Category Archives: German

Muttertag

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It’s Mother’s Day in Germany today. Not all countries follow suit, but I guess they are just confused. Anyway, I had ordered a bouquet of flowers for my mom and when I was on FaceTime with my parents today, it just happened that my flowers arrived.


Nice!
Happy Mother’s Day to the best mom in the world!

Presents

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At my age birthday presents are not that important anymore. (Heck! Did I really just write “at my age”?!)
The older you get, the more you acknowledge how important it is to be with people you love. When you’re a kid you take this as a given, of course, while you do not consider presents as a given, so there is a lot of focus on the loot and even more focus on by when you can finally open them.

This lovely birthday table was waiting for me since morning.


I only got to it in the afternoon and the little end on the lower left may indicate that there were others in the house who did not agree with my priority setting. They had to wait patiently…


… until I finally got ready for the unwrapping fest.


Oskar was always close to the action. Naturally, he loves unpacking presents.


I won’t show all the photos of me making faces next to each present. 


Suffice to say that I received some lovely gifts. I am also very happy that Stefan joined (unexpectedly, I even received a book from him and Kathrin).


Oh – for some reason I made some particularly ridiculous poses with a coffee mug that I got from my mom.


No idea what I was thinking there, but I did have fun.
Here’s a photo of another handsome boy:


And another one:


Thank you for all the presents and thank you for the birthday wishes.

It feels crazy I am that old already and yet feel reasonably young. I wished I was as wise as my age suggests I am, but I am trying my best every day.

A bucket full of hugs to everybody and on to another year.

Accidental birthday lunch place

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Today’s my birthday and for lunch we drove up Kappelberg to Panorama restaurant. The place has a nice view and we were lucky with the weather.

Actually, I had accidentally booked this restaurant. The initial idea had been to go to the restaurant at the foot of Stuttgart’s landmark TV tower and afterwards take the elevator upstairs to enjoy the view over Stuttgart and beyond. Before considering this I had screened through the restaurants in the greater area which I knew were good from past experience. I had to find out that – one by one – each of these restaurants had just shut down more or less a few months ago. I had lots of websites open on my phone with potential places to go to and when I ultimately called a number to book for today, I believed it was the one from the restaurant at the TV tower. But, alas, I picked the wrong one and booked the restaurant at Kappelberg without noticing it was the wrong place (yeah, I think I am much better in planning things out at work than in my private life).


I only noticed my snafu yesterday evening. After being unable to book a table at the TV tower restaurant instead (they have a big party with 200 people or so arriving today which meant there were no tables to book left and that there was a risk we might not get a seat even when arriving before noon) and after comparing the menus, I thought there was no reason to not go through with Panorama restaurant. 


The menu is a weird mix of German and Greek kitchen. The staff is friendly and tries to be funny and the food is alright, though nothing to write much about. We did have a good time nonetheless,


I should have taken some photos on the way to and fro the restaurant, though. Kappelberg is a mountain of a little less than 500 m height and wine is grown on its hangs which makes for some great views.

Visiting the zoo in style

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This morning we went to Wilhelma, the combined zoo and botanic gardens of Stuttgart. The Wilhelma is a beautiful, wide spread park area. I’ve been here many times over the years since I was little and while some of the enclosures of the zoo have not changed a bit during that time, new attractions and little details added in the past 10 years or so kept the place interesting.

Before we entered we found out that Lamia had forgotten her sweater I had forgotten to bring Lamia’s sweater (I had of course thought of the coats for the kids, but really missed to pack Lamia’s sweater on top and we both did not check again before we left home). Once we had entered Lamia went to the zoo gift shop to buy a sweater there. I mean: they must have something okayish, right? 

Right?

Well…


And this was the best thing in a size for adults they’ve had. Hum – it looks… wild, right?
I knew two things: (1) today would be the single day Lamia would wear this thing and (2) this will go directly on the divorce list – and who can blame her?

I did not take many photos today, and most of the time was devoted to the kids, ensuring they would see a few nice things. So here is a lose snapshot collection during the day/ It’s certainly not a complete overview of what we visited, but we did start with the penguin enclosure, indeed.


Lamia and Thomas – both impeccably dressed:


A zoo visit is always exciting…


After the aquarium / terrarium house we watched the sea lion show. This show is much better than what I remembered from the past.


Here is one of the two new lions the Wilhelma recently added to their inhabitants. We were lucky that this little guy was quite active and enjoyed the rays of sun that came out later in the day…


At the giraffe enclosure a bunch of teenagers were very vocal about how terrible zoos are and that this could be especially seen here: according to them, giraffes in the wild will never sit or lie down.


They might be right, but I do think that zoos have an important role in education and animal preservation.

