Sunday, April 10, 2016

A lovely spring day in Herrenberg!

The weather was so nice this morning that I told Bill we had to get out.  Since it was about noon when we made the decision to venture out, we decided to go to Herrenberg, which is maybe a ten minute drive from where we live.  Herrenberg is also about ten or fifteen minutes from where we lived during our first tour in the Stuttgart area.  We used to visit Herrenberg often during our first time here, but we don't go nearly as often since we moved back in 2014.

We decided to walk around the town and look for a place to have lunch.  We poked our heads in Osteria da Gino's, a traditional pizzeria different from Osteria da Gino's in Nagold.  Since Herrenberg's Osteria da Gino's was full, we walked away from the main square and happened upon a typical German restaurant.  While Bill was studying the menu, I happened to make eye contact with an adorable Asian child who came out of the newly opened Asian place on the other side of the street.  The boy, maybe four years old or so, grinned playfully at me and was very charming.  Since the place was empty and it had been a long time since we last had Asian food, I beckoned Bill into the newly opened restaurant.

The guy running Asia Gourmet Imbiss did not speak any English, so I was forced to use my terrible German skills.  I'm not sure if he quite understood that my German is terrible.  If he did, he paid it no mind.  We managed to successfully order lunch, though.


We were the only ones in the restaurant at 12:30pm.  The friendly proprietor beckoned us to sit and Bill ordered us a couple of Singha beers from Thailand.  Singha is a pleasant pilsner.


Bill checks out the interior of the very small dining room.  


I started with some very tasty fried shrimp with sweet red chili sauce.


Bill had a spring roll.  Both appetizers were very good and served piping hot.  

We had tried to explain that I don't like mushrooms, but somehow that information got lost in translation.  I ordered Cantonese duck, which was basically crispy duck with peanut sauce.  It wasn't very spicy, but there were indeed a couple of mushrooms in it.  Fortunately, I only found two and Bill was happy to take the off my hands. 


Aside from the mushrooms, this was a very good dish.  The vegetables were very fresh and the duck was delicious.  I noticed the restaurant also offers sushi.  It's been ages since I last had sushi.  We might have to go back for that.


Bill had a spicy chicken dish with vegetables.  The weird expression on Bill's face is not a reflection of the quality of the food.  He actually really enjoyed his lunch.

While we were enjoying lunch, two more parties arrived.  One group appeared to be English speakers who spoke much better German than I can.  Total damage for our lunch was 24,80.  As we paid the check, the proprietor sent us off with a couple of house shots of plum wine.  We'll have to go back sometime soon.  That was a nice change of pace for us.


A shot of the front of the restaurant.


Herrenberg was alive with people today.



Everybody was enjoying the cafes and outdoor seating.




We walked up to the big church on the hill.  We had visited once when we lived here from 07-09.  I was almost tempted to try a walk to the berg, but I needed to go to the bathroom and didn't feel like walking uphill.  Maybe when the weather is a little warmer.  


The views from the church level were pretty tantalizing.  Someday, when I'm not feeling lazy, I'll venture higher.



Under the window is a cute little play area for kids.  How progressive!


Inside the church.


One of the bells on display.



We can see the road to Haslach from here...


A view of the countryside.

We decided to get some ice cream and headed to the Cafe Gelateria La Piazza, where we used to go all the time during our first tour in the Stuttgart area.  As we walked into the place, I noticed an older couple sitting close to the door.  They recognized me even sooner than I noticed them.  I heard them say, "Jenny?"  At first, I thought they were our current landlords, but as I got closer, they said the magic word "Pfäffingen".  They had been our neighbors!  I guess I haven't changed much, because they knew me even though we hadn't seen each other since 2009.  The wife bears a strong resemblance to our current landlady, which is part of the reason I was initially so confused.  They could be sisters.

Much to my embarrassment, I don't think they ever told me their names when we were their neighbors, so I didn't know what they were today.  However, when we lived here the first time, I often used to talk to their daughter, Claudia, who's about 7 years younger than I am.  She and her husband and young son, Robin, lived in her parents' house.  It took them a long time to talk to us when we were neighbors, mainly because the parents speak no English and in those days I spoke zero German whatsoever.  Claudia could speak some English, but was not so sure of her skills (which were pretty good, in my opinion).   The ice finally broke when my dog, Flea (RIP), whined when he saw Robin.  He wanted to play with the little boy so badly.  It was very cute and Flea charmed them enough that they decided to talk to us.  After that, we were on friendlier terms.  It took months, though.

Anyway, my German is still terrible, but I can at least form simple sentences now and understand a lot more than I used to.  I managed to tell them we live in Jettingen now and Bill is out of the Army.  They asked about my dogs, Flea and MacGregor, both of whom have gone to the Rainbow Bridge.  I told them we had two different dogs. They told us Claudia and her husband, Holger, have another child, a girl named Julie.  I tried to tell them to say hello to Claudia.  My guess is that they will tell her hello and mention to our old landlord that we're back in Germany.  The funny thing is, yesterday I told Bill that I had a feeling we were going to eventually run into our previous landlord.  Instead, we ran into our neighbors!  

I have an uncanny knack for running into people.  A few years ago, when Bill and I lived in San Antonio, we went out to dinner one night and ran into a guy I worked with at a tiny summer camp in Star Tannery, Virginia.  I hadn't seen him since 1994.  He and his wife, who had been a counselor in training at the same camp that summer, were out for pizza.  It boggles the mind that we ran into each other.  San Antonio is a big city and there are a lot of restaurants there.  Yet I ran into him and his wife.  Another time  during our year in Texas, Bill and I were eating at a restaurant in San Antonio and we ran into my dentist.  

Years prior to moving to Texas, when I was waiting tables in Williamsburg, Virginia, I waited on people from Belfast, Ireland who happened to be next door neighbors to another guy who worked at that same summer camp in Virginia.  This kind of thing happens to me all the time, though.  Twice, I went to Washington, DC to visit the Peace Corps headquarters and ended up running into people I knew when I was a Volunteer in the 90s.  One was a guy who had served in Armenia with me and the other was a Volunteer in Bulgaria who had let me and a friend crash in his apartment in Sofia for a week.  What are the odds we'd be visiting there on the same day?  Crazy coincidence, I'd say.    


Bill looks for ice cream.


I went with a chocolate sundae.  


Bill had Eis Cafe.

I'm glad we decided to go into the konditorei instead of sitting outside or going to the other Eis cafe that wasn't so busy.  And I have no doubt that we will run into other people who used to know us.  The world is small.  So those of you who think I'm an annoying blahger better brace yourselves.  ;-)
  

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