Simons Adventure

On the road, there's adventure waiting every day.

Tough start in April

We started April with a day in Ilkas garden where we re-claimed a bit of the front yard from the Hops. It was hard work, but it was nice to be out and about working away in the sun.

Unfortunately the weekend before easter my grandfather passed away. He was in hospital still the previous day and had just returned home. He died peacefully with my grandmother at his side. In case you don’t know, we have a very tight knit family, and although this wasn’t unexpected, it hit me pretty hard causing me a few days of uncaring numbness. Manja was a godsend walking through it with me and helping me cope. This was the first time I really struggled being so far away – but with the coronavirus going on it would have been extremely difficult for me to support terribly much anyway.  Most of all, though, I’m sad that I did not get to see him again after leaving Australia.

The easter weekend held a lot of sadness and doubts for me as I adjusted to this reality. Manja and I went for a 80 km ride, which actually really helped. Just having time to exert physically. We also spent the evening playing some online games with friends, which was a fantastic distraction. On Sunday I also made “Oster Zopf” a traditional sweet yeast bread…. It may have turned out a bit larger than intended 😅

Monday was easter Monday, and as we couldn’t do family things thanks to Corona, I had setup a video call to chat with Amy for a bit. One of my highlights was virtually meeting her daughter Paisley 🥰

I spent the remainder of Monday putting together a slideshow of Opas life – of the photos I could get my hands on anyway.

On Thursday was his funeral – which my family arranged specifically late in the afternoon so I could join by Skype. So it was that I was at the funeral on my couch, at 10 am my time. It was a short service, but many, many of the moments moved me to tears. After the funeral we walked around the park a bit and chatted to my family.

You’ll have to bear with me here, as I write sort of a eulogy of what he meant to me.

My Opa taught me early not to take life too seriously. It took a long time for me to really learn it, and be able to relax, accept my faults and just enjoy life anyway. His guiding voice allowed me to get there. He was truly inspirational to me in how he talked about his flaws and mistakes openly to us. He explained difficult situations and decisions he faced in life and what had happened. Opa didn’t hide lifes messy twists and turns, wanting us to be able to learn from his mistakes . He was always so thankful that Oma stuck through everything with him, and was totally devoted to her. He taught me to hold a hammer properly, and to not be afraid of power tools.  Opa saw my leadership traits before anyone else, and reminded me early to keep my feet on the ground. He let me make the mistakes I needed to but was always there to counsel me by way of stories of his life. Each had a moral, usually “be humble” “trust people” “love unconditionally” and “believe in yourself”. I will miss his insights when I find myself at a crossroad.

But for every wisdom that he presented, he was always the jester. He could tell you stories of his youth, unable to deal with authority. If I were his boss, I thought many a time, I would have fired him for that. It took a long time to understand that people who are truly excellent at what they do don’t need strict rules; just the freedom to do what they need to. The moment I truly understood that was as he was telling me a story about jumping onto a workbench and yelling like a gorilla first thing in the morning just to scare his up-tight boss. Then he went on to fix the thing that no one else could fix a shot time later. And in that moment my potential as a leader doubled, and my career took off all on its own.

I’ve always said that my family forged me into the Man I am today, and I learned a great deal from each and every one of them. I am so very thankful to have every single one of them in my life, and Opas passing will leave a massive Opa-shaped hole in my heart. It can never be filled, and should never be. The sorrow I feel, though, means that I got to love him and be loved so unconditionally. I will forever be grateful, and hope to one day inspire someone else as he inspired me.

… and when my overbearing arrogant self comes to the front next time, and he will, I will hear his voice telling me to “lower my nose” and to always give everyone understanding and compassion rather than judgement.

Thank you Opa. I will miss you, and will carry you in my heart forever.

Urban ruins and Entering into lockdown

March started with a Jazz Brunch with Gaby and Mathias, to which Gabi had invited us. Mathias is the head of a Rowing club in Berlin and this was one of their fundraisers. While there we talked to some older people, one of whom was a photographer in London his whole life, specialised in American sized passport photos. It was a fascinating conversation, as you can imagine he photographed all sorts of celebrities over the years!

