Thursday, November 14, 2013

So, What's Been Happening in Berlin!

So, what do you think of our beautiful meter!!  We love it and are thrilled to finally have usable electricity, with a little help from our neighbor!!  Now to get the gateman back to finish installing our gate!

Tomorrow morning we are once again meeting with an Architect with the hopes of moving forward!!  Still no word on gravel for our driveway, however, we are looking for help from the Architect on this issue as well.

We were invited to celebrate the First Communion of Valarie who is our sweet neighbor.  She could have been a bride she was so beautiful and so grown up.  The festivities were elaborate and we were grateful to be invited to share their special day!  Congratulations Valarie!

Granada, Nicaragua, Trip #2!

 On our second trip to Nicaragua we visited a business that makes cement tiles.  Everything is done by hand and has been for generations by the same family.  Here is a man mixing the fine sand with the cement, one of the first steps and not a good place to stand if you are wearing contacts!!  Live and learn!

This is the "assembly line" where buckets of different colored concrete are carefully poured into specific forms with individual designs to create the cement tiles.  To the right are stack of completed tiles.

There were about 4 or 5 men working on the "assembly line", all creating a portion of the design currently being created.  More finished tiles stacked on the left.  Once the cement has been poured into the form and pressed, it is set on end (just to the right of the "assembly line")  to start the drying process.

The building where this process goes on is very large and full of many completed tiles.  There are designs that are their own but also they do custom designs to order.

We enjoyed watching the process and spent quite a bit of time exploring the creation of cement tiles and the interesting building where the business resided.

A closer look at the press that is used after the man on the right puts the last layer of concrete.  Once the tile is pressed it is then stacked on end as mentioned above.

A finished tile ready to be stacked alongside the others waiting to dry.
The tiles are beautiful and very durable.  Because the color is in the cement rather than painted on later, it does not wear off.  We saw many different designs, however, we were unable to get a price even checking their website.

Carriage ride anyone?  There are many available to ride in Granada and, because October is a slow season, they were lined up along the street and eagerly trying to convince us to take a ride as we walked by.

While wandering around Granada we came across a wonderful museum full of very old artifacts.  The lady on the left was our guide.

Each one of these glass cases holds an ancient pot in graduated sizes!  Truly an amazing collection!

In addition to pots, there were a number of beautiful amours that we would have loved to have in our B & B.

The museum is owned by, we think, some people from Holland. The building has been beautifully restored with a courtyard full of wonderful flowers and plants.  Part of the building is used as a school.

A map of Latin America.

Incredibly old and beautiful pots.

Early one morning as we headed out to explore, we turned the corner and discovered this beautiful funeral coach waiting for his rider.

The coach was very ornate and enclosed in glass, the horse patient and still!

One more very old and wonderful church.

We are very taken by the doorways and the fronts of the houses and businesses in Granada.  We have many photos!!!

One more beautiful doorway!

A nice shady spot to sit in downtown Granada.  Very much appreciated as it is much warmer there than we are used to in Berlin.

Always hand crafted things to buy near the park.

The construction work that was going on during our last visit has been competed and looks wonderful.  Unfortunately, a look over the fencing is such a disappointment.  The beach is covered with debris and trash and the water is very uninviting.  We hope the lake and beach are the next project that is undertaken in Granada because such a nice job had been done on the rest of the city.

We enjoyed our second trip to Granada but saw many changes since the new government has been elected!  Most of these changes are higher prices, we are told, caused by increased taxes on businesses and individuals.  We were also levied a "tax" while on the bus when entering Nicaragua of $16.00 each!  Maybe our next get away will be a new destination!!

This ceiling is at the B & B where we stay and we also would like to have it in our house.  It is made from the King Grass that haunts us at the finca!!

R.I.P. Skeeter!

Since my last blog post we've been in a bit of a funk!  Personally, I've been having a pretty elaborate pitty party!  We made our 90 day visa stamping to Nicaragua in mid October (photos to follow) and had a wonderful trip only to return and find that our house had been robbed.  Although we and our landlords were missing a number of things our biggest loss was our dog Skeeter, hence our funk!!  It is our believe that Skeeter was poisoned, and terrified somehow by the people who broke into our home.  The neighbors who were feeding him said he did not eat the entire time we were gone and slept all the time. On our return he was very excited to have us home, however, as time passed we noticed some very strange changes!  He would leave for long periods of time and refuse to eat.  Although he was always excited to see us, there was a wariness when he was near the house.  After a few days he left and never returned and we are afraid he has passed away.  It has been very hard for me to walk as my walking shoes were stolen, but mostly because it is very lonely with Skitter by my side!  He was a wonderful dog and he is truly missed!

Thanks for taking care of us Skeeter.  We love you!

I really do not like taking a bath!

Always close by!

Watching over the finca!

Made me smile!

Let me help!

Hummmm, we need to fix this problem!

Slowly we are replacing the stolen items, except for Skeeter!  The two burner hot plate which replaced our 4 burner gas stove top has been a challenge.  The main problem is that when we try to use the hot plate and our "oven", it pops the breaker turning everything off including our refrigerator!  O.K., we decided to purchase a real gas stove which we picked up yesterday,  but it still needs hooking up and will require trip #3, or is it #4 to town, to complete the process.  It only took a week to have the stove delivered from San Jose to San Ramon!!  As we will need a stove at our new house it seemed prudent to get it now and make life a little easier.  We will also be getting a microwave, as that too was taken.