markets

Weekly market in the dark…

Yesterday was Thursday, so that meant the weekly market was going on in the Dorfplatz. I also neglected to walk the dogs yesterday morning, mainly because the weather was so cold and damp. When Bill got home from work, we decided to see what was being offered at Breckenheim’s weekly market.

The weekly market is a new thing. It started in September, and now that Daylight Savings Time is over, it now runs partly in the dark. Every Thursday, the market starts at 1:00pm and closes at 6:00pm. Bill doesn’t get home until about 5:00, so now when we venture out to the market to shop for produce and local goodies, we have to do it in the dark. Last night, we brought Arran and Noyzi with us, because we didn’t feel like “Arran proofing” the house, to prevent him from raiding anything remotely resembling food while we were out.

Last night’s market was pretty sparsely attended. Or, at least there weren’t many people there by the time we got there. Bill ended up buying some shrimp and scallops from a fish monger who shows up regularly. We also enjoyed a glass of Riesling.

While we were having wine, we ran into an American neighbor, who was down there with her two kids. Meanwhile, Arran was insistently trying to get under one of the benches. Someone had dropped some bread there, and he desperately wanted to eat it. In spite of his age and cancer diagnosis, Arran is surprisingly strong and, when it comes to food, he’s very determined. When I told him “no”, he started to loudly and indignantly howl, causing the locals to laugh at him. I suppose that’s better than the scowls we usually got in Baden-Württemberg, whenever Arran or our sweet Zane (RIP) would misbehave in public.

Our neighbor had new running shoes and wanted to take a quick jog in them, so she basically told her son to hang out with us. She wasn’t gone long, but we were reminded of an incident that happened to us on a train to Nice, back in 2014. Basically, we (really Bill) got tasked to watch a single mom’s child on the train for a few hours. That was a bit strange, as the woman was a perfect stranger. Last night’s encounter wasn’t really, since our neighbor was only gone for about fifteen minutes and we had met her before. It was the first time I had ever talked to her son, though… a very bright, polite, and adorable eight year old chap. After his mom came back, he came over to us and said, “I’m going to go over there, if you don’t mind.” Hilarious!

His mom laughed and said, “I guess he really thought you were watching him.” I guess he did, since she told him to stay with us! But it was not a big deal. She was back before we were halfway done with our wine.

We had a brief chat with our neighbor, and then our landlord came up and said hello. Noyzi was pretty nervous at first, but then he submitted to petting by a couple of people. I could tell he was delighted, as his little stubby tail was going a mile a minute. Yes, indeed… I think that eventually, Noyzi will be less nervous around people and he’ll be able to join us when we’re out and about. He doesn’t bugle like Arran does. Arran likes people, but he gets tired when he’s out. He’s also loud when he wants to complain about something. Noyzi genuinely loves people, especially women. He’s just been traumatized by abuse in his past. He’s also a street dog, and they’re stealthy.

Once we finished our Rieslings, we went back home and had biscuits and gravy for dinner. Bill had a date with his Jungian therapist, while I did some Christmas shopping. A good night was had by all.

Again… I love this about living here– weekly markets, getting to know our neighbors, and bonding over dogs and wine. I suppose that could happen in the USA, but our neighborhoods aren’t usually as perfect for this kind of community fellowship. I’m glad we’ve been able to experience this… and I’m so glad we moved to Wiesbaden.

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markets

Weekly market leads to profanity and homemade Friday night goodies!

This may seem like a mundane topic for my travel blog, but for those of you who know me personally, it might make some sense. Yesterday, after Thursday’s weekly market in our market square, I decided I wanted to use some of that delicious produce to make sauce. One thing led to another, and after a few hours of work, I had made lasagna with homemade sauce and a loaf of fresh garlic bread from scratch. The only thing that would have made it better is if we had also made the lasagna noodles, which we could have done, as we do have a pasta maker. We usually reserve fresh pasta projects for when the weather sucks or there’s a lockdown order because of a pandemic. 😉

I know I have a few readers who have met me offline and know there was a time when I really enjoyed cooking and baking. I don’t do it so much anymore, as Bill kind of took over that chore some time ago. But there was a time when I was a pretty damned good cook. I even got paid to do it. So, as Bill was finishing up his Friday work day at home, opting to use a few comp hours to take the afternoon off, I ventured into the kitchen and started a pot of water to blanch the beautiful vine ripened tomatoes we bought on Thursday.

“What are you doing?” Bill asked.

“I feel like making sauce.” I said.

“Great! I’ll get the peppers!” He was genuinely excited, as one of the reasons he decided I might be worth marrying is because I cooked a mean pot roast and made homemade cloverleaf rolls when he visited me at the apartment I lived in during graduate school. Like any good moonchild, he is easily seduced through his stomach.

