Wadworth, Platteville, Wisconsin, US

Steve & Helly

Posted Jun 23, 2008, 7:52 am

I'm Wadworth. I'm a little bear with a big heart and a 'THIRST' for travel.

I was born in Devizes, in Wadworth's brewery. The place where the brewery is found is affectionately known as Waddy's Corner. The beer is still delivered to the local pubs by shire horse and it's a wonderful sight, although they're much larger than me and I think I'd be a bit scared if I met them for real!

Wadworth's is also the home of '6X' and 'Henry's IPA', one of Helly's favourite - shh, don't tell anyone but her ABSOLUTE favourite is 'Speckled Hen', not a Wadworth's brew at all!

I would like to travel the world, having adventures and tasteing other country's beers to see how they compare. I'd like to visit beer festivals too and if there's some food thrown in so much the better. A little bear has to eat!

Please let Helly know if you'd like to host me, my original guardians at Wadworths will be watching to see where I go.

Posted Jul 4, 2008, 9:21 pm
Hi Mummy,
I arrived in Remscheid today. I heard my host talking to her daughter while I was sitting inside my box. My new host Katja thought that my package might be the filled matchbox from another forum menber, so she did not know if she should open it or if she should wait until all participators of the matchbox challenge received their packages.

I made a lot of noise inside my box. I jumped up and down in my box so Katja could see the package move on the kitchen table. She thought that a filled matchbox should better not move alone. She opened the package immediately and was surprised to find me. She thought that I had to be larger! Okay, I will eat a lot and then I will grow a few inches.

I was welcomed by Sylphide, Desmond and Pip.


My Mum made a beautiful little card for my host. She really loves it.



Posted Jul 4, 2008, 9:33 pm
Hi Mummy,
in  the afternoon I went to IKEA in Düsseldorf with Katja and her friend Kerstin. We also took Pip to IKEA. Desmond and Sylphide stayed at home, because Sylphide was wet. Pip told me that Sylphide fell into a  padding pool yesterday. Desmond also stayed at home so Sylphide would not have to be alone.

The two ladies bought a lot of stuff: A mobile file cabinet, plants, flowers, drapes and a lot more. We also had dinner at the IKEA Restaurant. We were sitting close to the window, so Pip and I were sitting on the window frame to look outside.




After almost four hours running through the store we were really tired. We sat comfortably in the shopping trolley among the things Katja and Kerstin had bought.


Katja promised that I will taste my first German beer in the evening.


Posted Jul 4, 2008, 10:50 pm
Hi Mummy,
I tasted my first German beer: A König Pilsener. The König brewery is located in Duisburg, The brewery was established in 1858 by Theodor König.


It's really good :D


You can buy a teddy bear at the brewery's shop!


Posted Jul 5, 2008, 8:21 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we visited Düsseldorf, the capital city of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is situated on the River Rhine. We went there by train.

Here you can see us in the town centre. You can see the most famous shopping street of Düsseldorf, Königsallee.



We went through the old town looking for postcards. We planned to take a walk along the river Rhine.

Here you can see the old town hall in the middle of the old town.


This historic tower is built on a large space above the banks of the river Rhine.


The view across the river:


Here we are walking along the "Rheinterrassen", a large area with lawns and trees above the river banks. Many people were relaxing in the sun.


We went over a bridge to cross the river and walked back on the other side of the river.

Katja and her friend rested in the beer garden of a nice restaurant. They had a drink and dinner there.

I tasted an Altbier, a dark beer, which is brewed only in the region of Düsseldorf. Katja ordered a large beer because she knew that she would not drink it alone ...


We are back home now and we are all tired.



Posted Jul 8, 2008, 7:46 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
I tasted a really funny beer today - Berliner Weisse.

First I thought:

This is beer? Good Lord, it's GREEN!


Sure it is not water from an aquarium, sure it is not toxic?

Katja becalmed me and explained that it is a special sort of beer, brewed in Berlin, with woodruff syrup. That's why this beer is green.

It tastes good, not really like beer, of course much sweeter, but although very refreshing.


Sylphide and Pip also tasted it and they also liked it.



Posted Jul 9, 2008, 11:44 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today we visited Katja's sister. She is living in Remscheid-Lennep, one of the oldest districts of Remscheid, more than 770 years old.

Katja's nephew is collecting crown caps. He showed them to me. I sortetd out a lot of crown caps from beer bottles. Most of them are from Germany, only a few of them are from Portugal, the Netherlands or Belgium.



We went into the garden to play. I found a sign at the neighboors garden door that read "Only the strongest survive".


We took a ride in a remote controlled Hummer.


We were also playing with a wind wheel.


Katja and her sister made pizza for dinner. What do you think they got out of the cellar to drink? Correct, a beer, brewed in a town close to Remscheid.


