December 29, 2008

Gearing up for Garmisch

Posted in Journal, Purls of Wisdom tagged , , , , , , at 11:30 pm by Jenn

Scott and I are going to Garmisch in a couple of weeks and I CANNOT WAIT!  One week away from Baku…there is a God.

We are staying at Edelweiss again.  We’d be crazy not to.  It’s an awesome resort and everything you need is right there, or right across the street at the base.

Scott plans to do some skiing.  I plan to take a few tours, do some geocaching if I’m able and of course hit the yarn store. 

I’m hoping to have a new hat and mittens whipped up by then….we’ll see.  The hat that I chose is the Unoriginal Hat designed by the Yarn Harlot and I’m still undecided on the mittens.  Something with a cable because the hat has cables, and something quick and easy because I’ve never knit mittens.  That shouldn’t be too hard to find…

Now I just need to stop all of my other little projects and focus on the hat and mittens.  That shouldn’t be too hard…I hope.  I really don’t want to take my bright red leather gloves to Garmisch, but hey, if I must they at least match my Maryland Terrapins hat…no, that doesn’t scream TOURIST at all.

February 24, 2008

Greetings from Germany

Posted in Journal, Purls of Wisdom tagged , , , , , at 11:07 pm by Jenn

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Germany is BEAUTIFUL!  I love it here.  I can’t imagine that Europe can get much better than this.  We arrived at night on Monday so I really couldn’t see what I was in store for, but I swore I could see a mountain right outside of our room.  The next morning when I opened the curtains, sure enough, there it was…THE ZUGSPITZE!

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The first day I decided I would try to find the LYS (local yarn store).  The nice woman in the gift shop provided me with directions, a bus schedule and a map and off I went.  I arrived at the yarn store at 1:15pm only to discover it closed for lunch.  A few shops down I remembered seeing a pretzel sign so I decided I’d see what all the fuss is over these Bavarian pretzels.  I sat on a bench across the street from the yarn store, ate my pretzels, people watched and waited.  Just after 2pm I went back to the store, the door was now open but the shop keeper requested that I come back at 3pm.  It was a beautiful sunny day so I decided rather than sit and wait I would walk around the town, look and take some pictures. 

What a neat little town.   There were many ornate hotels, quaint little shops and interesting people.  I heard a horse, clip clopping along the cobblestone streets.  What a great sound. 

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Dogs are everywhere here with their owners and it made me sad that little Max is home holding down the fort.  I’m sure he would have loved to visit Germany.

I finally made it back to the yarn store and was very pleased when I went inside.  There were some BEAUTIFUL hand dyed yarns, lots of fun wool and an interesting cotton blend.  I don’t think I went overboard, but I do have 6 skeins to add to my stash! 

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I didn’t want to buy to much because I still have Munich to visit and there are a lot more shops there.  This shop was the only one I could find in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.   

It was time to head back to the resort so I headed for the bus stop.  On the way I saw some kids eating ice cream and decided ice cream would be much better than getting on the bus.  I ordered one scoop of chocolate and sat down in the sun and enjoyed it.  It was so nice to feel the sun on my face.  Now completely satisfied I was ready for the bus.  It is 1.30 Euro to ride (exchange rate .61 euro to the dollar).  After about 15 minutes I checked my route schedule and noticed that none of the stops were matching the route I needed to take. 

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I’d gotten on the WRONG bus (#4 instead of #2).  I decided to just sit back and enjoy the sites and ride it to the end.  What better way to see the city.  I rode to the end, paid another 1.30 euro got back on and exited where I started and waited for the right bus.  I made it back to the resort a little later than anticipated but I can’t complain, I had a great afternoon, exploring, shopping and eating. 

Day 2 – My plans were to have a massage at 11:00 am, and then hed for the Zugspitze.  I spent 45 minutes on the treadmill before my massage (I figured I’d better work off some of those pretzels and ice cream from the day before).  The massage was wonderful, Swedish with Heated Stone Therapy.  One full hour of pure relaxation.  It was wonderful.  I came back to the room, showered and changed and headed to the tour counter to get information on the Zugspitze.  I was surprised to see that the shop was closed for lunch and wouldn’t open again til 3:00pm.    Not to worry, there were information sheets with instructions, I could do this.  The information sheet said the train I needed to take was a 20 minute walk by foot, so off I went.  What the information sheet didn’t say was that this was a 20 minute walk if you were a triathlete and had hiking gear.  The train stop was 1/2 way up a mountain, no shit up a freaking mountain.  Not THE Freigin Mountain, but A freaking mountain (more on the Freigin Mountain on Day 3).  I left the resort at 1:19 pm and at 2:15 found the general train stop area. 