Be it as it might, we enjoyed the little excursion to see some amazing animals andthe visit passed by quickly.
And looking at so many animal is tiring…

Pointing at things at Museum am Löwentor

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I’ve always had a weak spot for dinosaurs. I think I recall that when I was age 9 or 10, I already had a few books about dinosaurs and one of them I especially loved because of the beautiful drawing. I’ve forgot the title, but there is one particular drawing that I copied (I think it was a giant snake trying to strangle some large herbivore) and I was very proud of it (I also remember that Tilo and Marc were there that day and if memory serves, they did not praise my work as much as I thought at the time they should have… I wished I knew where that drawing went and where this book is now).

Anyway – so I am always for visiting a museum about dinosaurs. The “Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart – Museum am Löwentor” has a nice set of fossil, dinosaur and other pre-historic exhibitions and I hoped the kids would enjoy themselves.

And they were quite excited. Thomas was quite intrigued and this visit turned out to be a collection under the title “Thomas pointing at things”.
Here’s exhibit #1:

The dioramas are nicely done. I like this one here with the beasts in the lake…


Thomas with pre-historic hunters:


Oskar with one of the most impressive exhibition pieces: a mammoth skeleton.


Thomas pointing at things #2:


I also like this size comparison:


The side view photo is of course a must. I never get that one perfectly right.


Thomas pointing at things #3:


Thomas pointing at things #4:


I love this principle photo of Thomas sitting at the excavation sandbox for kids, looking at the largest dinosaur diorama in the museum. I had only fractions of a second to take this photo before he moved and other people moved into the frame. The result is that at the used aperture of f2.8 my focus was not where it should be and is somewhere inbetween Thomas and the actual diorama. This would normally mean that I would erase the photo. It’s just that I love the setting so much, that I still kept it (but it kills me).


Here is Thomas with Lamia at the excavation sandbox where kids can dig in the dirt and “discover” dinosaur fossils.


It’s just a damn box with some rubble inside, but kids love it and Oskar spend most of the time in the museum in here…


While Oskar was busy there, Thomas was charming an older woman with his sunny predisposition.


I cannot blame her – he’s just such a cutie:


Afterwards we fed the kids in the museum’s official food consumption area. Which is next to the toilets. Convenient, sure, but I had suggested to just feed on the comfy seating areas inside the exhibition, but we were shooed away by someone grumpy from the museum’s staff.

Still a nice visit and the kids seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

Höhenpark Killesberg #5: Killesbergbahn

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There is a lovely train running through the park area, and different from the fun but rather basic one at Blühendes Barock in Ludwigsburg, this one is the real deal.


The tracks circle pretty much all of the park and the ride is really nice. There are two kinds of trains running on the tracks: a more modern Diesel engine and a classic steam engine (which is the one everybody wants to ride on, really).

We bought tickets and then we had to wait till it was our turn.


I just love how Oskar and Fabian are interacting. Fabian is really sweet and patient with smaller kids.
Eventually, the train arrived:


Yeah, I know: isn’t this awesome?


Before the ride continues, the engineer is checking everything’s okay with the engine.


And then off we went. Oskar was sitting with Fabian, Alex and Silke and he clearly enjoyed himself.


Thomas was sitting with me and Lamia one compartment further and I could not get a good angle to take a photo of him. But he seemed to enjoy himself, too. Not sure he did as much as Oskar, though. Look at him…


Maybe the love for trains that runs in part of the family will manifest itself in him, who knows?

After the train ride we walked back to the cars and drove home.
Thank you as always to Alex, Silke and Fabian to spend this time with us and showing us around – this was a beautiful morning and afternoon.

Höhenpark Killesberg #3: Killesbergturm

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The Killesberg tower was constructed some 15+ years ago and is a must see when you are at Höhenpark Killesberg. It’s been a few years since I’ve been at the top and while it only takes you 40 m above ground, the swinging that you experience at the top can be a little unsettling if you are afraid of heights like me.


Silke was so sweet to wait for us below together with Thomas and take him around in his stroller, while the rest of us made our way up the double-helix to the top.


Oskar was a courageous little trooper and nearly walked up to the top all by himself. Alex took this photo of him with Lamia and me,


Now, I like this tower and the experience to go up and down. The view is less spectacular than you might expect given the elevated location on a hill, however. The Stuttgart skyline is just not very interesting. I stayed behind as the others climbed down, trying to capture an interesting photo, but at this time of the day there was no photo I took with the lens I had brought with me worth keeping. It’s possible my 70-300 zoom would have unveiled something more exciting than the rather dull, flat view presenting itself to a wide angle lens. Not to worry: Stuttgart is maybe not a pretty city, but it’s a pretty good place to live.

Much nicer was of course the view that presented itself as I made my way down to meet the others.