Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Germany 8/Out and About + recipe

I have to preface this blog and let you know that all the photos are on my phone and I thought I sent them to email, so I could edit them and post them here. I've got some great shots. However, I have no sim card due to the error made by the phone co on our first day here. So, they couldn't be emailed, even though I could snap them. Oh well, such is life.

I wrote that I would tell you about Servas, a wonderful peace organization founded right after WW2, with the idea that it's hard to shoot someone with whom you've broken bread. If you like to travel and you like to meet the people of the country you are visiting, then this is for you. We first joined as Travelers in 1992, when we ventured to Italy. In order to join, you need to fill out a form and have a personal interview. You are allowed to stay with people for two nights; they give you breakfast both days and dinner the first night. The second night, you either cook for them or take them out to dinner. There IS the commitment to spend your evenings together, so you exchange ideas and learn about their culture and vice versa. So, if you must try the most fabulous restaurant in wherever, then you wouldn't commit to spend that night with a Servas host. You don't need to be a Host to be a Traveler. We joined only as Travelers, until we returned home from Italy, when we then joined as Hosts and have been involved ever since in both capacities.

We have had so many great, and some unusual, experiences through Servas. In the US, it is www.usservas.org. I'm not sure of the international organization's URL. 

On our last trip to Italy a couple of years ago, we stayed with one couple with whom we had stayed back in 92. How we had all changed! It was due to them that we had one of our most memorable experiences. We were staying with them in Spinea, outside of Venice; he worked in Padua. We had planned to spend the morning in Venice and then catch the train to Genoa. Instead, he offered to drive us to Padua for the morning and we could catch the same train to Genoa, only a bit later. While wandering around, and not too far from the train station where we were able to put our bags in a locker, we found a small capella, or chapel; inside were works of Giotto, the Seven Heavenly Virtues on one wall and the Seven Deadly Sins on the other. They were incredible! It was the only tourist book we bought during the trip.

We find that staying with locals adds a depth to our travel experience. We also discover the best things to see and restaurants only the locals know. Also, although there is a charge to join, and a deposit to be paid for the listings in country you will be going to, there is no cost for the stay (other than buying or making dinner for the 2nd night. So, that's Servas in a nutshell. If you have any questions, you know what to do, me or the internet.

June 8

We had a good night’s sleep in Strasbourg and decided to have breakfast/brunch down by the boat tour.  The boat trip was worth going back for; unfortunately, my photos show the reflection of passenger in front of me.

After the boat tour, we head for Colmar with a stop at Mt Ste.-Odile for a look/see. Both places had been recommended by friends. Mt. Ste.-Odile was where our friend had given workshops. It was originally a monastery or convent and is high on a mountain. We arrive late afternoon and found it peaceful and beautiful. There is a church and two capels. Each has fabulous mosaics, with the smallest capel being my favorite. The space couldn’t be more than 20’ x 20’. The mosaics are rich in color and design. On one wall is St. George with the dragon. Naturally, the shots are all in Art’s camera, which we still haven’t downloaded. We wanted to really look around and were feeling tired; we decided to stay if they had a room available and they did. It was the best night’s sleep we had had and we loved the bathroom so much I wanted to transport it home with us. It wasn’t large, but the design of it was so efficient and the shower was the best we’ve used.

June 9
So, we didn’t reach Colmar until the next day. Our friend had said that Colmar was beautiful; it is the home city of Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty, and as you enter the outskirts of Colmar, there is a copy of ours in one of the round-abouts.

We love taking the back roads when we travel, rather than the autobahns, unless we’re really in a rush. As we pass all the small towns and villages (I’m not sure what the difference is, each has it’s own steeple, and each is more beautiful than the last, at least they are all unique. Because we wanted to have a closer look at one steeple, we drove through Barr, a beautiful town. Here are a couple of photos showing buildings near where we parked to walk to the church.


Here’s another photo whowing what else we got to see because of how we travel. We love eye candy!

PHOTO after Barr

We finally made it to Colmar and it IS beautiful. We both really love looking a architecture. Here’s a photo of the cathedral there.


We walked around a bit and found a train/tram which drove around the city. Felt that would be a good way to see quite a bit, so we went. I’m so glad we did, as while we were having lunch, I realized that I had left my wedding band and a pair of earrings in our room in Mt Ste.-Odile. We called and the jewelry was waiting for us. So, after finishing lunch, back we went. I guess their famous Unter Linden Museum is for our next trip. Best laid plans and all that!

Rather than head South again to Colmar, we were due in Tupingen, Germany, the next day, so we headed East. Luckily, we hadn’t made reservations for the night, so we were flexible. It was starting to get late to find a place, so we looked at the map and Bad Peterstal caught Art’s eye. He figured that a Bad (spa) would have accommodations. We found the Hotel Hirsch which was a real find. The beds were wonderful and dinner and breakfast there were delicious. I was disappointed that they didn’t have any roll/pretzels left as we got to breakfast a bit late; I had seen some at another table. I know I’m gluten-free but love gluten, and since it’s a choice, I sometimes make the choice to have a roll, or…..? Anyway, I mentioned to our hostess about my disappointment and said that I’d have to get to breakfast earlier next time. She told I didn’t have to be early, as they would save one for me if requested the night before. I thought that was a really clever response and the hotel got even more brownie points than it had had. BTW, their specialty is catering to animals who are traveling with their owners. So, if you don’t like dogs (didn’t see any cats), don’t go there. The hotel is situated over a beautiful stream with large rocks, so the running water made music, which we listen to in our dreams.

June 10
We arrived in Tupingen safely and were welcomed warmly by Anja and Michael. She is our friend from our Chi Gung workshops (Energyarts.com) and is an accomplished artist. He has written a number of books on crystals and healing, Michael Gienger if you want to google him.

June 11
Today has been a more or less lazy day. We did walk to the bio market, and I did prepare lunch, my smothered onion pasta; it is our big meal of today, as Anja is giving classes this evening and Michael is leaving tomorrow to give a workshop at Mt Ste.-Odile, so he has a lot to finish up.

Art gave me my first shot, since the Klinik, of mistletoe. He did a great job of it! I’m working on my beaded bracelet tonight. I can’t wait to share it with you all when it’s completed.

Here’s a simple recipe:
Salsa Cruda

This is one of my sister’s, Karen L. Cohen’s, recipes. It’s so easy and so delicious. It’s always a winner at a party. It easily doubles.

Serves 8

2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded, and minced (use less if you don’t want it
                  too hot, or add some seeds if you like it hotter. I may use
                  a dash of cayenne instead of the fresh pepper.)
1 small-medium onion, diced
a hand full of chopped cilantro, to taste
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoons ground pepper
1 7 ounce can organic corn nibs, drained


1.   Mix all together.
2.   Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with organic corn chips.

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