Bella & Balloon

Is a dangerous combination.
She loves playing with it but it doesn’t last forever…


Her first encounter with balloons was at my neighbour’s son’s first birthday party which we attended recently. She discovered these mysterious objects – light, bouncy and elusive things, which were placed all over the room. First, she was alarmed and barked at them but soon she was hooked! Now, she plays with one balloon at a time, and I am rationing four balloons a day.

As you can imagine, the inevitable happens eventually. Hubbie and I were a bit apprehensive about a balloon bursting in her face for the first time. ‘Will she be scared for life?’

Our concern was needless because she was utterly unfazed! Instead of cowering, she appeared perturbed about the sudden disappearing of ‘the thing’.

Oops, you’ve slayed a balloon again…


Please do let us know if there is any Yorkie-proof balloon because it will save my money and lung…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Road to Füssen

Getting to Füssen from Augsburg was easy.
From the outskirts of Augsburg, B17 would take us there all the way.

The unfolding scenery changed dramatically after passing exit 69 for Landsberg am Lech. The window screen was filled with the undulating green pasture of Bavarian countryside.

I encouraged mum to take pictures with her iPod touch. ‘Mum, look! Why don’t you take some pictures and show them to your friends?’

Then, ridges of the mountains started to appear in our vision as we got closer to Schongau. We also saw a couple of paragliders flying from one of the peaks. It must be an amazing sight they are enjoying, I wondered as my secret dream was turning myself into an eagle and fly like the one…

I wish mum took more images from her seat because there were loads of pretty sceneries came and went. Unfortunately, she was not an Instagram generation and seemed to be less obsessed about “capturing the moment”.

Mum, it’s out of focus!

From Schongau, typical Tyrolean houses with painted walls and widely projecting roofs started to emerge. Most of them were displaying window boxes laden with summer flowers, and some houses had the wall around each window painted in the style of trompe l’œil, pretending them to be decorative wooden shutters.

At Schwangau, we changed to B16 and headed towards Füssen.
From Füssen’s town centre, a visitor centre for Neuschwanstein Castle, the most famous Bavarian tourist attraction, was another 10 minutes away via Parkstraße…

We arrived at a public car park near the castle around 11:30. The place around the car park was already very busy with visitors from all over the world. Oh wow, we should have reserved our tickets online! I groaned. There was no guarantee that we could join one of their guided tours that day as the number of the place was limited. To make the matter more critical was that the next day was Saturday and the place was expected to be even more crowded.

Neuschwanstein in the distance…

‘Let’s see if we can secure the tickets for today!’ We agreed and join a long queue in front of the ticket office…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Pasta & pizza @ Augsburg

Where shall we have our dinner tonight? Mum and I pondered as we alighted from the tram. It was around half six and we were rather hungry. I remembered Albert the Hotelier gave us a flyer of his beer garden, ‘Do visit my place later!’ as we were checking in. Shall we go there?

The eatery was about five minutes’ walk from the hotel and it was on top of the hill. We found two mobile canteens in the corner, one was serving drinks and another one was for food. We were a bit taken aback by the sight of the place because we were expecting a building and a terrace. Instead, it was like a picnic area with wooden benches under the trees.

Eww, I don’t fancy it, I shook my head as we studied their menu. They were more like bar foods – burgers, chips, hot dogs, etc. Mum wasn’t keen on them either.

‘Shall we go back to the city centre and have dinner there?’ Since we had more than enough tram tickets to use up, it was silly not to.

There were many restaurants around Rathausplatz, and we decided to eat at Aposto, an Italian restaurant.

Mum was very happy to put her hands around a beer mug…

She opted for a pizza with ham, rocket, mozzarella with tomato sauce.

I fancied pasta…

Linguine with goat’s cheese, Italian ham, red onion and cherry tomato.

The meal was a welcome change from sausage and potato. Even though I did like German food, I missed something lighter time to time.

The square seemed to be a crowd magnet, we noticed it as we headed to a tram stop.

