EXPATS AGAIN! Experiencing other cultures while enriching our global view.



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Munich, Germany
I am married to the love of my life and am finally able to shower him with all of the attention he deserves. I am now retired and living the life here in Europe. I am an American, he is an Australian, and this is our second overseas address. The first was Shanghai, China and now Munich, Germany. Come along and live the life with us as we continue our adventure of discovering all Europe has to offer.

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Friday, April 29, 2011


Wasn't the wedding beautiful?  Weren't you touched watching William and Kate becoming husband and wife?  I thought it was perfect.  Well, nearly perfect.  I, like many others, was  shocked by Prince Andrew and Fergie's daughter's hats and the fact that Mrs. Cameron chose not to wear one at all.  But other than that, the wedding went off without a hitch.

I spent the morning at a "Royal Wedding Party" given by a friend who is a Brit and who wanted to share her national pride with this event along with her friends here in Germany.  I was asked to bring a Traditional English Trifle, pictured above.  From all reports, I pulled it off even though I have never had nor baked a trifle before in my life.  I followed a recipe on the BBC website that instructed me to make the sponge cake by scratch along with the custard and honest-to-goodness real double whipped cream!  Sinful, it was.

Here is our lovely hostess mixing the Pimms for her guests.  While the Pimm's flowed, repeated corks from champagne bottles continued to pop during the nuptials.  The women were excited, delighted, and amused as the BBC presented the Royal Wedding and over 2 billion people over the world viewed the wedding.

Being fashionable women, we oohed and aaahed as the guests arrived and their hats were displayed.  With the exception of Fergie's daughters, we were thrilled with the gorgeous ornamental hats on view.

We did our best to follow suit and wear our finery and our decorative hats.  Wearing a hat, for most women today, is not a most popular accessory in our wardrobe.  Choosing the most flattering one can be daunting.  Judging by my friends, I would say that their choices were happily suitable for the occasion.

In fact, I would judge the efforts of my fellow Royal watchers as being very successful, indeed.  Any one of us would have been quite at home in Westminster Abbey today, had we received an invitation, that is.

After the wedding, and before the desert, we participated in a quiz about Merry Old England.  To help the non-British, we were given a handicap.  There were prizes for the winners; a Royal tote bag, Royal biscuits, and a Royal notebook.

Unfortunately, even with my handicap, I was only able to answer 7 out of 25 questions about British Royalty correctly.How was I to know that Diana's step-mother whose name was Rain was nicknamed "Acid Rain" by Diana and her siblings?  I did know the date of Diana's death; however, it was August 31st, my birthday.

This young lady was a very talented baker and made magnificent creations to help us celebrate the monarchy.

It was a fantastic day.  A thrilling day watching the Mountbatten-Windsor family share in the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Great drinks, great food, great friends, and a great celebration.

I will always remember where I was when Wills married Kate.  In Munich with my wonderful friends.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


We are in the middle of Spring Break here in München, Germany.  Families are on vacation and the kiddies don't start school until Monday, May 2nd. Most everyone will celebrate May Day in their villages on Sunday.  We don't have school age children with us here in Germany, they have all grown up and some have children of their own.  But we will be very busy on May 2nd, nevertheless.  Our movers come on the 2nd and will return on the 3rd to take all of our household belongings to our new residence here in München. It will be fun to start again in a new apartment.  

I will not join in "Wednesday's Hodgepodge" next week due to unpacking, but I will try to join in the following week. Joyce outdid herself again and provided us with  delightful questions to ponder this week.  I had great fun with these. Join in by clicking on the badge above to join in.

Have a look!

1. What is something that bothers you if it is not done perfectly?

Mani's and Pedi's.  Fortunately, I have found an excellent nail tech who is diligent and knows just how I like my finger nails and toes done.  The best part is that I only have to go once a month when she does them and every sixth visit is free!

              Ooops!  This is hubby's foot, not mine.

2. What is one of your best childhood memories?

My parents owned a recreation complex in our city back when I was a child. It was called, Toledo Swim Club.   In the summer we swam from sun up to sun down and all of our friends were from the swim club.We joined the swim team, diving team, played basketball, volleyball, handball, and all sorts of organized games.  There was never a dull moment and we were physically active constantly in the summer months. The best part was that our parents were there every day with us.  We have great childhood memories of being there all summer long.

3. Do you plan to watch the Royal Wedding and when was the last time you wore a hat?

Yes, I will be watching it with anticipation.  I have been invited to a "Royal Wedding Party," here in Munich by the women in the Munich International Women's Club of Munich.  The women from Great Britain are gathering to celebrate the nuptials.  The women are required to wear dresses or suits and hats.  (I hope to take photos and post them for you all to see.)  

I wore a hat (floppy one) yesterday when we visited Bad Tolz here in Germany.  The sun was very bright and it kept my face from burning.

