Dürbach, Germany

We enjoyed this restaurant’s decor and the special of the day, Elsaesser fleischschnecken a la micheliwitsch.  The lovely proprietor/chef/hostess told us it is usually made with pork, but she makes hers with beef.  She still uses the sewing machines in this dining room, “When I need to sew on denim.”  After lunch we went to the Staufenberg Castle winery at the top of the hill for a spectacular panorama.  Those pics are Dale’s to upload.  We could see the Strasbourg Cathedral from up there, at least 25 miles away.






I made a blog entry that was apparently a little too tricky to publish.  It included a video for a birthday girl.  You can tell that had me too discouraged to blog for a week.  Or maybe I am sorry to miss a birthday but still happy to be in France.  And I’m sometimes doubtful of what makes interesting content.

Dale had to work in Germany last weekend.  I got to walk around Schwäbisch Gmünd without ever hearing it pronounced.  I have to laugh at the pictures I took.  Fantastic architecture is giving way to things that have always interested me:  socks, knitters, and sewing machines.

20140315_120028[1]20140315_120106[1]20140315_111305[1]The town of Schwäbisch Gmünd has some pretty nice churches, I mean, church buildings.  Better photographers than me have put those pics on the web–and Google can find them.

I got a bike this week.  I like it better than walking everywhere.  I biked to Steelcase to join Dale for lunch.    On the way back I found a salon that was NOT in the center of Strasbourg.  I figured that meant their prices would be more reasonable.   But almost everything costs more in France than in Cedar Springs.   I asked if anyone spoke English.  They did a quick survey.  No one here would admit to speaking English.  Then a funny thought occurred to us at the same time:  it doesn’t mean we can’t cut your hair!  Thanks, Isabelle.20140321_140952[1]



Dale has been online looking at sewing machines/machine a coudre/naehmaschine  more hours than I have been on hold with the bank.  Every night.  He mentioned more than once the one that got away: an impressive treadle that sold for only 10.50 euros.  He bid on another, dropping out at 40 euros, as there were many others. Then he won this for 1.50 euros.  Yep, $2.07.


We drove to pick it up last night in Althengstett, Germany, less than two hours away.  I thought we should give them more than 1.50 euros.  This felt like stealing!  He said it was their choice to not set a minimum price and did I bring the exact change?  (Any amount less than €5 has to be coins.)  We met the couple, and they spoke English.  They had bought the house a couple years ago with this machine left behind.  I was relieved we were not collecting it from the one who first bought it and used it and maintained it so well.  Of course, Dale gave them a €5 bill.

Now to find a restaurant.  We drove back through Ostelheim and chose this one.Rossle restaurant

The table linens were cute, and we’d lucked out with another English speaking server.  She brought us sparkling water, and made some recommendations that were fabulous.  Europe is no place to diet.wpid-20140311_202311.jpgI could not believe the framed poster opposite our table.  Can you? For any of my readers not in Kent County, Michigan,  Rosie’s Diner is less than 5 miles from our home in Cedar Springs.  Isn’t that cool?wpid-20140311_210813.jpgwpid-20140311_203035.jpg


Having a wonderful time/Wish you were here

It is a privilege to ride along with Dale when he has to travel for Steelcase.  I love it!  We have seen Toronto, Dallas, Huntsville, and much of North Carolina thanks to Steelcase.  Dale thought I wouldn’t miss 110 degrees in McAllen, Texas.  He visited San Pedro Island without me, bless his heart.

In six years of traveling we also said hello to three granddaughters.  Now I could kiss Dale goodbye and go visit the Amblers.  Never a dull moment.  But I still saw my loved ones pretty often.

It was a huge decision to come to France, mostly because of leaving family.  I still don’t know if any friends or family will be able to join us here.  But Leann said just the right thing to help me decide.  “Go, Mom.  I would hate to be the reason you didn’t see Europe when you had the chance.”

We had a hasty lesson in cross cultural training before we came here.  The lady asked more personal questions than I expected.  (I’m suspicious of psychobabble.)  What difference would it really make if she predicts how easily I would get along in France?  It was too late to say never mind.  Sure, it is challenging, like most worthwhile things.  She asked how I felt about leaving such young grandchildren. (Elise did cry very hard and long.  I blurted out something about not dying. Then she recovered enough to critique her sister’s copycat sobs.)  I think I didn’t share that with the cross cultural trainer, just repeated Leann’s encouragement.  She said that was excellent.

I thought I was well-adjusted and headed for a wonderful chance of a lifetime.  This person agreed.  Then we learned she is “not a religious person.”  Though she had my pity, she had no intention of talking about that.  I couldn’t explain my expectation of walking right into a vibrant body of believers and feeling/being right at home.  I believed I had sisters and brothers in France that I just had not met yet.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the trainer is wrong, and I’m not naive about culture shock.  But God lessened the shock so much with saints at the English-speaking Trinity International Church of Strasbourg.  We’re singing some familiar songs, some new.  I must not text Leann during the songs to boast of this. Even Adele Ambler is sound asleep while Dale and I are in church in Strasbourg.  Yes, this church will be ours while we’re here.


I like vintage sewing machines, if they are in good condition.  Last week Dale and I used Ebay to see an astonishing number of vintage sewing machines for sale in France and Germany.  Most of them are listed for less than €100.  We would jump between Ebay and Google Translator and Google Maps. After paying for bargain machines on Craigslist and refurbishing them ourselves in Michigan, this gets more interesting.  There are so many displayed with obvious pride of ownership, I mean, marketing.  Then Hayley, an Etsy seller, told me about Leboncoin, which is just like Craigslist.  Good thing I left my beloved Singer 128k back in Cedar Springs.  One less to bring back, I now realize.
Dale likes to shop (hunt) online.  He researches which models are all metal with no plastic gears, and a hundred other aspects to choosing which one to see in person.  He likes Pfaff, Anker and Singer.  He has reviewed backgrounds on brands that we never knew, like Celtic, Jones, New National, and Gritzner.  Lucky for me!  We are in between holidays and birthdays, so he will focus on acquiring a sewing machine (or two).   David’s birthday is not until May.  The Cessna is buttoned up for an 18-month nap.  What else to shop for?  I love his hobby!  I like Leboncoin because it will narrow the search to just Alsace.  Perhaps the ad is by a neighbor right here in Strasbourg.
You can see Hayley’s Etsy shop, https://www.etsy.com/shop/thehopetree

My neighborhood

Our car is kept in a garage about five minutes from our apartment.  Walking back from the garage, I stopped at this shop for a croissant.


Smells good every morning!

I let many others go ahead of me, watching what was selling the best.


This street shows a good example of the old right up next to the new.


This charming hotel is as close to our apartment as my Cedar Springs home is close to 17 Mile and Ritchie Rd.  I invented a reason to stop inside for another picture and a little information.  The brochure was much nicer than my tablet camera can convey, and the man assured me the website was really nice, so I took only one inside pic. 


Room rates

In case too many people visit us all at once–yes, that’s why I need to know all about this hotel.