Germany 2012-2013 Photos!

Visiting Germany for Christmas was so fun and I was so excited to share the experience and my family with Gavin.  I can’t wait until our backpacking trip and all of the exciting places we get to visit. For now here is a selection of photos and memories from my trip!

Munich Part Two: What We Did!

After checking out of our cool hotel we ventured off to Marienplatz to do some shopping! Unfortunately we kept missing the Marienplatz Glockenspiel , a famous clock in the Munich City Hall that is very elaborate. My cousin and I did a little shopping and bought some jewelry, then we headed off to the world famous centre of Oktoberfest, The Hofbräuhaus. The Hofbräuhaus is a gigantic beer hall which seats hundreds of people and serves them classic Bavarian meals while musicians in liederhosen played traditional Bavarian music (Gavin’s favourite Pork Hocks and Sausage and Sour Kraut for me), as well as one litre glasses of beer.  I ordered a wheat beer with lemonade and Gavin ordered the darkest beer they had. After about two hours Gavin had three litres of beer.

The First Litre

The First Litre

The Second Lite

The Second Litre

The Third Litre

The Third Litre

My cousin had just turned 18 so we wanted to take her clubbing for the first time so we took her clubbing in the world famous Kult Fabrik District which is a huge complex of  30 to 40 nightclubs.  In Germany night clubs open at about 11pm and the night life doesn’t start until 2am. We got to the club at about 1am and after a night of loud music and bright lights we went  back to our hotel at 4:30am.

The next day we went to the English Garden, one of the largest parks in Germany. While we were there  we visited the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower), a 25 meter high wooden tower. Later we went to see the Olympic Stadium and tower from the 1972 Olympics. Afterwards we went to the BMW museum (which is across the street from the Olympic Stadium). The BMW museum was an incredibly huge building.  We sat on sample motor cycles and Mini Coopers, and even got to see Rolls Royce phantoms.

Our trip to Munich was fun and exciting. It was nice to see a different side to one of my favourite cities. I missed out on Ice cream fondue… but I am going back in a month so we shall see….

Munich Part One: Our Hotel

On our last weekend in Germany we decided to do an overnight trip in Munich. The trip was so fun and exciting I decided to write about it in two posts. This post is dedicated to our Hotel: Cocoon Hotel.  Our Hotel was actually pretty cool; cool enough to garner it’s own blog post!

Hotel Cocoon is a post-modern glorified hostel! The rooms were tiny and the decor was kitschy. Despite this, all of the things that made the hotel special really did make the hotel the most memorable hotel I have ever visited.

This was the lobby:

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And this is a gallery of us enjoying the lobby:

 

When we entered our hotel room, which was the size of a dorm room, we were excited to see this cool nook:

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And shocked to see this shower….inside the bedroom….next to the bed…sharing a sliding door with the toilette:

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All in all, our hotel was pretty cool and we were excited to stay there while we were in Munich; stay tuned for what we did in Munich!!

New Years Eve

New Years toast!

New Years toast! (Melissa, Honey, Cata, Gavin)

Originally we had planned to go somewhere fun for New Years Eve, but due to insane hotel prices we decided we would stay in. The last New Years Eve I spent in Germany I had meat fondue  and I figured it would be fun to do again. My cousin called some of her friends and suddenly we had ourselves a New Years Eve party on our hands.

We made three dipping sauces for the meat fondue, one with cucumber and dill, a curry sauce, and a Dijon honey mustard sauce (fun fact: European Dijon is MUCH spicier than Canadian Dijon). Melissa baked some Black Forest cupcakes and she made some tomato and mozzarella cheese as an appetizer. Melissa’s two friends, Catarina (Catta) and Johanna (Honey) arrived and brought the fondue pots, home made chocolate, and two kinds of salad!

The night took a classy note, with our bartender, Gavin, making Strawberry Daiquiris, Melissa’s favourite drink, Caipirinha (which is like a Mojito) and Sex on the Beach.

After some fondue we went outside to light fireworks and sparklers for midnight. In Germany for New Years Eve anyone can buy fireworks when they are 18 and there is no limit and they are cheap. At midnight we heard a nonstop thundering of fireworks from the neighbouring villages for more than an hour.  Gavin bought some tall shooting fireworks, I chose “Lord of the Lights” and Melissa picked a battery pack. Melissa had the best fireworks, the battery was easy to light and pretty to watch, unlike me and Gavin’s fireworks.

