31 December 2009

Happy New Year

Rain has replaced snow for the time being. I am hoping the new year will bring more of the white stuff. Cold rain is not my cup of tea.

On the last day of the year we are staying home (well, interrupted by a quick trip to buy a new DVD player this morning...why do those things always die at the most inopportune times?). We will ring out the end of the decade with pizza, movies, games, cheesy German shows and, of course, some bubbly.

Wishing all a healthy and happy new year!

23 December 2009

Season's Greetings

We are busy prepping for our traditional Christmas Eve Mexican feast. Cilantro, avocados, and tamales will be dancing in our heads as we sleep tonight.

And wherever you may find yourself this year, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

21 December 2009

In the spotlight

Buying meat
Markthalle, Stuttgart, December 2009

My favorite place in Stuttgart, hands down, is the Markthalle. The first time I walked into this year-round, indoor food market it took my breath away. Stalls, packed together, selling foods from around the world. The colors explode and the smells entice. On a busy day you will be sandwiched in like a sardine, jostling amongst the people to buy the treasures on your list. And yes, it's all worth it. The Markthalle is like Alice in Wonderland for foodies.

But the Markthalle is not without it's competition. Stuttgart has it's share of places that vie for my affections. Some were even featured in the December 2009 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. If you haven't seen it, click here.

15 December 2009

Hot coffee and candy canes

If you're lucky you can find a candy cane...before they all disappear.

The snow is blowing outside. Beautiful, perfect flakes...as if they were each made be hand. A crisp -2°C (28°F), perfect weather to be an indoor spectator and sit with a cup of coffee.

06 December 2009

The hectic season

Apple-Cranberry pie

Over a month since the last post. It was a month filled with good things like a visit from my mom (we're trouble when we're together) and lots of yummy food (how great is Thanksgiving).

And now, here I sit addressing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts and preparing for the next round of holiday madness. I could make a promise to post more, but knowing how things pop up this time of year, I won't. Instead I will say that I'm going to try to be better about it...really.

04 November 2009

Autumn color

Autumn on the Bärensee
October 2009

31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

Schloss Ludwigsburg, October 2009

29 October 2009

Pumpkins galore

If you ask me, pumpkins epitomize fall. Their gorgeous autumnal colors. Their rich, earthy taste. They are brisk days and crisp blue skies in gourd form. I adore them.

This past weekend we ventured to the Pumpkin Festival at Schloss Ludwigburg. The festival isn't an homage to Halloween (as the Germans aren't as in to the holiday as we are). Rather it's more about the gourd itself. Emphasis is on artful displays (centered on the theme of children's stories) and food that falls under the category of 'everything is better with pumpkin'.

There are large pumpkins. The one in the center weighed over 800 pounds.

There are pumpkins to buy, mainly for eating. Aren't these 'black' pumpkins gorgeous?

And there is an abundance of pumpkin food. Like the pumpkin maultaschen. Maultaschen are a speciality from this region of Germany. It's pasta stuffed with a mixture of meat and spices, similar to ravioli. This one has the addition of pumpkin flesh in the stuffing and a pumpkin puree sauce. To die for.

27 October 2009


A bench with a view
October 2009

So...it's been over a month. I've been silent, but not absent.

A month ago I had much needed surgery on some faulty leg veins. Such surgery requires a decent recovery period of lying on the couch and walking, but no sitting or standing. And typing on a laptop that can't sit on my lap is a bit tough. The extent of my computer use is craning my neck to the side and reading until a crick sets in.

Anyway, I am getting back into the swing of things now. And I have been getting some fabulous photos from my frequent therapeutic walks. So enjoy the view and I will be back with more.

18 September 2009


We made it to Oktoberfest this year!

Okay, not really. We missed it by three weeks.

During a recent hop to Munich for a look around, we happened upon the fest site. I told my husband I wanted to get closer to snap a few pictures. To our surprise, the majority of Oktoberfest was already set up...and the grounds were open. In the States, you would never see a fairgrounds open to the public prior to the event, but here you could wander freely.

It was strange as we walked the streets of the famed fest. They weren't filled with masses of people or a barrage of sounds, rather it was quiet, with the only noise coming from the occasional bicyclist or walker also out to enjoy the area.

The Munich Oktoberfest opens tomorrow and runs for sixteen days. I'm actually happy that we were able to enjoy it the way we did. But to all those going - PROST!

09 September 2009


Cobblestones in the woods near Stuttgart
August 2009

Autumn is coming. The mornings are cold. The air is crisp. My little boy started school. To me, autumn feels like New Year's. Everything starts over again...at least in the world we live in.

I took a walk in the woods this morning to clear my head. Amazing what a little fresh air can do...and some selected music on an iPod. I think better when I'm out walking on my own. I can get a grasp on things. I can get all my ducks in the proverbial row. And now I'm ready. Come on, autumn, show your colors. I'm ready.

Music from my iPod... The Show by Lenka

03 September 2009

Stuttgarter Weindorf

The Germans love food and drink festivals...and I admire them for that.

We spent a recent afternoon at the Stuttgarter Weindorf. Nothing like a festival where it's just booth after booth of fabulous local wine and food.

