Nerdy Bookahs and their travel guide: Freiburg & Strasbourg

It is once again time for a real-life related blog post. Back to this blog’s roots, basically, but in real life instead of wandering through virtual worlds. This time we did go to a part in Southern Germany, to the wonderful town called Freiburg, and on our way back home, we made a detour to stop in Strasbourg, a town in France.

We did not encounter anything gaming-related like we did in Koblenz. However, both towns are still so pretty and picturesque that we wanted to share the scenery with you anyway.

Freiburg is a town located in Southern Germany (not in Bavaria, though, but in Baden Württemberg). I will spare you its history, as you can read all about it in the Wikipedia entry anyway. It is an old town, but that should not come to you as a surprise. This is Germany, not the USA, after all. ;) We also spent our time there (3 days) in the old town with only taking short glimpses at the rest of the town. We visited three museums, but did not take any pictures in there. We also went shopping for new small pillows as our hotel’s pillows were horrible (huge ones) and we had both woken up with stiff necks after our first night. And we stumbled into an Irish pub right before the Champion’s League game of Bayern München against… some other team… started. We had only been there for Guinness and burgers, so we ate and drank and then left again. The only time I’m a fan of watching football games is when it’s the World Cup. Maybe a couple of games for the European Cup, but not even that most of the time.

I guess we could have looked at everything in half the available time, but it was good that we had that much time since my hip is still “injured” (not really injured per se, but for the lack of a better description, let’s call it like this) and walking has to happen slowly. I had originally hoped to use the gondola lift to get up to “Schauinsland“, a mountain (with a very weird name, I might add). But with my hip, we didn’t even consider this – which doesn’t matter, as I just saw that the lift is down for maintenance at the moment anyway. Instead, we used the best day with lots of sun to slowly walk up the path until we were at a platform from which we could see the town quite well already. So we had decided to stop there and then walk back down again. I guess this means that we will have to go back to that region some day to use the lift and go up there!

What’s special about Freiburg is their little “Bächle” everywhere. We did wonder how many small dogs probably fall into them every year… :p Oddly enough, we saw an exceptionally large amount of large dogs in Freiburg, but hardly any small ones. Coincidence? I don’t think so…

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On our way back home, we made a detour to France to visit Strasbourg. I have always found countries’ borders fascinating. I remember asking my parents lots and lots of questions about borders when I was young. I knew what border controls were as we had passed through them regularly when going to Italy for a summer vacation, for example. But what confused me was: So there is this one border control here on this road… but… couldn’t we walk off-road and just walk into another country that way? Either way, there is no border control between Germany and France. You just drive on the road over a bridge connecting the German town Kehl with Strasbourg, without stopping and you’re there. The transition from Germany to France was noticeable by one thing mainly: At first, the street signs were in German, then they were in French. Yes, as easy as that. We spent the morning and early afternoon in Petite France. What shocked me was the complete lack of knowledge of the French language on my part. I had taken it for four years at school, but have not used the language at all for about 17 years or so. We understood enough to get around, though, and lots of people there even speak German. In fact, because of the city’s history, a lot of things sound very German over there like street names and so on. It was definitely interesting as I have never been to that part of France and I wouldn’t mind going there again. Especially because they have great tarte flambée.

Before I bore you even more, though, I will end this little report with pictures of Strasbourg, as mentioned, mainly from Petite France.

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Apple pancakes

GW2_Plush Tybalt Backpack_13Our regular readers may already know about my urge to change this blog’s content to one focusing on cooking recipes. This year is no different. The urge returned! But I thought this time, I would give a little nod to our past as a blog focusing on games. So, I figured I would give a small tribute to Tybalt (*sniff*) and dedicate this recipe to him.

Apple pancakes!

Light and dark apple pancakesWhen I was a kid, I actually never liked pancakes or crêpes. There were two exceptions to this rule. Number 1 was crêpes (with Nutella) when it was freezing cold outside, usually when I was at a Christmas market with my family or later with friends, but only one each year or so. And number 2 were my mum’s apple pancakes. I refused to eat them when she had not put apple in them. Yes, even if there was chocolate. There had to be apples. A few months ago, I remembered those apple pancakes and really wanted to make them, but did not have my mum’s recipe. In the past, when I had asked my mum for recipes, she often said: Oh, I don’t remember! – So, I went to the internet and searched a recipe database until I had found a recipe I really liked. I altered it a bit to fit to our tastes and now I can share it with you.