In the evening Katja and her sister were sitting on the balcony, Sylphide, Pip and me were sitting on the balcony railing, watchim them.


Of course I tasted this beer, it's really good (like every beer I tasted to far).


Posted Jul 10, 2008, 8:56 pm
Hi Mummy,
today another ToyVoyager arrived: Tilda from Australia.

After opening the envelope we saw gigantic feet first.Pip thought it had to be a bunny. But it wasn't a bunny. Tilda is a kangaroo.




In the afternoon we took to the muncipal park. The weather was not good, it was very warm and muggy.

Here you can see the observatory at the entrance to the muncipal park.



We went to an old district of Remscheid then, to Hasten. Here you can see typical houses covered with schist.


This is the museum of local history, a beautiful patrician villa built in 1779 A.D. Katja promised to visit the museum if the weather should stay bad.


In another little park a pillar is built with the crest of the town and the names of the partner towns engraved. Remscheid has partner towns in France (Quimper), England (Wansbeck), the Czech Republik (Presov) and in Saxonia (Pirna), one of the states in the former German Democratic Republik.


Today I won't have a beer. Katja is afraid that I might come to a bad end as an alcohol addict. What a pity, there are still a few Pilsner and Bavarian beers in the fridge. Katja told me that I will have a lot of Bavarian beer next week. I don't know what this means, but we'll see.


Steve & Helly

Posted Jul 11, 2008, 6:44 am
Dear Wadworth,

Thank you for our postcard. It's lovely. You seem to be having lots of fun!

Helly's heading past Wadworth's Brewery today so will let the ladies at the visitor's centre see it.

Lots of love

Helly & Steve

Posted Jul 12, 2008, 10:21 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today we helped Katja to cook a delicious soup with broccoli. We had broccoli, some deep frozen leek, green peas, vegetable stock, garlic and some spices.


First we put some fat into a pot and steamed leek, garlic and green peas, later we put the broccoli into the pot and added vegetable stock. It had to boil for a few minutes, then it had to be purreed.



We addef salt, pepper and spices like nutmeg, basil, oregano and mixed herbes from the health food shop. When the soup was almost ready, we added some green cheese and sour cream.


The soup was really delicious.

In the late evening we were sitting on the kitchen's window sill, looking outside. We had two candles.


While we were sitting there and talking the other TovVoyagers  broke a secret. They told me where we will go next week (they were supposed to keep it for themselves). We will fly to Munich on Tuesday. We will stay there until Thursday.

Munich - that means Hofbräuhaus, Biergarten and lots of beer!!!

Sylphide and Tilda were playing with the pet rats but I'm a little bit afraid of them. They are vast, much larger than me. And they have sharp teeth ...

Katja told me that I don't need to be afraid, the rats were like cuddly toys. They always want to be petted and cuddled. We'll see ... maybe I will be brave enough if I had a beer. Here my beer is coming ...

A Veltins Pilsner, brewed in a region called "Sauerland", about 115 km from Remscheid.



Posted Jul 14, 2008, 10:48 am
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today a new ToyVoyager arrived, just in time. It's Barnardo from Birmingham.


We have to pack our things now, we will have to be at Duesseldorf Airport at 08:20 am tomorrow. So we will have to get up very early tomorrow.



Posted Jul 18, 2008, 1:30 pm
Hi Mummy,
today we went by train to International Airport Duesseldorf in the early morning. We were booked on a flight to Munich at 09:05 am. After the check-in we went to the observation deck. We hoped to see a few planes landing or starting.




We then got on board of our plane, an Airbus A 320.


We landed in Munich after 55 minutes.


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 2:45 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
when we arrived in Munich, we drove into town by train. We brought our luggage to our lodging and drove into town by subway immidately.

Munich is the capital city of Bavaria, Germany. Munich is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany. The town has about  1.35 million inhabitants.

We startet our visiting tour in the old town.

Here you can see Sendlinger Tor, part of the city's former fortification.


We were hungy and had lunch in a fancy doner kebap restaurant: Dönertier. It was opened by a Germany comedian, part of the famour duo Erkan & Stefan. Katja's daughter Alex was very anxious to visit this restaurant.

Erkan & Stefan created the "Dönertier", an animal that looks like a living kebap on it's spit. Alex wanted to buy such a plushy Dönertier.

Inside the restaurant we found a really exclusive interiour decoration, also many pictures showing the Dönertier.



We found a shop where exclusive chocolates and other sorts of sweets are sold. We bought some delicious pralines and a special bar of chocolate for Katja's son.


These are Bavarian culinary specialities made of marzipan.


We made our way though the old town. Here you can see the new town hall, located at Marienplatz.


We then climbed upon Peterskirche, about 300 stairs. From the church tower you have a good look over the city centre.