After the event we decided to go for a bit of a walk along the river, when we stumbled across this massive abandoned building.
Now, anyone that knows me knows that I’m not one to break rules. You could put a sign up saying “please only stand on one leg here” and I would probably do it. Manja on the other hand is fabulously rascal-spirited and sees things like “Don’t enter” as though it says “Enter here”. If there isn’t a big razor-wired fence to re-enforce the point, they are probably not serious.

As we walked across a fallen construction fence, I said “Funny, the facade reminds me of the old BLUB”, which was like a massive waterpark in the center of Berlin as I grew up. That was all it took for Manja to drag me into the building. I may or may not have squeaked.

As we entered, it became clear that it actually was the place. It was amazing to walk through it, and on the way back we checked out the history.  Turns out the place had a problem with a rat-plague, which infested the whole waterpark from a nearby river causing it to close down initially. They were not able to get it under control on the lower floors, but re-opened the upper floors as a modern spa for a few years before running out of money. It stood empty for quite a while until eventually a fire started inside, collapsing the roof of the largest pool hall. I would have NEVER done this on my own, and I am so thankful that I got to see this.

The following weekend started to get a bit more quiet as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in Berlin. On Saturday we spent some time outside and attempted to go shopping – with that weird feeling of shelves cleared out by people hoarding. So we did what any responsible person would do, we baked a plum strudel.

On Sunday we headed over to Ilkas for the afternoon. On the train Manja randomly found a snail, and took it back to the garden for a second chance in life.  We cut back a tree and Manja spent more time  in the garden while Ilka and I played guitar inside where it was warm 😅

We actually wanted to do gardening more regularly again in March; every Sunday in fact. But that was not to be. By the second weekend we started to self-isolate, spending the time sorting out the cellar and storage instead. By week three we were spending the whole week in Home Office, leaving only for grocery shopping and the occasional walk in the park in the afternoon.

As everyone caught on eventually, Germany went into lockdown with Coronavirus. Over here this meant that we spent most of our time at home and that we moved all of our social gatherings online.  We did occasionally visit Ilka in her garden and go for a bike ride to various areas just to get out and get a bit of exercise. We also got some surprise snow a few times – Odin was not impressed.

Out and about in February

And so it was February already!

On Friday night we headed over to a Games night at Butzi friends place. The evening was fun, but we did play one very bad version of Cards against humanity in German… Which dragged on and really was more offensive than funny – not quite my game, but hey, learning something new! I also got to try “Berliner Luft” which translates to “Berlin Air” – a Mint-flavoured liquor. Eventually we got to codenames, which I felt rescued the night and was good fun. I even managed to introduce Werewords, which we played for two rounds before grabbing a train home around midnight.

Saturday we enjoyed some time outside in the sun while chatting to Amy via WhatsApp, and enjoying the early spring sun for a bit.

On the way home we stopped by the storage unit to bring some more order to it before catching up for dinner with Vincent and Diana. It was a fantastic night, we chatted away the whole evening over delicious pasta. New favourite Italian restaurant found – they even make truffle pasta in a cheese wheel!

Sunday morning I spent some time chatting to Gabe in Australia before heading out to the storage Unit once more. Yes, we spent a lot of time sorting everything! The sorting was interrupted when we headed out to to play Squash…  I managed to win the second game this time, but Manja got the third, winning  2:1 once more, but it was close this time!

The work week was busy, with either Manja or myself having an event each and every night. I started meeting some of our colleagues from our parent company whom we went to dinner with, and we had a Game night at work that week too.  We played plenty of Werewolf, which I absolutely loved hosting for!

By Friday it was Valentines day, and we were exhausted. We agreed that we would have a quite night in and I would just make a nice burger dinner for Manja… and we would clean up because we would have visitors on the weekend!

On Saturday we picked Hagen and Henri up from the trainstation and headed to the Futurium – a permanent museum exhibition showing how technology might advance, and life might change. It is free and REALLY well done. I loved it! We still had some time left when we got out, so we grabbed some Burgers for lunch before heading to the Interactive Museum for technology, which had not significantly changed since I was a kid! I remembered many of the exhibits, and loved the trip down memory lane.

In the evening we wanted to go bowling, but all the bowling alleys were already booked out. But! Simons game obsession to the rescue! We spent the evening playing Mysterium, which was such a hit that Hagen bought it for Henry the next day 😁. That’s what I call being a good influence 😇
We played two rounds, only interrupting for some Chinese take-away. In the process we discovered a REALLY good Chinese place. Will have to order there again!

