Friday, December 23, 2011

Evening at the Burghausen Castle

 We rode to the castle this evening on our bikes and then walked the mile down the length on the cobblestone road. I stopped and snapped this picture back toward our apartment. You can see the Alps on the horizon in the sunset! I've heard you can see them from Burghausen...but this is the first time we actually have. At first glance you think it is just clouds.
 The castle was beautiful. People who live at there were just getting home and having dinner. There were a lot of beautiful, yet simple Christmas decorations in the windows.
 Mine and Billy's shadow was cast on a wall as we were looking at the old town below. This wall is 12-15 feet high.
The night became very black and the castle stood out perfectly against the velvety background.
It was a beautiful evening to be there.

Energy Options in German Homes

 Yesterday, a truck stopped by and took out a long hose.  They were delivering wood pellets to the basement of our apartment building! It kind of reminded me of how coal was delivered to American homes during the first half of this past century.
These wood pellets that are about the size of a large vitamin C tablet and they were pumping them in by air into storage compartments.

This is our landlord's son chatting with the delivery guy as he works.
Our Wohnung (apartment) has 4 units (3 occupied) and they are heated by a wood-fired boiler and radiator system.  The radiators in our place remind me of a pared-down version of the old heavy radiators they had in my elementary school when I was a kid.
If you need to get warm in a hurry...there' not a problem. Also, you can lay your wet mittens on them and they are dry in no time! There is something SO nostalgic about that, but the system seem VERY efficient.
In the top picture, you can also see the solar panels on the house across the street. That is another popular energy option that's available here.

Riding Around in the Freezing Temps!

 Just as it was in the middle of summer, it is surprising me just how much the Burghausers are living their life outdoors. Here's the bicycle traffic at the kindergarten down the street on a typical weekday morning about 7:30-8:00. There are teenagers cycling past on their way to the school in the center of town and there are parents with their small ones behind them (in child seats) as they drop them off here on their way to work. Sometimes the little bitty ones are in  pull-along trailors on the back of cycles. There are more baby "buggies" here than strollers, it seems, and there are all kinds of special adaptors to handle the weather... raincoverings, buntings, unbrellas and sunshades.  No matter what the weather, it seems that getting out the automobile is the LAST resort!

 The young and the older... everyone is biking and walking.
 Yep, Billy and I are right out there with them!  It began snowing when I was shopping downtown the other day (Here's my cute little cycle.) Riding along with the snow hitting you in the face is definitely a new experience.  I tend to go fairly slow, because I don't know the whens and wheres of icing and how it reacts on my bike tires.

The kindergarten (shown in the first 2 pictures) is straight ahead in these shots from a side road.  These were taken as I was just about home and with a pretty good snowfall going on. There was about a 1/4" of snow stuck to my wool coat. I've gotten pretty adept at wrapping my scarf a certain way to keep my face from freezing! I'm not sure what the white haze is in the bottom picture...I guess its my breath! ...but I thought it actually improved the picture.

Local Kids at Ice Rink


Here are some of the local kids hanging out at the ice rink over this past weekend. The bigger boys were playing hockey and the younger children are just skating and playing in the middle of it all.
 Today is the last day of school for two weeks. This afternoon the local school in the New Town will have afternoon church services instead of class. The service is led by their teachers and is geared toward teenagers and pre-teens. It is held at a local catholic church next door to the school (St. Konrad's.) Since there is not the level of separation of church and state as there is in the USA, this is a common thing in Bavaria. Bavaria is officially Catholic, but appears to be very tolerant of other religions. The school kids can choose to go the the service or not and there are alternative activities.

It's Cold...to a Tennessean.

 Here's Billy standing in Austria with Burghausen in the background.
It's generally 30-40 degrees Farenheit these days. 40 is very warm for here at this time. There is usually plenty of snow on the ground, we have heard.
 We heard a story from a local woman we met last night that in the mid-1980's the river Salzach (seen here) was completely frozen over!
The daylight is very short here, but thankfully, the days are going to start getting longer rapidly from here out. 
Here's a daylight chart (below) for Munich. As you see, there are some remnants of daylight in June up until almost 10PM! That will be nice. The sun coming up at 8 and setting before 4:30 is not enough daylight for me...LOL

