Wednesday, April 25, 2007

April flowers > May showers?

After a few days of cooler weather we're back to sunny highs again. The plants, trees and flowers desperately need rain; we've never had to water the garden this early! Everything is blooming all at once now - the last fading daffodils and the first peonies don't usually meet, and the flowers of the month for May, lilies of the valley, will probably be gone by the time next month arrives. No wonder the bleeding hearts are mourning!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Record highs and early vegetation

This past weekend we experienced temperatures of over 30° here in central Europe! That's an absolutely unprecedented high for April. It's nice to sit outside in the sun in summer clothes, of course, but there is a downside - allergies. What with the vegetation being several weeks ahead of the normal schedule, hayfever and co. are wreaking havoc for those affected.

It has cooled off again, but there are early surprises when I'm out walking - like the scent of lilacs already blooming. And though I usually love the smell of flowers, there is one that I don't appreciate - broom. We have a big, beautiful bush in the front yard; it looks gorgeous, but its scent is overpoweringly unpleasant.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Back home/Wieder zu Hause

Unfortunately, Blogger made some changes while I was away, so that I couldn't blog directly from there. Now I've caught up with the new features and can write here again!

I had a wonderfully relaxing vacation, with just enough hiking and a few activities to enliven my days. Most of the time I spent reading in the sun on our little patio, floating in the hot baths at the spa, and walking around the kibbutz/botanical garden. Pictures will follow soon...

Leider konnte ich vom Urlaubsort nicht bloggen, da Blogger genau dann Änderungen durchführte. Nun habe ich die nötigen Erfordernisse nachgeholt und kann weitermachen.

Ich hatte wunderbar erholsame Tage, mit einigen wenigen Aktivitäten und Wanderungen, um die Zeit zu beleben. Ich habe viel Zeit lesend auf unserer kleinen Terrasse, in den heissen Bädern des Spas, and bei Spaziergängen im Kibbutz/Botanischen Garten verbracht. Demnächst folgen Fotos...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Schnelle Gruesse/Quick Greetings

Hallo vom Toten Meer - bei wunderbar warmem Wetter geniessen wir Wasser und Sonne, sowie die fantastische Natur und die Ruhe hier. Mehr in den naechsten Tagen...

Hello from the Dead Sea! We are enjoying the warm weather with water and sun, as well as the fantastic flora and the relaxation here. More to come...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Kangaroo Island

Continuing the pictures from Australia:
The two-day trip to Kangaroo Island was a highlight - there's so much to see there: seals and other animals, all at a respectful distance; environmental protection is a major priority on the island. The bus driver/tour guide showed and explained all the fascinating sights.

Our small tour group climbed the sand dune of Little Sahara, a task that's more difficult than it sounds. Sand gives way beneath one's feet!

The Remarkable Rocks are well-named; they're fantastically eroded structures...

 is the Admiral's Arch.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

These pictures from an Australian zoo don't really need an explanation. I was able to get up close to the kangaroos and to the koala: The former were interested in the animal food I held in my hand; the latter only in the eucalyptus branches, so my wish to pet it was tolarated with equanimity. I attempted no such thing with the crocodile!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Back to Down Under

Time to show more pictures of my trip - first stop in Australia was Adelaide, a beautiful city. I spent most of my time in the city walking around and shopping in the arcades on the mall and in the market hall, a fascinating place!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Winter at last!

A couple of nights of temperatures well below 0° kicked off winter weather - I love cold, clear days! Walking was wonderful: breathing the clear air, stepping on crunchy frozen puddles, sunlight in my eyes. This morning we woke up to snow, not the extreme snowfalls that southern Germany experienced, just a sifting of powdered sugar that adorns trees and houses. We had no more severe incommodation than stepping or driving a bit more slowly and carefully early in the morning.

Friday, January 19, 2007


The German language has an interesting word that can be used for inclement weather - "Unwetter": literally, "unweather". Now, I don't know its etymological background; one could, I suppose, argue the fact that the prefix would suggest the opposite of weather to be no weather at all! However, I assume that it intends to show the negative of weather, at least of "good" weather.

At any rate, the storm that has had such devastating effects not only on Germany, but much of Europe, is certainly a prime example of an "unweather". Many people died (at least 10 in Germany, and one of those deaths was local, a rare occurrence), others were injured, and thousands were inconvenienced by the total stop of train traffic (usually a fairly reliable way to travel here) and the delay of plane landings and starts. Roads were blocked for hours to clear away fallen trees - some still are today - and countless roofs are in need of minor or major repair.

Of course we're thankful to be spared, but who can ignore the suffering of those who weren't?

Natural forces in such extremes are fearsome. I haven't had to cope with masses of water inexorably flooding an area, nor with the terror of an uncontrolled fire, and I'm sure that an avalanche, whether earth or snow, must be horrible to experience. But sitting alone in an apartment in Florida last year while a tropical storm developed, and feeling the wind pushing on windows here yesterday scared me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year! Frohes Neues Jahr!

May the sun shine upon you this year, may the stars brighten your nights, and may there be just enough clouds to make beautiful sunsets!

Möge die Sonne auf Dich scheinen in diesem Jahr, mögen die Sterne Deine Nächte erhellen, and mögen gerade so viele Wolken sein, um schöne Sonnenuntergänge zu machen!

(picture: 'Milkie Way Dreaming', an aboriginal dot painting I bought in Australia)