Friday 19 April 2024

A (Mostly) Sunny Week

+ + + Update: I added something to the Thursday of that week. + + +

Last week was mostly sunny and really warm, with not a single drop of rain (a total contrast to this week). I had the chance for some good walks, making the most of the spring that felt more like early summer.

My trains from Offenburg to Ludwigsburg were on time on Monday (8 April). After an already mild morning, 25C/77F in the afternoon meant I went out in short sleeves and 3/4 length jeans to meet a friend for coffee and cake. It was very good to catch up with her - we'd not seen each other since last autumn.

A back & shoulders massage followed; after that, I met up with my sister for a walk in the palace grounds with the tulips and other spring flowers at their most beautiful, as you can see from the pictures.

Tuesday (9 April) was much chillier at a high of 11C/51F, but at least the forecast rain did not materialise for us. I only worked until lunch time, then my sister picked me up for the drive to a small town not that far away but hard to get to by public transport. 

We were there for the funeral service of our friend RJ's Dad - he was the fourth person in my circle of family and friends to have died in the first three months of this year, only three days after O.K.'s Dad. I hope there won't be another funeral for me to attend for a long time.

I had a brief rest at home before setting off to the pub where my team and I were booked for the quiz. It was good fun even though this time we did not walk home with a prize - we ended up with 22 out of 26 points, coming fourth.

A chilly 7C/44F warmed up to 14C/57F on Wednesday (10 April), my usual office day. After an unremarkable but productive working day, I walked home from Zuffenhausen across the fields in beautiful late afternoon sunshine, enjoying every moment of the just under two hours it took me.

I started Thursday (11 April) working from home, glad not having to be out on that sunny but very cold morning at 3C/37F. By lunch time, it was much warmer, and it was good to be on a train to Marbach, where I had a meeting at the Literature Archive. 

Afterwards, it was 14C/57F again, and in the beautiful sunshine I walked along the river until I reached the bottom of Ludwigsburg (actually, the suburb of Hoheneck). From there, I took a bus up into town and walked the remaining 10 minutes to my house. The roughly 8 km were a beautiful walk, but my work laptop is large and heavy, which was one reason why I opted for the bus for that final bit through town.

Schiller National Museum in Marbach (part of the complex of buildings connected with the Literature Archive, and therefore occasionally my work place)

 View of the museum from across the river

One of the many vineyards turned into orchards and allotments

Another ex vineyard, with a shed high up at the top of the steep slope

Nobody has been working this very steep vineyard in a long time.

I did not stay home that evening; actually, I merely dropped off my heavy work laptop and was off again to my Mum's where my sister and I were to enjoy once more our Mum's great cooking. This time, she made green and white asparagus with slices of ham and savoury pancakes - a seasonal dish that suited the evening very well.

Friday (12 April) saw the usual succession of work, groceries shopping and cleaning, changing the bed sheets and so on, with a rare addition: I cleaned my windows :-D They really were very dirty, and knowing that I was going to have visitors on Saturday added extra motivation for tackling my least favourite household task.

When O.K. arrived shortly after 9:00 pm, I served green asparagus with slices of ham, a salad of baby spinach leaves, yellow pepper and feta cheese, ciabatta and a crisp dry white to go with it. Even if I say so myself, a delicious and fitting meal for a beautiful spring evening.

Since I had postponed my little birthday party to Saturday (13 April), in the morning O.K. and I went to a large supermarket nearby for the drinks and crushed ice. After that, we picked up the party Brezel I had ordered from my local baker - made of 1 kg of dough and prepared with four different kinds of cheese and three types of ham, as well as slices of egg, radishes and lettuce.

There were only going to be eight of us, and with the drinks bought and part of the food ready, we had enough time to go for an ice cream in the afternoon. It was beautiful and warm at 25C/77F or more, and accordingly, very busy in town. But the long-ish queue at the ice cream counter moved swiftly, so that we were soon holding our takeaway cups. We found empty chairs on the market square (a small miracle on a day like that) and enjoyed our ice creams before crossing the road for a short stroll in the palace grounds.

