October 27, 2010

Pictures from London

I've got to help Greg with dinner now, but I wanted to post my pictures from London (at least the first batch - the second album is just going to be inspiration from the Victoria and Albert Museum)

October 26, 2010

While the Wife is Away...

...the boys will play.

Ayelet had a great chance to visit London, and I fully wanted her to check out this city that is very dear to me. Usually when Ayelet goes away without me I do very little around the house. However, this time was different. Work was busy with planning for a field trip. Family was in town. And some friends and I had made plans for the night Ayelet left.

Munich has dubbed a phrase called "lange nacht," which is used for a variety of events in the city throughout the year. I attended the long night of museums where about 100 different locations around the city stayed open until 2 a.m. The highlights from the night included our first stop with a short tour of a local swimming pool (Volksbad) that is decked out in an Art Neuvo fashion. Then my last stop was at an old city restaurant where there was an original single bowling lane in the basement followed by a surreal marionette featuring a 10 foot tall lead character. Beautiful. Wish I had pictures, but the camera was in London. 

A few days later I was able to live another first. Ayelet's new cousin-in-law, Roe'e, invited me to a futball (soccer) match. I jumped at the chance. Strangely, we went to the game with Roe'e's friend Roe'e that had just moved to Munich a month ago. Yes, I was a bit confused at first too. My confusion continued upon our arrive to the stadium. I was hoping to watch the game and enjoy a beer, but for some reason this was about the only thing in the entire country that was only serving "Alkohol-Frei" beer. I had a Sprite instead. However, my spirits were rustled very quickly as we walked down to our standing area. The tickets we got were with a rowdy bunch of young Germans that played drums, chanted, and waved flags during the entire game. The Munich team ultimately won 3-2. Thanks in part to the goalie name Butt (pronounced "boot" by the locals). See some highlights - I'm next to the waving flags in row 5.

It was a couple of late nights in a row for me. The day after the soccer game I joined Ayelet's family for dinner. Her cousin was wrapping up the European honeymoon with some quality family time. Scoots was having a quieter than usual week and really kept close by when I got home and attempted to finish some work for the field trip I had planned for the following day.

Early morning on Thursday did not look go. The sky was cloudy. When I got to school and stepped outside with 65 grade 7 students it started to rain and I think I even saw some snow. We were off to dig for fossils in a big pit. Ayelet and I had done this last summer and I absolutely loved it. I was very pleased with the kids reactions both at the museum and more at the quarry. Two of our students even found some great fish fossils. I'll leave you with the same question they got. If you found the 150 million year old fossil (seen below) on a hill in Germany, what does it tell you about Germany at that time?

October 22, 2010

Back from London

The blog has been silent for the last few days because I was in London and Greg was hanging out here with my cousin, Dana, and her new husband, Roe'e, who were visiting from Israel (and other various activities he had planned in my absence).

I guess I wasn't expecting London to be so absolutely charming ~ the streets and architecture; the people with their (mostly) lovely accents; the food (the choices were overwhelming); the fabulous museums of every type, make and model; the edgy, alternative fashion scene; and for me, the fantastic weather (I only got drenched once!).

Of course, there were parts that weren't nice, but generally I could ignore them like the weird subway delays and closures; the way I couldn't figure out which way to look when I wanted to jaywalk; and how it seemed like everyone lived with to-go cups permanently stuck to their hands. And I didn't have to convert from pounds to the dollars, which made everything seem so much cheaper than it would have if I came from the US. In any case, it's good that I'm a pretty frugal traveler although during this trip I definitely did my part to help the fabric industry. ;-)

I saw so much of the city and met with some great (new and old) friends while I was there - I'm still in shock at how much I did! The highlights for me include afternoon tea with friends at the Wolseley, the Victoria and Albert museum (third favorite museum after the Prado in Madrid and the Metropolitan in NYC) and a cute little trimmings shop in Soho.

For now, I'll leave you all with a shot of Kate, her (and now my) friend Raf who we stayed with, and myself frightened by the realistic moving dinosaur behind us. I look more like I'm ready to hop on, I guess. There were a lot of kids who were really scared by it so we shouldn't make fun, but oh well!

October 15, 2010

Your 61.8%

Blog Action Day 2010 - Water. The message below veers from this blog's norm, but still links to our lifestyle.

People often think change is difficult, expensive, or time consuming. Yet sometimes it can be as easy as having tea instead of coffee. Barley instead of rice.

Every day we take actions without really thinking about the long term results. I can imagine that we truly didn't know any better in the not too distant past, but knowledge is spreading. We have access to a vast network of information that helps us to think about the choices we make. For example, have a look at this link: The Hidden Water We Use (from National Geographic).

At a glace, you can compare a small range of products that we consume every day. I know consuming will not stop, but we definitely can have an impact on our future by making easy changes in our daily lives.

I cherish new ideas. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment.

Here is a short list of my easy, affordable, and time-favoring choices.
> Soak and rinse showers - 1 minute total water use
> Economy cycle on the dishwasher
> Reduced my coffee consumption - aiming for 2 cups per week
> Eating less meat (did you see what one pound of beef takes?)
> Replacing grass with low water plants

The list could go on, but I would like to share one last thought. The best name I have seen for this invention is "Sink Positive." The picture speaks for itself.

October 14, 2010

Lovin' the Tightrope

The Germans are active - that much is obvious on a nice, sunny day when the hikers are on the trains going into the mountains with their boots, hiking poles and daypacks. They're always out biking, hiking, swimming and generally exerting themselves before sitting down for a beer, breze or dessert of some kind.

But what isn't obvious is the amount of circus wannabes in this country, too. I'm sure the image of the locals in sequins and tights was not one you needed in your mind, and I can assure you that they don't go that far thankfully. Sequins aren't very practical after all.