Following our firework display we went back inside to have some of Melissa’s Champagne left over from her birthday and open the New Years Eve crackers that were pretty disappointing  The crackers had bizarre orange plastic pieces inside and no hats…The Champagne was a bit tarte but I did not mind it. We then played a German version of “Sorry!” called “Ludo” but it was a drinking game with little shot glasses instead of game pieces.

New Years Eve was a bit quieter than originally anticipated but at the end of the night I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else having a better time.

Schneeballen

For Christmas my aunt and uncle bought Gavin and I a strange device. At first we did not know what it was until they told us it was a Schneeballen mold called a Schneeballeneisen, (you may recall me gushing about getting schneeballen in Rothenburg in previous posts). My Aunt scheduled a day where her friends would come over and show us how to make the amazing pastry.

Schneeballen is the signature pastry of Rothenburg and is often served at Franconian weddings. Traditionally it is covered with powdered  sugar but you can get it with different toppings.

The main ingredients are flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cream and any kind of  clear schnaps! The dough is then rolled out and cut with a dough cutter into even strips. The strips are then arranged alternately over and under the handle of a wooden spoon. The dough is then dropped into the Schneeballeneisen. Afterwards you drop the Schneeballeneisen into the oil and rotate it to get the circular shape until the ball is deep-fried to a golden brown. After the schneeballen is cooled, dust it with powdered sugar and voila!

Here is a link to the recipe we used.

Here is some photos of our Schneeballen adventures:

Bamberger Bier!

A couple of days ago we did a day trip to the city of Bamberg with my cousins Melissa and Flo. Bamberg is known for being the beer capital of Germany. We intended to go on a couple beer tours and just have a day of fun but unfortunately in Bamberg you could only do the beer tour if you did all of the breweries and a tour of the city which would have been very long and tiresome so we decided we would do our own beer tour.

Bam Berg DomThe first place we went in Bamberg was to the famous Dom Cathedral which despite the name did not have a dome. It wasn’t anything special, just another elaborate cathedral that had stood in the same spot for a thousand years (which is impressive). We did a quick walk through.

Next we went into the Bamberg Museum which was free on the day we visited. The Bamberg museum was probably the worst museum I have ever been to.  The museum was filled with different aerial maps of Bamberg. To express how little the museum had, one of the main pieces was a rod from a bridge that broke…Safe to say I did not take any pictures at this museum.

After the museum we went to the restaurant portion of a Schenk Specialfamous Bamberg Brewery, Schlenkerla, which is known for its Smoked Beer. We sat down in the restaurant and found there was nothing but red meat and potatoes so Melissa and I didn’t order anything. Gavin and Flo ordered the Schlenkerla house special which was a gigantic slab of meat (pork leg I think) and a knödel in gravy. Gavin ate  the entire thing in fifteen minutes, then ate Flo’s slab of meat. Then he drank  an giant glass of smoked beer.

Next, we went to a restaurant/ brewery next door so Melissa and I could eat, I got a classic Schnitzel with fries and Melissa got a salad. Gavin decided he would have the Beer sampler.  Which consisted of three different types of beer. He also ordered Beer Punch which was hot beer with sugar (apparently it tasted good).  After that restaurant we wandered around Bamberg. Gavin bought two six packs of the Smoke Beer (which weighed 25lbs!). We decided we would go to one more bar so Gavin could taste more Bamberger Beer.

We went into this hole in the wall pub which actually looked very nice on the inside. we sat next to a hearth and Gavin ordered  the beer to end all beers: Gaas Moos, one litre of Beer, cola, and a bunch of different liquors in one mug.

After tasting 6 different types of Bamberger beer, Gavin felt it was a good time to go home.

Here is a gallery of Gavin’s Beers from the trip:

A Very German Christmas

In Canada, my Christmas is generally very uneventful and predictable. On December 25th you wake up share presents with family and have a turkey dinner. The holidays are always nice because you make the time to see Family you don’t see very often and try to get them gifts you hope they will like or need. That is not to say that in Germany Christmas is that much different, it is however nice to enjoy holiday customs that are  a little different from my own.

Melissa & Mascarpone Apfel cremeOn the morning of December 24th, My cousin Melissa requested my help to make desert for dinner that evening. We were to make “Mascarpone- Apfelcreme” which roughly translates to Apple cream Mascarpone. The layered desert required chopped apples, apple sauce, Mascarpone cream, and crunchy chocolates.

After making the desert we decorated the Christmas

Gavin's first xmas tree

Tree. My cousin said that they usually decorate the tree right after they finish School for the winter holidays but since school got out so late (on the 21st of December!) the morning of the 24th was our soonestopportunity to decorate.  In Germany family trees are generally decorated in a single colour, the color of my cousin’s tree is purple.  It was really exciting to decorate the tree with the elaborate purple decorations, especially since it was the first tree Gavin had ever decorated.

