Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back in Schorndorf . . .

We land back in Stuttgart on Wednesday about 15 minutes late due to a headwind for most of the trip over the Atlantic (which also made it a bumpier flight than I was really comfortable with).

Down the stairs to the SBahn for the train back to Weiler. It comes about 20 minutes after we arrive. The landscape is very different to what we saw on the outward journey. Now, the drabness of winter is covered by a thick and luxurious blanket of white and the fir trees (the only ones left with foliage), bend under the weight of their winter coats.

Steph’s cousin Anja has very kindly offered to collect us from the railway station as they have had some snow and very cold weather since and there is quite a lot of ice on the roads and paths. She invites us to have a meal with her but as we are feeling somewhat jetlagged, we beg off and head upstairs to bed. I am asleep by 10:15 am and Michael shortly afterwards. We are somewhat bemused when Steph called us and it was after 5:00 pm. By 7:00 pm we were downstairs at Anja’s house where she brought out the Cheesecake that Mutti has made for us (diameter 32cm!). It is as heavenly as the first one I tasted in 2006 and the one Steph made for us on her last visit to Australia. My delight in it was completed with Michael gleefully eating 4 large slices – much to everyones delight.

Yesterday we spent the day getting ready for the road – going through the car stuff and discovering that the large bottle of Nutella that Felix gave us and the three bottles of water we had in the car were FROZEN SOLID!

Today it was off to the Schorndorf Technical Museum which focuses on the industrial developments made in Stuttgart. Fascinating and a wonderful use for a former hospital bed factory. The displays use elements such as glass floors to ensure that the openness of the space is not impacted. Major foci were the automotive industry, the engineering background and links to aviation and printing industries.

In a side gallery there was an art display consisting of limited edition signed prints including Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso and others – quite impressive for a museum in a town the same size as Maryborough!

And then tonight were went to the Felden Besen for dinner. Besen translates literally as Broom! “What?” you ask. This is a Cellar Door but one like you have never seen in Australia. They are individual wine makers, selling their own wine and serving light meals. The only catch is that everything they sell, they must produce themselves. The setting also is different – you are actually in a room of their home – albeit a very large one. We eat such Swabian delicacies as blood sausage, offal soup and sauerkraut! Mind you, the sauerkraut was wonderful, Michael revelled in the blood sausage and Michael’s pork hock was sublime!

As we were leaving we were taking photos of the room and their advertising broom when the owner came to the door with two of the traditional swabian wine glasses for Michael and I. A quick conversation and thanks and the passing over of the card with the blog details before we leave. Steph walks down the icy road to get a photo of the broom that they hang out at the entrance to advertise that they are open.
In the company of Anja, Rudi, Olga and Steph, it is a great night!
Its Saturday and our last day in Schorndorf before we set off on the road.
Today we went to the Markethalle in Stuttgart - first time for Michael, second for me. It is a culinary wonder of all tastes and teases our plans for a deli SO much! We didn't take any new photos here as Michael believes that the 234 I took last trip still suffice!!!
Then off to buy gifts for our wonderful hosts before we make a detour to Lacra to buy Michael a new pair of boots. After only two months after a purchase at a large local retailer in Maryborough (think guys), the addition of a new pair of shoes laces yesterday resulted in the soles splitting within 10 minutes - guess that they were tired of all the walking and were determined to get a rest - well they now have a permanent one. Then to the supermarket for some staples - cutlery, grater for the wonderous Parmiagiano Regganio we will buy, coffee, tea etc before we come home to continue packing.
Tonight we go with Stephi and Felix to an African restaurant in Schorndorf 'Hanti Alem' where we shared the largest tasting plate I have ever seen. Absolutely sumptuous! Lentils, potatoes, okra, lamb, beef, hummus, spinach and the most pancake bread to scoop it all in to your mouth with. mmmmmmm Finished with fantastic coffee where they bring you the roasting beans to begin the ceremony. SOOOO good.
We leave tomorrow after breakfast with Olga and Rudi, Mutti, Stephi and Felix.
On everyones advice, we are not going to Italy yet as it would mean crossing the Alps after heavy snow and freezing temperatures have resulted in a lot of ice on the roads.
So we are heading west for southern France, hoping to stop in the Nimes area for a week or so including a day (or two) in Carcassonne! Then on to Spain and Portugal.
So dear friends, we will see you in another time and place.

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