Danube: 3rd stop Solt, Hungary and the horseriders of the Puszta

After we had passed Budapest by night, our next stop was Solt (speak: Sholt) in Hungary. Some passengers chose to visit Pécs, we decided to see the horseriders in the Puszta. We arrived by bus at the sprawling ranch, where we were offered all sorts of drinks, mostly alcoholic, like their famous Stierblut red wine and snappsz. Then the horse riding show began.

The riders with blue cloaks gallopped around the course with different waggons, with horses or oxen. They demonstrated how the horses can fall to their sides and get up again instantly. They swung their whips and let them crack in the air. Some ladies from the audience stood in front of the balustrade and had to play “mother-in-law” while the whip gently enclosed them without hurting them. Next the whiplashes pulled down wooden pins off blocks or cracked in cadence. The riders rode races and tried to snatch a large kerchief in turn from the leader.

The “clown” fellow is a plump rider on a donkey. The two of them always made the crowd laugh, like when the donkey stood backwards or walked in the wrong direction or grabbed the kerchief when no one was looking.

After the wonderful riding show there were more drinks and a ride in a large waggon for all the guests, out to the end of the field around a historic straw hut and camp and back to the stables. These were duly visited and all the horses petted. We saw goats and rabbits as well.

Outside the ladies had set up the inevitable stands selling paprika, in sachets or tins, snappsz, wooden spoons, dishcloths, magnets, blouses with embroidered flowers.

Our next stop was the small Paprika Museum in a villa in the village. There we could see all the products and the history of paprika production.

Afterwards we were invited to a traditional dance at the Embroidery Museum. The young couple showed us several dances and when they had finished, a spectator was asked to count the number of petticoats the young lady was wearing – an astonishing 10 layers atop a waist cushion! Inside the shop they offered very many pretty items of clothing and tablecloths. Unfortunately I couldn’t find anything in my size… We liked this excursion very much as we saw so many traditions of Hungary.

Cosmos coffee in the Deutsches Museum

Today we decided to drink coffee in the special exhibition of the German Museum, founded by Oskar von Miller, the famous engineer, in 1905. It was finally opened in 1925 and is now the largest science and technology museum in the entire world. Prices have gone up since I last visited, an adult pays €14, so be sure to bring along plenty of time.

The “Cosmos Coffee”, on the second floor passing through the Physics department, runs through May 2020. There are many exhibitions on at the same time, also plenty of demonstrations and guided tours which are free of extra charge.

Our tour guide lived in Venezuela for many years and was very competent. She showed us the plants, the coffee flowers of the more delicate plants, the “talking drawers” with old slogans and clichés, the “smelling machines”, the coffee room, the roasting machines, the different bean colors depending on the roasting temperature.

One cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water to let the plants grow and mature, about 5-7 years. The plant came originally from Ethiopia where it is said the goats ate the berries and capered around more than usual. To the human palate the berries were too acid and hard, so they were tossed into the fire – where they developed a fantastic chocolatey aroma. From Africa, coffee made its way to Al Mokha, Yemen and to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there to many others, reaching the US in the 17th and Russia in the 18th century.

harvest workers on the way home a man sprays pesticides on the plants without a mask

The special roast “Cosmos Coffee” at the Museum is 80% Robusta and 20% Arabica. At the bar you can order from a large menu of 8 roasts and 6 kinds of preparing. The espresso was too strong, but the cappucino was delicious and the young barista makes the best hearts and swirls into the milky froth. You can stand at the tall tables or sit down on the benches and relax with a Florentine biscuit.

City trip: Augsburg 2

We boarded the bus early on a very hot, sunny day and headed off towards Augsburg, about an hour to the west of Munich. This time we didn’t plan to see the sights in the downtown area, but lesser known spots on the edge of town. Our first stop was the Bismarck Tower. You drive through a residential area to the cemetary and walk up a wooded path to the top of the hill Steppacher Berg. Many of these towers were built in honor of the First Reichschancellor after 1868, even on other continents. You walk up the winding stairs to the top and have a wonderful view of the city and surroundings.

Bismarckturm

Our next stop was the large tree avenue Wellenburger Allee in the south of Augsburg. It is about 2 km long, shady, with a nice path for cycling and walking on the side. At the end our treat was waiting: the Schlossgaststätte Wellenburg. The food is German-Austrian, some days there is live music. We enjoyed our drinks immensely.

After a good long rest with Eiskaffee or beer, we boarded the bus again to drive to the canoe regatta area of the 1972 Olympic Games, the rowing area is in Oberschleißheim to the north of Munich. It was built at the Eiskanal near the river Lech and (of course) is used to this day and highly appreciated by canoe lovers. It is fun watching them practise turning over and sprinting through the bends.

the front end of the Eiskanal

Our last stop was the Wasserwerk of Augsburg, a water treatment plant. Augsburger are extremely proud of their pure water, which they claim is the best all around. At the drinking fountains you can fill up your bottles with wonderfully cold water.

After some strong espresso and ice cream at the See Lounge plus a short dip in the river we drove home.

