the roads. Swiss vignettes are unique in that they’re good for about fourteen months at a time, if you time it right. You can buy the vignette for the following year in the late fall– say late 2021– and it remains valid until the end of January 2023. But we didn’t buy our vignette at the end of last year, since we haven’t been in Switzerland since last summer.

When we go to a place that requires a vignette, Bill will usually get it ahead of time at ADAC. This also gave us a reason to go into town and have lunch. Wiesbaden was alive with people yesterday, folks enjoying the sun, running last minute errands before Easter, and just having a good time. Wiesbaden is so festive, especially at this time of year. I especially love the buskers– guys playing songs on guitar like “Ev’ry Rose Has its Thorn” (which I hated when it was popular) and guys playing “La Vie en Rose” on the accordion, which is a lot more European.

The weekend market was in full swing. I thought about doing some browsing, but then remembered that we’ll be going away soon. So instead of buying stuff, we just looked and I took some photos. Every time I start to think that living in Europe is getting too inconvenient, I’m reminded of why I love living over here. There’s always something going on, especially in a pretty, vibrant town like Wiesbaden.

I was planning to find us a nice place to eat lunch, but we ended up at Five Guys! Why go to Five Guys when we could have gone to any number of other places? Well, it was getting close to 2:00pm, which is when a lot of restaurants stop lunch service. Five Guys is quick and the restaurant was not busy. It had also been awhile since our last visit. I noticed that this week, even fewer people were wearing masks, although some folks were still abiding by the recently dropped COVID-19 rules. Five Guys still has the plastic barriers up around its booths, which I figure they’ll keep from now on, in case the rules come back… which they probably eventually will.

After lunch, we decided to go back to the Market Square and have a glass of wine as we watched the weekend market shut down. Below are a few photos from our day. After we were finished in Wiesbaden, we came back to home, stopping by a nearby Hofladen for some eggs for today’s Easter breakfast.

The farm has a little shack where you can pick up what you need and pay on your honor. I love that about Germany. We don’t have as many farms up here, as we did in Jettingen. This one is very close to our home in Breckenheim.

I hope everyone enjoys their Sunday… and if you celebrate Easter, I hope it’s a joyous celebration. I plan to finish my puzzle and read. Sounds like a usual day!

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Hofheim

Gay pride in Wiesbaden… wine in Hofheim…

I had heard a couple of wine events were going to be happening in Wiesbaden and Hofheim this weekend. Bill and I decided to check them both out. I must have gotten confused about the Wiesbaden event, because we never did find it. Instead, we ran into a gay pride parade, and had lunch at a Greek restaurant called Kavos. Below are a few photos I took of what we could see of the parade. I was sorry we hadn’t gotten there a little bit sooner, but we did see many dressed up people walking around the city with gay pride rainbow flags.

Yesterday was the second time we visited Kavos. I was in the mood for Greek food, and they had a nice lunch special going. I had pork “Spiess” (skewer) and Bill had a lamb skewer. They came with kraut and potato medallions. We also had t’zaziki, garlic pitas, and beer. In retrospect, I probably should have had water, given the wine market we attended in Hofheim.

I’m actually glad we never found the Wiesbaden wine event, since I ended up trying wine from five different vintners yesterday in Hofheim. I’m surprised I can still remember it.

Edited to add: My German friend says the chicken display is a warning to use sunscreen. One chicken says to the other to use sunscreen so she won’t look like a rotisserie chicken. Glad to have that confusion cleared up.

Below are some photos from the wine market in Hofheim. We stayed pretty socially distanced, although some people were having a great time! I must admit, I’ve missed going to these kinds of events, although my liver is probably scarred as hell now.

I think the wine event in Wiesbaden is going on today, too. I had the wrong location yesterday. I’m not sure if we’ll go. Unfortunately, I just went outside to clean up Noyzi’s business and it grossed me out so much that I puked. I love that dog, but he really takes humongous craps and I no longer have the strong stomach I once had. In any case… I’m glad we got out yesterday. It was really fun. Nice to have some normalcy for however long it lasts.

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Uncategorized

The 2018 Böblingen Afrika fest… and back to Sindelfingen’s street fiesta!

I posted yesterday about how Bill and I visited Sindelfingen’s Street Fiesta.  This weekend event was a first for us, and we had a great time.  Last year, I remember very well visiting Böblingen’s Afrika Fest, which is one of several local Afrika fests held in the summer.  In the four years we’ve lived in the Stuttgart area for the second time, we have also attended Afrika fests in Stuttgart and Tübingen.  By now, I know it’s a great place to enjoy African products– clothes, food, music, furniture, dishes, and art.

