BootsnAll Travel Network

Archive for May, 2009

« Home

German Snowballs

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

We crested a hill and unexpectedly on the other side we found The Alps! Suddenly spread before us was a wonderful panorama – in the foreground were more of the farms dotted with villages we have been seeing, and which still look as romantic as three days ago when we first came across them (we were on Die Romantische Strasse, after all), an occasional palace-type castle with some evergreen forest…and rising up behind were the mountains. Magnificent, majestic, still dusted with snow. WOW! Simply stunning. Beautiful. Actually this whole region is beautiful. Every mile covered is like turning another page in a landscape painting book.

But what were we doing here? Weren’t we supposed to be in Rothenburg fixing The Other Womo? Well, yes, we were.


We woke to pouring rain and so it seemed pointless to make the almost weather-proof hole any bigger. So after another quick zip round town to give the rain time to clear (which it didn’t), we decided to head for Oberammergau and hope tomorrow is sunny enough to render repairs possible. Right now as I write, a thunderstorm is raging outside, lightning is flashing, rain is pouring from the heavens, wind is blowing over the mountains and we’re just hoping the tape holds the van together. But this will not be another everything-is-going-wrong post! (Although the water tank is much emptier than it should be having been filled just this morning and not used all day….and the GPS played silly games when we were trying to route the day’s travels…..and all the supermarkets are closed without explanation…..and Jboy13 wore a windblown door on his head this evening……and it’s 7:30 and dinner is not ready….)

But I’m sitting here listening to the family sing praises together and recite the Ten Commandments, I’m looking out at the mountains, our nice big pot full of thickening potato soup is wrapped up in a blanket, we travelled safely today, the sun is setting behind me, the children have all had a “bath” in a glacial-cold stream, and we had SNOWBALLS at lunchtime (thanks Grandpa).

First of all the river-bath:

And the snowballs:

About these snowballs…..yesterday when I took the children for a walk we noticed Schneeballen in every bakery. We had happened across a Rothenburg specialty, and bought one to try. Even eating it did not help us know for certain how they were made, but up the street was a bakery with a wide screen television showing the complete process. And so we stopped to watch. And egg, flour and sugar pastry is rolled out quite thinly. The middle is cut into strips, but not all the way to the edges. Every other strip is lifted onto a wooden “broom handle”, then the baker slips his hand under these strips and expertly folds them all together into a ball, which is placed in a special long-handled tong-like tool. This is dipped into oil and deep fried. After cooling, the snowballs were traditionally sprinkled with icing sugar (hence the name), but today they can also be covered with chocolate and nuts and filled with all sorts of creme fillings.
Grandpa liked the sound of these delicious delights, and made sure he got some before we hit the road this morning!!!

Time on the road: 4 hours
Distance covered: 290km

(Speaking of snowballs, on the day I uploaded these two weeks worth of blogposts, we received an email from Anak Ranch – it snowed there for three days after we left….and is snowing again….poor guys lost all their seedlings to this last blast…..the kids will really wish we had stayed longer!!)

What else could go wrong today? Fact or fiction?

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

by Rach 
Rothenburg ob der Tauber

“Something’s burning”
Yes, we were cooking rice porridge for breakfast. But in doing so we were also singeing the edge of the custom-fit-into-our-kitchen-bench chopping board. Small consolation that we were obviously not the first to have done so. Or that Rob had known that could happen and had given insistent instructions the other day to remove the board before igniting the gas. Not an auspicious start to the day.

We knew we weren’t going to make it to Oberammergau today, even though that had been the plan. Not after yesterday’s adventure; today we had a little ding to attend to, so we did not expect to leave Rothenburg at all.

However, the Fiat workshop (how fortuitous that there should be one right here in this small town) was both unwilling and unable to look at a repair job (not so fortunate). But the guy was very helpful and sent us off to Ansbach, 30km away, to a workshop where they *might* give us some attention.

(they have a story, but will tell another day!)

Before heading off, a better parking spot became free and so Rob decided to do a quick wriggle manoeuvre of the Bear Cave into it. Not going far, we didn’t perform our usual pre-take-off checklist (cupboards latched, olive oil lying down, sink bench shut, fridge locked, toilet seat down, toilet paper in cupboard, drinking water container in bathroom, roof vents closed, windows in position, car seat belted in, electronics bag on seat, bikes strapped down, correct number of people in each vehicle, shoe box by door, door locked…..) and so…..the computer, which had been charging up on the alcove bed came crashing down, firstly onto Jgirl14’s head, secondly onto the table and finally all the way to the floor. Now there was a hole in the table as well as The Other Van! Quick repair jobs (to head and table) ensued, and then the broken van with men inside was off in search of hopefully-similar-success, leaving us with money to pay for parking if they didn’t return and some groceries.

