Saturday, July 24, 2010

NEIN!!!

Friday 7/23/10
Despite the rain continuing from last night, we all hoped in the car and headed through the German countryside, south east along the Lake Constance, and stopped in the town of Meersburg. This small town on the lake is home the Castle Meersburg. We decided to skip the guided tour, in German, for the "Short" Gerd tour. That's right, with the help of a small informational pamphlet, Gerd gave the guided tour of Germany's oldest castle (built in the 7th century). After the tour, we stopped in one "Baroque Hall (today, the Cafe' of the Castle), for some much needed Cappuccinos and Kuchen (cake).
We were then treated to private tour of one of the local braurerei. Petra's cousin-in-law is one of the Master Bier Brewers at Schussenrieder (see photo). Here it was Rob's turn to play tour guide as his knowledge of bier and the German-English translation came in very handy for us 'mericans. We walked through the entire plant and then had lunch/dinner at the Brewery's Restaurant next door, to sample the final product...of course. A few biers later and we were off.
Petra and Rob decided we should stop by her cousin's restaurant since it was on the way home. This is the place Rob and Petra got married. There are good and bad things about being well-loved.
Good Things: We walk into a full restaurant during dinner time and immediately there is space made for us at a large table. We are treated to great conversation and great drinks.
Bad Things: We are treated to great conversation and great drinks.
Now let me tell you, I believe our intention was to stay for a quick drink, but there is no such thing as "A" quick drink when you walk into a restaurant/bar with Rob and Petra. Petra's cousin seems like the jolliest man we've met in Germany. While Rob and Petra went upstairs to say hello to her aunt, Diona and I sat at the table with this jolly man and 2 couples who had joined us after their dinner in the other room. The conversation was slow at first, but one of their English was better than my German (his nine years to my two weeks). Despite my "Nein" and waving hand when ask if I wanted another bier, Petra's cousin joined us and a full bier "magically" appeared. Five hours later and by nights end, a couple shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey were had and some how I was drinking wine. Good thing we had to leave or I might not have made it.
Great times!!!
J. Garrett Oliver

Holy Hailstorms Batman!!!

Thursday 7/22/10
While resting for dinner, the temperature suddenly dropped 20degrees and the sky's darkened. From our balcony, Diona, an expert in storm fronts, suggested that if this were South Dakota it would be Tornado weather and we had 30secs before the rain was to fall. Thirty seconds later we were met with water from the sky. Luckily, Petra assured us this is not Tornado country. We closed all the windows and within 5 mins we were in the middle of a full blown hail storm. The four of us cracked open a bier and began trying to figure out alternate plans for dinner, as we planned to walk down to Felsenkeller. By the time we had finished our biers (20mins), the storm had passed and the previously flooded streets were already had dry stops.

We decided to go ahead and head out to Felsenkeller Bar for Dinele. This would be Pfullendorf style pizza (See photo). This was very tasty and went well with more Bier. We found out that Petra's old boss was upstairs having dinner in the hotel restaurant, so we got a chance to meet him. Walking home was interesting since the skies blessed us with a nice steady light rain. We opted out of hitting another bar for schnapps at the apartment and settled in to the soothing sounds of the typical German rain.
J. Garrett Oliver

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Catching up

Monday was for laundry. And, considering I only packed two pairs of pants and one dress, it was a damn good thing. Monday was a foot tour of Pfullendorf as led by Rob and Petra. This was amazing. The history here is incredible.

Tuesday was a trip to the Furstenburg Castle which houses the only remaining Italian renaissance ceiling art of its kind in an all wood room with French parquet floors. We were required to wear slippers over our shoes here. And from this room you get a view of the Swiss Alps. Outstanding!

We returned to Pfullendorf by 530pm to the Seepark to watch Rob attempt lake wakeboarding. They have this crazy contraption that I won't even try to explain but that it can pull up to 10 persons at a time in a very large circle around the lake. Each person is either wakeboarding, skiing, surfing or whatever. Its nuts!

After this, we went to Gerhard's cafe for dinner where I enjoyed another currywurst and Gerd wolfed down a weinerschnitzel sandwich. Gerhard introduced us to a couple new drinks and biers including a banana juice hefeweizen concoction. This in lieu of a cola hefeweizen concoction that is popular with the local boarding school girls. Again, the evening was topped off with raspberry schnapps and stumbled into bed.

Wednesday was an errand day for the Andrades. So after a cafe breakfast of coffee and pastries, they dropped us off at the Seepark for a day of sunbathing by the lake. We enjoyed this day of rest. There is a cafe there we got an amazing lunch followed by espresso drinks. Petra joined us later for a quick swim.

We finished day with a "Thanks for being awesome hosts and Happy Birthday Rob" dinner at the italiano restaurant in town. Amazing pasta for each of us including bier, wine and two rounds of after dinner liquor. After dinner and after the usual Andrade run-in with old friends chat and downing of more schnapps, we headed to after-dinner drinks at a bar in town built in an old breuerie cave. This was incredible and a nice challenge for me being underground.

Thursday was for Petra and Diona at Anja's salon. We are very happy ladies now. Petra's hair is extra cute! We followed this with lunch at Marcos for pizza and espresso and more liquore, then ice cream for everybody!

