Welcome, little one!

It’s a girl. Her beautiful name is Lina Madeleine. Born July 18. I became an aunt (3rd time) and a god mother (3rd time). So proud.

Congratulations to the new and first time parents! Welcome, little one!

So sweet.

So little.

So cute.

So tiny.

LOL

Home again.

Home is where the Bionade was born.

Home again.

Always admiring daddy’s garden. And since we got our own I understand how much time and work has been put in here. But totally worth it. Very beautiful to look at and be in. A little green paradise.

Spoilt by mums delicious dinner. Who cares about 35C when you can have „Kloß mit Roulade“? Sooooo good!

The best!

Can you say „no“ to another delicious dinner invitation from favorite aunt & uncle? All we were requested was to be hungry & thirsty.

Chicken in salt coat. Delicious!

And visiting the beer garden with hubbies favorite beer.

A wonderful weekend back home. So good to see you all again! Much too fast over, as usual. See you all soon again! And many thanks for all the delicious dinners. We enjoyed it all. So good!

Van-tastic!

On the road again for another van-tastic weekend. This time with ivory painted wheels (wohoooo!) & hubby’s self-installed disco LED lights (he’s so proud of them) and much more included in the van life upgrade 2.0.

This weekend is all about German wine & German castles (a perfect match). Discovering places we both have not been to. And making this weekend all about wine… similar to 6 years ago. Happy (5 day early) wedding anniversary to ourselves! Cheers!

In fact it’s pretty awesome. Pick a spot, grab wine (and some food), get in van, drive. Arrive & enjoy! And that’s what we did.

Cruising along the “Badische Weinstraße” to Heidelberg – the city of students and bikes, bars & a beautiful castle (only 302 steps & return).

Hmmm… It’s the season of chanterelles/Pfifferlinge.

This time we are trying something new: staying on farms (& vineyards) along our route we hadn’t planned so exactly. And that’s the deal: camp one night free & go grocery (or wine) shopping in the farmer shop. Excellent idea & a van-tastic experience!

Our first idyllic afternoon/night in the middle of nowhere somewhere around Heidelberg. Wild & free & wonderful on a goat & sheep farm.

Farm shop

Good morning, Heidelberg!

2nd van trip included upgrade to Italian self-made cappuccino

Our road trip continued towards the river Mosel. Wow! Stunning!

At 4pm: surrounded by steep vineyards (in fact the steepest in Europe). Time to check out the Vinothek: tasting the white & red gold followed by a hike. We truly arrived in wine heaven.

Sleeping in the vineyards (biggest advantage to drink and immediately fall into your bed). Peaceful. Beautiful! Enjoying the early vineyard walks with Charlie.

Enjoying a ride along the German Wine Road to the next destination for the night: another beautiful vineyard. Sipping German-made style Aperol Spritz. Loving it!

Sunset over the vineyards to end another chilled day.

This farm is not only about wine but lemon trees and flowers – very Mediterranean. The secco & wine: delicious. Again in wine heaven.

Charlie got stung by a bee. First time. Ouch!

Luckily she recovered quickly. All those treats helped.

Cruising home via the German Wine Road all the way to the French border. Those green views – gorgeous and a feast for the eye!

And again we are impressed about the beauty of Germany!

We love summer and our Bulli. We had another van-tastic trip.

Bulli did great again and is now ready for a service check: getting ready for the big trip soon: all the way to Ireland! Wohooooo!

yes, I do.

Not us. Our friends. (But yes, I would also marry the same man again).

Cheers to the newly weds!

We have been keeping all our fingers crossed for the past weeks that the wedding can happen this time.

A wedding or premier 2.0 as the bride & groom call it.

A Croatian wedding. Finally to happen. Postponed from March to July because of corona. Today is the day: Our Shanghai friends are getting married.

And what a party it was!
A beautiful bride
& groom.

An outdoor wedding in a beautiful location.

Yes, I do and all my life… who cares about a wedding 4 months delayed – the words of the priest. The mass was just beautiful in the chapel.

Was es ist -Erich Fried-

Es ist Unsinn sagt die Vernunft.

Es ist was es ist sagt die Liebe.

Es ist Unglück sagt die Berechnung.

Es ist nichts als Schmerz sagt die Angst.

Es ist aussichtslos sagt die Einsicht.