4. Where do you fall in the birth order in your family? Do you think this has influenced your personality?

First.  I was five years older than my sister and brother (twins).  I was asked to help out a lot when I was only 5 and I think it made me more responsible at a very young age.  

5. Where do you think you spend most of your money?

I don't have to "think" about it, I "know" where most of it goes -- to travel!  We have children and grandchildren in two other continents and we live in the third.  It makes seeing one another very expensive.  Plus, we have committed to taking each of our 10 grandchildren on a trip of their choosing.  One went to China, one to Hawaii, one to Europe, and the next will go to Australia next year.  That leaves six more to go!  

Other than that, it goes primarily to investments and retirement funds.  We hope the future will leave us a little nest egg.

6. When you need to confront someone would you rather communicate in person, on the phone, by email or by letter? Why?

Email is the worst way to confront someone. They can always twist your words to suit their purpose.  Telephone is the second worst way to confront a person because you don't see their face and non-verbal cues are just as important as verbal ones.  The only effective way, in my opinion, to confront someone is face - to - face; that way, there can be no misunderstandings.  

7. Dodge ball, freeze tag, kickball or jump rope? You have to pick one.

Jump rope--once upon a time.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have a very big birthday coming at the end of this summer. I told my husband that I didn't want a party and I don't need any gifts.  He asked if I would like to go on a trip with him.  I said, "Yes, please!"  (See what I mean about money & travel?) 

He will not tell me where we are going. It is going to be a surprise.  All I know is that we will be somewhere for one week.  Other than that, I will just have to trust him, which I do.  Actually, he is much more adventurous than I am so it could be just about anywhere, doing anything.  I hope I can hold out and wait; I am so, so curious!

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

Ok, I get it.  Shopping is an exhausting pastime.  There have been many times I have wished I could just drop down on the floor and rest after a shopping spree.  This fellow is no different.  I found him lying, just like this, at the Oberpollinger Cafe in central city Munich.  I asked his owner if it would be ok to take his photo and she agreed.  He never so much as fluttered an eyelash as I flashed my camera.  He was even snoring!!  Poor fella.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Gone Terribly Wrong

This is a sad Easter tale of a surprise gone terribly wrong.  The little boy in the photo is my sweet, sweet grandson in Orlando, Florida.  We were on vacation and his well-meaning Mimi (me) thought it would be wonderful to hire an Easter Bunny on Easter morning to visit the children on our Florida vacation.  I had no idea that once the Easter Bunny helped me wake up my sleeping grandson that he would be scared out of his wits!  As you can see, the Easter Bunny was not a big hit with this grandchild. The best laid plans of mice and men.....sigh...

On a brighter note, here is the recipe some of you have asked me to copy.   The Rhubarb Crumble, a distinctly British dish that I hope to make next week for the "Royal Wedding Party," was delicious.  I had no time to make the trifle, but I will experiment before Will's and Kate's wedding and let you know how that went as well.

Rhubarb Crumble Recipe
(so quick and easy-- delicious warm with real whipped cream)

James Martin’s classic rhubarb crumble recipe, below, is what I used for yesterday's mahjong club. It was wonderful served warm with real whipped cream. I was happy to find the recipe on BBC recipe page. It was so easy and a good reason to use the fresh rhubarb in the stores now. Enjoy!


10 sticks of rhubarb
4 tbsp water
8 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp powdered ginger
110g/4oz butter, softened
110g/4oz demerara sugar
180-200g/6-7oz flour

To serve

double cream

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cut the rhubarb into 7½cm/3in long sticks and place on an oven tray, sprinkle with the water and caster sugar and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from the oven, sprinkle over the ginger and mix well.

Fill an ovenproof dish about 4cm/1½in deep with the rhubarb.

Rub the butter into the flour and sugar to make the crumble topping. Sprinkle over the rhubarb and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the crumble topping is crisp and golden-brown and the rhubarb filling has softened and is bubbling.

Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving with double cream.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Happy Easter everyone!  Joyce sure had Easter on her mind when she thought about which questions to include in today's "Hodgepodge."  I will get right to it, but click on her badge above if you would like to be a part of the "Wednesday Hodgepodge.' It is always surprising and meeting people from all over the world is one of the great benefits.  

1. What are your plans for Easter Day/weekend?

We are going to spend the four day weekend outside. Germans get Friday and Monday off, yippie!  Since we move the following week, we plan to lay low and enjoy the gorgeous weather with friends.  A picnic by the Isar River, a bike ride around a lake, have friends over for a cookout, and take long walks in the forest. Most importantly, we will celebrate the risen Lord.

2. Besides Jesus, what one person from The Bible would you most like to meet and why?

Mary.  I know it sounds incredulous, but can you imagine parenting Jesus?  I would love to just listen to her tales of motherhood and hearing about our savior as a child. Yep, Mary would be my choice.

