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German Wine Country ist gut!

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As many of you know I am involved in Texas Airedale Terrier Rescue  (TART). I do a very small part but every little bit from many volunteers helps. Long story short, I met a lady through the Facebook TART page that I am the administrator for. I volunteered to handle the FB page when we were in the running for the Animal Rescue Site contest.

People from all around the world helped us to win a weekly prize of $1000 last month. One of the wonderful people involved is Ursula Obermann from Germany owned by an Airedale named Ina. We chatted a bit by e-mail and she told me that she lives about 44 miles from Karlsruhe and I would be welcome to come visit her. We made plans including train schedules, etc. and on Wednesday Cheryl and I went to visit.

The region that Ursula lives in is known as the Deutsche Weinstraße, or German Wine Route. There are vineyards everywhere- perfect rows of grape vines as far as the eye can see within the Palatinate Forest area. The town is Bad Dürkheim and is also popular as a spa town. Of course we were there to meet Ursula, Ina, and do a little sightseeing so we did not partake of the Salinarium  or spa stuff.

We arrived in the town of Neustadt an der WeinstraBe by train at 9:50am and walked up the steps to where Ursula was waiting with Ina the Airedale. There was a funny moment when Cheryl asked me if I knew what Ursula looked like and I said no but I knew that I would recognize Ina. As we were having this conversation, I looked directly in front of me and saw them. Who else would be meeting us at this exact time in this place with a dog that looked similar to my Bentley, right? Anyway, hugged, I introduced Cheryl, got some puppy love, and then headed out towards Ursula’s hometown.

Our lovely hostess Ursula and cute Ina Airedale

Our lovely hostess Ursula and cute Ina Airedale

On the way there we stopped and picked up delicious German pastries at the bakery in her neighborhood. We enjoyed a tasting party of sweets and coffee at her house a little later and I had a teensy taste of very good German wine. Cheryl declined saying it was a bit early for her but I figured what the hey. We went out to Ursula’s beautiful courtyard afterwards and Ina entertained us.

Sweets for the sweet!

Sweets for the sweet!

Oh yeah- before we went to the bakery and house we stopped by the Gradierbau Saline. This is some info I found online about the saline online from this link: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Germany/Land_Rheinland_Pfalz/Bad_Duerkheim-77093/TravelGuide-Bad_Duerkheim.html. Info below copied directly from link.

It is created by these massive wood structures called salines, or salt evaporation works. Built out of a wooden encasement filled with blackthorn twigs, salt water pours over the twigs from the top of the saline. As gravity pulls the water down in small trickles, the water is nebulized and creates the marine air. Even on the hottest of days, a walk past the salines will refresh you with the cool air produced by this structure.

Bad Dürkheim’s saline, or Gradierbau, is 333 meters long, making it the longest saline in Germany. It is located at the Kurpark in the center of town, the location of the annual Wurstmarkt or wine festival each September. It is free to walk around and enjoy.

Here are a few pics from our stop there.

A nice creek running through it

A nice creek running through it

Filtered water

Filtered water

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Ina and me

Ina and me

Here are some photos from Ursula’s courtyard with Ina.

Funny Airedale face

Funny Airedale face

Having fun playing with ball.

Having fun playing with ball.

After a while we loaded up and headed out to be tourists. We stopped first at the Limburg Abbey.

My three new friends.

My three new friends.

We could see Hardenburg where I will visit month when I go back to Bad Dürkheim to spend more time with Ursula and Ina.

We could see Hardenburg where I will visit month when I go back to Bad Dürkheim to spend more time with Ursula and Ina.

After walking around the ruins of the monastery we loaded back into the car and drove to one of the beautiful vineyards. The grape vines are just starting to wake up so no green is showing yet but I expect to see some new growth when I go back to visit next month. These are some Roman ruins amongst the particular vineyard we walked through. The pics that follow are of Villa rustica Weilberg ( a Roman country estate) in Bad Dürkheim-Ungstein.

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Villa rustica Weilberg ( a Roman country estate) in Bad Dürkheim-Ungstein

 

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There are more pictures but I will share them at a later time. We then walked back to the car to load up and head back to the train station. I could have stayed there forever. It was quite beautiful and the weather couldn’t have been any more perfect.

We walked around the town a bit and Ursula told us some background on this fountain. Here is a link to read about it if you are interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwetritsch. It is an interesting local myth about a birdlike mythical creature called the Elwetritsche.

the picture on the link is much better than the one I took. Check it out.

We walked around while we waited to get some Turkish sandwiches for take out and marveled at the pretty half-timbered buildings and quaint shops.

