A touristy day in Heidelberg

Last month, I mentioned that the duck and I took our new camera on a cinematic adventure after testing its photographic abilities at our raw cake munching session. Our chosen location: the romantic city of Heidelberg. Even though it’s a popular tourist destination and had been recommended to us as a fun place to explore by several people, the duck and I had never been. When our friend T suggested we accompany her on a day trip, we instantly accepted. She had planned to meet an old friend who’s also a semi-local and thus would double as our tour guide. While we all reminisced about the good old days and updated each other on what our shared friends and acquaintances were up to, the duck and I also made it a personal challenge to be perfect tourists and see as many famous Heidelberg sights as we could in our limited time in this picturesque city. Here’s how that (and our first outing with our new camera) went:

Working with slightly more stable video from our new camera was much more relaxing than trying to turn the shaky footage from our UK visit, taken by our non-stabilized mini camera, into something somewhat presentable. Now we only have to learn how to capture better video and audio. And familiarize ourselves some more with our editing software and learn how to use more of its tools. Maybe we should edit more videos… Later! At this moment, the duck and I need some well-deserved lazy time after spending way too many hours/days on a video that doesn’t look like we did… once again (and rushing to finish it as long as it was still winter for us because we don’t want to lie). And be glad we finally visited Heidelberg with our friend and have something to show for it.*

Continue reading

First Frost

When the duck and I woke up to sunshine and this meteorological winter’s first frost a few weeks ago, we knew we’d regret not attempting to preserve it photographically. The combination of bright sunlight after weeks of dark grey skies and a thin layer of glittering frost over everything was thrilling to behold. Fueled by our morning cup of coffee, the duck and I grabbed our trusty camera friend and our coats, hats, scarves, and gloves, eager to capture the icy beauty before it disappeared. It was freezing out – obviously. But the pretty sights and Pluto, our new canine acquaintance who excitedly ran toward my hunched figure (in accidental outdoor yoga terms: “crouching crow observing perching crow”) to have an animated chat with the duck, were a great distraction. Still, for a brief moment, the duck and I shared a wistful daydream about last summer’s heat waves– until we discovered our next photo subject. Here’s a selection of our (partly overexposed) spoils from that marvelous – but biting – morning:

Despite the lingering fear that my hands would be too numb to turn the front door key (which has happened before) that day, the duck and I love reminiscing about our fresh frost photo stroll… with a cup of warm tea nearby.
Do you (already) have a favorite memory from this season?


Our not so photographic spring

Earlier this spring, I wrote about how I was going on slow recovery walks to catch up on all the fresh air I had missed out on in self-isolation. After a week of solo walks, the duck was excited to tag along and even insisted I bring our camera friend for our “obligatory spring photo post” of 2022. So, I did. And, since it’s technically still spring, I decided to finally share the three photos I consider the least terrible:

Continue reading

Visually winter

The duck and I are glad that winter is almost over. Whenever the days become sunnier and longer and the temperatures a bit warmer, there’s nearly nothing that can keep the stupid smiles off our faces for too long. Until we are visited by the first sneezes and eight-legged bedroom visitors, that is. For now, our happiness about the advent of spring still beats any of the not-so-pleasant side effects, and the duck and I sure hope this won’t change anytime soon.
Aaaaanyway, we actually just wanted to share this photo – hopefully the last wintry one in a while – with you today:generic winter photoWe wish you a happy Sunday (or whatever weekday it is for you at this very moment) and an enjoyable week!

Snacks: Vegan American style ice cream

Last week I reminisced about the hottest AC-less summer that the duck and I can remember. This week I want to write about another way to cool down when it’s hot outside: ice cream! When I was still good with milk, ice cream was a summer staple. I loved devouring the occasional tub of that extra creamy American style, preferably cookies and cream-flavored,Vegan ice cream duck ice cream. Unfortunately, that was the literal food that started my milk troubles some years ago. Gelato and frozen yogurt still worked for the duck and me for a while after, but these days, our ice-cold refreshment of choice when we’re out is sorbet (just to be safe). A side effect of not eating a lot of ice cream was the disappearance of our regular ice cream cravings which made encountering deep, beautifully bitter matcha soft serve on almost every street corner back when we were living in Japan decidedly more bearable. The duck and I had gotten used to life without ice cream until, some weeks ago, we saw that one of our favorite grocery stores, Aldi, had started selling vegan ice cream that looks just like the kind I was in love with many years ago. Of course, the duck and I had to throw our no ice cream lifestyles overboard and make this the subject of a subjective taste test – summer edition:

