Going to do laundry at a laundromat

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Yesterday I went out with mom to get our laundry done. It had to be done at a laundromat because there is no washer or dryer here. While it was being done, there was a movie being shown, I think it was Shark Tales. It was getting too loud for me, so we had to go for a walk. There was a natural food cafe really close to the laundromat so that is where we went. Mom and I got a smoothie to share. It was a mango, ginger, turmeric, lemon, and honey smoothie. I think it was very interesting. Then our clothes were done. some still had to be dried again, so mom and I put them back into the dryer. One of my skirts  got grass stuck  to it and when it came through the dryer, the grass was still all stuck. When it came out, Mom and I had to pick the grass off from where it had stuck.

Then mom and I went to the grocery store because we needed some food.  Mom saw a bag that she wanted to put the groceries in. Then the store gave mom a bag for free because she had bought the right amount to get a free bag.  So instead of one new bag, we have two new bags. That is all for now.

Here is a link to a video that I have made for you all to see or hear.

Going Shopping with Mom and Getting a Cold Drink


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Yesterday Mom and I went out for a while, because if I don’t have something to do, I get bored and it bothers me if there is no routine. Mom and I went for a drive to get some groceries. When we were on our drive, Mom saw a little shop that had clod drinks. I got a chai tea freeze (a chai milk shake) and mom got a matcha freeze. Mom had asked the worker at Shark’s Hilo Coffee cafe  if they could tell her which of their coffee would make the best espresso. She also asked about a chocolate making course that was posted in the window. He told her that she had to put her name down so that they would know how to contact her for the next course. Mom and I had found the grocery store. Mom and I went for a stroll in the store.We get some food that we needed but mom could not get some non-dairy yogurt that she needs to eat. Mom and I got POG that is a kind of juice so that are not wondering anymore.

That night, I saw Mom and Dad playing darts but I was getting tired so mom had to come and put me to sleep. That is all for now.

Everything by the kilo

Ah, a new city, a new food shopping experience. Luckily this time we were given some pointers on where to go for shopping within walking distance of the villa. There are two options, a market which is open in the morning and a few shops that are open pretty much all day.

On Monday, Sarah and I checked out the shops. The villa had no food, except for one chocolate bar and a lemon liquor, not really an appropriate lunch after our flight from Berlin. I would like to say right now, how much I appreciate the places that we have stayed in that supplied some of the basics like olive oil, salt, pepper, tea, coffee and sugar or honey. It is almost disheartening to start having to buy all the basics when moving to a new city. We now travel with coffee, tea, and some spices such as oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I suspect that an empty kitchen is fine for people who are only going to one city and then back home; but for those of us making several moves it is disheartening.

The shops were small but plentiful. There were at least three fruit and vegetable stores that all had wonderful produce. Bakeries, delis, and even a butcher were all close by along with a plethora of places from which to buy pizza. Most of the people only spoke Italian but a few spoke limited English. As always, people were very kind and Sarah and I were able to buy enough food for lunch and supper. I had some fun trying to ask for Balsamic vinegar. I now know that it is aceto, not vinegar. But my description of “wine that has gone bad” seemed to do the trick, but only after trying to sell me lots of wine and beer first.

Buying sausages was fun as well. I wanted to buy six sausages. Holding up six fingers and pointing to the sausages looked like it was working, until the man stopped at four. I practically had to beg for first one and then two more. I realized after that he took my fingers as 100’s of grams and not pieces of meat. I walked away happy with six sausages for 5 euros. I think it was a good deal. They tasted really good broken into pieces and fried with broad beans and noodles.

Yesterday, Robin and I tried out the market. It was wonderful. As Robin described it, the market was a long strip of stalls, not unlike our farmers market, but much larger. There were plenty of fruit and vegetable stalls, all nice and fresh, as it is still growing season here. There were butchers; fish mongers with shrimp larger and more obviously alive than I have ever seen before; flower sellers; nut sellers; a man that made his own olive oil where people brought their own empty bottles (including pop bottles) to fill up – I think he also has some fermented items on sale as well; and many other vendors.

Robin and I picked out lots of great produce, fresh spinach and ricotta ravioli, basmati rice, wonderful cookies, and fresh mozzarella all of which were priced and requested by the kilo. I seem to have the knack of asking for one kilo, “un chilo” but failed miserably asking for a half a kilo. A half a kilo, I now know is “una meta chilo”, not a “demi kilo” as I requested. On the upside, I made the mistake of trying out my French instead of learning Italian when ordering the cookies. We now have a lot of cookies. Around 8 euros worth of cookies… It’s a good thing they are really tasty; or perhaps that is a bad thing! It will depend upon how quickly they disappear.

The final purchase of the day was pizza and rolls from one of the pizza places along the shops. I had no idea how the pizza was ordered. I saw lots of different types of pizzas on a sign with prices in the 12 – 16 euro range. What I saw in the case were a number of long pieces of pizza that the server cut into strips to serve people. I found two partial strips, one with veggies and one with meat and asked for both. The server cut each in two, weighed them on a scale and stuck them in a box. Apparently the pizza is also paid for by the kilo. The four pieces, enough four our supper, cost just over 6 euros. I think I am in pizza heaven. The veggie pizza was just sauce, cherry tomatoes, lots of oregano, and slices of fresh mozzarella but taste was absolutely amazing.

Going out in Rome

Yesterday I went out with mom. We went to a few shops. There is a lot of cats that we can’t let into the villa. And we are not allowed to feed the cats. Here in Rome, the people speak Italian. We are staying in a villa that is on a hill. Yesterday it looked like it was going to rain. It did, so mom and I where lucky we did not get wet. I had a great time out in Rome looking around.

