Friday, June 24

Daytrip [ Xanten ]

Xanten with its dominating St. Victor's Cathedral is one of the oldest towns in Germany and the only town that begins with the letter "X". It is best known for its adjacent Archaelogical Park and Colonia Ulpia Traiana, one of the most important settlements in the Germanic provinces of Rome in antiquity. While some have been partly reconstructed, a few original remains of Roman buildings can be seen here, such as the Amphitheater (used for live performances these days) and one of the Temples. Around 800.000 tourists visit this place every year.
Xanten ist eine der ältesten Städte Deutschlands und die einzigste Stadt, die mit "X" beginnt. Ca. 800.000 Touristen kommen jedes Jahr in die Domstadt. Besonders beliebt ist der angrenzende Archäologische Park: das Gelände der römischen Provinzstadt Colonia Ulpia Traiana bietet römische Geschichte als hautnahes Erlebnis. Es ist die einzige größere Römerstadt, die seit der Antike kaum überbaut wurde. Ihre Überreste liegen nur wenige Zentimeter unter den Wiesen des Parks!

map - Colonia Ulpia Traiana

Exploring the entire park extensively on foot takes around 3 - 4 hours at a leisurely pace. There are modern sculptures dotted around the park which I love! The proximity to the Netherlands is unmistakable. The windmill in the photo below is not part of the park, but it is one of the last working windmills. Here you can discover how the wheat turns into organic bread - which you can later purchase. Yum!
Das gesamte Gelände lässt sich in gemütlichen Schritten in circa 3 - 4 Stunden erkunden. Hier und da entdeckt man moderne Skulpturen. Die Kriemhildmühle (Bild weiter unten), die man vom Park aus sehen kann ist ein seperater Besuch allemal wert, denn sie ist eine der wenigen Mühlen, die noch täglich in Betrieb ist. Hier erfährt man wie das Korn zum Brot wird. Selbstverständlich kann man das frischgebackene Brot anschließend kaufen. Lecker!

The hedges delineate the living quarters. Archaeological findings show that the Roman houses stood close together on strip-like lots. They had two storeys and a common front facing the street. It was pretty cool walking through there :) Three of these houses have beeen reconstructed complete with their interiors.
Die Hecken stellen die damaligen Hausgrundrisse dar. Dem archäologischen Befund folgend, stehen die Häuser auf streifenförmigen Parzellen mit einer gemeinsamen Front zur Straße. Drei dieser Häuser wurden mitsamt Inneneinrichtung rekonstruiert. Sehr interessant!

ancient oven * alter Backofen

One of the highlights of this trip was the Roman Museum located at the far end of the park. Museums are a great place to take some time out from the daily grind. This modern steel and glass structure sits atop the massive foundation of the ancient Roman town baths. Inside it's airy and open-spaced with fun multi-level galleries. The remains of a Roman ship is suspended between two levels. Impressive! Among the numerous artefacts I most enjoyed looking at the gemstones and jewelry Roman ladies wore. Wire-wrapping was very much evident and statement rings look pretty much like they do these days! Also, the Romans copiously used essential oils, such as lavender, rose and cinnamon. They kept them in tiny, very pretty green and blue glass amphoras. The exhibits are interactive. There are things to touch, smell, try out and listen to. Exciting!
Der Höhepunkt dieser Tagesreise (für mich) war der Besuch im dazugehörigen Römer Museum. Leider durfte man drinnen keine Fotos machen. Das Gebäude, eine moderne Stahl- und Glas-Konstruktion sitzt auf den massiven, gut erhaltenen Grundmauern der römischen Basilika Thermarum. Innen ist es luftig und offen mit mehreren Ebenen. Die Ausstellung bildet einen faszinierenden Gang durch die römische Geschichte Xantens. Es gibt Exponate zum Anfassen, Ausprobieren, Beschnuppern und Zuhören. Toll! Ein Teil eines römischen Lastkahns hängt "freischwebend" zwischen zwei Ebenen. Interessant: auch die Römer wussten ätherische Öle, wie z.B. Lavendel, Rose und Zimt zu schätzen. Aufbewahrt wurden sie in hübschen kleinen Amphoren aus Glas.

After walking around on the archaelogical site we were hankering for a sit-down and a meal. We went back to the town center which boasts plenty of cafés and restaurants. We settled on a restaurant inside the historic building in the above photo. This is a typical German restaurant that serves solid meat-based meals, so I was pleasantly surprised that they also offer a few delicious sounding vegetarian and even vegan dishes! Well, this is a tourist town after all. I opted for the herbed gnocchi with fresh rucola, but the pasta with walnut pesto and tomato coulis also sounded good. This restaurant is popular with tour groups, so it's advisable to book ahead. We were lucky and snagged the last available table :)
Nach dem ausgiebigen Rundgang im Park gönnten wir uns eine wohlverdiente Verschnaufpause. Rund um den Marktplatz in Xanten gibt es zahlreiche Cafés und Restaurants. Wir entschieden uns für das Gotische Haus (siehe obiges Bild). Hier bekommt man vornehmlich gutbürgeliche Küche, aber  auch eine köstliche Auswahl an vegetarischen und sogar veganen Gerichten! Immerhin. Ich empfehle eine Tischreservierung, denn dieses Restaurant ist bei Touristengruppen besonders beliebt. Wir hatten Glück und konnten den allerletzten Tisch ergattern :)

Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, June 22

My Summer Bucket List

Yesterday was the official start of summer, and as you probably all know by now it's my absolute favorite season :) This year I'd really like to squeeze in as many things on my list as I possibly can in the next few weeks (over here "summer season" is comparatively short). Here are my top 10:

  1. explore the lakes in the area
  2. visit at least one horticultural show
  3. spend more time with friends and family
  4. finish my summer re-fashion project
  5. eat al fresco
  6. finally wear my white mini dress
  7. check out the wine festival
  8. try out delicious sounding recipes on pinterest
  9. plan one or two day trips to new places
  10. relax, relax, relax
How about you. Got plans this summer?

