Sunday, July 30, 2017

Our first visit to a German Freibad... and Chinese food in Nagold!

This morning, I took note of the warm, sunny weather and the fact that I love a good swim.  I said to Bill, "Why don't we go to the pool in Nagold?"

As expected, Bill was down on the idea.  He doesn't like pools, mainly because he hates being seen in his bathing suit.  I wasted no time reminding him that just a month ago, he joined me in the buff at a spa in Bad Wildbad.  He had a great time.

"Please..." I begged.  "We don't have to stay long!"  I was really wanting to try the cool slide at Nagold's awesome Freibad.  Finally, Bill gave in to my pleading and we headed over there at about noon.  It was four euros each to enter.

It wasn't too crowded or hot today and we easily found a spot in the shade.  I took a quick dip, then thought better of the slide, which was crowded with kids... some of whom didn't seem to be paying much attention to people coming down after them.

I enjoyed a brief swim in the super deep pool where the diving boards are, then watched some of the kids doing flips into the water.  A few were doing their best to make the biggest splashes they could-- and doing painful belly flops in the process.  They were so full of youthful exuberance.  I remembered when I was a kid, jumping fearlessly off the high dives and sliding down the slides.  We had none of that today, but it was still a lot of fun... at least until the clouds started rolling in...  Anyway, I was mightily impressed by Nagold's pool.  It beats the ever loving hell out of the public pools we had when I was growing up.

In case you were wondering, yes there are changing rooms (this was one of Bill's concerns!).  

And there are lockers, too!  You put in a one or two euro coin to take the key.  When you bring the key back, you get your euros back.  There's also a Biergarten (of course!) that serves food.

Check out that slide!  I will have to try it next time.  We'll get there earlier so I don't have to worry about crashing into any kids.  I didn't see anyone directing traffic, making sure people got out of the way.  I did hear at least one adult screaming all the way down, too.

Bill looks snarky as he takes a seat.  I had to point out that I brought four towels, two to sit on and two for drying off.  He never did get in the water, though.

They have a low dive, high dive, and a platform.  The platform appeared to be closed. 

Bill watched the divers...

This was the main pool, complete with the creepy mushroom shower thing...  It was about waist deep for me.

The rules for the slide...

I liked the deep pool better.  It was really nice, even if I am no competitive swimmer.  I did have to pass a swimming test to graduate from college, though.

Action shot!

The clouds were threatening and I was getting cold, so we decided to go have lunch.  It was raining when we left, but the rain had stopped by the time we put our stuff in the car.  Parking in Nagold is free on Sundays.  There's also an indoor pool at this park.

We decided to try the Pavillon China Restaurant in Nagold.  It was our first time there.  They have a late pause that starts at 3:00, so we were there in plenty of time.

Obligatory shot of Bill.

We were given cold, refreshing plum juice with our beers.  The inside of the restaurant is very nicely decorated with Asian decor and a large fish tank.  

Bill had a special that included beef, shrimp, and chicken, as well as assorted vegetables.  I had my usual crispy duck, which was served with no mushrooms in it!  Yea!

We got rice...

And pineapple infused sweet and sour sauce came with my duck.  

I really enjoyed the duck.  I didn't really try Bill's dish because it had mushrooms in it.  He pronounced it excellent and brought some home for tomorrow's lunch.  The crispy duck had carrots, peppers, bamboo shoots, and zucchini mixed in.  I really enjoyed it.  The bill came to 28 euros and change.  Bill left a generous tip, which made the waitress smile big.  She enthusiastically wished us a good day.  I would definitely go back to the Pavillon China Restaurant next time I want Asian food.  It was very good.

The front of the restaurant has these cool looking columns.  

Not the greatest shot of the front, but there were people sitting out there.  It's very close to the Edeka in Nagold.

We had a very nice afternoon in Nagold.  I really think it's becoming one of our favorite places to chill out on the weekends.  It's pretty, there are a lot of good restaurants, and things to do.  A bonus is that it's never as crowded as some of the other cities near us and it's only about four kilometers away. I think I managed to talk Bill into visiting the pool again.  Maybe next time, he'll even get in the water!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Afrika Fest in Böblingen, 2017

Once again, Bill and I were confronted with a weekend and no plans.  After checking out the Stuttgart Area Events and Celebrations Facebook group, Bill and I decided we should check out the Afrika Fest in Böblingen.  It started yesterday and continues through tomorrow.  There's a bouncy house for kids, lots of exotic things to eat, live music, and shopping galore.  Bill and I usually don't buy a lot at these fests, but we made an exception today.  We came home with a few things for the house, coffee, and products for my skin.  Here are some photos and anecdotes...

