German Bierfest 2007

We arrived at the festival around 3pm with the sun burning down on us. Hoping for a nice big German stein of cold beer we were pretty disappointed by the tiny glasses. After we got to the front of the first queue (which spanned across the whole street), we really got angry because those tiny glasses were only filled half way, because of some “sampler” regulations.
nice weather and long queues tiny glass half filled
After standing in the queues for a while, downing the small sips they would give us, the atmosphere got more relaxed and the queues dissolved into scattered groups of random people chatting. We even won a free t-shirt by spinning a wheel, which was really good at protecting our heads against a bad sunburn. The Americans were really interested in getting in contact with the many Germans gathering at the Bierfest, so in the end it all was a really nice afternoon chatting with many people and teaching Americans the interesting sides of the German language (swearing 😉 ).
The funniest thing happened when we were just standing in a queue: Someone accidentally dropped his beer glass (which was the ticket for free beer) and everybody in a range of about 50 yards started screaming and booing (watch the video).
German Bierfest 2007 the American view of Germans

The small glasses and the lack of authentic German food aside, this Fest was definitely a good experience.
Cheers, Tim.


Really missing the local schwäbisches (swabian) Food, I decided to make some myself. The first project were “Maultaschen“, minced meat mixed with spinach and spices wrapped into a layer of pasta dough.
Though it was my very first try, the taste worked out very well, only the pasta layer was a little bit too thick, as we’re lacking a rolling pin.
Boiling the Maultaschen A single Maultasche ready to be eaten
The next food project will be “Schupfnudeln mit Speckkraut”!

Cheers, Tim.

Time to Move

As the lease of the old place was running out mid August, Ben and Zach moved to a new place. A nice duplex about 5 minutes from the old place, still pretty close to my office. As there are only two rooms, my new “room” is my bed placed behind a couch in the quite big living room.
my new room my new room
As I’m not very picky and happy as long as there’s a stable internet connection, this arrangement is quite all right for the left four weeks.

The new place is really nice, with a big spacious kitchen and a backporch with a big open space.
moving day moving day
kitchen living room living room
backyard backporch

Long due Update

Yeah, I know it’s been a long time since the last post … a tip for the impatient: I update the photo-gallery more regularly.
As quite a lot has happened in the meantime, I’ll just start in the past, working my way to the present, sipping on my icecold sweet tea.

Victor Wooten Concert
Ben and Zach had been telling me about Victor for quite a while, claiming he is one of the best bass-players ever! As always I was a bit skeptical.
Arriving at the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points, Ben first went to the Turkish place next door for some falaffel. Sitting in front of the snack bar, we started chatting with the owner, who told us that they just opened that weekend. A little into the talk he realised where I was from and started talking German! He and a few more of his staff had spent a few year in Germany before coming over to the US. Being a really nice guy, he offered me a free falaffel, which I couldn’t refuse, and it indeed was very good!

With some food in our bellies we went back to the Variety Playhouse to see the concert. And I must say Ben and Zach were SO right with their raving! Victor Wooten really is one of the best, if not the best, bass-player I have ever seen performing! Toghether with a really amazing band they just blew my mind away! Every single musician was so good and as they seemed to be playing just for the fun of it, the whole concert felt more like a jam in some friends livingroom.
You can find the photos i took right here in the gallery.

In the meantime I switched from sweet tea to Pilsner Urquell, but lets just go on …

Graduation Day in Columbia
Three weeks later Zach and I drove over to Columbia for a weekend, as it was Mitul’s graduation day.
This being the second trip to Columbia (we went there for St. Patrick’s Day as well) I must say I really like this city with its central bar district and pretty much all of Ben’s and Zach’s friends living really close to the downtown area. One funny thing that evening, highlighting the absurdity of some of the regulations over here, was that we got refused to enter a bar because Zach and Steven were wearing “Gang Style”! Yeah! Those two guys really look dangerous! 😉

Everybody being a bit tired from the night before (hanging out at Chubby’s) we just went to a nice spot at the river and relaxed there, playing with Jerry, Janna’s crazy dog. In the evening we went to a nice restaurant where they were brewing their own beer and got some nice southern food.