Here I am in front of the national theatre.


To the same complex of buildings the Residence belongs, which is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs. You can also find the Court Garden in this complex. In the middle of the park in French style a circular temple (built in 1615 A.D.) is crowned by a statue of Bavaria.


We went to English Garden, one of the world's largest urban public parks. We wanted to have our first beer in the Biergarten at the Chinese Pagoda.

First we rested in the Monopterus, a replication of a classical Greek temple.


And then ... we finally had our first beer.


Katja had a surprise for us. She had contacted another ToyVoyager host who is living here in Munich. We met Pandamao in the evening. She also had some TovVoyagers to show them around.

We met at the German Museum, located on an island in the river Isar.

We saw some interesting things in the inner courtyard of the museum, for example this gigantic turbine, which belonged to a hydroelectric power station in China.


Here you can see a  carousel close to the building of the museum and part of a ship's propeller.


We walked along the river Isar with Pandamao. We made some group pictures with the TVs Mocha, Bestik and Hurley.



We saw the Golden Friedensengel, which is standing on a pillar, 38 metres high. This statue reminds of the peaceful 25 years after the war between Germany and France in 1870/1871.




We walked along the river Isar back to the English Garden to have our second beer, but this time "Ein Maß", the Bavarian word for 1 litre beer.



We talked and talked and became really tired.  We went to our lodging in the late evening and fell asleep immediately.


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 3:14 pm
Hi Dad, hi Mummy,
in the morning we visited Olympiapark. This is an Olympic Park which was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Parts of the area are covered with a roof made of  plexiglas, hanging on gigantic poles made of steel.

Here you can see us sitting on one of the anchorage points.





At noon we went to the Biergarten in the park. Here in Bavaria you are allowed to drink beer in broad daylight.



After that we went to the Olympic tower which is 291 m high. At a height of 190 m there is an observation platform. From there you have a stunning view over the town.


We signed the visitor's book here at the Olympic tower!


We went back to the town centre.


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 4:36 pm
In the town centre we visited the Viktualienmarkt, the most famous daily market in the town. You can find about 140 stalls and shops here where they sell all sorts of meat, vegetables, fruits, fish, herbs and spices flowers and more.

Katja's daughter tasted original Bavarian white sausages with sweet mustard and freshly baked pretzels. We had our second beer here.




After that we visited the Beer- and Oktoberfest museum.


You can see many old beer mugs here and learn a lot about the breweries and the guild of brewers. You can also learn a lot about the history of the Oktoberfest. Many old posters are shown, pictures about acitivies on the Oktoberfest and we watched a movie which showed how beer is made.




These tools were used in winter to cut ice out of frozen lakes, the forceps was used to grab the blocks of ice. We saw in the movie who they were used.




These postcards showing the Oktoberfest from the early 1900s until 1990 A.D.









Even in the past people had some problems relating to beer:

This is a poster of a  travelling exhibition about alcoholism in the year 1907 A.A.  (That will happen to peple and bears who have their second beer in broad daylight, I'm afraid).


We simply eliminated all thoughts about alcoholism and walked straight to the Hofbräuhaus.


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 4:39 pm
We are now standing in front of the Hofbräuhaus.



Inside we ordered large beers, two "Maß". We also had lunch here. Alex had a Leberknödl soup and Katja had Obazda, a Bavarian cheese delicacy, a savoury blend of smashed mellow camembert prepared with cream cheese, cut onions and spicy paprika.




Alcoholism came to my mind again when I saw those large beers, our third beer today. The beer was so delicious that this thought simply  drowned in my beer.

For today I've had enough. I'm sure I will fall asleep in Katja's bag immedi........



Posted Jul 18, 2008, 4:47 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today was our last day here in Munich. Yesterday in the late evening it started to rain heavily. Today it does not look better outside.

In the morning we visited the Residenz, but you are not allowed to take any bag inside the museum. Photos can only be taken without flashlight. We had to stay in Katja's bag at the warderobe.

Our flight back home was at 3:15 p.m. so we had to leave Munich early.

Here we are at the airport in Munich.


This is our plane, again an Airbus A 320.


I really enjoyed our trip to Munich.



Posted Jul 19, 2008, 8:44 pm
Hi Mummy,

yesterday Hendrieke arrived, a ToyVoyager from England. Hendrieke is a goose.


today we helped my new host Katja to prepare  her "Rumtopf" (fruit in rum).

We needed cherries (500 g), white rock candy (500 g) and a bottle of rum with 54 % alcohol.


First we had to clean the cherries and to pit them.


Then we had to layer cherries and rock candy into the ceramic pot. Then you have to add rum until cherries and sugar are complete covered.



We put the lid on the pot and put in into the cellar, where it is dark and cool. In two weeks we will add apricots and peaches.



