These are a few of my favorite things….

Picture of the Day–Moxie, sitting.  This is honest to god how she sits.  I have no idea where she learned such sitting behavior, but it’s awesome.  I can never be mad at her when she looks at me like this.  She’s the best.

Song of the evening:  Maxwell, This Woman’s Work, which I can only get to play from here, for some reason tonight.  This song gives me goosebumps like Rufus’ Hallelujah does, and it’ll be on my new playlist, which I’m working on tonight.  I’m big on playlists lately.

Now, getting the “things of the day” out of the way, I have a few things to report on regarding Germany. 

So the last four days have been a reminder of why I love Germany so much.  I never really give this country enough credit (they do it to themselves, really) but sometimes I get all lovey-dovey with this country and this is one of those weeks.  So here’s my TOP THREE REASONS TO LOVE GERMANY THIS WEEK list.  I don’t expect this to be a regular list, so let’s all enjoy my optimism while it lasts. 

3.  This is something I actually found last week at the store, but no matter, it’s going on this week’s list.  They sell this in the little grocer in my village and I LOVE IT.  I sent this picture to a few people and one said, “Well, they could be using it to open water.”  Now we all know that is just false.  It is especially false because on the package, it shows a happy, German carpenter, banging nails with a beer on his sawhorse.  So clearly it was made with beer in mind, as it should have been.  I was unaware that we actually had this in the States, probably because I can’t remember the last time I hammered something, but now I am going to find reasons to hammer the shit out of anything…right after I purchase this. 

2.  Fruhlingsfest 2010.  Celebration of the spring and beer for zi Germans.  It really is just like Volksfest, the cousin of Oktoberfest, but warmer, except it rained yesterday, so it was wasn’t warmer at all.  It was cold and rainy outside, and hot and sweaty in the beer tents, just how the Germans like it.  It was a great time, per usual with the Stu crew and it was kind of like my homecoming, considering I haven’t seen anyone since before I left for Sarajevo in March and most people either thought I was dead or had moved back home.  It was all you can expect from a German fest.  It was excessive amounts of beer, great outfits, rides and lots and LOTS of German snacks. (the corn on the cob on a stick is always my favorite, though it’s not a German snack)  I didn’t end up getting crazy at this Fest and ended up giving up the beer and being the driver.  I really don’t know what has happened to me.  Maybe the thought of ever having to return to the hospital here has scared me straight into responsible 30-year-old behavior.  I don’t like it, but it’s not all that bad. 🙂

 And now lastly, but most importantly…..

1.  Nurnberg!

So I just got back Friday from a work trip to a bunch of villages in Northern Germany (well, more north than where I live) and I am going to report back on a city that I visited in a timely manner.  The only reason I’m actually doing so is because I really liked this trip and not only were the little villages beautiful, but the drive was nice and I visited my new, favorite German city of the month.  Nurnberg!  It has officially moved into the top 5 in Germany–1. Uberlingen, 2. Fussen 3. Nurnberg. 4. Weil der Stadt 5. Kiel.  It could actually be number one for a lot of reasons, but Uberlingen and Fussen have that blue-green water I love so much, so I’m sticking to the ranking as is. 

Now, Nurnberg–one of Germany’s most quaint and romantic cities.  (said by them, agreed upon by me)  It has all the makings of a quaint and romantic city.  The city sits upon endless paths of cobblestones, smooth and dangerous, having rolled my ankle at least twice, very graceful of me.  It’s within castle walls, tall and strong, and not some bullshit castle.   A real castle.  A functional castle that looks worn and rebuilt in parts, brick and stone alternating in the stacking, telling stories of men who died to keep them intact and the people within safe. Now historically, it’s not so romantic at all, but we’ll just pretend I don’t know anything about the history of Nurnberg and get back to my description. 

