Happy New Year 😊

Dear friends,

We wish you a very happy New Year and thank you for your warm and loving wishes. 😊

“Welcoming New Year,

Wonder what Life will offer ?

Whatever they are,

Facing them with right spirit

Is what we always pray for.”

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Ladenburg, stepping into the past 😊

Ladenburg is about 25 Kms from Walldorf. Vinay, Advaith and I went there one afternoon. There are so many beautiful towns in Germany.  Gayatri, Vinay and Advaith had  been there and thought  that I should see the place. After parking the car   we walked towards the Neckar river flowing peacefully by.

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IMG_20171229_200809Many people were taking their afternoon walks, some were jogging and others were walking with their dogs. There is a cycling track. There is a view point structure to see the river flowing by. We met an elderly couple, the gentleman told us he been to Lucknow and Varanasi. A very sweet couple, we parted wishing each other a happy new year.

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We then walked to the old town. A weekly market was being held. We walked on the cobbled streets with beautiful houses on both sides. The churches have an old worldly look. Of course, they are very old.

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I was remembering Timeline by Michael Crichton.  As we walked along I could not stop being amazed by the colourful Fachwerk buildings. Many had the year of their construction engraved on them.

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Gayatri tells me it is a rule in Germany that the owners of the old buildings cannot change the facade but they can renovate inside the house in any way they want to. And they also get some tax reduction. This is really good because these beautiful old buildings get to be preserved. It is such a joy to see them.The old stone streets and colorful half-timbered buildings , lots of twists and turns of the cobbled streets take us back to the medieval times.

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The Internet is such a blessing in so many ways. We can read so much about the places we have visited or would like to visit. Before going to Ladenburg I had read that it  is about the most colorful and best preserved of the towns on the Neckar River.

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Years of reconstruction and renovation have restored much of the city’s old wall, and it displays its old Roman heritage proudly.
It is true.

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Ladenburg is on the Bertha Benz Memorial Route.  The Bertha Benz Memorial Route is a German tourist and theme route in Baden-Württemberg and member of the European Route of Industrial Heritage.It opened in 2008 and follows the tracks of the world’s first long distance road trip in 1888.
Dr.Karl Benz moved to Ladenburg in 1906  and just like his cars, he knew a good thing when he saw it. He lived there till his death in 1929.

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We walked on for about an hour . On our way back we bought some cheese and a small pumpkin in the weekly market.  I am really glad I got to see this beautiful place

Letter from Germany- 6 (Slice of Life )

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( I am in Germany in my daughter’s place. Her daughter was born on November 10th. I write mails to my mother ( Amma) and my father’s elder brother’s wife, my Doddamma ( elder mother ). I also send photos. My Doddamma is 86 and is mostly in her room and her home. My cousin’s wife wrote to me that my Doddamma was very happy to read and see the photos of my grandchildren which I send through WhatsApp. She says she can now imagine what they are doing. My mother too enjoys them. WhatsApp is such a blessing in many ways. It helps us to stay connected with our near ones, if we want to. 😊)

                                        22-12-17

Dear Doddamma and Amma,
Last Saturday we went to Karlsruhe, a city about 43 Kms from Walldorf. As we came closer we could see all  the signs of a city, taller buildings with glass fronts.

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But what we don’t see here are lots of people. Maybe this was so because it was a Sunday. It seems very strange not to see people about because we are so used to seeing them at all times in our place. Another thing which I noticed was that people here mostly wear blue jeans and dark winter jackets. I don’t know how it is in summer. There is so much of colour in our place. The saris and salvar kameez and other dresses that we wear are so bright and colourful.

I had first read about this place in the delightful book,  ‘The White Umbrella ‘ by Brian Sewell. There is not much about the place in the book but when I came to know it is not far, I felt it would be nice to see the place.

Vinay, Advaith and I left Walldorf at 11.15 and were in there by 11.45. We went on the Autobahn where everyone goes at a speed above 120kms per hour. Vinay was driving that way too much to Advaith’s joy !
Vinay parked the car not far from that palace grounds.

( Karlsruhe Palace (German: Karlsruher Schloss) was erected in 1715 by Margrave Charles III William of Baden-Durlach, after a dispute with the citizens of his previous capital, Durlach. The city of Karlsruhe has since grown around it. It is now home to the main museum of the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe.)