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Now I wasn’t walking the whole time.  I had to stop and rest, knock on a door and ask for directions, talk to a mountain man (YES, I know this wasn’t the smartest thing…talking to strangers in the mountain, but hey it’s Europe) to find which path was the one for the train and stop in a restaurant to use the bathroom (and confirm that there was in fact a train stop on this mountain).  I reach what I think is the train area, but it’s not the train area, it is the chair lift area for one of the ski slopes. 

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I found a  very nice man who spoke English and he pointed me in the direction of the train.  He also gave me a gift after asking me if I know what “condoom” is in German.  I say No and he says, “you know safe sex” and hands me a package the size of a condom.  Inside this package Gummy Bears.  He and I both laugh and he then tells me that I should wait until tomorrow to go to the Zugspitze because at this time of day I won’t make it to the top if I take the train.  I’m disappointed, but I decide it’s probably best not to take a 40 minute train ride and be disappointed so I watched the skiers for a while and then head BACK DOWN the mountain ON FOOT.  I snacked on my corn nuts and sang to myself and thought how stupid I was to be wondering in the Bavarian Alps by myself with mountain men and lord only knows what kind of animals.  That’s when the pace picked up a bit.  Thank goodness down is much easier than up.  My feet were killing me by the time I got back to the resort and I was happy to make it back in one piece.  Blisters on the feet but one piece all the same. 

Scott didn’t truly appreciate my story, but he did agree to play BINGO with me in Zuggy’s Base Camp that night.  We didn’t get BINGO, but it was nice just to sit and laugh at the absurdity of the BINGO caller’s comments and enjoy the German beer (Franzishaner’s Dunkel is my personal favorite so far).

Day 3 – The morning was spent just kind of chilling out around the resort and the commissary/exchange.  I bought some groceries and made plans to go back the next day to box them up and mail them.  Scott’s group tour was scheduled for the afternoon.  We went to the Lowenbrau (which I was surprised isn’t pronounced Lowenbrau, it’s actually Lovenbroy) brewery.  The tour was really interesting and the best part was the two hour “sampling” session.  I tried 3 dark beers all of which were really good.  One thing that” I found interesting is that German law states that beer may only be made from 4 ingredients: hops, yeast, malt and water.   This law known as the “Purity Law” dates back to the 16th century.

After the brewery tour we got back on the bus and headed for downtown Munich.  Here we had dinner reservations at the Hofbrauhaus.   Before dinner we did a walking tour of the city and followed a path that Hitler took on the way to make one of his famous speeches in 1923.  We stopped by the Marienplatz (city center) and I got to see the Glockenspiel.

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I heard it strike 7pm but did not get to see the “show” that it puts on.  I think the last one is at 5pm so I’m hoping to be able to see that on Wednesday.

Dinner was good.  Schnitzel of course.  You can’t come to Germany and not eat Schnitzel.  Besides, it was the only thing I could identify on the menu, so schnitzel it was.  By the way, if you are ever coming to Germany and want to order meatloaf, be sure you really want to eat Spam/Hotdog meat loaf because that is what you will be getting.  GROSS!  They served us this “meat” (though I question whether this is truly the correct term) at the brewery along with pretzels during our “sampling”.  I tried it, it was gross.  Several people ordered the meatloaf for dinner at Hofbrauhaus and let’s just say, they were not too happy when their meals arrived.  The rest of us though were VERY entertained!  LOL.  (This meatloaf is called Leberkäse).  Yeah, anything called “liver cheese” is bound to be disgusting!

Day 4 – Hung out around resort.  Mailed groceries back to Minsk via MPS (military postal service) for FREE!  This is one of the best benefits of living overseas.  You can mail packages APO to APO for free. 

Day 5 – Castle Tour

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Day 6 – Zugspitze

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This post is getting very long and I don’t have pictures available yet so I’m going to end here and will pick back up when I get home to Minsk.  The past two days were great tourist days with lots of pictures that I want to share.  I’ll update this post with pictures too.

Tomorrow we are planning to do some shopping.  Scott wants to buy a cuckoo clock and I think I’m going to go back to that yarn store.  We are staying here in Garmisch til Wednesday and then heading up to Munich for a day before returning to Minsk. 

We are having a great time and plan to return….maybe for the beer festivals this summer.

February 17, 2008

On Vacation

Posted in Journal, Purls of Wisdom tagged , , , , at 10:02 pm by Jenn

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We are heading out for vacation (well I’m going on vacation, Scott has to work) for a little over a week.  Think of me on the cog wheel train, going to the top of the Zugspitze and visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle (the Disney castle was modeled after this one).  I really hope to be able to make it over to Austria on this trip as well to do the Sound of Music Tour, but if not I’ve asked for a trip for my birthday (hey, he got a BOSE – that’s a fair deal).  After Scott’s conference we’ll be leaving the Garmisch, Germany area and heading to Munich!  I can’t wait to see and hear the Glockenspiel!  I also plan on making a mad YARN attack and have compiled my list of shops!  Look out Germany, hear I come and I can ship for free from APO to APO.  Gotta love the Military Postal System!