Monday, March 20, 2006

tulips and two lips

Well, well, well - what do we have here? Ahh, today is the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere? Hmmph, doesn't look much like the first day of spring to me. Outside it's still as cold and grey as ever. OK, maybe we should take a look inside then, because not only do I have spring in my heart (la la la!), I also have these pretty, pretty flowers in my living room. They're going to make it just a little bit easier to wait for those first rays of sunshine.









Speaking of rays of sunshine, guess who I ran into downtown on Saturday? It was Jen, Darmstadt's cutest expat! Oh, all right, we didn't just run into each other. We'd been planning this visit for weeks and finally made it a reality. Jen braved the perils of the Deutsche Bahn all by herself and arrived right on time at 10:17 a.m.

We met right outside the Hauptbahnhof Hannover - the main train station, where the statue of Ernst August I, King of Hannover from 1837 to 1851, is located. The bronze statue, which depicts the king on horseback, is a popular meeting place and you'll often hear people say, "Ich treffe dich unter dem Schwanz" - "I'll meet you under the tail."



It was pretty cold outside - freezing, actually, so we decided we needed a latte macchiato or two to warm up and ended up sitting in coffee shop for at least two and half hours. Times flies when you're talking your head off. A certain expat blogger who was in on our plan had warned us to take an extra set of lips along in case the original ones got all talked out. I think he was right.

After a while we got hungry and decided to search out Henry's Griddle , an "Authentic American" restaurant I had been to several years before. It was still there and we found a booth in the back and started talking again after the waitress (who we forced to speak English) took our order. Two California Burgers (bacon and guacamole - yum!) and two giant glasses of Diet Coke later, we were STILL talking. We talked about nothing and everything and it was WONDERFUL.

Soon it was time for Jen to think about catching her train home, but we still had one more stop. The Hello Kitty store! I am informed that there is a severe lack of Hello Kitty merchandise in Darmstadt. We browsed for a while, but Jen didn't find exactly what she was looking for, so we strolled on back to the train station and had a look at all the drunken soccer fans returning from a Hannover 96 vs. FC Köln game. What a bunch of rowdys. You definitely don't want to get in their way, especially if their team lost.

Jen's train left shortly after 6:30 p.m. and I still don't think we'd said all we had to say, despite the worn-out lips so we're busy planning another get together very soon.

Thanks, Jen, you're a doll.

26 Comments:

At March 20, 2006 7:37 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

sounds like a good visit.

I always used to have spring flowers on my table in Canada. I loved it!! I miss that now. No room in Japan. They look so beautiful and make everything so cheery

 
At March 20, 2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous Franzie said...

Have to agree with Andrea, those flowers really do make you smile, you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside and definitely feel like spring has come.
Spring isn't the same Down Under, it's not that powerful and everything is slightly out of wack. The trees never quite manage to loose all their leaves, and the buds are on the trees all through 'winter' (or the thing that they give this title here, but it just doesn't come close to the real thing).

 
At March 20, 2006 10:38 AM, Blogger christina said...

Andrea - I really love the spring flowers and they're so cheap here and available everywhere so we splurge all the time. one point for Germany. :-)

Franzie - It must be weird at first to get used to the seasons being the other way around. I guess everything is a little milder and you don't get the extremes we have here. Everyone's mighty glad that spring is about to arrive - it's been a long, long winter.

 
At March 20, 2006 11:47 AM, Blogger mar said...

Lovely flowers, great colors! and what fun to have had a long talk along some coffee!

 
At March 20, 2006 12:53 PM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Sounds like you two had fun!

I'm a sucker for tulips. As soon as they start to sell them, I usually buy bunches of 30, 40 or 50. They really add sunshine to a home. We can't complain about the weather here in Basel. The weekend was splendid with temps around 12°C. Hope you get the warmer weather soon.

 
At March 20, 2006 2:00 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

Those flower photos are simply gorgeous!

And what fun to meet up with a blog friend; lucky you! Have a great week...

 
At March 20, 2006 4:33 PM, Blogger jen said...

It was so fun. If any of you ever get the chance to meet up with Mausi, do it. Never a more warm and friendly lady.

I love those flowers. I bought some myself from Aldi and they seem to last forever.

 
At March 20, 2006 4:40 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

We've got quite a few tulips right outside our door here. I took a photo or two of the yellow ones. And P told me about the two lips thing once again. You know you never here that joke in the states... funny...

 
At March 20, 2006 5:17 PM, Blogger christina said...

Mar - it would have been really, really fun with or without the coffee. :-)

canadianswiss - the tulips are SO pretty, aren't they? 12°?? Wow, I don't think we've made it past 6° yet.

cathy - Thanks! I've been practicing with our new camera and the light seemed just righ to take some pictures.

