Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There are new signs to learn...especially while driving.  However; here is one that I have absolutely no idea what it means.  Anybody care to take a guess??

This picture was taken on Sunday morning.  It is an old Red Tractor that was spotless!  The driver was an older gentleman wearing a suit jacket and there were flowers on the fenders.  This tractor is really driven only on Sunday morning by an old man going to church.  You have got to appreciate the simplier life in Burghausen.


You've GOT to Have a Bicycle in Burghausen!

Here is a quick picture of my cute little German-made bicycle! It's great. I ride it everywhere.  During the week, we rarely start the car. I go grocery shopping (which I do often as everyone buys fresh things almost daily), to visit friends, to lunch at restaurants and just cruising around town for fun. There is more bicycle parking here than car parking.  The lots at the stores and workplaces look like seas of cycles.
The "Pegasus" has 7 gears and has brakes on the handlebars ...but you can pedal backwards to stop too. That's just like my bike did when I was a kid!
You see everyone on bicycles. I've been surprised at the older people on them. I saw a woman the other day that had to be in her upper 80's (at least) pedaling down the road with her purchases in her basket. Since the people here seem to like flowers so much, you often see ladies riding around with their baskets overflowing with them to take home for their tables or window sills.
Here's one of the places where Billy and I have often gone riding in the evenings.  This is a cobblestone road that runs the length of the castle (about a mile). It is a beautiful ride at sunset.  If you look to the left as you ride toward the main castle, you will see the old town and the Salzach River far below.  If you glance to the right, you can view the beautiful cool waters of the lake swimming area (also far below) with the green farmlands and cornfields.

Recycling at the Grocery Store

Leergutannahme translates to
"Empties Acceptance"

Recycling at the grocery store is easy....if you can read German! I had to take these shots and head home to translate the instructions. This is in an area as you first walk into the store .
When you buy a drink in a bottle here, you pay a fairly large deposit on the bottle.  In the case of sparkling water (which is VERY popular here) the bottle can cost you more than the water.  You bring the empty bottles to the machine, ...it reads the UPC codes and when you're done, it prints a ticket that you take to the checkout.  Most Germans buy their beer in cases and you can see there is a place for the plastic crate return at the bottom. We peered into the round bottle return (picture #2) and expected to see the inner workings of a machine...but instead, we saw bottles, cans, and jars stacked & sorted on large tables in the room behind.  Evidently, your returns drop into a hopper and an actual human takes them and groups the bottles for return to the appropriate company. I'm going to post more on recycling later! They really have a great system here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flowers in Boxes and Containers Everywhere!

Their growing season is so short, I don't know how they do it. There are brightly colored flowers everywhere we've been. It was the same in Brechtesgarten.  Here are a few examples.
It is very rare to see a house, commercial building, or street corner without an amazing blush of color.  Each plot is perfectly watered and trimmed.  I am not really sure when they do it...I never see anyone tending them...it is as if by magic.
All instructions and signs are in German and we are just learning.  We had to figure out that there was no charge for parking on the street because it was Saturday.  I DO know the words for "free" and "Saturday", ...that helped.  Their parking system reminds me of how they do it on the Northshore in Chattanooga with the printed tickets you put in your windshield.

The Alps

These pictures are from our trip to Berchtesgaden, Germany...it is on the Austrian border in the little tip that extends into Austria. It is actually about 50 kilometers South of Salzburg. We left Burghausen about 10 am, after having breakfast near the bahnhof (train station) in town.  We had pretzils with butter, eggs, bread, bacon, coffee and orange juice and ate it outside. Everyone sits and looks out at the traffic going by and takes their time eating.
We went through Tramstien and Berchtesgaden which were beautiful little towns with quaint shops and LOTS of colorful flowers in full bloom in window boxes and in containers. I am struck by all the shoe stores. I guess Europeans do so much walking, they need to buy a lot of shoes!
We drove up a mountain, saw a true "Alpine Slide", then on to a museum and restaurant.  There we boarded a bus that dove in twists and turns...clinging to the edge of the mountian till we got to Hitler's "Eagle's Nest" at the top.  We had to take a 120 meter elevator ride to come out at what they called a "tea house". The sights were incredible. It was SO clear and you could see forever. The last picture is of the tea house from the bus departure point which was already high up on the mountain.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I never thought I would enjoy a foreign country.  I was happy in my own little world in the Chattanooga area and there is nothing outside that could add to my joy of living.  Having said that....I have to eat my own words.  Here is a perfect example.  You will see areas of beautiful flowers from time to time with a sign like this. You can pull up to these gardens and cut your own flowers and deposit the money as you leave.  All of this is on the honor system!!  No thugs going around destroying the hard work that somebody has put into the plots of land.  It is a refreshing site.  Also, I feel totally safe walking the streets at night.  I found that it is almost impossible to purchase a gun.  Crime is almost nothing!!  Burghausen is a small slice of heaven!!  I wish other people could experience this feeling and take it back to the states with them.  What an improvement in the quality of life everybody could have.   

