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Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Watt Meer

The start of the Autumn break saw us take a trip to across the Watt Meer to and island called Neuwerk. The Watt Meer is a tidal area of the Elbe. I like to joke about the "What Mer?" Hey Ron there is no sea. Is that how it got its name??? Insert silly laughing here....hehe. Ok, OK, its not that funny.

Just over one year ago we took a horse and carriage ride to Neuwerk and had such a good time that we repeated the process. You can walk, ride or take the horse drawn carriage. There is about a 3 hour window of opportunity before the tide comes back. This is a photo from 2011, where the weather was even better than this time around.

Watt Meer 2011

A group of horse riders passed us - our oldest girl dreams of doing this soon...very soon she exclaimed.


A man and his dog enjoying the walk.


Our pouch did it in style in the carriage, but at several stages was ready to make the 2 meter leap out of the carriage to chase a bird or say hello to another doggie. We kept a tight hold of her.


As I looked back at the photos from the previous year I thought to show you how a 2 year old changes to a 3 year old! Ron is wearing his cap, so any changes in the "salt and pepper" hair style will remain a mystery for now.

2011 - 2 years old
2012 - 3 years old
 We had lunch at a local establishment on Neuwerk and then watched the tide come in. It comes in very fast. It's quite amazing.


Here we are collecting shells, but not for too long.


Another shell to add to our collection.


You will notice that there is less and less beach to search for shells.


Now there is no beach and our dog went for a swim. She smelt like a peach after that.

And just to prove how fast the tide comes in, you can watch a little video:

video

We also met many locals with 4 legs.


Then the boat arrived to take us back to the mainland.


But just before we boarded someone decided to do some "Jackass" bike riding with her little sisters bike. Crazy things happened and we all laughed like a family possessed.



All in all a fun day out and maybe we will do it again next year.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The hare and the hedgehog - a tale of Buxtehude!

We live about 5km from Buxtehude - our big smoke! There are around 40,000 inhabitants, the train station that takes to you Hamburg and several large supermarkets...just being practical.

It's also the location where one day, a very long time ago (about 1853), a hare and a hedgehog had a race.



Its mostly attributed to the Brothers Grimm but it may have been an older fable retold by them. In Germany many towns claim a fairy tale to be their own....ours is the hare and the hedgehog OR in German, Hase and Igel.

The "Buxtehudians" are very proud of their fairy tale and all over Buxtehude you can find little statues, signs or images representing the tale.

The tale goes like this.

It starts with some flowery prose describing the weather and surroundings. The hedgehog was standing by his front door admiring the beautiful day and given the nice weather decided to go and check on his turnips.


As the hedgehog started his stroll, he met the hare. The hare was a very arrogant chap and he was off to check on his cabbages. When the hare saw the hedgehog he asked sarcastically what the hedgehog was doing. The hedgehog replied he was out for a walk. The hare then commented "on those legs, I think you could better use your legs for other purposes". 


The hedgehog was quite offended by these words as he was quite self conscience about his short bent legs. He then asked the hare "Do you think you can accomplish more with your legs?"


The hare replied that of course he could do more. Then the hedgehog suggested a race to which the hare eagerly agreed given that they were to race for a bottle of brandy. But the hedgehog requested that he first return home for breakfast and they meet in half an hour. The race was set.


When the hedgehog returned home he urged his wife to get ready quickly. The actual words from the tale being:....

"My God, man," the hedgehog's wife began to cry, "are you mad? Have you entirely lost your mind? How can you agree to run a race with the hare?"

"Hold your mouth, woman," said the hedgehog. "This is my affair. Don't get mixed up in men's business. Hurry up now, get dressed, and come with me." 

What was the hedgehog's wife to do? She had to obey, whether she wanted to or not.



Off the hedgehogs went to the field and the hedgehog husband place his wife at one edge of the field in a farrow and gave the instructions that when she saw the hare coming she was to stand up and say "I'm already here!"


The hedgehog went to the other end of the field where the hare was waiting for him and on the count of 3 the race began. The hare sprinted off. The hedgehog ran a few steps then lowered himself into the farrow and waited. At the end of the field the hedgehog's wife stood up and announced "I'm already here".


The hare was shocked to see the hedgehog (not at all realising it was the wife) and suggested that they run back. He was off in a flash. At the other end the hare husband was waiting for him. In excitement and confusion the hare suggested another length. The hedgehog replied, lets run as many as you like.


So the hare then ran another 73 times before collapsing dead on his 74th length. The hedgehogs took home the bottle of bandy and lived happily ever after. And no hare challenged a hedgehog to a race again.


And now the lesson to be learned is this:

"First, that no one, however distinguished he thinks himself, should make fun of a lesser man, even if this man is a hedgehog. And second, when a man marries, it is recommended that he take a wife from his own class, one who looks just like him. In other words, a hedgehog should always take care that his wife is also a hedgehog, and so forth".


And that my friends is the tale of the Hase and Igel!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Awesome Autumn

We are at winter temperatures. I just played rock, paper, scissors with Ron to see who takes the dog out this evening. Even if I lost, I probably would have pretended to have some immediate illness preventing me from going out in the dark and cold.