Plum Hollow Bluegrass Festival
Steven, who I just got to know on our recent visit to Columbia, told me about this Bluegrass and Moonshiners Festival in northern South Carolina and that he planned to go there. As I always liked small festivals and Bluegrass we planned to meet there and camp out for the weekend.
After a relaxed ride north to Spartanburg on the interstate 85, I arrived in the area around noon and soon realised that this is as cliche as it gets! When I had to ask for directions I could barely understand the heavy southern accent. The whole town was decorated with US flags and on the roads you could only see pickup trucks. After a few extra turns I made it to the Plum Hollow farm, where Steven was already setting up his special campsite. A nice hidden spot, with quick access to the whole festival.

As I expected sitting around a campfire at night, i had prepared some stick-bread, which is mostly unknown in what the Americans call the world and the rest of the world calls the Unites States (sorry i couldn’t resist 😀 ). So the first evening Steven and I were wandering around the campsite, joining different groups around their fires, spreading stick-bread and trying moonshine people brought along. Soon I was known as “The German with the stick-bread” all over the festival (around 200-300 people I would guess).
The stage was set up nicely right in front of the forest with a well needed tin roof providing some shade for the listeners. So bluegrass bands were playing pretty much all the time till around midnight, when people would move to their campfires and start playing their own music, jamming with others.
I managed to record two songs with my camera and converted them to mp3-format:

the first two pictures below show that scene at about 2am around a pavillion.

Overall I must say this was all I hoped it would be! I really enjoyed spending the weekend with these friendly and down-to-earth people sharing food (thanks for the fresh-hunted deer burgers) and a great time!Well … that’s about it … hail to those who made it all through this long post, I know how short the average attention span these days is.
Hope I manage to get my lazy bum up and write more often, so I don’t end up with these almost “half-year-reviews”.

To cite Tony Blair: “That is that, the end.”

Georgia on my Mind

Hi every one!

I’m sorry I haven’t updated this site in the last few weeks, but I was pretty busy settling in at my new town.

Let’s do this in a chronological way. After doing my thesis-presentation, I had three days left to get my bags packed. With a little overweight, I left from Stuttgart airport, boarding a direct flight to Atlanta, GA.
As I had slept pretty bad the night before, and just had a few short naps on the plane, I was pretty worn out by the time I arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson. The long immigration procedure and the double checks of my luggage didn’t really relax me either.
After I picked up my rental-car outside the airport, I made it to Kristi’s place rather easily, meeting her again after three years. She had invited me to stay at her place for the first few days, which was soooo helpful! (Thanks so much Kristi!)
flight Atlanta Skyline
During this first week I managed to find a nice shared flat, just about five minutes away from my new workplace, Engineous, Inc.
My new flatmates, Zack Zach and Ben, are two really friendly, laid back Americans, both from South Carolina. Ben works as a webdesigner while Zack Zach studies epidemiology. We share a nice kitchen connected to a well equipped livingroom (Cable, XBox, RC-Heli,Stereo) and two bathrooms. Amongst the amenities are a washer, a dryer, a mircowave, an ice-cube-making fridge and a really nice “Lean-Mean-Fat-Reducing-Grilling-Machine”. In the appartment block we also got a swimming-pool, a tennis-court and barbecues in the garden.
livingroom1 livingroom2
my room grilling machine
ben with beer and helicopter burrito

My workplace at Engineous is really nice as well, a small professional team and I got my own cliche cubicle! 😉
The last few days I was pretty immobile, as I had returned my rental car. To get to work, Ben gave me a ride in the mornings and in the evnings. As America is really organised around cars (drive-thru-everything), I was looking for a used car. Last weekend Zack Zach and I were driving around the area, looking at some offers I had found on craigslist. In the end we found a 2000 Toyota Corolla, which is said to be one of the most reliable cars over here. As I didn’t have an insurance yet, Paul (another friend), whose insurance would cover any car he’s driving in, brought the car to my place, where it sat the last days, as I was waiting for my insurance to kick in. After getting all the needed paperwork together, I took “Heart-of-Gold” (her name) for a ride and got my the registration plates just today!
cubicle appartments
Heart-of-Gold tennis-court

Actually I just came back from a round of tennis with Ben, though I lost 0:4 it went way better than I had expected after a break of ten years or more!

Well, so far for now, I’ll try to keep the updates coming more regularly.
Cheers, Tim.