3. What is one modern day convenience you didn't have as a child that was easy to live without?

Of course a cell phone, ipod, ipad, and all of those other technological devices that are supposed to make our lives easier were not around when I was a child and it was inconvenient to wait until you were at a phone to make a call. I would not want to go back to those days.  But I think the one thing I couldn't go without would be a computer and a printer.  Typing on carbon paper and erasing with a rubber circle with a brush on the end of it was Draconian and those days, thank you Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, are gone forever.

4. Are you more right brained or left brained? If you don't know what that means there is an interesting little quiz here.

Without a doubt, right-brained.  (Literature and Art teacher?  Can't get much more right-brained than that.)  But I married a scientist/chemist/engineer who is 99.9% left-brained and I love him to death!

5. What is something you intended to do today but didn't? Why?

Very good question, Joyce, because I always have things left over from my "To Do List."  I want to make a Traditional English Trifle and a Rhubarb Crumble for my mahjong group that will be here tomorrow.  But the real reason for making them is that I have to take a dish to "The Royal Wedding Party" next week and since I have never made either before I thought I would practice with them.  (Hope they don't mind). 

 I also have to find/make a proper hat fitting for the Queen. This is a task I just keep putting off each day.   Any ideas?

6. Cadbury Creme Eggs or Reeses peanut butter?

Although both are nice, I would choose neither. Since Europe has the most amazing chocolate, I would opt for one of them instead, sorry.  If you're going to have the extra calories, you might as well do it right! (My favorite, Neuhaus milk chocolate from Belgium.)

7. Who was your favorite cartoon character when you were a child?

This is a real stumper.  Hummm...I guess I would have to go with Mr. Magoo. If you, like me, are old enough to remember him, you have my blessings.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I just read in the German "Local" that a 50 year old woman has been arrested burglarizing a home while the family was at the cemetery burying a loved one.  They caught her after many other burglaries when they put two and two together and realized she was reading the obituaries in the paper and then targeting the grieving family.  Can you believe this?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nothing Says "I love you" like.....

I am surprised that the Germans with their preference for all things pork did not invent this first.

This is one of the many entries in the Instructables Bacon Contest which runs through May 8th.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Hardly a day goes by that I don't marvel at our fortune of living here in Bavaria where nature is so abundant and accessible.  But for a few moments walk outside our front door, we can be immersed into settings like the one above of the river Würm that meanders throughout Munich.  These idyllic panoramas crop up at the most unexpected times.  At the turn of a path, at the bottom of a foothill, and even in your own backyard.

When my family and friends ask me why I want to continue living in Germany, it is difficult to explain the part nature plays in my decision.  Nature appears almost everywhere, so why Germany?  I think it is because the Germans learned to respect nature and protect it long before the Americans did.  Because the European cultures were developed far ahead of America, the idea of conservation in the rapidly developing nations took place in the early 1800's, especially in Germany.  They learned early on that their resources needed to be protected and cultivated lest they lose them altogether.

Bavaria was one of the frontrunners in terms of forestry.  With the Alpine lakes and streams providing the cities with the most crystal clear mineral water, Bavaria has taken measure throughout the centuries to protect their natural environment.

Nature play an enormous part in the lives of Bavarians.  They are avid hikers, bikers, and skiers.  Rafting, canoeing, and water sports of all kinds are popular here.  Alpine walking is growing in popularity and has captured the imagination of the over 60 set with it's great benefit of helping to reduce the side effects of aging such as arthritis, muscle and bone degeneration, and heart disease.  On any given day the amount of people out-of-doors would put most American cities to shame by comparison.  It is sad that we, as a nation, have given up our connectedness to nature and have allowed ourselves to be prisoners in our own homes and slaves to our automobiles.  I know I sound like Thoreau, but living in Germany has created a need that I never knew existed in me.  A need to be a part of my natural environment.

Here in Bavaria, the Bavarians take every opportunity to provide natural beauty around them to coerce them to appreciate what nature has to give.  From small gardens, to ponds, to little vignettes such as the cascading water over stone steps, they care for and nurture what has been provided for them.

I am certain that it is because most Germans live in small apartments and prefer to be outside that they have been diligent in creating spaces where people can congregate outside.  Small cafes with outdoor seating, fountains with stone stools and steps for people to rest, and benches tucked alongside of paths cutting through forests and prairies are plentiful and attractive.

It amazes me the number of walkers or bicyclists who will stop in the forest, on a mountain side, or alongside a castle grounds somewhere and pull out a blanket with a picnic basket and enjoy the day admiring the view.  I have purchased a blanket with a plastic backing for such a purpose.  I have also bought a picnic satchel for my bike with one side for storing plates, utensils, and the all-important wine bottle, and the other side that is insulated to store cheeses, bread rolls and fruit.