On Sunday we had breakfast all together – Simons Poached eggs on avocado with Salmon – before I dropped Hagen and Henri off to the trainstation.

By the time I got back Manja had packed everything and cleaned up, and we were off to her Christmas present: A Wellness “weekend” away. We chose the Sunday and Monday because it would be less crowded and about half the price 😃
We grabbed a smart, drove down and settled in before hitting the Saunas. I have to say that there is something much more relaxing about a Sauna in Winter. We even headed outside to the lake, but I could only make myself dip in my legs – it was significantly too cold to jump in entirely.

We really only interrupted our relaxation time for some cake and eventually for dinner. When we headed over for a reasonably early dinner, we got upgraded to the premium spot! The service staff were fantastic and dinner was really nice too. We both chose the chefs selection, which was definitely the right choice!

Relaxed and happy we dropped into bed early, so that we could use the Spa area again in the morning before heading back home.

And so we did – we got up early and had a massive buffet breakfast.

After which we hit the Saunas once more. We even braved the outside again although it was rather windy. Manja even put her legs into the water this time too, but as I put my bathrobe back on, it was picked up by a gust of wind…. and the room key, which was needed to get back into the sauna, dropped into the water.
We could see it, but the water was absolutely freezing. So I thought that I decided to head around the property to the front desk and explain what happened. Of course, Manja insisted we could reach the key… so convinced me to give it a try. Remember how I said it was too cold to go in past your legs? Turns out when you jump off the pier where there are no stairs, you get totally submerged in freezing water. But I got to the key and managed to get back out. I decided to go and dry off in the sauna to re-heat myself, but have to admit that I understand the appeal of it for the first time. I felt seriously energised for the next few hours!

When we got home we had one more task to do: Move into a smaller storage space.  All the sorting of the last few weeks had meant that we were organised enough to use less space.  We headed over and inspected a few, eventually settling on a long and narrow unit, where the shelves would fit perfectly along one wall and signed up for a year. We then spent the next 2 hours moving everything once more. By the time we got home it was late afternoon and we were feeling accomplished. I made us some mushroom carbonara pasta for dinner and we spent the evening updating the blog. At this point we were only up to August last year and had some maintenance to do!

The following weekend we had a game night at Katrin and Kilians, which we had to spontaneously cancel a few weeks earlier, and spent Sunday chatting with the family before doing a bit of a spring clean… Well we really just wanted to clean the windows, but it spiralled out of control and ended up with the scrubbing of the skirting boards. C’est la vie!

Saturday we headed out to do some shopping, but we couldn’t find what we wanted and ended up not buying anything. To make up for that dismal performance we headed over to an Asian place recommended by one of Manjas colleagues, which was like a build-it-yourself Japanese Curry place. You ordered by ticking the boxes of what you want in the curry, and you get a delicious curry containing only what you like. It was delicious and awesome, the place had a really great feel to it too.

Ye old houses on Fjord Isles

We awoke to the sound of…. Well, to no sound at all, we had a great flat 😁

View from the room

View from the room

We quickly got ready, packed all our gear, and grabbed some food at the bakery on the way to the port. We decided to make use of our last morning by taking a boat tour into the Fjord, by simply taking the ferry which did a round-trip for about an hour. We arrived at the port a bit early and had our breakfast on a bench overlooking the harbour, a bit cold but somehow magical.

Breakfast view from our bench in the harbour

Breakfast view from our bench in the harbour

Next stop was the ticket machine, which decided to be a bit difficult: You could only purchase one ticket on the same credit card…  I assume this is to prevent accidental multi-purchases…. sigh…  luckily Manja had her card handy too and we managed to get a ticket each.  We boarded the ferry and headed straight for the top deck, where we remained for about half the trip. On the way back I couldn’t really feel my toes anymore because of the cold, so we decided to warm up inside. Not long after we go there, a crew member came by and asked if we would mind participating in an emergency drill. Well, sure! So when the test-alarm went off we headed to the front of the ferry and got to put on some pretty cool life-jackets. It amused me to realise that I struggled to put the thing on properly, needing the help of the crew!😅
Luckily we did not have to dive into the freezing water, and just had to wait outside until the captain gave an all-clear. We remained on the ferry just long enough to heat up again before arriving at the Oslo Harbour once more.