So many choices, I finally settled on a plate of mushrooms and spaetzle, followed by a glass of Bottwartal Kellerei Trollinger. Trollinger is a light red wine produced in our area of Germany, perfect for this mid-afternoon treat.

Sadly, I was so full after this that I had to pass on the waffle with raspberries and cream. Heaven help me when the beer festivals start at the end of this month.

01 September 2009

The things you see

Stuttgart, August 2009

I file this under the same category as the Indian - you just never know what you're going to see.

Can you imagine being this flexible? I certainly cannot. Joining her in her street routine was her fire-eating husband and three boys who could do various balancing tricks. I guess that is one way for a family to earn a few extra Euro.

21 August 2009

Faces in the woods

The Germans love their forests. Really. They have a true love of the outdoors and spend loads of time out enjoying it. You never know what you will see or find during a walk. I am constantly in awe of walking a mile or so into a forest and stumbling upon a restaurant or ice cream stand, accessible only by foot or bicycle.

Or even stumbling upon a sight like this. In one of the woods near us, there is a carver/artist in residence. His handiwork can be purchased to take home or you can simply enjoy the work that is permanently on display.

Like this snag.

At first look, you may not see much. But then the creatures and faces pop out as if greeting you, in this very German way, to their forest.

16 August 2009

Where are the cowboys...

Strolling Indian
Stuttgart, August 2009

...because I found the Indian.

Further proof of my theory that you always need a camera handy because you never know what you're going to see.

14 August 2009

Musical interlude, part 2

Band of many colors
Stuttgart, August 2009

We had some dear friends visiting this past weekend. During our requisite tour of the city we came across another band in the same location as the girls' quartet from a few weeks ago. I wanted to convert the photo to black and white, perhaps start a series featuring the same subject, but I couldn't...because check out the guy on the right. That outfit. That color. A man truly comfortable in his own skin.

07 August 2009


Impressionist painting or just a reflection?

Have a great weekend.

Update: Yes, the photo is a reflection...flipped upside-down. It's a pond in a nearby wood. The wind was creating just enough of a ripple on the surface to remind me of a Van Gogh.

31 July 2009

One sweet ride

I couldn't rightfully post pictures of the Mercedes Benz Museum without also posting a photo of a car. So here it is...


Yes, the original Pope Mobile resides at the museum. Built in 1980 to shield Pope John Paul II from the elements on a tour of Germany, it had a top speed of 81mph. The following year it was modified with bulletproof glazing after an attempt was made on the Pope's life.

Can you only imagine cruising the autobahn in that thing?

Side note: The Pope Mobile is part of a celebrity exhibit. See the small red coupe next to the papal car? That was Princess Diana's car.

28 July 2009

Where function and style meet

Forget their cars and contributions to human mobility...check out Mercedes Benz' museum. The design floored me. It wasn't just an homage to their products, it was a thing of beauty and spoke volumes to their pioneering image. Well worth a visit, even if you are not a gear-head.

20 July 2009

Musical interlude

Summer quartet captivating the crowd with Mozart
Stuttgart, July 2009

We happened upon this quartet on a trip into the city for a minor repair to Betsy (my camera...but then again I call my car Betsy as well...perhaps I should come up with another name). Dust on the sensor leads to photos with spots. A good cleaning and the purchase of a sensor cleaning kit...all is well.

15 July 2009

Flying fish

Well, not really flying...rather 'sliding' fish.

The Hamburg Fish Market has arrived in Stuttgart again and with it the backfisch (fried fish) lighthouse.

Drawing a crowd around the over-the-top concession stand is the cook, from his perch on the second level, with his market cry. As another batch of fish comes out of the fryer, he yells for all to hear - HIER KOMMT BACKFISCH! (or 'here comes the fried fish'). All stop to watch the fillets fly/slide down the metal corkscrew in the center of the stand...then gather to claim their food and eagerly dig in.

13 July 2009

Gilded Flora

Flora, goddess of flowers and spring, as a gilt fountain
Schloss Linderhof, Germany, July 2009

07 July 2009

Happiness is...

Mid-afternoon snack
Oberammergau, July 2009

01 July 2009


Last weekend we went to the Maximillian Ritterspiele (knight's games) in the beautiful village of Horb am Neckar. We've always been game for themed festivals and the Germans go all out.

What we tend to enjoy most about themed festivals is the lack of complete historic accuracy. While the concessionaire booths at this one looked the part, no portable trailers or stuffed animals in sight, there were still those little details that snuck through...and made us laugh.

Like authentic cotton candy...

Ancient methods of communication...

...and musicians who look like Flea gone medieval. I stood there waiting for him to break into Scar Tissue.

29 June 2009

Don't drive on the palace grass

After living here almost two years we still hadn't been to Ludwigsburg...which is ridiculous considering how close it is to us. So on a recent bright, sunny day we piled in the car and headed off in search of the palace and it's beautiful gardens.

We laughed as we went to enter. Slightly out of historical sync, we found the grounds covered with a classic car show. Okay, sure, why not. It wasn't what we had hoped to see, but it was still a nice day out.

Of all the Mercedes on display (and there were a lot since this area is home of the iconic car), this was my favorite. It screams 'Dictator of a Small Country', doesn't it?

But my son said this should be my car. He thought I would look good in it. I agree. The kid's got taste.