Saturday, April 10, 2010

Uzerche, France...

After going about 5 hours out of our way b/c I put all my navigational faith into our new, but unreliable SatNav, we decided to head back in the right direction, but take a small detour along the way. We are staying a couple nights in the small, but absolutely beautiful town of Uzerche, France with the Vezere River running out our hotel window. Spring has sprung, the sun is shining, no need for coats, only sunglasses and smiles. I walked along the river a bit and found myself thinking of Uncle Tom as I came upon a Kayak course in the river. I know he's not necessarily into sport kayaking, but kayaking reminds me of him and his new interest none-the-less. Chris and I are hoping the whole town doesn't shut down on the weekends, so we might have a chance to rent one and have a go.

I have found, during my travels, that lack of exercise and sleep are a poor, poor combination for all involved. Luckily we have been staying near towns with rivers and nothing motivates me more to go for a run, no matter how quick, then being near water with a lovely running/walking trail. It calls to me, with buds bursting on trees and flowers overcome with blooms. We are in a town I have never heard of in France...that is amazing! And I found out the dish I have been looking forward to the most since arriving in France, but have not been able to find on any menu is available at the restaurant down stairs. Can't wait to get me some Cassoulet! So if you'll excuse stomach is a rumbling!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Lindau part deux...

I rented a bike today and ventured beyond the footpaths to the big open bike paths which led me to the surrounding communities. It was lovely. But first, to the Island of Lindau:

Not sure that actually make sizes that big...

The lovely receptionist at my hotel, Sabine, says she's my German sister. We have a great deal in common and enjoyed two lovely evenings getting to know one another. First night, I bought some Italian Red Wine and cheeses and we talked politics and the state of the world from two countries' points of view. Quite interesting.

Next night, she brought me to her flat (which looked a heck of lot like the one I had in Boulder before moving in with Chris) and this random, but lovely Mexican Restaurant, owned by her good friend. I couldn't believe the mound of meat for my fajitas. I told them how we get about a quarter of the meat in the states and she replied, "But I thought America was the land of the big dishes?" To right, but not big amounts of the expensive stuff!
These, I learned from Sabine, are apple and pear trees, as fresh pressed juice is very popular in this area. I rode my bike through fields of these.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lindau, Germany...

I spent a few days in the Bavarian town of Lindau. I chose this town b/c of it's position on Lake Constance, which also borders Austria and Switzerland and has a view of the Swiss Alps from a lovely park just around the corner from my hotel. The moon greeted us with full beauty the night of our arrival.

Wanted to show Rebecca that though the beer is still present there is no meat in this meal of mine and hasn't been for two days. Still quite tasty though! I am in love with the way they combine potato salad, pickled cabbage of all types with their lettuce salads!
I do believe this was the first hand blower ever invented...impressed it still works, but thought it was going to set fire to something before too long, with the burning fumes emitting from the fan. Perhaps it was just my flesh.
Random but oddly inspiring...
The tiniest old school bike in the world!
That's right, someone had a vineyard in their back yard!
View from the park over Lake Constance.

So the first day it was absolutely beautiful and still quite warm...then came the cold front. it rained yesterday and snowed today. I am boycotting the cold and doing my domestic duties inside today (handwashing laundry b/c there is not self-service launderette anywhere in town and blogging!)

Neuschwanstein Schloss, Bavaria...

Since Chris and heard it was in Bavaria, we made it a priority to visit the Disney Castle (known by American tourists). As Chris mentioned on his blog, King Ludwig II set out to build this and three other castle over two decades. He oversaw every single decision and had impeccable taste. When all was said and done there were several rooms that remained unfinished and he was only able to live in the finished rooms for 6 months before his untimely death. The castle was used as a model for Sleeping Beauty's castle by Disney.

Easter is a huge holiday in Germany (mainly for the Easter egg hunts) and many trees were decorated with plastic eggs. It was very colorful and brought a smile to my face each time I saw it.
It freaked Chris out a little though...that or made him hungry, I can't quite tell!

Believe it or not, this is not a postcard, but the actual view from the castle. I think I could live with this view day in and day out.

Munich, Germany...

I'm a little bit ashamed to say that I did not see much of Munich. After I visited Dachau, I was in no mood to be a tourist. It is heavy stuff and stayed with me longer than I anticipated. But Chris finally dragged me out to city centre and the Hofbrauhaus...the famous beerhall, complete with an Umpa band, lederhosen (true and proud) and good food/beer!

Heidelberg, Germany...

As Chris and I crossed France briefly into Bavaria again, we knew we had to have the proper equipment to hold our own. Luckily he was able to find us each a sweet new grill to let the Bavarian people know we meant business!

Ah, Heidelberg. So far it is my favorite European city. It is situated on either side of the Neckar River and is set up for so much outdoor recreation. People were constantly walking, running, biking and even paragliding. People were happy, healthy and friendly!
(coal barge)

Look at the eye of the "sitting duck", he's peeking at me!

Now I know about pink lady apples (they are my fav when honeycrisps aren't in season), but Diva apples...
Old Bridge...

Chris and I very much like these trees, but never did figure out what they were...

I sat here for a couple hours one day, just soaking up the sun and enjoying the view!
The castle. I sure got my workout that day walking up the steep, steep hill and many stairs...

The castle itself was fine enough...nothing new, but it included access to the Apothecary Museum, which I found fascinating!
I was trying to get just the right angle so the light would be good for the picture. As I leaned over the railing to get this shot, I heard the siren go off and continue going off for the next five minutes. Luckily, no one else was around when I did it, so no one knew who tripped the sensor! I guess they do now!
yes, that is a little alligator hanging from the ceiling in the sunlight!
Proof that chocolate and coconuts have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years!
Called the cutting room, it's where they have all the equipment for chopping herbs and pulverizing plants for their oils in the biggest mortar and pestals I've ever seen.

The tiniest little medicine cabinet I've ever seen! Complete with Belladonna!
And now for a trip down memory lane to the HS chemistry lab...

View from the castle...not too shabby!

I ate at this restaurant one afternoon, then took Chris there for dinner, having no idea it was the most fabulous and perfect hole-in-wall German bar (I ate outside for lunch) ever created. We had some truly wonderful traditional Bavarian dishes and were served by very friendly staff who wanted us to experience everything Bavaria that we could in one evening. They had a piano player playing and we clapped after each song...then he proceeded to talk to us, very fast, in German. He only made statements, to which we responded with a raised stein, until the last song before our departure when he asked a question. That was when my stock phrase came out that I don't actually speak German. He laughed and got embarrassed that he had been speaking German to us all night when he speaks perfectly fine English. He played Casablanca for our final farewell song. It was quite the perfect evening!