We walked back to our station, purchased a standard ticket and caught the train back to the Oslo airport. You can take the express here, but it’s only about 5 minutes faster but €10 per person more expensive….  Feeling savvy we boarded the standard train and saved some money 🧐

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Going through security was super modern: Each terminal had a 90degree area supervised by a guard. This area had two levels: One where a computer placed a tray each time one was removed, and directly above one where you could place two trays next to each other and place all your things into. This means that, rather than waiting in line for each person to drop their gear off, one at a time, each counter was sorting out 5 people in the same moment. The trays were moving through the scanners at a steady rate. On the other side of the metal detectors the trays were automatically separated into “All clear” and “need human to check something”. The all-clear queue had all our gear in it, so we pulled our trays off the conveyer belt and took our stuff. Our trays were placed back into a small stack, which was appropriately labeled “Please feed me” in several languages. I would have LOVED to take a photo, but this was not allowed. None the less, I was super impressed with the efficiency of the place, especially compared to Dubai or, even worse, Tegel airport.

Our flight back was totally uneventful. Back in Berlin we got out and saw just how bad Tegel security checks were: The line was about 100 meters past the last official queuing point. Totally insane! We cut through the madness against a flow of people wanting to get into the airport, and eventually got onto the second bus which arrived, because the first was over-full. Even though the first bus was over-full, at least 3 more people squeezed on. Welcome back to Berlin! 😂

We got a seat with no problems, by waiting for the next bus… for 5 minutes.

Once back home we had to drop by a neighbours who was kind enough to accept our deliveries of 2 shelves for the storage unit. We picked them up, transported them by using my bike as a wheelbarrow and pushing them to the storage place.

About 45 minutes later they were all setup and we headed for an early dinner at the local Asian place. The Ban-Mi I had was unfortunately not that great, but the dinner was a lovely way to finish up our weekend. A movie later we dropped into bed😴

Oslos overwhelming overture to ordinary occurrences

We awoke feeling a little sore from walking and a little groggy… which was probably related to the choice of dinner last night 😅

Seriously though, Manja was feeling a bit ill last night already and awoke with a stomach ache. Not the best start for the day…

None the less, we got ourselves up and ready.  As we left we got a message from our host, asking us to leave a spare set of keys in the flowerpot outside….  Errr… Okay.  Well, not our flat, so: Done!

This tree grows keys now

We decided to try out the bakery downstairs, which looked fancy.  As we headed in we had two problems: Manja was overwhelmed with choice for sweet breakfasts and I was underwhelmed with choice of savoury breakfasts…  especially the €8-10 price-tag for a sandwich option. So we asked the Google-Oracle for an alternate option and it provided one en-route for our daytrip with excellent reviews.  Once there Manja settled on an “Apple pocket” with Chamomile tea while I had a tomato-mozerella-egg giant baguette with coffee.

It’s not the size that… Well, no, okay, it’s all about the size.

Charged up for the day we walked down to the Habour, making the most of the few rays of sunlight to take some nice pictures.  This was followed by a walk across “Akershus Festning” which was the original castle of Oslo and actually survived a bunch of attacks, and is still used as a military base even though it’s open to the public.  Amongst brilliant views of the Fjord from the ramparts, it also had a bunch of cannons of various eras to inspect.  There is also a church and two museums to visit, but we opted to use the daylight to continue our exploration of Oslo.

Our next stop was the Opera of Oslo, which is a fantastic bit of architecture.  You can walk all the way up the building and appreciate yet another view over the Fjord.  Along the side you can also see some Sauna Boats, basically a houseboat converted into a sauna with the option of jumping into the freezing cold Fjord water at the end…  Brrrrr….. 🥶.  We use the Opera itself to spend a few minutes inside and warm up again ourselves.

From there we headed to the Oslo Mathallen, which is a really cool and fancy food-court. Just outside we also found this place:

I think I would feel riiight at home in this area, particularly when I spotted a rock-climbing gym not 5 minutes away!  We decided to have a small cupcake and coffee break, just to give us some energy while making sure we’d still be hungry for dinner.

Charged up, our next stop would be “Æreslunden” which is the main Honorific Graveyard in Norway. We didn’t know much abou the history, but Manja pointed out that it was the burrial place of Edvard Munch, who famously painted the scream. We wandered the graveyard for a while, being delighted by some stories we found by way of QR codes on the graves. I also found a cool goose.

