Goodbye, Sweet Welde FassBrause

RIP Welde FassBrause

Living in Germany, we have become accustomed to paying more for water than we do for beer. This is terrible for me for the following reasons: first and foremost, I am usually the designated driver. (You would think that my bastard friends would buy my cola for the rest of the night! Sheesh). Secondly, I need to have a thirst quencher at dinner that I can gulp in case I choke on my food, and beer is not the beverage of choice. “Oh, how does she know?” you may ask…I have learned this from personal experience – the result was no bueno! And finally, I am very particular about the beers I select to booze myself up with. I love Heineken (when in Amsterdam), Kilkenny (unfortunately, I only find them at Irish pubs) and I yearn for Duvel. My admiration for this beer could be because Duvel means “Devil” in Dutch.

While visiting the Welde Brewery in Schwetzingen, I was informed that my favorite designated driver malt based alcohol-free beverage (similar to beer) has been retired. Welde’s Fassbrause is not just a beverage to me. We have a relationship; we have shared happy and sad moments, it has been my companion through thick and thin, it has been the only thing that makes sense when no one intoxicated around me does. Fassbrause is so special to me, that if this were Middle Earth and Fassbrause were an ingredient for a magical elixir it would be called “Unicorn Pee”.

When it was mentioned that it had been retired, I picked up the six they had in front of me and  immediately requested to purchase every bottle that they had at hand in the brewery. My throat was filled with greed, not wanting anyone else to be able to purchase any, especially if they are the last ones. When I said this to the young man he said, “Buy? We will give them to you for free”. At this point, I think, “Awesome. I have hit the jackpot!” .  Within a  few minutes of waiting,  my imagination had gotten the best of me. I envision the young man telling me he has 20 cases to gift me. If this is so, I would need to drive my husband and our friends to the train station to take a two hour train home,  just to make room  for my sweet Fassbrause. The conundrum: this time Jaime and my friends probably would divorce me. Soon after the young man  returns and says, “I’m sorry those six bottles are the last ones”.

Fassbrause, I will miss you dearly my friend.




Lions and Tigers and Sushi, Oh My day at The Nuremberg Zoo.

Being a bonafided city kid (Yes, I just called myself a “kid”) I have/had a hard time relating to people who know so much about animals. It’s just not for me.  Not to mention, each time I encounter a Zoo (or Arizona Diamondbacks game…that is a story for another time), I expect something bad to happen. In my life,  I have only visited the Zoo a handful of times.  In the first grade, my class was selected to go on an educational field trip to a petting zoo. My first horrifying experience occurred during our lunch time. I was enjoying my applesauce when suddenly I was stung by what felt like 1,000 bees. In reality it was two mosquito bites, but who’s really counting? My grandmother, bless her heart, had to take my pants off in front of the rest of my classmates. (Thank goodness, she chaperoned this trip!) This event, of course, was definitely not one of my finer moments  and I can’t help but think “Gosh, if only I would have worn my Rainbow Bright undies instead of my Care Bear ones” (it just would have given me more edge and I had a rep to protect). On my second zoo visit, my family and I were so excited to visit that we lost track of time. I was home so late that my boyfriend at the time broke up with me because we missed a BBQ at his uncle’s place (…Yeah, he broke my heart…Asshole). Finally, in my early twenties and recently married, my then “new” husband Jaime, my family and I decided to take a stroll through the LA Zoo. We had a lovely day, but the memory of our trip has always been overshowed by the memory of  how sad my mom was, knowing that I would be moving a few states away from her in the very near future. I had not been to a Zoo since…

Knowing this, you can imagine my fear when my husband Jaime, comes home and states “Hey, We’re going to the Zoo on Saturday!” My heart immediately begins to race, I find myself perspiring in a cold sweat and begin to think “oh fuck, he is going to ask me for a divorce.” I mean, this would be the perfect place to ask for it…right? Logically, Children are around, Mom’s would be immediately pissed off  if I freaked out and the “Polizei” (German Po-Po) would be called if I decided to throw him in the Tigers pen. At this point, if Jaime were going to ask for a divorce why wouldn’t it be here? I’ve been stung, dumped and heart broken here before, why should this visit be different? When he asked me what I thought about going on Saturday I simply smiled and replied “Yeah, totally, I love the zoo”.

