Thursday, January 3, 2013

Goodbyes, Mexican food and a day in Augsburg

Jan. 1 to 3, 2013

After an awesome weekend with the Schaefer's in Lambsheim, we had to say goodbye.  They showed us so many wonderful things!  But even if we never ventured out with them, it would have been awesome.  They are such great people and we all get along so well!  Stefanie and I were talking about when she came over and it was 1985.  Then she said, "Lori, that is almost 30 years ago!"  What???  Holy cow!  We are old.  I am so glad we kept in touch over the years.  Most of that was thanks to Stefanie because she is much better at writing than I am!  It's been easier since the invention of email, though.  (That's right, Kids, we met a long time before email!!)  We said our goodbyes, but this time we didn't have to cry because they will visit us in Augsburg in February!  :)

We stopped along the 3 hour drive home at a Burger King.  Hmmm, interesting.  Not bad, but not the same!  It was expensive, too, but that's because I didn't know all of those German words and we got the big combo meals by mistake!  That'll teach me.

We got home and unpacked, then via Facebook, the Erath's invited us over for dinner.  Let's see....cook something here when I am tired from the trip, or go eat something yummy that Karen cooks while hanging with them?  Yes, we will be right there!  She made chicken enchiladas which is not something I have ever made at home, for some reason.  It was DEEEEELICIOUS!!!
Lydia is ready!  Cheesy or non-cheesy enchiladas :)
We had fun with them, as usual!

Wednesday was Brad's first work day here in Germany.  He left at about 8 (I think.  We were still sleeping!!)  He had a few issues getting up and running, so it wasn't as much fun as he was expecting.  Over here, most German businesses are closed or very low staffed until after Jan. 6 which is a holiday here.  The girls and I didn't do much today.  I walked to our local store for a few groceries, did many loads of (tiny) laundry in my (tiny) washing machine.  Lainie went for a walk with Emma and Linus (the doggie) and then she vacuumed and washed the floors (wow!).  It was a boring but relaxing day.  Brad came home and we had pork chops and fries for dinner.  Brad and I took a walk around our neighborhood kinda late and it's getting cold.  We have been blessed with temps in the 40's to 60's since we've been here!  It's getting down in the 30's lately.

Thursday:  a big day!  Lainie was invited to go into the city (Augsburg) with Emma and her friend Vera.  Just them, no adults!  Back home, Lainie has never been to the mall without an adult, LOL!  Things are very different here.  Very safe, and even young kids are always on the city buses going to and from school.  I was a little nervous, but I trust that it will be ok because Emma has done this before.  Plus it is really cool that Lainie has made a good friend already.  She has always had the ability to make friends easily, although she never thinks she will!

Lea and I made plans to hang out with our friend Anja today! (Our Christmas Eve friends from an earlier blog!)  Anja picked us up and we drove to Augsburg and parked in the City Galerie which is their big mall.  We saw this Sushi place where there is a moving thing full of food!  You pay per item you remove, or pay one price for an hour and eat all you want.  Lainie heard about this from her friend!  Too bad we can't eat fish, it looks fun!
You sit at a table, and open the little door when something you want drives by!!

We went in a few stores then took a small shuttle bus to the city center.  Lea was free!  (A nice feature here in Germany.  People with disabilities are free at so many places.)  It was fun to take a bus because we just don't have that opportunity in Rochester Hills!
We walked around a bit, enjoying the sights.  Many stores are still decorated for Christmas.

The gummy bear store!

The architecture amazes me

A little adorable courtyard
We went to a really good bookstore called Thalia that has many English books and lots of kid items.  Lea got another Top Model book, which is a book with blank drawings of people, and you color them and add the stickers to decorate them.  She really likes these.  We also had a coffee drink!

Enjoying yummy drinks and good company :)
Next we went to the Rathaus which is the city hall.  Lea wanted to go again because she remembers it from last time.  There is a huge Golden Hall which is really beautiful. The building was started in 1600 something.  Wow.  The room and the views are incredible.
A small part of the Golden Hall ceiling

The pedestrian center, where they are taking down the Christmas market :(

The giant stove that used to heat the room

Look at the details in the wooden walls and ceiling in this room

Lea gave a speech :)

A Holocaust memorial for the Augsburg Jews.  Very moving :(

A Roman sculpture from 15 BC.  BC people!  Whoa.

From here we did some more shopping.  While Anja was buying a new coat, Lea and I went next door to a little shop where we met Lola.  People bring their dogs everywhere in Germany, even restaurants.  Little Lola was so happy to meet Lea!  She gave her 8000 kisses!
She was so licky!
We went in a few more stores and grabbed (what else?) a fresh pretzel for lunch.  There is no shortage of pretzels in Germany!!!
They are everywhere!
We took the shuttle back to the mall, found the car and went to a pharmacy so Anja could help me find some natural nose spray.  At home we use Similasan which is made in Switzerland, so I assumed we could find it here.  Nope.  So we got something similar and then went on to Alnatura which is a grocery store along the lines of Whole Foods, only much smaller.  Organic and natural stuff.  Lea passed out in the car on the drive home.

Lainie had her own awesome day in the city.  They shopped and talked and rode buses, then came home and went back to Vera's house to hang out.  Apparently Vera is as nice and sweet as Emma, so it was all good!

We just ate spaghetti for dinner and are very tired.  Brad was going to go play pool with Soeren tonight but is too worn out.  Maybe we need a little more rest around here!!  So while it's only 6:45 pm, I am ending my blog with the promise to edit in anything good that happens after I am done.  :)