Posted Jul 22, 2008, 2:45 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today we met Felix, a travelling bunny.

Felix is the main character of a popular children’s books serie. When Felix is travelling, he sends letters home to his “host” Sophie. She is the little girl who owns Felix.

It was coincidence that Felix started travelling in his first book. He got lost on an airport and made his journey round the world until he returned to his home. He became adventurous and started his next journey with the help of Sophie.


Here Felix is exploring space. He writes a letter to Sofie from space. In Felix' books you have real envelopes and real letters.



… and from the jungle …


… and from other interesting locations like the sea bottom.

When he arrives safely at home Sophie is over the moon. Maybe she hopes that Felix will stay with her forever but he’s already thinking about new adventures.

Felix is like a ToyVoyager. I also hope to get home safely when I finished my adventures.

Here in Remscheid it is raining. On Thursday the weather will be better, the weather forecast says.



Posted Jul 23, 2008, 9:06 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today Katja took us to the town centre in the afternoon when it didn't rain any longer. On the first photo you can see me at the central bus station.


Here you can see the building of the local newspaper, Remscheider Generalanzeiger.


This is the public library.


Here you can see a nice pub and a gallery.


This is one of the churches in the town centre. In the foreground you can see part of the tracks of a tram. Remscheid had a tram system once until the late 1960s. This piece of track remained as a memento.


This is a really funny fontain. Especially children love it because you have so much to discover there. There are many water wheels and other moving things.


Here we are in the Allee-Center, the shopping mall.



We bought a mug for Katja's son. He is 18. (18 years, not 18 months  :p)



Posted Jul 24, 2008, 8:50 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,

today we went to Hitdorf with Katja's parents. Hitdorf is a small town located at the river Rhine. We took a walk along the river there.

Here you can see a ferry dock. The cable ferry is crossing the Rhine the whole day to bring cars, pedestrians, cyclists and biker to the other side.






We rested on a bank.


This is the river mouth of the Wupper. The river Wupper is opening into the Rhine here.


On the other bank a flock of sheep is grazing.




When we returned we rested in a beer garden close to the ferry dock.


We had a Bavarian beer!


Katja's dad had an alcohol free beer because he had to drive. I'm glad I don't have a driving licence.



Posted Jul 27, 2008, 9:45 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,

today we visited the zoo in Wuppertal, one of the largest, most nicely landscaped zoos in Germany with many rare animals.

Wuppertal is the neighbour town of Remscheid, famous for the worldwide one and only Monorail Suspension Railway (Schwebebahn). The suspension railway travels along a route about 13 kilometres long, about 12 metres above the surface of the river Wupper and approximately 8 m above the city streets. At one point the railway even crosses the A46 motorway. The entire trip takes about 30 minutes. One of the stations is "Zoo/Stadion".





Here I am standing in front of the zoo.


This is the entrance area.



It was so hot today that many animals were hiding in the shadow or in their dens.

The elephants were outside. They have a baby that was born in January 2008.


We tried to see the bears, but they also were hiding in their cave, the polar bear also.


Here are seals.



This is one of the ponds for ducks and geese. The island in the middle belongs to a monkey enclosure. The monkey can run and climb here.


When we left the zoo it started raining and we heard thunder in a distance. Now it's raining again.


Posted Jul 29, 2008, 8:50 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,

today Katja showed me the town hall. Katja took us to the law firm where she is working. When she finished work we only had to cross the street and we stood immediately in front of the town hall. In the foreground you can see ramps for skateboarders. They are arranged here twice a week.


Here you can see the lion, the heraldic animal of Remscheid, in front of the town hall.


This is a side wall of the town hall.


Here you can see the water tower. From here the water supply for the whole town centre is managed.


This photo is taken in a street in the vicinity close to my current home, a really quite avenue with lindens on both sides (and a lot of dog turd around every tree).




Posted Aug 4, 2008, 3:14 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today we went to Katja's fried to sit on the balcony and have a beer or two. Usually Katja and her friend take a walk in the evening but it so hot at the moment that you cannot move without breaking out into sweat. Then a cool beer on the balcony is the right thing. Fester went with us.


We had a Beck's, one of the most often exported German beers.


Posted Aug 5, 2008, 10:05 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
today I looked into the fridge searching for a beer - there was no beer!

Katja said that today we would have a cocktail, a Tequila Sunrise. I was a little bit sceptical because nothing in the world tastes as good a beer.

For a Tequila Sunrise you need Tequila, orange juice, grenadine syrup and ice, crushed ice for the glass and ice cubes for the shaker.


First you put 5 cl Tequila and 15 cl orange juice with ice  into a shaker. Then you put crushed ice into your glass and pour the juice with Tequila into your glass, using a strainer.



