Monday, July 26, 2004

The weather was beautiful and the scenery even more so, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) was even better than I thought it would be.  It reminded me a lot of the Smokey Mountains, except they just call it a forest, not mountains.  :)  There are really dense patches of forest and then it will clear into a beautiful meadow with amazing homes on them.  I took a ton of photos, they are already on the photo site if you are interested. We left Friday about 4pm (after Kenny got home from work,he's usually home by 3pm on Fridays) and were checked into our hotel by 7:45, not a bad trip at all. That included a dinner stop on the way, we weren't sure what we would find in the town. We stayed in Triberg which is the tourist mecca for the Black Forest, but it was fun. Not too crowded that you couldn't do what you wanted to do. Lots to see right there, and now we are more familiar with the area. Our hotel had a great little balcony with table and chairs, we really enjoyed that. Saturday night we had Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte) on the balcony and watched all the people wandering about the waterfall.  Germany's highest waterfall is located in Triberg, the base of it was the view from our balcony.  This also the home of the cuckoo clocks, as is evident everywhere you turn.  If you would like to see for yourself, check this store out House of 1000 Clocks, they were just downstairs from the hotel. You would not believe how many different types of cuckoo clocks there are.

Jacob calls them Pooh-koo clocks (as in Winnie the Pooh). If you watch the classic Winnie the Pooh movie Pooh has one in his house and that is what they call it, a Pooh-koo clock. He was quite fascinated with the ones that have people dancing, wheels turning and people working on them.
Here is Jacob in his new hiking hat, looks just like he belongs here doesn't he? The walk to the falls was nice, we took the easier route so Jacob was able to walk most of it on his own. The falls were very beautiful, and very noisy. There was a constant background noise of the water all weekend, very relaxing. I was reading some info about how it is supposed to be very healthy there and there were several theories on why. One is that the breaking water ionizes the air and that is helpful to the body. The other is that there is a high amount of radon in the air and that contributes to the healing. I thought radon was something we tested our house for when we sold it but who knows? Another is that all the trees act as a filter for the pollution so the air is cleaner. Whichever it is, the air is fresher and cleaner there, at least I thought so.

We also visited an open-air museum Vogtsbauernhof Sunday on the way home, it was old homes that either were built on-site or moved from other areas in the Black Forest.  Some were from the 1600's, and really gave you a look at how they lived in those days.  It was fairly crowded there, so I guess it is interesting even for the Germans.  They had most displays in German, English, and French so it was very informative, and they had some of the homes open and furnished. 

It was a wonderful weekend, and apparently we missed some major storms back here in Wolframs-Eschenbach.  Our satellites needed tweaking, and Kenny saw a lot of limbs down on the Army post.  Good weekend for us to be gone!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Jacob and I went to the Schwimmbad in Lichtenau yesterday, it was a great way to enjoy the heat.  It was really crowded there, but it is big enough that it's not a problem.  The picture is of the large pool, that is about a 1/4 of it.  And you can see the slide in the right corner, you climb to the top of the hill to go down it.  It actually goes underground and through the hill.  There is also a kiddie pool that is quite large, we hung out over there.  I put more pictures of Jacob swimming on the photo site if you want to check it out.  There are a lot of grassy areas where everyone just spreads out towels and blankets and hangs out.  Very nice, and bigger than I expected.  It's all outdoors so you can only go when it's warm enough, unlike some of the other indoor pools in the area.  For as long as summer is here we plan to go more often, it's only about 10 minutes from the house.  We are still having really warm temps, but it is a nice change.  Then storms every evening, just like Florida.  This weekend we are going somewhere, we are still trying to figure out where.  Maybe back down to the Alps, or the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), or somewhere else.  We'll let you know when we get back.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

We did make it out to the fest in Lichtenau today, it was a smaller one than last week. But enough kiddie rides that Jacob had a good time. This is a photo as we were leaving, there are red geraniums hanging on the rails of the bridge. Very pretty as you drive over, although I wonder who takes care of them.  The weather has shifted from very cool to hot, about 90 degrees today.  The house stays pretty cool, we just keep the metal shades down to keep the sun from streaming in.  And that takes care of it.  Also keep all the windows shut, since the air outside is much warmer.   Now that sun has gone down and it is getting cooler we will open it up to let the breeze come through.  If it stays this warm I am hoping to take Jacob to the swimming pool tomorrow.
We drove Kenny's new car up to the PX in Wurzburg today, the first time we have had it out on the autobahn.  You can really tell the difference in a european spec car, it is made for the autobahn.  It's very easy to hit 100mph without realizing it, doesn't feel like you are pushing the car's limits at all.  (Maybe my nerves though!)  And by the way, there were people passing us even then...  

