Back in Europe

Back in Europe! After a 26 hour journey I arrived in Frankfurt/Main on Monday afternoon. To be greeted by rain and lousy temperatures. And, at my apartment in the Taunus hills, outside Frankfurt, by a cable break, meaning I had no telephone and no internet. Just what I needed – as I have about 4 million tasks to accomplish before I go back to Bansko on Friday. Well, the German Telecom fixed it on Tuesday afternoon – and now I am trying to catch up.

I bought myself some Munich “weisswurst” after my arrival, the speciality that cures every Bavarian’s homesickness immediately, when eaten with sweet mustard and Bavarian pretzel and a “white beer”. Guess what: I did not like it much.The next morning  I bought at the local butcher another thing that I usually adore for a late breakfast: a juicy slice of warm “Munich leberkaese” in a bread roll – and, guess what: I did not like it much.

I am doomed! I will starve to death here. Or is it maybe just the change in climate? Recently I had to have the air conditioning on all the time because it was too hot and now, like with the flick of a switch, I have to have the heating on all the time because it is so cold.

So, on Tuesday I went shopping to find as many ingredients as possible to, guess what: a Vietnamese “pho” noodle soup. Seems, I am hooked and addicted! Could not find the right beef so it’s a chicken “pho” – and not from any cookbook.

Everything is ready, pre-boiled, chopped, marinated.
The stock in the pot: boiled with 1.10 kg chicken thighs and roasted onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and cloves (and salt and pepper, of course). At the left back: champignons de Paris (can’t remember their English name at the moment), boiled in the broth, then (down) chopped green salad hearts, bean sprouts, spring onions. To the right: rice spaghetti (the reason to take the thin ones was that a package had opened inadvertently – my standard choice for “pho” is the 3mm rice noodles. These ones are sold as 1mm noodles – but every eye can see clearly that they are at least 1.5 mm) -  and a lot of chicken meat – some already in a big bowl (not on the picture), set aside and loaded with all soup ingredients, missing only the hot broth to be poured on. The smallest bowl (front centre) is the crucial one for me :) – thinly sliced HOT chillies (with their breath-taking seeds), ample smelly fish sauce added, then chopped (Bulgarian) garlic, rice vinegar and some shaved palm sugar (stirring vigorously every time after adding an ingredient)…
…that was not what I expected to do upon my return to Europe, really!
I just realised that winter starts officially only on 21.12. – and I am already fed up with it now!What always used to be a major complaining point in Southeast Asia for me, that it turns dark all year around 6pm, has turned around into something very pleasant.  Here in Germany it has been dark grey like on the verge of getting dark basically all day. And at a quarter to five pm it really got dark completely.

And on my way from the airport my beloved green valley just before my village in the Taunus hills near Frankfurt has turned grey and dark also. No more leaves on the trees. I am surrounded by pure misery! And unpleasant temperatures. Too cold to feel comfy in a leather jacket and too warm to wear a down jacket. In addition it rains most of the time.

Sh.t, why did I have to come back now? To make sure that Pirin Lodge is in perfect condition, that we have enough logs for the fireplaces, that our services are up to level and…and that we are ready to greet our apartment owners and their families and friends like our own family…

And I wish a lot of them will come – but there will be only few. At least I hope they appreciate what I am doing and how much I care. Because I certainly don’t make any money out of it. So, appreciation is the only satisfaction I am getting out of being the “janitor” at Pirin Lodge.

OK, we will see how things go in Bansko. At the moment, however, I would much rather fly back to Vietnam than to Bansko…

Thank you all for following some of my experiences in Asia. There will be a summary, eventually. And it will be ground-breaking for a new understanding of Vietnam, of course.:))) So, don’t turn your back to this blog-site (yet) :) Short term, things will revert to Bansko, Bulgaria, the hottest spot in Europe…

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