Most of the trees are bare now except for the evergreen ones.

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There was an ice rink and many people, young and old were skating. We have to buy tickets. Vinay and Advaith are yet to learn ice skating, it seems there is coaching class in Walldorf. There was Christmas market nearby and Advaith enjoyed a ride on the merry-go-round.

The palace is now a museum. We went inside but not to the museum. Behind the palace there are grounds and a small lake. Advaith enjoyed running about and hiding behind huge trees. Many people were there sitting by the lake side and watching  swans and ducks.

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We ate something in a nearby bakery.  There are varieties of bread. It was good to taste some of them. The bakery was by the main road and trams were going by at frequent intervals.

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One old lady, in fact she looked very old came into the bakery. She was using her walker, it has wheels. She had coffee and a bread. She went away in the tram. In the photo she is the one in the black dress who is climbing in. We were back home by 4 o’ clock.

Tuesday evening we set up the Christmas tree which Vinay and Advaith bought a few days earlier. This is not the real one but looks very nice. We enjoyed decorating it. The real Christmas trees are evergreen trees. Here, in winter most of the other trees shed their leaves.

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Kavya is fine, she is growing every day. She likes it when we talk to her and does not like it when she is left alone. Advaith is having Christmas vacations from tomorrow for two weeks. He enjoys listening to stories. I am now telling him Children’s stories by Ruskin Bond. Aravinda had sent it for him.

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With lots of love to both of you,
Lakshmi

Letter from Germany- 6 (Slice of Life )

The Daily Post Photo Challenge : 2017 Favorites

It is really difficult to choose a favourite photo from the hundreds of photos taken this year. But two photos came to mind as soon as I read what we had to share.

I am in my daughter’s home in Germany. And I have been experiencing snowfall for the first time. Some days ago, early morning I raised the window shutters and saw everything covered with snow. The street lamps were on and their lights shining on the snow changed the place into a magical fairy land. That scene will always be a part of my life.

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The Daily Post Photo Challenge : 2017 Favorites

Letter from Germany-5 (Slice of Life)

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Letter from Germany-5 (Slice of Life)

                                          17-12-17
Letter from Germany 5
( I am in Germany in my daughter’s place. Her daughter was born on November 10th. I write mails to my mother ( Amma) and my father’s elder brother’s wife, my Doddamma ( elder mother ). I also send photos. My Doddamma is 86 and is mostly in her room and her home. My cousin’s wife wrote to me that my Doddamma was very happy to read and see the photos of my grandchildren which I send through WhatsApp. She says she can now imagine what they are doing. My mother too enjoys them. WhatsApp is such a blessing in many ways. It helps us to stay connected with our near ones, if we want to. 😊)

Dear Doddamma and Amma,
Days are going by, it is already more than a month since I came here. I will be leaving next month on the 18th.
On the 13th Gayatri and Vinay took Kavya for her first check up with her paediatrician here. Advaith and Kavya are registered with her.  Kavya’s weight is now 3.9 kgs. There is an increase of one kg. Her height has also increased. The doctor was happy with Kavya’s health. She told Gayatri that she can take Kavya for a small outing in her pram on a sunny day and she should be warmly covered. Vinay has bought a pram but he has to the petrol bunk to fill air in the tyres of the prams.
Every morning I go for a walk at about 11o’clock for about 45 minutes. All this is a very different experience and I am enjoying it. Here the weather keeps changing and that is also a different experience. In our place the weather is stable. But here in the past one week I have experienced a day when it has been snowing the whole day. Then there was a rainy day, a sunny day and a very cloudy day.  For people here daily weather forecast is important.

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The local buses are blue in colour and Gayatri said the cost of the ticket within Walldorf is the same for one stop or more stops.
The other day I was thinking that I have been exploring Walldorf but I did not know anything about its history. So I looked up in the internet. I am writing in brief what I read.

