Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008


We were near Stuttgart where B had a two-day meeting. I wanted to see a friend of mine but had to cancel last minute because I developed a sore throat and didn't want her or her 4-month old baby to catch whatever cold I seemed to be developing.

I ventured into Stuttgart and I couldn't believe how hot the day was - 31 degrees Celsius, phew! Luckily, the hotel room was air conditioned. It seemed as though a lot more people spoke English on the S-Bahn than what I have heard going into Frankfurt.

I wanted to take pictures of the beautiful fountains on the Schlossplatz and noticed that I forgot to put my memory card back into the camera. Luckily, a Saturn store (the equivalent of Best Buy) just opened nearby and I purchased a 2 GB SD memory card for close to 10 Euros. It's always good to have a spare card around.

The main pedestrian area is down the Königstrasse and it was nice to sit in the shade of a Cafe Schlossblick umbrella eating a big salad for lunch and drinking a cool "Orangenschorle" (orange juice mixed with mineral water). I was pleasantly surprised to see that the beverage was served in a tall (0,4 l) glass with ice cubes. I was expecting an itty bitty glass which I remembered from Germany trips in the past. I guess things are being super-sized in Germany as well.

A good 360 degree view of Stuttgart is available at no charge from the main train station tower. I could have visited a whole bunch of museums and expositions but the weather was too nice to be inside.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Castles, castles and more castles...

We celebrated a holiday in Hessen today and took a day trip to Burg Eltz near the Mosel river in the neighboring state of Rheinland Pfalz. The scenery around it and the 45-minute walk leading up to the castle along the creek were breathtaking.

I also went on a day trip on Monday to see the Rhine Valley. I knew Germany had many castles but I didn't expect this many (about a dozen) on a 45-mile stretch of road. There was one very cute little castle in the middle of the Rhine called the Mouse Tower. It was used to collect tolls from people on the river but it looks like someone wanted a castle and ran out of money...

The highlight of the Rhine valley trip was Marksburg castle - it's the only hill castle that has not been destroyed and has been occupied for 700 years.

And for a little bit of humor... anyone who remembers the Assman from a particular Seinfeld episode, will appreciate this sign. It's where Assman lives:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I have my moments lately when I miss family and friends. Now that all the initial excitement has worn off, the dust has settled and the paintings are hanging on the walls, I have time to think about the things I miss most.

Fortunately, some family members have already announced their visits. I have to think of ways to fill up the time until then. I am so grateful for having the women's club activities to get me out of the house. And I am finally driving. Yes, the company car was delivered last week and it's awesome. It's a BMW 1 Series - it requires no keys to open or start it, and it memorizes the individual mirror settings for B and I. I still make a point of walking 2km every day but having a car is a huge improvement.

I went on a job interview last week for a part-time position. I was surprised they even called me in because I don't have a work permit. But it turned out what they were looking for and what I expected from the advertised position were two completely different animals. The work permit issue didn't even seem to faze them so my guess is that around the Frankfurt area it's pretty easy to get a work permit as an American.

Speaking of animals, I miss the graham cracker circus animals. Other products I miss from the US: plain Cheerios, Aveeno Body Moisturizer, Advil in giant bottles, EZ-Off Oven Cleaner (think potent, grease-cutting chemicals). B misses boxed mixtures like couscous and boxed rice dishes and the variety of frozen mixed vegetables available in the US.

I guess there is a low point every expat hits along the way. Today is just one of those days...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Aha Moment

It is really not that noteworthy but I wanted to share a little tip for anyone looking for a Euro or 50 cents to put into the shopping cart slot to pull it out of the cart corral... An American quarter also does the trick.

Is it just me or does no one in the family feel the urge to call me now that I blog? It's probably just me whining a little...

While I am at it, why does every free public surface have to be covered with graffiti? If I were dictator, I would outlaw paint in spray bottles.