holidays

Milking MLK weekend for all it’s worth…

I can’t believe we’re already in the middle of January 2023. Time sure is flying. Ordinarily, we would have used Martin Luther King Day weekend for a short trip somewhere. But we haven’t been living in ordinary times for awhile now. Last year, we had COVID to deal with. This year, it’s Arran’s cancer.

Actually, we probably could have gone somewhere. He’s not so ill that he can’t be boarded. All he needs is Prednisolone every other day, a vet visit every other week, and Endoxan twice a week, every other week. This week, he just got the Prednisolone, which would have been easy for our regular boarding facility to manage. I just don’t want to board him if I can avoid it, because I know he’d rather be with us.

Noyzi loves being boarded, but I don’t want to drop him off and take Arran with us. That’s a hassle. Taking Noyzi with us is also difficult, because takes up the whole back end of our car. It’s better if he gets boarded. It’s hard to shop when the dog takes up all the cargo space. At this point, we have plans to go to Stuttgart at the end of March. The dogs will be boarded for that.

It was a lot easier to travel when we had Zane, as he and Arran could share the back seat. Zane also didn’t mind going to the potty on the leash. We did manage to get Noyzi to poop on the leash when we took him to France, but it took awhile. On the other hand, Zane was a lot louder and naughtier than Noyzi is. We were more likely to get yelled at by locals when we traveled with Zane.

The weather in Germany was pretty gloomy this weekend. We’ve had rain every day. While it’s not super cold, it is pretty windy and blustery. I still have a touch of cabin fever and would like to get out and do something fun. Then I look at the depressing weather and decide to hibernate.

It’s not all bad, though. I used the fireplace last night, which is always nice. I wish we had seating in the living room that makes the fireplace easy to enjoy. I like this house a lot, but the downstairs layout could be better. The living room is like two rooms that open into the dining room.

I was thinking the other day… I’d like to turn the dining room into an extension of the kitchen. Put in a pantry and a wine fridge, and move our spare fridge upstairs. Maybe install a kitchen island. and more counter space, and put in a door to block the kitchen from the living room. Too bad this isn’t my house and I don’t have tons of money. 😉

Bill and I spent the weekend watching movies, listening to music, drinking wine, and talking. He tried out making calzones with the empanada makers I got him for Christmas. They tasted good, although his presentation technique needs some polish. I’m sure he’ll get a chance to practice. He also tried a couple of new recipes from one of the cookbooks I got him.

I have been giving some thought to places we’d like to visit this year… I know Bill wants to go to Spain and/or Portugal again. I’d like to go to the Baltics, or maybe Finland. I’d also like to visit Brno in the Czech Republic. There are more exotic places we’d like to go, as well. They would require flying, which I’m still not sure I want to do unless I have to. I do know, however, that I’d like to venture out beyond the usual countries… France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and the like.

For now, though… we’re at home. At least Bill got lots of sleep, which he really needs. Below are some photos… The first, second, and fourth are of the calzone experiment. The fifth is of some Bearnaise Sauce Bill tried to make using a new recipe out of a Michel Roux cookbook I bought him.

The last photo is a bottle of wine a friend bought that comes from Bauerwein.de, a winery in the Pfalz. They have lots of wines with funny names. There’s one called Bullshit, and another called If You’re a Terrorist, Racist, or Just an Asshole, Don’t Drink My Wine. I could list more, but some of the names are really long and I have another blog post to type. I’m thinking of ordering a bunch. If we’d had nicer weather, maybe we would have paid them a visit. Their outfit is about 80 minutes away from us.