Then you pour 1 cl grenadine syrup from the rim into the glass. Put in a straw and stirr with caution until the grenadine will give a red shade on the bottom of the glass.


I did not want to believe it but it tastes great. You also should try this!

Hey Mum, how about tasting beer in another country?


Posted Aug 9, 2008, 4:52 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,

Lollipop, a care bear, arrived today.


Katja decided to bake wafers. Tomorrow a friend will visit us and then the ladies and the TVs want to eat wafers with whipped cream and cherries.

We helped Katja to put everything we need onto the working space.

Katja is wearing a funny apron. There's a teddy bear printed on it. The apron also has a big pocket. It seems to be made for little bears so they can sit in it.


But, hey, what's that? The printed teddy bear is wearing a napkin!


We had prepared everything for baking. For our receipe you need

250 g margarine or butter (to make the wafers a bit defatted we took 125 g margarine and 125 g curd cheese)
150 g sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
1 dash salt
4 eggs
500 g flour
1 tsp. baking powder
375 ml water
4 tbs. honey


First we stirred margarine and curd cheese, added sugar and eggs, honey and stirred again. Then we mixed flour and baking powder. Then you have to add a few spoonfull flour and water alternately to the dough, then stirr again and so on.


When the dough was ready we had to preheat the waffle iron.


We filled dough into the waffle iron ...


took the baked wafers out of the waffle iron ...


and piled the wafers.


When we finished work we had to air in the open kitchen window.


Of course we tasted the wafers. They are really good. To eat more we have to wait until tomorrow.

Outside the sun is shining again after a few days of mostly variable weather. Maybe we will go outside when I finished here.


Posted Aug 10, 2008, 8:20 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
I tasted a really yummy beer today. It's a Schöfferhofer Grapefruit, a Hefeweizen flavoured with grapefruit juice. Beer-mixed drinks are very popular in Germany at the moment. They are refreshing and their alcohol contain is lower than with usual beer.


We had a look at the Schöfferhofer homepage. They have a lottery there: You can win a cruise for two persons in the Mediteranean Sea with the cruise liner AIDA. We filled in the formular and hope that we will win. If Katja should win she wants to take me with her. I think that would be ok?


Can you see that little orange guy? I told him how great my life as a ToyVoyager is and that I have a beer almost every day. He immediately decided to become a ToyVoyager too.


Uuups, what's that? I can see me on the monitor.


Maybe this beer is more dangerous than I thought.


Posted Aug 11, 2008, 9:47 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
when Katja came home from work she brought today's mail into the apartment. Among the mail was a letter from USA. One of Mausi's hosts, wmphimu, had sent something to Katja.

We opened the envelope and found a cute book "If you take a mouse to school". Wmphimu had read another book of this series with Mausi and Katja loved this book. Now she received such a book as a present. She is really delighted!




The story is told easily: If you take a mouse to school he'll ask for your lunchbox. When you give him your lunchbox, he'll want a sandwich. The mouse always wants more until in the end everything is starting from the beginning again.

This is my favourite picture:


The mouse tried an experiment but something went wront. Now he has a pink mess around him.

It's funny that this book arrived today when all school children have to go back to school.



Posted Aug 14, 2008, 10:48 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,

Tilda left today. She's going to Munich again.


Now it's time to say goodbye to my friends. I had a last beer with Katja and Fester, Hendrike and Lollipop. We had a Budweiser from the Czech Republik. It was really good.



We also had something delicious made of chocolate with milk cream filling - Milchmäuse (milk mice).



Tomorrow I'm going to hop into my envelope. I will travel to Apperveilchen.


Posted Aug 15, 2008, 9:39 pm
Hi Mummy, hi Dad,
I'm on my way to my next host, Apperveilchen. I hope she has something to drink in her fridge.


Posted Aug 17, 2008, 8:45 pm
Hi everybody! I've arrived savely but unfortunately just when my new host was de-icing her fridge. Now it's running again and we'll buy some of the local brews tomorrow after work. Maybe I can even sneak a peek at the brewery here. Photos aren't working on her computer at the moment, but she can still take them and add them here later.

Posted Aug 22, 2008, 8:37 pm
We went shopping in a tiny super market, but look what a beer selection they had:
Karlsberg is the local beer, brewed in this city. Mixery is Karlsberg beer+cola. Radler is Beer+lemonade. There are alos new mixtures that are popular with the students here. Like the Karlsberg beer+vodka+lemon, or +vodka+cherry.
Bigger amounts can be gotten at the bigger supermarkets or the special 'Getränkemärkte' that sell beverages, from mineral water over sodas to beers, mostly in the big crates. Or at the brewery you can get bigger barrels for festivities or even rent a special truck.
I'm not quite sure what Bionade is doing in the beer section. It's biological soda. 