Saturday, July 17, 2004

It seems like everytime I log on to update the blog, Blogger has added some new features.  I wonder how long until they start charging for this?  So if things look different it's just me trying out all the new "bells & whistles" they are offering.
Yesterday the clouds cleared and it appeared to be a nice warm summer afternoon.  Just in case it was a fleeting thing we rushed out to enjoy the weather.  They were having some live music down in the altstadt (oldtown) of Ansbach so we went down there to see what was going on.  We had dinner at our latest favorite place to eat, Tali's Kebap Haus.  Not only are they the best Doner Kebaps (it's a Turkish food, like a gyro) in Ansbach, but the people that own it are super nice.  In our stunted conversations due to the language barrier we have learned quite a bit though.  They have friends in the Tampa area and have visited there a few times.  I think they were planning or helping one of their friends open a food stand on MacDill AFB.  And one of her friends lives in Brandon.  Is it a small world or what?!!   They remember what we usually eat and don't mind if Jacob stands in the doorway to greet all the customers that come in.   It's a great place!   Only a few tables inside, and a few outside if the weather is nice.  After dinner we went and  listened to one of the bands play, and Jacob did some clapping and dancing :)  Then we walked over to the main square and relaxed by a fountain.  It's a low one that Jacob can mess around with, and usually he doesn't get too wet.  Although yesterday he stepped one leg completely in the fountain, much to the delight of the people watching him.  He eventually got dry again, it was warm enough.
On the way home we drove through Lichtenau and they were having the opening ceremonies for their Kirchweih fest.  They were raising up a maypole type thing, but it has a small tree on the top.  And they raise it with long poles and lots of men, all wearing white pants, white shirt and a red scarf.  Pretty neat to see.  There seems to be a fest every weekend lately, I guess the people that run the rides just move from one town to the other.  I'm not sure if we are going to make it to that one, we are pretty "fested out".  Maybe later in the weekend.
That's it for now,  it is actually hot outside today.  So while Jacob is napping I'm going to get some work done in the garden.

Monday, July 12, 2004

A week has passed and now I need to catch up I guess. Bible study started back up on post so Jacob and I went there on Tuesday morning, there were a lot of people there! And then the Kirchweih fest started in Ansbach. It originally celebrated the church, although I don't really think that is the point now. Lots of rides and a big tent with music, food and of course beer. 1 Liter mugs are the normal size, that's a whole lot of beer! Jacob can't even lift the thing it's so big, we have to give him a straw so he can drink it. (joking of course!) We went there for a little while on Friday night, they had a big Ferris wheel which quickly became Jacob's favorite ride.

On Saturday my Aunt Ini and Uncle Gerrit stopped by for dinner, they were on their way home from vacation in Switzerland. They visited for a few hours and we had a really nice visit. Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures, I couldn't believe it. Jacob really enjoyed their visit, he thought they were coming again the next day at dinner time.

Sunday we went to a friend's house ( Gerda & Hartmut Tieke) to pick cherries. They have a huge tree loaded with them, so Kenny picked us a big bucketful. Now we have more cherries than we know what to do with. And the tree is still completely full. Jacob watched Kenny from the ground and ran all around their yard while Kenny picked. I picked some raspberries from some other bushes in her yard. She also has pears that will be ready in September, all in her backyard.

That afternoon we went back to the fest for another ride on the ferris wheel, and Jacob rode a pony for the first time. He really liked that, I thought he might be scared but he wasn't. We had to do it twice, and he named the pony on the second ride. Spots was it's name. I took a few pictures at the fest, mainly of Jacob on the pony ride.

That was it for the weekend, this morning we got the tags for Kenny's car so he is ready to go. Here is a picture of it, it's a 99 BMW. In really good shape, only one owner before us. Kenny is excited to have something a little more reliable than before, and it can be automatic or standard so I can drive it too. Don't ask me how it can do both, I only know how to put it in drive, reverse, and park.

Monday, July 05, 2004

We had a really nice weekend, the fest was lots of fun. Saturday morning we went to the scrapyard so Kenny could finalize the paperwork on his car, and get the plates off of it. And then we did a few things around post that we kept putting off. That afternoon we headed out to the fest and enjoyed it the best we could in the cold weather. No feeling of summer there! We made a stop at the mall on the way home to grab some dinner, it was just too cold to eat outside at the fest. And we needed some things from the hardware store there, it's very much like Lowes or Home Depot. The next day (4th of July) we went back to the fest later in the evening, about 7:30. It doesn't start to get dark until 10 pm so we didn't want to have to wait too long for the fireworks. The weather was much nicer than the previous day, although we did need light jackets once the sun started going down. It was perfect timing, we went on rides and visited with some people. Then had something to eat, rides again and then the fireworks started. Jacob was very impressed with the fireworks, and was quite disappointed when they ended. Then we made our way home and put a very sleepy kid in bed at 11:30!

Today we went and looked at a car for Kenny, he thinks he has found the one he wants. I will post some pics once we actually bring it home, in case he changes his mind. I put the pictures from the fest on the photo site, they are from the whole weekend.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Care for a ride on the Zeppelin anyone? This flew overhead a few days ago so Jacob and I stepped outside to watch it go by. I checked their website and you can schedule a ride on it, about $480 per person for a 60 minute ride. It leaves from Switzerland, so I imagine that this was just a "fly-by" for advertising purposes. Pretty neat though, Jacob enjoyed watching it. He loves all things that fly, and everytime we hear something we have to go outside and check it out. This morning a formation of 4 Blackhawk helicopters flew over and he is still talking about it. Here he is pointing out the blimp to me just in case I missed it.

We are both feeling better and ready for the weekend. We have an extra task of looking for a car for Kenny, his died on the way to Mannheim earlier in the week. We went yesterday to pick it up, he managed to get it running again and we just had to make about 10 stops between here and there to add water and fiddle with the engine. We drove it straight to the junkyard, it has seen its last autobahn I'm afraid. We were just happy not to have to resort to getting it towed, one quote he had gotten was 450 Euros, about $550.

We are planning to spend some time at the fest this weekend, and then Kenny has Monday off as well. Hope everyone has a nice 4th of July!

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