Welcome to our life!

Hi, I'm Allison! I'm a thirtysomething, freshly baked, stay-at-home mom. I'm originally from Connecticut, now living in Germany, hence the name of the blog. I live in southern Germany with my German husband and our baby boy. Life has turned out to be nothing I ever expected, and am so incredibly happy with it! We certainly do have a lot of laughs! I hope you will enjoy following our new experiences raising a little half American/ half German in a little German town.

Montag, 31. Mai 2010

Neuschwanstein Castle

Joern and I had a fun few days last week during my Pentecost Break. Since I've been moping about lately that I want to go somewhere, Joern was wonderful enough to suggest that at least we go somewhere nice in his new district for a few days.
Joern's company recently merged with Hela Kechup company. When the merge occured, the salesforce was also redistricted. Joern's former region was from Stuttgart southwest to the border of France, and south to Switzerland and Lake Constance. His new region now is from Stuttgart south again to Switzerland, and now, east into Bavaria. A large part of his new region lies in Allgäu, Alpine region of Germany.
Allgäu is known for the Alps, rolling fields, and dairy production, all of which make me happy.

One of the standout tourist attractions found in Allgäu is Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle was built in the 1860s, and largely designed by King Ludwig II who earned himself a reputation as the "Crazy King." Sadly, it seems like the details of his life and death are fuzzy, and seems more that propaganda turned to reputation, and his life was rather tragic.
From the town center in Hohenschwangau, the castle is only accessible via bus, hike, or horse and carriage ride. Well, we're not hikers, and obviously not romantics, so we ended up taking the bus, which was okay, and probably much quicker than the horse and carriage.
From the bus stop, one can walk up a small hill to a bridge, which, according to the book has a lovely view of the castle. Of course, being married to Joern, means that I had to trapse through all the toursits out onto the bridge. The bridge is actually over this huge ravine. It was quite windy up there, and with tons of tourists on the bridge, it wasn't the best experience. BUT, then I looked out over the rail of the bridge to see this:

Well worth the elbows, the shoves, and even the crazy windblown hair that resulted from the visit to the bridge.
The castle, which is supposed to have been the inspiration for Cinderella's Castle in Disneyland, was designed as a tribute to Richard Wagner, a favorite composer of Ludwig.
The castle is, of course, a tribute to oppulence, and is over the top in many respects. It is also incredibly creative in design and technology, utilizing water pressure from the mountains to give the entire castle running water, a remarkable kitchen, and central heating.

Sadly, the king's untimely, and quite mysterious, passing left the castle unfinished. What stands is surely impacting, and awe-inspiring.
Each room is devoted to a scene from one of Wagner's operas, or an entire opera itself. My favorite room had to be the grotto, an artificial stalactite cave.
Sadly, for my reades, you are not allowed to take pictures inside the castle, so you'll have to settle with the exterior. Not so bad either!

The view from the castle is also insanely incredible.

Including, the bridge, and the Pollät Gorge below- yikes, I didn't realize it was this high at the time!

And, from the windows of the castle, you can look down onto the boyhood home of King Ludwig II, Hohenschwangau Castle.

The town Hohenschwangau was typically Germanish touristy, but cute too. I loved the horses, especially the one we saw with the crazy hair, and the hotel near the base of the castle.

That night, after visiting the castle, we headed off to Scheidegg, a town with a beautiful view of the Alps, quite close to the Austrian border. We stayed in a guest house that was fine for our purposes. Most exciting was that from the balcony, you could see Lake Constance.

When Joern asked for dinner recommendations at the guesthouse, we got two that weren't too exciting, both in the center of town. Joern then asked for a restaurant with a view, so the owner suggested a restaurant called "Fünfländereck," or "Five Country Corner." We were lucky that the weather had held out all day, because the restaurant had a beautiful terrace from which you could enjoy the view.

Sonntag, 23. Mai 2010

A yummy surprise!

