Again in beautiful Alsace

Long time planned and finally happening. A day trip to our favorite neighbor country France.

While hubby is recovering from his team event(s)… a friend and I had a fantastic time in the Alsace: breakfast, various shopping, macarons & coffee, and a delicious dinner or ladies having fun.

Tart Flambéed
Crêpes
Kougelhopf – a classic in the Alsace.
Maybe the sweetest cafe for a macaron break.
The favorites: Lavender & Chocolate-passion fruit ♥️
…and more of the deliciousness to go…

A very delicious day is ending 🇫🇷 ♥️ we are so lucky to live pretty much next door. We’ll be back soon again!

autumn

Today is the first day of fall (day and night are of nearly equal length). I love the colors of fall. I love to dress for fall temperatures inviting for it.

Temperatures turned down over night and it became pretty chilly.

3C degrees can be beautiful.

In the office: heating is off (energy saving). At home: heating is off (energy saving, one exception was made for our visitor from SC, USA). It looks like an interesting winter ahead.

We decided to go with the Chinese approach (3 year approved concept): wearing winter coat, scarf and hat in the (home) office (like in the good old Shanghai days). Heating the home with the Raclette grill and enjoying the nice side effect: dinner (and red wine for the soul). Heat blanket in bed. Ready for winter.

Having Raclette is the definite start of autumn.
Somebody figured the cosy place already out

Looking forward to colorful leaves, watching film & series on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, pumpkin soup & looking forward to Christmas. Yeah!

Happy fall, y’all!

Hops, Keezer & The Bar

The other morning I came down to our kitchen and it smelled like a little chocolate factory… Hubby started brewing a Porter including chocolate malt and roasted barley. Sounds delicious? We’ll find out the taste in a few weeks. Also part of that brew: leftover hops from last years garden harvest. Luckily & just in time the new hops are ready to be harvested.

Hops 2022

Hubby becoming more and more professional in brewing beer. The newest equipment: a dryer for drying hops (last year he dried the hops sitting on a board on top of my manual washing dryer with a fan below blowing on them…).

Dried & vacuumed packed ready for the next brew.

His beer is becoming famous and certain deals are in negotiation: exchanging beer for beef. Maybe the best currency these days.

The dream of a home brewer: the fresh homebrew only a handle pull away. Once you go tap, you never go back. So it’s time to take it to the next level: building a “keezer”. Who knows what a “Keezer” is? Well, it’s turning a chest freezer into a bar and turning (men’s) heads.

The top of the bar, an art piece

Voila, the bar is ready! Now it’s time to fill it with beer! Hang on, that’s already happened (a parallel process, of course!). We are having 3 times 20 liters of beer on tap. (And 20 liters of sparking water, as a side note).

Somebody giving compliments & loving the beer.

A dream became true: the house bar is ready. Next challenge accepted: clean up the garage to create an “Irish pub” feeling. Let’s see how long this will take. Cheers!

Cheers!

The Royal Train

Wäre es nach der „Operation Unicorn“ gegangen, würde die verstorbene Queen Elizabeth II. noch einmal Zug fahren. Der Royal Train, so sah es das im Vorfeld gefertigte Protokoll des Königshauses vor, hätte den Sarg von Edinburgh nach London bringen sollen. Und dann wäre die Deutsche Bahn involviert, denn die DB betreibt den Zug seit 2007 – und wird dafür mit einem königlichen Siegel ausgezeichnet.

Wohoo.

Der Zug sollte langsam fahren, damit die Landsleute an der Strecke Abschied nehmen könnten. Andere Züge im öffentlichen Personenverkehr und Güterbahnen hätten für die letzte Zugfahrt der Queen weichen müssen. Der „Guardian“ berichtet außerdem, dass ein „Sweeper“-Zug hinter dem Royal Train hätte hinterherfahren sollen, um die Gleise von möglichen Trauerbeigaben freizuräumen.

Es kommt aber anders: Der Sarg der verstorbenen Monarchin wird nun Dienstagabend per Flugzeug nach London gebracht. Mögliche Gründe: Die Sicherung der Strecke wäre aufwendig und teuer. Oder aber:

…I agree, the airplane is likely a much more reliable option…

By the way, in maximaler Länge käme der Royal Train heute auf neun Waggons – darunter Speisewagen mit Küche, Personalschlafwagen und Gepäckabteile sowie je ein Schlaf- und Salonwagen für die Royals.

