Apr 112011

So, the kids and I are still in limbo, but David is now getting settled into the temporary house.  Apparently the company has kindly agreed to rent it for us for a month without taking it from our moving budget, so that is a nice thing!  Especially since food there is proving expensive and tricky to obtain without a car.  For comparison purposes, a McDonald’s’ Value Meal (burger fries and a drink) is 6 EU, which is the equivalent of about $8.65 right now.  Ouch.

He says this one is much nicer than the one he used.

And David discovered another unexpected expense: Pay Toilets!  1 Euro (a buck forty-four today) to enter a turnstyle that allows you into the restroom.  He says toilets in general are scarce by American standards.  Large restaurants have them and that is about it.  So, bring your iron-plated bladder and a pocket full of change when you visit!

It took David a while to get internet set up (needed the landlord to add the computer), but I now have photos and he is once again skype enabled! 

Catching Up- The Walk to France

So, lets see, where did we leave off?  Friday, I think, so I will load his Weekend adventures first.  Really just his Saturday adventures because Sunday he came down with a cold and took a 5 hour nap, the poor guy!  I guess it is sort of inevitable that you get sick when your body is under that sort of strain.  So, onward!

Saturday David got his exploration shoes on and trotted out to hike over the bridge to Strasbourg and explore France!

(again, click on any photo for a bigger version… except the bridge, that is as big as I have :-)  
THE Bridge!  This is a famous walking/bike bridge that connects France and Germany.  There is a small park on the German side and a larger one on the French side.  There are pictures of dignitaries (including President Obama) crossing this bridge.

The German side- complete with tourists photographing a statue

French side- or part of it.  David says it has streams and fun stuff like that.
A bit greener than our typical view in Santa Clarita!
Unfortunately, David’s shoes gave out, so he didn’t get any further into France on this day.
He did find some nice German bakeries, though.  Check out the pretzels in the lower right corner!
Lunch: Eine Frankfurter mit croissant und eine… well, I don’t know what that is- David didn’t like it because it had a cream filling.  Oh, and the Coke Light.  He says in bottles coke light is just like diet coke, but at the fountains it tastes weird.
Do those pavers qualify as cobblestones?  Whatever they are, they are certainly prettier than asphalt!

Turkish Delight

Which brings us to dinner!  We spotted this place on Google Maps before he even arrived and were fascinated by the name “Viking Pizza” along with the curiously middle-eastern looking font used on the signage.  Turns out there is a good reason for at least that last oddity- this is actually a Turkish restaurant!  It is owned by a Turkish family and they serve Turkish food and pizza.  The Turks occupy the “immigrant labor” position in German society.  Until recently, they were not even allowed citizenship if they were born in Germany, but that law changed in the 90’s.  Still, David has noticed a definite social status stratification in Germany with folks of clearly Turkish ancestry toward the bottom.  For instance, in this restaurant only Turkish people would dine in- German folks would order carry out, but not sit in the restaurant.  David said the owner was visibly surprised when he asked for a seat and that the crowd eyed him cautiously, but not with any ire.  Doners are like Gyros by another (Turkish) name and Doner Stands are the local equivalent of a corner taqueria in LA- cheap and plentiful.  The pizza, in case you were wondering, was good!

No More Free Room-cleaning
In deference to David’s drippy nose, I will skip Sunday and move on to Monday’s moving day.  Here are a few shots to complete the image of our furnished temporary digs. 

But, first, some random coolness- Swans are to Kehl what peacocks are to Pasadena.  I am hoping quieter, though.

And, some random industrial public art.

Now- House…  In a lot of ways, this place reminds me of the house Mom rented for us in Morro Bay last month.  Not nearly so froofy or with the amazing view of course, but the mere fact that it is furnished sort of draws the equation in my mind:

Who doesn’t love grey faux-woven linoleum and 70’s style blue tile?  Seriously, though, looks like a pleasant enough place to get cleaned up in the morning.
Separate toilet room with its own sink.
I have NO idea how to work a radiator… help?  Actually, I would hope it won’t be an issue this month, but if this is standard, we will need to get acquainted come October or so….

Luckily, the kitchen comes equipped with what looks to be a decent array of cookware, flatware, glasses, dishes and the like.  David says the water was not pleasant, but running it for a while helped.

Ah yes, this is what I had heard… that is indeed the entire refrigerator.  The little box at the top is the freezer.  I am pretty sure my dorm fridge was bigger!  This will take some getting used to.  But, at least there seems to be a working dishwasher there to the side.  So, yay!

David did go shopping at the local “supermarket” to garner a few necessities.  Things that surprised him: 1) the complete lack of recognizable brands (he had expected a smattering), 2) No bags at all- even his co-worker didn’t have any, so they literally took armsfull of groceries and piled them into the back of her car! and 3) the carts are on a pay-trolly like the ones at the airport.  Put in your Euro, get a cart.  Return your cart, get your Euro back!

On the homefront…

Or at least, on the American side.  The kids and I continue our trudge toward packing and leaving.  A very kind gentleman and his brother in law came out to pick up the couch and bookshelves Saturday.  It was actually pretty fun watching them defer to each other and construct a marvel of engineering to wedge all the items into the back of a small pickup securely enough to drive all the way down to Ensenada!  We chitted and chatted for a good hour while they got everything loaded and they gave me a hug before they left.

DS continues to struggle with bouts of emo regarding all the things we are leaving behind.  He has associations with them all, so it is rough going.  DD on the other hand, can’t wait to leave.  But, she does have trouble focusing.  She is a bit behind on her novel, but further along on her packing than anyone.  I am just trying to pace myself.  I want to get everything done without panicking.  But, I am really missing David at this point.  And I never do feel like I have done enough or gotten enough organized.  And I definitely don’t feel like I know enough German, yet!  On the other hand, the weather is lovely, people have been really kind and supportive, I am enjoying the “farewell tour” of seeing our friends and family, and we can eat Asian food and Panera a lot more often without David’s dislikes in our already-complicated food-choice mix :-)

  3 Responses to “Stage Two Relocation”

  1. My Dad and his family lived in England for a couple years, and he said the refrigerators there were tiny too. He said people went to the market almost every day, so they didn’t need to store as much in the fridge.

  2. Yeah, I guess that is the European Way. One of many adjustments we will need to make, I am sure! On the plus side, it means your ingredients are always fresh!

  3. McDonalds is a notoriously bad comparison with American food prices in Germany. There are tons of inexpensive options out there, but it’s true, junk food chains aren’t one. If I’ve ever seen good news in disguise…

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