Tightrope-walking aficionados in Passau

On a good day in the local parks (and even on our daytrips), we come across youngsters tying up their tightropes good and tight. It seems like they spend hours taking turns at perfecting their mad skills on the tightrope. I haven't really seen anyone practicing tricks, but they do seem to like to jump off them, too. Either that or they make it look like they're falling off on purpose.

Greg and I even tried it ourselves at one of the fairs last year with unsuccessful results - we both fell off. One of us was more determined to get to the end than the other though (as you can see in the pictures below).

Right before I fell off! The German lady behind me doesn't look very impressed with my performance.

Greg got pretty far, but he raced across. He fell off right after this picture was taken, if I'm not mistaken.

October 12, 2010

Daytrip to Passau

Recently, we went on a daytrip to Passau with our friends, Craig and Sophie. Luckily, we had a fantastic fall day for it - crisp and sunny! Passau is at the confluence of three rivers - the Inn, Ilz and Danube - and we spent much of our time walking near them or overlooking them.

The confluence of three rivers as seen from the hilltop
We should probably learn to do our daytrips on Saturdays because on Sundays all the shops are closed (and there were a few nice-looking chocolaterias). It was still quaint to walk around the town's old center and see the church and their city hall. There was a great riverwalk and across the river, we did a short hike to a vantage point over the city.

Not sure which river this one is, but the riverwalk along it was gorgeous

Afterward, we stopped and had lunch at a Greek place. We came across their cathedral which was beautiful on the inside with lots of whitewashed, carved marble. They also had a display set up for the fall with a furry muppet-looking wheat crown and quite a few gourds, but sadly, we didn't get any pictures of that. You'll just have to believe us on it.

Passau Dom St. Stephen on the inside
You can see the rest of our pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/ayeletdrori/Fall2010?feat=directlink

October 10, 2010

Funny Experiences at Passport Control

Greg and I must have an aura surrounding us that requires something unusual to happen whenever we get into the vicinity of the passport or airport security. If airport people had a sense of humor and wanted to make a hidden camera-type show, we'd be on it for sure. That's just our luck.

Our latest funny experience occurred in the Tel Aviv airport. I'm walking a little ways ahead because I always walk really fast once I've been couped up on a plane and want to use a normal bathroom. Greg was behind me at a far enough distance that it looked like we weren't together. The agent stopped him - my blond-haired, blue-eyed innocent-looking husband - and thankfully, I looked back in time to see Greg waving me over to whip out my Hebrew. The guy must have thought it was unusual we weren't walking together. After he asked me to define our relationship, he asked how long we'd been together. Lesson learned: it looks suspicious if you don't walk as a couple... and so Greg needs to keep up! :-)

On the way back from Israel, besides being asked the origin of the last name "Golz" by an Israeli agent, we had a fun experience in the Vienna airport. We had a layover there and had to go through passport control because we were entering Europe again. What Austrian passport control seemed to fail to take into account is that a plane full of Israelis should not be underestimated when it comes to maintaining orderly lines. To one side, you could clearly see the line for EU passport holders - perfect, orderly, moving at a good clip. Then, you see the line for non-EU passports - no, you couldn't even call it a line - a mass of mostly Israelis with a few unfortunate Americans and other nationalities sprinkled throughout. CHAOS REIGNS! People are one solid link of humanity - an elbow here stuck to a shoulder there stuck to a back over there.

The passport lady rose from her seat a couple of times and yelled to those waiting (who were really pushing as far forward as they could) to tell them to stay behind the yellow line. I would not have messed with her and yet the Israelis made sure to antagonize her by stepping over the yellow line again and again. If I were her, I would have turned them away. At least I know one profession to cross off my list.

October 6, 2010

Our Only Oktoberfest Visit This Year

Many of you will remember our Oktoberfest shenanigans last year (Greg's version and my version). This year it was much more calm - we went together with my second cousin who was visiting from Israel on the U-bahn. We didn't get lost, but did get pushed around a bit by the drunks walking around on the Oktoberfest grounds. I hear it's quite fun to have a table reserved and to see all the insides of the tents during the weekdays when it's quieter, but this year that didn't pan out for us.

It was a special year for Oktoberfest, too - 200 years in existence! There's definitely advantages and disadvantages to the festival - on one side, you get hoards of tourists mostly interested in just drinking to oblivion and not caring about what they do to the city; on the other hand, beautiful dirndls abound and the lederhosen the guys wear always makes me chuckle. The locals tend to be happier and more social during this time - I wish there was more of that year round in fact!

I even got to go salsa dancing with the dirndl- and lederhosen-attired crowd last week. It was just like a country ball with contradictory music.

In any case, I'm sure the city of Munich makes a pretty penny from the tourists that come here, part of which I know will go into restoring the city back to its state of cleanliness before the tourists arrived.

October 5, 2010


One Sunday, Greg and I just got on a S-bahn and headed out to a local lake because the weather was absolutely gorgeous. The great thing about living here is that you can just do that - head out on a random train to a random town and you're sure to find some sort of path or trail to enjoy nature. They really value good weather when it comes around. Often it seems like they drop everything to head out for a hike or lounge by a local lake when it's a beautiful day. On this particular day, Ammersee was filled with sailboats!

October 4, 2010

What finally happened with the birthday ceramics?

This post is looooonnnnng overdue - here are the pictures of the completed dishes we painted in July for my cousin, Shay Li's birthday, in September. She just had her second birthday since we've been here so it's definitely time to share the success of our ceramics.

Greg's cup to the left with a bug inside (created for maximum surprise effect) and my hypnotic cereal bowl

 Greg's cup with pyramid and butterfly close-ups

Shay Li's plate with hidden gecko - can you find it?!