Friday, February 3, 2012

At Home in Karlsruhe

My inexperience as a blogger has caused this post to be kind of upside-down! The first part I wrote is now at the end, and I can't figure out how to edit this. I guess from now on I'll just have to write backwards. Not a problem.

In this view you can see the street we live on, looking away from the center of the city and down into the university campus (we live on the "South" campus and my Dear Husband works on the "North" campus, half an hour away by bus). Some buildings are quite old survivors of World War II, but Karlsruhe is not that old by European standards. Margrave Karl built the palace (and designed the city like the spokes of a wheel) for his R&R almost 300 years ago. The sprinkling of snow is very unusual for this sunny town and evidences the extremely cold weather we're suffering at present. Normally a dusting like this wouldn't last a day.

This view shows the street outside our building ("gastdozentenhaus" if you speak any German) looking towards the Schloss ("palace"). You can see a portion of the Schloss at the end of the street. Beyond the building on the right hand side of the street and the Schloss, half of downtown Karlsruhe is composed of extensive and lovely parks with greenhouses and exercise opportunities. With the sub-zero weather currently, we have not yet started exploring the parks.

This is how the kitchen looks when I am preparing a meal in it. Note how the dish drainer has been stood on its end to make maximum space for food prep. What looks like sliced onions is actually shallots to give you an idea of scale. The first dinner prepared in this kitchen was Hungarian Goulash-style pork, spaetzle (store-bought and warmed up) and brussels sprouts with walnuts and walnut oil (an old favorite). By dint of continual clean-up, it's just barely possible to cook for two in this space.

This is the most adorable little kitchen ever. Sink, counter, stove. Microwave, but no oven. No dishwasher (except me). The coffeemaker must be stashed when not in use or there's no space to do anything else! Just beyond the kitchen is the bathroom--literally, just for bathing since we have a separate toilet room on the other side of the entrance hall. The tub is of generous depth and length and has a lovely shower attachment as well.

Above is our soothingly uncluttered bedroom. Note the down comforter, lack of top sheets, and attractive but uncooperative down pillow. As soon as your head meets this pillow, all the feathers escape from under your head. I have developed a containment strategy for the down involving folding and kneading techniques I learned from making bread.

Happy to say our trip went smoothly. We are ensconced in our little flat on the metro-university campus a stone's throw from the palace at the center of Karlsruhe, and we are conquering jetlag. Shown to the left is our living/dining room before we've had time to mess it up. We have already rearranged the furniture. The dining table unfolds and we are permanently keeping it expanded so that I can use it as a desk when we're not dining.


  1. It's wonderful of you to do this for all of us frustrated would-be travelers!

    Judy Anderson

  2. Glad to hear everything is going smoothly so far! Can't wait for the next installment!

  3. It looks like you've moved into a dorm room. :)

  4. Hey Aaron, you're not too far off! It's pretty spartan.

  5. Have you been to the palace yet and walked around? The part I saw of it was lovely, though it was freezing then too and dark so we didn't stay long. Thanks for the tour--update again soon!
    P.S. No dorm room has windows that gorgeous and huge. Anywhere.

  6. You think YOU'RE new at this blogging thing; I commented (something of course witty and incisive) yesterday and thought I'd "published" it, yet it's not here today. And it's rare these days that I can precisely quote even myself, so I'll do my best: You're wonderfully ambitious, Beth, to accomplish good, well-thought-out meals in a workspace that challenging! But we'd expect nothing less from you, at home or abroad!! Good show!

  7. Beth, I am so impressed - it took me this long to become just a follower :)

    Love your side and hope to read alot about Germany because even I live her forever I am not coming around such alot ...