Here’s Hoping….

So the last few days have been absolutely lovely, to the point where I switched from my normal winter jacket to my lighter jacket. Not to mention that I also left off the socks when I threw on my flats for the trip to the supermarket this afternoon. Last weekend I prepped my balcony for spring, and replanted some bulbs that I had saved from last year’s crocuses.

The weather forecast has been saying all week that the temperature is going to drop like crazy again, and more snow might be on the way, but I’m hoping that this is one of the MANY TIMES when they are dead wrong. In fact, I’m hoping that I get to see these again as soon as possible….

I took those a year ago tomorrow, so I don’t think that’s unreasonable…. is it??

Critters in action.

This weekend was Daylight Savings Time here in Euro-land. I love that it gets us one more hour of evening sunshine, but sadly this weekend it meant that I had one less hour to enjoy that time in the countryside. 

And now, animals!

Chickens do not comply with requests to hold still. But when you’re constantly being stalked by….

die kleine Katzke, you can’t be blamed for staying on the move. 

Süss Freitag

Happy Friday from the land of blue skies and wonderful spring temperatures! It has been absolutely gorgeous this whole week, and people are migrating to the outdoor world again.

To be honest, I have absolutely no idea what kind of cake I got this week, as the tags at the bakery were all cattywampus. Yes, that is a word. But here’s what it looked like…

It was a great choice, and a great mix of cake and fruit. The cake was almost creamy; it was thick without being heavy. On top were mandarin oranges and red currants in a creamy topping with crispy nut slices. Delish. 

In other news….

my geranium from last year survived! It has the first flowers of the year on it, and I am extremely proud of myself. There were a few times I didn’t think it was going to make it, but it persevered. The jury is still out on my dahlia. It had some green sprouts on it but I chopped the hell out of it the other day because they eventually turned brown. So we’ll see if it comes back from it’s chopping. 

I’m off tomorrow morning to visit the Villagers, and I’m looking forward to some springy walks in the countryside. Enjoy your weekends and the nice weather!

Frühling Süss Freitag

That’s right, I’m calling it. It might be spring. 

I walked out of the house this morning and there was…. a warm breeze! Wind that was not cold… and the peasants rejoice! It’s about 72°F/22°C right now, which is damn near perfekt.

On the walk to the city, it seemed like everyone was outside. Not to mention that almost every window was flung open. All the outdoor seating at the cafes was full, people had sunglasses on and the Vespa parking area was packed. It was glorious.

In honor of this new season, today’s cake is full of spring-y goodness.

This was a fantastic Rhabarber-Erdbeer Sahnetorte from my local Der Beck. I highly recommend going and getting yourself a slice. I know a lot of people aren’t big rhubarb fans, but I think they would get over it if they tried this. So get going. And open your windows while you’re at it!!

Please excuse my mess.

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled… Cake.

After a few weeks hiatus, I am happy to report that Süss Freitag is back on schedule. Today’s cake comes from the bakery down the street and was the perfect complement to the lovely springy day…

Yellow cake on the bottom, gargantuan strawberries on the top. Seriously, they were huge. Almost alarmingly large. 

Cake was my dinner today, as I met with my Sprachduo friend Eva for lunch. We went to Chong’s Diner in Nürnberg, as Eva had told me that she had never had a hamburger before. Well, she’d never had a non-McDonald’s hamburger. As all expats know and lament, it is not easy to find a decent burger abroad, but Chong’s does an okay job. And if they’re lacking in taste, they certainly make up for it in size. The burger is enormous, the bun is bigger, and they put huge pieces of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber (yep, I guess that’s a pickle), on the burgers. And the burgers come with an absolute mountain of French Fries. It’s definitely one of those meals that you can’t even come close to cleaning your plate. But I think Eva enjoyed it, and I enjoyed watching her attempt to eat the burger with a knife and fork at the end when it was falling all over. A messy burger is not for the faint of heart.

I also brought her a few pieces of candy, including a Reese’s P.B.C., and she thanked me and said she’d put it away for Easter. Turns out she gave up chocolate for Lent… luckily she doesn’t know how awesome those things are, otherwise it would be a rough few weeks. There’s no way you could put one of those in front of me and tell me not to eat it for that long. What can I say, I lack self-restraint. 

After lunch, I headed over to the Hauptmarkt to pick up some veggies, and I also got some great spring flowers. I’m still hoping my Dahlia from last year isn’t entirely dead… there are a few bits of green poking up, so I’m hoping it comes back. And my geranium appears to have survived the winter, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be blooming any time soon. So I picked up a Hyacinth bulb, a Crocus….

