Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Musings/Germany 9 and final/Photos/recipe

Art said something the other day that really resonated with me. He said that the way we travel is a metaphor for the way we live our lives, as an adventure. We go where the road takes us and often it's the road less traveled. Are those clich├ęs or what? We have had small miracles happen a lot when we live this way, and it's nice not having a firm schedule when traveling, so one can take advantage of the unexpected opportunities that appear.

My thought, before we left home, was of traveling to Munich and the surrounding areas, where they have magnificent castles. Obviously, it never happened this trip. However, today, we are taking a Rhine Cruise from Rudesheim to St Goar and will see several magnificent castles, though from afar. More to do and see the next time we're in Germany in September.

We're in Darmstadt, staying with another friend, Moritz from our Chi Gung group, Energy Arts, and his wife. Art had met Katharina before but I hadn't. Moritz is the one who came to visit us at the Klinik before we left. How did we get so lucky to have so many warm and welcoming friends here in Germany? Moritz also teaches Chi Gung, Bagua, and Tai Chi; Art went with him to class last night when we arrived, and I stayed at their house, entertaining myself, as Katharina was out for the next couple of hours. She's a psycho-therapist and an artist, both performance art and mixed-media; she has created masks for her performances and is now taking old black and white photographs and embroidering on them. (You can see her work at KathrinaSommer.de) The mosaic in the bathroom is her creation as well. Mortiz, in addition to being a teacher is also an artist, who has created structures in China, Korea, and his home town of Darmstadt, where there is a group who sponsors art in the forest. He also paints. We seems to be drawn to artistic people. Their home is filled with artist touches in every room, from stencils on walls and the toilet seat to brightly colored handles on doors. We had a wonderful time together once she got home, talking about her art and my art and lots more, just getting to know each other.

Today, we were talking with them about things to do on Sunday on our way to Dusseldorf, where we need to be Sunday night, as we fly out early on Monday for Miami. They mentioned a special cave with healing waters near Nordenau, which we wouldn't know about if we weren't visiting with them.

We just returned from a short tour of couple of places in Darmstadt with Moritz. There is the Belle Epoque area, where there is a Russian Church on Russian soil; apparently this prince's fiance, a Russian princess, would only marry on Russian soil. So, he imported the soil and built the Church. How's that for being in Love? It was incredible to see, and the whole surrounding area is filled with sculptures and another unusual building, which looks like a hand at the top (see below). There were at least 6 weddings going on in various areas of the park while we were there. Then, we walked to a private house with a public garden, called the Vortex Garden. I imagined beautiful flowers. However, what I imagined was not reality. As we walked along paths of stone, grass, or gravel, there were wonderful fountains and sculptures. Most were designed so the water was spiraling, creating a vortex.




Our first view of the Russian Church. This was the entrance way to the Belle Epoque Park.

Another view of the Russian Church.

One fountain from below looking up the stairs.

Same sculptured fountain looking down. It shows the water spiraling.


We enjoyed the Rhine cruise and meeting others on board our boat, one couple from Scotland and a grandmother with twin granddaughters, from Chicago. Below are three of the many castles we passed by. The cruise took almost two hours in one direction and 2 3/4 hours returning, due to the current, which was really fast.





We got back to our friends home in time to take a short rest and then go out for dinner at Frankenstein's Castle. The Castle itself is in ruins but really great to experience, and the view from restaurant was spectacular, especially the sunset. There is so much daylight, from 5:00AM until after 9:30PM every day. It's not like Florida, where  it gets light around 6:30AM and the sunsets have been around 8:00PM. Dinner was delicious but we didn't get to see Igor.

One view of Frankenstein's Castle with Art and our friends from Darmstadt.

The greatest artist is still Ma Nature!


The drive from Darmstadt to Nordenau was about 2 1/3 hours. We had a lovely lunch of the local fish, bought our tickets for the cave, and readied our water bottles to be filled. The fish is really local, as they were swimming in the lake near the cave before we ordered them. With each ticket, they gave you a bottle of their water, which we drank with lunch. The cave itself is lovely. They give you mats to place on chairs, as you sit in the space and quiet of the cave for almost a half hour, absorbing the wonderful energy and listening to the water fill a pool. As you sit in silence, a man fills whatever you brought with you to be filled. At the end of the half hour, he announces that it's time and everyone collected their water to take with them. We packed our bottles, as you know we couldn't take them with us on the plane. Luckily, nothing got wet on the way home.

We stayed in a nicely located small hotel in Dusseldorf, called the Batavaria. We would stay there again, and the shower stall was really small, although, we shouldn't complain, as the shower at our friends home with the mosaic design, was against the outside wall, which sloped. Even I had to bend a bit in order to use it, and I'm only 5'3". We had dinner at a Croatian Restaurant next door to our hotel, a new experience for us, as we've never before had Croatian food; it was really good.

Up at 5:30AM, and our flight home was 9 1/2 hours and uneventful, the best kind of flight! I wouldn't recommend Air Berlin, as the seats are really close and the food was awful. We flew in and out of Dusseldorf, as they were the only non-stop flights we could get using American Airline mileage points. Next time, we may fly into Berlin to sightsee before the Klinik, or go directly to Frankfurt. Believe it or not, it's cheaper to fly to Berlin, as you have to connect with the direct flight from Miami to Frankfurt; so, we would be saving money on the flights and connecting through the city we would prefer to fly to. Very confusing but true.

As it is Asparagus season in Germany, here is an easy recipe for Asparagus.

Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients:

1-2 pounds Asparagus
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
Tarragon

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Trim the asparagus by snapping of the bottom of the stalks and place in a zip-lock bag.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients
  4. Close up the bag and massage the asparagus to spread the oil and seasonings throughout the bag, making sure that all the asparagus get covered by the oil.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes and then stir the asparagus, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks, longer for thicker stalks.
Of course, if you don't like tarragon, try another herb. Enjoy! 

Thank you for your time and patience reading this set of blogs. I hope you enjoyed them and found them useful either for health reasons or travel ones or for cooking.



1 comment:

Sabine said...

Thank you, Susan, for your travel descriptions and lovely photos, as well as the recipe-extras. (If I weren't in Germany already, I would certainly be inspired by your reports to go there.) But without joking: Through your blog posts I learned several things that were new to me. Which goes to show: Travel, and even only reading about it, educates.
(This is my second attempt to post a comment, the first one seems to have got lost in space.)