Bill laid out the beautiful fruits and vegetables from the market. I started chopping them as the tomatoes blanched in the hot water. I was going to remove the skins, but decided not to bother trying to take out the seeds. I peeled the tomatoes and boiled the skins to render out even more of the flesh, then threw three kinds of sweet peppers, onion, garlic, fresh basil, and salt and pepper into a pot, where it simmered for most of the afternoon. I also used up the last of our oregano.

When I mentioned wanting to make bread, Bill said, “We already have bread from the bakery.” But it was the chewy kind that I don’t like that much. Besides, I enjoy baking bread. The kneading process is a great stress reliever. So I made a perfect loaf of garlic bread. Then, it came time to mix up the cheeses (mozzarella and Parmesan) and make Bechamel sauce for the lasagna. Although it started out a vegetarian dish, I decided to add a little Black Forest ham from the market. Just a little bit, mind you, as the ham was a bit smokey and strong, and a little was really all it needed. I wouldn’t usually put ham in lasagna, but Hell, I’ve see people put boiled eggs in them here, so why not? The ham was very good, by the way.

Below are some photos from yesterday’s project, courtesy of the market. Bill did have to go pick up some spinach for the cheese layers, and I added a little tomato paste from Parma to move the sauce a little bit. We still had enough sauce left to make a pizza later today. He also picked up a couple of slices of our local bakery’s version of a Sacher Torte… which wasn’t really a Sacher Torte, since it wasn’t made with apricot jam. There was also plenty of wine and good music, and the kitchen smelled fabulous!

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Bill quipped, having tasted the lasagna, “That’s a fucking good lasagna.” He was channeling The Kids in the Hall, which probably ages us a bit. But I agree, it is a fucking good lasagna. I’m glad I “still got it” in the kitchen.

Yeah, I like it. It’s really fucking good…

Arran was happy to hang around and help us clean up, too. That’s good, because while I might be a good cook, I’m not the best at cleaning. But I make a fucking good lasagna… and an even better loaf of bread.

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Health, markets

Chemo, COVID, and another weekly market…

This week has really flown by. Here it is, Friday morning, and it’s time to write another blog post for my “travel/German living” blog.

Last time I posted, I mentioned that Bill wasn’t feeling well. In that post, I wrote that he was suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue from two back to back TDYs, and some kind of respiratory illness that wasn’t COVID. Well, it turned out we were wrong. Bill went to work on Monday, and learned that a couple of his colleagues who had been at the conference in Bavaria had come down with COVID. Since he still wasn’t feeling well himself, Bill decided to test. Sure enough, he had a positive result, so he’s been working from home for the rest of the week.

He’s actually feeling fine now, and never got very sick with the virus. He didn’t have a fever at all, never lost his sense of taste or smell, and aside from some coughing and fatigue, hasn’t been much worse for wear. Yesterday, because he’s over the virus, he took Arran in for his chemo treatment, and we attended the weekly market, although we made sure to stay on the periphery of the crowd. He’s working from home today, too, because his boss told him to, but he’s pretty much recovered from the sickness. I haven’t been sick at all, perhaps because I had COVID myself back in July. While Bill was at the vet’s office, he was masked, as everyone is required to be in any healthcare setting in Germany.

Arran is still doing well with his lymphoma treatment. His blood test didn’t reveal any progress, per se, toward technical remission, but we can see a difference in his energy level. For instance, a few days ago, I was eating a sandwich on my bed, and Arran managed to jump up on the bed by himself. He has pretty much quit doing that lately, but before he got sick, he always slept on our bed. He’s also been jumping up on the bench of our Eckbank Gruppe, which he always did when he was well. I know a lot of people wouldn’t want a dog sitting next to them on a bench or sleeping in bed with them, but for us, it’s a normal thing. I’m just glad Noyzi doesn’t do it, because he’s a lot bigger and hairier.

We had gorgeous weather yesterday for the market, so we went down for about an hour or so. We got some cheese, cold cuts, and beautiful produce. Maybe I’ll make a homemade tomato sauce today and we’ll make lasagne or manicotti. Of course, we also enjoyed some local wines, and waved to our neighbors. I really love the weekly market. I know the markets are common in larger towns, but our little neighborhood is unusually close knit, so the market is intimate and convivial.

Our town manager is always there to oversee everything, too. I think he does a great job. He’s very active on social media, and approachable. This is something we didn’t experience when we lived near Stuttgart. I didn’t know who the town managers were in our previous neighborhoods, nor did we have weekly events like we do in Breckenheim. But then, I don’t know if what we have in Breckenheim is the norm for the Wiesbaden area, either. I’ve noticed there’s been an uptick in events here just over the last year or so, but then, we did have to deal with COVID restrictions. Anyway, Bill and I both really like that they do these events here, and we have enjoyed meeting some of the locals with whom we share space.

Below are some photos from this week. First, are a few shots of our Arran, who is obviously feeling much better. Bill asked about the bill for his treatment so far, and the vet said there’s no pressure to settle up at this point. As Americans, we are allowed to use a “VAT” form, which exempts us from having to pay local taxes for the treatment. Whether or not to accept VAT forms is voluntary on the part of local merchants, since it involves paperwork for them. But it sure is nice for us when they do that, especially for expensive things like non-routine veterinary care, or big purchases like furniture.

