Sunday, April 29, 2007

Biking in the park

We rode our bikes around town (about 7 miles) and went to watch the river surfers. They are always quite entertaining.

After that we headed to the Chinese Tower to get a beer. The ride through the park was quite nice and it was somewhat funny to be on a bike again. I love my bike!

Next on the agenda of course was a stop at Shuebeck's ice cream that we love. Anyway I knew you would enjoy a photo of the surfers in the river. It is quite a sight to see!

What a week...

I have been so worn out making lessons and trying to help all of little Greek kids learn. Some of them never do homework and then expect to learn. Or they don't participate in class. That starts to suck the teaching spirit out of me real quick.

Stefan and I went to dinner this week and that was nice. While we were eating he asked me what I thought about going out of town next week. I was excited because lately, we've hardly seen each other. He will be off of work for nearly all of May, however he has to study for his 2nd exam. We are planning to head to Vienna for a couple of days.

When I got home from a chaotic day (waking up at 7am, working at the tourist company at 8:30am and then having to rush directly to teaching... then go back to the tour guide company), I figured Stefan would have been studying all day so I stopped at Starbucks and bought him his favorite iced chai tea. To my delight when I came home he had done laundry, did the dishes in the dishwasher, and cleaned up the apartment. (How did I end up with the complete package of a guy?!)

I had little time to rest when I was home. Stefan said that we were heading to north Munich for a bike for me and a grill for him (us). We went to the bike shop first and I had never seen anything like it... including 2000 euro bikes. They also sold a small selection of used bikes. And the store was complete with a riding track to try the bikes out with small hills and bumpy strips and all. I tried a new bike, an old bike, and then I saw the one I wanted. I walked up to it and noticed that it looked used, however there was no price on it. It was honestly the bike that I had envisioned in my head. (Who knew someone could be so picky about how a bike looked aesthetically?!) I was even a little embarassed since the last time I rode a bike was about 3 years ago when I visited Stefan. I drove around the track and fell in love. Each time I rounded the bend I felt like a kid and wanted to wave to Stefan and say 'look at me!!'

I started feeling a little similar to Pee Wee Herman in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. I rode the bike and it was the perfect cross between the other two that I tried out. It has a vintage look to it that I love and a giant basket on the front. It's solid silver and will match all things. And then as luck would have it we asked and it was 'used' and only 89 euros. I don't know the last time I have been this excited. I felt like I was reliving the time my Dad had just taken me to get my first bike and I was excited about the surprise. Stefan made laughed at me while I told him how great it was that there was no bar on it because it wouldn't interfere with my dresses.

Then we faced the challenge of getting it into our car. With a bit of effort we figured it out and got it in there. Next on the agenda was finding Stefan a little hibatchi style grill since he loves cook outs. I was having flash backs of when my roommates and I senior year decided to get a small grill and have a cook out. Stefan and Bernd were there... Bernd did most of the cooking and we all complained about how the self distructing hibatchi was a living nightmare. We used it once and then it hit the high road.

Needless to say the hibatchi that we got is really quite nice. We made shrimp skewers and salmon with some mango chutney that we brought back from the Maldives. It was delicious! We put our balcony 'biergarten' into effect and I remembered why I love warm evenings in.

Tomorrow we will head out to the park or somewhere in the city so we can ride our bikes. Here they are so common place. I saw a man in the park the other day riding around the English Garden drinking a beer. I see nuns on bikes, old people on bikes, you name it... bikes are the way to go around here.

Monday, April 23, 2007


This weekend has quickly passed.

Friday Stefan and I went out in the Glockenbochviertle with some of his co-workers. There were various departments there and some of the others didn't know Stefan was married. I was the mysterious one. That is typical of how things go here - people don't really mix much of work and their home life. We had a nice time, however we quickly learned that we are turning into old people because we were home before midnight.

I spent much of Saturday working in the morning for the tour guide company and in the afternoon with my adorable little Greek children. While working in the office for the tour guide company one of my favorite local characters waved and shouted over to me asking 'How is the Queen today?' and then came and chatted with me. He is a waiter at the Hacker-Pschorr restaurant/bar in Schrannenhalle. He is a little bit of an eccentric gay guy with tons of energy and a definite passion for life.

There was an artisan fair at the Schrannenhalle and he was telling everyone that they had a gay king (Ludwig II) and asking if they had known that. Then he was telling me how he 'sells things but only things that people need and he never cheats them.' Then he proceded to try to drum up business with Germans walking through trying to get them to go on English speaking tours. After telling me he never cheats people he said 'God is always watching' and then made this face like he was a little bit worried. I love his theatrics.

Another funny thing is another shop owner at Schrannenhalle has a dog that goes on walks on his own. He walks up to the automatic door, which sometimes he is unable to trigger and he then sits and patiently waits. He goes on a walk around the building and then comes back in or waits for someone to open the door.