Since Monday is a holiday here, Joern and I are having a little more relaxed weekend. Normally, Saturday is cleaning day for me and office day for Joern. With the prospect of an extra day to the weekend, Joern and I headed to Reutlingen to check out a tile store that had been recommended to us. Unfortunately, we arrived at the tile store 10 minutes before they were closing, at noon. At least we were able to set up an appointment for Friday afternoon. I'm pretty excited!
But while we were there, we decided to head in to the center, which holds a market every Saturday. I have to say, the market was wonderful. It was quite large, and they had such beautiful fruits and vegetables there. It was so nice to know that most of the produce had come fresh from the farm that morning.
We bought incredibly wonderful strawberries, fresh white asparagus, wild asparagus, beautiful mixed greens, eggs, and duck breast. Yeah, I was a little shocked at the meat too, but it was very well- stored, and all looked so wonderful.

Last night, to celebrate our fresh market finds, Joern and I had a fabulous dinner of duck, wild asparagus, and a wild mushroom risotto. Yum!

Joern told me that the city next to us, Nuertingen, also has a market every Saturday. I have to say, I am really excited to go to markets more often and try new, fresh things! Hooray!

Sonntag, 9. Mai 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

It seems hard to believe that this is my second Mother's Day without being able to call my mom and wish her a happy day. No flowers to order, and no cards to send either.
Mother's Day turned into an "FTD" day for me after moving abroad. Although I am lucky that I am able to travel home twice a year, Mother's Day was never one of those holidays that I was able to celebrate with my mom. Fortunately, and sadly, I was with my mom two years ago on Mother's Day. I was still home after her stroke, and I am glad we had the day together, to form one, very pleasant, lasting memory.
Here are a few pictures from the last time I celebrated Mother's Day with my mom:

We spent a few hours at the Dogwood Festival in Fairfield. It was one of my mom's favorite festivals, and since I had never been there before, I suggested to her that we spend some time there for Mother's Day. Looking back on it, it was a really special day. Of course, we could not have known that it would be my last opportunity to spend this holiday with my mom, but it mixed together all the things my mom loved: Greenfield Hill, dogwood trees, and our town. For me, it was special because I was actually spending the day with my mom, in my home town, at a festival that is has been a long-standing tradition in our town.

One of the items I inherited was a beautiful painting my mom had purchased at the Dogwood Festival a few years prior, when she attended the festival with her then boyfriend, Jerry. I wish I could post a picture of the painting, but I don't have one, and the painting is at my father's house waiting to be shipped to Germany. My mom went crazy after purchasing the painting to find the perfect frame. My stepfather then went crazy when he found out how much she had spent on said perfect frame. I am now looking forward to having this painting in our new home, to remind me of my mom, and our Mother's Day at the Dogwood Festival.

So, happy Mother's Day to you moms out there. You all have a special job, and you will never truly realize the impact you have on your children. Happy Mother's Day to you too, Mom. I wish we could be together today, but know that I am thinking of you!

Samstag, 8. Mai 2010

To HDTV or not to HDTV, that is the question

Okay, so I really need your opinions, dear blog readers. Yesterday, I came home to find this scene on my dresser:

Funny thing, when I left in the morning, we had our regular, old, very small TV on top of the dresser. According to Joern, he was in the market for a new TV anyway, because the remote for the old TV was missing. Hmmm.... We've been discussing the TV for quite a while now, as we'll be moving within the year, and well, we don't want to stick our old, but very nicely working, living room TV in our newly built living room. But, since the TV in our living room is working great, it is hard to justify buying a new one. Obviously, losing a remote is justification for purchasing a 40" flat screen for the bedroom. Sometimes, you really gotta love boys.
Now to the question of the day- HDTV. Obviously, our new TV is HD and well, I can imagine, it would look amazing. But, with Sky, our paid TV provider, HD is 10 Euro per month above our 32 Euro per month bill. I know that many at home would laugh at 30 Euro, or even 40 a month. I remember that my stepfather had a $70 per month cable bill. But, TV is mostly free here, and we pay for premium chanels and original version TV series and movies. I'm not sure if an extra 10 Euro per month is worth it for our bedroom TV.
For those of you who have HD channels, are they really so amazing? We would end up with History in HD, National Geographic and Discovery, two sports channels, and two movie channels.
We'll definately be moving over to the HD service when we move, but I'm wondering if it is really worth it for the next few months we live in the apartment.