Posted Aug 27, 2008, 10:17 am
We had to go to the university clinic today. That involved some running around and going to many different offices. In the picture you can see the buildings where people can donate blood and people with blood deseases are treated. In the background is the building where some of the student offices are located (uni sports, student organizations...) and most importantly teh dining hall and cafe for the students. We went to get some breakfast while we waited for the office hours to start. They do serve beer here but I thought is was a tad early in the day for that.


Posted Aug 28, 2008, 2:29 pm
We drove north to Essen yesterday. It's close to where I've been before. In this city there's the Stauder brewery. Right next to it in Bochum is Moritz Fiege. Those two are the only private breweries in the area. A bit further we have Königs in Duisburg and Veltins in Gelsenkirchen. Maybe we can visit one of them?
For tonight I tried a funny looking Bit Copa. That's beer with Brazilian Cachaca flavour. Well, I think I prefer a real beer, but it wasn't a bad experience.

Posted Aug 29, 2008, 4:19 pm
We had a dinner of venison, gnocci and salad. Italian or French wine with that?

Posted Aug 30, 2008, 11:06 am
We had to run some errands today and walked through a normal residential area fo Essen.
It's relatively new that you need a special ID-card that verifies your age to buy cigarettes, even from a machine.
We also walked through a playground and a small free soccer field for the children.

Posted Aug 30, 2008, 11:18 am
Our host was invited to a party in Düsseldorf. I liked it there last time, so I wanted to go, too. The party was in the old town. We also passed the archbishop's preparatory school St. Ursula and liked their entrance, so we took a photo.

Posted Sep 9, 2008, 6:33 pm
We drove to a forest a bit south-east of the Ruhrpott. It was very nice and calm and they had much better weather out in the country. Unfortunately the camera's battery died after only one photo, but we enjoyed country life for a day.

Posted Sep 11, 2008, 3:56 pm
I spent my Saturday going shopping in the city center. We met my host's friend in a cocktail bar in the evening. There were a lot of people in the city because many Muslims live in Essen and they are celebrating Ramadan in the center with a tent where they serve free food after sunset and heard Turkish folkmusic and just generally met and talked. Everybody was invited. My host told me that last year they also went there and got some food and mingled.
We also enjoyed the happy hour of alcohol-free mixtures.

Posted Sep 13, 2008, 1:32 pm
We relaxed in the backyard at 29°C. It was really warm and we wanted to enjoy what might be the last nice day for a while here.
When we went outside after work we found a spier had spun her net directly in front of the door. We had to make her built a new one.

Posted Sep 13, 2008, 1:48 pm
A typical Saturday morning activity in Germany is to go grocery shopping. Shops have to be closed on Sundays due to a law. The  law was changed a couple of years ago and now allows them to stay open until the evenings on Sturdays and weekdays, but commonly all btu the supermarkets and innercity shops still close  at 1 p.m. on a Saturday. So we had to be off, too.
We wanted to park on the roof of a big shop. An elevator brings the cars there.
Esp. vegetables and fruit are bought on the markets that are held about twice a week in each part of the town. We are at teh one in Essen-Steele.
There are also stands with cheese, eggs, meat or fish but they have to cool accordingly.
Here we are driving up to the old Laurentius church.
This is the big bus station in Steele with the train station above it.
We also wanted to buy a larger cage for the parakeets. They are having lots of fights at the moment. On the way to a big pet store we passed the old water tower in Essen-Frillendorf.
On the way back we passed the former military base (left). It was occupied by the Russians after WWII for a while, then by the British. Many young men had to serve their obligatory time there until the late 1990s when it was given up and bought by Medion, an electronics company that also gave it happier colors but left the  high wall and security.

Posted Sep 19, 2008, 8:32 pm
Today our host took us to work with her. Most of the tiem we had to be good and stay in the bag, but we got out at a calm moment and saw the place where they reanimate the little babies.
On the way home we had to stop where the trains cross the street.
We had a chance to look around a bit. Here are some typical old worker's homes to be seen in the mirror and because they are so small and next to each other there are gardens (again one right next to the otehr without houses in between) behind the fence. That arrangement is normal here. People who live in appartment buy or rent gardens in such 'Schrebergärten' and grow fruit and vegetables or just nice flowers, maybe put a shed there and go there during the summer to have barbecues and be outside.
First came the train transporting people.
Right behind the first railway is another for the trains transporting goods.
Gelsenkirchen has a well-known football club: Schalke 04. This is the part of the city they are from. People are very proud of their team and like to show it in their clothes, on their cars etc. The waiting lists for tickets are really long. In this shop one can buy fan stuff.
Nearly home now:
I need a beer after this exhausting day!
Hmm, seems to be very light.

