Herrmannsdorf farm and workshops, Germany

Herrmannsdorf is only two kilometers from Glonn in Bavaria, Southern Germany. When I last visited, long-necked ducks ran over the courtyard and you had to watch where you walked. The lovely buildings from the early 20th century are protected as a monument and any additions need authorization. There are the main living quarters, the large market building, the west and east sheds and stalls, the central restaurant building, more pig stalls and a few mobile chicken coops which can be pulled to other locations.

The pigs that are bred are strong and compact with a black head and hind part and a pink middle. A piglet weighs only a few pounds, a “teen” about 50 kg and a fully grown pig about 110 kg. You should reconsider before dreaming of a pet piggy! Herrmannsdorf offers workshops to learn how to make sausages, Weißwürste and ham. Turkey and other kinds of meat are bought from local producers.

The sows and piglets have their own building. Sows are “easy-care” animals, they will give their little ones milk, but they do not count them if they get lost. The stronger ones fight their way to the front tit with the most milk, the smaller ones take what they can get. The male pigs don’t do much more than lie in the shade or eat, they save their energy for the dating rounds with the ladies. The females are rather willing after less than a week after delivering their litter.

The chickens always have a rooster nearby to make them feel comfortable. They love taking “sand baths” to be rid of the mites in their feathers. In 2018 the foxes couldn’t find enough mice to eat and therefore raided about half of all chickens on the farm. For a while they had to stay within their coops. The chickens with the blue feet and the elegant cocks are French “bleus” that are cross-bred with an Austrian species with ruffled feathers on their heads. The goat seemed unruffled while munching on all the twigs, the sheep maintain a nice short lawn around the coop.

Naturally you can also learn baking and how to fold pretzels (Brezen). They do their own milling for whole grain bread types. Processed flour is bought elsewhere. Coffee beans are bought green and roasted in their own torrefaction machines. The coffee and espresso is very good.

The Kindergarten which originally was intended for their employees’ children has been “outsourced” for other local children. Oddly enough, it is right next door to the distillery… The market has only ecological food, meat, cheeses, olives, canned goods, bakery wares, coffee and tea, fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs. All the employees (more then 200) we saw were cheerful and very proud of their work.

The restaurant has a large Biergarten under trees. Inside the large room with beamed ceiling there are many tables on different levels. The menu is not large, but all ingredients are ecological and fresh, of course pork is never missing. Prices are rather high, but the guide argues that taking good care of animals and not using chemicals costs a little extra.

The Great Wall to the northeast of Beijing

Our small group took a bus to visit the Great Wall directly after visiting Beijing. We recommend taking along walking sticks should you plan on following one or the other piece of wall as they are at times extremely steep. In the turret I walked up to they were selling cheap coins and certificates to show that you have been on the Wall.

My husband was stopped by an energetic 12-year-old who spoke good English, whether she could ask him questions. She then translated them into Chinese to the rest of the passers-by. Hubby quite enjoyed his “stardom”, but needless to say, all the Chinese people we met were very pleasant, cheerful, curious. However, not everybody speaks English in China as we found out later on!

At the bottom of the hill you will of course find flower beds, toilets, souvenir shops and cafés for the tourists. Some of the souvenir items were absolutely stunning and some also rather large, like life-sized warriors and horses.

Unfortunately, there are only a few sections left of the Great Wall. It is certainly worth climbing on, the view is spectacular.

Shanghai by Day

When visiting Shanghai you should take some time not only for the fashionable colonial street “Bund” and the skyscrapers, but also for their wonderful museum.

Right outdoors of the museum is the river bank walk, where we witnessed a young bridal couple having their photo taken. From the walk you can admire the Bund and the skyscrapers opposite.

Funnily enough, on the way to the airport we saw an area with low houses and little grass + garden plots all around. We were told they belong to affluent people who can pay to have a larger plot and not have to live in a tall building.

As to ownership, the Chinese may only lease their appartment for about 70 years, then it is given to the State. Those people who wish to make money by renting out appartments can only buy a second or third flat under certain circumstances, such as divorce. One lady was in the newspaper for divorcing her husband several times over in order to buy new appartments!