I’d really like to kick the travel blog back into gear in 2023, although I don’t have plans to publicize it much. I can see there are a lot of people who are better at this than I am… and make YouTube videos, and shit. I just put songs on YouTube. 😉

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laws, trip planning

Firenze, Italy sends Bill New Year’s greetings…

Some of my regular travel blog readers might recall that Bill and I took a trip to Italy last spring. I blogged about the trip in sixteen parts, which also included stops in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. We visited Parma, Modena, Florence, Pisa, Viareggio, and several adorable towns in Tuscany, as we visited several Chianti Classico wineries. That was the most recent of our more epic European trips, and I’ve found myself looking back on it wistfully. I am REALLY in need of a trip somewhere. But other events are in the way, to include our dog Arran’s chemotherapy, which is still going surprisingly well.

I’ve even been giving some thought to visiting Italy again in 2023. I follow the Meet the Wengers YouTube channel, which is a family vlog run by an American woman named Katie, who married a German man. They have three adorable and apparently well-behaved children. Recently, she posted some videos about the family’s fall trip to Verona, a city I haven’t yet visited in Italy. Her videos make me want to go there and explore.

One of a few videos the Wengers have done about Verona… Now I want to go, too.

Well, yesterday, Bill got a reminder of our most recent trip to Italy. It came in the form of a traffic ticket. We drove to Florence, mainly because we wanted to bring some food and wines back to Germany, and because I didn’t want to deal with flying, due to the pandemic. Having a car makes travel in Europe a little bit more liberated, as it means not being dictated by timetables or established routes. However, car travel comes with its own hazards, which include traffic cameras that take photos of those who break the rules.

In our case, the infraction occurred on April 27, 2022, when Bill mistakenly drove our Volvo through a restricted area. It seems that many towns in certain Italian cities don’t allow non-residents to drive on certain streets. We had a bunch of bags, since we were on a long trip. The hotel we stayed in was on the third floor of a building and kind of hard to find. Bill was disoriented as to where we were supposed to go, although it turned out there was a very large parking garage near the hotel.

Long story short, the cameras caught Bill driving where he wasn’t supposed to go. Naturally, we were both completely oblivious to the infraction. Some Italian cities that have these rules against non-residents driving on restricted streets, will allow travelers to register their vehicles before their arrival. I think the city of Bologna is one of those places. Bologna is another city I haven’t yet seen. Maybe we’ll go there next time and avoid Florence! 😉

Yesterday, Bill had to sign for a letter at the post office on our local military installation. It was in a window envelope, and came from the city of Firenze. Inside the envelope was the notification of the driving infraction, written in both Italian and English, and a complete rundown of the law that was broken. There was also a schedule of the fines to be paid. It’s 68 euros if Bill pays within six days. If he delays payment between 6 and 60 days, it goes up to about 95 euros. If he doesn’t pay within 60 days, it goes up to 176 euros.

At first, Bill thought the ticket read that he would have had to have paid within six days of the infraction, but obviously he hadn’t been notified at that time. Upon closer examination, he read that he can still pay the reduced fine, since he just got notice. It’s done via bank transfer, as most things here are.

We’re just glad this didn’t happen in Switzerland, as the fines are probably a lot higher there… but they probably also come within a couple of weeks, rather than several months, routed through The Netherlands. I don’t know why the ticket went through The Netherlands. Maybe it’s because the ticketing agency is outsourced.

I just took down all the Christmas decorations. I’m glad to have that yearly chore done. It’s a lot easier to take the decorations down than put them up; and for that, I’m grateful. However, I always find it a little sad to see my living room in its normal state. I like the homey look created by the Christmas lights. On the other hand, it’s less to have to deal with, and I also look forward to more daylight and better weather. I’m definitely ready to have some fun! So now, on with making some travel plans for 2023! We’ll be more careful about where we drive and park, next time!

Edited to add: The day after I posted this, Bill got a second ticket from Firenze for the same offense. He drove through that historic area twice! I’m glad he moved to a different area after dropping me off. Both tickets, paid at the lowest rate, were about 60 euros each– so, 120 euros for driving in the wrong places in Italy. Expensive lesson learned.

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holidays

Farewell to 2022… hello to 2023!

