Walk into space exploration

Walk into space exploration

Mountain View is not only a huge part of Silicon Valley, it also has the NASA Ames Research Center. To show off what they are doing to the public there is the free NASA Ames Visitor Center. It is at the main gate of the NASA Research Center and is open Tuesday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm and Saturday and Sunday noon – 4 pm. Currently they have construction going on and you can only park behind the center.

A replica of the International Space Station at the Ames Research Visitor Center in Mountain ViewIf you ever wanted to see a moonstone or wondered how the researchers work in space (think nerdy tiny house) this is the place for you! There was also a great photo opportunity to pose as a couple of astronauts.

The friendly guy at the counter offered to show any of the movies, e.g. several about Mars, or a tour of the International Space Station, for me since it was slow and no one else was around, but I had to decline because I was pressed for time. Maybe something to come back for?

Have you seen any of the movies at the NASA  Ames Visitor Center?

Eat local produce

Eat local produce

One of many things I am thankful for living in such a beautiful area are the farmers markets. Mountain View has an especially large market located near the Caltrain station, on Sunday mornings from 9 to 1. Lots of stands that grow what they sell.

Mandarin oranges at Mountain View farmers marketA few bakers and butchers and the olive guy. Someone that will sharpen your knives while you shop. You can also buy some lunch or coffee and sit down for a while. The kids usually like the entertainment, the balloon guy and the music.

I especially like the vibe. People coming together enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables, getting their flower bouquet for the week, sampling some new fruits or old varieties. The sellers proud of their offerings are very knowledgeable. Cucumbers at Mountain View  farmers market

Here is a list of all the farmers markets in the area:

http://www.cafarmersmkts.com/

http://www.mercurynews.com/2007/05/08/farmers-market-list/

What is your favorite farmers market?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Celebrate one less wall

Celebrate one less wall

The Berlin Wall was almost 28 years a divider between East German Berlin and West Berlin. An 87 mile separation between a city and it’s people.

The fall of the wall on November 9th, 1989, was one of the most amazing and greatest historical incidences of my lifetime. After the peaceful revolution, an inner movement for freedom, the border to the West was opened and  almost a year later the German Reunification was concluded.

 

Today, probably the best use of it, makes up the East Side Gallery, in Berlin, the longest open air gallery in the world.

 

Signpost at the Berlin Wall in Mountain View, CABut if you don’t have time and/or means to go to Germany, you can view part of the Berlin Wall in Mountain View in front of the public library. Generously donated by the Golzen Family.

 

Can you remember where you were when the wall came down?

Food shopping is like taking a vacation

Food shopping is like taking a vacation

I love food shopping, especially a store I’ve never been to. Here in Silicon Valley, there are Indian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and a ton of other fascinating grocery stores.

 

shopping cartsSometimes you step into a place and knowing the smells you can easily be transported to their homelands for a while.

 

Being German, if I ever felt like Rollmops, a German hang-over treatment (herring rolled up with pickle and onions), I’d know exactly where to go! (JL Produce, Mountain View). The German butcher Dittmer’s also has, besides meat, a lot of other German specialty items. The Milk Pail, while not an international market, has a great selection of cheeses.

 

mollystoneThe other day I discovered Mollie Stone’s Market. This is more your traditional/organic market with a great Jewish product selection. I came in and thought jeez, they have their own song? Yes, and turning the corner I saw the puppets that sang it. Entertainment for your little ones while you shop.

 

What is your favorite international grocery store in the Bay Area?

What foods are you missing from your home country?

 
*Like always, no affiliations with anyone, unless otherwise noted.

Support your independent coffee shop

Support your independent coffee shop

I have to admit it: I am a coffee snob. I remember when we drove across the country (east to west) in the late ‘90s it was hard to find a good coffee place. The free refill came as a light brown water that did not serve its purpose of waking one up.

But I also snub the coffee chains, mainly because they took away business from beloved independent cafes.

But in a place that runs on coffee, where a programming language got named after this invigorating drink, it makes utter sense for me to promote some independent coffee places here in Silicon Valley.

zombie runnerThe best coffee is served in a runners store called zombie runner, in Palo Alto

For this quirky location alone you should check it out! 

 

Red rock cafe is a great community place. They hold various events like coffee tastings , kids storytimes, and comedians. During the week it looks like 50 one-man offices. Find this place right on Castro St. in Mountain View.

 

Clocktower, also in Mountain View, roasts their own. This is usually one of my go-to gifts for coaches or teachers (they need coffee too!)  

 

What is your favorite independent coffee place?

 

(I am not affiliated with any of these places unless otherwise noted.)

