Thursday, January 25, 2007

In like a lion...

After a couple of weeks of winter climate Redmond style (this year's freak snowstorm notwithstanding), winter arrived in our corner of Germany with snow and really cold temperatures. I sent the van in today to get snow tires -- something I've always associated with cities like Detroit and Fargo.

B's sister Marina arrived yesterday after an 11-hour flight from Brazil. The navigation system in the van turns out to be a mixed blessing as it often gives you several options for the same destination. B seems to have a gift for picking the wrong one! Yesterday she arrived at the Frankfurt airport at the cargo terminals. She then picked the wrong city to come pick me up at work which resulted in an hour-long not-so-scenic tour of the Heidelberg area.

On the news front, it looks like we've found an apartment (we should sign the lease this Saturday, January 27th). Hard to believe, but we found new construction (add-on to existing building), a real rarity in Heidelberg. The apartment is right next to the S-Bahn line, a tram which goes directly to downtown Heidelberg. This apartment is the realization of a dream I've had since I left Rio: to live in walking distance of everything I really need (bars, restaurants, bakeries -- you name it).

A funny thing about German houses and apartments is that they typically come with very few, if any, fixtures and nothing in the kitchen! In Germany you can go to a store and buy an entire kitchen including cabinets, fridge, microwave etc. While I found this modular approach odd at first, it gave us a rare opportunity to rent 2 apartments that, since they are under construction, will be made to feel like one. We should move into our 4-bedroom flat the first week of March. It's right over a retail space which will save some poor soul from living beneath the Panzer division known as the Prickril kids (especially the girls).

Also, we made our first trip to Ikea yesterday. Looks identical to the ones in the States, including prices that make you think you misread the tag (and in a good way). We bought bedding so Marina wouldn't have to sleep in the van (my original suggestion).

Finally, in the interest of bloggistic integrity, a correction: it looks like some grocery stores here do accept credit cards. I must admit I had been on the brink of losing my faith in the German people.


cees said...

Welcome to Europe. Your next move should be to the Netherlands where we DO have fresh milk (among other things!)

grpNiteroi said...

Hey Cees. What's up with the private profile. Send your e-mail.