Bill took the featured photo today, after walking the dogs. Apparently, there were a bunch of people in the Dorfplatz, making merry as the year changed…

Well, well, well… another Silvester is now in the books. Thanks to the loosening of COVID restrictions, the locals were allowed to set off fireworks again last night. It started here as the sun set We could hear them popping in the distance. Poor Noyzi was pretty scared, although Arran, as usual, wasn’t bothered at all.

At about 7:00 PM, we tried to convince Noyzi to pee outside. I knew it was going to get really crazy later, so I wanted him to go. But people were setting off fireworks even at that hour, which really spooked him. Bill tried to talk him into going, but he refused. He finally relented when I put him on a leash and took him to a corner of the yard where he usually goes. I stood outside with him, and listened to the popping. Finally, after about twenty minutes, he relaxed and did his business. Good thing he did it, too, because he really needed to go.

After that, we sat at the Eckbank Gruppe and listened to music. Noyzi curled up under the table a couple of times, but spent of the evening in his “room”, where his bed is. That’s where he spends most of his time. Arran, as usual, stayed with us. He’s our Velcro dog, and seems to get energy from snuggling… especially with Bill.

When it was midnight, there were fireworks going off everywhere. Our new neighbors were in the street with their kids, setting off all manner of explosives. I videoed some of their antics, although at some point, the video went into slow motion. That was definitely unintentional. I was surprised it wasn’t more crazy than it was. I’ve seen rowdier New Year’s Eves, although they were further to the south, where people are a little more provincial. 😉

We had pretty warm weather last night, too, which is unusual for Germany. I was able to comfortably be outside barefoot and without a sweater. That should probably concern me, but it made for easy viewing of the fireworks. I think people in Hessen are a little more sensible about fireworks than people near Stuttgart are. I may be wrong, though… It probably depends on the neighborhood.

My attempts to take still photos of the fireworks weren’t very successful or interesting, or else I would share them here. But below is a video…

This was the scene in our neighborhood last night!

Well, that about sums up our New Year’s Eve. I’m always kind of glad when the holidays are over, even though I dread taking down the decorations. I find the holidays kind of exhausting, even though it’s just Bill and me and the dogs celebrating. I also think I get kind of tired of how dark it stays here at this time of year. In any case, I’m just glad there’s no drama over here… just lots of food, drinks, music, and loud popping.

Bill is now preparing our New Year’s Day feast. I think he gets tomorrow off, so we’ll probably take care of some more chores. I think he’s going to put together my new office chair, which comes equipped with heat and massage functions. He sure is good to me.

I hope you had a very nice New Year’s Eve, and I wish you the best during this new year… health, wealth, safety, and happiness.

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Brrrrr!!!!

Here’s a quick post for this week, which I have mostly spent alone, because Bill has been on his latest Bavarian TDY adventure. We got snow yesterday, and the temperatures have been wicked cold. In the four years we’ve lived in Breckenheim, we haven’t really had a proper snow… until yesterday, that is. And it wasn’t a lot of snow, but the temperatures are so cold that I think it’s going to stick around at least for today. That’s unusual for this area, at least during this era of global warming.

When we lived in Jettingen, we usually got a lot more snow in the winter, and sometimes it would hang around for weeks. But up here, when it snows, there isn’t a lot, and it’s usually gone by the end of the day. I know that’s not how it’s been historically, but that’s how it’s been since we moved here. In fact, it’s so cold that I’m actually considering buying myself a new coat. Of course, it might turn out to be a waste of money, since it really doesn’t get cold here as a general rule. On the other hand, there are a lot of other places in Europe that get cold, and we can always travel.

Arran doesn’t have to go to the vet this week. For the first time since mid October, he gets a break from IV push cancer meds. He doesn’t get any “cancer” drugs this week, other than his regular steroids every other day. He’s still taking Prednisolone, though, which makes him kind of a pain to deal with, due to the side effects of the drug. Still, he’s plugging away. He didn’t get a walk yesterday, but we just took a short one this morning to give him a chance to poop and Noyzi a chance to stimulate himself. I took a few photos.