Jen - you're so sweet. The little narcissus do last a long time and they're so perky.

Expat - Wait, there's a joke that goes along with this? I'm not sure if I know it either.

 
At March 20, 2006 5:26 PM, Blogger GC PHILO said...

Don't be too rough on the beginning of Spring... I hear all of Central Europe has been having a tough winter this year. At least you have those beautiful flowers!

 
At March 20, 2006 7:21 PM, Blogger Haddock said...

Glad you guys had a good time. I think spring might be finally here. The Crocuses have finally flowered in my garden :)

 
At March 20, 2006 7:46 PM, Blogger J said...

Hannover will never be the same :P

 
At March 20, 2006 8:30 PM, Blogger christina said...

gc philo - I bet you were sitting on the beach in your shorts when you wrote that, huh? ;-) Yeah, I know, spring will be here soon enough.

haddock - no crocuses for us yet but the snowdrops and Winterlinge are out.

J - You got that right. :-) You'll have to join us next time. Bring ear plugs if you like.

 
At March 20, 2006 9:48 PM, Blogger Ginnie said...

Ohhhhh. Tulips AND two lips!! You have really started off Spring with a bang. I know you had a great time with Jen because "I've been there, done that" with you...just not for as long! And we'll do it again soon. I can hardly wait.

 
At March 20, 2006 10:30 PM, Blogger lily b said...

That first photos of your tulips is fantastic! I had to look closely to see if it was a painting or photo. Spring can't come soon enough as far as I'm concerned.

 
At March 20, 2006 10:53 PM, Blogger Dixie said...

I've just got to buy some tulips this week. They always cheer me up!

Sounds like you and Jen had a great time! Isn't it great to just talk and talk and talk and not even notice the time?

That restaurant looks so good too. I miss American food!

 
At March 21, 2006 12:08 AM, Blogger traveller one said...

Sounds like a lovely girls day out! Ohhh I'm so jealous!

 
At March 21, 2006 11:43 AM, Blogger christina said...

Ginnie - Yes, my spring certainly started well. You'd love Jen, she's fabulous.

lily b - Thanks! I like the way the photos came out. I guess the light must have been shining just right and the first one does sort of look like a watercolour.

Dixie - I can't believe how fast the time whizzed by!

The restaurant was fine, only a couple of drawbacks - no non-smoking section so we go smoked all over, and there's a bar in the front so you have to walk past large groups of possibly drunk men to get to the restaurant part and I'm way out of practice with that kind of thing! :-)

traveller one - It was very, very nice. Girls days out have been few and far between here, I'm afraid, so that made it even better.

 
At March 21, 2006 5:16 PM, Blogger jen said...

See, I found the not quite drunk men part kinda of exciting. I wanted to explore that area a bit more.

It's been a while, but I hear it's like riding a bike.

 
At March 21, 2006 5:20 PM, Blogger Crystal said...

Beautiful bright pretty tulips! It's very frigid in Chicago still, we actually had warmer days in January than what we're having now, and so seeing Spring flowers always brings a smile to my face. I bloomed several pots of hyacinths/tulips in my apartment as well and I plan to post a few pics soon!

 
At March 21, 2006 7:51 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Christina - it's a bad joke...naughty joke... I'm not so sure you want to hear it....

 
At March 21, 2006 8:57 PM, Blogger christina said...

Jen - You are still young enough to be able to deal with all those men. Makes me tired just thinking about it. :-)

expat - Aha, that's what I thought. OK, well, not on my blog at least. ;-)

 
At March 21, 2006 10:49 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Good thing we were thinking the same thoughts because I would have only emailed it to you. laughs...

 
At March 22, 2006 8:42 AM, Blogger hippo_pepperpot said...

love the flowers!
Yes...read GC's novel... there are some really sweet and sexy love bits in there...plus the honesty of how 'Paul' feels. I loved it.

 
At March 22, 2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Alison said...

Sounds like a fun day. Tulips are my absolute favorite flower. I'd have them year round if I could! Nice pics!

 
At March 22, 2006 1:53 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

The flowers are great. :) Thanks for the Spring things!

As for meeting under the tail, I got a little chuckle out of that. I'd get a bigger one if Ernst August I is found to be sitting on a stallion. :D

Sounds like you and Jen had a really fun day! Oh man, the soccer thing reminds me... I got caught in the park one evening when the Alemannia Aachener's (team) came jogging through en masse. It was like being caught in the middle of a stampede, and so confusing! All that testosterone, sweat and sweet-smelling cologne! They literally blew my hair back. And I have to admit there are days I return hoping for a repeat performance. ;)

 

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