Posted Sep 20, 2008, 1:42 pm
It's Saturday again and we went to another market today, also in Essen but in a part of the city called Rüttenscheid. They have some more exotic things here because the clientel is a bit different.
A bio-bakery that's very popular:
It's the last weekens of the summer but already there are autumn flowers and arrangements on offer.

Posted Sep 25, 2008, 7:40 pm
Tonight we went to a shopping center in the city. Check out the selection of alcohols, vinegars, oils, spices and delicacies:
On the street we heard some people discussing that the Germans weren't romantic because, apart from other things, they didn't really decorate like this. They thought Germans are bull-headed instead.
Women used to stitch their own decorations like this for all the different seasons. Now many don't know how to stitch anymore.

Posted Sep 27, 2008, 1:33 pm
This is the courthouse at the Dreiringplatz in Steele. There are mostly just civil suits about car accidents or divorce or child support issues being discussed here. It says 'Amtsgericht' above the door.
This is a column of some saints on the Dreiring platz. It's protected from the pidgeons by the wire-nets.
Here's a beautiful entrance. Do you see the gothic window above it?
The renoveted and colorful houses make the city so much nicer. Again there are small spikes of wire in front of the windows to prevent the pidgeons from landing there.
My host had to buy new water. Look at what a funny kind of beer we found in the 'Getränkemarkt' (beverage market).

Posted Sep 27, 2008, 7:39 pm
Here you can see Stutz and me crossing the river Ruhr. It's actually a beautiful view but hard to take a picture of while speeding by with 170khm. There's no speed-limit on the German Autobahn.

We've arrived at a golf course. I want to play!
Tee 3:
getting ready...
... good one!
The horses are immune to flying balls.

My inquisitive-looking chocolate side:
Here I am at the last hole, chipping distance:
The winner!

On the way back we found some mushrooms. Think the are edible? None of us knows so we'd rather not try it.

One the way back there was an accident on the Autobahn and we left it and took an inner city route instead of waiting in the traffic-jam.
Here we passed the Jahrhunderthalle (century hall) in Bochum. It used to be part of the steel industry and is now a palce for events.
This is a pretty little 'Erker'.



Posted Sep 27, 2008, 7:45 pm
Back in Essen, here in the Ruhrgebiet the cities just flow into each other without real distinction.
industrial sunset

Over the fields that are inside the city one can also see the RWE Tower in the city center.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 7:57 am
After the golfing I had to go and let out my wild side. This is me at a biker party. The bright light is one of the bikes driving by. The roar and speed of them was amazing considering we were standing right next to the road. The also had fireworks and gas bombs that eploded in big balls of fire. That area was closed off for safety reasons of course.

Posted Sep 28, 2008, 4:33 pm
Today was the first day of three different trade fairs in the 'Messe Düsseldorf. (Messe = the fair but also the building for it) They are called InterCool, InterMeat, InterMopro and hogatec. They are about gastronomy, hotels, foods, etc.
You can see me trying the Emmi light Müsli and looking at uniforms for cooks.
The area is so big that the shuttle bus had several stops before we came to our parking place and we'd been there early. The LTU Arena is also in that area. The soccer club Fortuna Düsseldorf plays there.

Posted Oct 2, 2008, 3:13 pm
At my hosts they are isolating and cleaning up the attic. A lot fo things were thrown out and we helped bring them to the 'Recyclinghof' where plastics, metal, paper, wood and other things can be disposed off properly. Somethings can be put there without a charge and for others one has to pay.
Later we had to get a few things because Oct. 3rd is a holiday in Germany. This is one of our hosts' favourite book stores. It's not part of a chain and looks like pure chaos but it has character.


Posted Oct 5, 2008, 10:36 pm
Today we went to a Museum in Bonn, showing "Rome and the Barbarians".
It was about people who didn't speak Latin or Greek (= barbarians) and their interactions with the Romans. It showed the flow of people and goods throughout Europe during the migration period and the fall of the Roman empire.

Here I am with some jewelry that was found in a grave of a rich woman of a Germanc tribe.
The clasps were used to fasten the clothes.

In Bonn is also the Beethoven Haus. Here are flags advertising the Beethoven orchestra.

Crossing the Rhine:

Posted Oct 5, 2008, 10:41 pm
At home we had a look at the flyer of the exhibition. We saw these things in reality!

Posted Oct 12, 2008, 6:12 pm
We had a lazy weekend at home and decided to bake a cake.
The shops here are closed on sundays and we hadn't planned on this so we had to go with what we had in the kitchen.
We looked through the cookbook and decided that we needed do make our own variation:

200g maize meal, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, a bit vanilla sugar to be mixed, add 3 small (or 2 bigger) eggs
150g butter, 180g sugar, a bit of rum, a little bit of salt, 3 spoons of milk, whatever else you feel like (we used 2 teaspoons of vanilla drink mix) an mix:
add the two together and if neccessary, add a bit of milk and/or rum to make the dough more fluid:
put into a form (or several small forms as we did):
bake at 180°C for about an hour
after taking it our of the oven, pour rum (or juice, whatever you like) over the cake and let it set for 10 min, then turn it:
Tahdah! Tastes wonderful!