Our weekly market is going on today, even though it’s cold and icy. I probably won’t visit it, though, because the landlord is having a new dishwasher installed for us this afternoon.

Today is my last full day alone, as we’re expecting Bill back tomorrow. He will be a sight for sore eyes. I’ve been lonely… and Arran gets me up at least twice a night to go outside and to beg for treats. 😉

I made a new video, too… this one was inspired by my former shrink, who loves this song. As I am about to celebrate yet another Christmas far from my home in America, I’m reminded of my family. I do miss them.

I would have done it live on camera, but decided to redo the vocals and couldn’t be arsed to film myself again. Arran’s face looks weird in that still. That’s not how he looks in person.

Below are some pictures from today’s walk. The fiberglass internet guy came by the other day, rudely waking me from the nap I really needed and was about to take. I don’t think I looked very friendly when I answered the door. 😀

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trip planning

Chasing lakes and waterfalls in Aus-cro-slo-aus… part one

So much natural beauty… almost all to ourselves…

I may live to regret titling this particular trip series as I have. At the moment, I’m having trouble coming up with a snappy name for my latest vacation blog series. It might be because my brain is still scrambled by the whirlwind of four countries Bill and I have traversed since October 26th. It could also be because the time has changed. Additionally, I’m still a bit peeved about today’s lunch, which I’ll probably bitch about on my other blog, since I like to keep the travel blog somewhat “PG-rated”.

People who regularly follow this blog may know that Bill and I finally took our 2021 vacation. It was not a small undertaking to plan this trip, or even decide where to go. Gone are the days when we could just choose a destination on a whim. These days, we have to pay attention to COVID-19 rules and regulations, which seem to change daily, as well as infection trends. I feel like I’m back at South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, working for the Bureau of Epidemiology, where it was once my job to translate the results of chronic disease trend statistics into laymen’s terms. Thanks to my current career as an “overeducated housewife”, those days are long behind me… or, at least I don’t get paid to do them anymore.

As of about an hour ago, our vacation ended, as we walked into our house and I caught a whiff of the rotting avocado and mozzarella cheese in the refrigerator. At first, I was afraid someone forgot to flush the toilet before we left town! The dogs will be picked up in a couple of hours; hopefully, they are both fine. I sure have missed them… I really mean that, even though taking them with us on trips isn’t exactly easy to do, especially now that we have big Noyzi, and Arran has become a cranky old codger.

So how did I choose a trip to Austria, Croatia, and Slovenia, then back to Austria? At first, it wasn’t in the plans. Originally, I had been looking at going to The Netherlands. I kept getting enticing ads on Facebook, particularly for a very upscale looking property in Zeeland. I must admit that the prospect of enjoying some legal weed was also somewhat appealing. But then I started thinking about how much I’d like to go to France and Belgium, too. I started trying to design an itinerary that would allow us to get the most bang for our bucks and the time Bill got off from work. I kept getting bogged down in and frustrated by minutiae, as I realized that the places I wanted to go weren’t all that convenient to each other. Accommodations were also kind of pricey. And then, I had a sudden flashback to 2015, when our return to Europe was still new and exciting…

Several years ago, when COVID-19 was a mere nightmarish fantasy in the back of a mad scientist’s or Hollywood screenplay writer’s most warped mind, I saw an enticing video on YouTube made by a user who called herself heyannalise. She made entertaining clips about traveling in Europe. Back in May 2015, she made one about her visit to the Krka National Park in Croatia. I was enchanted by the scenery in her video, which I am sharing below…

No… this is not where we went. I tried to get us tickets to the Krka National Park, but was unsuccessful. You have to buy them at least a day in advance, and all of the tickets were sold out for when we were in Croatia and had time to go… We will try to come back for an experience like Annalise had.