Apart from the people enjoying al fresco dining under the parasols provided by the restaurants and bars, the square was dotted with groups, sitting cross-legged and sipping beers…

Most of them looked like students. They seemed to be enjoying a mellow summer evening with their friends.

Let’s go back and have some rest because we are visiting a highlight of our road trip, Füssen…

Apparently, poor mum didn’t sleep very well that night. She recounted to me next morning that she tried to open a bathroom window after I fell asleep. Unfortunately, the window had a very fancy hi-tech hinge which allowed the window to open in multiple angles, and mum, who didn’t know how it worked, thought she broke the window! She was worried all night how she was going to explain about the incident to the hotel…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Tram ride @ Augsburg

Finally, we were there, at Moritzplatz, to embark on our very first tram journey but we still had a problem.

‘What we gonna do with this carnet business? It just looks like a tape with stripes!’  Unlike the carnet of Paris Metro system, this carnet of nine did not come in separate tickets. I wish if I took a picture of it before giving it to mum as a souvenir so you can see what I mean. It resembled a short piece of tape measure with dotted stripes. And those lines subdivided the tape into nine sections.

Mum and I looked into the train from the platform to find out how those boarding passengers paid their fare. Unfortunately, none of them were paying with the carnet.

Please, please anyone, help us!

I looked around and found a woman in 20s. Oh, wunderbar! ‘Sprechen sie Englisch?’ She replied yes and solved the mystery for us. She showed us how to fold the carnet along the dotted line and to feed each folded part into the slot on the machine on the tram.

We thanked the woman and waited for a tram. How about that building in front of us, mum?’

It was very fetching…

The building looked like patchwork on a boho handbag!

Then, we were on a tram heading towards north…

Unlike my mum, who used a tram in Vienna a few years ago, I hadn’t been on one for many many years. My last ride was at Amsterdam and I was on my way to see the Night Watch by Rembrandt at Rijksmuseum.

Here is another video clip I captured during the tram journey…


I hope you enjoy the streetscape of Augsburg!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Maximilianstaße, Augsburg

So, Augsburg was founded by Emperor Augustus. It was where the name came from! I chirped to mum while I googled about the statue in Rathausplatz.

From our bench, we could see people sitting on the rims of the fountain and enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. We wondered how scorching hot the square could be when the sun was high during the summer.

It will be very very hot…

The cloud above the square was remnants of the rain we experienced earlier that day.

While we were driving from Rothenburg to the city, we were met with a torrential downpour on A7. The beating of the rain drops was so ferocious that my dusty VW looked like if it went through a car wash once the rain was over. I must say that it was rather a hairy drive because the spray of the water produced by the lorries’ wheels blinded us momentarily every time we passed by them. When the downpour came down its hardest, the only thing we could see through the window screen was tail lamps of the cars in front of us in the shape of very blurry red dots.

‘Shall we get some fruits at a supermarket?’ We walked down Maximilianstraße. The thoroughfare looked like a major high street of Augsburg and both sides of it were lined with large stores.

Let’s try here, we spotted a supermarket. Mum was very curious about German groceries, especially tinned vegetables. In Japan, the people used much less tinned foods for everyday cooking, therefore, she was fascinated by the wide variety of them lining the shelves in Germany. After inspecting every single aisle, mum’s curiosity was satisfied and we left the shop with a box of strawberries, a few flat peaches and a bag of dried apple slices.

Then, I spotted a pharmacy. ‘Can I check if they stock the sunscreen I am after?’

I had been looking for a particular sunscreen by La Roche-Posay, called UVIDEA XL Ultra-light Mist SPF50. I asked about it at every chemist in France but couldn’t find it. And I was wondering if I had any luck in Germany. The pharmacy was large and did stock La Roche-Posay. However, they didn’t have the specific one I was looking for and I had to leave empty-handed. Oh, c’estla vie!

We continued our stroll down Maximilianstraße and arrived at a junction with Moritzplatz…

A multiple tramway tracks merged and forked at the junction…

Drum roll, please! We will ride a tram in my next blog entry (at last)…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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