Chinese Tea Ceremony in a Plantation, Jiujiang

One of the highlights of our trip to China was the visit to the tea plantation, the guided tour of how tea is picked and dried and finally the tea ceremony with different cups and kinds of tea. This plantation belongs to the Institute of Tea that studies and documents the different stages of processing tea.

The first thing offered to us were these giant straw hats to put on our heads and walk through the rows of low bushes with shiny green leaves. The pickers pick them by hand. The leaves are washed and sorted, then dried in small ovens and left to ferment in woven baskets. This process is repeated several times.

In the tea ceremony room we were seated around long tables. The teapots are preheates with hot water and the tea is carefully poured, stirred and poured again. The picture with the “brick” shows the most expensive variant, the highly fermented tea which is very appreciated among the connoisseurs. Our European taste is more for the young, fresh tea leaves however.

In the adjoining shop all kinds of tea in all sorts of sizes are on offer, as well as wall hangings, teapots and cup sets, tile placemats, figurines, vases and so forth. Many tourists take advantage of the offer and buy tea for themselves and their friends. Most shops will have the larger items sent to your home abroad should you wish to acquire a souvenir, statue or furniture.

The Cake Fairy in Alling

The Tortenfee is the name of the pagoda-like structure in Alling not far from the B2 on the way out towards Augsburg from Munich. The owner formerly had a restaurant, but revised and renovated the building into a café -only that specializes in wedding cakes. All the cakes look scrumptious, you can choose from passion fruit, raspberry, strawberry, chocolate truffle, champagne cake and many more. A special deal is the combination of three half slices on one plate, garnished with fresh berries and dusted with powdered sugar. There is a large selection of beverages.

The tables outdoors offer sun and shade, loads of bushes and bamboo, a large playground and a big bus converted into a coffee kiosk. Unfortunately, quite a lot of through traffic nearby make for a noisy background

Hemingway’s mojito – now is mint bloom!

One of the top classic cocktails, and now that the mint flowers are blossoming, a fine time to mix some mojitos against the heat wave Europe is experiencing :

fresh limes, cooled, partially peeled and cut into round discs

cane sugar and a pestle to grind the discs of lime with the teaspoon of sugar

ron añejo, one shot glass

fresh sprigs of mint

crushed ice / cold water and ice cubes

Put several rounds of lime into a mojito glass, a teaspoon of cand sugar on top and grind with the pestle. Add the rum, the crushed ice, some sprigs of mint and a cocktail stirrer. Enjoy while it ‘s hot!

Earnest Hemingway loved this cocktail especially,  as every Cuban tour guide will be eager to point out. He was known for his drinking habits, his intrepid nature when in Cuba or in the Spanish Civil War. Whoever looks for clues, will be able to find them in his short stories: one tenth meaning and nine tenths buried in the underneath currents of meaning like an iceberg.

sea water ocean winter
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Everybody knows of his physical prowess and his symbols of love, friendship, those bewildered repetitions when his characters must adapt  to a new environment, the search for love, light, orderliness, human warmth,  not agony or the strain of war. As to a list of good reads, I’d offer you a library shelf or two, my faves were “A Clean Well-lighted Place”Farewell to Arms“, For Whom the Bell Tolls“, “Fiesta“, “The Old Man and the Bridge“… take your own pick! Oh yes, and for fun, look at his old boat, tiny but double sturdy!

two white goat kids
Photo by Ruel Madelo on Pexels.com

 

 

 

 

 

Hedwig’s Hundred Household Helpers: coffee grounds make the world go round

A man in a diner calls out to the employee : “Waiter! This coffee tastes like mud!”

Says the waiter: “Why sure! It was only ground this morning.”

https://www.kaffeeform.com/de/  is the site to go to! They take all those leftover coffee grounds, mix them with some kind of special resin or glue and make fabulous-looking as well as good-smelling cups and saucers out of those very coffee grounds. They do cappuccino cups, larger cups and ! new addition ! the Weducer cup for your coffee-to-go cup. I love not only the smell, but more even the idea. (What I don’t really like are those Nespresso- capsule- flowery- recycled- thingies).  I have also tested the Spülmaschinen -festigkeit / dishwasher proof-ness of the cups and they have survived that test quite well.    kaffeeform Kaffeeform UG (haftungsbeschränkt)  Coffee recycling products

Never fear, there are more ways to re-use those coffee grounds: One is to top up your fertilizer for, most of all, geraniums, but also other flowers. If you are not sure, take less or just use leftover cooled down coffee for watering. Most of my shrubs and flowers enjoy the extra douse or filter with grounds (yes, I hand filter. The Danish/ French press kind was too strong to my taste after a few years). You can simply mix it into the soil underneath the shrubs. Best compost!

IMG-20170401-cafe woerner.jpg

Another way to use them is cleaning your stuffed kitchen drain. Two teaspoons of grounds or so just swoosh down a clogged drain and open it up, together with lots of hot water and liquid detergent / Spüli. I was told off by the handiman NOT to use Drano et alia. as it would corrode the pipes (oh my!).

What I have not yet tried is coffee grounds as a dye for Batik or Easter eggs, so far I have tried chamomile tea and also onion peels, which work well.20170509_VIP Lounge.jpg

Hoo hoo! Time for some deliciously aromatic coffee! Savour it!