This week will be very relaxed and I am looking forward to that.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Asparagus Season

Germany loves asparagus. Green, white, white with violet tips, baby, thin, fat, it doesn't matter - they love it (they even have asparagus soup). Since Stefan has had a long week and continually comes home late, and then continues to work from home once he is here, I decided that I would attempt to prepare one of his favorite dishes tonight.

I first was curious as to what kind of asparagus to buy. When in doubt... watch what everyone else is doing. I watched people flock to the 'fresh' variety and some handed it to a man with this monstrous peeling machinery, while others simply put it in their bags and continued shopping. After attempting to look like I know what I was doing and maticulously searching for what I considered to be good looking asparagus, I headed to the produce department.

While I was there I saw a woman who had done the same and then she saw what they had in the produce and headed back to the man with the machine. She continued to sort through the asparagus and then purchased more. The only conclusion I could make was that the asparagus from the man was much better, or she simply decided it was too great of a deal to pass up. His variety was also thicker.

After realizing that I really don't even know how to properly prepare asparagus I walked home and called Stefan. Since he loves it, I figured he would know how to cook it. The variety I bought I have never seen before and it is enormous. I am curious how much he really loves it because I bought what I consider to be a lot (of the 'tree kind' he calls it). I am still wondering why I did not just buy something that looked familiar to me instead of this strange variety. Lucky for you, I also am into food photography so you can see the 'tree asparagus' for yourself.

So, depending on when he comes home tonight, I am going to make steamed white asparagus with a lasagna noodle 5 herb ricotta and my Mom's delicious 'rustic plum tart'. Usually I don't make so much food, however the last time I made any kind of food was this past weekend. Plus I figure I will always eat the plum tart for breakfast.

I also need to write about one of my favorite recent purchases... my little grocery basket. A lot of people here have these and I always thought they were so practical (since of course we don't do free bags typically). Environmental, cute, and practical... so I had to get one. I am also looking forward to packing it up to take to the park on weekends, packed up with lunch, books, a blanket and Stefan's favorite - a ball to play catch.

If only the weekend was already here...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

McDonalds + Indian Food = heaven

Yep, you read right... I even ate meat for this one.

McDonalds here is having Indian food and I am seriously all about it. Our McDonalds is quite adventurous. I must give them credit as they even tried to Indianize their name - it is called 'dahatma' kind of a joke on 'da hat man' translating to 'there you have it'. They even have a nan bread instead of a bun with a curry sauce, fresh tomatoes & cucumbers.

Just thinking about this right now makes me want to go up the street and buy some right now. I guess I will hold out and get it for lunch tomorrow since it has been a couple of weeks and McDonalds is only ok in small doses.

I took some photos of it so you can see how comical it is. I wish I could send you the delectable taste along with it! Oh how I love Indian food... even if it is from McDonalds... and even if it made me break away from being a pescatarian.

Something a little new...

I decided to try this blog thing out so I would be able to attach photos and have the history of things all together and in one place.

Today I went out to the park and shopped around a little bit. We are having the most spectacular weather you could imagine. It is so nice to just sit in the park and read a book or people watch. I love walking around the city and seeing how many people are out and about. Sometimes I wonder what all of these people are doing mid-afternoon... don't people work here? Regardless, it is nice to get a quick sandwich at a little bakery and then set out on the town walking around and taking it all in. I also just found out that the English Garden (the park we frequent) is actually the world's largest public park! Stefan was determind to do a little bit of research on that because he is running another half marathon there. He was sure it was larger than NYC's Central Park.

There are many young ready to burst Mom's, and vibrant flowers blooming left and right to definitely signify that spring is indeed here. I must have flowers in my blood since my grandparents owned a greenhouse. When Stefan and I lived in Frankfurt I would constantly go to the park and photograph all of the flowers... it is no exception in Munich either. The colors are extraordinary and they are all just so beautiful. Just so you get a taste of the parks I am talking about, here a few photos:

With spring is my other favorite - ice cream. I stopped at my favorite ice cream shop - Shubecks, that has a great variety and tons of intresting combinations that I always try... today was no different. I ordered a chili chocolate scoop along with a scoop of litchi with pistachio and pepper. They were both better than you would expect. I'm always trying the obscure flavors.

I am also working on cleaning up our photos - we just got our mac computer a little over a month ago and I already have 2500+ photos on it. I have so many little projects that I am working on, not to mention books to read, and lessons for my English classes to prepare. Alas, I always have time to journal and take photos! I gotta make the most of my early European retirement.

One more photo from my day... and another reason as to why I love Munich - the dogs. Dallmayr is our 'high end' grocery with tons of exquisite gourmet foods. This little pup was waiting so patiently outside (this is a common occurence as one of the few places dogs cannot go is into the grocery), yet it never grows old seeing that loyalty!