Grocery Store -big box

Here is Billy with the "grocery getter" at the store about a half mile away from our house. It is called "Kaufland".  "Kauf" is German for buy.  This is one of the few stores that is pretty similar to an American shopping experience....it is a big box store a bit like Target or Kmart.  You have to put a Euro in the shopping cart to get one and ALL the wheels swivel...so you can move sideways with it.  Here's something interesting:  They don't take credit cards or checks.  They only take cash or a local debit card.  That got me in trouble one day.  I had 75 Euros of merchandise and only about 50 in cash!  No one spoke English and it was crazy.  The checkout girl shouted out a call for someone who spoke English and a man stepped out of the gawlking crowd and helped me!  I guess they'll always remember me as the unprepared American...its a small town. But they were very nice...Bavarians are generally very friendly.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dinner in Austria

  We are right on the Austrian border and if you cross over the Salzach River and look back toward Burghausen, you have an incredible view.  The castle of Burghausen (our little city) is the longest castle in Europe. It is a "conglomeration" of buildings that stretch for about a mile across the hilltop above the Alstadt (old town) below.

 We have not been able to leave Germany and travel into Austria and other countries for the last 2.5 weeks because the government has had our passports to update our immigration status. So, we were anxious to get out and about a bit tonight.  After receiving our passports this afternoon, we had dinner in a little outdoor cafe in Duttendorf, Austria...and this was our view:

I took this from my iPad and its grainy.  I'll try to retake it with my regular camera later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 20 in Germany

This is a blog about an American couple coming to Germany to live and work for about a year. Billy is here working for Wacker Chemie AG that is starting a new plant in Cleveland, TN near Chattanooga.  I (his wife) am here with him to help make a home during our short stay and to enjoy the sites, sounds and everyday life in a small Bavarian town.
After arriving in Munich on Luftansia airlines on July 28, 2011, we were shuttled by taxi eastward through several small villages of southern Germany. It took about about an hour and a half to reach our new home.  The overnight flight From Charlotte, NC was incredible and we had been able to rest a bit before dealing with the 6 hour time advance. We were greeted curbside by a local woman named Claudia as we came into town. Claudia is our lifesaver! She was born and grew up in Burghausen and knows the town...& Germany like the back of her hand. We'd be lost without her.
This is our home in Germany on Piracher Strasse (Street)! In the picture you see three houses? Ours apartment is where you see the 2nd floor windows of the middle house.  The window facing the street is our living room window. I'm sitting at that window as I write this entry....There is a beautiful view of the neighborhood from that window as well as the Burghausen countyside.
This is what I see as I look out my open window each morning. I took this picture a few days ago when it was cloudy, but this morning it is bright, sunny and about 68 degrees or so.  Notice the pedestrian and bike lane on our street? Wow, this is wonderful.  We can bike everywhere here without getting mowed down!
Almost all of the houses here have the red tile roofs and are white stucco.  Gardens with beautiful flowers and shrubs are the norm. Window boxes thrive and look very lush in this cooler climate.
Since I had to wait so long to start this blog, I'm really not sure where to start. There's been SO many new and amazing things that have happened in the last 3+ weeks.  I guess I'll just start off and go...I'll try not to ramble too much, but the main things I want to talk about are the everyday occurences here that feel unique to my American sensibilities. 
  Feel free to email me with questions about our experience here...