Continue reading

Our first fan

The duck and I bought our first fan two summers ago when we felt that we really couldn’t go on without one. Let me clarify: I’m writing about an electric floor fan – we would never buy an admirer (we’re way too stingy for that), and I don’t remember when I bought my first hand fan. Until that summer, we had always been lucky to live in places with surprisingly well-stocked basements or storage rooms. So that there was always a fan somewhere if we needed one. But that time, we searched in vain.
Houses with built-in air conditioning are rare in Germany; even though it can get hot in summer, days with temperatures above 28°C/82°F are few and far between. However, there are such things as heat waves, like the one in 2019 that brought temperatures above 40°C/104°F – three days in a row. Imagine going through that without an AC unit or even a simple floor fan that can redirect any little breeze that may find its way into the room straight to you (though fans are a terrible AC replacement. But that’s not the point here)! Pair that with a weirdly insulated bedroom that’s comfortably warm in winter and unbearably so in summer, and you get the immersive experience of being a butter cookie in the oven – waiting for your edges to turn golden. This is why, that summer, the duck and I  threw all our reservations overboard and invested in an affordable floor fan. We usually avoid buying bulky items because it’s a hassle to deal with them when we have to move, but if the alternative is possibly waking up baked to a crisp one day, the decision is duckNow, two years later, the duck and I have to yet regret this investment; we’ve already used our first fan this year (I even tried to clean it for the first time last week in hopes of ridding it of that dusty smell it must have acquired standing around unused for so long), and the duck has found a new hobby in latching on to the vent grille and instructing me to increase the ventilation speed step by step (so weird).
Still, I wouldn’t mind living with proper air conditioning again (sorry, environment!). That’s why the duck and my next move will hopefully be to a place that is so warm that air conditioning is a fixture, or so cold that we can just burn all our summer clothes and bows for a toasty fire (if there is no toasty toilet seat around).
Actually, the more I think about it, moderate temperatures all year round might be the most comfortable and environmentally friendly option… we’ll see.

What’s summer like in your area? Do you have air conditioning?



Last year, when we were sad that we couldn’t travel as much as we used to (which wasn’t a lot, but still more than now), the duck and I shared a few photos we took in Ravensburg, the town of puzzles and board games. After saying goodbye to our friend Jl we walked around, snapped a few photos, and then made our way to the bus stop, where we waited for a bus that never came. Instead, about an hour later, a replacement bus showed up because the one the duck and I were meant to get on had broken down on the way. Finally, we were on our way to Munich, the city of the Oktoberfest. There, we would meet our magical friend B, who also happens to be the duck’s first friend beside me. B gave us a little tour around the city, indicated photo ops (we’d done quite a few joint photo/video collection sessions in the past, back when the duck was a new member of our now-trio), and showed me a campus of the university she was studying at. Of course, the duck and I had forgotten most of what she told us about the places we saw because, as always, food was on our minds, and we had a lot of catching up to do. But we still have the photos we took:

It’s always nice to have visual memory triggers, don’t you think? Oh, how we miss hanging out and eating more snacks than we ever thought would fit in our tummies! We can’t wait to catch up with B and lots of snacks again, hopefully in the not too distant future.
Do you also like to use photographs as memory cues? What’s the most enormous amount of snacks you ever ate in one sitting?


Obligatory annual spring photo post

It seems to have become a tradition for the duck and me to celebrate the beginning of spring by taking a few photos of nature waking up from hibernation and then sharing them on here- weeks later. Why break such a fun tradition? Therefore we present to you today: The beginning of spring – 2021 edition!

Same as last year, we tried to keep our distance from other people. This time we did it by looking extra weird during our attempts to position the camera at the perfect range and angle for a decent shot and thus getting into the funniest shapes. Photography yoga might be our new favorite kind of yoga!
What about you? Do you like to do accidental outside yoga? Were you as excited as we were about the beginning of spring (maybe so much so that you forgot that spring also means allergy season)?
I wonder what this year’s summer will be like.

Mystery phone box

The duck and I still go for little walks whenever we feel like we’ve gotten a bit too lazy (or when the weather is particularly nice). On one of them, we walked past our favorite phone box and remembered what it was like when we first came across one of those. In 2021 it’s more common to have a cell phone than a landline, and even if you get lost and your phone’s battery is dead, it is more likely that you will find a kind stranger who carries disinfectant phone wipes and will lend you their cell phone to look up your route or call someone to let them know that you’ll be awfully late than it is to find a payphone in the streets (being a spontaneous criminal in Germany who doesn’t have a burner phone must be exhausting these days). Can you imagine the duck and my surprise when we espied a phone box that hadn’t been there the last time we’d walked that route?
telephone duckThe weirdest thing was that this wasn’t even a German phone box, but one of those pretty red British telephone booths. I was sure I had never seen those in Germany before. When we came a bit closer, though, we realized what that red booth was actually being used for (no, ‘discount time and space travel’ is not the answer):
Continue reading

Snacks: Getting ready for Christmas

It’s almost Christmas! You can tell by how many Christmas movies are currently added to some of your favorite streaming services, by the occasional fairy lights greeting you from foreign windows and by the fact that now Advent Calendars have joined the Christmas treats that have been hanging around the grocery stores since early September. Have I mentioned that the duck and I love Christmas? We do like Halloween, but having it not really be a thing in Germany means that we can start being excited about Christmas season even earlier than November 1st without feeling bad about it (not that we would).
Now that we’re way into November already, the duck and I finally decided to get our hands on some of those grocery store Christmas treats we only wrote about last year. Duck-112Reviewing the whole baker’s dozen would have been too ambitious, at least for the 2020 duck and me, so we decided on Dominosteine, Stollen and Baumkuchenspitzen. Unlike most other super subjective taste tests that we’ve done in the past, neither of those treats are completely new to us. But since it’s been at least a year since we last had them and we are writing this in 2020, a year in which it wouldn’t be surprising if everything tasted slightly different, and since the duck and I are the ones making the rules on here anyway, we meekly present to you this year’s why-do-we-always-forget-that-we-are-super-particular-about-most-foods-and-on-top-of-that-terrible-at-describing-tastes – Christmas edition:
Continue reading