Monday, 29 August 2011

Sculptures in the Park

Last Wednesday I joined the ladies from the British Women’s Club for a walk through an internationally renowned exhibition of modern sculpture in the beautiful Kurpark in Bad Homburg.
Bad Homburg is only about 20km away from Bad Soden
The "Bad Homburg" Rose
The weather was so hot I could have dived right into this fountain!

Beautiful park

The sculptures were very interesting, and while I didn’t take the booklet with all the artist info and sculpture names, I enjoyed the day out in the sun and discussions around what we thought the sculptures could depict.  Below are some photos of the sculptures and the stunning Kurpark in Bad Homburg.  

This sculpture was made of marble and smooth to touch. Strange looking, I know!   

Deep in thought about what the last sculpture could have been...

This is a permanent feature in the Kurpark, from Thailand

If I was a little taller I'd have put my face in the hole       


Depicting "SPEED"

The thermal baths in the Kurpark

Look closely and you will see the artist's face in the sculpture of David's face

They used 3 BMWs to make this one

This was my favourite. The flowers were so pretty and perfectly placed

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Back in the Saddle

I finally plucked up the courage to get back on my bike this week.  I gave myself a little goal to cycle to, and saw the designated cycle paths that looked quite easy. 
Field of "pick your own flowers" - the goal
I pushed my bike for a few blocks to avoid traffic and pavements, until I reached the cycle path, jumped on my bike and headed off.  A lot of the way was downhill, and for fear of going too fast I think I probably rode the brakes too much. I only have 3 gears and my 3rd gear didn’t slow me down enough.  I need more practice before I can become a speed queen.
Lovely cycle path
Easy road in the field to practice on

I cycled to a beautiful field nearby where you can pick your own flowers, and then pay of for them in the “honesty” box provided.  I've never seen or experienced anything like this before, so it was quite exciting and pretty awesome.  I walked through the field of sunflowers…until I saw all the bees and made a quick exit.  There were knives provided so that you could cut the flowers; I had packed a small scissors from home but used one of the knives instead.
Flowers available for picking
Pricelist and cash box

Knives to cut the stems

Flowers - cut your own

My selection - 2 sunflowers and 2 sets of gladiolas
So my first ride back in the saddle was a success indeed. My sunflowers have opened up beautifully and my gladiolas have brightened our dull living room. And even though I hopped off my bike at every traffic light and pushed it across while walking, I got some exercise out in the sun while conquering my fears.

The strength of the Euro?
After doing a load of washing the other day I realised I'd left a 5 Euro note in one of my pockets.  It came out nice and clean and intact. I let it dry and it was as good as new.
Would this be considered money laundering? :-) Or perhaps it shows the strength of the Euro :-)

Our First Cultural Event

Summer days
Two weeks ago when I heard about the Sommernachtfest that was due to take place on 20th August, I couldn’t understand why it was taking place at the end of the summer.  At that stage the weather had become really cold and I thought all hope of summer was lost.  But now I can clearly see why summer is still being celebrated; the past few days have seen temperatures well over the 30’s (degrees Celsius). 
Today's temps
I've enjoyed a few lovely days at the pool, and am starting to get a little colour on my lily white skin at last. The heat was so sticky last night we couldn’t sleep comfortably, and when I looked at the temperature on my phone’s weather…32 degrees – I love summer! I’m soaking up these days and nights because I know winter in Germany is going to be much colder than I’ve been accustomed to.
Beautiful grassy bank at the Kronberg pool
Kronberg pool
My friend Jane from the British Women’s Club kindly gives me a lift with her to the Kronburg pool.

The Sommernachtfest 

On  Saturday Arne and I set off down the road to first cultural event, the Bad Soden annual Sommernachtfest.  We were lucky enough to be able to walk there as we live only 10 minutes walk away – parking was very hard to come by.  It feels so good to be able to walk places.   
Arne - waiting for the grand opening of the fest - and his first beer!
B├╝germeister opens with a short 5 minute speech
We watched the B├╝rgermeister open the festivities with a brief welcome speech, and then keeping with tradition, he bashed open a barrel of beer with a wooden hammer and said in German, the fest is open! And everyone who felt like lining up could have free beer.  
Hammering open the barrel
Drink and be merry!
We went to a beer stall and got our “radler” which is beer mixed with lemonade, called ‘shandy’ back in SA.   

We spent an hour or so walking around looking at the various stalls and activities – there were lots of families there, young and old.
Traditional German band
Magician-type man on wheels entertaining the children
Samba dancers
Temperature and humidity gauge

Fun for the whole family
Then we walked home to relax before meeting up with some friends in the evening back at the fest.
The fest ended with a fireworks display at 11pm, and the actual festivities went on till 1am, but we made it till about midnight before heading home.

I found it quite amazing that we could hear the party from our house, and at 1am on the dot, it all went quiet and everyone went home as that’s when the official closing time was. 

Visiting our Aunty in Bad Vilbel
On Sunday we visited Arne’s Tante (Aunt) Dorle in Bad Vilbel, which is about 25 minutes drive from Bad Soden.
Bad Soden to Bad Vilbel
Tante Dorle is 80 and is as fit as a fiddle. Se really spoilt us, making us a yummy lunch, including cake (home baked) and coffee afterwards. Then she gave us a box full of her homemade jams – yum! Jam in Germany is called Marmelade (pronounced differently than in English of course), which was a bit confusing for me at first.
The box of jams even included a lovely jam spoon

Then we walked across the road to the annual Bad Vilbel funfair/market.  
Me and Tante Dorle
Arne and Tante Dorle
It was set in a beautiful park and we did a lot of walking, looking at the different stalls. It was a lovely afternoon and it’s so special to have family nearby to spend time with.  Although she’s Arne’s aunt, she’s about the same age as my Gran would have been, so it reminded me of nice afternoons I’d spent with my Gran before she passed away.  Tante Dorle speaks only German, so poor Arne was caught in the middle as the translator but did a sterling job!