Apr 272011
 

When last we saw our merry band they had landed, collapsed, and made a quick sojourn into French Territory.

 What now?

Up until this point, everything has been about getting us here.  But, we have arrived!  So, it is time to switch gears and figure out how to go about actually living here. 

We decided that one of the first steps would be to use our temporary access to a (huge-fannied) car and explore our general area.  In specific we wanted to go down to Offenburg, which is the next town to the south.  David’s work will be moving there in October, so we are thinking that we should find a home somewhere within easy access of both Offenburg and Kehl.  Granted, they are only 17 km (about 10.5 miles) apart, so this shouldn’t be a huge difference.

Driving down to Offenburg was simple enough.  It was still only our second time on the German roads, but this time was in daylight, so we had an easier time.  That is, until we got into town and couldn’t tell for certain which roads were meant to go which way!  As it turned out, we read the signs all correctly, but it is still a little tense when you aren’t 100% sure where the Pedestrian Only zones begin, for instance.

Steeple at an Offenburg church

Offenburg, as it turns out, is a very pleasant place!  It seems a little more yuppified and family friendly than Kehl.  Lots of public art is strewn about the main street- and it is from any variety of time periods.  Some is clearly hundreds of years old, while other examples seem as though they might have been added yesterday.  Most of the modern pieces have a whimsical feel, like the birds with human feet and hands that can be turned and positioned on spinning dollies (spinning art seems in vogue here, kids and adults alike enjoy standing and playing on it).

There is also a long snake with a huge apple that DD and DS had a lot of fun with.

And there is an older statue of Poseidon with his trident- upon which some cheeky person has strewn a pair of boxers.

In keeping with the cheerful theme, the Offenburg police station is located in what used to be a palace- painted pink.

We all got pastries and I got a kaffee at a local bakery (bakeries are everywhere!  Possibly my favorite discovery so far!).  Then we headed back to Kehl so the kids and I could learn how to ride the bus.


Walking

The bus works more or less like buses in the US.  They have monthly passes, but they are by calendar month, so we don’t have one yet.  Basically, you wait at your stop at the prescribed time, then you tell the driver where you are going and pay him, after which he gives you change and a ticket and away you go!  Since it was a holiday, there were very few buses running.  We rode into town and grabbed lunch, but it was going to be another 2.5 hours until another bus would arrive.  So, we decided to walk the 5k back to Auenheim.  Walking is a bit of a national passtime for the Germans, it seems.  And, it has definitely already become a much larger part of our lives.  David walks 3-5 miles each day, we estimate.  So, a little 5k stretch of the legs didn’t seem out of the question- even with the already walk-intensive day we had led.

Path to Auenheim

OK, 5k is a long walk when you are still jet lagged!  But, it was lovely!  Much of the path is along a small river that my friend Hans-Christian tells me is likely the Schutter.  We just called it the “Rhinelette”.

The Schutter

 We remembered to stop and smell the flowers.  Also to examine the local beetles….

…and to watch the large cranes off on the other side of the path moving some sort of metal coils.

When we reached home I noticed something I had not noticed before: our current home is equipped with solar panels!  How cool is that?

At that point figured we had walked about 5 miles that day, so we popped some frozen pizzas in the oven and got some well-earned rest!

Next up- Sea Legs:  Teil Zwei

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