After parking in a garage near the Hendl Haus (the bibliotek), we had a short walk to the fest.  The first thing we encountered was the bouncy house.

Next, we came across the first of many places to buy African clothes...  I am always afraid of humiliation, so I rarely stop to look at the clothes.  

I did end up buying some olive wood here... after we did some other shopping.  

The food at the fest was excellent.  There were several stands selling food from Ghana, West Africa, and East Africa.  It all looked and smelled wonderful and was a nice change of pace.  Bill and I shared a plate for two that included chicken, turkey, shrimp, rice, and coconut sauce.  There was also a really delicious slaw included (which I usually don't like).  It was delicious.

If you want mixed drinks...

or smoothies...

Before too long, we found ourselves at a stall where cosmetics featuring argan oil were being sold.  We came away from there with soap, oil, and a lovely smelling face cream.  The salesman was very astute and managed to get us to part with plenty of euros.

Bill says this is a much prized oil in Morocco.  We'll see what it does for me.

Plenty of seating for eating and enjoying the festivities, which includes live music and impromptu dancing from kids and adults.

We made a stop at this table with beautiful silver and pottery from Morocco.

My sister was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, so I recognized a lot of the stuff and liked it...

I was tempted by the shiny silver and then realized I'd have to clean it.  

Very cool toys for kids.  Made me wish I had one so I could buy stuff...

We sat next to the fake lake for lunch.

Our yummy shared lunch.  We didn't wash this down with African beer.  Instead we had our ever present suds made by the Schonaich Brau.  That chicken was so tender it fell right off the bone, but I was most surprised by the slaw.  

The band was coming...

After lunch, we headed for the bank for more cash and went on a shopping spree.  It was handily located right across the street.

Lots of pretty things to see.

After a few passes through the market, we decided to walk around the lake.  It was our first time doing so, despite living in the area for a total of five years, off and on.

I got a kick out of this sign, especially since a little girl was feeding the ducks.

Those ducks are well fed, despite the signs prohibiting feeding them.

A pretty view from afar.

I did not know that the fair city of Böblingen has a rose garden dedicated to the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  I know this verse from a choral piece I learned in college.  That was before I realized how much Scottish heritage I have... or how much German heritage, for that matter.

The rose garden dedicated to Robert Burns.

Something strange happened at about this time.  I was standing at a table, waiting for Bill to bring us some beer.  It was pretty loud because there were drummers on stage beating their skins.  A woman came up to me and said in halting German, "Ist hier frei?"  I was so taken aback that I took a moment to respond and shook my head.  She moved to the empty table next to ours.  I felt kind of bad about it, but then again, no American has ever spoken German to me.  I must be fitting in.  If that lady happens to read this, I sincerely apologize.  I was genuinely shocked.

Here's the loot... We got two bars of heavenly smelling soap, some skin cream, and lotion from Morocco.

A new stool for my kitchen because I'm short and the dog looks like Arran.  It was only 25 euros.  I hope I don't break it.

The elephant plant stand and the beautiful Moroccan bowl on top of it...  The plant stand is from Thailand and is nice and heavy.

Coffee and a little olive wood container for nuts and such.

Because I have a foul mouth and a raunchy sense of humor, I was really tempted to buy a baseball hat with the word "Fuck" written on it in ghoulish florescent green letters.  I didn't do it, because I knew I'd feel too self conscious to actually wear it in public.  But even as I was considering buying it, I saw a guy with three young kids wearing a wife beater shirt that said "Fuck, tomorrow is Monday."  It made me realize that language really is a relative thing.  Germans don't seem to care that much about the word "fuck".  Still, as an American, I do have some shame.  Besides, I almost never wear baseball caps.  It was kind of funny, though.  I saw several Germans wearing shirts with German swear words on them.  Made me wish I'd worn this shirt...

Maybe next time.