The ingredients should be enough for two people. I think it was something like 6 pancakes in total. You will need:

  • 3 eggs (fresh ones!)
  • 190 g flour
  • 190 ml milk (I use low-fat)
  • 190 ml mineral water (with gas)
  • 2 apples (unless they’re big ones, then one – or still two if you really like apples)
  • oil for the pan (I usually use about 10 ml here that I put on a paper towel which I use to “wipe” through the cold pan)
  • 2 g sugar (really, just a bit)
  • a bit of salt
  • baking powder (as much as you need for 190 g flour)

About the apples: We use red ones, usually Braeburn or Pink Lady, though Braeburn is better if you ask me.

Peel the apples and cut them into slices or smaller pieces. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Add a bit of salt, the sugar, flour, baking powder, milk and water to the egg yolks and mix it well. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add the stiff egg whites to the dough. Be careful, though, as the “fluffiness” should not be mixed away. Then put in the apple slices.

Heat up a pan. Add the oil. Wait until the pan is reasonably hot (not too hot, but not cold either – this depends on your oven). Add some of your dough now (about 1/6, but this also depends on the size of your pan… you could also make mini pancakes, after all). Wait until the pancake is “stiff” on one side and doesn’t stick to the pan’s surface anymore. Then carefully turn it around and wait again until it’s “stiff”. These steps can’t really be “measured” in time as every pan and stove is different. Also, some people like their pancakes a little darker than others. So it comes to personal preferences. I usually wait until I can safely turn it around with no issue because the pancake is loose in the pan.

As an additional warning: “Fresh” eggs are preferred because depending on how much heat and time you give the pancakes, the inside can still be a bit more liquid. So it’s safer to have eggs that are as fresh and possible.

I hope you enjoy these April pancakes! Bon appetit!

Easter gaming holidays!

I am looking at five days without work. Surprisingly, other than an afternoon spent with my family, there are no plans at all – that I am aware of right now, at least. Which means that I will try not to act like an adult with lots of responsibilities and things that “should be done” and will try to get lots of gaming done!

The biggest question is: What do I want to play then? There are – as always – too many choices.

Throughout a usual work week, I always get the feeling that I want to play something in the evening once work is done, dinner is cooked and eaten – and then I realize just how tired I am and I end up choosing something that doesn’t require a lot of concentration. So when I now do get some time to play while my brain is working at “full speed”, I think I will rather play a game that I usually neglect. Or parts of a game that I usually don’t play.

This leaves out Cities: Skylines, Prison Architect and Mad Games Tycoon. It also means that while I’ve recently started to love working on my housing projects both in Rift and Wildstar again, I will not do too much of this either. It would seem like wasted time. It’s such a fascinating game and even though I am not sure how I feel about the “forced” open world “everybody can kill everybody” feature, I also know that there is so much to do in the game that I probably won’t even notice. ;) Let’s see if I’ll get a good enough look at Black Desert Online to post my impressions about the game here in the coming weeks.

Black Desert Online Velia

What I will definitely be playing is more Guild Wars 2 again, though. Even though I previously said that I would put aside my warrior and play my engineer instead, she recently snuck back into the picture. I just feel that the engineer would require too much of my time right now to even get anywhere near as far as my warrior. On top of that, I tried out the berserker with my warrior and I really love that specialization. To be honest, I never really played it until last week. I had just looked at the skills and figured it’s too boring. She also still needs a few more hero points to fully unlock the elite specialization and she is also very close to world completion. So maybe I will be working on that a bit more in the coming days.

It’s just nice and feels like a complete luxury to think about which games I want to play instead of worrying how much work I have left to do – yes, I have, and I don’t know how much overtime I will have to be doing once semester starts again, but for now, I will relax and enjoy Easter.

GW2 Warrior Berserker

5 years of Nerdy Bookahs!

5 years ago, I certainly was not expecting this little “blog project” to be running for such a long time. I did not even know whether it would last for longer than a month before I would lose interest. But here we are and the blog is as alive as it was back then. Let’s have a closer look at those 5 years…

The archives show that we did publish something in every single month since March 2011. Of course, there were also some “slow months”.