A different place on Sunday

I just read that Sunday shopping has been adopted on PEI. One of the more interesting quirks of Berlin is the lack of commercial activity on Sunday. We quickly learned to buy enough food for two days on Saturday because finding food to buy on Sunday is a challenge. Finding much of anything on Sunday is a challenge because the city slows from its usual brisk trot to a leisurely meander with plenty of time to smell the wild roses.

My favorite memory of Berlin is a long walk I took (meandering, smelling, and so on) on a Sunday through a new part of the city. It was so quiet as to be almost disconcerting with the lack of cars and buses on the streets. As it was a hot day, the sounds were more of children playing in fountains and people in cafes. Berlin is truly a different place on Sunday.

Given that the temperature last Sunday was well below freezing there were no children playing in fountains. There was, however, still the sound of street musicians walking up and down the neighborhood streets playing and accepting donations. The streets, as in the summer, were otherwise quiet.

Going shopping near or apartment in Berlin

Today I went shopping with mom and Robin in Berlin. When we were in the store we heard German because that is what most of the people speak. There is a store that is only two blocks from our apartment. I can’t wait to see what else there is near here. We are near our first apartment in Berlin.

Going to a large toy store

Today I went to a toy store. The store looks like a shopping mall. The store had a floor which was for girls and one was for boys and one had baby things. The store looked like a shopping mall. One of the store workers was doing tricks with yo-yos. I thought he was was going to hit me but he didn’t. The store had a spot were you could eat. The food wasn’t great food. When we were done of our food, we went to get Robin’s and my nails done in the store. We went to get a Christmas present for our cousin Melissa’s new baby and also one for Will and Averey. It was a lot of fun to go to the toy story.

Waahaaaa … chooooo

That was fast. Three out of the four of us have come down with a rather nasty cold. Everybody is barking like herd of lovelorn elephant seals in the December. We did manage to get into Ballina to do some shopping. I got new underwear. Something a person may not consider on a trip is the wear and tear on the few pairs of underwear that one takes. Today, to me, getting new underwear is a big deal.

We also lost an iPhone recently. The biggest effect that this has had on us is that one of the girls was having a more difficult time listening to music when everybody went to sleep. We also bought a new older model iPod at a small store in Ballina and both girls are resting happily with their own music.

Because of the aches and sneezes we did very little other than read and eat. Not the worst thing that can happen. It is an incredible luxury to have the option. As a “present” to the girls for coming out to Ballina we found a four-euro movie by Walt Disney that featured The Rock and was every bit as bad as it sounds. Both girls enjoyed watching it and this gave Jan and I some time to go to bed and nap. Apparently we are not above plugging our kids into a television to allow us to get some sleep. I am not proud of this; I am just better rested.

On the other hand, we are reading Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett at the moment and Janet and Robin are taking turns reading aloud for each other and anybody else who wants to listen. Anne Frank’s diary is also on the reading list. It is quite long but the girls are about halfway through it. Unless there is a major change in the “not feeling well” crowd I am anticipating a very similar day for tomorrow.

Settlers of the beach town

My body is righteously angry at me and I do not blame it. The good news is that our house in Enniscrone is coming together nicely. We went on a big shopping trip to Ballina (gaelic Béal an Átha — pronounced, to my amateur ear, roughly as Baa – Lane – Ah) today and bought a load of groceries that included many of the staples of a useable kitchen. We also returned the O2 mobile Internet USB stick and picked up the Vodaphone version. The Vodaphone version is substantially better and we wil be keeping this one. We will go back in the next couple of days and trade in the current “loaner” for a proper one with a more substantial data plan.

When we returned, Janet made an amazing lunch and supper. The highlights were asparagus tips for lunch and an amazing chicken soup (from the remains of a chicken from yesterday) for supper.

The girls went swimming this evening at the pool. I have heard many stories of the wonders of the water slide. Both Robin and Sarah are asleep now. There was almost no time between walking in the door after swimming and walking into the bedroom. Jan bought memberships for everybody for three months. I think we will be staying around here for a while. If not, the cost was very low. One of the beauties of a tourist town is the drop in proces when the tourists leave.

I took the time the girls were swimming to rest at home. I am hoping to get rid of a cold sore that I acquired yesterday (stress related, perhaps) in short order so I am sleeping and doing as little as possible. Hey, I will take any excuse to be a lazy sod.

I have challenged the girls to write tomorrow (after their morning swim). I am going to tuck in with a glass of Chimay Première (actually, two glasses; this is the second) and read a bit of a mystery novel we found in the 3 for €10 pile in a bookstore this morning. I have a post about the amazing beer we found in Amsterdam stirring in my head. I hope to get it out in the next couple of days. Tomorrow I am going to get back at my schooling again and take one more step toward a comfortable routine. Until then, it is drink, read, and be sleepy.

Going to get new clothes in Amsterdam

Yesterday my mother and I went to get new clothes. We went to a mall that looked like a palace. I tried on some clothes and got a shirt, a skirt, leggings, and a t-shirt. They are bright colours. My favorite is the bright yellow skirt. I didn’t get upset with decisions and I had a lot of fun.

Flowers for HennieDaddy and Robin went to a park to play while we were out shopping. My clothes remind Mom of the flowers we bought when Hennie came over for supper. That night I had a good time and the food was great. Robin and I made red lentil soup and Mom made lots of other food.