With daylight starting to run out, we had one more important stop to make: Frogner Park. Now, contrary to what a metal goose may tell you, I’ve got to say that I am generally not a huge fan of sculptures, but this place was amazing. A whole lot of sculptures of people and families and human life represented in bronze and granite, including a monolith in the center which is, upon closer inspection, a pile of people.  I was honestly taken aback by this, in terms of the emotion displayed in many sculptures, by the volume of sculptures and by their life-like appearance. I mean, the bodies used were not idealized in any way, they were simply representing normal people, which seems unusual to me. In addition, many sculptures had multiple people as part of them, some even whole groups of children. As the sun set we headed back to our Airbnb, and I was very happy to have come here and experienced this place – especially because I would have never thought to go if it were left up to my planning!

Pretty exhausted we arrived back at our Airbnb, with just enough time to freshen up a bit and select a place for dinner. We had been seeing pizza all around us all day, so that was the flavour of the evening. We found a nice place just 5 minutes away, but when we got there they were all booked out…  dang! Not to be discouraged we headed over to another place, which was 10 minutes away from our accomodation, unfortunately in the other direction…  Manja was getting a touch tired, so I offered to carry her for a bit…  Which she actually accepted. So I walked with her on my back for a block, much to the amusement of passer bys, and our own giggles. I maintain that I just had to put her down because I was laughing too much 😉

When we got to the pizza place we were lucky – getting the last available table in the house. The place was small, run by an old skinny Italian guy who spent his time behind the counter greeting everyone and continuously making Pizzas. We opted for the Vegetarian and the three-cheese version, spending our waiting time observing the other guests, as our table was perched on a platform in the corner of the restaurant. The pizza arrived not long after and we were pleasantly surprised by how good they looked. The flavour wasn’t as great but not bad either.

Happy and full we walked the final 10 minutes to our Airbnb and spent the night relaxing and updating this blog 🙂

Date-trip to Norway!

For Christmas Manja had arranged a trip to Oslo for me. I chose to interpret it as an extended date-trip 🥰

So Friday morning we got ready and headed over to the airport.  Traffic wasn’t great, so the Taxi took a bit longer but we knew about this in advance and left early enough. We got through security and boarded a short time later. Take-off was a bit bumpy, but the flight was fine and we landed in Oslo 1.5 hours later to a beautiful snowy landscape.

As always, Manja had pre-organised everything and we knew we just had to find our way to the normal train to get to our Airbnb near the city center.  At the airport we had the most friendly guy sort out the tickets for us, and we were off without any issues.  25 Minutes later we arrived at the trainstation but could not find our connection – we knew from Google that we had to go to platform “A”.  After walking around a bunch, Manja spotted a map which showed us the location of Platform A, but it took us OUT of the trainstation.  I mean, WTF? As I looked around confused we both realised what was going on at the same moment.  “Platform A” was the bus station. Two stops later we were at our Airbnb, ready to do an escape-room like adventure to get the keys. We found the shop across the road, managed to find the “Key sharing booth” and opened the key compartment with an SMS.

The appartment where we’re staying looks great: while it’s on the 5th floor of an old-school building, they had installed the tiniest elevator in between the circular staircase to the top: Only just space enough for Manja and I to fit in at the same time.

After dropping our bags, the next challenge would be finding lunch.  We consulted the google oracle and found an interesting sounding place “San Francisco Bread Bowl”, which was conveniently located between our Airbnb and the City center.  Everything in Oslo itself appears to be walking distance, so we headed over and ended up walking along “Balders Gate”.  For those who don’t get why I thought this was funny, here is a hint.

Lunch was as delicious as it was simple and plentiful.  Very much sated we stumbled down to the harbour for a bit of a walk around. The scenery is just amazing, the area has several arts centers in it too.  From the banks we could also see this colorful tree, which encouraged us to stop and make a video 🙂

At one point we got a message from our Airbnb host who asked us to check if she left the keys behind… As we were not there yet we could not check.  She let us know that it didn’t matter, because she wouldn’t be home tonight anyway… Which meant we would have the flat to ourselves and could have a chilled night in after sunset.

On our way back we checked out a few stores to see if we could find a replacement for Manjas breaking jacket, but with limited success.  As we were both super tired by this point, but with very little hunger, we decided to head back to our Airbnb with a bag of chips to watch a movie. The idea is to head to bed timely so that we can make the most of the daylight hours tomorrow.