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Monday, June 20

Monday Moodboard

Hello and happy Monday! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Unfortunately ours was wet, so I stayed mostly indoors with a pile of books to keep me company :) Meanwhile, here's my summer-y moodboard. Keeping my fingers crossed that proper summer will make an appearance in my neck of the woods sometime soon!
Hallo, ihr Lieben! Und schon ist das (ziemlich verregnete) Wochenende wieder rum. Ich gebe die Hoffnung aber nicht auf, dass der Sommer sich doch noch zurückmeldet :) Mit meiner sommerlichen MontagsCollage stimme ich schon mal darauf ein!

1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4

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Friday, June 17

Friday Favorites

So we've had a very wet June over here so far, and looks like more rain is expected in the next couple of days. sigh. I'm desperate for some sunny days and balmy nights! Meanwhile I hope you enjoy my summer inspiration as much as I do :)
Der Juni zeigte sich bislang wenig sommerlich und auch in den kommenden Tagen soll es wieder Regenschauer geben. seufz. Mit diesen sommerlichen Impressionen wünsche ich Euch allen ein schönes, gemütliches Wochenende und vielleicht kommt die Sonne ja doch noch zum Vorschein :)

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

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Thursday, June 16

How to sell [successfully] to the 6 types of customers

As small business owners we strive for a win-win situation everytime we make a transaction, however, humans are complex beings with quirky personality traits, and as far as buying habits go they generally fall into six main categories or "customer types" or a combination of these.

Find out how you can better understand and handle your customers. Hopefully the following list will help identify your customer's "type" and perhaps you might even discover which type you are :)
p.s Selling solely online is even more of a challenge, as there is no body language to take cues from.  You'll need to hone your communication skills and read "between the lines".

1. The complainer

This customer will find fault with everything. Be it your price point, the quality of your product or the service. It's very hard to please this customer. Identifiying traits are impatience, irritation and a provocative stance.

► how to handle

Above all, keep calm and professional at all times! Don't bore the customer with long, drawn-out explanations. Instead impress him / her with your expertise and efficienct problem solving.

2. The suspicious one

This customer probably had an unsatisfactory buying experience prior to visiting your shop. He / She is highly critical of anything you say about your product. Most likely this customer is very knowledgable about your product range too.

► how to handle

Take him / her seriously and don't pressure him / her into buying! First, find the source of mistrust in a particular product. Then provide detailed information to all of his / her questions and better yet deliver solid and convincing facts on your product. This will put him / her at ease and erase any misundertstandings.

3. The questioner

This customer type will bombard you with questions! He / she will want to know every last detail.

► how to handle

Above all be patient and don't interrupt! This type really appreciates being listened to and having all of his / her questions answered in minutiae. Hang in there :)

4. The know-it-all

Usually, this type will approach you with a firm opinion about your product. Know-it-alls are confident and yes, knowledgable to a degree, but still expect precise information from you. Quite often these customers provoke a verbal sparring match as they simply love being right and correcting you!

► how to handle

This customer needs to be handled with utmost diplomacy. It would be unwise to lecture him / her. Always remain calm and acknowledge his / her competence as this type craves recognition. If he / she doesn't budge from his / her opinion, try asking questions that require him / her to elaborate. Express appreciation for his / her knowledge and then gently make a few suggestions.

5. The chatterbox

This type will talk a mile a minute and will probably deviate from the business at hand and let you in on some unsolicited details of his / her private life! It will be difficult to get a word in edgewise.

► how to handle

First of all, don't dismiss the private ramblings! Acknowledge them and reply with something appropriate. Patiently wait until there's a slight pause - even chatterboxes need to draw a breath at some point - and firmly steer the conversation back to the product. Usually this type will interrupt you straight away, but the trick is not to remark on it. Remain calm and patiently wait for your next opportunity to speak. While it's quite exhausting to try to make a sale, this customer will appreciate your listening skills, and if you cleverly make use of the small breaks in conversation to expound on your product you're this close to sealing the deal.

6. The undecided

This is probably the most common customer type. The undecided customer isn't entirely sure what he / she is looking for, constantly weighs the pro's and con's of the product and often repeats the same questions. Usually, this means that the customer is looking for someone (you) to provide a final convincing argument tipping the scale to pro.

►  how to handle

Now's your time to show your excellent customer service skills. Describe the product in simple terms. Guide the customer to come to a decision by saying (writing) why the product will be the best choice for him / her. Gently persuade him / her with affirmative statements and when the sale is finally made always extol the customer's decision!

Remember, there are no good or bad customers, simply your way of handling them. And if you don't get it right / make the sale, no worries. Over time and with practice you will easily identify the customer types and know how to respond accordingly. Happy Sales!

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