Vive la france

Vive la france

France these days has plenty of reasons to celebrate.

They will on Sunday fight for the European soccer title against Portugal. Since they are the host country of this event their chances of winning are really high.

July 14th is Bastille day, the French independence day. If you want to read up on it on Wikipedia (Bastille Day) it reads like the final episode of Game of Thrones without the zombies and dragons.

If you are just looking for an excuse to eat French pastries you might want to go to Voyageur du Temps in Los Altos.

Now with plenty of time to plan ahead you can also bake your own croissants. Grab a bag from the Milk Pail and let them rise overnight. These are the real deal.

Or if you prefer a crepe with a bowl of cafe au lait I recommend Bistro Maxine in Palo Alto.

Vive!
Are you celebrating Bastille Day?

Have a picnic weekend

Have a picnic weekend

Oh it is the season! Close your eyes and smell the burn.

So yes, BBQ season is upon us with the major holiday of Independence Day taunting you to cook and eat the perfect hot dog.

 

In most parks around here, if you are a small group, it is first come first served for the tables and grills. With larger groups you have to plan way in advance and make reservations.

picnic table in Cuesta Park, Mountain View, CA

My favorite gathering spot here in Mountain View is Cuesta Park with  huge grass fields to play in and picnic tables to hang. If you like a view with your hot dogs, I’ll recommend the Half Moon Bay State Beach. You can set-up right next to  the ocean.

 

 

If you are looking for a cultural setting for your picnic, the City of Mountain View presents children’s theatre in the park every Friday at 6:30.

 

Cupertino offers, on selected dates, Shakespeare in the park

 

And of course, there are free movies in the park. For a comprehensive list check out a fellow blogger of bayarekidfun:

http://www.bayareakidfun.com/outdoor-movie-nights-in-the-bay-area/

 

Whatever the setting, enjoy the summer!

 

What is your favorite picnic spot?

Big white birds

Big white birds

The other day I saw a big white bird landing on a tree. “Is this a stork?” I asked amazed. Where I am from the big white birds are called storks. “No, an egret. “ someone from my group replied. “They are nesting right now where I work.”

Sign for more egret informationOh yeah, I knew exactly  where she works! Google closes off Shorebird Way from April to October for the egrets to nest.

I went there to see and boy what a spectacle! Some are building a nest, some trying to find a mate, some appeared annoyed finding me looking at them! Their gobble is too cute. I think it is a mixture of what would come out of a chicken paired with turkey.

 

And then I DID see a stork!

expectant mother parking sign

 

Have you ever heard the gobble of egrets?

Do you know of any other breeding spots for egrets?

It’s all digital history to you

It’s all digital history to you

You probably heard about the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.  A lot of memories, from punch cards to the old mac computer.

This  is definitely the place to take your in-laws – they’ll remember all the times they used to program with the punch cards and every time they made a mistake they had to do all over again. This is impressive, but if you have a 11 year old with you, not too much.

 

Spell you name with binary code at the Intel MuseumAlso, there is the Intel Museum, a free museum about what gave Silicon Valley it’s name. Here are the most enthusiastic people working I have ever met in a museum. I tagged along for a bit while the guide explained everything about semi conductors to a bunch of 5th graders. Believe me, everyone learned something cool.

 You have to call to make sure they are not booked for some event, and yes the recording starts with the well known jingle: (408-765-5050).

 

If you and your 11 year old are lucky, the Digital Game Museum will have an exhibit somewhere near you. Right  now they are only open Saturday’s from 10 to 4 in their Santa Clara location. Here, your parents might recall how they played pong and then moved up to more innovative and challenging games.

This weekend you can make your own forthcoming. Go to the Maker Faire May 20 – 22 in San Mateo to get some ideas. This is great fun for all ages.

Will you go to the Maker Faire? What is your favorite digital recollection?

Get in shape for free

Get in shape for free

Well, you only have to invest your time, of course. I found there are many adult fitness playgrounds  in public parks around where I live. Rengstorff Park in Mountain View has some gym type equipment, for example a chest press or an exercise bike. If you are feeling young and spirited you might even consider the skate park near the pool. Or the tennis and racquetball courts. In fact, the park is so large that a pick up soccer or basketball game would be possible, even on crowded days.

 The exercise options of Sylvan Park, also in Mountain View, and of the Hillview Community Center (Los Altos) are more old school.

Exercise area near the  Hillview Community Center (Los Altos)Exercise area in Sylvan Park, Mountain ViewWith places in both to do sit-ups and pull-ups, here your choice would be which location you prefer and which material. While in Los Altos the bars are blue and steel, in Sylvan Park they went with wood.

 

 
Do you have a favorite outdoor gym?