Es ist was es ist sagt die Liebe.

Es ist lächerlich sagt der Stolz.

Es ist leichtsinnig sagt die Vorsicht.

Es ist unmöglich sagt die Erfahrung.

Es ist was es ist sagt die Liebe.

Love actually.

And the Shanghai connection was invited, too. Cheers to the beautiful newlyweds!

You are the Oscar winners of being the main actors. You chose us as best supporting actors. Thanks for the Oscars – we feel honored!

And the Oscar goes to…
Cute…
…and cuter!

Thanks for making us part of your special day! An amazing party to remember!

Enjoy your new status & well deserved honeymoon!

A (first) day in the office

Green light for my desk of today.

First thought: oh no, I have to go back to the office (getting up one and a half hours earlier, driving, traffic jam, road works…. arghhhh. Nightmare thoughts. And yes, I got used to working from home). Second thought: yeah, looking forward to meet my mates again. Real coffee & real lunch breaks again (divided by transparent plastic walls).

I haven’t been wearing a watch while working from home… and funny enough all of them are still showing winter time… my last day in the office was 17 weeks ago. Isn’t that crazy?

Alarm clock (ringing early).

Shower, hair style & summer make up.

Dressing (nicely. My favorite part).

Driving (road work but no traffic jam).

Parking (early birds benefit…).

Pick up mask.

Most important accessories these days.

Walk to office passing by wild growing flowers.

Find right desk.

Missed my view… surrounded by vineyards!

Coffee.

Meetings.

More coffee.

More meetings.

I love my huge monitor. After the laptop screen for the past months it almost feels like a cinema screen (the film is just not as nice. And I cannot choose. Lol.).

You know what you miss once you have it back…

The new office rules:

Reserve a seat in an online list in advance (50% max.).

Only wear the mask you get provided in morning (in-house production).

Wear mask in aisles & buildings.

Only every other desk can be used. First come, first serve.

Allowed to take mask off at own desk.

Keep distance of 1.5metres.

Dispose mask at end of day.

A lunch date. It’s kind of nice to have a lunch break to spend with just eating and w/o cooking preparation.

Common lunch but separated by glass walls. Feeling a bit like a prisoner.

A surprise: Chinese Sichuan pepper peanuts from a Shanghai colleague. He brought them back from a home trip and has been keeping them since March (I’m impressed. I probably would have eaten all of them by now).

Nice to be back (even my efficiency is higher in home office). I think I still will continue to work from home. New concept could be: 1 day in the office and 4 days working from home. Yes, I like that.

Looking forward to my routined working from home tomorrow. Good night!

Communication these days to keep hygiene up.

summer

Summer in Germany, between shorts and fleece jacket.

Summer these days starts in April (sometimes in March). And it possibly could just rain all June. Summers are no longer reliable (no, I’m not complaining, it’s better than 120% humidity, believe me). That’s why we have to be out and enjoy while the temperatures are up and the sun is out and the sky heavenly blue.

Summer is when most colleagues are on holiday. Summer is eating ice-cream. Summer is driving top down (if I had a convertible). Summer is sleeping with open windows (including mosquito bites). Summer is BBQ. Summer is Flipflops. Summer means wonderful smelling rose gardens everywhere. And the smell of tomatoes. Summer means Aperol Spritz after work. Summer time is awesome.

Keeping the house cool.
first poppy in our garden.
Summer 2020… very special.
First harvest of black berries… many more to come soon.
Preferred after work drink.
…followed by zucchini salad with truffle oil. Soooooooo good!

My favorite thing to do: laying in the lounger watching the clouds go by.

Clouds moving fast these days…

A cooling drink: water with fresh mint from the garden. Hubby’s comment: that’s a waste, better keep it for the mojito or caipirinha.

Summer is when the kitchen is flooded with first sun raises in the morning while making coffee.

Dear summer, please stay forever. Or at least a little longer?

Enjoy!

#sisters

From a planned siblings weekend in the Black Forest in April (including hike & spa) to a sisters weekend in Frankfurt in July (first corona and now a soon to be expected baby came in between).

Frankfurt is known as the bustling transport hub and financial capital of Germany. Frankfurt meant for me in the past years: international airport & later Five Guys. In & out and that’s it. But what I experienced this weekend (thanks to my sister, a fantastic city guide): Frankfurt is full of fun. And students. And boats. And museums. And exhibitions. And dancing security guards to South American music. And äppelwoi – of course.