Shanghai by night

Our study group was spontaneously asked whether we would like to go on a boat trip to see Shanghai by night. Naturally we agreed, little knowing that you should book in advance to spare yourself 2 – 3 hours of waiting in the ticket line. Be it as it was, we boarded the ship with many other tourists.

There were drinks, but no seats. All the tourists ran from one side to the other to take the best possible snapshots and it was almost impossible to reach the front row or find something to stand on to get a better view. Still we enjoyed the ride very much!

After Shanghai we flew to Yichang to embark on a larger ship through the Three Gorges Dam. We had to pass several locks to go up the river Yangtse. We also visited a town and a cloister that had been relocated.

The Goetz Collection, Munich

The Goetz Collection was the private art collection of Ms. Goetz, an heiress of a large enterprise. She bought a large lot in Oberföhring, Munich and had the old house torn down. The famous architects Herzog & De Meuron (Peking: Egg’s Nest, Tate Modern) were hired to erect a modern building affording a lot of natural light to house her collection.

The result is very pleasing, light and airy, using a lot of glass. As Ms. Goetz’ children did not want to continue caring for the art works, the entire collection was legued to the Bavarian State. The exhibitions are composed entirely of pieces from the collection, the rest is archived or on loan to other museums, such as Das Haus der Kunst. My favorite was a kind of “Puff the Magis Dragon” made entirely out of cigarettes. I also liked the window etchings of events, private and historic, with dates, denoting the most important influences on Ms. Goetz.

The Collection is open to the public on Thursday – Saturday afternoons, upon request. Art historians offer guided tours, which are worth having for modern and postmodern art. There is a limited amount of lockers and a small wardrobe. Photos are not permitted except for the sculpture garden. The current exhibition of pieces by women of several generations is highly interesting. This Part 3 goes until June 2019.

Self Care Practices For Good Days

love it

Be Inspired..!!

Your body sends constant signals, telling you what’s good for you and what’s not working.  It has an inner guidance system that tries to get you to pay attention to any adjustments you need to make in your life.  For example, your headache and tense shoulders may be a sign of an unresolved issue that’s causing you distress.  Inconvenient as they are, these pains are your allies, begging you to look up and see what’s not working in your life.  It’s easy to become too busy and ignore any discomfort in our bodies until it becomes worse.  Don’t ignore potentially important messages from your body! 

Here are some of the self care practices for good days:

  1. Meditate
  2. Practice Yoga
  3. Declutter your closet
  4. Write a list of things you love about yourself. 
  5. Practice Gratitude
  6. Watch the sunrise/sunset
  7. Practice positive affirmations 
  8. Walk in nature 
  9. Stargaze
  10. Exfoliate and moisture your skin
  11. Visit…

View original post 149 more words

Basque pipérade

You may already know this easy and quick recipe, there are different variations of this sausage and veggie mixture with a fluffy omelette. It’s a meal I like to do when I want something tasty, spicy and not too heavy. Try to buy very fresh eggs and vegetables, you will notice the difference in taste!

The recipe originated in South France, hence the typical vegetables. You can also try experimenting with different types of sausage, like chorizo.

for 2 servings:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 Wiener sausages, cut
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 aubergine, diced
  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • olive oil / margarine
  • salt & pepper
  • herbes de Provence
  • 5-6 large fresh eggs
  • some milk, salt & pepper

fresh crusty bread or a baguette to accompany the meal

Start by preparing all the vegetables. Then heat the oil in a skillet and toss the onions and the sausage bits until they start browning. Add the other vegetables with the salt & pepper and the herbes de Provence. If the mixture is too dry, add a little water and put a lid on the skillet at a low setting until all are tender.

Meanwhile crack the eggs into a large cup or bowl, add a little milk and salt & pepper and beat them with a wire whisk until blended. Pour the eggs into a medium hot skillet with butter or margarine and let them set. Gently turn the omelette several times until cooked, making sure the omelette stays fluffy.

When everything is finished, gently spoon the vegetable/ sausage mixture onto a plate, add in the omelette, garnish with chives and enjoy!