Thursday, August 24, 2017

The trouble with travels

We've had a few problems with our technology.
The computer wouldn't connect to the web here at Steph and Felix's new house.
The camera disk won't download the photos.

Guess the 'equipment' is saying "enough already - give us a break!"
So, I did.

But tonight the laptop has connected first try when I plugged it in to a power outlet that actually has power connected to it (there are some issues with a couple of outlets and lights here at the new house - they should be sorted this weekend). Blasted SD card still won't download directly - but where there is a will, there is a way - and I am nothing if not determined - put it back in the camera and downloaded through the camera!

It was great getting back here to Schwäbish Gmünd. Steph and Felix had moved in the first week we were gone, and they are now almost settled in to their new home. They have actually had the house since April 2016, engaged an architect and set about making it their own. The former owner had lived here almost all her adult life and had raised her family here.  Now, she has passed on and her children with teenage children of their own, have sold the house to a new family. They replaced the roof and pretty well gutted the interior, opening to a more open plan, put in new kitchen and bathrooms and are now putting the finishing touches.

We arrived home to have Steph cooking the selection of fish that Felix had bought for dinner in her new steam oven - very nice. Would love one if it was a little earlier in our lives!  Very quick and combined with her induction hotplates, it is as good as gas!  And veges - so nice to have veges.

Since arriving back, we have been trying to help around here a little - Michael spent two days cutting out hedges and hedges of diseased buxus. Four trips to the green waste bin to get rid of it all - and one to go! Tomorrow we will go back to their former house and spakfill the holes where paintings were hung, and sweep up and wipe down after the kitchen was removed - yes, they sold the kitchen that they had put in in the rental - it is not considered a fixture here!!

But it has not been all work and no play.
We spent Tuesday afternoon exploring part of the Schwäbish Gmünd Munster and marketplace.
It was nice to become re-acquainted with the Munster - we did visit it during our 2009 trip, but we spent more time delving into its history and secrets this time. There are some amazing stained glass windows and Michael happily discovered a number of Green Men in the carvings above doorways.

There is so much history in the churches. Makes you look on their role in a whole new way.
Now, the icon for Schwäbish Gmünd is the Unicorn and we see unicorns in lots of places around town. But there are other quirky little things - like the bright orange plastic armchairs that are chained in place to provide seating for those weary from their expeditions in to town.

And there are stunning examples of engineering, of architecture and of a community that has learned well, the art of bringing the old into new times, of mixing today's life with yesterday's heritage.

The fountain that was under its winter cover on our last visit, is happily providing drinking water to all who need the refreshment - and doesn't discriminate between beast or man - it as happily lets the pigeons drink as it does the local man filling his child's water bottle.  The surrounds of the fountain tell the stories of the various coats of arms associated with the city and a multi-sided statue has the complete holy family watching over the users and the town square in general.
The main Marketplace is living history with a range of architectural styles showing how the city has changed over time. The buildings in the centre of the photo below (brown and white ones) are some of the earlier and date to when tax was paid on the footprint of the building - so the ground floor was smaller and each additional floor added width to the building!  The Rathaus (Council chambers) is the pink building on the left.  These always have beautiful displays of flowers and usually have a chiming clock - the one in Schwäbish Gmünd is particularly nice with some chimes that play a number of classical pieces.

Finally it is nice to see that the old buildings find longevity in new uses and that these communities of old have happily found ways to allow the old and the new to sit comfortably side by side in a new millenium.

After a few hours wandering and wondering, we come home to Steph and the kids, to pretzels and fresh seed rolls, to ham and salami and joy of joys to amazing cheeses that are SO cheap at the local supermarkets here!

Nite one and all - I'll tell you all about our trip to Ulm today, tomorrow.

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