We have accomplished many items listed at the end of our last post. We have cell phones & service with calls back to the US, we have chosen a home, Marshal has passed the German drivers exam, Brandy tests Monday for hers, no car yet, we may forgo that until ours arrives, only two more weeks, we are looking at furniture, we have bank accounts & an APO box.
We decided to go with the 200 yr old house and we are very excited about it. The house is located in Waldorfhaslach, each of the girls will have their own room, there will be an office, hobby room, laundry room, cellar and 2 garages. There is a small backyard but a large park and forest area right up the road. We will get some pictures on our next trip out, promise.
We have ventured to downtown Stuttgart, very cool city. Tons of shopping & restaurants, seems quite clean and safe. The food is an adventure every time. There is just something different about it here. I have decided that pretty much all the food in the states tastes pretty much the same. There are so many cultures and perceptions of cultures here that the food just translates differently. I am convinced it is more healthy however, Brandy and I are both losing weight without focusing on it. We have found that one thing at least is international. Ice cream seems to be a universal concept and boy does it make Ryley happy!
I mentioned that we had been thinking that we may forgo a vehicle until the trailblazer we shipped arrives. Originally I would have been appalled at this idea but the public transportation system here is intense. Trains & busses go everywhere, they are clean and economical. The gas here is over 3€ a liter (yep, LITER) so you can imagine what it is a gallon. Learning the public transportation system isn't to hard, we are catching on pretty quick.
Ryley waiting on the bus...
The above shots are from the central hub of the train station at Hauptbahnhof.
Directly outside the train station you find historic and modern Stuttgart. Many times these are in the same spot as the Germans have been here doing their thing for a long time. I am going to post some pics below. I will offer some explanation of what these places are later in the blog as my thumbs already want to be done!
Also in Stuttgart are several markets, the Germans don't have giant Food Lions, Krogers or Wal-Marts here. I know I just ruined Germany for some folks with the no Wal-Mart revelation, it is true, you can survive without Wal-Mart friends. The populous here does the majority of their food shopping at open air markets, the refrigerators here are very small, the food is fresh and bought every couple days. The markets are full of farmers and independent butchers or confectionaries. The smells are incredible and the samples are awesome. You really need some knowledge of the German language here, there is basically nothing in English. Below is a picture of an indoor market in Stuttgart, you can look this one up, google indoor marketplace Stuttgart.
In our orientation class we were given the opportunity to tour a castle. We toured the castle Von litchtenstien, please forgive the spelling. I will edit the correct spelling. This is the smallest castle in this region bit it was very interesting, lots of history behind it, changed hands several times and was even involved in WWII.
The view from the castle, it is sheer cliff on three sides.
Ok, proud parent time, our sweet Ryley turned 2 on the 27th of July! We didn't celebrate in any big way, we are going to hold off until Hailey and Grace are here but I have to show a couple of pics, the awesome Johnsons let us come over, cook some pizzas and give her a cake and an Elmo. I'm not sure Ryley knows why she was the recipient of all of this but she was tickled.
Alright, I think we are caught up for now! I will post more often in order to avoid this thumb exhaustion!
We hope everyone is well and happy, we love you!
M & B
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