And there’s Frankfurt‘s Old Town at Sachsenhausen: cobble-stoned streets, narrow laneways, nice little shops, authentic pubs… all in all: it’s the perfect place to spend the afternoon wandering around, stopping by the shops & cafes. We loved it and had our Saturday go by including finding hidden gems.

The reason we picked Frankfurt this weekend: the exhibition „Fantastic Women“.

Frankfurt is also known as “the small city in Germany”. After Shanghai it feels like big city life: very international, many people, 4 lane streets, a skyline, towers…

Frankfurts culinary side:

Handkäse mit Musik – I had no idea what it was… but we loved it.

The famous schnitzel with green sauce (made out of 7 herbs). Soooo good!

And two Frankfurter.

Sisters – side by side or miles apart… but always connected by heart. We shared a room. Aperol. And coffee breaks. More Aperol. Shoe shopping. Laughing. It was great fun. Now we are miles apart again but only for a few weeks 🙂

Frankfurt is pretty cool. We had an awesome weekend. Where do we go next (with big brother, we missed you this time!)?

Maiden Voyage.

Van life.

And so it begins.

Maiden voyage.

Newbies on the road.

Our first weekend with the van to see how it is, to test it, to (hopefully) enjoy it.

A weekend in the nature.

The only rule: no autobahn.

We just decided Friday night where to go.

Hubby is afraid we could break down. I‘m in a happy camper mood. Charlie is on board, too. Of course.

Fresh water, gas cooker, espresso machine, bedding, sunglasses, hiking boots, raincoat & two bottles of wine on board – sounds like a brilliant weekend to me.

We are off to the southern part of the Black Forest.

Corona times make it a little more difficult to be flexible. And to find a campsite. Or make reservations for one (or we are just beginners so far…). Therefore, the first night was in the wild. Pure nature.

We arrived just in time for a Black Forest sunset. Wow!

Our restaurant: dinner for two. A table & two benches. A board of cheese & wine. And just us. Watching the sunset, later the moon & the stars – could we wish for anything else? (No!).

Hubby’s favorite part: making espresso with a fire lit by pine cones.

Good morning! Waking up with the birds. Survived the first night (with 2 little interruptions). That beautiful smell of flowers and grass. Hmmmm!

We are still discovering important features in our new van.

Packing up & our road trip continues to the southern part of the Black Forest.

Hello gorgeous Lake Titisee!

Just beautiful!

Black Forest can be also culinary: Black Forest Gateau & local ham are a must.

Second night. This time at a camping place (testing what we like or dislike). The lake just two steps in front of us. Beautiful!

Our neighbors: other VW Bus campers.

And happy cows.

We were wondering how camper vans are greeting each other passing on the road? Like motorbikes?

Driving the Black Forest panorama street! Up & down and in the clouds (1125m).

We made it! Maiden voyage was passed successfully. With a couple of mosquito bites, our lungs soaked with fresh Black Forest air, slices of bread loaded with Black Forest ham in our stomaches and great hikes later we are on the way home.

Beautiful Black Forest not far from where we live (how lucky we are). I guess we’ll be back soon.

We had a fantastic weekend and are already ready for the next trip in July 🙂

new project: VW California.

Imagine the feeling waking up, grabbing your morning coffee and looking out across the lake/mountain/beach/forrest you parked next to the night before.

You take a look at the map, plot a course and make your way to the next destination. In your own time, on your own schedule, in your own home on wheels. This is life when traveling by campervan.

All of that motivated us to buy a van. OMG… we bought a van! To discover places we may have never heard of… leaving holiday (or weekend) planning to the last minute… we could (potentially) work from the road… Yay for dog-friendly holidays… we can park anywhere… watching the stars… grab our stuff and just go… explore more of my home country (hubby’s wish)… freedom… independence… feeling the wind, the nature… leaving daily life behind (even it’s just for a couple of hours)… that’s our wish. That’s the plan. We are so excited! Let’s get the van-life started!

May I introduce our new Compañero.

