Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rathaus and Altstadt

Wednesday Jan. 30, 2013

Today Grandma had some jet lag and slept until 11 when I woke her up!  It's quite an adjustment...6 hours ahead here.  We had the car so went into Augsburg.  It was in the 50's but very windy!  It rained all yesterday, but not today until later in the afternoon.

We started out at the Stadtmarkt (city market) right in Augsburg where I went with the girls before and posted pics.  It's a very cool place!

Grandma took lots of much to see!  So much is different than we are used to.

A very German looking outdoor seating area outside
We bought some fruits and veggies then went out into the city center.

Mime dude...Lea was creeped out.  I'm keeping the picture small.
We walked down to the Altstadt (Old city).  It's one of my favorite places!  So very old, quiet, charming.  We looked around and had lunch.
There are canals in the Altstadt.

Lea took this one of our menu in the tiny cafe

Grandma's pasta carbonara.  Delish!

Lainie and I each had a ham and cheese panini.  Lea had chicken nuggets!
I have to say it's hard to find a Bavarian restaurant that is affordable for lunch.  We found one but it was too much.  Grandma has not had much German food yet!  Seems that Italian is more popular here!

Lea was surprised they have Capri Sun here, so she took this one!

Part of the canal

We took advantage of this great offer!!!

Painting in the Gold Room
Last time I saw this view, it still had the Christmas market stalls in it.


Moobs.  (Sorry.)

For my Piggie lovin' Lainie!
Playwright Bertolt Brecht.  It says he "was born in Lech quarter (near here) and became the most played dramatist in the world.

Found a KUKA robot!  Missed this on my last visit.
We picked up Brad from work and he showed his mom a bit of KUKA.  But it was all dark so she will see the rest another time.  I made some sausages and Spaetzle for dinner with salad.  Then Brad and Grandma went to Marktkauf to return the bottles and look around.  I stayed home and Lea read Wimpy Kid to me and then I got sick of Lainie so I folded her up in the Murphy bed.  LOL!!!
It closed almost all the way :)
Another fun filled day in Deutschland!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grandma T Day!

Tuesday Jan. 29, 2013

This morning Brad's mom, Grandma T, arrived for a visit!

We sat and talked for a bit, then Brad came home at lunch time to give us the car.  After taking the red eye flight, Grandma was very tired.  But the best way to beat jet lag is to acclimate to the time where you are at.  So since it was 1pm, it's not bed time!  We have to keep her awake until German bed time!

It was pouring rain so we decided to do something indoors.  We went to the City Galerie, the American-style mall.  We walked around and shopped for a good couple of hours.  Grandma bought us some gifts which was very nice :)  Lea got a new Top Model book, I got a sweater, Lainie got a purse she has had her eye on for weeks, and Brad got some fiction books.  We stopped for a coffee and gelato.  The gelato was really good!  We had fun showing Grandma all the dogs at the mall.  Still funny to me!

We came back home and Lainie and I went to pick up Brad from work.  Then we went to our little local Italian restaurant, Dragone, for dinner.  We love the pizza!

Lainie's rigatoni
It was delicious but we need to find a good place for Bavarian food to show Grandma.

Now we are sitting home entertaining Grandma with pictures on Facebook to keep her awake as long as possible.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh Deer!

Sunday Jan. 27, 2013

Today we were all worn out!  I slept in until 10 since I was out until 1am!  The girls slept in longer than that because they are teenagers :)

We decided to hang close to home today.  Some computer, some TV, some reading, guitar playing, cleaning (has to be done), laundry (oh well), game playing.

Lea watching TV

In our room, watching TV on our chair bed thingy
Brad convinced Lainie it would be fun to go for a bike ride.  So they went, but it was very icy and Lainie fell.  Of course she did!  She takes after me.  She was fine, no major injuries.

Down the street from us we have seen a deer farm.  Many deer in some big fields, just hanging out.  We often see people stopped there feeding them.  I have been saving up some stuff for a few days to go visit them.  Stale bread (they didn't mind!) and veggie scraps.  Lea didn't want to go....I think she really missed out!!  Look at these adorable guys!!  So gentle, they ate right from our hands.


So they aren't wild and in our backyard like at home.  But they are so tame and it was very cool to feed them!

They look quite different than our Michigan friends, the White Tailed Deer.  After some internet research I have decided these guys are Fallow Deer.

There is a buck with huge antlers but he wasn't interested and stayed far away.  Maybe next time?  Stay tuned....

OLD. Just....OLD. Harburg and Noerdlingen!

Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013

This morning we had fabulous plans!!  Anne's mom, Ursula, set up a castle tour for us!  (The castle is closed in winter, so kudos to her for getting us in!!)  We left at about 9:30 to meet up with them (Millers) and the Eraths.

Our first stop would be Harburg Castle.  It was a very cold and gray day, but beggars can't be choosers!  Here is our first view, from the car.
Set up high on a hill
We parked in the little area marked for parking.  Then found out when Udo arrived that we were in the one spot in the area that was actually marked NO parking!  Oh well, we are in the middle of nowhere.  Thankfully no ticket!

Some views on our way in:

This castle was first mentioned in literature in 1150.  Did you get that?  1150!!!!  That is so old that I can't even comprehend it's oldness.  It's still standing, People!!  I am in awe.  I almost lost a couple of toes to frostbite, but look at this place!