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 It was a fabulous day. I plan on going back next month when we return to Karlsruhe. I will be in dire need of a puppy fix and Ursula is a loads of fun. A big thank you to Ursula for being such a wonderful hostess and allowing us to visit her lovely home and for giving us a wonderful tour of the region.
Tomorrow (Saturday), Kris and I leave Karlsruhe to fly out of the Baden-Baden airport to stay the night in London and then fly into Shannon, Ireland on Sunday. We will be there for one week. I know Kris is ready for some down time after all the work for DOW with Siemens these last two weeks. So next time I post it will be from the Emerald Isle. Till then- hugs and love!
Karen

 

 

 

 

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Once again- Welcome to the Deutschland

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Back in Karlsruhe again and this time I have another lady from Texas visiting with her daughter to wander around with me during the day while everyone was at work. Her name is Cheryl and her daughter Lee works for Siemens in Houston. If you have followed our travels you will remember Lee from our December trip when it was so darn cold. Snowy cold then but much better now.

We are staying at a quirky place called the Hotelwelt Kubler. The u has an umlaut but I can’t figure out how to do it this computer. Hotel Kubler is very different from our other hotel we stay at while here in Karlsruhe. The website is http://4a-hotelwelt.de/?page_id=125 and if you are interested, check it out. Meanwhile I will post some pics to give you an idea how unusual it is.

Most of the rooms have some sort of theme. This is our room which is right over the Badisch Brauhaus on the fifth floor.

Most of the rooms have some sort of theme. This is our room which is right over the Badisch Brauhaus on the fifth floor.

Big bathroom with bathtub I can almost swim in. This is good for when one walks too much and the feet hurt.

Big bathroom with bathtub I can almost swim in. This is good for when one walks too much and the feet hurt.

Cool funky balcony overlooking the restaurant.

Cool funky balcony overlooking the restaurant.

The view to our left

The view to our left. If you look down you will see the glass roof that opens every morning and closes every night. Can get quite loud in the evening when a soccer game is on the big screen T.V.’s in the bar.

And the view across from our room.

And the view across from our room.

Cheryl and I explore when the housekeepers are cleaning the rooms that people have checked out of. More strange theme stuff.

Cheryl and I explore when the housekeepers are cleaning the rooms that people have checked out of. More strange theme stuff.

Wooden buildings like this are all around the hotel property.

Wooden buildings like this are all around the hotel property.

There are many buildings with hotel rooms, apartments for longer term, and special themed rooms all around the property.

There are many buildings with hotel rooms, apartments for longer term, and special themed rooms all around the property.

At night it sort of locks like a fun house in places.

At night it sort of locks like a fun house in places.

One of the special rooms looks like a giant boulder from the outside and on the inside- like this.

One of the special rooms looks like a giant boulder from the outside and on the inside- like this.

And this is in there too.

And this is in there too.

Apparently this crane is a permanent fixture so they can lift more little cabins in onto the property when they wish.

Apparently this crane is a permanent fixture so they can lift more little cabins in onto the property when they wish.

There are even funny little barrel places to sit and have dinner if you choose inside the brauhaus.

There are even funny little barrel places to sit and have dinner if you choose inside the brauhaus.

If I am correct there are 4 levels to the Badisch Brauhaus. A bar on the 4th level, the main restaurant on the 3rd, a special medieval dining room on the 2nd with the original copper kettles for beer brewing, and a basement. Each level has many little crooks and nannies- oops, I mean (that expression is for Sheila) nooks and crannies around every corner you explore.

If I am correct there are 4 levels to the Badisch Brauhaus. A bar on the 4th level, the main restaurant on the 3rd, a special medieval dining room on the 2nd with the original copper kettles for beer brewing, and a basement. Each level has many little crooks and nannies- oops, I mean (that expression is for Sheila) nooks and crannies around every corner you explore.

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There is a slide that winds down three levels to the basement floor. And yes after one good German beer most adults will be more daring. We all did and it was Fun!

There is a slide that winds down three levels to the basement floor. And yes after one good German beer most adults will be more daring. We all did and it was Fun!

The view with the slide in the main restaurant. The slide is right there on the right hand side by the bar. Get ready, set, go...

The view with the slide in the main restaurant. The slide is right there on the right hand side by the bar. Get ready, set, go…

The Hotel Kubler is an experience and you must appreciate odd little touches of eccentricities to stay here. We love it. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I will be back tomorrow to tell you about my lovely experience in Bad Dürkheim with an Airedale Terrier named Ina and her person, Ursula.

Be back soon,

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready for pics?

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Sorry about the length of time since the last post but I have been a busy bee here in Karlsruhe since we arrived on Sunday. I will catch you up on the specifics later but for now I want to share the pictures we took when we visited Keukenhof Gardens last Saturday. For you gardeners out there this will be delightful and for the rest of you- well, I don’t know what to say.

