Monday, December 17, 2007

A random slide in the middle of our neighborhood

Joe and I saw this slide in August and it was completely covered in prickly vegetation. I'd been dreaming of showing up with a hacksaw to clear this wondrous slide for my own pleasure. It is located in a small playground near a local jail which we attribute to its former state of disrepair. I decided we needed to hop the fence and check it out, even though the stairs to the top are under construction. The best part about this playground is that there are no kids getting in the way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Here's a guy in the Christmas Market grilling some wurst (sausage). If you thought the sausage fanaticism was a're wrong. You see people eating and selling sausage of every kind everywhere.

We were walking down to the Kornmarkt in a hurry and I made Joe stop for a picture :)

Heidelberg Weihnachtsmarkt

Outdoor ice skating rink down the street from us (I wish my cousins could be here!)

Heidelberg Weihnachtsmarkt

Me and my cherry Gluehwein!

Heidelberg Weihnachtsmarkt

This is a shot of a bakery stand set up in Bismarckplatz for the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market). So far I've tried a ginger bread cookie and Joe and I tried two Schaumkuessen, which are marshmallow fluff dipped in chocolate and then you can request a flavor of chocolate on it too! We tried rum (rum) and cinnamon (zimt). I highly recommend both.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cologne, Germany

On Sunday, November 25th, we saw Cologne! Cologne is an historic city built on Roman ruins. It was the northernmost outpost of the Roman Empire. There is a huge modern museum called the Römisch-Germanisches Museum (Roman-German) that houses some of the artifacts found in the city.

We left at about 9:30am on Sunday and went with Matt, Tyler, and Erica. Cologne is known for their beautiful cathedral, and it is hard to miss as it dominates the city's skyline. We went in and there was a mass going, but we could still watch from the vestibule. We had the opportunity to climb to the very top of one of the spires, which was 157m from start to finish and was comprised of 500 steps! There was a very small winding staircase and at times there were no windows, so we could see a beautiful view of the entire city and feel the wind at the top of the spire! Unfortunately the only person with a camera was afraid of heights and claustrophobic, so we don't have pictures of this view. Here is a shot of the Cologne Cathedral I found:

We hung around the city for the day, getting Doeners (lamb,lettuce, tomato, carrot, yogurt sauce, spicy sauce in a pita) and coffee to escape the rain.

Finally it was time for the show we came to see! The New Pornographers were on tour for their new album, Challengers, and this was their only stop in Germany. I had seen the band once in Toronto and it was a completely packed show with thousands of people, and A.C. Newman (the lead singer) played a solo show at Intonation 2005 in Chicago with thousands of people too! It was amazing to see them up close and personal. Joe and I were right at the stage for the whole show and it was pretty amazing. After the show, the drummer came out to talk to people and Erica got a picture of me with him, so I will continue hounding her for her pictures of the show.

Cologne is a pretty great city. I would like to go back in better weather to walk around, see the museums and art galleries, and of course I will have to see the Chocolate Museum down by the Rhine! Apparently they have a huge chocolate fountain of really great German chocolate that you can try :)

Friday, November 23, 2007


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Anna and Alex


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Chris brought over some vodka from Russia and they are doing shots from Russian-sized shot glasses.

L to R: Marcel, Chris, Joe


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Liam, Tyler, and Marcel all looking insane. What kind of chaos is happening in my house?!?!?!


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Relaxing after our Thanksgiving feast!


Originally uploaded by H Monster
No party is complete without a picture of Liam between Anna and Thamar.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Joe knew Chris from classes in Arabic and Islamic Studies and Alex is Chris' girlfriend. Both are German and their families live in Russian.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
It was like a entire desk covered in wine and dessert. Joe made two pumpkin pies, an apple pie, and rice pudding. Matt brought Amaretto cookies, and Thamar brought an enormous towering confectionery delight.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
When you have the choice between pumpkin or hot apple pie, you should just choose both.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Liam did an awesome job carving the turkey.


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Anna and Thamar with the pierogis!


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Joe finally gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

The table!

Originally uploaded by H Monster
Everyone came over for turkey!
L to R: Chris, Alex, Joe, Anna, Thamar, and Liam


Originally uploaded by H Monster
My mom sent a cute fall-themed hand towel, so I thought she should see it in action. Our towel rack is awesome because it is also the heater for the bathroom, so it acts as a towel warmer (awesome).


Originally uploaded by H Monster
For those unfamiliar with our couch, this picture is a perfect opportunity to get acquainted. It is purple and made for sitting on.

The feasting table

Originally uploaded by H Monster
We somehow found enough chairs, plates, and utensils for 10 people! Exciting. :)

Preparing for Thanksgiving dinner

Originally uploaded by H Monster
A day later and he is still cooking and consulting The Joy of Cooking.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
We moved the kitchen table into the dining room for more places to sit, so I moved the table from the balcony downstairs for the wine and glasses. You can also see our ever-growing German beer bottle collection behind the table.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
A delicious boiled pierogi!?!?!?


