Wednesday, December 7, 2011

November Recap

Hello Everybody,

November was a good, so-so and sad month. 

Sad stuff first, During the second week in November I received a message from my sister about how Grandma was in hospital and things didn’t look so good and that she would call me with updates.  Then one late afternoon I received another call from my sister telling me Grandma had requested to speak to me, well all her nephews and I was next in line for a call. Still I was quite surprised, I didn’t expect to talk to my Grandma again and when I did speak to her, she was alert and even made a joke when I said,  “it would be hard to visit since my private jet had run out of gas” and she responded by saying, “Well, put it on my tab.”  We both shared a last laugh and then I wished her to get well soon - the following day grandma was gone. 

I heard all my cousins attended the funeral, which meant all 52 showed up minus one, me, and that they made a collage of all of us, I did regret not be able to see all my cousins...oh well life goes on.  Though I was sad I could not attend the service, I was happy to have shared a final laugh and goodbye with Grandma Castillo.

Below are the pictures used of us for Grandma’s farewell collage . (l-r: me, Barb and Cindy) New Folder5

Now for the so-so stuff.

L was away for most of November – off to China she was and well, what could I do…well I went to France with a friend. One, was to get my mind from thinking to much of my Grandma, well more my dad since it was his mother. Secondly, to go taste wine in the northern region of France know as the Côte d'Or and I wasn’t driving - so all the better.

Taste wine, eat good food and forget the troubles of the day, you’d think that great…but it was so-so.  Plus I would be away for three days and that meant L would be home sooner when I returned.

Below is the town of one of my favorite Burgundy wines - Mercurey.


Many people prefer the wines from the northern region of the Côte d'Or and do have to agree that the wines in the north are good, Côte d'Beaune, Côte d'Nuit, Pommard, Romanee and Volnay.  But for my taste and wallet, nothing compares to the Mercurey region and L’s favorite the Givry region, not to be confused with Geverey. 

I hope these regions stay the way they are – small and quiet, because their northern counterparts are way to big and built for money.



Heading back to Germany. 

I had some great wines from the 2009 vintage, I’d say it’s great all around, but the 2010 may be more to my liking, in the Mercurey region that is. I can’t wait for the Wine Festival in Strasbourg.



Back home a day before Thanksgiving.  I made Challah for our local friends. Several of the expats got together and we had Thanksgiving dinner Friday night.  It was so-so, I had fun but I think I was really missing L, family and friends this year.  Well that may be changing soon, like in six months or so…hint hint. 






And time for the good.

L returned the 2 of December and I was quite happy.  We had an abbreviated version of Thanksgiving dinner. I made quail wrapped in bacon, green beans and leek – sage butternut risotto.  Below is some of the pictures of my prep work.

Cubing the butternut and chopping the leeks

Risotto Night  Butternut

Prepping for cooking – all ingredients at the ready

chicken stock, olive oil, a cup and some of risotto, chopped sage, chopped leeks, white wine, parmesan cheese, pepper and a bit of heavy cream or butter

Risotto Night  Butternut1



mix – rest – serve

Risotto Night  Butternut3


That was November



Friday, November 4, 2011

what the? where did october go and hallows eve?

Hi Everybody,

I realized this morning, as I was brushing last nights broccoli out of my teeth – I forgot to blog in October. While the U.S. is doing the OctoberBeerFest stuff during the month of October, here in Germany people have moved on, thus all October I sat on my porch, Stein in one hand and a Mos in the other, waiting for Oktober fest to pass by the house -  forgetting that Germans have their Oktoberfest in September – can you see why I get confused and forget what month it is.

Continuing – everything is moving like salmon on a mating run. Turkey day is around the corner and L will be off on one of her yearly China trips.  So November is also starting to get away from me as well – thus eyes got to blog.

Firstly and similar to last year - I ordered drum shells (African rosewood, I know save your complaining for the monkeys in the forest) and will be building a complete drum set this time around…wish me luck.