We came in the back entrance to the gardens skipping over the craziness of where the buses arrived with a million plus tourists.

We came in the back entrance to the gardens skipping over the craziness of where the buses arrived with a million plus tourists.

Every color of tulip imaginable.

Every color of tulip imaginable.

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Couldn't decide which color I like best but the orange and yellow made me feel warm and fuzzy since it was still quite cold that day.

Couldn’t decide which color I like best but the orange and yellow made me feel warm and fuzzy since it was still quite cold that day.

Who is that hiding back there in the flowers?

Who is that hiding back there in the flowers?

Now this is one of my favorite planting boxes.

Now this is one of my favorite planting boxes.

Real live lilacs- woo hoo. Kris took me over to see them and bask in the fragrance. Heavenly...

Real live lilacs- woo hoo. Kris took me over to see them and bask in the fragrance. Heavenly…

Outside the pavilions were plantings everywhere of hyacinths, crocus, tulips, and other bulb flowers that I had never seen before. The marshmallow fluff's are sculptures that I particularly liked.

Outside the pavilions were plantings everywhere of hyacinths, crocus, tulips, and other bulb flowers that I had never seen before. The marshmallow fluff’s are sculptures that I particularly liked.

Warmer temps. had encouraged some of the flowers to show some color.

Warmer temps. had encouraged some of the flowers to show some color.

And then the crowd started to really become a crowd around 10:30 and we decided to make haste and get out before it became overwhelming.

And then the crowd started to really become a crowd around 10:30. We decided to make haste and get out before it became overwhelming.

We wished we could have had the place all to ourselves.

We wished we could have had the place all to ourselves.

We popped into the pavilion that was filled with a tribute to the United Kingdom. Nice pattern on this flower, huh?

We popped into the pavilion that was filled with a tribute to the United Kingdom. Nice pattern on this flower, huh?

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A favorite floral display.

A favorite floral display.

More warmth needed to wake up the arbor but it was still very nice.

More warmth needed to wake up the arbor but it was still very nice.

I wanted to bring these cute bicycle sculptured people home.

I wanted to bring these cute bicycle sculptured people home.

On our way out we stopped and inhaled the fragrance from the hyacinths. The sun had begun to warm the flowers and their scent was powerful.

On our way out we stopped and inhaled the fragrance from the hyacinths. The sun had begun to warm the flowers and their scent was powerful.

Lots of daffodils in the fields as we knocked about the country side on our drive back to Terneuzen.

Lots of daffodils in the fields as we knocked about the country side on our drive back to Terneuzen.

Glorious fields of color on both sides of the road.

Glorious fields of color on both sides of the road.

The tulips are just beginning to pop their heads of color. See the red in the distance.

The tulips are just beginning to pop their heads of color. See the red in the distance.

Though the fields aren't in full bloom yet as this photo I coulf imagine how nice it would be to wake up and look out the window to a painting of nature's colors.

Though the fields aren’t in full bloom yet as this photo I could imagine how nice it would be to wake up and look out the window to a painting of nature’s colors.

There a many more pictures to share but I must break for a while on downloading the pics and run errands today here in Karlsruhe. We leave for our journey to Ireland on Saturday morning and must have clean clothes, etc. prepped for packing. Have a great day!

Till next time,

Karen and Kris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images from past week

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There is not a lot to report on our trip so far. We are in Terneuzen until Sunday morning then leaving for Karlsruhe, Germany. The weather has not been cooperative with my wishes to get lots of exercise so far.

I did rent a bike to ride on Monday and reacquainted myself with Terneuzen. It is not a large town with less population than Lake Jackson- I’d guess about 24,000. Much safer to ride a bike or walk around in though due to the planned biking and walking paths. I’d never consider using a bike for my only transportation in Lake Jackson. You’d probably get hit by a monster truck right off the bat and squished.

I know from experience when I lived in Houston riding my bike to work when the weather permitted just how dangerous people can be in their cars. I was once hit by a postal delivery person. He argued that I shouldn’t have been in his lane but I was there first and he just wanted to scoot up next to me at the light. It wasn’t pretty, not that I was hurt but he did knock me down off my bike. Fortunately there were witness’s that told him to back off. I guess he was just having a bad day?

Good grief, I sure get sidetracked easily. Monday wasn’t too bad though it was chilly but Tuesday came and it got much colder with rain. No biking that day. Yesterday was beautiful so I rode like a maniac back and forth across town and on the dyke above the water. The wind wasn’t too bad but this morning the wind was blowing like a typhoon Mary so I elected to stay in. Did not want to get blown off into the cold water. I did try out the spa facility with sauna and pool in the basement of our hotel. Not too shabby.