Twenty Twenty starts well!

After a day of recovery from New Years (and writing blogs!), it was already back to work for me.  It’s been a year, and I still enjoy working at my company 🙂

On Sunday we had to head back to Cottbus…  To spend some time with Hagen and play more Smash-Up!

The next weekend we spent Saturday morning sorting out storage for my stuff which will arrive soon, and dropping past Ikea for the first version of a Jewellery drawer which I promised Manja for her Bday last year. Version one is functional but with room for improvements 😁
In the evening were back to Butzi and Akis place for a games night.  I brought along Code Names which was a hit, and we also played the party game we played at Butzi birthday last year… but with less people it wasn’t that great.  Agreeing that we need to do this sort of thing more, we got home a bit past midnight and dropped into bed.

Sunday we did a bit of a New Years cleanup, where Manja and I finally had a chance to re-sort the kitchen which we had been meaning to do since we installed it 🙃
In the afternoon we decided to head over and start playing squash again, given that Manjas foot finally seemed up for it…. and I got THRASHED.  She beat me Three Nil! I really need to find a way to practice 😅

Another week passed and Friday night was date-and-explore-restaurants night.  We headed over to an Indian place which was near where Manja was meeting a friend earlier in the afternoon.  It was non-spectacular, but not terrible.

Saturday it was time for us to go to the Ball, but not before being first to wish Niko a happy birthday at midnight Adelaide time.  Turns out that the parents were looking after the kids and Niko and Anna were out with friends, so I wasn’t really first, but the thought counts!

The Ball we were heading to is the Vikings Rowing club (Wikinger Rudergemeinschaft) annual Winter Ball, and Mathias and Gabi had invited us to come along.  We did not quite have the perfect Attire, but we came along anyway, and we had a ball…  hah. But Seriously, it was a great night out.  When we arrived we said hi to Gabi and Mathias, as the guests arrived, initially skipping the photographer. Once everyone was in, Mathias, Gabi, Manja and I headed back a bit and had a photo or two taken.

When we headed back in it was already time to get seated and meet our table. Because Mathias and Gabi were officials for the club, they had to sit at the official table one over from us. The guy next to us recently started his own business, selling the experience of self-made whiskey to businesses at around €2500 upward per 30L barrel.  You get to do the whole thing end-to-end: from creating a flavour profile, regular testings and the end product 3-5 years later.
We soaked in the event, which had a fantastic atmosphere, brilliant Band (We need to learn to dance standard dances), great food and even a really cool lottery.  We spent a couple of songs on the dancefloor swaying along to the music anyway though 🤪.  Mathias was kind enough to take Manja out for a Dance properly too, she felt a bit overwhelmed but did really well!

One of the great things about the evening was a Raffle, which we spend a few euros on just to buy a ticket for Manja and Myself.  Manja drew both of them, and picked me a winner! Number 60.  Expecting to get a DVD player or wine decanter, we headed over to the table to check out what it was…  And it turned out to be an envelope, meaning we still had NO IDEA what we had won. Manja walked the raffle tables like a tiger, checking out peoples reactions as they checked out what they had won. It wasn’t too long before pickup time began and we raced over, the envelope revealing itself as being a three-course dinner for two! Score!!

As the evening drew to a close, Manja noticed someone walked away with a flower arrangement, including mini-vase. We quickly let Gabi know, who said that this was totally fine – people were welcome to pick some up… As we said our farewells, Gabi gifted us with a Wine-decanter which she had won but did not need, and even encouraged Manja to also take along a flower-vase. Loaded with nice things, we caught the U-bahn home, it must have looked hilarious to anyone watching: Two people in fine clothes taking their loot home on public transport 😂

It was a really fantastic night, and we were so happy to have been invited to it.

On Sunday I spent the morning making breakfast and then chatting to Niko for a couple of hours.  The afternoon had our scheduled re-match of squash…  Which I lost again, Three Nil.  I keep loosing but keep having fun with it 😁

The following Tuesday it was finally time for all my stuff to arrive.  I met the truck at the storage units at 11am and we unloaded everything, after which I did a basic sort: Creating piles of boxes with related content.