I really have gotten into trail riding and I think I scared my friends The Prumleys, because when they got one look at my MTB get –up,I could see they thought I had entered a spandex vortex – I  figured while here in Germany, where no one really knows me, why not go (b)all(s) out. See below.

dork in funny clothes – spandex coved of course - no one wants to see me in tight shorts it’s gross…reallyImage026

Even though these guys are gung-ho about MTB-ing, they still have trouble mounting the bikes to the van.



The MTB Club Minus 2



I didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked and this trip is also around the end of fall, maybe a month ago, early October.


We had a week of crazy warm weather and of course we had to take advantage of our good fortune. Now the weather has turned to foggy cloudy days at about a steady 34 degrees.



Getting lost, the french dude really liked getting us lost, though he had a GPS attached to his bike, he still managed to pick the wrong path…hehehe.



This was a really nice single trail path that went along this huge rock wall.


Back into the forest getting lost.


And FIN. Greeny is still doing good although sometimes she still kicks me off when we’re not getting along. Don’t worry Lianner, no need to get jealous.


well that’s all for now. I’ll post pictures of my drum building project as I get closer to finishing.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Köln : Hugging the Rhine

Hello Everybody,

Köln, Germany


Let me see…what can I say about Köln…oh yeah, awesome!

Köln is the cultural center of the Rhineland and I would also add, because of the Köln University, the hippiest and artiest city of Germany, thus far anyway.

Köln originally founded by the Romans in 50 AD, was once called Colonia and has seen its share of history. Middle Age disputes with the Holy Roman Church, then the French, well Napoleon wanted a piece of the action, sitting on a prime trading route one can see why it would be a great city to own.  Then WWI and with much of it destroyed during WW2,(See picture below, borrowed from an internet source) Köln suffered 95% destruction and lost many cultural artifacts.  Unlike Nuremberg, which rebuild brick by brick a replica of what once was, Köln chose a new path to rebuild with an (at the time), modern 1950s look.



L and I had a great time in Köln and I would recommend anyone visiting Germany to plan time to visit this mighty city by the river.

koln 3 pan

There’s just something about cities that sprout up near rivers, the night life, the people and that mix of culture one gets from people flocking to river cities.


Kölner Dom


Our first stop was the Dom of Köln which was quite impressive. The cathedral is one of the world's largest Gothic churches in Northern Europe and for four short years from 1880 to 1884 was the tallest structure in the world. 

koln 1 pan


The inside is also quite beautiful, if you like the inside of Gothic churches.











The Köln train station and also a hang out for the locals.

koln 5 pan


The back of the cathedral.




I guess back when the church was built sticking one’s tongue out scared away demons




The Rhine

koln 2 pan



So along the fence of this bridge - couples demonstrate their love  by placing a lock to signify their forever bond.



Does anyone see something in the picture below.



And I guess young kids don’t climb trees in Köln, but city walls.

IMG_8483Koln 2


Walking through the old part of Köln.


Below is some of that 1950s I was talking about. It is everywhere if you start looking for it.


Here we are at the children’s festival – oh yeah I forgot, L and I went to Köln because I had a small gig at a  Köln’s Children Festival. The young girl in the picture below was really intrigued by how my foot made the bassdrum work. She was quite cute – she’d run to the front of the drum and peek through the vent hole and then back around to the side and then back to the front…this went on for a while. 


The night life was great. L and I stayed by the University and boy was it jumping. Bar after bar after restaurant and we thought it must be just in this area . Not to be - twice we went walking in the evening and found these great pockets of people and restaurant bars.  It made us miss Portland.


Our last night enjoying their local brew called, Kölsch, which unlike regular German beer, which is cold fermented, Kölsch is warm fermented.  So when in Köln order a Kölsch…small, fresh and sooo good, plus easy to drink, so be warned.


Bye Bye Köln


Until next time.


M&L or L&M