Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back to only a few posts.

I have started a few different posts a few times.  I was unsure how to point out that after much thought I added a donation button to the side-bar.  So there it is, no big deal.

I have also noticed how much this blog has generally changed over time.  When I first started it I was going to talk about only things that had to do with making things to donate for charity.  It has slowly grown into someplace that I put many more things.  I do try and talk mostly about the items I am making, but I do like the fact that I don't feel like I'm going off in another direction when I post about things like my vacation I just went on.

Speaking of charity things, I'm working on the edging for the Skywalker shawl.  Like I mentioned before, I'm really hoping some lace blocking magic will happen because it is looking a bit small.  I also already have another shawl planned out, but I'm not sure if that is the right project for me right now.  I'm thinking it might be smarter to go around and dig through filled project bags.  I know there are quite a few that I've shown pictures of here but still sit around unfinished.  I also don't mean that final step unfinished, I mean, still needs to be knitted/crocheted/sewn before the final finishing touches.
I think that would be the best idea and that way I will have more needles freed up for newer projects!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Home again.

It does feel good to be home again, even if I didn't want to leave.  I know Mr. Jag is glad to have me back.

Some random thoughts and things:
  • I already miss the ability to get currywurst almost everywhere I go. 
  • I will need to bring smaller knitting if I want to have it appear with me as I go places and not just get mentioned at the end of the post. I don't know if it is just me, but this blog's content doesn't seem to be matching it's name right now.
  • There are a lot of things I will need before making a trip like this: hiking boots, keyboard for my tablet, water proof backpack, and comfy rain coat are a few of the things.
  • German road signs are more interesting than ones I've seen in the states.  They also don't always need words to get their point across.
  • Though the math isn't hard, kgs make you feel like you weigh less and kph make you feel like you are going faster.
  • Kinder eggs are super cheap at the grocery store over there, only about 0.99€ for 3 and I can't get them anywhere but the internet at home.  Bill is making fun of me for eating one already...but I wanted to see how it took to being melty...then I had it opened and all so I couldn't let it go to waste or go bad or anything.
  • If you want to read some posts with more historical facts about this trip, check out: The Munchkin's Notebook (heck, even if you don't, go there anyway)

Some fun facts about Kinder Eggs:

Picture borrowed from the internet.
Kinder Surprise
 To me these are a bit more fun, but it is harder to have that fun.  The toy capsule is being held withing a very thin shell of milk and white chocolate.  It is fun to be able to break that open and get to your toy.  The downside is that they are only wrapped in foil so it is easy for the shell to break.

Picture borrowed from the internet.
Kinder Joy
 This was a good way to do this.  It looks like an egg, but it is divided down the center when you open the packaging.  In one half you have a sealed section with your chocolate in it and a tiny plastic spoon thingy to eat it with.  The other half is where the toy is.  This prevents the worry about protecting the delicate chocolate shell, but you still get the fun of the small toy.  I do miss the cute capsules though.

Here is Skywalker.  I got most of that done on the way there.  I had all the harder lace bits, and longer rows for the way back and I only got about another 14 or so rows done.  I had imagined that I was going to be on the edging by the time I got home.  I'm also hoping some lace magic will happen with it because it is coming out smaller than I had thought.  I'm following the pattern and using the right needles for the right yarn.

The baby blanket grew faster than I thought it would.  Some people worry that they will gain the ability to craft at super speeds when away from home and it seems I did that.  I'm also not sure why it is starting to get woobly on the edges when I have been increasing at the same rate the whole time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who got to sleep in a castle? This gal!

Maybe we didn't ask for the right kind of sun?
We headed for the castle today!  How is this different than any other castle you may ask? Well, we are staying in this one over night!

I may have to learn how to make this at home.  Currywurst is very good here, though they use a different sauce than I've had before on things currywursts.

We found a castle that is an actual ruined castle!  Holes in the walls and missing bits and everything.
We even found the "secret" tunnels the map told us about.  It was fun to "crawl" around in.  As you can tell from the picture it was very dark in there.  Heather opted to go out the regular cave we came in through before the tunnel.
However it was a lot warmer than I thought it would be and the present chocolates became liquid.  Very lucky for me the store packaged them very, very well.  There was no horrible mess in my backpack.  They got put straight into the mini-fridge once we got our room.  I'm not sure if that was better or letting them slowly cool, but I didn't want to risk the packaging anymore than it had been.
The room had those silly two beds again.  This one even had a wooden divider between the two.