Somehow, even though I was enthralled by Annalise’s video, Bill and I never got around to visiting Croatia, even though we’ve now been in Europe for ages… I kept meaning to go, and we did once take a “joyride” to Pula, Croatia while we were visiting Trieste, Italy in May 2016. But we never managed to actually book a real trip there that involved staying overnight. Time moved on from 2015, and I pushed thoughts of Croatia to the back burner, even though my Croatian friend, Boris, who organizes trips to Croatia, kept wanting me to go and blog about the experience. The timing just never seemed to work out for us, or there was somewhere else I wanted to see that was more pressing or convenient.

As I was planning our most recent trip, thinking about France, Belgium, and The Netherlands, I couldn’t help noticing a nagging thought in the back of my head, reminding me how much I had been wanting to visit Croatia to see waterfalls and lakes. Since I managed to nag Bill into taking a lot of days off work, I realized that we finally had enough time to really enjoy ourselves and see a lot, and that meant it made sense to finally take the plunge and go to Croatia. I also knew I could break up the trip into manageable and affordable blocks, and that was a real plus. My days of wanting to drive eight hours straight to cram in life experiences are long done, and I don’t need much encouragement to overspend on fancy hotels. I also have no desire to fly during the age of COVID-19 unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.

By the time I was ready to go to Croatia, I had forgotten where Annalise had actually gone. I went on Google and started searching… and somehow, instead of Krka National Park, I wound up finding the Plitvice Lakes. Now… there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with going to Croatia just to see the Plitvice Lakes. They are stunning and mesmerizing, and you will definitely get plenty of exercise and fill your camera with exquisite photos of magical scenery. But we were down there for four nights, and Krka National Park is only about a 90 minute drive from where we stayed. It would have been nice to combine the two experiences, although now we have a good reason to visit Croatia again and do a LOT more exploring. It really is a beautiful and easy to travel country, especially for English speakers. And… we haven’t been to the coast yet, to see all the towns that tourists flock to during the summer months. We have a good reason to go back to Croatia, now.

Anyway, once I’d decided on Croatia, it was time to plan for a visit somewhere else within proximity. I recalled that while we were visiting Trieste in 2016, we also visited Lake Bled in Slovenia. I remember being totally enchanted by beautiful Lake Bled and the other areas in Slovenia we visited on that trip. I also specifically remembered Slovenians telling Bill and me that we should visit Lake Bohinj, as it was even better than Bled is, and less touristy. Realizing that Bohinj was maybe 4 or 5 hours from the Plitvice Lakes area, I determined that it would be a great second stop on our trip. We could spend another four nights there.

The cities where we chose our visits in Austria were mostly down to being practical. We decided to stop in Wels, Austria on the way down to Croatia because it was about halfway to where our final destination would be, and Bill and I didn’t want to stay in Linz or Passau, which are cities we’ve both already visited. Ditto to our stop in Salzburg. Every time we’ve gone to Slovenia– we also went to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia last year to pick up Noyzi— we’ve stopped in Salzburg, because it’s convenient. It’s also a great town to visit, although on our other two trips, we’ve only spent a night there and neglected to properly enjoy the city.

We did take a day trip to Salzburg in May 2012, when we did our very first military hop, and we got to see the city on that trip. But we visited Salzburg from Munich instead of staying there overnight, and that sharply limited our ability to see a lot. I also remember getting caught in a sudden late spring thunderstorm that day, so we ended up ducking back into the restaurant where we had lunch (ham and asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce), and drinking lots of beer and Schnapps! I remember the proprietor was quite pleased with us giving him more business. I think that restaurant has since closed down, which is a pity. We sure enjoyed going there.

Ever since that day trip in 2012, I had been wanting to go back to Salzburg. Russian buskers had made me cry there, and I saw some beautiful Friesian horses… But every time we’ve stayed in Salzburg overnight, we’ve been rushing to or from somewhere else, so this time, I decided we’d spend two nights.

