A Threefer

Three topics combined into one post.  Lucky you!

Cultural Palace Looks Open for Business

I was in Iași, Romania on my usual early-part-of-the-year business trip in February.  The Cultural Palace has been under renovation for as long as I have been visiting our location(s) there. It’s coming along nicely. My local contacts tell me that it should be open for visitors by the time of my next visit — presumably this summer.

The last couple times I’ve been there I’ve visited their enormous new mall built up around the palace grounds.  There’s a giant Auchan store attached to the mall, too.  I bought a couple non-perishable specialities back, but not borș.

A Drippy Visit to Seligenstadt

Our travel buddy the Resident on Earth completed her farewell tour through Germany, and we met up with her in Frankfurt at an Ebblwoi1 bar for dinner and brunch the next day in Seligenstadt.  A tip of the hat goes to her for recommending Motel One, which might be our new favorite hotel chain in Germany.  We have had good results there in Frankfurt and Munich and heard good things about the one in Nürnberg and Berlin as well.

The weather in Frankfurt that evening was terrible, but I was determined to park the car at the hotel and do the rest on foot — despite the rain.  We got soaked on the way there and opted for a taxi back.  The taxi driver was a chatty dude, and we thought, at first, that must be dumbing down his German for us, because it was so comprehensible.  We didn’t have to ask him to repeat anything or use a non-regional expression or slow down or anything like that.  Then we remembered that that’s what German can sound like outside of those deep pockets of localized dialect, like d’Obapfoiz.2.

Brunch the next day was nice, and we took a stroll around Seligenstadt to walk it off a bit and try not to be sad about our buddy’s return to the USA.

Bridge Update March 2016

Trucking bridge pieces awaySomewhen3 in the last week, another big piece of the auxiliary bridge has been dismantled and moved off the scene. Sarah captured it. I took a stroll around today on my way into town for some groceries.

P3129960_sFirst thing I noticed: a coffee bar on our street is undergoing a change. Not sure if it’s just a face lift, like when the Spital Café opened up next to it where the Cat Pee Chinese4 joint had been. Or maybe something bigger is happening here. Assuredly they better hurry up — Café Blanket Season is already upon us.

That tent on the South Bank side has been up for … over a year now? Something must be happening in there, but at this point, there’s more visible activity on our side. Spring is very nearly upon us, with Easter and Pentecost vacation periods and the heavy influx of visitors they bring with them.

If the plan is to have the next section of auxiliary bridge — diverting traffic off the big middle section, which as far as we can tell has had little to no work done on it yet — up and serviceable before then, they better step on it. And not on these little purple guys.

P3129966_s

  1. Apfelwein auf Hessisch []
  2. die Oberpfalz, or the Upper Palatinate []
  3. I love it when Germans translate irgendwann into somewhen. []
  4. Not its real name. We only ordered from there once. Guess why? []

Neuigkeiten im Supermarkt

It’s only been the last few years that the REWE chain of supermarkets has set up shop in parts of Regensburg we visit.  It’s not a new company, but for whatever reason, Regensburg hasn’t had (much of) a REWE presence of its own.  Long have we had various full-scale grocery stores such as

  • Edeka
  • Kaufland
  • Real

and the discounters, such as

  • Netto (based locally, no less)
  • Aldi
  • Lidl
  • Norma
  • Penny

But a new challenger entered the ring about a year ago:  there is now a REWE City store on Dachauplatz where the Hotel Karmeliten used to be.  This might be the tail end of the Dachauplatz revitalization including the Markthalle and Alnatura and parking garage.  It’s a fairly convenient alternative to the Edeka grocery store tucked away in the basement of Galeria Kaufhof on Neupfarrplatz, if a bit cramped1.

Along with the massive development on the eastern edge of the city, where the sugar refinery used to receive its shipments of beets via river freighters, there has been a full-service REWE supermarket in place for about a year now.  This is a convenient place for me to shop after work (or before; they are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week!) on days I’ve driven in with the car.  I’ve also snagged a few ready-to-eat wraps and sandwiches on my lunch break on occasion.

Sarah and I explored it together this weekend to check out the offerings and compare them to the grocery stores we already know well.  Much of the assortment was familiar, but we found these gems lurking.

Schweinsöhrchen — Pig Earlets

Would they be cuter if they were piglet ears?
Would they be cuter if they were piglet ears?

To be fair, this isn’t much weirder than an elephant ear at the fairgrounds of Anytown, USA, and we all know pork has a starring role in German culture, so why not?

Biskuitzungen — Biscuit Tongues

It's so meta!
It’s so meta!

Besides anatomical tongues, other Zungen varieties include Seezungen and Landzungen, and they all mean vastly different things.

Maulwurf Kuchen — Mole Cake

Because it looks like a mound of loose dirt?
Because it looks like a mound of loose dirt?

I guess if they’re going to declare war on your lawn, the least they could do is provide some cake as a piece offering2.

Ominous Quotation Marks

I would have been more comfortable with air quotes here.
I would have been more comfortable with air quotes here.

Putting aside the potential English-language puns on the brand name for a moment3, those quotation marks in the product label creep me out.  Germany is far from alone on the list of quotation-mark abusers, but their application here feels not just wrong, but wrong.

Unterm Strich4

Give a new contender a fair shot on one of your regular shopping trips.  We found some new brands of familiar items, some goofy items, and some quite unexpected items we’ve never seen before on offer in German stores.  This is a store in a district that used to be primarily industrial, but is transforming into residential — particularly for immigrants.  We saw Polish and Russian candy, a much wider selection of North African and Middle Eastern staples, and some generic American items:

  • PAM cooking spray
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • Cholula hot sauce
  • Newman’s Own salad dressing

Of course we didn’t buy any of those — the prices were ridiculous.  Nice to know they were there, though.

  1. “Hi, welcome to Germany.  Don’t forget to relinquish your claim on personal space outside of your apartment.” []
  2. See what I did there? []
  3. which is most likely a focus-grouped marketing agency concoction based on the target demographic’s emotional response to gut (the adjective “good,” “mercantile goods” or “agricultural estate,” depending on context) and fried (looks like Frieden, or “peace”) []
  4. Bottom Line []