For the most part our trip has gone really well in spite of Corona measures. Perhaps the worst part is border crossings. Today we waited over 90 minutes to cross from Slovenia to Croatia. It was incredibly hot in the car, as you can see by the sweat dripping down Spencer’s face. Fortunately I read some of Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman for entertainment.
On Tuesday, we wondered south from Austria and we all encountered a new to us country: Slovenia. Beautifully clean and bio diverse.
Our first country outside Germany was Austria. We stayed in the Salzburg countryside and went hiking on a trail called Wild Waters and then to Therme Amanda (no pictures of that).
Life has certainly been different the last several months with the restrictions in place to try to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Germany we have been fortunate to not be confined totally to the indoors. Going outside for walks, while keeping a minimum distance from people outside of your household has been encouraged. And we were lucky to have some really great weather too – during most of April we enjoyed highs in the 60s to 70s. We have tried to take the opportunity to get outside almost every day. Just a few minute walk from our house and we are walking through fields – all kinds of different fields – strawberries, lettuce, sugar beet, barley, and lots of rapeseed, which is used to make Canola oil. Canola is a new-fangled marketing term for rapeseed oil, because for some reason, people didn’t want to buy rapeseed oil (well, besides the name, they also did some selective breeding in the 1970s to make the oil look and taste better). They grow lots of rapeseed in Canada, and thus they re-branded it as Canola oil. In fact, the town of Tinsdale, Saskatchewan was known as “the land of rape and honey” until just a few years ago. The industrial band Ministry learned of this fact and thought it was funny, thus they used it for the title of their third studio album (I had a dubbed version of this album on cassette tape when I was in middle school). One final note, in Germany, rapeseed oil is currently primarily used for the production of biodiesel.
Clare has a yearly retreat this Monday and Tuesday where all her colleagues present what they have been doing for the past 6 months. Most of her colleagues have spent the last 2 weeks working on their presentations, but we were on vacation, which means that Clare had to work some this weekend. The good news is that there were fun things to do for me and the kids, so we could give her some alone time to work. The bad news is that she missed them 🙁
Saturday the local movie theater Metropolis (which is in the old train station in Würselen) celebrated its 30th anniversary with an open house. They had food and games, short movies, and music. One of the games was a tall pole with several hooks on it at different heights, and you had to try to throw a bike tire to land on the hooks. It was quite fun (unfortunately I accidentally hit Meg above her eyebrow one time, so she has a rug burn there now, but it will heal).
Sunday was the 3rd annual soap box derby in Würselen. We missed the one last year for some reason – I think mostly just because we were exhausted from starting school and being in a new country. One nice thing about living in a small town is that whenever we go to one of these festivals, we see people we know – from school, or soccer, or something else. The soap box derby went from about 11:00-17:00. There were a lot of different cars and racers. And of course there was the usual food like bratwurst and french fries, and beer. There was also a bouncy house and face painting. I found it interesting that most of the face painters were only about 12 years old.