Originally uploaded by H Monster
He's been cooking for about 6 hours now in this picture...and there is still more left to be cooked.


Originally uploaded by H Monster

Pierogis for Thanksgiving AND BEYOND

Originally uploaded by H Monster
Cutting out the dough


Originally uploaded by H Monster

Here we begin an epic saga of Thanksgiving pictures. We cooked for nine friends, German, Dutch, Polish, and American. We have a lot to be thankful for and we were glad to share the holiday with good friends even though we had to be away from home.

Joe used his grandma's recipe for pierogis for our Thanksgiving dinner. It took us a few hours, but we have enough pierogis for an eternity! There are both potato with cheese and sauerkraut pierogis.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
This view shows some typical Heidelberg buildings and the crowded streets.

the other side of the river

Originally uploaded by H Monster
This side of the river isn't as magnificent as the one with the Altstadt and castle, but it has a marina with sailboats and a view of the industrial area of Heidelberg. The marina is really beautiful in the summertime.

The bridge

Originally uploaded by H Monster
You can't see the Neckar River in this photo, but the bridge is over the Neckar and all of these houses and buildings have a view of the river, Altstadt, and castle


Originally uploaded by H Monster
This is one stop before Bismarckplatz. I got off early at Brueckenstrasse to take pictures from the bridge.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
This is what the inside of the tram looks like. They have an area in the middle where they can be flexible around curves, so you can see the area that moves in the picture. You can also see lots of people on the bus who probably thought I was very creepy taking pictures of them. Oh well, Ich spreche kein Deutsch!! Sorry!


Originally uploaded by H Monster
My lovely tram stop that I spend too much time at. The two trams are the 5 and 23 which take me to Bismarckplatz. From Bismarckplatz, I can either take the 30 or 33 to Oberer-Fauler-Pelz which is very close to home, or a random bus to Universitaetplatz or Peterskirche and walk a little further.


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Another example of a huge Neuenheim house! Some of them are converted into dental offices or movie rental shops on the ground floor and the residential area is kept intact and rented, but a lot of them house families who have lived in them for years!


Originally uploaded by H Monster
Just an example of an enormous Neuenheim house.

The hill!

Originally uploaded by H Monster
I fight this hill every day! It doesn't look very steep, but it is! It is also a contributing factor to my calves looking like I'm a body builder.

Schiller garden

Originally uploaded by H Monster
This is a really nice area to do your reading or whatever when the weather is nice.

Spiral Staircase

Originally uploaded by H Monster
This is the stairway to the main lobby at Schiller. The lighting is very dark and I'm not a fantastic photographer.

Main entrance

Originally uploaded by H Monster
There are a lot of stairs at Schiller! Be prepared to get muscular legs whether you want to or not!

Originally uploaded by H Monster
This is the main entrance


Originally uploaded by H Monster
This is a view down Bergstrasse, the street that my school is on. It is located in Neuenheim, a section of Heidelberg known for its huge estates. SIU used to be the home of a Chemistry professor/scientist from the University of Heidelberg and it has an interesting story about being financed by Soviets, sold to the bank, given to the church, and finally purchased by Schiller in the 1980s. These houses all have about thirty rooms and are very old and impressive.

Schiller International University

Originally uploaded by H Monster
This is the main entrance of the school I go to. I'm currently taking 5 classes and I have at least one class every day Monday through Friday. I also work here, so this is a very common view for me. It is right up a hill from the bus stop, Blumenthalstrasse.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween! The holiday isn't celebrated too much in Germany, so we found a mostly-American bar called O'Reilly's where a lot of the Army people and study abroad students go. Not too many people were dressed up, bummer!
We did carve pumpkins and they came out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Mine was a little monster named Hellfire, with fire streaks across his pumpkin skull. Joe's was a two-faced pumpkin, with one scared half and one demonic half. We put our pumpkins outside to be enjoyed by all passers-by and little Hellfire was stolen in a matter of minutes! I've decided it was because it was just such a beautiful and valuable piece of artwork. The day after Halloween, Joe decided he wanted to eat his pumpkin that had been sitting outside all night. Here are some pictures from right after carving:

two-faced pumpkin
Joe's Pumpkin

hellfire front
My pumpkin!

hellfire right side
Hellfire got his name from these sweet fire escape holes I bored into his pumpkin skull.

joe imitating hellfire
Joe imitating my monster jack o'lantern

Here I am with Joe's beautiful Scared/Angry pumpkin. The angry side is green and gross from it laying on that side in the pumpkin patch, and the scared side is a nice orange.

We also made pumpkin seeds and these German pumpkin guts smelled like cucumbers instead of pumpkin. The seeds were also a lot bigger than the pumpkin seeds we're familiar with. We made the guts into something soup-ish with brown sugar, milk, cinnamon, and some other ingredients. So good!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Notre Dame -- Strasbourg

Originally uploaded by H Monster
This church was truly gorgeous. The outside of the cathedral was so ornately carved that it looked like lace. If you look carefully, you can see Joe in the picture.

Strasbourg, France

Originally uploaded by H Monster
Joe and a beautiful old offiice building