( The earliest documentary mention of the settlement occurs as Waltorf in a 770 deed issued by the Abbey of Lorsch. The Electorate of the Palatinate received Walldorf as an Imperial fief in 1230. The town suffered much during the Thirty Years’ War of 1618-1648, and in 1689 was completely destroyed in the course of the French invasion during Nine Years’ War. The area was settled anew by religious refugees, among them the predecessors of John Jacob Astor, Waldensians from Piedmont. With the 1803 German Mediatisation Walldorf fell to Baden. 1843 saw the building of the Rheintalbahn: this railway decisively promoted economic development. In 1901 Grand Duke Frederick I of Baden granted Walldorf town privileges. After World War II, the establishment of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen and of SAP (founded 1972; moved to Walldorf in 1977) made Walldorf one of the most prosperous towns of Germany.
Source Wikipedia )

Vinay and Advaith have weekly holidays on Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday morning Vinay , Advaith and I went to the neighbouring city called Wiesloch. It is not far. We walked along Hauptstrasse, vehicles are not allowed there. The cobbled streets and old buildings add to the beauty of the place.

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Before leaving Vinay and I had coffee in a bakery called Rutz. Advaith drank hot chocolate. He likes it very much.

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Kavya and Advaith are fine.
With love,

Lakshmi

Letter from Germany -4 (Slice of Life)

slice-of-life_individual

( I am in Germany in my daughter’s place. Her daughter was born this month on the 10th. I write mails to my mother ( Amma) and my father’s elder brother’s wife, my Doddamma ( elder mother ). I also send photos. My Doddamma is 86 and is mostly in her room and her home. My cousin’s wife wrote to me that my Doddamma was very happy to read and see the photos of my grandchildren which I send through WhatsApp. She says she can now imagine what they are doing. My mother too enjoys them. WhatsApp is such a blessing in many ways. It helps us to stay connected with our near ones, if we want to. 😊)

                                             11-12-17

Dear Doddamma and Amma,

Today morning I raised the shutter of the kitchen window and I was surprised to see no snow at all. Yesterday it had been snowing the whole day and there was snow everywhere. When I told my grandson, Advaith that all the snow had disappeared, he said there was a small snow island in the middle. And yes, there was a snow island.

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Yesterday there was a lot of snow and being Sunday we could see families playing in the snow. Outside our building a snowman was being made. It was fun watching them. They made a small snow ball and kept rolling it on the ground. As they kept rolling more snow stuck to ball and became bigger. In this way they made a big snowman.

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There is a main road next to our building ,on the other side of the road there are rows of houses, then the next street. Many children were throwing snowballs at each other. They were all having a nice time.

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Vinay and Advaith made muffins. A ready to make mix is available. It has to be mixed and baked in the muffin plate. They have made them earlier many times. Yesterday Kavya completed one month, the muffins were made in celebration of her first month birthday.  She likes to be held and loves to doze when she is our arms.

At 4.30 Gayatri, Advaith and I went out for 15 minutes to see the snow close up. It looks so beautiful.  It feels very nice to walk on snow, there is crunchy noise.

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After 15 minutes we came in. Vinay said we could go to the Christmas market.

Christmas markets are a very important part of the month of December here in Walldorf and also elsewhere in Germany. The Hauptstrasse near the town centre where no vehicles are allowed. The Christmas market is held here. It is a small carnival or fair and it is held in every season.
Christmas markets are held in the first two weekends in December. Yesterday evening Vinay, Advaith and I decided to walk to Hauptstrasse. It is only about twenty minutes away a straight road from Gayatri’s home to that place. We left at 5 but it was dark like about 9o’clock in the night. There was a lot of snow in the side of the footpath and Advaith enjoyed walking on the snow. The lighted Christmas tree looked beautiful.
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Christmas market is a small fair, there are about ten or twelve shops. Some were selling eatables, drinks and various things. There was a music band too. I was seeing so many people in Walldorf for the first time. 😊
I enjoyed a small mug of glühwein. It is a hot drink and is an important part of Christmas markets in Germany. I read how it is made.

( In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon stick. …Cut orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. …Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. …Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.).)
The mug was beautiful and I had to take a photo.

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Advaith enjoyed merry-go-round rides. We listened to the music and walked back home. Here people decorate their homes for Christmas. It looks beautiful.

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We were back home by 6.45. It was a good outing. Today morning all the snow had disappeared and it was raining the whole day. I did not go for a walk today.

With lots of love,
Lakshmi

Letter from Germany -4 (Slice of Life)