Week 2 in Review…

13 Aug

OK, so it’s been a few days since our last chat!  So sorry for the delay!  But folks, we have been a movin’ and a shakin’!  Well, more movin’ actually…That’s right, after 11 days in our beautiful concrete jungle  loft in the sky, we decided to pack it up and head for the hills…literally. 🙂  We’re now in the area of town known as Sindelfingen, about 10 minutes from city center…and LOVIN’ IT!

So, why the move, Erin?  Well, I’ll tell you…There were several things really.  The main item- the pups.  Being on the 6th (yes, I misspoke before when I said 5th!) floor with no elevator, proved to be a headache for all of us, especially Max and Dulcie.  I mean, John and I were downright exhausted after the trek up 124 stairs (yes, I’m a counter), but they got to where they avoided going out for walks just to pass on having to do the damn stairs!  Ha!  Smart kids!  Plus, with Max’s mature age (he’s 8-years-young), we just knew it wasn’t good for him…Also related to the pups, while we had no problem finding sidewalks for walking and small grass areas for potty breaks, it was near impossible to find wide open space…off-leash space…ideal green space for a growing 11-month-old puppy!  Aside from the kids, shopping (and I’m not talking papertowels and cereal, but more along the lines of canned soda cases, 24-packs of water, workout dumbells, etc…) became the hassle of hassles!  Same goes for laundry- washer and dryer in the basement just didn’t cut it!

So last weekend, John had a buddy from work, who hallelujah speaks German!, call around to see what else might be available.  That’s when we found our new home…the right home for us.  It’s a 2nd floor flat (with an elevator should we choose to use it!) in the middle of a GINORMOUS natural park and bird conservation area, Sommerhofen Park.  Rolling hills, lots of trees, lots of green grass, lots of folks out walking their dogs and their kids (as opposed to nothing but the stuffy business people marching like ants in the concrete jungle…)  It’s just…nice. 🙂  There’s a bus stop on the counter and the train station on the next block, so getting to city center is still a cinch!  Our new flat is owned by a nice Serbian couple, Theo and Billi, who are temporarily moving to Hungary on a work assignment with Mercedes Benz.  They spent the last year completely remodeling from floor to ceiling…and it’s beautiful!  Totally different than our first place, but better in all the ways that matter to us!  Best part?  As John puts it, ‘it’s intimate and homey.’ 🙂  And don’t worry, I’ll post pictures of it and the park soon- I just don’t have any yet!

So as you might imagine, finding the new place and moving to it took up a large chunk of our week.  But no worries, we still squeezed in some fun!  For starters, we had 2 of our favorite meals so far!  The first was at a huge brewery in a small town called Boeblingen, Die Brauhaus.  It’s traditional German fare, but with stuff on both sides of the spectrum from heavy to lighter.  (Note: Germans are all about sausages, potatoes and creamy sauces!  Dear waistline, Calories don’t count in foreign countries. K, thanks.  Erin)

John's 1st course...White sausage with mustard and a Bavarian pretzel. The pretzels here (they're EVERYWHERE!) are always very fat at the bottom and baked dark.)

John's main course...Sausage meatloaf in beer gravy and homemade potato salad. German potato salad is very different than ours. It's vinegar-based, no mayo and very little (if any) mustard. It's delish 🙂

My meal...And this picture really doesn't do it justice! It's grilled chicken topped with a chili pineapple ragout and basmati rice. It was SO good!

The other place we found while exploring our new neck of the woods, downtown Singelfelden.  It’s such a quaint, pretty place- very ‘German’ feeling- just what we were looking for by coming over here!  The main plaza is lined with cafes, bistros and restaurants.  It’s perfect- kids play in the fountains and dogs chase the pigeons and occasionally (gasp!) a passerby smiles at you! Let me digress for a second…I mentioned this (the closed off nature, almost cold demeanor of the folks here) to our realtor and she offered some good insight.  Germans people love Americans- they have no qualms about us being here.  Yes, they tend to keep to themselves until they really get to know you.  But after that- when you really become friends- they will be your friend forever.  She told me of something her dad told her 20 years ago.  He said, ‘An American will smile at you, talk to you, perhaps even get to know you over a meal.  Then he may say ‘You should come visit in the States,’ but you will never hear from that American again.  They are friendly on the surface, but not always deep down.  When a German invites you to visit, he will set the date and time on the spot and look forward to the reunion.’  And while I don’t 100% agree with that statement, it definitely helped me put some things in perspective…

OK, back to the main plaza.  So we sat outside (we’ve yet to eat inside at a restaurant- every single one has a fabulous patio) eating our dinner at a bistro called ‘Max’ and just took in the surroundings.  What great people watching! Ha!  The funniest thing to catch our eye was a Junggesellenabschied, or Bachelorette Party.  Per the German tradition, brides-to-be spend the early part of the evening selling things (in this case candy bars and roses) or completing tasks for money to pay for drinks later in the evening.

Main Plaza...In the distance, you can see a lady in white dancing surrounded by her girlfriends in black. Guess this dance with a random stranger was the task! 🙂

And what a fabulous musician playing for the whole plaza to enjoy (and for the bride-to-be to dance to)!  We actually talked to him- he spoke English!- and learned that he’s played on 5 of the 7 continents, including Carnegie Hall!  Now he’s retired and plays for charity- giving all donations to the local Blind Association.  Wow…

Our dinner bistro, Max- a new fav within walking distance! And yep, that's John on the right 🙂

Well boys and girls, that’s about all I’ve got for now.  We’re SO excited that it’s Friday again- life between weekends is never as much fun!- and we’re headed on our next adventure bright and early in the morning.  We’re headed to the Schwarzwald, or the Black Forest, home of the cuckoo clock and the best scenery in Germany!  Should make for some great blog material come Monday!  In the meantime, I leave you with one of our favorite views from the way home from dinner…Ahhh… 🙂

Sunset...brought a smile to John's face since it's almost like Kentucky...

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