With all of the cities chosen, I went looking for places to stay. Wels, Austria, it turns out, is a very pleasant and attractive city, but it’s not particularly exciting or noteworthy. I noticed they had catfish there. There are museums to see, and the downtown area is nice. But I didn’t find any cute places to rent. Consequently, we ended up booking Hotel Ploberger for two nights, which is supposedly the best hotel in town. I was amused by their very aggressive sales tactics, right on their own Web site. For the other three stops, I booked homes privately managed by hosts I found on Booking.com. Not only was that safer in terms of COVID-19, it was also more convenient. Lake Bohinj and the Plitvice Lakes areas are both chock full of apartments and homes to rent. I would say there are more private residences for renting than hotel rooms, although they do exist. And in Salzburg, I chose to rent a place owned by a musician/music producer. That was mainly because I am myself a musician. I will write a lot more about all of the properties as the series gets underway… and as we were gone for twelve nights, it’s bound to be a long one.

We had a fantastic time on our trip, and I look forward to detailing the blow by blow, even if Bill and I are the only ones who read it. So, now that the introduction is done, on with my blog series on the trip down to Aus-Cro-Slo-Aus. Hope you enjoy the ride.

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A few spring photos…

I took these this morning on our walk… A male mallard was enjoying the creek that runs through Breckenheim. He was a little shy, and I was juggling Arran and Noyzi, so please forgive the lack of artistic merit in these!

I also managed to catch a rather epic play session between Arran and Noyzi. Arran still growls at him a lot, but I think they’ve developed a wary respect for each other. Nice to see them playing, anyway. It’s especially nice to see Arran playing, since he’s officially an old man with the rancid farts to prove it.

I love running into water fowl. I especially like ducks a lot, and we see them very occasionally here in our village. I like creeks, too. The one in Breckenheim is often polluted, though, which is a real shame. I guess it just goes to show you that even rule abiding Germans can be disrespectful to Earth when no one is looking.

Could they be bonding at last?

And last but not least, I made a new video for my YouTube channel. I haven’t shared it anywhere else, because it seems like a pointless exercise… but I think it turned out okay.

I woke up yesterday and felt like trying this… it was a mood booster. I needed one, because I was not in a great mood over the weekend.

My vaccination site is officially back to normal. There’s no more pain, itching, or swelling, and the redness is minimal. I don’t look forward to feeling yucky when I get the second shot, but maybe it will turn out okay. Either way, the first shot wasn’t a problem. Glad to have it behind me, especially now that Germany is officially relaxing the rules for vaccinated people and those who have recovered from COVID-19. I’m ready to reclaim some of my life.

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Sundays

You can be a big kid in Freudenstadt!

Some days, I really wish I had kids to entertain.  I am myself a bit a of a big kid, so having a kid to play with would give me a good excuse to visit kid friendly museums and attractions.  Bill and I didn’t actually plan to do anything kid friendly today.  We stumbled across our fun, just like we always do.  And now I’m going to pass along our good fortune to readers who have kids and enjoy science.

We had absolutely perfect weather today.  Bill wanted to know what we should do today.  We went looking for a fest.  I remembered that next weekend, Freudenstadt would be hosting a fish market.  Then I remembered that next weekend is the weekend before my birthday and we’ll probably be out of town.  I’ve always been intrigued by Freudenstadt.  It’s a decent sized city not too far from where I live, in Unterjettingen.  We always drive through it when we go to France.  One time, we stopped and had lunch at the Turmbrau.  I remembered that lunch with fondness, so we decided to visit there today and wander around…

It turns out Freudenstadt is undergoing a lot of major road work.

 

It’s a bit of a mess in some parts of the city.

I noticed the name of this store and it made me laugh.  “To Crazy”, huh?  I think they meant “Too Crazy.”  But that’s no worse than Der Wienerschnitzel in the United States, which is also incorrect.

There is an art fair and flea market going on today and tomorrow.

And someone was getting married.  I took this right after withdrawing money from an ATM.  While I was doing that, a couple was changing their baby next to the machine.  I guess the baby left a deposit.