Soon, it was time to get back and prepare the rest of the food, bring up the extra chairs from the cellar, set out glasses for the drinks and so on.

A close-up of the big party Brezel :-)

It was nearly as big as my kitchen table!

From 7:00 pm onwards, my guests started to arrive, some of which I had not seen in quite a while. As it was meant to be my birthday party (originally planned for the day after my birthday three weeks ago), they brought presents and cards as well.

It was a lovely, fun evening with my friends and family (of course my Mum and sister were there, too), and I was glad and grateful for everything and everyone.

After the guests had left, clearing up didn't take long, and I was in bed before 2:00 am, the dishwasher quietly humming in the kitchen.

Sunday (April 14) was another warm day of wall-to-wall sunshine. After a leisurely brunch, O.K. and I walked to the lake, then further on to the casle on the hill (Asperg) where we had a shandy before completing our walk of about 13.5 km.

Field of rapeseed on our way to the lake

One of the paths around the lake

Up on Hohenasperg, the castle hill above the town of Asperg

Looking west across Asperg

Looking east across Asperg towards Ludwigsburg in the distance

The beer garden where we had our shandies

Back home at 5 pm, we had coffee and strawberry cake; later, I made another salad of baby spinach leaves and yellow pepper, this time with slices of avocado, and heated the rest of the party food. 

O.K. left shortly after 8:00 pm and was home less than two hours later.

That Sunday would have been my Grandma's (Mum's mum) 110th birthday.


  1. "Can't believe" how summery it's all looking in your photos... When I got outside for my afternoon walk today, I was met by a snow/hail shower! (Didn't last long, but enough to cut my walk very short...)

    1. It didn't last long, Monica. All of this week, the weather has been pretty dismal with a lot of wind (at gale force sometimes) and so cold I have put the heating back on and wear my padded winter coat again when I leave the house.

  2. I am very envious of your weather and the beautiful shows of flowers. Our weather has overall been dire and the bitter winds have been such that I lost all my daffodils and tulips very early on.

    1. See my reply to Monica. With the strong wind, some hail and rather cold temperatures (close to zero during the night), much of what was so beautiful last week is gone now. I feel most sorry for the baby birds and other small animals.

  3. Your range of temperatures at this time of year surprises me - from close to freezing to 25.

    1. Such a roller coaster of temperatures is not unusual for this time of year in my area, but I must admit it can get a bit tiring. Migraine patients and people prone to circulatory problems offer suffer (not me, luckily).

  4. Oh, I sure love seeing all of those flowers, Meike! We got so cold here yesterday and today with the highs just above 40° F! I was outside for much of it helping my friend with her garage sale so we froze! But her sale was successful so it was worth it.
    I have never heard of a party Brezel but it sure looks delicious! :)

    1. It has gone really cold here again, too; on his way to me on Friday evening, O.K. encountered snow and sleet on the motorway at some stage.
      Thumbs up for your friend‘s garage sale!

  5. The flowers around the castle always amaze, but this year they are extra special!

    1. They are/were, Jill! Those colours were even more beautiful in reality than what my phone's camera could convey.

  6. That looked like a very busy week dear. Loved all the photos and seeing the palace gardens and countryside. Your belated birthday party looked like it was a lot of fun - I'd never heard of a 'Brezel' before!
    Hot here last week but after rain yesterday it's cooled quite a bit - fine with me!
    Have another good week Meike - sending hugs.
    Mary -

    1. I guess you spell them "pretzel", but the German spelling is Brezel (just like you spell it "schnapps" while in German it is "Schnaps").
      A busy week, yes, but average/normal for me - a typical Meike-week - except that I don't have a little party every Saturday ;-D
      You too have a good week, Mary.
      Hugs, Meike