Monthly Archives: August 2009

Lost in Translation

As a belated birthday gift, my sister (Aunt K) and my husband David gave me a backpack baby carrier, so that we can go hiking with Rosebud. We ordered the carrier about a week and a half ago, and it arrived in the mail this past Wednesday. I couldn’t wait to try it out and had the chance to do so this afternoon. And my review of the backpack can be summed up by one word: fantastic!

The carrier is made by the German outdoor sports company Vaude, and it’s called the Jolly Comfort IV. It’s a very thoughtfully designed carrier: it comes with a sun roof with rain cover, a baby changing pad, plenty of storage space, hooks for baby toys, a cuddly “bear” attachment for the baby to hold on to, and it’s easily adjustable. Also, the carrier will last us until Rosebud is at least three years old. I intend to get as much use out of it as I can! It’s very comfortable and nicely distributes the weight. I was completely comfortable as we hiked for several hours this afternoon. I am already thinking about our next hiking adventure.

Some pictures of Rosebud in the carrier, before I put it on:

Have blankie, ready to hike.

Have blankie, ready to hike.

Mom, can we go already?

Mom, can we go already?

As we were properly sizing the carrier, I was reading through the manual and noticed a hilarious translation in the section called “Care and Cleaning”.

Cut down on the mutant life forms that will decorate your child carrier if you store it wet: dry it.

I read through the other languages, and none of them were as colorful or funny as this was in English. The other languages simply mention mildew and mold, not mutant life forms; nor is there any mention of said mutant life forms decorating the carrier in the other languages. I wonder what copy editor let that one slip by? 😀 Regardless, that sentence made my day.

This morning started out rainy, but cleared up considerably by the afternoon. We decided to try climbing up the hill across from our house. It’s actually considered a foothill to the Alps (Voralpen). I think the elevation tops out at around 1200 meters. We climbed up to about 900 meters I’d say, about an incline of 300 meters from our house. It was a great hike! We didn’t go as far as I would have liked (to the Blomberg area) as the path was muddy and slick in places. It would have probably added another hour and a half to the hike as well. We hope to go that far on the path the first chance we get. With luck, we’ll have a gorgeous Saturday this September.

In this video, you can see a little bit of the trail, and me carrying Rosebud in our new carrier:

After our hike, we decided to stop at a Biergarten that has just reopened. It’s on the way back to our house and features Hungarian cuisine. While I enjoyed a cup of coffee and Palatschinken (a dessert that is like a crêpe; the one I ordered had chocolate sauce and hazelnuts), David sipped some Schneiderweiss beer [i]vom Fass[/i] – from the tap. He said it was excellent. Rosebud, of course, was hungry and interested in my Palatschinken and her Daddy helped too! I figured after a rigorous hike, we had earned a sweet treat.

Here’s a video of us at the Biergarten, featuring Rosebud eating the Palatschinken.

On the weekends, it’s common for German families to go hiking and then stop for Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) either after they’ve completed the hike, or in the middle of the hike. It partly depends on when you find a Gasthaus or Biergarten or restaurant. I approve of this German custom! In my opinion, it’s such a civilized way to spend an afternoon – fresh air, exercise, family time and dessert. What could be better?

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Rosebud interacts with the monkeys

The past few days have been sunny and hot, so we decided that yesterday would be a perfect day to go to Tierpark Hellabrunn, or the Munich City Hellabrunn Zoo.

I was impressed by the zoo, and we had a very enjoyable outing. The zoo makes excellent use of their space, giving the animals as much room to roam as possible. According to their website, it was the first zoo to establish geographical land areas for the animals. The zoo also has a neat exhibit on protecting animals and their habitat, veterinary practices and ecology. Rosebud is too little to appreciate these concepts at the moment, but as she gets older, I will take her back to that exhibit.

Our day didn’t start off on quite the right note. I was putting sunblock on Rosebud’s friend, Aby, when Rosebud was stung by a bee on her hand. Fortunately, I had some child-safe ointment in my purse which seemed to really help. It’s awful, though, when your child is hurting and there is not much you can do other than soothe them. Rosebud’s finger got a little swollen but over the course of the afternoon, looked better and better; today you wouldn’t even know she had been stung. So that’s a relief to me and her both.

Rosebud is old enough now that she takes a much keener interest in the animals. We especially enjoyed the Urwaldhaus, where the monkeys are housed.

I parked Rosebud’s stroller by the glass so she could see the monkeys at play. There was one young monkey who clearly was hamming it up for the visitors. This monkey would run along the side of the glass and was generally playful with the other monkeys.

Rosebud was giggling at all the silly monkeys (who, I must admit, really remind me of toddlers). The playful monkey ran past the glass again and stopped in front of Rosebud. Then, the monkey tapped on the glass, looked as if it were laughing, and then ran in circles. We were all laughing, and Rosebud thought it was hilarious. The monkey “played” with her in this way several more times. It was adorable!

One primate exhibit we saw features the Lisztaffe.

Lisztaffe, or Cottontop Tamarin

Lisztaffe, or Cottontop Tamarin

They are called Cottontop or Pinché Tamarins in English. So why are they called Lisztaffe, or Liszt monkeys, in German? They were so named after the Austrian-Hungarian composer, Franz Liszt, who apparently sported the same hairstyle as the tamarins:

Franz Liszt and his mane of white hair

Franz Liszt and his mane of white hair

This fact amuses me to no end!

I took lots of pictures yesterday, but they’re on old-school film. I will need to wait for them to get developed and will post pictures later on. I am having fun getting reacquainted with my SLR, but I do miss having the instantaneous access to my photos in digital format.

Lemon and herb syrup for beverages

Ah, late summer. I love this time of year, as it means so many delicious fruits and vegetables are in season. Another sign of late summer are the crickets chirping in the fields. It’s comforting to hear them, even here in Bavaria.

As such, we have been enjoying dishes like tomato caprese salad with fresh basil from my garden and real Italian buffalo mozzarella.

Today I was leafing through a German recipe magazine, called Essen und Trinken and it had a recipe for Lemon Basil Syrup to use in beverages.

The recipe is as follows:
Combine the juice of two lemons, 150 ml of water (2/3 cup) and four tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and then add five stems of fresh basil. Steep for half an hour and let cool.

The recipe book suggested mixing the syrup with champagne or sparkling mineral water for a refreshing treat. Remove the basil leaves after they are done steeping of course, but you can add some fresh basil as a garnish if you wish.

Since I hear that fancy cocktails with basil flavor are all the rage, I decided to give this simple syrup a try.

However, it occurred to me that it might be fun and interesting to try other herbs instead of basil. What about mint? Or oregano? Maybe coriander greens (cilantro)?

One plant in my garden, an herb which is popular in herbal tisanes here in Germany, is Zitronenmelisse, or Lemon Balm. I decided to use it in place of the basil. It is steeping at the moment, so later I will report on how it turns out.

But I thought I would share this recipe as it can be used and adapted in so many different ways. In addition to champagne and sparkling water, I may try it as a martini ingredient, or perhaps with white wine and sparkling water to make a Weinschorle.

As it’s the end of summer, what better way to relax than with a sophisticated, simple and refreshing beverage?

edited to add: I’m happy to report that my Lemon-Lemon Balm syrup is a success! It’s lemony, herby and refreshing in the Grüner Veltliner wine that I’m sipping at the moment.