We didn’t linger too long at the market.  We wanted food and beer.

Bill checks the menu.

We enjoyed housemade beers.  Bill had a Maibock and I had a Hefeweizen.

For lunch, I had Schweinshaxe, which I couldn’t finish.  It wasn’t as big as some I’ve had.  At the Turmbrau, this dish comes with sauerkraut.  I have to be careful with that or else it’ll be a very windy night at my house.  

Bill had roasted pork with fried potatoes.  This was served with a beer gravy that was very good.  The pork was also tender and flavorful.  I think I liked Bill’s dish better than mine.  My pork knuckle was a trifle overdone.

But it did come with beer bread.

Turmbrau has live entertainment, too.

 

And a really excellent looking Biergarten.  We probably should have sat out there, since I wore plenty of sunscreen.

Brewing!

 

This is a great place for lunch.  Both times we’ve been, it’s been busy.  Service is friendly and efficient and prices are fair.  We had a couple of weizens for dessert.  With the extra round of beer, the bill came to just under 35 euros.  We made the waitress smile when we topped it up to 40.  

Because Bill didn’t want to drive so soon after our second round, he wanted to walk around Freudenstadt.  I had a better idea.  On the way into town, I noticed a sign for a museum.  After looking up the word “Erlebnis”, I determined a visit to Experimenta might be a fun way to sober up… even if it was kind of a kid oriented place.  Like I said, despite last week’s fun, I really am a big kid.  Experimenta turned out to be a no frills kind of science museum, but it was surprisingly fun for us!  We did, however, get curious looks from other visitors.

Experimenta is open daily from 10-6.  Tickets cost 6 euros for adults and 5 euros for kids.  A young guy was manning the desk.  It looked like the building was once a music school.  

The first exhibit was about time zones.  I noticed the signage was all in German, but with a little effort, I could understand a lot of it.  A lot of the exhibits are very intuitive anyway.

Here’s an exhibit about size perception.

Bill has fun with balls.  That silver thing was blowing air

I never did figure this out… it involved a marble.  Edited to add, my German friend Susanne says there is a bigger Experimenta in Heilbronn and she shared a picture that shows how this activity works.  I want to also mention that a lot of the activities had step stools for little ones.  

Spyrograph.

This was the room I really got into.  Bill and I built a bridge.

And we learned how holes affect the speed of cylinders.

I brushed up on my terrible geometry skills.

 
 

Bill loved this activity…

Pictured above is a logic activity involving a man who has to move a goat, a wolf, and food across a river.  He only has room on the boat to move one at a time.  Bill really got into telling me how the man could move each.  I giggled at him because it was fun watching him turn into a little boy, much like the young kids who were enjoying the activities.

Next, we made a bridge out of magnets.  This was a very interesting exhibit because it forced us to learn the logistics of building a bridge and what you have to do to make it work.  I am still a confirmed former English major, though, and couldn’t explain this if my life depended on it.

Next, I saw how water can propel a boat…

I learned about human organs.

And bones.

And the tongue!  

 

I think my favorite room was the last one we entered.  On the main floor, there’s an exhibit about electricity…

I played with these for a long time…

And then I discovered the black light.  Sorry for the ugly photos but…

You can’t see it in this picture, but in person, it was really obvious which of my teeth is an implant.  Hard to believe I’ve had it for a year now!

I may never have teeth this white again.

 

I made a short video of our fun today…  It offers an example of what you can expect at Experimenta!

 

Like I said, I wish I’d managed to have kids.  We live in an area that’s really great for kid friendly activities.  If I had a kid, I’d make of a day out of Freudenstadt and its environs.  You can stop at the awesome Barefoot Park in Dornstetten, which is on the way.  After that, head to Freudenstadt and have a good lunch at one of the many restaurants in the town.  Then visit the science museum.  By the time you’re done, you’ve killed a few hours.  And… as you can see below, the countryside is BEAUTIFUL!  God bless Germany!