The bathroom is behind a secret door!  Though it is very loud, so not that secret of a secret door.  I want a secret door to something in my house...I wonder how hard it would be to add a secret door to a room in my house.  Bill says no though.

I was told there were going to be sweet breads...I was even curious to try them.  We get here, no sweetbreads.  Oh well, maybe someday in my life.
Most of us got the sparkling elderberry, it was lovely and perfect to toast with.

 Since in my head being a food critic sounds like a lot of fun, I am going to run down the meal and my "super professional" opinion of it all.  This was our bonus dish that the chef sent out.  It tasted a bit like very good roast stew with mashed potatoes.
 I think we were all expecting the big cocktail shrimp...these are the shrimp those would beat-up for their lunch money.  It all tasted quite nice though.  The guacamole was a surprise since it sounded more like slices of avocado, but I like guacamole, so I didn't complain
It was...soup like.  I have had beef consume before.  This was very bland and watery tasting.  The egg custard and mushroom cubes were a bit odd, but not too bad.  I think they would have been better with a stronger soup base.
This is where the sweetbreads were supposed to appear.  In their place was a very good plate of food.  No white asparagus for us though, even though it is the season for them.  The meat was perfectly cooked and the sauce did not overpower the flavor of it.

Yummy, yummy dessert.  I could have lived without the mint chip ice cream.  The odd sour berry that we saw at one of the other places was back.  It turns out that it is from Africa, though our waitress did not know the English name for it.
The leaves were very sweet and good.  Our waitress called them honey crisp.  She was not 100% sure sounding and we did not know any better, so that is what we are going to go with. 

We all went for a walk in the garden after eating.  There were a few tadpoles in the ponds.

We also found a few small buildings with seats and books.  This one was my favorite.  I told Bill that if we ever decided to just live in the woods that I want a house like this.  To get to the porch from the second floor you had to squeeze between branches.

It would have been nice to have another night here to spend lazing about in the garden.  Something to plan for another trip.  Bill and I spent the last bits of our evening drinking apple brandy and smoking cigars.
I also decided that it might be a good thing we are leaving because it seems our key chain is starting to get bigger the longer we are here...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Watch guard

It was an easy drive until we got within the walls of the old Rothenberg.  The narrow cobblestone streets weren't the problem, it was the large your group the wouldn't get out of the street that was the problem.
The hotel wasn't too hard to find, it was down a street with solid stores on either side.
Since we were very early we were invited to drink our welcome drinks in the garden while we had some interesting things pointed out to us.

Boom!  Now this was not what I was suspecting.  It is wonderful little surprise.  Prefect for sitting out in, drinking anything, and reading/chatting/reading.

Since had time to kill and taking pictures from high places is fun, we walked up this.  I think I heard there were 200 stairs.  The last ones were really more of a stair shaped ladder.  Note: it isn't the one near the right in the front, it is the one in the back on the left.

I decided that the "potato bags" with herbed cottage cheese sounded awesome.  They were awesome.  I feel like I might need to learn how to make them.

We then swung by the torture museum.  I mostly wanted to see the Cone Mask of Shame.  It turns out there are a few.  It also seems like it was difficult to be a good fact you could get in trouble as a baker if you baked your bread too small!!

 Though we knew we were going to be doing the night watchman's tour after dinner we decided to check out the wall beforehand.  You cannot walk around the whole thing though.
We did find these on the section we walked around though.  I'm pretty sure they are toilets.  The guys thought they were most likely death holes, but look at the shape!  It would also make sense that if you were on patrol that you could have a place to stop on the wall instead of having to get off it.
 These are mini Schneeballen.  They are the signature pastry of Rothenberg.  They look like you took the scraps of dough left over from something else and mushed them together.  You can even buy the forms to make them.  The form looks like long bolt cutters with soup ladles on the end.

 Not 100% sure what this is...but the bigger bottle had an interesting picture on it.  We then headed back to the hotel to rest and cool down before dinner.  It sure gets warm when the sun is out, but the garden was nice and cool, and a beer was the perfect drink.