Manja and I had agreed that we would go through everything together on Sunday, by which time we should hopefully also have some shelves to keep things sorted.  As I was about to leave and head to work, I got a call from the removalists…  Turns out they had missed 4 boxes when they unpacked. That also explained why my numbering didn’t make sense 😂

They were at the next client, and had found said boxes mixed in.  Luckily they were not far away, so I took the tram there and headed back to the storage with 4 boxes by way of Uber.

That Saturday we decided to go shopping for a bit and see if we could find some more appropriate formalwear for both of us. We found some places we can go again when we have time and interest in buying things, but didn’t buy anything on the day. In the late afternoon we headed over to Ilkas place and spent the evening with her, chatting and making falafels. The first batch turned out to be a bit too watery to be baked, but when we fried the second set they turned out really well! We had a fantastic night but unfortunately had to head off eventually.

Sunday we dropped past a neighbours place to get the shelves and transporting them to the storage unit.

How do you transport shelves without a car you ask? Great question! By over-loading the bike and walking it with two people: like a wheelbarrow, just difficult to steer!

We put them together and then cleaned up a bit, taking some things back to the flat to get washed. We had to do this because you can’t keep unprotected clothes in the units, just in case an infestation of some sort breaks out. So we had decided to take everything made of cloth out, wash it, vacuum seal it and bring it back. With that done the storage was ready to survive without us for a bit while we headed to Oslo the next weekend ☺️

A short trip to Doris and Another Year over

While Manja got to relax a bit the next day I headed to work, and upon returning we prepared for our upcoming trip to Wiesbaden to visit Doris.  We dropped into bed early, exhausted from the week and knowing we had an early flight the next day.

The flight to Doris was uneventful – it went as smoothly as a flight can. When we got to Frankfurt airport, though, we spent just over an hour getting our rental car….  We had booked online through a third-party provider at Dollar. They, in turn, have a partnership with Hertz. But, dollar customers are only serviced in Terminal 1, and we arrived at Terminal 2.  (we found this out only after waiting in line to pick up the car…).  The person at the counter did give us directions, but they were wrong, so we walked away from the shuttle bus for 5 minutes before giving up, turning around and finding a sign to guide us to the shuttle.  Once at Terminal 1 we followed the signs for rental car pickups, until we got to the Hertz parking bay….  Where we obviously couldn’t pick up the car, we had to go to the service desk first… We found the service desk, waited in line and finally got our car. Unfortunately all the small cars had already been rented out, so we got an upgrade, which was nice.  The only problem was that he upgrade was quite a bit larger and felt like driving a limousine! Much later we saw that it was long enough to not properly fit into a standard carpark. But for all of that the car was very modern and nice, especially while driving on the Autobahn 😀

We got to Doris’ place around Lunchtime, and Doris had prepared some food for us all – a nice beef goulash prepared by the local butcher. Given that we were there on the first non-holiday, Doris hadn’t had a chance to go shopping, so we went to the supermarket together, getting everything we’d need for the next few days.  With the shopping done Doris decided to give us a bit of a tour of Wiesbaden, and we stopped at a few sights, including the Russian Orthodox Church, which was really impressive. Toward evening we were supposed to meet up with Helga and Ditmar at a local wine bar, and we headed into the general direction by following googles instructions.  When we got there, there was no wine bar in sight, we were cruising up and down what appeared to be a construction site….  Manja spotted a local resident and asked for directions – turns out google had sent us down the back way, the entrance to the place was one street further along. So we arrived a few minutes late, but with a story.  We chatted throughout the evening over wine, a meat and cheese platter and eventually some pizza – the wine bar had a deal with a local pizza place to supply their patrons with food.  Unfortunately the wine Bar already closed around 6, so we decided to take our party to the local sports bar near Doris’s place. We spent another hour chatting over wine and non-alcoholic cocktails before calling it a night and heading back to Doris’ place where I setup her computer to connect to Nikos photo blogs.


Bounchy squirrel!

Dancing Simon 1

Dancing Simon 2

Sunday morning we got to visit the Friedwald, which is like a cemetery/burial forest. The idea is that biodegradable urns are buried around a memorial tree shared by up to 12 people. Doris had decided on doing this for her own funeral but had only been able to purchase her spot from a map so far. Knowing this, we decided to check out her tree. I got to say that this is an excellent alternative to traditional cemeteries, and I loved how peaceful the whole place is.