Monday, December 28, 2009


We're heading to Austria for the week to celebrate Sylvester!

Salzburg, Austria for sightseeing - Dec. 29 - Jan. 1 - with our friends the Krautheims
Innsbruck, Austria for skiing - Jan. 1 - 3 - with our friends Zach and Andrea

Crossing my fingers for good skiing and picture-taking weather.

Patience is a Virtue

To live in Germany requires patience. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here. But as a whole, they have some ‘quirks’ that as Americans, take patience and some getting used to.

The villages in Germany have extremely narrow streets. Kasel, our town, is no exception. You often find yourself driving on the curb to pass a car going the opposite direction. Our streets HAVE sidewalks, most streets around here do because the Germans are always on foot. But the Germans rarely use the sidewalk. Instead, they choose to walk ON the narrow road, blocking traffic. WHY?! Also, if a car in front of you comes across a car of someone they know (doesn’t matter if the car is in the same or opposite lane), they stop, in the middle of the road, to chat. They don’t pull over. They don’t just say hi. They block the entire street to carry on a conversation with someone who they most likely see 4+ times a day.

Waiting for a parking spot with your blinker on means nothing. Don’t wait, for some German is bound to whip right in front of you and steal the spot.

If you’ve read the blog before, you know about the German line cutting ways (another quirk that takes a LOT of getting used to). Well this habit follows into the streets. The Germans CANNOT merge. And this is because they all cut in line, they all have to be first. Instead of merging when they see that their lane is ending, they speed up and try to pass each other. If it didn’t cause such a traffic back-up, no big deal, but instead, it causes major traffic delays. Yes, this happens in the U.S. as well, but not to the extreme, trust me. You can always spot the Americans on the autobahn, for they are the only ones who actually merge.

Americans living in Germany must learn patience.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ein Anderer Tag der Burgen

With Alex being on call for Christmas, we haven't been able to travel overnight (of course, that all changes with New Years/Sylvester). Fortunately, there are plenty of castles within 70 km. to explore! Today we took the dogs to Traben-Trarbach to walk around the Grevenburg Castle ruins (dating back to 1350), as well as Morbach to see the Baldenau Castle Ruins (dating back to 1320).

Friday, December 25, 2009

frohe Weihnachten

frohe Weihnachten auf Deutschland!
Merry Christmas from Germany!

While we miss spending the holidays with family, we have had a great Christmas so far.

The Germans celebrate the holiday on the 24th. We started the day off exploring some of the castles near our house, burg Humolstein, burg Birkenfeld, and schloss Veldenz. Later, we went over to the neighbors house and toasted (prost) sekt (champagne, but from Germany) to Weihnachten. We made chinese food (Palmer tradition) and stayed at home for a nice night. Tonight, we're having Christmas dinner with two other American couples!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Traveler's Luck

While Alexander flew the United States again for work, my very best friend came to visit, again (twice in 6 months! I am one lucky girl! No, Mrs. Bhatta – she is NOT moving here… although I, of course, would love it!). We’re marking countries off of Bhatta’s list. This visit: Spain!

A few of the 23 pilots recommended Ibiza, Spain. I googled pictures and my heart was set. What a good choice it wound up being!

Bhatta flew into Dusseldorf, Germany, so we could fly out of the same location the next day. Of course the travel drama started with me picking her up from the airport. New airport this time, everyone that visits always flies into Frankfurt. I have Cassandra, the GPS, but besides her, I made the trek alone. 3.5 hours and many tears later (Cassandra said it would take only 2hrs), I made it to the airport. This is after lots of screaming at Cassandra, winding up in a packed football arena parking lot thinking it was the airport, getting flashed (the German way of giving speeding tickets – thank goodness I wasn’t on the phone, otherwise I would not have a license), and driving through a snow storm! But we made it! We stayed the night in a great hotel in Weeze, Germany, a cute German town with a cute Christmas market. The next day, our flight out to Ibiza.

Prior to Bhatta’s arrival, I checked Ibiza’s weather religiously. In the 2 months of checking, never once was there rain. When we got off the airplane, what did we see? Rain. Cool. That’s ok, we have almost 5 days. No worries.

We take a taxi from the airport to our “hotel,” and I use this term very loosely. Being the budget travelers that we are, Bhatta and I booked a hostel. Mistake. We were the ONLY people there, no staff on sight, no lock on the door, and the place was almost flooded because it was an “open” apartment (no ceilings accept in the rooms). We are both uncomfortable from the start, but decide to give it a go. That night we barricaded the door with a table and chairs. Yes, that is how sketch city this place was.

