Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We have baby birds, flying birds, talking birds, and crashing birds

In the words of Rodgers and Hammerstein, "Spring is busting out all over". That includes the trees, flowers, blue skys, warm sunshine, and yes...baby birds.

We first noticed it about 3 mornings ago when at 3:45 am, we were awoken to the sound of something akin to a dog chewing on a squeaky toy. OK, I am not a morning person, so this seemed logical to me at the time. In retrospect, it seems kinda ridiculous to think that....

Later that morning, when awokened again, we figured out it was birds. Talkative baby birds at that, who apparently rest up all day and then proceed to have a chirp-fest in the wee, small hours of the morning.

Well, they have been chatty every morning this week. Upon closer inspection, we realize that they have built a nest somewhere close to our back terrace with a direct microphone feed into the open window in the bedroom. It appears now that momma bird is quite vocal as well as it chatting back with baby bird.

And then, there was the crash into the bathroom window this evening that sounded like perhaps momma bird had moved "to the big nest in the sky". Later chirping revealed all is well...

We're in holiday time

In case you were wondering, "where is Hachie Gal"? Two simple answers: Travel and travel. Travel for work has resulted in both Budman and Hachie Gal being out of pocket, and out of Deutschland. Travel for pleasure because...yes...it is the German holiday season.

In the span of 10 weeks, there are 5 public holidays in Germany. With a little creative vacation planning, one can maximize the weekend trips so as to get Barcelona, Bath, and Copenhagan all factored into the month of April alone.

So, that is the story...please bear with the irregular postings but the photos (when they get posted) should be fab...assuming we can master the new camera...UGH!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


It's traditional Danish food...an open-faced sandwich that can range from very simple fare to much more sophisticated food creations. Yea...smorrebrod.

Taking a cue from Texas friends who always sample local food stuffs while travelling, we had to partake of the local cuisine. Yea...a smorrebrod. Usually, it's a slice of bread (i.e. rye) topped with either roast beef, tiny shrimps, roast pork, chicken, fish, or even veggies, and always topped off by some garnish. Although smorrebrod is usually served in cafes or restaurants at lunch, you can pretty much find it wherever, whenever.

Smorrebrod meal #1: Budman had tomato and mozzarella cheese brod; Hachie Gal had a chicken salad concoction.

Smorrebrod meal #2: We both had a a shrimp and asparagus combo with a nice dill sauce.

And yes, before we totally went "smorrebrod crazy", we actually did have a hot dog from a street vendor...twice.... Believe it or not, Copenghagen is known for hot dogs and there are several variations to choose from.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Salt in my coffee

While in Copenhagen, I confirmed what we all know to already be true. Salt in a cappucino is just...well...not good! I mistakenly thought that the small round bowl of loose crystals was in fact sugar, not salt. When was the last time you saw "loose salt" (i.e. not in a salt shaker) sitting on a table? My point exactly.

The best part (or most humiliating) was that I displayed this dash of bravado in front of several tables of other patrons in a lovely canal side cafe in Nyhaven. Yep..."she had Yankee written all over her".

All you can do is laugh....

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

There is nothing like a Dane

Note: title is at its cleverest when sung to the South Pacific show tune by a similar name....

Copenhagen for Easter. It was a grand trip to a great city, but Easter bonnets were soggy and windblown as Old Man Winter decided he was not yet quite finished with winter. Coats, gloves, and hats were definitely in order...photos and stories to follow.

Four days in Denmark and lots of reading about the nation, its history, and culture quickly reminded me that this nation has produced quite a few impressive people. Taking the Vikings out of the mix for the moment (and certainly an impressive lot they were), Danish poets, artists, writers, architects, philosophers, and their achievements abound. A few for the record books:

* Karen Blixen
* Hans Christian Andersen
* Georg Jensen
* Peter Hoeg
* Soren Kierkegaard
* Absalom (yea, that Absalom!)
* Arne Jacobsen
* Carl Jacobsen (OK, a beer baron can certainly make the list after all the philanthropic activities he was involved in)
* Theodor Dreyer
* Lars von Trier

Surely you know most of these?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Knut has his "own" people

Knut fever continues. Knut apparently has just signed with a German PR firm who will be handled his future press, publicity, and personal appearances. Knut has even scored a Vanity Fair cover - quite a feat when you realize that the German version of the magazine just launched a few months ago.

"Why does a polar bear cub need a PR firm?", you ask. Just ask Marlar the baby elephant. "Who's he?". My point exactly.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Springtime along the Rhine

I’ve been meaning to get out for weeks now and snap a few photos of the amazing daffodils that are literally everywhere in Dusseldorf. Every time I go running, I see them, and think, “Gosh, I need to bring my camera next time”, but never do. So, a lazy Sunday afternoon and the need to practice with a new camera provided the perfect opportunity. Sadly, I may have waited a tad bit too long for the white daffodils (they were starting to look a bit spent), but still, this has been nature’s way of greeting me every day over the past few weeks.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007


Being that spring in Germany has now definitely “sprung”, the Budman and I decided we were going to get out of the apartment on Sunday and drive somewhere...anywhere. After all, "aall work and no play makes Budman and Hachie Gal a dull boy and girl." The destination was not really important, but rather we just wanted to enjoy a clear blue sky, the beginning of trees budding and flowers blooming, and visit a little Germany town somewhere in the vicinity of Dusseldorf. On a lark, we picked Hattingen.

Really, there is not much to Hattingen, especially on a Sunday. I mean, nothing was open, but because the weather was so fabulous, everyone was out in full fore, walking their dogs, window-shopping, eating ice cream, and sipping cappuccinos in little sidewalk cafes. No place to go and nothing to really do was actually quite nice.

Before I leave you with the false impression that there is nothing going on Hattingen, I should probably correct you. Lots of half timbered houses, winding cobblestone streets, a couple of old, old churches, and Castle Balkenstein awaited us. Just enough to be a nice outing…the Mexican food lunch at Amigos restaurant was the bonus.

Half-timbered houses in Hattingen.

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The old Rathaus in Hattingen.

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The castle of Balkenstein and views of the Ruhr River.

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View of Hattingen from the tower of Castle Balkenstein.

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