Thursday, February 28, 2008

Remembering Nürnberg

Yes I realise its been over a week since I last posted from Germany.

I am now back in Australia. Time shifted all too quickly and I lost the impetus to keep posting regularly amidst all the flux and change of my final week in that most lovely of cities.

I shall now attempt over the course of a few posts in quick succession to recall and describe the last week of my journey. Forgive me if my memory has gaps and is a little fuzzy around the edges.

I also have to go back and correct a word in one of my previous blog posts which will make it turn up in peoples blog readers again no doubt...sorry about that! The word is Klöse least I hope it is. I thought I'd copied it correctly but apparently not. It is that potato dumpling so indicative of Franconian German cuisine. More research required.

My final week was a collection of very personal events with people I have come to love and appreciate very much. My "other" family overseas are dear to my heart and inspire me with their warmth, generosity and genuine care of me and my own family. I intend to visit them as often as time and circumstances allow...plane seats that lay flat would be useful but that is a story for later :)

My week started out on Monday with a trip out to stay with S and the kids in the wee apartment upstairs! I mean literally up stairs! I think they climb about 4 flights of 8 steps each to access their front door at least three or four times a day! It's a bloody nightmare on the knees but you certainly don't need a stair-stepper machine when you have free ones right outside your door! The washing machine is downstairs so laundry takes on a whole new perspective when you have those stairs to think about along with a tonne of washing to do too! ungh!

S and went for a wee jaunt through Nürnberg before we left of her home to see if we could find my mum a tatting shuttle and some books and patterns by Erika Rolfe. We got a few blank stares. Nevertheless, the resourceful and forthright S made inquiries to the point where we had a couple of basic tatting shuttles ordered at the very least. She may post these to me at a later date OR....I just go back and collect them *grin* *giggle*

Then we went to the Hauptbahnhof to purchase my ICE ticket for the following weekend. We used the automated ticketing system and after an initial glitch with me ordering merely a seat for EU$4 instead of the actual ticket, we successfully managed to get a fully booked seat and ticket on the 1528 train to Frankfurt Airport on the 23rd of Feb.

Then we hit the supermarkets to purchase ingredients for the cheesecake and lasagne we planned to make for supper that evening. I was suitably impressed to note that some larger car parking venues provide whole sections just for female drivers. These are close to the main doors and are well lit and have security cameras operating 24 hours a day. This keeps women safe. It's a sad indictment that in the name of equality, women must be singled out to be given this kind of privilege but I can totally see its merit. Not only that but the position of the parking also allows for mothers with young children with all the ensuing paraphenalia convenient and practical support for their shopping. Damned good business if you ask me!

I LOVED the huge organic/bio supermarket we went to later that afternoon. It was huge for a place dedicated to all things "Whole, Fresh and Chemical Free". I loved the smell of it. The cheese cabinet was a vision in gourmet excess and I drooled quite literally at the choice of products available. What a wonderful experience. I really "should" have taken photo's but of a supermarket? No one would get it I guess! This was a very special supermarket! Not one I get to see every day anyway.

We made it home to climb those nasty ubiquitous stairs. We rested from our frantic labours over hot tea and conversation and a late lunch of of bocconcini mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, olive oil and fresh basil spread on to the most delicious assortments of bread. My favourite is the same as S. Swedish Smød Brot. It looks a little like a salada biscuit but is chewy and has a somewhat sweet nutty flavour. It's awesome. I even had butter! *gasp* I know! After all this strange health diet stuff I'd been doing this past year...I finally weakened and enjoyed the delicious flavours of bread and butter. Oh my! What an awesome lunch that was.

Little Fizz was home from school and moaning vociferously about his homework as kids will do. He got there in the end with a lot of prodding and encouragement from his mum. We went out to collect Schnu from kinder. The gorgeous little one (my Goddaugher no less), was keen to show me around her wee "school" albeit it being closed. I didn't get to go inside but the exterior is cute and charming all the same.

Later, Sandra baked. She'd whipped up her amazing baked cheesecake in the time between lunch and picking-up-kidlets. I had been busy transcribing the recipe and doing the dishes. Then she set to baking the lasagna for the evening meal. She's a good cook. S is a Jill-of-all-trades really. Not only can she cook and wash clothes, bring up children and take care of her - slightly odd - husband in another town (I shall get totally killed by said husband for that line. I bet! *giggle*)... she is a deft hand with the drill and hammer too, having extended her kitchen work area herself by installing the extra bench space. I admire this woman and she has welcomed me into her life and family with all the grace and style of an Angel.

The lasagne was eaten late that evening after the children had been fed and sent to bed. Little schnu looked so cute curled up like a wee mouse on the foot end of her bed. Fizz took longer to get to bed given that he had been calculating the time it would take to save enough money to buy a certain kind of Lego Fizz counts everything in the price of the average Bionicle. An average Bionicle in Germany is around EU$9,00 so Fizz does mental maths in multiples of 9 Euro's. It's very cute and rather clever for a seven year old I think.

S and I talked late into the evening. It was well after midnight when we finally went to sleep. I dreamed strange dreams one of which I remembered as having lots of small dolls with blonde pigtails and enormous blue eyes. Surreal and strange dreams that no longer stay in my memory but are dark shadows of non-recollection.

The next morning I assisted with clean up and getting children off to school. After the house was quiet again, S and I spent a long few hours lingering over hot tea in the lounge room talking and imagining. S specializes and is trained in a unique type of meditative counselling called Personal Totem Pole Process. We talked about this for some time. S did a great job in trying to speak to me in English. Her English is very much better than my German but it still took time and patience for us to communicate. However, with the use of a good English/German dictionary we managed to make ourselves understood. Poor S was very tired though by the end of the two days having spoken more English than since her school days; the level of concentration she put into this was quite extraordinary and I'm deeply grateful to her for making the effort.

I missed out on getting photo's of the village of Lauf outside of Nbg. It's a sweet little village with all those tudor styled houses with their peaked roofs and cobbled streets. Next time I guess :)

The next few days I spent mostly walking around Nürnberg shopping and obtaining some souvenirs to take home to family. Bat and I went to the Thai Resturant near the cave and enjoyed a lovely meal over pleasant conversation. We hit the local Döner Kebab take away yet again. In fact I think we hit it twice this week! :)

We also took a trip into town and had a bit of a buy up of some DVD's. Bat's collection got a serious update with purchases such as "Love Actually", 300 and Sin City

Sin City is a total creep out, I'd not seen it before but while its artistically very good it was quite a difficult watch and one I won't be repeating in too much of a hurry. It was great to see 300 and Love Actually again though.

Next installment of my final week soon. The prison under the Rathaus.

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