DateSunriseSunsetLengthChangeDawnDuskLengthChange
Today08:0216:238:2107:2517:009:35
+1 day08:0216:248:2200:01 longer07:2617:009:3400:01 shorter
+1 week08:0416:288:2400:03 longer07:2817:059:3700:02 longer
+2 weeks08:0416:358:3100:10 longer07:2817:119:4300:08 longer
+1 month07:5416:579:0300:42 longer07:1917:3110:1200:37 longer
+2 months07:1117:4410:3302:12 longer06:3918:1611:3702:02 longer
+3 months06:1218:3012:1803:57 longer05:4119:0113:2003:45 longer
+6 months05:1421:1816:0407:43 longer04:3221:5917:2707:52 longer

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Pension in Altoetting

 This is an example of a Pension (Pen-see-on)
It's a lot like a "bed and breakfast" where there are rooms available in a person's home.
 This one is run by a nice older woman (Frau Moser), but she has recently turned over most duties to her daughter-in-law
 Everything was fresh and tidy!

 This is the view of the back of the main basillica in town from Frau Moser's window.
This home/pension is on the "inner ring" that circles the city.
I'm not sure about Altoetting, but many inner ring streets in German cities are where the city walls once stood.
This is her tidy little breakfast room decorated for Weihnachtszeit (Christmastime)....breakfast is included and usually consists of sausages, breads, butter, jams, coffee, juice and tea.
Its like being a guest in the home of a friend!
 I went to look at this place for our friends that are visiting in May (Hello Duekers and DeRieuxs!). It is a 2-3 minute walk to the many churches and shrines that are in Altoetting.  There are great restaurants and shopping available and you never have to start your car.
There are also many wonderful bike trails that are fairly flat and go for kilometer after kilometer...after all, Altoetting has been a pilgrimage site for centuries.
This picture and the one above are views from one of the balconies. In the distance, you can see some of the church spires on the other side of the Kapellplatz (the open square in the center of town.)
This is the type of place to stay that would give visitors a REAL local experience of the area.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Advent "In Den Gruben"

There was a small Christmas market in the section where the spring Jazz festival is held.  I bought Billy a pair of hand knitted socks from a very nice local lady.  That is something they do a lot of here...knitting.  There are some beautiful things available, but I really love the socks. After we left the market, we went to a small jazz club and listened to a 3 piece band that was very good



This was the view as we walked up the big hill from the Altstadt on a cobblestone footpath about midnight.  What a sublime end to a wonderful evening

Christmas in the Old Town (Altstadt)

 Burghausen's Altstadt in beautiful at Christmas time


Ice Rink in Burghausen

This is the ice rink that is set up in front of the Burgerhaus in the New Town section of Burghausen now.
It is in the area where the teenagers skateboard during the summer. There is a system to freeze the rink even when the temperatures are above freezing outside.
It is free of charge and everybody, young and old, uses it.
Today there was a group of men playing a sport I had never seen before.
It looked like a cross between curling and shuffleboard.
I think it is a game called Eisstockschie├čen (Ice Stock)



As you can see, they were having a great time.  The guy waving at me had been trying to point out the best players to me earlier

Christmas Market in the Forest

 We went to a Christmas market that was held in the forest and it was magical.
The market was named after a nearby city and is called Halsbach.
 There were mostly hand made items being sold and everything was candlelit.  The pathways were marked with these glass jars with white candles. Wood was stacked carefully to form walls to line some pathways.
There were potters, glass blowers and sellers of fragrances

There was fish smoking in a lit box and plenty of sausages and hot beverages
We met a lady from Minsk selling handmade Christmas decor.  She tried to play matchmaker with the single ones in our group! ...but first she wanted to know what bloodtypes were involved. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Rathaus/City Hall of Burghausen

 The Rathaus is very close to what we call a City Hall. Basic city business is conducted here.  You can even pay parking fines (Don't ask me how I know!)
If you go to the city website, you can see a view from the webcam that is positioned in one of the 3 little windows below the crest (with the red paint.)
Front Entrance
This window is on the inside of the building-beautiful
Everything is painted with a coat of fresh white paint and in spite of its age, the building is immaculate.  The signs are painted (beautifully) right onto the walls

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Salzburg Christmas Market

Yesterday in Salzburg:
Wreaths, pretzels, chocolates, ornaments, glass trinkets, souvenirs, clothing, hats and scarves! Booth after booth was filled to the brim.
One of the most popular items was the "Gluwein."
It is hot spiced wine that warms your cold fingers and toes!





(The glass pyramid houses and protects a statue of Mary during the winter months)


It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful city, in the most beautiful time of the year.
We bought gifts and ate candied almonds as we walked through the Mozartplatz and other areas of the city