Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Weiden in der Oberpfalz

My wonderful car!!  Apparently mini-vans in Germany are considered tactical vehicles, but honestly on some of the old, winding streets I think that anything bigger than a Smart Car or a MiniCooper would be considered a tactical vehicle!  It has passed inspections and is registered with European plates!  I'm not doing a ton of driving still but it is very nice to have.  Just yesterday we checked out 2 giant bags of books because I didn't have to walk them home!  Priorities!!

We had a wonderfully bright and beautiful rainbow after a downpour the other day.  This is from our balcony and that's an apartment building with the base tower in the background. 

Friday was rainy but we finally had the opportunity to go to a movie!  There is an English theater in Weiden but I heard it's expensive.  There are theaters on both bases and they're decently priced but they're not a stadium-seating theater.  I'm sure they use them for other purposes -- this one on Graf side had 672 seats!!!  They only play movies 5 days a week and then it's one movie for 2 days at 2 different times, etc. so it's not super convenient really but they did Ice Age: Collision Course and we enjoyed it.  As a movie it was ok -- lots of slap stick humor.  It was cute but the first is still the best.

Saturday we decided to go out to Weiden.  It's about the same size as Amberg in the opposite direction so the closest larger city for people who are more connected to the Graf side of the base.  I'm told there's a large population of Americans there because of the availability of the off-post housing.

In many ways it was the same but felt a lot more modern to us than Amberg.  We had a great day but I found that I liked the older charm of Amberg better.

We did finally find some postcards though!!  We haven't seen any, especially in the smaller towns (although I need to just look at the post office), but found some in a book store in Weiden.  We also got a wall map to document our travels in Germany and I was very tempted to buy this copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in German.  I think maybe reading it would increase my fluency right??  (Ok correction: This book is actually the Chamber of Secrets which makes A LOT more sense with the actual words and the fact that there's snakes in the background . . . but I'm keeping my original post to show just how far I need to go!!!  Smiley face!)
When I flipped through it, I realized that conversations in German don't use quotation marks -- they use what I'm going to refer to as "triangles" -- sorry, >>triangles<< to set them apart.  
I'm just fascinated by all the little details of another country and culture!!!

Anyway, on to Weiden -- again the central Market area -- Marktplatz -- with the town hall -- Rathaus -- and shops and stalls set up for Saturday shopping.
By the way, no one ever told me how colorful houses are!!  I do love Charleston, South Carolina but Rainbow Row just doesn't hold a candle to this.  Sorry!

The roofs on these houses were just cool!  Also I keep calling them houses but most are shops downstairs and most likely apartments upstairs.

The fountain that specified not to drink the water -- it was pretty murky anyway.

The town hall with a restaurant downstairs that mainly served ice cream and drinks.  Yes, we got ice cream.  It may be difficult to find bathrooms at the places we go but you're guaranteed to find ice cream and a bakery and both of those go a long way towards bribing the kids to be happy!!

I loved this little detail on the Rathaus - the man with the lantern.  I wish I knew what it was!

 The back side of the Rathaus -- not as impressive but a great tower.

Ok so I've realized that I'm usually the one taking pictures but since we've been here, Chopper does too and he has a great eye and a different perspective from myself of course so I'm making more of an effort to include pictures from both of us (although it does also double the amount of pictures you get!!).  So organizing my posts on the laptop isn't the easiest thing in the world so they're kind've mixed up but you don't care right!?!

Despite the moaning and complaining about walking around looking at stuff, we can always find joy in bugs, flowers, and feathers.  We're acquiring quite a collection of that last one at home (thankfully not bugs because I don't allow their collection, especially since Abby decided that she loves to carry around daddy-long-leg spiders.  So gross.

There were 2 churches we tried to see but one was in the middle of a wedding so we only saw St. Joseph.  It was built/finished in the early 1900s and the interior is decorated mostly with art nouveau mosaic.  It used a lot of gold in the mosaic so it glittered beautifully.  We also saw our first nun -- on a bike -- and thankfully the kids didn't point this out as a tourist attraction because we watched The Sound of Music before moving here and talked about what a nun was.  Boy are we getting a religious education as well as a cultural one!

My camera just couldn't capture this wall of tiny gold tiles and how pretty it was!

A close up of mosaic details -- look how tiny those are!!  And they do not look like cheater tiles -- I'm pretty positive they were individually laid!

Just a really pretty peacock detail on a building nearby the church.  We pointed it out to Megan and she said, "I'm not really into peacocks anymore."  Apparently, she's moved on to parrots.

When we stopped for ice cream, everyone got their usual cone but I opted for Spaghetti Eis.  And this is normal sized which was huge.  I should've gotten a small.  Anyway, it's whipped cream at the center covered with vanilla ice cream that's been put through a noodle machine to give it the appearance of noodles.  Then it's covered in strawberry sauce (that was so fresh and good!) and shaved white chocolate for parmesan cheese.  In terms of taste it wasn't fancy or unusual or anything but it was good and it's a staple at most ice cream shops.  

There are dogs everywhere!!  And all of my kids tend to be shy of dogs, especially Megan.  But they're always on leashes and the kids love that they're out and about.  But not just walking -- in stores and restaurants too.  I've never seen so many dogs in public in my life!!  And a lot of more unusual breeds that what I'm used too.  We've seen some really beautiful dogs!

This is Gustav von Schlor - the last Bavarian minister of commerce who connected Weiden to the railroad and so helped the growth of the city.

Religious art is a combination of fascinating and "what the heck".  Especially when I don't really know what it represents so I suppose that part is my fault!

Ok another example of art/sculpture that I don't get but find interesting.  I read somewhere that many towns have plague memorials in gratitude for being spared.  Could this be one?  I don't know!

We've also had a few people tell us about doeners.  It's like a Turkish gyro and Chopper and I devoured this one -- they are really really good!!!

Just an afternoon spent at the park.  Chopper managed to get this really good shot of all of us quiet and content.  Content after I was pummeled by elbows and knees to climb on mommy!!  Overall, the kids are doing well.  William is doing better and Megan is excited for school to start (a week and a half away!).  Abby says she wants to go back to Texas when she's upset but she says it when anything goes wrong so I don't think she actually does.  We've had beautiful weather lately and that has helped to play and enjoy our area!

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