Kassel & dOCUMENTA

25 06 2012

This past weekend started off a little badly thanks to a mild bout of food poisoning. I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say…that wasn’t very fun. But on Friday afternoon we had train tickets to go to Kassel for our friend’s birthday party, and by the afternoon we were feeling a bit better, apart from a killer headache I had on top of all that. By that evening though, we were feeling back to normal again.

Selina, our German friend from Paris, had her 30th birthday party at her parents’ house in Kassel and we were lucky that it fell during the same time as dOCUMENTA, one of the most important modern art festivals in the world. (Apparently even Brad Pitt was there this time around!)

It was a fun weekend and we enjoyed seeing all of the very strange, very interesting modern art. Here are a few snapshots from some of the exhibits we saw:

a frame (not from this year’s festival, but from another year – the city sometimes buys the art from the artist to keep around even after dOCUMENTA)

a rock in a bronze tree

Tobias and Selina (right) in front of the Orangerie museum

a pile of trash covered by grass and plants

with Chinese writing on top – can you spot the characters?

boats filled with several different types of Swiss chard

a macaroni tube you could walk through

our group coming out of the tube

a structure modeled after different types of gallows used in the USA throughout history

a very muddy exhibit…I didn’t get a picture, but there were a few dogs roaming around this one and the one dog had one leg that had been painted pink

in a dog park with different things the dogs could interact with

a roomful of sewing machine sculptures created solely out of wood

and the best-ever mannequins I’ve ever seen

another close-up of one of the “machines”

and some more suits

a pile of metal…umm…yeah.

Tobias stepping over the line…

and another piece from a previous dOCUMENTA – der Himmelstürmer

We saw a whole lot more than that, but I didn’t take pictures the whole time. Just the things I found the most interesting! I enjoyed being a tourist in another town, and I have a lot more pictures from the trip to share this week!


Easter Road Trip – Part 3

12 04 2012

On Easter Sunday, we had breakfast by the beach. Tobi backed the car up to the top of the hill, facing the waves, and we ate breakfast in the trunk with our sleeping bags. It. Was. So. COLD! so I made Tobi close the trunk. We sat there and ate our breakfast and watched the waves. The view through the window of the trunk made it feel like a drive-in movie!

After breakfast, we went to a beautiful church in Petersdorf and enjoyed the service there. We lit candles from the new Osterkerze (Easter candle) and it was a nice service. I enjoyed the change of pace, and we both especially enjoyed the coffee hour after the service. Tobias had probably about 5 pieces of cake!

After the service, we wandered around town for a bit and stumbled upon a market that sold all sorts of things, including artisan crafts, organic olive oil, wind chimes and the likes. Then we drove to another beach at a campsite and went for a long walk, looking for amber along the way. (We didn’t find any, but joked that the amber-colored rocks we found were “famber” – fake amber.)

We had a bit of a snack break, rested in the sun a bit (and got a teensy bit sunburned on our faces!) and built Steinmännchen – Tobi’s was pretty awesome!

We drove back “home” to the place we had camped out the night before in our car, out in Westermarkelsdorf, and we had a picnic lunch and watched people who were out on the beach enjoying the sunny weather. There were quite a few amateur fishermen out there and it was especially fun watching them. We scoped out a spot on the beach for our tent, and then we passed the time until it got dark by jumping from boulder to boulder (me) and throwing rocks into the sea (Tobi, then me later). It was fun and a great way to warm up!

Dinner that evening was ramen noodles on the beach. I was freezing, and the noodles were awesome but didn’t do much to warm me up. Tobi was a brave soul and set up the tent himself so I could sit in the car with the heat on and warm up a bit. That evening we slept very well and very warm in our tent, although it was so windy that when we woke up and got out of the tent, we had to be careful that it wouldn’t blow away! We packed up just in time for the rain to start – lucky! – and we made one stop at another port in a town called Burg. We drove to the harbor and bought fish fresh off the boat! A kilo of herring and 2 kilos of cod, which were still living up until the point that we bought them. The freshest fish I’ve ever had, that’s for sure! (We invited the neighbors over for dinner on Monday night and had our first batch of fish. Delicious!)

Rain on the windshield & the benches where we’d had dinner the night before

Another great thing about the site where we stayed two nights – a porta-potty!

The dock where we bought our fish – so many seagulls!

Should say Frohe Ostern…but all of the cakes are spelled the same! The question is: regional dialect or cake wrecks?
I googled the term and couldn’t find a thing…I’m stumped!

We went to a bakery and got some coffee and pastries for the road and then drove back to Hamburg in a shorter time than we expected. Fehmarn really isn’t that far away! We drove home first, dropped off our stuff, checked emails, and then went back to the airport to give back our rental car. And I should mention the phenomenal parallel parking job Tobias did in front of our house when we were unloading!

It was a great trip and I’m so glad to have had that long weekend to relax and explore with my honey!

Easter Road Trip – Part 2

11 04 2012

The second day of our trip, we drove to an island called Fehmarn. It’s a pretty small island, and it doesn’t take a long time to drive from one side of the island to the next.

We scoped out a nice church in Petersdorf to go to the Easter Sunday service, and then we drove out to a town west from there called Westermarkelsdorf, where they had this awesome beach with lots of big rocks & boulders to climb around on. And the parking lot near the beach was the perfect place to leave our car overnight (no signs forbidding it!) so we ended up staying there both Saturday and Sunday nights.