This is the key.  I'm not sure why they felt the need for the paperweight on the end though.
 I wasn't overly hungry after the snacking, so I only got a small dinner.  The restaurant was called "To Hell" and served traditional Franconian food.  I'm not sure that baked potato with herbed sour cream and shrimp would count as this, but it was darn tasty.
 We got to go on the Night-watchman's tour.  It could be a really dull thing, but this guy is good.  He was very funny and corny without being too much.  He sold DVDs at the end, but I did not get one.
It was a short walk back to the hotel.  I found those chocolates with a friendly note.  The chocolates quickly disappeared.
Later in the night we hear the tour happening again, in German this still sounded entertaining.

Monday, May 19, 2014

All roads lead to Müchen.

Now begins the more whirlwind part of the trip where we only get one night at each location.
Another sunny day as we left.  On our way to Nuremberg we drove back through Munich.  We are getting a lot better at navigating that area, even with all the construction going on.
We even got to see a whole bunch of hops being grown.

This was lunch.  Felafel from a little stand with a very nice man.  Don't mind the teeth marks, it was really boring looking before I got down to the good stuff.  The guys also got a soda that was a mix between cola and orange soda.  I tried some, it was not bad.

We went another castle!  You would think we were getting tired of castles by now, but they are all so different.

See?  This one had a lot of shiny things in it!  They didn't let us play with any of it though.

We got some ice cream to help keep us going while we wondered around.

Heather and I rubbed the golden ring on this for good luck.

We even found what we believe is the anti-marriage fountain.  It is very interesting.  I still like the silly goat.
Bill and I also fulfilled our mission of getting Germany coffee mugs from the Starbucks.
I do miss the cows already, there are only trains to listen to at this hotel.

This is where Bill and I found dinner, it was called Nassauer Keller.  The others stayed in for the night.  To me it looks like a cave, and as you can see, Bill does not fit in it.  I had their Maibock to drink and some sausages for dinner.  So far the best garlic bread I have had has been while I have been here.
If I lived closer I would go there often.  Our poor waitress was running around and up and down the stairs but was still fun and positive when she talked to anyone.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The hills are alive with the sound of moo-moos.

We were told that there was promise of sunshine.  We weren't so sure.  I decided to try some science on the weather.  I brought my BB cream because I don't like how sunscreen feels on my face and it gas an SPF of 15.  I have not worn it yet this trip, so I decided to slap some on and see what happened.
It did not take long to drive to Lake Konigssee.  Some of the road was blocked off, so it was a touch confusing to find parking.  There were also people gathered around the marked off area and a lot of loud engine noises.  It turned out to be some kind of timed obstacle car rally thing.  We just missed the boat that was there when we walked up, so we went back to see the car event some.  It looked like a lot of fun!  I also found out my dad used to participate in those in Okinawa.

There were a small blob of baby ducks near where the boat pulled in to, they all swam away before the boat started again.
At the other end of the line is some trails that lead to souvenirs, food, and then to hiking.

After the place to spend our money we found cows.  The cow really loved Heather and even licked her (we later found out another cow also licked her) so we figure that she must be the cow whisperer.

It wasn't too bad of a hike until we got to these rock "stairs."  That was a bunch of work on the legs.  Once you got around the small pond there was another building.  From there is where you could hike more and see a waterfall.
Heather headed back but I decided to try and be tough and go with the guys.  I made it, and that valley was wonderful.  I was not overly impressed with the waterfalls, but I did love the valley.  They way up took about 45 mins and the way down took about 15.  On our way back the sun even came out!

The car thing was still kind of going on when we got back.  While everyone else was off getting McDonalds drinks, I was back at the car event.  It was the same guy going through over and over, I wish I knew more German and could tell you why this was happening.

The Germans may not know much about Mexican food, they do know their way around a fried chicken.  I do believe this stuff could give any from the States a run for its money.
I'm now off to soak away the hiking aches and listen to the soothing cow bells.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

I also like tea, in fact.

Since it was the last morning in Oberammergau I decided to try some of the breackfast things
I  had not had before.  The Bavarian cheese spread was pretty good, it reminded me of an
herbed cream cheese.
We were worried about going hungry since there wasn't any time listed for lunch.  But since
we got on the road early enough we stopped over at the place recommended for lunch.
It isn't everyday you get to see a warning like that on a menu.  Bill was tempted to get it. 
I got a wild garlic creamy soup.  It was very nice as it was, but some nice hunks of bread
would have made it even better.