Saturday finally arrived, and there we were. Jaime thrilled to be exploring a new area of Bavaria, our friends Kevin and Harper discussing dinner plans in the city and there I was… mortified. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop…Finally, I tell Jaime “I’m not an animal person! There are a lot of kids and there are too many carts”. Jaime quickly responds “what are you talking about? You love the zoo…we went to the zoo with your family when we first got married”.  When he says this, I realize that Jaime should get an “A” for awesome. Once again the universe  has reminded me that I am a lunatic. (Can someone please remind me to send her a “Thank You” card).

 It was an amazing day to be at the Nuremberg Zoo. The sun was shining (which is much appreciated in these parts), the park was full of laugher and the smell of sweet popcorn was enchanting.The German zoo experience was very different, here you can drink Beer! (Geez, don’t threaten my husband with a good time).  I was very impressed with the calibur of this zoo. I mean, they had a few dolphins and mantees at this location, in turn that means they rock! I enjoyed learning new facts from my husband and our friends, especially when they do not sound real.  I learned that there is such a thing as a Red Panda. My friend Kevin mentioned it and I thought he was lying. It’s not a bear, but more like a red raccoon (and it’s one of the cutest creatures ever!!!). And I really enjoyed visitng the lion, polar bear, penguins, seals, rams, flamingos, gorillas and so many more animals there! (Nuremberg ZOO

After all the hill walking and animal observing, the four of us were starving. We headed down to the closest Sushi bar that our GPS could find. The resturant we were instructed to go to by “Arthur” (Our GPS)  was completely booked for reservations. Luckily, We came across a lovely sushi bar down the street from where we initially intended to eat. The customer service was fantastic. The waitress was incredibly friendly and brought over a pumpkin potatoe salad as an appetizer. I know what your thinking… “Potatoe and Pumpkin…what is she thinking?” I was pretty apprehensive too, but my friend Harper described it best “It’s different, but it’s good” and boy was the Man right! The Haru Sushi Bar also had Miso Soup. (YUM) Sake, Japanese beer and of course sushi! If you’re ever in the area, and feel the need for some great Japanese, the Haru Sushi Bar is the place to be. (The link to their business is in my FOODIE section of my BLOGROLL on the right!) 

Finally, by the end of our trip I learned something important about myself. I am extremely difficult to entertain. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and friends are phenomenal to be around, but I realized that although I saw many animals and had amazing dinner, the most exciting part of our visit was standing there watching the tiger. The tiger was roaring fiercely like there was no mañana.  And Johana instead of being “ooh and aah”  at a family friendly dolphin show, was hoping the tiger roared louder and would at least come close to leaping out of the pen. Which ultimately makes me wonder, do I bring the bad zoo Juju upon myself? 




The Beginning of Nowhere

John Lennon Wall (Prague) INTRODUCTION

Hola! My name is Johana. Recently, the idea of “blogging” has taken over my mind. My good friend/colleague Erica has constantly encouraged me to create a blog, she believes that I am a good writer and many times after her motivational   expressions, I have found myself on the brink of creating one.  Tonight at dinner, I met a young writer who has inspired me to begin this journey. AND I also believe meeting someone so passionate about writing is a sign from the universe saying…”Start this Jo, what else do I need to do to make it more clear”. (NOTE: In case I forget to mention this later…. Thank you to the young writer that has impressed me with her tales of  worldly travels, love of the Spanish language and words of inspiration! )

While I wait to be inspired, here is some information about me:

  1. I was born and raised in Los Angeles (Also Known As the City of Angels, LA, Tinseltown and Lalaland)  but I currently live in Germany.
  2. I am married to one of the most amazing cooks I have ever encountered.
  3. I enjoy learning new things but I am completely obsessed with words, music and lyrics.
  4. I admire and appreciate art.
  5. I love to travel.

Finally, my favorite thing about traveling is the distinct sensation that conquers my body and soul everytime I step into a new city, I fall in love again and again. I find myself lusting for new foods and flavors; awing architecture; applauding street artists; dancing to street musicians; struting down fashion streets and constantly wondering “How did the graffiti artist get all the way up there?”

Stay tuned for bits in fashion, food, travel and  escapades to come!!!