  A river rolls through the village quietly, with its tiny wooden bridges leaping from one side to the other.  The river was pretty in general, but prettiest at night, with the moon’s reflection lit up the city.  It was clear and warm the night I was there, and as I walked this path on the river, the willows rustled in the cool air and blew from side to side like hair in the wind and the swooshing sound it made was peaceful.  I found a story about the willows in Nurnberg when I got back the following night, a Hans Christian Andersen story “Under the Willow-Tree), and here’s the part I liked best:

Winter came; the water was frozen, and everything seemed buried in a cold grave. But when spring returned, and the first steamer prepared to sail, Knud was seized with a longing to wander forth into the world, but not to France. So he packed his knapsack, and travelled through Germany, going from town to town, but finding neither rest or peace. It was not till he arrived at the glorious old town of Nuremberg that he gained the mastery over himself, and rested his weary feet; and here he remained.

Nuremberg is a wonderful old city, and looks as if it had been cut out of an old picture-book. The streets seem to have arranged themselves according to their own fancy, and as if the houses objected to stand in rows or rank and file. Gables, with little towers, ornamented columns, and statues, can be seen even to the city gate; and from the singular-shaped roofs, waterspouts, formed like dragons, or long lean dogs, extend far across to the middle of the street. Here, in the market-place, stood Knud, with his knapsack on his back, close to one of the old fountains which are so beautifully adorned with figures, scriptural and historical, and which spring up between the sparkling jets of water. A pretty servant-maid was just filling her pails, and she gave Knud a refreshing draught; she had a handful of roses, and she gave him one, which appeared to him like a good omen for the future. From a neighboring church came the sounds of music, and the familiar tones reminded him of the organ at home at Kjøge; so he passed into the great cathedral. The sunshine streamed through the painted glass windows, and between two lofty slender pillars. His thoughts became prayerful, and calm peace rested on his soul. He next sought and found a good master in Nuremberg, with whom he stayed and learnt the German language.

The old moat round the town had been converted into a number of little kitchen gardens; but the high walls, with their heavy-looking towers, are still standing. Inside these walls the ropemaker twisted his ropes along a walk built like a gallery, and in the cracks and crevices of the walls elderbushes grow and stretch their green boughs over the small houses which stand below. In one of these houses lived the master for whom Knud worked; and over the little garret window where he sat, the elder-tree waved its branches. Here he dwelt through one summer and winter, but when spring came again, he could endure it no longer. The elder was in blossom, and its fragrance was so homelike, that he fancied himself back again in the gardens of Kjøge. So Knud left his master, and went to work for another who lived farther in the town, where no elder grew. His workshop was quite close to one of the old stone bridges, near to a water-mill, round which the roaring stream rushed and foamed always, yet restrained by the neighboring houses, whose old, decayed balconies hung over, and seemed ready to fall into the water. Here grew no elder; here was not even a flower-pot, with its little green plant; but just opposite the workshop stood a great willow-tree, which seemed to hold fast to the house for fear of being carried away by the water. It stretched its branches over the stream just as those of the willow-tree in the garden at Kjøge had spread over the river. Yes, he had indeed gone from elder-mother to willow-father. There was a something about the tree here, especially in the moonlight nights, that went direct to his heart; yet it was not in reality the moonlight, but the old tree itself. However, he could not endure it: and why? Ask the willow, ask the blossoming elder! At all events, he bade farewell to Nuremberg and journeyed onwards. He never spoke of Joanna to any one; his sorrow was hidden in his heart. The old childish story of the two cakes had a deep meaning for him. He understood now why the gingerbread man had a bitter almond in his left side; his was the feeling of bitterness, and Joanna, so mild and friendly, was represented by the honeycake maiden. As he thought upon all this, the strap of his knapsack pressed across his chest so that he could hardly breathe; he loosened it, but gained no relief. He saw but half the world around him; the other half he carried with him in his inward thoughts; and this is the condition in which he left Nuremberg. Not till he caught sight of the lofty mountains did the world appear more free to him; his thoughts were attracted to outer objects, and tears came into his eyes. The Alps appeared to him like the wings of earth folded together; unfolded, they would display the variegated pictures of dark woods, foaming waters, spreading clouds, and masses of snow. “At the last day,” thought he, “the earth will unfold its great wings, and soar upwards to the skies, there to burst like a soap-bubble in the radiant glance of the Deity. Oh,” sighed he, “that the last day were come!”

And so I love Nurnberg.  I could give more reasons, but it’s not the Nurnberg report, so I’ll just leave it at this for now….and say that I’ll be back.

And that’s all I’ve got tonight.  Happy first week of May!