In the supermarket we got carried away, thinking we were being helpful purchasing provisions for the next few days so that we wouldn’t need to return there before Oberammergau. As we packed tins and jars and vegetables and bread into our reusable cloth shopping bags and wicker basket, someone commented on how we had *only just* had enough money and how good it was to get rid of about thirty coins. Someone else innocently enquired, “Do you still have enough money for the parking?”
The parking? What parking? How could I have forgotten?
No, as a matter of fact, there is not enough. If the parking warden comes by we’ll have to pay in pasta, pickles and pumpernickel.

Ah well, something else to add to the inauspicious list.

Then Mboy6 became far too closely acquainted with stinging nettles. It’s quite likely you heard his cries from wherever you are in the world. This photo is just as he is realising that he is hurting:


A bit later Tgirl5 fell on the concrete and left a trail of blood from her knee all the way back to the Bear Cave, along with a good smear over her otherwise clean skirt. It’s OK. I wanted to do more handwashing today.

I wish I could say “Finally”, but that’s the wrong start for this sentence….our fastidious timekeeper learnt tonight that just because a box says “cook for three minutes on each side” (actually he did well to translate that, I thought!), you don’t set your alarm and sit down to wait the time out. Sometimes two and a half minutes will be plenty. And in true form for today, two and a half minutes would have been more than enough tonight!

It was one of those days. Oh yes, somewhere in there, when Jboy13 was burning the dinner, Rob was investigating an apparent leak from the water tank too. And just to top things off, it’s my Dad’s birthday and we cannot connect to the internet to send him geburtstag greetings!

So after (a late) dinner, we decided to finish the day pleasantly with a little walk through the town. We just needed to put new parking tickets in the windscreen and we could be off. But did we have the right change? No!! We would have to go to the supermarket first to get change…..and so our little walk got later and later….especially as Grandpa’s purchase turned out to be kaputt and so had to be returned to the store….honestly, you wouldn’t read about it!!
But it did turn out to be one of the best walks we have done. We climbed up the ancient stairs into the tower and walked around the city wall, right up where once upon a time soldiers would have patrolled, the children’s imaginations ran wild….and we wandered back from the Market Square down the main street feeling like Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel might pop out of one of the little lanes or poke their heads out a window and water the flowers in their windowboxes.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber turned our day into a fairy tale.

Time on the road: 1 1/2 hours (but only The Men)
Distance covered: 60km

Grandpa lives to tell the tale

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
by Rach, who thought it rude to offer to drive after today’s events Stellplatz at Rothenburg ob der Tauber Every train trip we have taken has presented us with different scenery, a different story. Could every road day do likewise? The ... [Continue reading this entry]

let the road trip begin

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
by Rach, who has not reached vehicle-driving status yet  Rasthof near Leipzig, Germany Away by lunchtime? Hopeful, but unrealistic. Rob had to do a change-trains-three-times-trip to the insurance company to pick up our “Green Cards” – not the sort that let you ... [Continue reading this entry]

new wheels

Monday, May 18th, 2009
by Rach, who thought she might go to church this morning, but ended up at the flea market Berlin, Germany Driving big vehicles in little towns is a challenge we are expecting to face, but will avoid whenever possible. And so ... [Continue reading this entry]

Katja’s Potato Soup

Sunday, May 17th, 2009
by Rachael, who will have made this again within a week Berlin, Germany Tomorrow our hosts will cook for us, and we’ll like it so much we’ll record the recipe with a view to making it again and again and again…..even ... [Continue reading this entry]

tourists in berlin

Friday, May 15th, 2009
by Rach Berlin, Germany Finally! We got to see some of The Sights, some of the things Berlin is famous for. With careful planning we were able to make full use of the rule which states you can hop on and off ... [Continue reading this entry]

when in rome……

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
by Mama Berlin, Germany Underneath the overhead train track in the middle of four lanes of traffic, there is almost always a queue of people. Apparently there has been since the 1920s when this little place opened. It has kept serving, ... [Continue reading this entry]

play your heart out

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009
by the idealistic Mama Berlin, Germany “What will you remember about Berlin, other than waiting waiting waiting?” I asked. We *should* be answering things like the amazing glass structure that is the Central Station or the middle-of-the-city-zoo or the Brandenburg Gate or ... [Continue reading this entry]

Introducing The Bear Cave

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
by the housewife Berlin, Germany For most of us our first look at our new home for the next six months or so came in the middle of the city at twilight. Nervously inching along the road shared by trams, trucks, ... [Continue reading this entry]