Look closely and you can see a glider…

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Second beer fermentation…

For those of you following along in our beer making quest, here’s a somewhat shorter video showing the second stage.  As I mentioned in the first beer making post I wrote, Bill is brewing beer for the first time in Germany.  He gave up his hobby when we moved back over here and has now decided to try again.

Today, he moved the beer from the container in which it had been fermenting into a second container.  It will now sit for two weeks, after which the beer making process will continue.

He’s getting more confident on camera, isn’t he?

 

Last week, he had a minor disaster when there was a slight explosion from the first container.  He came up with a makeshift cure.

Necessity is the mother of invention!

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Too bad I’m camera shy…

Props to my casual Facebook acquaintance, Nathan, who introduced me to the video below…

Watch this woman try to drink Belgian beer…

I don’t actually know Nathan personally, but having interacted with him on Facebook, I realize he’s snarky…  kind of like me.  He posted this video to make a point about how some people use Internet search engines and fail.  While I got Nathan’s point, I saw something else in the video.  You see, I love beer very much.  I am especially fond of Belgian beers.  When I see someone who clearly knows nothing about Belgian beer trying to drink it when they don’t even know how to use a bottle opener, I get frustrated.  Initially, intense frustration is what I was feeling when I watched this.  But then the woman tasted the beer and made some rather hilarious facial expressions that made me laugh.  It made me want to know more about her.

I went to the woman’s YouTube channel to see if she had other videos.  Indeed, she does!  The user’s name is heyannalise, aka Annalise Hill.

Here she is talking about Brussels, one of my favorite cities…  I love Belgium! 

 

What strikes me most about this YouTuber is that she seems very comfortable on camera.  I, on the other hand, hate being on camera.  I get very nervous and flustered when I’m on film, start to stammer, and then when I watch the film, I get all embarrassed.  That’s why when I make YouTube videos, I just use pictures of pretty places or videos of the weather or my dogs…

Any city with this as its mascot is alright with me…

 

And look!  Potty parity with Jeanneke Pis, a female version…  She’s located right outside the Delirium Cafe, which is probably why she’s behind bars.  Imagine what might happen as drunken revelers pass her as she’s pissing…

Here’s a picture of Bill enjoying Belgian beer properly…  I included him in this post because it apparently makes Nathan happy.

 

Annalise’s next video is about her day trip to Amsterdam… I haven’t actually been to the city of Amsterdam yet, but it’s currently an entry in my champagne bucket.

I feel like Annalise is sitting here chatting with me.  Her male friend seems pretty game, too.

 

I kind of like these travel blog videos.  I like Annalise’s jaunty background music, which sounds like it came from a CD full of generic music used for commercials.  I like the way a lot of her statements have the cadence of a question.  She’s goofy and quirky and makes me laugh.  She has a unique fashion sense, too.  Check out her cute little thrift store frocks.

On the other hand, I notice that Annalise’s videos get a lot of thumbs down.  I know the first one I watch might have merited some down votes simply due to the fact that she can’t freakin’ open a bottle of beer by herself.  And never mind that she can’t open beer… she’s trying a Belgian beer.  And she has chosen one that is definitely not for beginners.  Of course, every beer lover has to open a bottle of beer for the first time.  There’s a first time for everything!  Maybe her tastebuds will evolve.  Or maybe she won’t ever like beer and there will be more left for me.  Anyway, I thought her struggles with the bottle openers were kind of endearing, though others may disagree.

I’d be afraid to try video blogging myself because I think I have a face and body for radio.  Kudos to Annalise for putting herself out there and not being afraid to be goofy and human.  Maybe someday I’ll work up the nerve to do a video actually showing myself on camera.  But I have a feeling I would be more inclined to visit a textile free sauna before I tried that…  For now, I have subscribed to Annalise’s YouTube channel.  We’ll see what other cute videos she posts.  I hope she makes some money to fund her next trip.

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