Monthly Archives: August 2013

Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme: Play – A Fabulous Playground

On our recent trip to Lake Starnberg, my mum and I came across this really cool kids’ playground. Perfect, I thought, for Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme, which, for this week, is PLAY 🙂




Well, you can’t play all day, so we sat down to relax to this gorgeous view stretching across the lake to the Alps:

...and then this appeared! Magic :)

…and then this appeared! Magic 🙂 Cherry streusel and PROPER whipped cream (not that watery stuff out of a can), if anyone’s interested in the specifics.

For some lovely and relaxing pictures of Lake Starnberg, take a look at this post.

Who Drinks The Most Wine?

Wine is in the top five on the interminable list of things that I should know about but don’t.
Working class Germans are just not wine drinkers, and so when I grew up, I learned that there were three kinds of wine: Sour (all German wines fall into this category, my parents would not have touched those with a barge pole), drinkable (only sweet wines would fall into this category, and they would most likely be of Italian origin), and fizzy (consumed only once a year on New Year’s Eve, and it had to be as sweet as lemonade. Champagne would have been relegated to the “sour” category).

I had a little more exposure to wine after I’d moved to the UK in the 90s. OK, it’s not exactly a country of wine connoisseurs either, but the supermarkets, even back then, offered a fairly wide range of wines from all over the world, including German ones. The concept that some German wines could be considered “good”, was a total revelation to me and took some getting used to.

Admittedly, I didn’t learn that much more about wine during my two decades in the UK, but I internalised one golden rule: when bringing a bottle with you to a social gathering (of people you were fond of), you should not spend any less than £6 on a red or £4 on a white, otherwise it was likely to taste nasty.

Now I’m in Spain, and they certainly seem to know their wine. The emphasis being on the word their, because they don’t seem to be familiar with anything else but their homegrown vino. I’d go as far as to venture that the average Spaniard is not even aware that countries like Chile and Australia also make the stuff, and that some of it ain’t half bad.

I do drink more wine now than I did before, it’s pretty much standard issue when having a meal out, but I’d struggle to I exceed 6 glasses a month. Totally pathetic, I know…

Tinto De Verano - A Spanish summer favourite. It's kind of like Sangria, but with less alcohol and far more refreshing

Tinto De Verano – A Spanish summer favourite. It’s kind of like Sangria, but with less alcohol and far more refreshing. I love it!

Now let’s look at the figures*. Owing to sheer population size, China is the world’s largest market for wines. Of the 28.6 billion litres guzzled globally in 2012, China downed 4.2 billion litres, the USA 3 billion litres, Italy and France 2.5 billion litres each, and, to my utmost surprise, Germany pops up in fifth place with 2.1 billion litres.

But what’s most interesting, I’m guessing, is per capita consumption levels. Instead of giving you the per head consumption for every man, woman and child as usual, I’ve selected per capita intake from legal drinking age onwards.

So, Portugal leads, with 51.5 litres per head in 2012, followed by Italy (47.6l), Switzerland (really???) (42.6l), France (38.7l), Austria (37.7l), Argentina (35.3l), Belgium (33l), Greece (31.7l), Netherlands (30.7l) and Germany is in tenth place with 29.9 litres.

There are always a few surprises, and Spain ranking 13th with just 25.8 litres was definitely one of them. I mean, that’s barely a thimbleful ahead of Ireland and the UK, with 25.1 and 23.3 litres, respectively.

The US managed a paltry 13.4 litres, and Chile 16.6 litres, which isn’t very much, considering both are major producers. Canada did marginally better with 18.3 litres, but at least they don’t pride themselves in growing the stuff, as far as I’m aware.

OK, that’s enough stats. I don’t want to be responsible for sending anyone’s head spinning without even having indulged in a lovely glass (or six) of red.

So, what’s it for you? Red or white? Or beer…?

[* For data source, click here]

Photo Challenge: A Lingering Look At Windows – Bavaria

Another photo challenge. This is getting out of hand…!  But here I am, in the thick of it, thanks to Dawn’s Lingering Look At Window’s weekly challenge, which she puts on each Thursday. I’m submitting a handful of window shots I took in Bavaria during my annual family visit a couple of weeks ago.

The first two are typical Bavarian farm houses, snapped in a town called Kochel-am-See:


Window boxes replete with red geraniums are a very Bavarian affair 🙂


A farmhouse in Possenhofen, by Lake Starnberg

A farmhouse in Possenhofen, by Lake Starnberg

Windows of a Department store in the heart of Munich

Windows of a Department store in the heart of Munich, which has also kept to the national geranium theme!

Landsberg Window

Windows of a house in a residential street in Landsberg. Not Geraniums, but very nice and kinda quirky 😉

Floral Saturday: Astounding Asters

…at least I think that’s what they are! Asters, I mean. If somebody out there knows any better, please do tell me 🙂

I took these a couple of weeks ago, outside a florists’ in Pasing (Munich).

Aster 1Aster 2Aster 3

Update: Not asters, but zinnias. Thanks Anna 🙂

For a quick view at some precious pinks, click here

Photo Challenge: Which Way? In Toledo, All Depends On Who You Are…

Which Way? Is the theme of Cee’s Weekly Photo Challenge, and she’s left us plenty of room for interpretation.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I live in a medieval town in central Spain, and getting around, never mind actually finding your way(!) through the maze of cobbled streets, can be a challenge at times. But, it’s always been easier for some. If, for instance, you happened to be the Cardinal, and you were not at all inclined to amble about mingling with the great unwashed masses, you got to use one of these swish elevated walkways that connect many buildings of importance:

Cardinal's Walkway

Walkway of Real Colegio de Doncellas Nobles (Toledo)

…but if you were a common pleb, then you’d be making your way through crevices like these:

Toledo PassagewayFor more rustic street views of Toledo, click here.

The Fair Comes To Toledo – A Feast Not Only For The Eyes

A couple of nights ago, after the fireworks, Maria and I meandered through the adjacent fairground, enjoying the colourfulness of it all.

Fair rides

This shot of a fair ride has turned out very fuzzy... but I prefer to call it 'arty' ;-)

This shot of a fair ride has turned out very fuzzy… but I prefer to call it ‘arty’ 😉

Wheel - SideWheel - front



“Her head just ain’t hot enough for the bow to glow!”

It's probably illegal in Spain to hold any kind of festivity that doesn't involve pork legs

It’s probably illegal in Spain to hold any kind of festivity that doesn’t involve pork legs


These are pickled aubergines (eggplant), and I love them! The grumpy stall holder was not at all happy with me taking this photo, so I'm doubly pleased it turned out so well :)

These are pickled aubergines (eggplant), and I love them! The grumpy stall holder was not at all happy with me taking this photo, so I’m doubly pleased it turned out so well 🙂

Photo Challenge: Look Up, Look Down – Windmills

This week’s entry for Travel With Intent’s photo challenge is Don Quixote’s invincible ‘giants’ – the windmills of Consuegra in central Spain’s La Mancha regions, not far from where I live. I took the picture LOOKING DOWN from one of the turrets of the adjacent castle.

Consuegra Windmills

If you would like to see a few more pictures of these beauties, click here.