Today, we decided to visit Böblingen’s 2018 Afrika fest.  Afterwards, we went back to Sindelfingen, because if I’m honest, there was more food, more entetainment, and more beer.  But if your aim is to shop, I will admit that Böblingen is a good place to be during the last weekend in August.  Below are pictures from both events, along with my usual comments.  I have been drinking… 90% of which was done in Sindelfingen.  I’m sure it won’t be hard to determine which fest I liked better.

This guy was on stilts, entertaining everyone….  I got a lot of shots of him.

 


 I bought one of the plates in this photo…  The salesman was Tunisian, which meant something to me. I visited there over New Year’s 1977-78.

More Tunisian wares!  I want one of those birdcages!

Another salesman.  We didn’t stop in.

You had to buy a coupon to get beer or wine.  It was a pain in the butt.  We did it anyway.  I had a glass of wine from South Africa. 

Lots of people were enjoying African cuisine, German beer, and Cuban cocktails, along with a mashup of Cuban and African music.  

Set up for the afternoon’s performance by an orchestra from Senegal.  We didn’t stick around for it, but I bet it was lovely.

Another shot of the guy on stilts.  He was very engaging.  Bill says this is an West African thing.  Wikipedia tells me this is called “Moko jumbie“.  “Moko” means healer and “jumbie” means ghost or spirit.  He watches over his village and guards it from evil spirits!

Lots of clothes to be had.  I’m not a fan of the deep crotched look.

Bill got a turkey shwarma, which was full of turkey, grilled onions, and a “light sauce” with a kick.

He brought me a plate of stuff… this was West African and had chicken, lamb, and possibly pork or beef.  I couldn’t tell.  It also had cous cous, rice, and peanut sauce, which I loved.  And there were two fried dough rolls that were kind of like hushpuppies.

 

Longer lines for food at the Afrika Fest.

He was everywhere and wanted to be photographed!

 

 Böblingen is quite nice, if you know where to go.  This is the Marktplatz, which, in six total years of living in this area, I will admit I have spent very little time.

We left Böblingen at about 2:00 and decided to go back to Sindelfingen.  I wanted to try some of the craft beers we missed yesterday.  Once we found a place to park, it proved to be more our speed.  There’s was more live music, played by the band pictured below…

They were playing good songs and their arrangements were great, but the lead singer was lacking vocal range.  Sorry, I really am a snob when it comes to music.  But they played stuff by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Golden Earring, AC/DC, and Black Sabbath.  Not bad.

Good beer.

Plenty of stuff for the kids to do.

Plenty of food, too… everything from fish n’ chips to burgers, along with some vegetarian selections, sweets, and beers.

We spent a good portion of the afternoon talking to an American guy named Zach who came here from America to get his master’s degree and is now helping to launch Germany’s craft beer scene.  I asked him to join my wine and food group, mainly because even though there is a local beer group, I am not in it and I like my beer.  Anyway… if you also like your craft beers, you are invited to check out Cast-Brauerei, which has operated since 2010 and has a Web site.  You can visit, buy beer, and talk to Zach, who is friendly and knows about Saved By The Bell.  Zach’s colleagues recognized us from yesterday, when we were accosted by the drunk guy who was having a very good time trying everything.  See my previous post for the story on that.

These fests are now over, but the good news is, they run every year.  So if you missed them this year, you can probably catch them next year, if you’re around.  And if you come back every year, chances are good you’ll see a lot of the same people.  Talk to them.  They don’t bite, and will teach you a little something about what is here in Germany.  And who knows?  You might even make new friends.

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Sundays

Feeding frenzy at Wildpark Pforzheim…

Today, Bill and I discovered yet another kid friendly local attraction that we should have discovered years ago.  I am not sure how we missed it after being in this area for a total of five years.  Nevertheless, this afternoon we visited Wildpark Pforzheim for the very first time and we both had a blast.

The Wildpark Pforzheim is a really cool park full of wild animals, many of whom are no longer all that wild.  Quite a few animals at the park can be fed zoo feed, which you can purchase at the park.  A few animals can also be petted in the petting zoo.