Guild Wars_Dancing Derwish

January 2013, December 2013 and July 2014 were the laziest ones with only two blog posts each. January and December are usually pretty “busy” months for me. There is often lots of work left to do before I can go on Christmas break and then, of course, there is Christmas and New Year’s which is always spent with family here and travelling to visit part of said family. So while I do theoretically have lots of free time at the end of December and beginning of January, that time is often spent away from the PC. July 2014 is easy to explain. It was both an awesome month and a really annoying month. We had moved into our new flat and at the same time, I had to fight off several nasty colds and a really bad rash covering my whole face which led to countless sleepless nights. Due to all of this, I had also decided to go on “summer break” with this blog. The first and only time I did that while running this blog. Hey, in hindsight, I should have probably used those nights to write some blog posts. Something fun and productive to do in the middle of the night. :p

The busiest months were November 2013 with 31 posts and August 2015 with 33 posts. Both those months were part of some blogging month-campaigns (NaBloPoMo and Blaugust).

Altogether, within those 5 years we published a little bit more than 500 blog posts. So, about 100 posts per year.

Our top 3 posts are:

  1. How to switch between the starter areas in Guild Wars 2
  2. Guild Wars 2: Regions by level
  3. Guild Wars 2: A FAQ for new players

And our top non-GW2 post is Trove: Biomes and their map colours.

We don’t publish that many guides, but apparently, if we do, they have staying power. :) The FAQ is the only one that is horribly outdated by now, though. I try to keep the others up-to-date because they are still very popular and I would hate to have people come here and be disappointed to only find outdated guides.

Now, as you can guess, Guild Wars 2 and Trove were part of my blogging life. Other than that, the main games I’ve been writing about are Rift and the newest addition, Wildstar. Lord of the Rings Online and Warhammer Online only got a few mentions with lots of eye-rolling on my part as I had already fallen out of love with both of these games.

My favourite “project” here in our blog has been and still is the Guild Wars 2 Screenshot Gallery. I don’t think I will ever be done with it, though, but at least, it always gives me something to do!

My favourite “one time” blog post was the Underwear Fashion Show. Unfortunately, Guild Wars 2 is very boring when it comes to underwear with no differences between classes as we had in Guild Wars.

GW2 male asura in underwear

And then there are my favourite “off topic” blog posts, the cooking recipes: Tiramisu Cheesecake (still a favourite among my friends and family), Flammkuchen and lentils soup. I wonder when the muse will hit me again to publish another cooking recipe… :p

The best part of this journey, however, has been getting to know so many other people and making new friends, some only online so far (one day, Nick, we will have breakfast together on your terrace!) and even more so those that we have been able to meet in person. Then again, this is not “just” the blog, this is the strength of the internet which enables you to make friends that you would have never even met otherwise.

Fireworks 2nd anniversary

And last but not least, a big thank you to all the readers – yes, all of you! The ones who come here regularly, the ones who just come here once in a while, the ones who only stop by one single time, those who leave comments and the silent ones! While I really enjoy writing and would keep this blog even if nobody read it, knowing that out there in this huge big world are people interested in what I write is awesome and some extra motivation for me to keep writing and sharing my thoughts! :)

So, here is to another 5 years… at least!

Freelancer Rask in Atlas Reactor

This is too good not to share here. :) The picture shows one of the freelancers of Atlas Reactor. Freelancers are the characters you can choose to play. That little furry guy reminds me a lot of charr. He is only lacking two couples of horns and ears respectively. :p

Atlas Reactor Charr Freelancer Rask

I am going to share my impressions here with you about Atlas Reactor tomorrow or Sunday the latest. I first feel that I actually do need to collect a few more impressions before I can really write about them. Especially since I’ve mostly been hiding in “bots only” games. Depending on how… how to phrase it… focused on e-sports and winning the community will be later on (post-release, of course), this is the game mode you will find me in, of course. The couple of PvP games I’ve played so far were nice. Most of us are still new to the game, after all. Still, this is always a concern of mine.

Anyway, if anybody still needs an alpha key, contact me. :)