Sunday, January 21, 2007

Burg Windeck (Weinheim)

Burg Windeck
One of the benefits of moving to a new area is that it opens a lot of opportunities for sight-seeing. Today we explored the two castles near Weinheim. We left the car in Weinheim and hiked up - first to the ruins of Burg Windeck and then continued to the Wachenburg.

Very nice views across the Rhine valley!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pauline jumps

Today we took our daughter's friends to the Jumpinn to celebrate her recent 9th birthday. Looks like the kids had good fun.

The only hick-up was on the way from our home to the facility: I loaded my car with kids and took of, followed by a couple of other parents that did the same. We were wondering where my wife was and the load of kids that she was supposed to drive over. As it turns out the battery of her car decided that this was a good opportunity to go on strike ...

Some of the kids had some slight injury calling for a short time out - fortunately, nothing serious - and they were all happy when we left. I guess we can really recommend this place. Looks like that wasn't really necessary. Paulien will return to the Jumpinn in a couple of weeks when one of her friends who was with us today celebrates her birthday over there as well.

Right Before Left - Driving in Germany

How do you best explain some of the critical differences about the driving rules between Germany and the U.S. to a friend that just moved from here from there?

Here is a pretty good attempt:

"Right Before Left: This is really important and probably the major difference between driving in Germany and in the United States. When you approach an intersecting road (either a crossroad or a street that merely intersects on one side), and if there is a car approaching from the road to your right, that car has the right-of-way. By the same token, when you approach an intersection and a car approaches you on your left, you have the right of way (you are on his right). But use caution - that other driver could be a tourist or someone who simply had their license changed over!"

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Pauline on unicycle

Alright. Our daughter was just very clear - she needed a unicycle. Now she found one under the Christmas tree. It took her three days - and a little hand holding of her grandparents - and she figured out how to ride it. I am still blown away. It makes me both feel proud and humble seeing my kid picking up a significant skill so quickly - that I feel pretty save to say I will never acquire.

Go, Pauline, go ...

The Prickrils' adventures in Germany

The Prickrils' adventures in Germany: "I think the first adjustment we had to make has to do with the general pace of life in Germany. We arrived on a Saturday which was a holiday. As such, virtually all businesses except restaurants and bars were closed! The same thing applies every Sunday! Furthermore, supermarkets close at 8:00 pm (or 20:00 as is more commonly expressed here)."

Welcome Greg, Bia and family!

"Bagdad mit dem Vorschlaghammer befreit"

21.500 zusätzliche US-Soldaten? Noch mehr Wiederaufbau-Milliarden? Eine frische diplomatische Offensive? "Ich stand bisher hinter dem Präsidenten und habe ihm seinen Traum abgekauft", sagte der Republikaner George Voinovich bitter-resigniert. "Inzwischen glaube ich nicht, dass das noch geschehen wird."

Ernüchternde Worte. Sicher, Bush wusste gut, dass seine wohl letzte Blaupause zur Rettung des Iraks und des eigenen Schicksals ins politische Sperrfeuer geraten würde. "Wir verstehen, dass die Leute skeptisch sind", sagte Präsidentsprecher Gordon Johndroe. "Ich hoffe nur, dass sie aufs Detail gucken werden."

Genau das taten sie - und lehnten auch die Details ab. Zum Beispiel, dass die Truppenspritze für den Irak eine langfristige Aufstockung des US-Militärs um 92.000 Soldaten erfordere - ein Kostenfaktor von gut 15 Milliarden Dollar pro Jahr. Oder, dass die Nationalgarde nun erneut mobilisiert werden müsse. Oder, dass Teile von Bagdad fortan hermetisch abgeriegelt werden sollten - eine Taktik, die bereits in Vietnam in "spektakulärem Versagen" geendet war, wie nicht nur die "Los Angeles Times" anmerkte.

Lernt G.W. nie etwas dazu?