But, if we hop on the bikes and forget the bike satchel, we know that we can always find a neighborhood beer garden along the way.  The trouble is to decide which one to try,-- there are so many to choose from.  For example, we can choose Nuremberg sausages, roast chicken, pork ribs, or "frikadelle mitt baguette", a German type of hamburger.

Either way, we will be spending our days outside enjoying the fresh air and hearing the birds sing until the sun sets.  What can be better than this?

Friday, April 15, 2011

KÖNIGSEE (King's Lake)

Nestled snugly between the Berchtesgaden Alps is the Königsee, Germany's third deepest lake formed by glaciers in the Jurrasic Rift during the last ice age.  The lake is more like a fiord in Norway due to the steep mountains surrounding it that rise up to nearly 9,000 feet.

A couple of unfortunate historical events were located near this lake.  In 1944 a sub camp of the Dachau concentration camp was located nearby where Heinrich Himmler had a home built for his mistress Hedwig Potthast.  Also, it is close to the "Eagle's Nest" the site of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun's suicide at the end of World War II.  Despite such infamous surroundings, Königsee is better known for it's crystal clear water.  It is advertised as the cleanest lake in Germany.

This is largely due to the fact that the German's have only allowed battery powered driven passenger ships, row boats, and pedal boats on the lake since 1909.  Because it is located in such a way that it is surrounded by mountains, it is also known for it's clear echo.  Back in the early 1900's the boat captains would fire a cannon so the passengers could hear the echo repeated up to seven times.  Today, the captain will play a flugelhorn or trumpet and you will hear the notes echo-echo-echo.

St. Bartholomi, a small pilgrim church, is on a penninsula on the western lakeshore.  It has a small fishery and a restaurant with a beer garden.  Hubby and I had a traditional schnitzel and pomme frittes (French fies) in the beer garden.  Of course, we washed it down with a tasty helles 

You can see the beergarden (barely) under the trees that are just beginning to bud as springtime arrives in Bavaria. The church, with the red roof and towers, faces the lake and we are looking at the rear, or back of the church in this photo.  There is no lakeside path around the Königsee because of the surrounding high mountains.  You can only reach the southern edge by boat or the hiking trails up in the surrounding mountains.

Since there is very little, if any, habitation in and around the lake, it is exceptionally quiet and peaceful.  There are a few small hotels in the municipality of Schönau am Königsee just south of Bertchesgaden, but that is about all in the way of a community.  It would be the perfect getaway if you were in the mood to connect with nature, row, hike, or just kick back and enjoy the scenery.

We highly recommend the schnitzel and what's not to like about German beer?  Soon the tree arbor will be filled out and plenty of shade will be on hand for the diners who visit this summer.  During our visit the termperature was in the high 70's and we were delighted to soak up those rays.

Königsee, it doesn't get more peaceful than this....

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Isn't this wonderful?  Check out how many people chose to recline on the river bank in Salzburg this past weekend.  The weather was in the low 80's and the Austrian's took advantage of the good weather by visiting the Salzach river.  

We didn't sunbathe along the river, but we did take some time out from our wanderings to watch these guys play chess in the town square.  I had the distinct feeling that they were chess sharks out to see who they could hustle, but I can't prove it.

Then we decided to walk up the mountain in the background of this photo to the Alte Stadt (Old City).  There is a cable car that takes visitors up the mountain, but it was not open for the season yet.  You know what that means....we hoof it.

This is the view of Salzburg from about midway up the mountain to the Alte Stadt.

And this is the view from one of the windows in the fortress.  It is the opposite view of that of the city of Salzburg.

Just to give you an idea of how steep the climb was, here is one of the uphill stretches.  To get to the top, multiply this by a good 8 more uphill stretches.  I hate climbing, but it was worth the effort to see  the ancient fortress and town.

Here is a photo of the view from inside one of the towers looking out.  You can see the fortress wall on the right. ( My legs ache just looking at this one.)

One of the many windows in the fortress.  This one did not have a cannon mounted behind it.

This one did!

It appears that people still live within the fortress walls.  I hope they have a burro to carry their groceries up the mountain since cars are verboten.

Beautiful architecture, but I bet they didn't have electric lights along the building walls back in the 10th century. 

But I bet that they had these back then and I am so glad they did.  What a great refresher after climbing 800 feet straight uphill!

From the windows of the fortress, you can see the Alps in the background so close that you think you can reach out and touch the snow.  It is truly a sight to see and experience.  This photo doesn't do them justice.

This photo may give you a little better idea.  It was from a different side, but the size is clear when you compare it to the church spire in front of it while knowing that it is also on the top of a mountain in front of it.  Having been raised in Ohio on flat land, I am always in awe of the majesty of the Alps.  We will gladly return to Salzburg being that it is only a two hour drive from our home in Munich.