During the afternoon, we went on a few side trips to find a place to eat. We were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather, but it was still arschkalt so I looked like this pretty much the entire time:

Comfort before fashion, my friends.

This sign at the restaurant we went to brought out my immature side and made me giggle like a sixth-grade girl!
By the way: Butt = flounder, as in the fish.

The restaurant was by the beach, so we went for a little walk. This elephant statue was pretty cool!

Then we drove out to another town called Orth, where they’ve got a nice harbor that is also apparently a European border checkpoint. We enjoyed the beautiful views of the boats and the clear blue water!

On the way to Orth – looks like a smile!

I love the way the Germans spell “AHOI!”

On Saturday evening, we went to Westermarkelsdorf’s big Osterfeuer – a typical German tradition of having a huge bonfire on the night before Easter. I’ve heard there are bigger fires than this, but this was seriously the biggest fire I’ve ever seen in my life!

They made a big deal out of it, too. Hosted by the local Feuerwehr (firemen) who kept the flames under control, it was quite the event. They sold Glühwein, beer, and even schnapps, currywurst and waffles. There was live music with typical German hits (read: probably the cheesy Bavarian stuff you hear at Busch Gardens) and there was even a surprise visit by the Easter bunny. There were two of them, actually, and they handed out candy to all of the kids.

We got some mini Jägermeister shots to keep us warm. Everything is cuter when it’s mini!

I made Tobi pose with it. He gave me a sweet smile!

We stood next to the fire as long as we could stand the heat – a few hours – and then we went to bed. It was extremely windy and cold that night, so we put down the seats in our car and slept in the back. (Good thing we hadn’t rented a Smart car!)

You can almost feel the warmth, right?

This post is getting long — I just wanted to share these fun pictures! — so I’m going to sign off for now and update you all on the rest of the trip tomorrow!


Easter Road Trip – Part 1

10 04 2012

Our Easter road trip was great. We had a really nice time, despite the extremely cold temperatures. It was another successful adventure!

It started out with our rental car, which we picked up at the airport. We got a Ford Escort which was SO new that it only had 169 km on the trip counter. It was spotless, inside and out, and it even had that new car scent.

Brand new car!

Tobi driving

We brought lots of snacks for the road trip. The beef jerky was a present from my parents for Christmas – pretty addictive! The toffee peanuts were also pretty delicious.

It wasn’t very sunny that first day, but sunglasses were definitely in order. The sky was gray, but it was bright gray.

We drove out to Plön, a small town near a bunch of lakes not too far away from Hamburg (maybe an hour? hour and a half?). They have a big palace there which wasn’t open because of the holiday, but we saw it from the outside as we wandered around the city in the wind and rain for a bit. Then we ducked into a restaurant and shared a salad and an artichoke and ham pizza. We had a beer at the bar while we waited for our seat – it was a busy little restaurant!

Schloss Plön – you can see how rainy and gray it was that day!

Bundled up!

Tobias had the Duckstein; I had the Köstritzer Schwarzbier – my first time – delicious! (Dark beer is my fave!)

We spent the first night in the most perfect spot ever – just off the road, down a hill and by this beautiful lake. It was peaceful and quiet, except for the geese that seemed to enjoy honking in the middle of the night. It felt like we were alone in the world, and we had a picnic together huddled under a sleeping bag as we watched the sun set. It looked like a black and white photo.

Our tent was right next to this view.

It rained the entire night, and it was hailing when we woke up on Saturday morning. Then it stopped, or so we thought, and we stepped out of our tent and saw that the hail had changed to snow. Brrrrr! This video shows more of the location where we slept:

And here’s Tobi doing his ritual “shake out the tent before packing it away” move – funny that the leaves under our tent stayed dry! (That means we did, too!)

We went and got breakfast from a nearby bakery and brought it back to our spot to have breakfast by the lake. It didn’t snow for very long, luckily, and the sun even peeked out a bit, making our place seem even more beautiful:

And that’s it for now! Come back tomorrow for part 2!


And we’re off!

6 04 2012

It’s time for our 3rd annual Easter road trip! Tobi and I are headed out to pick up our rental car at the airport and then we’re off — heading somewhere in the direction of north/northwest. Or northeast. Or anywhere that looks interesting. We’re planning on camping, so I’m hoping that the forecast for rain isn’t really true…!

(This picture was taken today on board a ship at the Elbe.)

We’ll be back Monday, so I wish you all a happy Easter!


We’re baaaaack!

13 02 2012

It was a wonderful vacation and we had a really great time. Though of course it was tiring and painful at times, snowboarding was a lot of fun. Vacation always goes by so fast, though! I kind of wish we could have stayed another week.

That’s Tobi there in the orange jacket with the backpack. I’ll definitely be sharing more photos and stories soon!


Snowboard vacation in previous years

6 02 2012

This is only my third time snowboarding, and I hope the expression “Third time’s the charm!” will be true for me this time around! I’m sure I learned a lot the past two years, but I am still not enough of a risk-taker to really enjoy going fast. Fear of the fall, you know? But as Tobias says, “No risk, no fun”, and “Geschwindigkeit ist Sicherheit” (Speed is Safety!), and I’ll have to take that to heart.

But this is an exciting year, because it’s the first year I have ALL of my own snowboarding gear!

Here are my posts about our snowboarding trips from the past two years:

2010: Aller Anfang ist Schwer!

Pictures from the first time & Story and some fun videos!

2011: Too late = little to no snow

Part 1 & Part 2


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