Our luck changed quickly, though! There was an internet cafĂ© down the street. We quickly booked a new hotel, which turned out to be a spectacular idea. One of the nicer hotels I’ve been to, ever. Great restaurant, huge room, spa, free entrance to their club, great bar in the hotel, and more. We could only have been happier if it stopped raining, which it did! Travelers luck.

We got to explore two of the main parts of Ibiza – Sant Antoni and Ibiza Town. Both gorgeous. The Dalt Villa, or old town, in Ibiza Town was definitely the favorite. Great views, crystal clear water, and great restaurants and bars. Overall, a perfect vacation! We had trouble leaving.

With Ibiza being so beautiful and us having such a good time, we of course had to made plans to go back. Quarter of a Century Birthday Party for Bhatta and I: April 2011. Ibiza here we come.. again!

Fotos de Eivissa

** I didn’t bring my camera (or my wedding ring) because A was nervous about us being mugged (probably a good idea), but here are some pictures from Bhatta’s camera. I will be bringing my camera on our April 2011 trip!

Monday, December 21, 2009

erste Schnee

Bhatta and I in the Trier walking platz
Bernkastel Christmas Market
Snow at our house
Riva and Boston's First Snow

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rewear

The Germans are huge on recycling, as were the Swiss. It’s one of the things I love about the country. They care about their environment.

When we moved into our house, we were issued one small trash can, one large paper bin, and many, many ‘gelb sacks,’ (yellow bags). Our small trash can, about double the size of a normal kitchen trash can, is shared between two houses. It is emptied ONCE A MONTH. That’s it. Not once a week like in America. Because of the extensive recycling, we have yet to have a problem, or even fill it up. Impressive, if you ask me.

The gelb sack is for plastic, aluminum, and Styrofoam. These are picked up two time a month. Paper is also picked up twice a month.

With glass, we have a few options. The city does not pick it up on the street. And rightfully so. Who wants broken glass all over the street? We can either drive our glasses down the street to bins where we can dispose of them. Or we can return them for a refund at the grocery store. Both good options if you ask me.

I look back at the amount of trash that we “made” in every other home and can barely believe it. We would empty an entire kitchen size trash bag almost every other day. Here, we use small grocery-sized bags for our trash and take them out once a week, MAYBE.

Our Christmas tree is even recyclable – alive and replantable!

Almost forgot to mention.. they also rewear their clothes. And by rewear, I mean, day after day, without washing. I am not such a fan of this habit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Show Your Appreciation

Xerox is doing a good thing for deployed soldiers. If interested, go to the website and send a Christmas card for free to a soldier who is doing something great for you and your country.

zee Germans

As per request, by one of my favorite people in the world (Grandaddy Martin), a picture of "zee Germans." This picture was taken on Thanksgiving.

Svenja is on the left, called Sveni for short. She lives across the street and is best friend's with Jill.

Michaella is in the middle. My neighbor/landlord's wife.

Jill is on the right. She is Michaella and my landlord, Axel's daughter.

The two girls house sit/dog sit while we travel. It works out perfectly. They LOVE having the house to themselves (sometimes asking if we can go away for the weekend! haha!). They also LOVE to eat my American food! Their favorites are peanut butter, Honey-O's, Cinnamon Life, anything microwaveable, and marshmallows.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Must Haves

While visiting us in Germany, you all must try the following:

Riesling (especially from the Scherf vineyard), beer (German and Belgian), cheese (preferably Dutch), chocolate (preferably Belgian), spatzle, gluhwein, French fries, Haribo, nutella, froop, federweisser, prosciutto sandwiches, gelato (my favorite is hazelnuss), apfel strudel mit gelato, Belgian beer, Pasta from Cosa Nova, doner kebab (I recommend klein, not gross), weiss wein und panoramatopf auf Piesport, Baren Treff Fruit-Snacks Erdbeer-Rhabarber, riebekuchen (potato pancakes dipped in apfelmus – MY ABSOLUTELY FAVORITE!), waffles (preferably Belgian), schoko croissant (from our bakery down the street), schoko twists, tomato-mozzarella Panini, kaffe auf Delikat Baguetteria mit almond cookie, nutella banana crepes, zweibel baguette (from the bakery down the street).

This list will continue to grow as we live here longer, eating more and more.