Posted Oct 14, 2008, 7:27 pm
Bye-bye Germany! I have already boarded my envelope and will start the journey to my next host tomorrow.

Posted Oct 24, 2008, 3:24 pm
Hello everyone,
I have safely arrived in Wisconsin.  My host family is very excited to have me visiting.  However, right now they are feeling a little under the weather (darn those change of seasons!)  So instead of sampling beer they been downing the hot toddies (non-alcoholic) and hoping to feel better real soon.  Pictures soon to come of this lovely new area I am visiting. 
Take care!

Posted Nov 1, 2008, 9:14 pm
Hello from Wisconsin,
We've had a slow week as my host family is recovering from colds.  But I've been having a good time nonetheless hanging out around the house.  And, I am learning that beer is a pretty big deal in Wisconsin.  Each week I am here, my host family said they will make one meal using beer.  Here is the first meal we prepared, Beer Batter Fish.  As you know, bears particularly love fish, so I found this meal simply delicious.  The beer we used to make the fish was Leinenkugel's Original, a beer made in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.  The brewery there is the seventh-oldest brewery in the US.  It is one of my host family's favorite brews.


After eating, we watched the final game of the 2008 Major League Baseball World Series.  The Philadelphia Phillies of the National League played the Tampa Bay Rays of the American League.  The Phillies ended up winning the series this year. 


I have decided that my favorite Major League baseball team is Wisconsin's Milwaukee Brewers!  I think it is only fitting that I cheer on the team that has a name connected with the brewing industry!  Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is known as the "beer capital of the world."  The Brewers even play in a ballpark named Miller Park, named for the famous Miller Brewing Company.  The Brewers were defeated by the Phillies in the playoffs this year, unfortunately.

This week's beer fact:  America's first public brewery was started in southern Manhattan by Peter Minuit around 1633.

Posted Nov 12, 2008, 5:17 am
Happy Halloween!  Trick or treat! I was outfitted in some butterfly wings and scored some yummy chocolate! 


Posted Nov 12, 2008, 5:41 am
We took a nature walk today.  Most of the leaves have already fallen from the trees.  It was glorious to get outside and take in some fresh air.  Not many more days like this left this year here in Wisconsin.


I discovered a mossy log along the trail.  Great sunny place to rest. If only there were some honey (a beer would do, too!)


A small river runs along the Rountree Branch Trail.  I love the stand of trees behind me.


Ok, there was some beer along the trail.  Well, beer art!  The Platteville Chamber of Commerce has a display of beer catfish.  Several artists painted and decorated “catfish” in different beer motifs.  Each artist was assigned a brewery to depict, and asked to include it’s history in some form.


Yes, those are swans.  The Super 8 hotel has a pair of resident swans.  Interesting birds but I didn't want to get too close in case they thought I was lunch.


Posted Nov 12, 2008, 5:46 am
The United States presidental elections were held today.  I couldn't vote seeing that I'm not a U.S. citizen.  However, it was interesting watching the results on TV.  Here I am watching President-elect Barack Obama's victory speech Tuesday evening. 


Posted Nov 12, 2008, 5:50 am
It snowed!!  Winter is coming to Wisconsin.  Brrr.  Is it time to hibernate?



Posted Nov 12, 2008, 6:02 am
Our week 2 beer recipe was beer bread.  This time we used Spotted Cow from the New Glarus Brewing Company located in New Glarus, Wisconsin.  It's a great beer with a big Wisconsin flavor.  Bring on the cows!


Here's a little beer joke to end the week:

Three Little Pigs went out to dinner one night. The waiter came and took their drink order.

'I would like a Sprite,' said the first little piggy.
'I would like a Coke,' said the second little piggy.
'I want beer, lots and lots of beer,' said the third little piggy...

The drinks were brought out and the waiter took their orders for dinner.

'I want a nice big steak,' said the first piggy.
'I would like the salad plate,' said the second piggy.
'I want beer, lots and lots of beer,' said the third little piggy…

The meals were brought out and a while later the waiter approached the table and
asked if the piggies would like any dessert.

'I want a banana split,' said the first piggy.
'I want a cheesecake,' said the second piggy.
'I want beer, lots and lots of beer,' exclaimed the third little piggy.

'Pardon me for asking,' said the waiter to the third little piggy,'  But why have you only ordered beer all evening?' 

The third piggy says - 'Well, somebody has to go 'Wee, wee, wee, all the way home!