Amazingly enough, there is no entrance fee for this park.  You just pay for parking– five euros for three hours (ETA: I’m told it’s only two euros on weekdays).  And, if you want to feed the animals, that’s another two euros.  Naturally, there’s also a biergarten.  I think we spent a grand total of 21 euros for parking, one little bucket of food, and a snack of wurst, fries, and beer.  We did pay six euros total as a pfand for the beer glasses, but that was refunded after we returned them.

Anyway… here are some photos I took today, along with some lightweight commentary.  I think this will go down as another great weekend activity, especially if you have kids who love animals.  Dogs are also allowed at the park, as long as they are on a leash (though I did see a couple who weren’t).

This is the entrance to the park.  It’s a surprisingly big place.  Several parking areas are available, but it was still a bit crowded today.

The first thing Bill did was buy some food.  You can buy it at a stand near the biergarten, or at one of the many machines scattered around the park.  The animals that get this food are quite ready for you to offer it to them.

 

The animals that can be fed will have green signs on their enclosures.

The ones that aren’t allowed to be fed will have red signs.  Be careful with this.  If you get caught feeding animals that aren’t supposed to be fed, you will be stuck with the vet bill and kicked out the park.

 

Bill being the good provider…

There are cool carvings all over the park.

These two alpacas were very keen to be fed.  They stuck their heads out in an attempt to vacuum some food from my outstretched palm.  

A honey exhibit.  We stopped in on the way out of the park.  They show you how they collect it and sell some products there.

A very friendly creature… followed me eagerly down the fence line begging for food.

This one was not quite as eager.

I love donkeys and they had several lovable ones at the park.

The Highland cow was a little bit tricky.  Basically, the mouth opens, the tongue sticks out, and you dump some food on it.  

In the honey bee exhibit…

There were also a couple of aquariums.

 

A fish otter… sleek and shiny slips out of the water.

This deer got the last of my food.  She was working it.

So was he!  

A cooperative owl.

Wild cats…

The Wildpark Pforzheim also has a small ropes course, complete with ziplining, rope bridges, and climbing walls.  

I wish I were more athletic.  Parts of this really looked like fun!  

Smaller kids also have lots of activities to occupy them.  I took notice of several play areas for kids under age twelve.  The equipment was very sturdy looking and was well attended by happy children.

Kissing geese.  The animals in this area had signs on their enclosures showing the people sponsoring their care.

Donkeys grooming each other.

These two started butting antlers after I gave them a snack.

I’m not certain, but I think these pacifiers are left by people looking to have kids.  Someone can correct me if I got the wrong idea.  They were over by the chickens.  ETA:  My German friend Susanne has corrected me about the pacifiers.  Here’s her explanation…

 

LOL – I have to correct you, because you got the wrong idea about the pacifiers.  You even have the answer written on one of your photos. It’s a so called Schnullerbaum. An idea born in Denmark (1920’s). It’s for the children to help them to say goodbye to their pacifier often combined with a nice ceremony. ‘Ich bin jetzt ja schon groß und lasse meinen Schnuller los. Dem Taubenhaus geb ich ihn her, jetzt hab ich keinen Schnuller mehr! Die Tauben haben ihren Spaß: und ich geb jetzt ohne Schnuller Gas! – oder so ähnlich, couldn’t read the whole text because of the pacifiers. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnullerbaum

Ein Schnullerbaum dient der einfacheren Schnuller-Entwöhnung eines Kleinkinds. Es kann sich sowohl um…
DE.WIKIPEDIA.ORG

I loved the owls.  They were so majestic!

There was one mini horse…

A good snack for after our walk.  They also had ice cream, soft drinks, and wine.  The nearby bathrooms were clean and ample and there was no Klofrau looking for 50 cents.

Another play area for small kids.  

I do love animals very much, but even I was surprised by how much fun I had interacting with all of them at the Wildpark today.  Most of them were really tame and happy to take food gently.  A few were bonafide hams in front of my camera.

Bill and I were marveling at how many awesome things there are to do in Germany… and how little they cost to do.  I was telling him that in America, it would probably cost $40 a person to attend a place like this, plus parking, overpriced food, and constant encouragement to buy souvenirs.  Also, there would be a lot less animal feeding going on and constant supervision by bored minders.  I love that here in Germany, there are places like the Wildpark where people are trusted not to be stupid… and you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to have a good time.

So… I highly recommend the Wildpark Pforzheim, especially if you have youngsters who love animals.  It’s a really good time!  I think I liked it even more than Monkey Hill.

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