Currently we are resting up for the next round of consumption and are content that the blog is now current. Whew!

Gutten tag!
Diona Maria
J. Garrett Oliver

Do these people ever drink water?

Hallo!

After Anja's birthday bash, Gerd joined the Andrades in party clean-up while Diona gave her feet a rest. Diona fell asleep and was started at Gerd waking her and rushing her out the door and into an awaiting BMW with Petra and Anja's cousin Gerhard. Quickly we sped back to Anja's in-laws hut where a feast was prepared of the party's leftovers. Also, hefeweisen and numerous other beverages were poured. On this porch, at this table, with Anja's extended family, we sat for probably 11 hours. The food and the drink never stopped. I know my tolerance for alcohol is up because I lost count at 4 biers and 2 pear schnapps plus 2-3 os some other drink I don't recall the name of and never truly was buzzed. And I didn't have 3 glasses of different wine like the rest of my group did. This was clearly a day of consumption amongst family and friends. Again, Gerd and I found wonderful English converstion, this time with Anja's sister-in-law and her husband.

Once again, with at least 3 of us feeling a really good buzz, we braved our way through the dark walking the mile or so back home.

Ciao,
Diona
J. Garrett Oliver

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

If you thought you might have the slightest inclination as to the German region from which the Abbas family came, I would be most appreciative to receive it. Living daily in the German countryside, I am moved to dig a little deeper into my family history. I am guessing that you do not know the answer. We will figure this out soon.

Love,
Diona Maria
J. Garrett Oliver

"Won't you take me to...Funkytown"

Sat 7/17/10 night

After a short coma like state (1hr), we joined Rob and Petra to help set up for Anja's 40th birthday party. The family owns the local Toyota dealership and that was the location for the festivities. The theme of the party was "Vaste und Glamour", kind of Ghetto Fabulous/Fabulous. You could dress either way fancy or way the other direction. Petra wore a gorgeous two-piece gown while Rob und Gerd wore jeans and tight retro tops. I was completely under prepared so I just wore dark colors. This was fine. The party was complete with red carpet entrance and multiple cultural food stations, extensive open bar, dj and dance floor, dessert and then a currywurst cart to settle the drinkers tummy. This was by far my favorite part.

Because of the two pizzas we consumed for lunch, I did not eat too much dinner there but drank my share of coffee, bier, specialty drinks and dessert. So by 11pm a try at the currywurst was in order. A currywurst is like a hebrew dog except 20 thousand times higher in quality and a tiny bit larger. It comes in a paper bowl sliced all over, drown in ketchup with curry powder doused all over it. Then they give you a wonderful fresh hardroll to push it down. This was super yummy!

Here we met lots of the Andrades Pfullendorf friends. We also met a Dutch man who resides in Zurich, Switerland. He was a charming blonde with a little boy face and his costume was a gold lamae (I so don't know how to spell this word but I'm going with it) suit with gold lamae blouse and tie. He spoke English so we chatted with him for a while.

We decided to go home around midnight, the Andrades near 130am. Apparently the party ran to 530am. Super!

The fun part was walking home at this hour and buzzed while trying to avoid massive slugs. This walk is about a mile and a half. Ha!

More later.

Ciao,
Diona
J. Garrett Oliver

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We have arrived!!

Sat 7/17/10

We left Oberstdorf, hopping on the 9:45 train at about 9:30. The train left the station and we settled in for or 3.5-4hr ride from Oberstdorf to Uberlingen. After a little light conversation Petra realized our ticket didn't have a name on it and asked the conductor for a pen. To add a little excitement to an otherwise "boring" trip, we were informed that the ticket we had was not valid on this train...uh oh not again. Luckily some the conductor was nice enough to let us all stow away.

We were met by Petra's brother, Lothar, when we arrived to Uberlingen. A brief introduction and we all piled into the Benz Wagon and raced through the windy country roads to Pfullendorf. Both starving and exhausted (see picture), hunger won out and Rob suggested one of their favorite spots in town. Rob and Petra dropped us off and bid us, Ciao, as they went to help set up for their friend's 40th birthday party later that night.

Sorrentos is a quaint little italian restaurant that seats about 30-50 people. Walking through the doors was like stepping into "Don Corleone's Social Club". Two older gentlemen sat at the first table chatting, in what sounded like German or Italian or a combination of both, motion to us that we could sit anywhere. Once we sat down, the owner, Marco greeted us. Apparently, his english was as good as our German. This was going to be an interesting time. The menu was written in Italiano und Deutsch. I was able to decipher the toppings for the pizzas and we decided we were going to split a pepperoni, salami and cheese pizza and a couple of those great "real" sugar cokes. Diona motioned to Marco with 1 finger and waved it between us...success. Imagine how surprised we were when Marco brought out 2 pizzas with salami, cheese and green peppers on it...DOH!! Petra warned me about pepperoni a few days ago and I had forgotten that meant spicy green peppers. Oh well, I guess we are going to be full. Turns out, the peppers were actually pretty good.

We rolled back up the hill to Petra's house, after a little side street detour, and crashed for an hour before it was time for the party. Party details to follow in next Blog.

--Gerd
J. Garrett Oliver