Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh, wie schön ist Panama -or- Our Trip to Panama

Here are some pictures from our trip to Panama today, an adventure playground right around the corner from our house. It's a fantastic place, and must be visited often on orders from the boss, Wilhelm. Amazingly, after 10 months living in the United States, we returned to Dresden and asked him if we should visit the animals, meaning Panama. We were already on the street where Panama is located, and he showed us the way to the animals! We are talking about a child who was 2 when we left Dresden and 3 when we returned.

The chicken with the feather pants is one of our favorite animals here.

A baby goat! A while ago when I first saw the babies, they were only as big as cats!

And the horses. Sometimes we see these guys being ridden around the Neustadt. That always makes you do a double take!

There's also other neat stuff here: equipment for climbing, great sandboxes, even a big wooden ship to climb and play on. We wanted to go on the ship, but then some big kids from the school next door got to it first and were being rowdy, so we hung out with the chickens instead. They even have a place for bonfires and offer lots of activities and classes for older kids. It is a nice place where city kids can have a bit of country!

On another note, I was just thrilled today to find out that the German children's book by Janosch that inspired my title is also available in English--the Trip to Panama! I'm ordering it right now! And probably the German version, too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Has spring sprung?

In the last couple of days, it hasn't been unbearably cold and ugly and gray and snowy, it has actually been above freezing and all the snow and ice is melting away! Just when it felt like winter would never end, maybe it has.

Here are some little plants coming up in our garden. They are some kind of spring bloomers, we'll see what they are. The lady who lived here before us planted them!

Here are a couple of views out of two of our twelve windows. I was motivated by the beautiful weather today to wash the windows, and while doing this, started wondering how many windows we actually have here. We don't live in a typical apartment, it's actually a little one-storey addition onto a freestanding house, not a rowhouse like across the street. It's more like a little house all our own than an apartment. Here we have 50% more windows in this place than in our old place, which was 25% larger.

This may look like a little junkyard, but it is actually a part of the property we are renting. It doesn't look like much now, but we are going to put a greenhouse on it! It's right outside one of our living room windows.

Here is our terrace/garden, also not typical for apartments in our neighborhood. We have a separate entrance from the rest of the people living in our house, which is neat. It is great not only for our famous grill parties, but also as an open air playpen for the kids and bunnies!

Speaking of the buns, here is their habitat. This photo was taken just after it was built in September. This view of the garden is basically just a shot in the opposite direction from the one above.

Here's a shot of Knuddelhase and Cream last fall, when they were just wee babes...

...and today, all chunky with their thick winter coats.

These are two of the three windows that I didn't wash today...I ran out of steam before getting to the kids' room. The car window and the Lorax window are more or less finished, but I still need to make pictures for the third window in the kids' room. The plan is for the last one to be a Miffy window, whenever I get around to it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The helicopters.

Today is the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden at the end of World War 2. This is a big anniversary, drawing Neonazis and their opponents right smack into the middle of the city and into my neighborhood. The Neonazis wanted to march, but according to news reports, their opponents have successfully blocked them with a sit-in as well as blockades made of flaming trash cans. They blocked the train tracks, the tram lines, everything. The police didn't make them move to protect the Neonazis constitutional right to have their march or demonstration or whatever they had planned. Cool!

For pictures, go here and click the arrows on the right to go through the gallery.

Or you can also go here, and see a couple more pictures. The top photo with "Lola ich liebe dich" is right on the corner of my old street. Glad I don't live there any more!

Although it makes me pretty happy that the anti-fascists have blocked the Nazis, and it's all nice and warm and fuzzy that 15000 people showed up in the city center to form a human chain of remembrance, I am freaking sick of all the police helicopters flying over surveying the situation. They started yesterday evening, and have been flying over all day. It's worse than the stupid blimp that flew over every evening before the new mall opened up in September.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Zoo

I have heard talk of how much Dresden has changed lately, and I guess when you are thinking about the new malls, the new bridge that is getting finished and is just waiting to be put onto the Elbe, new supermarkets, fixed streets, and that sort of stuff, a lot has happened. My favorite change, though, has to be the addition of giraffes at the zoo.

The giraffe house was under construction the last time we visited the zoo, and now it is completed. I have to admit, I have never been such a fan of giraffes. I had nothing against them, but I have always had more of an affinity to monkeys and big cats. However, on our first trip to the zoo this year, Wilhelm was completely enthused by the giraffes. We went again yesterday, and the giraffe house was again his main focus. Maybe it's because the giraffes are so tall and graceful, maybe it's because they seem quite peaceful, almost floating around on their long legs with their long necks and funny heads on top. On a trip to the Munich zoo when Wilhelm was just one and a half, we were looking at the lions behind their glass wall, and the male lion stood up and approached Wilhelm, in his eyes probably a tender little morsel, behind the glass. Even though the lion wasn't moving quickly, and certainly couldn't get him, Wilhelm screamed, ran to me, and wanted nothing to do with any lions. He recognized that this was an interested carnivore. Perhaps he likes the giraffes because they don't want to eat him.

The mandrills. I like these goofy apes, especially the baby with it's big, round eyes and crazed expression.

"Achtung, achtung, er guckt!" (Attention, attention, he's looking!) This is what Wilhelm said when this silly bird popped his head up over the wall. This bird seems to have some psychological damage from living in the zoo. It's main occupation is to run back and forth behind this wall, popping its head up from time to time. Especially funny is when the viewer is eating something, because then it gets very interested, and almost frantic. Wilhelm had a tofu wiener in his hand, and the bird sprinted over to him, much to Wilhelm's amusement, and started stretching its head over the wall. Wilhelm is a bright boy though, laughed at the bird and made a quick step back.