When we got to the location for our tour we found out that the Eagle's Nest was closed due to
snow.  They were afraid of avalanches.  They thought the earliest they might reopen it is next

We got to learn a bunch of neat things about Hitler and some things about Eva.  We learned
that she was one of the best kept secrets, and that she insisted that she and Adolf be married
soon before they committed suicide together.  Otherwise it would be wrong to find their bodies together if they were not married.

Eagle's Nest is kind of visible from this picture.  It was Hitler's tea house, though he didn't use
it often, he had a place closer he liked going to for tea in the afternoon.  If I had access to a
view like that to experience, I would go up there all the time.
During this tour I also learned that I am not a huge fan of bus tours.  It wasn't bad, and I
might be a bit spoiled from the private tours, but I like being able to stay in areas I like and go
quickly through ones I don't find as interesting.  It is also nice when you don't have to wait for
a bunch of people to get out of your way when you want to take a picture.

We made it back to the hotel in time for cake!  I liked the coffee one, especially with some whipped cream on top.

 They also had this critter hanging out in the main sitting room that had a fireplace.

We got lazy and just had dinner at the hotel.  I decided to go with the Maultaschen this time.
It is pretty much German ravioli and very much yummy.

No update to show on the blanket.  It's not that I'm not working on it, in fact, I added another
skein today.  My problem is that if I want to be able to work on it in the car, I need to end up
leaving it in the car. 

This is Pickle Chathulu, we tried calling it Pic-thulu, but that sounded too much like Pig-thulu,
so we decided against that.

It also seems that I find German cow bells kind of relaxing to listen to as the cows do their cow thing.

Friday, May 16, 2014

I hear the bells ringing and castles are up.

 It was odd to be up before what I have dubbed "the town's alarm clock" this morning.  Around 6am church bells ring for about two minutes what seems like every morning.  This is only the third morning, but they have rung every time so far.

The tour people said that they were going to try and arrange some kind of breakfast for us with the hotel people, since their breakfast doesn't start until we were supposed to have already been on the road.  We did not get anything.  I remembered the crochet though!

We got there a bit early, and I'm glad we did.  We were told that there were horse-drawn carriage rides up the main part of the mountain...they seem to not run them during the time when you can get a private tour before the castle opens.  We didn't even see one until we stopped for lunch before leaving the area.  The hike was very much tilted in an upward direction.  I am also not a fit person, so I had to stop to catch my breath a few times.

This is what you get to see once you are up there.  Doesn't look overly exciting from the outside but it gets better once you get in.  This castle was never finished since they were working on it when he died, thought it was opened for tours a short six weeks after that.

This guy knew what he was doing.  When he wanted to summon a servant from a room a bell above this would ring and then a token would fall into the slot to let the servant know what room he was in.  He used salt batteries to power it.
He also had a phone.  It let the post office give him a call whenever he had something for him come in.
(On private tours you can take some pictures, but normally there is no photography.  I wanted to post a lot of the pictures I took, but I don't think they would like that.)

We stopped in for a quick bite before we wondered around the surrounding area.

This is Mary’s Bridge, it was a gift to her since it lead to her favorite spot she had when hiking.  Though from looking at the area, and having walked it, I wonder how many servants she had with her on these hikes.  I know I could have used a few to help carry me.
Though the bridge has been replaced, boards shifted up and down way too much for my taste.
As you can tell the view from below was pretty impressive.

 The view from the bridge wasn't too shabby either.

From there was a quick drive to Füssen where we may or may-not have driven on a pedestrian only area.  They had a cute castle there that had a fun space in one of the walls to get in to.
It was then just a "quick" trip through Austria and past Lake Plansee to get back to the hotel.

Since it was our last night in town and I had some extra day-light I went on a small adventure.  A lot of the murals on the buildings depict religious figures, but this building did not.  As you can see, it has the story of Little Red Riding-hood.  I was waiting to cross as two children we waiting on the other side.  One girl and one boy, they looked to be about 7-9.  I looked both ways and crossed before the signal changed (at a light that only turns on when someone hits the crosswalk button) since there was no one coming. When I got to the other side I got a stern finger shake and a reprimand from the boy.  It was quite adorable.
On my adventure I also discovered that a lot of the wooden headstones have roofs because a lot of them had crucifixes on the front.  The roof helped to protect them from the rain.  This is a smart idea.