Apparently, Terneuzen never gets much snow – maybe once a year but this year they have had snow at least a dozen times this year just as recent as two weeks ago. This has taken a toll on the early spring blooms everywhere in the Netherlands – especially in the Keukenhof Garden area where the famous pictures of tulip fields are taken by tourists from all around the world. We postponed going last weekend when we were closer to the small towns which are right outside of Amsterdam like Lisse, Leiden, and Sassenheim because the weather was prohibitive- both for the flowers and the humans.

We will drive early to the area on Saturday morning so we can beat some of the crowds that will show up for the afternoon flower parade and festivities planned. I will post pics so stay tuned but for now here are some of the local bulb flowers that are starting to share their beauty with us mere mortals.

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Roundabouts are quite commonly used here instead of traffic signals and this one is one of my favorites that I pass daily when going to town square. Nothing better than bright yellow jonquils to brighten your day.

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Or possibly a daisy tree. I have never seen a tree like this and there are more than one in this town. It is the size of a tree, I promise. Kris and I spotted it last night on our way back from dinner with one of her work associates. We stopped the car and walked across the street to see it better from the sidewalk. The only problem with this type of tree is I think it would be quite messy when the blooms fall off.

Time to go for now- dinner is calling my name and I think it will be something from the North Sea. I’ll be back soon with more pictures of flowers from our weekend tour.

Till next time,

Karen

Holland not in bloom yet

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You would think this is the right time of year for the bulb flowers to be bloomin’ fools- right? No. This has been one of the coldest spring seasons in something like 66 years according to one of Kris’ Dow colleagues. There was even snow on the ground two weeks ago in Terneuzen which is almost unheard of in these parts.

But as you know we have also had strange weather in the Houston area. The day before we left I was wearing shorts and t-shirt mowing the yard. The day we left I put on a jacket so I wouldn’t get chilled.

Back to Holland and the flowers. We arrived in Amsterdam on Friday morning and had sufficiently recovered sleep wise from a nap so we walked around our hotel neighborhood that evening. Our hotel was on the outskirts of the red light district by the main train station. We planned it this way so we could hop the train back to the airport for our rental car on Sunday morning and drive to Terneuzen. It worked out quite nice without any hassle dragging the luggage too far.

Saturday morning we got up, had a bite for breakfast, and walked over to the Nemo, an interactive science museum. We had to wait for it to open at 10am but the nice Dutch girl let us in so we could get warm. I have a few pictures but won’t post them quite yet. I am still trying to sort out my devices. Bear with me or as I like to say- dig in your pocket for some patience!

Later the same day we went to tour Amsterdam’s museum, Our Lord in the Attic- a 17th-century canal house where  local Catholics worshiped discreetly in the attic church. This was when the city passed into Protestant rule during the 16th/17th century and the local Cathedral “Oude Kirk” had been taken over at the alteration.  We had a nice dinner at a little Italian place and went to bed fairly early so we could get out of Amsterdam early Sunday.

Bright and early Sunday morning we boarded the train, rented the car and drove out with the expectations of seeing flowers blooming in the fields. We did see a half dozen or so fields filled with narcissus and hyacinth- mostly varying shades of yellow with a bit of purple here and there but no tulips yet. The Keukenhof is famous for their gardens, greenhouses, and bulb fields but it is still too early for the tulips due to cold weather. I didn’t want to waste time nor money on seeing them at their minimal best so we will hope for warmer weather to arrive and go visit the Keukenhof later.

When we reached the border of the Zeeland area, Kris and I took a side trip over to the Delta Works which is an amazing feat of engineering. Here is a link for you check out if you’d like-

http://www.unmuseum.org/7wonders/zunderzee.htm

It explains how the Dutch dealt with the storms and flooding from the North Sea that pushed in to their inlets causing much destruction back in the day. We could use some of this expertise in the hurricane prone areas of the US south, I think.

So now we are here in Terneuzen for Kris’ first work week. I promise to upload pictures and more tedious commentary.

Till then,

Karen Raye

Leaving on a jet plane

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Yes it is that day. I’ll be back with all my tedious commentary and not so tedious pictures soon. Have a great day!

Till then,
Karen and Kris

A guessing game or not

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Brings out the florist in one...

Where was this picture taken?

In ten days we will be? Do you remember where this picture was taken last summer? I certainly do and am ecstatic to have the opportunity to go back and actually see all the flowers blooming in their natural habitat.

We will arrive in Amsterdam next Friday the 12th and leave for Kris’s next work trip which takes us back to Terneuzen and Karlsruhe. In between, we will hop over on Ryan Air to Ireland  and tour the west and north of the Emerald Isle. Then it’s back to work for awhile and then one long weekend we will stay in Bruges, Belgium because we loved it so much. Be back soon with lots of pictures and new stories of knockin’ about with k & k.

Till next time,

Karen and Kris