Die königliche Zugflotte hat einen nahezu mythischen Status in Großbritannien. Frühere Monarchen haben die Waggons regelmäßig für Fahrten innerhalb von England und Schottland genutzt. Inzwischen wird der Zug vom Königshaus nur noch bei Bedarf angemietet.

Die königlichen Wagen des Royal Trains werden in einem Depot nahe Milton Keynes geparkt und gewartet. Sie stammen aus den Jahren 1977 bis 1987. Angeblich dürften nur sehr erfahrene Lokführer den Zug fahren. Sie müssten in der Lage sein, den Zug innerhalb von gut 15 Zentimetern eines vorgesehenen Punktes anzuhalten.

Viel geblieben ist von den Traditionen der Vergangenheit aber nicht mehr. Frühere Monarchen wurden mit viel Tamtam nach Zugfahrten im Royal Train an den Bahnhöfen empfangen. Heute soll bei Ankunft und Abfahrt noch ein roter Teppich auf dem Bahnsteig ausgelegt werden.

R.I.P. Queen Elizabeth II.

(virtual) Lake Constance

We had it all planned: the date, the destination, our sisters weekend. And then the popular virus, called Covid, came in between. My sister is positive & not feeling well at all. Meh. This blog is for you, your virtual weekend with me ♥️

The sparkling Lake Constance.

I found short term a „proxy“ – our mum!

And here we are, in Constance at Lake Constance, the south of Germany, where it’s possible to visit 4 countries within one day: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

This blog is a virtual city tour of Constance and other areas at the beautiful Lake Constance for my sister. Hope you feel better soon! Big hugs & kisses!

The art borderline Germany – Switzerland.
Mrs. Imperia.
A trip to the Island Mainau with gorgeous flowers.
Rain can be beautiful.
Butterfly house with this beauty 🦋
A dip into Lake Constance.
🍹🍹
Zeppelin.
Local berry love.
Exotic.
Thanks for spending the weekend with me.
My favorite 🌺

You were missed! Hope you feel better soon again! Looking forward to seeing you again soon 😘

(no) worries

Virus. Heat. War. Inflation. Energy crisis.

Oh dear. Summer is ending. Fall will be here soon. And winter. And usually this is a time to be looking forward to… but this year it’s a rather depressing forecast: the risk of an increased amount of Covid cases. The Ukrainian war is ongoing and no end in sight. And the beginning of our energy crisis (increased prices or limited availability for groceries, gas, electricity, oil, etc.). Puh. That’s a lot to handle!

Time to get creative! Here some examples:

What a genius idea (for guys): producing your own electricity while peeing!
Now allowed: wearing neoprene in the swimming pool since pools won’t be heated anymore.
Congrats for winning the lottery! It might not be enough to cover this winters gas bill…
Home office sharing with colleagues. All in the sense of saving energy. Get some wine, too! LOVING it! I’m in! Who else?
👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻
Definitely something to think about!
Nothing else to be added…

Somehow it’s amusing to see how the government is acting and reacting to the latest shortage of energy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good! But it feels a little ironic: starting to save energy and to reduce the risk of a shortage now, while most private households and persons have been focusing on saving energy for many years: only use light in a room when someone needs it (basics, right?). Using LED lights since the last bulb was produced (routine, right?)… not maxing out the heaters in the apartment in winter (the wonderful woolen jumper wants to be worn!). All of a sudden those things can be done for public locations, too. Yeah!

As long as we get our energy from fossil resources… we should use it responsible & wisely.

For some of us those new saving energy & resources mean the end of the world. Not sure why. You get the feeling that “only” 25C degrees room temperature and a full city light show is a sign of our rich live rather than a waste of energy. Definitely something to think about…

I am pretty sure we’ll have one or two tight, tough and rough winters… but do not worry: we’ll come stronger out of this crisis with a much more diverse and creative landscape of new energy resources. I learnt from my job: people (and especially managers) only start acting when there is a crisis. Here we go! The show must go on. Get creative. Enjoy the snuggle in the nice and soft woolen jumper and blanket! Candle light instead of LED (it’s also more romantic and finally I have an official reason to by more candles. Yeah!).

Big advertising will be shut off: leading by example.

It’s time to do things different! Time to think different! It will be different but don’t worry! We’ll be alright! Until then… enjoy that common bath with your neighbor! 🎉

Save water and gas: enjoy a bath with your neighbors!

Maybe living for the next 6 months on the Canary Islands could be the solution? I’m ready, let’s go!

Christmas like in the past again: with a bit of peace and quiet! 111 days until Christmas to go… you better get candles!

