Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Feeling With Melting Snow

I was a bit sad to leave Wiesbaden, when it was sunny and +20 degrees outside. That is the sort of weather we Finns call summer!

I thought that the weather here in south-west Finland would be all grey and muddy. But to my great delight, it isn't that bad after all!

The melting snow actually gives an unique spring feeling, which we didn't get in Wiesbaden. But the downside is that it is quite wet and muddy everywhere, so Fräulein's winter suit is in quite of state after 30 minutes outside... But she really enjoys the last remaining snowdrifts!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pretzel Princess

You can take a girl out of Germany, but you cannot take Germany out of a girl.

Monday, March 19, 2012

10 Euros Well Spent

Yesterday, Fräulein and I flew to Finland. Flying with a small child is never easy, but Ryanair gives you some extra headache.

When Fräulein was a baby, I regularly cursed the rule that you cannot take the infant car seat into the aircraft even if there are free seats. It would have been so nice for her to sleep in her own "bed" and I would have had my hands free (the seats are so slippery that you cannot place a baby on one without special arrangements). And with the Ryanair staff, you should never expect any help or nice words - something that seems to come naturally from the staff of some other airlines.

You must also be able to navigate Ryanair's awfull website when booking your ticket. In every possible opportunity, they advertise for car-rents, hotels and additional services. Previously, I was not able to make any payments with my Safari web browser - and you can guess, if I remembered that when starting to book tickets or only after every little detail was filled and I was not able to continue forward... Well, luckily they have now fixed that.

Why should we then use Ryanair? Firstly, it flies to Tampere, from where we have more convenient connections to south-west Finland than from the Helsinki-Vantaa airport.

And secondly, Ryanair is so cheap.

For this visit to Finland, both my outpound flight and return flight costed less than 15 euros. So, my flights were actually cheaper than those of Fräulein, as the price for an infant is fixed 20€ per flight!

But with Ryanair, every single thing costs more money. There are administration fees, fees for online check-in (no alternative available), fees for checked luggage, fees for extra equipment you want to carry, like instruments or baby-equipment (one fully foldable buggy is carried free of charge for each infant).

For us, the total cost of this visit was 136.98€. Even with all the extra costs, not bad!

Even though I find it very annoying that they keep advertising their services, this time I actually fell into buying one! I was making my online check-in on the night before and they asked if I liked to purchase a reserved seat. Normally, you just pick any available seat on the plane. And as I don't like to push our way into the plane first, and as it always takes some extra time when we need to hand over the buggy outside the plane, I am quite often the last one in. If the plane is fully packed, you might end up sitting in the middle seat of row of three with a restless toddler in your arms. Not nice!

I thought that, as most of the seats available for reservation were free on the night before, those wouldn't all be booked. So, I bought a window seat from the second row for 10 euros.

And I must say, that yesterday it really felt to be the best 10 euros I have ever spent!

I had thought that we wouldn't need to hurry into the plane as we had a seat reserved for us, but I was happy to find out that we were also allowed to use the priority boarding. As our seat was on the second row, I didn't need to carry Fräulein and our stuff through the narrow aisle.

The other two seats in our row were free, so I had plenty of room to place my belongings. And even though the plane wasn't full, I liked the fact that I didn't have to rush and stress about the availability of seats.

Fräulein spent most the the time taking a nap (thankfully!). If she had stayed awake, we wouldn't have had to worry about someone sitting right next to us and I might have even been able to keep her from running back and forth the aisle as we had so many seats to ourselves. With her sleeping and me eating some snacks, the two-hour flight went by very fast. We were also one of the firsts to get out of the plane, so everything went very smoothly.

Next time, when I'm going to fly alone with Fräulein and if I suspect that the flight might be crowded, I will most certainly use ten euros for this service! Good for my mental health! ;)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Keeping Busy

Where does the time go?

I have managed to write only one post this week. I have several posts in progress, but don't seem to have time to finish them...

Today was an extra busy day for us.
First, we had a play date with two other Finnish girls and their mums.
How nice to have some really great Finnish people here close by!

Then a friend come over for a cup of coffee.
How nice that you can meet great people through blogging!

In the afternoon, we went to visit Fräulein's new Tagesmutter (nanny).
How nice to have found such a sweet lady to take care of our daughter!
(Yes, this is the topic of one of the posts in progress.)

And in the evening, I had a German lesson.
How nice... uh... to spend your Friday night learning German?

A couple of months ago, I would have been exhausted to have even two set appointment in a week. And today I had four. Four! And I enjoyed every minute of it (well, almost...)!