It all started a couple of weeks ago. Passing by a parked camper van in the fields and watching a couple enjoying their breakfast. Very inspiring (especially in corona times). Thinking of how nice it would be to have a camper van (and use it for early June vacation). Hubby is as happy & excited about the idea. An idea we already had some years ago. Let’s do this! If not now (while being in Germany and in current corona times) when otherwise?

Act1:

We started looking for transporters online. And kept questioning ourselves: do we really want to buy a van? (Yes!). We started watching YouTube videos (a lot of them!): how to build a bed in. How to put a kitchen in. Different vans, different sizes. Kept looking for vans online (do we really want to buy a van? Yes!). First phone calls… not so successful. Changing strategy: need to look for Multi-van, not transporter. Continue watching YouTube videos…

Act2:

Preferred van “Vito” already sold. Test drive VW California (w/o pop up roof). Successful. In love. Deal completed with “corona-friendly“ ellbow-shake. Later that day: still in love (that’s a good sign I guess). Happily dreaming of leaving for our first road trip in a couple of days.

Act3:

Using bank holidays to collect money in cash machines and use time to dream of upcoming van vacations. Friends stories are encouraging. Picking up van and start registration process (always a nightmare. In corona times a double nightmare). The idea of taking the van on its first road trip is not going to happen so soon (I still wonder how the beer gardens are open again but the car registration office cannot work. But that’s a different story). Disappointed but still motivated: a lot to do. So we kept creating ideas (you can imagine… yes, watching more YouTube) on how to put everything together followed by brainstorming over dinner in the Black Forest.

Red number plates made it possible to bring the van to its final destination & new home: our garage (ah, that must be why we needed to rent a house with a huge garage…).

From multi-van to camper-van. The transformation started: cleaning, pulling out seats (our backs are broken since), placing online orders for first interior (IKEA „corona queue“ counted 50 persons…. I bet we would be still queuing by now…). Bed successfully put in.

Act4:

Registration successfully completed (much faster as expected thanks to a friends great idea). Happily screwing on number plates. Meanwhile (and thanks to YouTube) we successfully collected many ideas and got so inspired, time to continue the van transformation (PS: project management with hubby isn’t easy. Lol.). Sawing curtains (I can’t believe I’m doing this. Well kind of a cheating but smart variation of sewing). A former record shelf is being transformed to a van kitchen. Retro transformation touching up the bus with a little color. The ceiling is finished. We are in the creative mood and more & more ideas are coming up while working on it. It’s fun!

Aperol Spritz – good for brainstorming

Packing utensils: gas cooker, plates, other cooking stuff, fire-extinguisher, solar shower, camping chairs, Charlie bed, our bed…

Act5:

It’s not perfect. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Planning our first weekend trip & ready to go:

Let the maiden voyage begin. Starting the van-life. Yeah!

Future acts:

Continuing building the van to our taste. Painting (English green & cream with a golden line = race colors), new tires, electronics, 2nd battery, box system, solar cells on the roof, rotating seats… lots of ideas and kind of a plan.

Hubby’s orders get continuously delivered…

Probably the biggest challenge in the future: prioritizing essential campervan road trip items… space is very limited. Challenge accepted!

We don’t know yet where to go but I’m sure we’ll find out soon… Bon voyage!

Grüß Gott & Griaß Di

Girls trip repeated. I say how lucky we are to be able to meet so many times in the past weeks (that’s more than in the past 8 years). The sad side is that one of the girls is still “stuck” in Germany (Corona. USA. Visa.).

Anyhow. Girls weekend in the Allgäu! We had a blast. Plenty of wine. Good talks. And lots of food.

A beautiful piece of earth.

Enjoying a walk around the Alpsee.

Das Haus am See.

Followed by an Aperol Spritz stop at the beach bar.

…well deserved!

You know that you are in Bavaria when the disinfectant smells like 80% Schnaps – welcome to Bavaria!

Needless to say how much (especially) I enjoyed Bavarian food. Feels like being back home. Heimat.

Mum, sending my favorite food request soon 🙂
Home-made Bavarian breakfast.

Pleasure above the clouds.

Looks a little like New Zealand… Germany is just as beautiful!

Blossomed meadowland. Just beautiful. Summer in the mountains.

Peak bliss in 2037m.

The way up was tough…
…but we made it! All the way up to the summit cross.

Germany is beautiful!

I had a fantastic weekend. See you very soon again, girls!