Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Guest Contributor 3

Let me introduce my third guest contributor - my dear friend Miriam. Miriam and her partner Graeme have just spent five days with  me. 
Fortunately, due to Bear's recent Excellent performance, I was able to take some time off. We had a splendid time exploring the region and several of its historic towns.

Section 1  The Dogs

When Alexa and I haven't seen each other for a while we have lunch. Or dinner. Indeed, even when we have seen each other quite recently. But not in Baden-Wurttembuerg. Instead we (Graeme and I) deplaned at Stuttgart and were rushed to Germany's premier German Shepherd Dog Show at Ulm. What an eye opener. Never have I heard so many languages at a dog event....truly international.

And never have I seen so many German Shepherd dogs in one spot

Nor have I seen officials so splendidly turned out as the SV Herding Commissioner Herr Jurgen Henzler

The secret to the good form of the dogs is their regular work with weights

And what about these arm protectors used in training dogs to act tough-with restraint!!

But we know that GSDs are all soft inside. Check out their fluffy dice.

Section 2  The Church

Alexa and Graeme were exhausted by the dog show engagement and planned to quit Ulm without viewing the Ulm Munster. They chose to sit in the car and snooze while I visited this magnificent Gothic cathedral. Commenced in 1377 and completed over 5 centuries..with some later stained glass window additions, it was the tallest church in the world until the completion of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. And after I entered the church, an organist limbered up on the pipe organ...then moved into the second movement of Bach's Orchestral Suite No3 in D Major..
This is what Alexa and Graeme missed.

Section 3   Town

We abandoned the country for the town on two occasions.

Courtesy of Reinhold, Alexa's language tutor, one Saturday we journeyed south towards Switzerland and through ridiculously picturesque valleys.
That is Reinhold in the orange jacket. Graeme with the beard and Alexa. I am the 37 year old enigma playing Dorothea Lange behind the camera.

First major stop was Wangen im Allgau, a medieval city that operated as a free and imperial (self ruling) city from the 13th century, a status that was secured by the establishment of Fidelis bakery in 1505, which business has continued to this day.

Take time to watch this video of the fountain - gold standard example of medieval humour.

Second major stop was Meersburg on the shores of Lake Konstanz, home of the famous Bodensee vineyards. We recommend Bodensee Riesling. And German Beer.

Across the waters on a clear day one can see Switzerland's Konstanz, where the Rhine flows into the lake, and beyond that, the Alps. It was not a clear day.

But we did enjoy a visit to the UNESCO world heritage site where the Stone Age remains of one of 11 (or is it 9?) pile dwelling settlements around Lake Konstanz are brought to life with a fine reconstruction.

The final cultural enrichment of the day was a typewriter exhibition in a display window of our carpark. 

Note to Wilson Parking: time to lift your game.

Our other town day trip was a trip to Tubingen, home to Germany's second oldest university, located on the Neckar river.

Entrance to the old town is across the Neckar Bridge, with flowers cascading down lamposts and the bridge. We ambled across through a cloud of alyssum fragrance.

Tubingen is another exquisite  medieval town of Catholic origin that was overtaken by the Reformation. We took our touristic responsibilities seriously and engaged a guide. Good move. Elizabeth beguiled us with her erudition, gently imparted. 

And she took us to a 5 star cheap eat - the Lebanese Kichererbse, with outstanding falafel and uber cooll. The original owner Mieciu Langer - what a story.

Section 4   Food

Having seen the local freshly smoked trout in an earlier blog from Alexa, a visit to the fish man was high on my priority list. From pond to plate in one day. Perfection.

And a surprising delicacy was leberkase, with finely fried onions and the first pretzel I have ever enjoyed. Fresh out of the oven, a pleasing salty crispness on the outside, soft inside. Courtesy of Fidelis baker in Wangen im Allgau, established 1505. 
Thank you Reinhold for the introduction

Local tomatoes and basil. Here is only one third of the bounty bestowed on us by Reinhold from his garden.
Who knows who ate all the tomatoes in four days? I only ate 30 myself.

Alexa Cooks
Alexa Cooks

Thanks to Reinhold for the recipe. Thanks to Alexa for outstanding culinary performance.
Exceptional place Germany. Collingwood pasta.

Section 5   Country

More bucolic scenes from the Schwabische Alb....with some underlying serious environmental issues.

That corn as high as an elephant's eye is planted extensively through the Alb. It is used for animal winter fodder...and biofuel.

A closer scrutiny of the sunflowers shows this is not the usual crop to be harvested. Instead it is a EU initiative to counteract the loss of farmland biodiversity and to conserve pollinators. Hence the planting of a diversity of flowers, which will die down over the autumn and be replanted in the spring.

Bear appreciates it all on his morning walks.

Section 6   Shepherding

What a day Graeme and I spent on the mountain with Georg and Alexa shepherding. Soaring blue wind...sheep at our feet...deck chairs and grapes provided by Georg who rightly judged us as spectators, not workers.

Alexa has provided numerous photos and commentary on the art of shepherding. Here are some of the examples on the art of the master and apprentice, an exceptional thing to see.

Bravo Georg, brava Alexa, bravo Bear


  1. How wonderful Miriam, that you got to see and enjoy Alexa' life in Germany. She is absolutely glowing. Wonderful photo too. Rosie xx

  2. Miriam, what a wonderful travelogue can't wait to experience it all.