YAY!!!  Anne's here :)

Sisters at heart!

I told you pretzels are everywhere!!

Imagine how pretty this must be in the summer!

Walking on the wall surrounding the castle

For your gun, to shoot intruders below

Anne's little brother, Jakob, trying on actual armor from the middle ages.  It fit him!  Dudes were small back then.

Our tour guide (that I seem to have cut out of the picture) was really great!

You can still see the drawings on the wall that the prisoners made

This was the toilet in the jail area.  Made of stone, leads directly outside.  The guide said whoever used it got "Arschkalt."  Not gonna translate that one :)
People in the jail: often times it was women, sent there for a day or two.  Usually for being late to church.  Wow.
Udo and Karen, aw!

What a view!

The tour was really amazing!  We were not allowed to photograph the most beautiful parts - church, courtroom and prince's residence.  These were incredibly beautiful!  Very ornate, very OLD.  Spectacular!

We left for our lunch reservations.  Ursula also got us into a restaurant that is usually closed for lunch on Saturdays!  (Yes, North Americans.  Things are closed at the oddest times in Europe!!)  We drove to Noerdlingen to the restaurant.  Noerdlingen is one of the few cities that still has it's complete wall around it, built to protect it.  This city was first mentioned in 898.  Hello?  898?  I don't even know what that means.  It boggles the mind.  (Well, MY mind for sure!)

Entering the city, you must drive through one of the gates. 

Kids + Anne table


Adults minus Anton who was on the other side of me
Now for the food.  This is a traditional Schwabian restaurant.  Schwabia is....I guess I am not sure how to explain it!  It is a part of Germany, but not an official "state."  The best way I can explain it (and it may not be right!) is it is a region, like Appalachia in the states.  It is a part of more than one state.  Has it's own dialect.  Udo is Schwabian.  They have really good food :)  I looked on Wikipedia for famous Schwabians.  Here are a few:  Berthold Brecht (playwright), Albert Einstein (have you heard of him?), Mozart's father, and many more!  OK, here is the food.
Some things just DON'T translate well.  Lard casserole?

Kaesespaetzle, you have seen this before.  It's my fave!  Lainie had it, too.

Brad had a typical Schwabian meal of Spaetzle with Maultaschen.  Maultaschen is a kind of ravioli, filled with meat.  Then you dump gravy over it all.  Delish!

Dessert: real Apfel Strudel.  It was to die for!

Lainie had Apfel something, I can't remember!  She loved it.

Lea's chocolate cake with cherries.  Yummy!
The Miller family has a way of sneaking out and paying our bill.  It was so generous.  They are awesome!  (Which we knew before we met them...they raised Anne, they must be awesome!)

We were talking about differences in our cultures and kids in particular.  Karen shared a story about having tiny baby Christoph in a restaurant, asleep in the stroller, and the owner came up and grabbed him right out of there!  She carried him around the restaurant.  Different waitresses would walk by with him, too.  It was fine for her, but definitely unexpected!  5 minutes later, the restaurant owner walks up with a cute baby and tells us it's a guests' baby that she was taking around!  LOL!  What good timing to illustrate Karen's story!

Some more pics from lunch:



After lunch, we walked around that famous wall.  It goes all the way around the city of Noerdlingen.  (I wish I had an umlaut so I could stop adding these "e's" to words!)  Again, a gray day, but I did my best with the pics.  Very, very cool!

This one was being renovated and you can see it's "bones."  Anton said they have very strict rules about renovating these historic homes.  Even renovated, they have a very old look.

A sign on one of the towers, says it was built in 1481!!  Rebuilt in 1763.

Brad got this great one....much of the wall has just this fence stopping you from falling off so I was kind of freaked out.  He was brave and leaned over for me for this pic!

Back on solid ground :)

Looking at the canal

Beautiful, but a bit wonky!  Looks like it might fall down at any minute!

I have no idea.  A little cave with a gate, a faucet and little birdbath thingy inside.  Religious thing maybe?

Another wonky one!!

Yeah, my house was built then, too.  Plus 500 years.

So, speaking of old: Noerdlingen is the site of a meteor crash from 15 million years ago.  (Or not, depending on your world view.  Take this info as you will!)  The meteor left a huge crater, about 15 miles in diameter.  It is fascinating.  We went to a museum about this stuff.  Here is a link that expains it all pretty well, if you are interested.

There was some resting going on in the museum.
There they are again...brothers from another mother

A piece of meteorite found near the castle Neuschwanstein

 It was cool, they had some videos that were in English for us to learn about meteorites.  Very cool science museum.

We were very tired by now, especially Lea!  So we headed home.  (This is only about 40 minutes away from us, by the way.)  Thankfully Brad was driving because I slept all the way home!

Brad and the girls went to the Erath's, again, for dinner.  Karen picked me up and took me to her Super Secret Book Club Society :)  It's not a group that usually allows visitors, so I was honored to be able to go.  Ursula is in it so we 3 were together again!  It was really fun.  Great women, truly great.  And a fancy meal and great discussions!  I may just start up a book club like this when I get home!  They talk about all kinds of books that they are reading, not all reading the same one and discussing it.  The books led to discussions about many things and it was really fun.  I got home at 1 am, slept in until 10.

Another absolutely amazing day!!!!