Normal light
Dramatic late-afternoon light

… and a Cyclamen. Which I had to Google this afternoon because I had no idea what it was when I bought it. It was unlabeled, but I thought it was pretty and so I had to figure out how not to kill it. 

Just look at that blue sky. 

It was really great just to be out in the nice weather the last few days, and even better to see people walking around and enjoying it. The ice cream stands are opening back up, birds are chirping, the cafes have the chairs back outside (with blankets, it’s not that warm yet!), and that means the beer gardens will be opening soon. So happy almost-Spring to all!

One last shot… Ok, more than one.

Today it was sunny for the first time since Thursday. The sky the last two days has been that low, flat, light gray sky that lets you know that snow is on the way. I was pretty sure that if it had been about ten degrees colder, we definitely would have had some flakes falling. But when I woke up this morning and saw blue sky, I realized I should probably take what might be a last opportunity to get some “fall” pictures. 

Maybe I’m weird, but I feel like Nürnberg is a city for autumn. Something about the way the gold, brown, orange and red leaves perfectly complement the soft red-brown stone that many of the Altstadt buildings are made from is just beautiful. Despite the falling temperatures it still feels warm. 

Prague, on the other hand, was a city for spring. When spring hits, beautiful flower beds appear all around the city, people start wearing color again, and most importantly, you might see someone crack a smile on the tram. Rain washes away the sand and stones that covered snowy sidewalks all winter, and the city bursts into bloom. Petřín Hill is covered in flowering fruit trees, and it’s the perfect place to sit with a few friends and a few drinks on a weekend afternoon. There is color everywhere and it perfectly complements the mix of pinks, oranges, greens and every other shade on buildings in the old parts of the city. If you’re planning a trip to Prague, spring is the best time to go, hands down. If you don’t believe me, here are some photos from mid-April last year….

These were all taken during one of the traditional Sunday Wanderings I used to do with my friend Katie. Petřín and the Wallenstein gardens are gorgeous on a sunny spring day. I miss Prague, I do. But I have to remember that most of the things and people that made it so fantastic for me are no longer there. Even if I believed in regrets, I wouldn’t regret the decisions that I made this year.

Which brings us to Nürnberg. Like I said, I feel like it’s perfect for fall. I was a little worried the last few days that I had really missed my window for pictures, but considering I had the Most Beautiful Autumn Weekend in the Country Ever a few weeks ago, I didn’t think it was a good idea to complain. But then lo and behold, the sun was shining this morning and I could get out for some pictures before the Christmas decorations completely engulf the city. I think last week would have been better, but that ship has sailed. This week it is. So here you go… Herbst in Nürnberg.

How German is this??


24.

Fountain and tulips in Pilsen. 7.5.2011

Spent the weekend in Pilsen drinking many pivos and checking out the city. Also have a camera on loan from Boy so I can resume daily photos.

This weekend was the Liberation Festival, celebrating the 66th anniversary of the US troops reaching Pilsen at the end of World War II. It was very interesting to see this event celebrated yearly, complete with American flags, people dressed in period uniforms, and assorted veterans/important people. They were even celebrating the release of a new book about the event, which the interpreter kept saying “was being christened.” It was amusing. Amusement continued when they poured glasses of champagne for the 20 people on stage, toasted the book, and then actually poured champagne onto a copy. And a copy of the accompanying DVD. Never saw that one coming. Interesting to say the least.

34.

In Wallenstein Palace Gardens. 18.4.2010

The good news is that I got my point-and-shoot camera back from Jess. The bad news is that the screen was broken. She said it still took pictures, but I tried taking a few and no dice. Which means I’m a “photographer” (using the term loosely, here), without a camera. Inconvenience! So today’s photo is way retro, from last year. I’ve been very sad about the fact that I can’t take pictures of all the beautiful blooming trees right now, so I’m glad I got some last year.

38.

Fountain nearby Charles Bridge. 8.4.2011

38 days left and a happy Easter to anyone who is actually reading this!

Camera is still not functioning. This is not a positive thing. But if I got 5 years work out of Grandpa’s refurbished Sony, I guess that’s a pretty good thing. So again today a pic from a few weeks ago. I love this little park right near the Charles Bridge. It has a beautiful rose garden and an amazing fountain. I like how these guys just look like they’re chilling out and enjoying the flowering spring scenery and beautiful architecture. Since it’s Easter and I couldn’t take a picture of any of the beautiful flowers in bloom around the city, here’s an honorary flower picture from the stockpile.

They smelled lovely.