Week 4 in Review

27 Aug

Can you believe it?  We’re finishing up our first MONTH here in Germany!  Wow, time is flying!  And this past week was no exception.  Nothing particularly newsworthy per se, but still lots of fun, lots of exploring our city…lots of just ‘taking it all in,’ if that makes sense…

I suppose if I had to sum up the week in a word, it would be ‘social-‘ we’ve been quite the social butterflies! 🙂  For starters, our good friend, Andy, is here for a visit.  It’s his first time in Germany, so as we’ve been showing him around, we’re realizing just how much we’ve already learned, which is encouraging.  We’re finding that our vocabulary is growing, our sense of direction is improving, our overall grasp of social practices…It’s kinda neat. 🙂

Dulcie had no problem accepting Uncle Andy into our apartment 🙂

For his first night in town, we went to one of our favorite ‘biergartens,’ the Brauhaus, for dinner.  For those of you who’ve been following along, this is the restaurant where John gets the now infamous white sausages in broth.  And yes, he got them this time, too!  Coincidentally, our good friends, Mike and Kristen (I went to high school, then college with Mike), are stationed here at Patch Barracks, so they came to join us.  Always so great catching up with them!  It should be noted that they’re expecting their first baby- due TODAY!- so hopefully the next time we see them, there’ll be 3! 🙂

While we’re talking about food, the next night I tried my hand at an authentic German dinner…Bison steaks (marinated all day in balsamic, EVOO, lime juice, minced garlic, thyme, rosemary, and peppercorns), spaetzle and fresh beans from the market.

For all my foodie friends, you should definitely give bison meat a try!  It’s actually leaner- less calories AND fat- and with higher protein than ALL other meats- chicken, fish, turkey, beef…Yes, you read that right!  Wow, right?  And it tastes very similar to a sirloin steak.  Because it has ZERO fat in it, it can be a tad bit tough, but marinating and cooking only to medium rare does the trick…perfectly :).  The steaks are a tad bit pricey, but so worth it.

Bison Steaks. The table top grill was by far one of our best purchases- we use it all the time!

Spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles made with flour, eggs, water, salt and nutmeg. The dough is then forced through a colander with large holes to make the ‘noodles,’ that are then boiled before being tossed with butter or added to other dishes.  Spaetzle is served as a side dish just like potatoes or rice, and is often paired with a sauce or gravy.  We paired our’s with red pesto :).

Boiling the spaetzle. (You can buy it in refrigerated dough form)

Spaetzle mixed with the sauce getting ready to go into the oven to brown the top.

Needless to say, my attempt at German cuisine was deemed a success by all- including Max and Dulcie who were my taste testers 🙂

Finished product. Bon apetit!

Moving on, Andy must’ve brought the good weather bug with him because we managed to have 2 full days (possibly 3 depending on how today turns out!) of beautiful warm, sunny weather!  The most excited?  The pups!  We spent a whole morning in between some of our favorite gardens (see previous post about the park)- laying in the grass, watching a gentleman (who happened to look JUST like my Dad!  Awww….) harvest his vegetables, and throwing the tennis ball.  Mornings like that make it all a little sweeter…

Taking a break from playing to watch their 'Poppy' 🙂

And to reward Andy for bringing the sunshine to Stuttgart, I wanted to give him something totally awesome…his first Ikea experience!  That’s right, folks, Ikea is only 2 blocks- less than a 10 minute walk!- from our apartment!  The only saving grace for me is that it would be physically impossible to get all my ‘loot’ back to the States- otherwise, it would definitely be another one of those ‘fat kid in a cake shop’ situations! Ha!  Nonetheless, it’s always fun to spend an afternoon wandering around one of the largest warehouses in the world!  Note: if you’ve never been to an Ikea.  Go there.  Now.  You won’t regret it. 🙂

Andy, an Ikea-virgin no more.

Finally, continuing our social streak, Weindorf (Wine Fest) kicked off this week!  Quick background…Stuttgart’s Weindorf is one of the largest and most beautiful wine festivals in Germany- more than a million visitors flock to the region for the two-week-long festivities held at city center.  The Festival started in 1974 as a way to honor and celebrate the national Swabian drink (wine) and cuisine.  More than 120 cozy wine alcoves, serving 250 different Wuerttemberg wines and authentic cuisine are decorated in Swabian folklore tradition.  Now, having seen it in person, it’s just so NEAT!  So many people in one area, everyone so happy and relaxed, traditional music being played on every corner…Germans definitely love their festivals!

Arriving at Weindorf

Walking through Weindorf early in the evening...before it got packed!

Musicians set up throughout the alleys...some actually in the dining alcoves...

We met up with some of John's work buddies, Jeff and Angel. And luckily, we got there just in time to actually get a table in one of the tents!

The servers in traditional Swabian garb...

More and more folks coming to enjoy the festivities...

Weindorf in full swing...It stays open until 11p every night during the week, midnight on the weekends...

Getting ready to work our way out of the masses after a fun night. Had to catch the train back home 🙂

Alas, now it’s Friday and the weekend is upon us…which means it’s time for another adventure!  So where are we headed? Austria!  Salzburg, to be exact!  The birthplace of Mozart, the setting for ‘Sound of Music,’ the home of Red Bull…Oh, we’re in for a treat and can’t wait!  Be sure to check back Monday morning for the full scoop on our neighbor to the south!  Cheers!

2 Responses to “Week 4 in Review”

  1. granmom August 28, 2010 at 5:32 PM #

    Erin, one of your best posts. Really enjoyed it.

  2. Andy August 27, 2010 at 12:30 PM #

    The Hills Are Alive…..(In my best Julie Andrews impression)

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