I guess it has something to do with the weather.

Weather this afternoon

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Hobby For the Whole Family?

It is that time again. Time to start golfing.

No, I don't golf.
No, Fräulein doesn't golf either (yet).
But yes, Herr Welle does golf.

The lovely spring weather means that Herr Welle wants to spend all his free time golfing. So, last Sunday he wanted to visit the driving range of a local golf club.

As all the shops are closed on Sundays, so we usually spend the day outdoors anyway. Thus I don't really mind joining him at the golf club with Fräulein.

Previously, Fräulein has spent the time there sleeping or eating snacks, but now we found many interesting things to do. There was one very friendly cat, one rabbit in the bushes, golf cars, birds, other kids playing and airplanes flying low.

If only I could keep her from running to the greens...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sunday Lunch At Schloss Johannisberg

You have seen this pavement before, right?
Now you know where that picture was taken.
Like I told you last Sunday, we took my mother to Schloss Johannisberg for Sunday lunch. I have only tasted the selection of local specialities there, but I can highly recommend it for a light snack to enjoy with a glass (or three) of local wine. We now shared two servings between my mother, Herr Well, Fräulein and me. Also the desserts in the table next to us looked delicious. You can find the menu *here*.

Two almost finished servings of Johannisberger Brotzeitteller

Schloss Johannisberg is a vineyard in the Rheingau wine area, about 25km from Wiesbaden. This vineyard was the first in the world to plant only Riesling (in 1720).

The bare vines in early March

I have been told that Schloss Johannisberg is now owned by Dr. Oetker's family. Yes, the guy with the frozen pizzas.

The entrance to the palace
Dr. Oetker's garden in October.
I could see myself walking in this garden sipping sparkling wine...

The palace is located on a hill and, as you can see also in the garden picture above, the view is amazing.
The view in October, when the vines were green.
The palace is located at the 50th parallel north.

And what would be the point visiting a vineyard, if you couldn't buy a few bottles as 'take-away'?
The 'Wein-Cabinet' is open every day of the week.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Odd German Way No. 10 - Bring In the Police!

We were walking in the city center the other day. When we approached the Marktkirche, I noticed dozens of police cars around it. And on every entrance of the Schloßplatz (the area surrounding the church), there were several police officers.

My first thought was that there was something big going on and I wanted to find out what that was. But then I remembered that Germans tend to bring in a lot of police force when there is even the smallest event, in which some trouble might arise. Like when there is a football match, even in some of the minor leagues, the railway station is crowded with police officers with their helmets and shields.

Most of the times this armament seems a bit exaggerated.

And so it was this time, too. There was only a smallish demonstration by the Rathause.

I guess that the demonstration was against the air routes over Wiesbaden.
The noise of the flights started last year,
when the fourth runway was opened at Frankfurt airport. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

To Do List Revisited

My mother was visiting us for four days.

My mother's luggage was full of gifts for Fräulein, like these Nokian boots.
It is good that Ryanair has the 10kg limit for luggages...

So, lets see, did we get anything done:
  • Go shopping with her. 
  • Go shopping alone ( = without Fräulein).
The first two points were combined and we went shopping together without Fräulein. She ended up buying two picture frames, I bought a bit more...
  • Have dinner with Herr Welle. Yes, just the two of us!
Done! Saturday night dinner at Spital. I felt a bit old there, as the place was packed with people in their twenties enjoying their fancy-looking drinks.

  • Have an appointment with hairdresser.
  • Have a German lesson.
Not done - the teacher cancelled.
  • Throw away a plant that does not have any leaves left (well, she can do that).
  • Have our windows cleaned (by her).
Not done - wasn't warm enough.
  • Arrange the bathroom cabinets.
Not done - I was lazy.
  • See a doctor to have some moles removed.
Not done - I hadn't booked the appointment early enough.
  • Clean the coffee maker and the water boiler. 
Not done - I was lazy.
  • Have a cup of coffee outside.
Not done - everyone else had the same idea, so there were no free seats outside when we went out for coffee.
  • Eat lunch outside.
Actually it was THAT warm only on Thursday, but Fräulein was in no mood sitting still while we ate lunch (well, she rarely is...). 

As you can see, quite a few things were left undone. But what was more important was that she played with Fräulein so that I could drink my coffee in peace. And taught her new things, like how dogs howl and how to show with her fingers how old she is (Fräulein, that is, not my mum). 

And she'll be visiting us again in two months, so I can copy these things to the new To Do list, which I'll start writing shortly.

On our way back from Frankfurt-Hahn airport.