The summer of 22 (Bryan Adams melody)

Wow, what a summer. Bryan Adams keeps spinning in my head…

Enjoying a swim after work.
Garden harvest in 2022: garlic, chili peppers, basil, radish, lettuce, berries, hops, and all kind of herbs
Friends & BBQ.
Just a cold tomato soup. Super delicious.
Fairy lights.
Radishes. Colorful is tasty.
…also part of summer 2022…
Sleeping on the 3rd floor!
An insect friendly garden 🐝
Keeping cool working from home.
More friends & BBQ.
Our little paradise.
Affogato al caffe ☕️
Summer project 2021 (the table).
It’s getting hot in here…
Best neighbors – fig jam ♥️

Is there anything better than preparing a dinner with fresh ingredients from your own garden? And share dinner with friends? (No, it’s the best).

Never enjoyed rain more than this summer.

Today is already the beginning of the meteorological autumn. And hubby’s birthday!

A summer to remember ♥️

I wish we start after August back in June.

Stay busy, enjoy the Vitamin D!

The end of the 9€ ticket

The German 9€ public transportation ticket – a success story: 52 million 9€ tickets were sold in the past 3 months (leading to a saving of around 1,8 million barrel of CO2). Wow! And the best part: I was part of it (8 bus & 2 metro rides rather taking the car). Yeah!

I used the 9€ ticket in August mainly for taking the bus (or the metro) to work. And boy, there were some interesting, funny people along those bus rides: teenagers too cool to wear the mandatory mask vs. older people who still don’t know how to cover mouth & NOSE with a mask! The bus driver who brakes so hard that even seated people had difficulties to cope with that. The loud chatting people having 2 seats inbetween them – hey, I have an idea, why don’t you sit next to each other? The ones talking (yes, there’s still people out there who use their smartphone to call someone!) on the phone (I know everything about last night now). 2 young ladies carrying a Blackforest Gateau and the older man trying to get a piece (not successful when they left with a whole cake after 20minutes). And finally there’s me, trying out the 9€ ticket with my pink mask. On time to not miss the bus and entering a stop ahead to catch a seat (hubby shared his tricks). Lol.

I loved it! It’s handy. I got a lot more steps into my day! It was a very relaxed way to and back from work (A/C included!). It was a very good price (and makes the delay of the train rather acceptable than being annoyed).

The new problem: I now love using it and the 9€ ticket stops at the end of the month (August). Bummer. Let’s see if they’ll come up with something else interesting.

I was really motivated, yeah, even proud to go by public transportation (reducing my CO2 footprint and everything…), until I met a colleague the other day. She and her family (2 little kids) topped everything: they sold their one and only family car! I am vowed (and don’t feel as proud anymore…).

Well, we „only“ own a van, 2 Minis, and 4 motorcycles (including one crashed and the other one half build).

The competition is on! Pro and cons in discussions with hubby. Let’s see what’s going to happen next 🪄

2 days by bus to go 💪🏻

Last stop: Ariège

Back „home“ in the Ariège. It is as beautiful as always here.

Fete!
Bon anniversaire!

What a wonderful week in France. The country is so diverse. So beautiful. So delicious. The only thing we won’t miss: those millions of roundabouts… lol!

On the to do list: learn how to speak (tourist) French.

I’m sure we’ll be back soon!

Au revoir!

Next stop: Eastern Pyrenees

Moving on to the Pyrenees… always wanted to be here. Now we are. Wow! What a place!

Les Bains in Ax-les-Thermes.

Wow! Wow! Wow! The landscape is impressive. And we are in the middle of it.

The Pyrenees Mountain Range stretches 450km between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

How are the Pyrenees like? Remote. Mountainous. And much more beautiful than I ever expected.

Sleeping in paradise for one night.

50km in 3hours. Winding & curvy endless roads. Open windows. Wind in our hair. Wild horses along the way. And cows. And bicycles. It’s gorgeous!

Fresh apricots, peaches and tomatoes, later vineyards again. It’s beautiful.

Anybody frites? They taste really delicious!

From sleeping with open doors & windows to almost putting the heater on (if it would work…). We are feeling cold here. Morning temperature 9C degrees. Brrrrr. Time to move on towards the sea again.

Yes, This is still part of the Pyrenees, the Catalan Pyrenees.

Paella for dinner.

A very delicious lunch in Collioure.

Back in civilization 😉
Back to another favorite place: the sea.
Catalan flair.

Staying a little longer in the south of France, moving on to the Ariege.