BUT, during the Autumn school break, our place became a Bed and Breakfast. It also transformed into a lunch, dinner and snack establishment. Half the Hamedl clan came to visit. In a vain attempt to try to even up the tally my cousin and her two girls came over in the 2nd week. It was lots of fun and we have almost recovered ;-).

Ron and some of his relatives on a local walk. The trees are now bare.


My girls in Hamburg for a day trip. Say "cheese"!


In Hamburg we found a shop that sold a myriad of rubber ducks - we now have one in our bath tub. After bringing it home we discovered it was the Playboy duck. Carefully selected from about 200 ducks by my little one due to the big red duck lips and fluffy top part of the dress!


Hamedl Group Therapy - waiting for the ferry back to "our" side of the Elbe.


Ecki. Friday with the boys in Hamburg. I was the driver. There was a hole in the wall behind Ecki that was surrounded by a gold frame - cool idea. A very eclectic bar with great music.


 A body slam from youngest to oldest Hamedl cousin.


"Walk like an Egyptain" - along the Elbe. Or the alternative title: "I'll do it MY WAY".


The Hyde Side cousins with Hamburg's Alster in the background - they did not want their photos taken and they are not yet teenagers.


"Underwater" in the Klimhaus, Bremerhaven - self portrait.


The day trip finished up perfectly with a visit to the outdoor markets in Bremen and a ride on this gorgeous nostalgic carousel.

Bye Bye Autumn.
Hello Winter.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Hamburg Freezers

You could be mistaken that I am talking about the weather, but in fact I am talking about the local ice hockey team...The Hamburg Freezers! We watched a home game on the weekend. 


They came onto the ice through a huge ice hockey helmet. It was very atmospheric. The Hamburg Freezer fans were going crazy at this stage. Yelling and cheering their team before they had even touched the puck. They had "FREEZERS" written up on the screen in a burning font.



Ronald bought tickets to take his visiting brother in laws. I ended up joining the gang. We were in the 2nd row, so could hear and feel every bump and bruise. They smashed up against the protective glass many times. I ducked my head under my handbag and spilt my beer - not attractive. The fact that a "fix it" man with a hammer came by a few times did not add to any sense of security. 

I am really still not sure of the rules or how the players know when to come on and off, which appears very ad-hoc. The umpires were entertaining as they tried to dodge the puck and more importantly aggressive players with long sticks. Seriously I would have been happier with a helmet...and these were the more expensive seats.


The game ended in a draw and went into overtime. Then it was best of 5 goal attempts. It was still a draw then it was sudden knock out. The Freezers won!


There was additional entertainment. The boys enjoyed the ice cleaning ladies ;-). All in all a fun evening - GO FREEZERS!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Fairy Floss and Toffee Apples = Estebrugger Markt

The other weekend it was the Estebrugger Markt. Its one of the biggies in the Estebrugge calendar! There is the Schutzenfest (in spring) and the Markt. The whole place gets involved. Then we hunker down for the long winter.

Saturday opens the weekend with a children's flea market. The kids set up their stands to sell pre-loved toys, books, shoes and anything else kiddie related. Of course they have already spent their cash windfall before its even earned. There was also swapping and give aways to friends. Being in the heart of the village our house doubled as the local toilet and refreshment area! A few photos before the rush of the afternoon. There was a pizza and crepe stall and several side show alley games and a mini carousel. I should have charged the kids a small fee to take Goldie for a walk - would have made a killing!



The local shop owned by a Turkish couple made kebabs which were delicious. I tested it twice to make sure.


My girls were temped by the sweet things. Fairy Floss rules!


Given we are living in the land of apples, there were lots of toffee apples being consumed.


This is what it looked like outside our front door. You see those kids working for their money?!?


 The evening kicked off with a local band featuring Marlene's English teacher as the drummer.


The kids danced the first set and had lots of fun.


I tested Silvia's cocktail bar! She is our Tagesmutter (Day care Mum), who is much loved by both my girls. She made a mean Caipirinha ;-)


This is our 3rd Markt weekend and we are closely involved by default. Our neighbour, the fire station, hosts the disco. Its really gets going about midnight and it finishes up about 5-6am in the morning. There is an element of if you can't beat them - join them. But when you have little kids waking up at the normal hour and husband also away, it really hurts when you have a hangover and your mother in law is due to arrive at 9.00am. So there was a certain amount of restraint on my behalf. This is what it looked like outside my front door as I made my way home.



We had outsourced one child and a dog (who we thought might bark all night at people outside the door), and I fell asleep to the doff, doff beat. I was then up bright and early to welcome my in-laws.






Sunday, 23 September 2012

Pumpkins galore


The days are distinctly shorter. I almost need to put on the lights in the morning. But there are a few good things about this.


Soup, soup and more soup. Ok, we can also mash it and bake it.

Just up the road from us is this stall.


Basically you pick up what you want and pop the money in the mail box. Each pumpkin has a sticker on it describing its type and giving the price.


There are also some hand written notes about the best way to use the pumpkins. For example, baked, in soup, it has a very creamy texture, a nutty flavour and so on. Some even have wacky faces on them.



These ones need a quick trip to the dentist! There is a huge variety of shapes and sizes.



Its only for a few weeks each year, but I am glad they take the time to make this a just a bit more special than most road side stalls.