This week, I read an article in the Washington Post about a woman who got expensive cancer treatment for her dog. She got a lot of rude comments from people, which I ranted about. Last night, she left me a very nice comment on my post, which you can read here. In any case, so far Arran is doing well, and we’ve been enjoying some priceless time with him. I also don’t expect that his care will cost as much as it would in the United States. As soon as we have a bill, I will confirm or deny that expectation for the curious.

And here are some shots from the market… Someone had some heavenly smelling bread. It smelled like garlic bread. I never did find the source, but they were also selling waffles with powdered sugar that reminded me of the early 90s, when I worked at Busch Gardens making waffle cones. I worked in “Germany”, and wore a dirndl. Little did I know what the future would hold.

Bill found some lovely Italian cheeses and cold cuts, as well as gorgeous, colorful produce… but I was there for the wine.

For some reason, the editor isn’t letting me put comments on the photos… Luckily, most of them are self explanatory. I did notice the Gastatte sign for the first time yesterday. Breckenheim has little signs on its historic buildings, as well as “stumbling stones” (Stolpersteine), placed in honor of local Jewish people who were victims of the Holocaust. The stones are now making appearances all over Europe. You can search my blog for more information on those.

Since Bill is feeling better, maybe we can get out of the house this weekend. We do have plans to carve pumpkins for Halloween this year, since we have new German neighbors with small children who requested it. I’ll post about that when the time comes. 😉

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markets

Friendly community relations!

This has been an unusually busy week in our little town of Breckenheim– as opposed to Bethlehem… 😉 Thursday, we had our weekly market, and Bill picked up some sliced cold cuts for me. We had a little wine and came home about 45 minutes later. Arran and Noyzi were delighted to see us.

Arran is still doing okay. We found out his lymphoma is B cell, which is the milder type. And because it’s B cell, and he seems to want to live, we’re hopefully going to get him on canine chemotherapy before it’s too late.

Last night, we had our wine stand, which happens every other Friday. We spent an hour there, too, enjoying the convivial atmosphere of our neighborhood. I swear, this is probably the most social neighborhood we’ve ever lived in, outside of college. I like to see everybody hanging out and having fun.

Tonight, we’re going to a whisky/whiskey tasting. Maybe I should spell it with the “e”, since I believe the whiskeys are from Ireland, rather than Scotland. That is taking place in the local church’s Gemeindehaus (I think that’s what it’s called). There will be food and music, and lots of talk in German. 😉

Today, we’re also planning to go to Wiesbaden and pick up our new eyewear. New glasses lenses for Bill, and new multi-focal lenses for me. I look forward to being able to read things with corrected vision again. My next purchase for my eyes will probably be bifocals.

I got some photos from the last couple of nights. They aren’t super exciting, but they offer a glimpse of what life is like where I live. The first eight photos are from Thursday night. We didn’t buy a lot, because I will be home alone all week. Bill is going on a business trip. The rest are from the wine stand last night, hosted by the local Volleyball Club. I did hear one guy sound excited last night when he saw that they were serving Spundekäs. I think they ran out, because not an hour later, I saw people eating the pretzels with some kind of white substance. Maybe it was quark? I don’t know.

One lady came up and asked if there was room at our table. We said yes, so she exclaimed “Endlich!” and her family sat with us. She reminded me of the lady who used to sit with me at church when I was growing up. Her husband was in the choir, with my dad. My mom was always playing organ, either at our church, or somewhere else.

I probably shouldn’t go to the whiskey tasting, but what the hell… My liver can recover while Bill is away.

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markets

Our neighborhood market is growing!

Bill came home a little bit early yesterday so we could visit our weekly market, which started at the beginning of September. We decided to go down there and see what we could find. I was impressed by how much was being offered. The first market only had four vendors, if I recall correctly. This time, there were at least twice as many trucks with different foods on offer– meat, fish, produce, apple most and wines, ice cream, and an awesome Middle Eastern Feinkost with lots of treats from Turkey, Lebanon, and Italy. Of course, there was also wine on offer.

We decided to leave the dogs at home. Arran is ailing, and Noyzi gets too nervous around people he doesn’t know well. That was a good decision, since there were a lot of people at the market last night, and some folks brought their much better trained dogs with them. Besides, it’s hard to enjoy drinking wine when you’re holding two leashes.

Below are some photos from yesterday’s trip to the Dorfplatz. The market in Breckenheim runs from 1-6pm every Thursday.

When we got home, Arran and Noyzi were delighted to see us. I videoed their welcome. Arran seems to be feeling okay, most of the time. Today, he’s going to the vet for a biopsy, while Noyzi gets a much needed dental.

The boys welcome us home after an hour at the market.

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