Raven and Melissa PerformingAfter we finished decorating my cousin Raven surprised is with an Itinerary for the evening, “Weihnachtskonzert am 24.12.12” which roughly translates to Christmas Eve concert December 24 2012.  Raven and Melissa had prepared christmas music to perform on his trumpet and her flute for the family and Raven  thought it was pertinent to write up an itinerary. and them make make amendments to the Itinerary.

At four thirty the entire family went to Flachslanden and went to the local church for the Christmas sermon. The entire sermon was in German so for Gavin and I there was a lot of standing up sitting down, standing up and holding our heads down while the pastor read from the German bible. The sermon lasted an hour at which the entire family was starving and excited to go home for the feast that was waiting for us.

Back at home we ate so much we couldn’t even move. My Aunt Karin made fresh baked bread,  Turkey Gorgonzola,  Green salad, and the desert that Melissa and I made. While everyone was digesting their food Raven, my youngest cousin, was jumping up and down trying to get everyone to open their presents! After everyone opened their presents we listened to Raven play Silent night and then went to bed so full and excited about all of the presents we received!

The next morning was December 25th, Christmas day. It was strange  waking up and not opening presents because we had done it all the day before. Instead we woke up to the dinning table set up again because My Aunt Karin’s parents and brother were coming to celebrate christmas day with us. In Germany the large family meal is usually lunch so we had a huge lunch.

My Aunt made goose and duck (the goose did not sit well with me and Gavin), Knödel, Spätzel, and salad.  Gavin and I were excited to be eating something we had never had before.  After a long day of visiting with family and tons of food, Gavin and I were happy we got to experience Christmas in Germany together.

 

Rothenburg AT LAST!

We finally got to go to Rothenburg on Saturday, and what can I say, it was everything we wanted and more! The whole family (minus my cousin Flo) came and we got to see another Christmas Market!!

At the Christmas Market Gavin and I got Honigwein (hot mead), I didn’t like it so much but he loved it. Gavin and I also ate some Bäverlich, which is kind of like an oven roasted pizza with potatoes and bacon and cream cheese.  Gavin and I finally got our Schneeballen!  Mine is Vanilla on the outside creamy nugat on the inside and Gavin’s is chocolate on the outside and chocolate on the inside. The original Schneeballen is made with powdered vanilla sugar.  Gavin bought a rare-ish mineral, dioptase,  at a rock store in Rothenburg, he is pretty pleased.

Later that night my Uncle Klaus came to visit from Berlin and he went to a restaurant with us, ” Gasthaus Zum Schmied”. My cousin Melissa used to work as a sous chef  at the restaurant. The restaurant is known for having the best Schnitzel in the area so naturally that was what I ordered.  Gavin ordered Rouladen which is like a big piece of meat, with a knödel dumpling and a lot of gravy. My aunt Karin ordered deep fried battered carp.

after the meal we were so full we went straight to sleep!

Nuremburg!

The day before yesterday my step-dad Joe, Gavin, and I went to Nuremburg. We hopped a commuter train from Ansbach to Nuremburg. Gavin had never taken a train in Germany before so it was pretty exciting yet at the same time uneventful for him.

Twilight Bubble TeaWhen we arrived at the Nuremburg Hauptbahnhof (German for Central Station) we were shocked to see that McDonalds not only sold Bubble Tea but Twilight Bubble Tea!  I sadly did not get to choose between Edward and Jacob Bubble tea’s because we quickly left the Hauptbahnhof to find some breakfast.

On the top floor of a department store my dad found a place for us to eat breakfast. Christkindlemarkt bierGavin and I did not eat anything because we were holding out for the goodies at the Christmas Market. Gavin and my dad shared a special Christkindle Markt bier for breakfast while I drank soda water (which is really popular in Europe, regular water is few and far between).

The Christkindle Markt was really exciting. The Nuremburg Christmas Market is the largest one in the world and the second you walked into it you could tell. Apparently vendors have waited for up to 30 years to be able to sell their products at the market.  For the most part there was a lot of the glockenspielsame things, wool hats, baked goods, hand made toys, and lots of German food.  At noon we watched the Glockenspiel  ( a giant clock in a church) ring with carved characters elaborately dance around the clock.

In the photos below:  1) my step dad is holding Schaschlik, some kind of boiled meat covered in curry and other sauces.  2) Gavin is eating a pickled Sardine Sandwich 3) I am eating a Dutch Heart Shaped Waffle 4) Gavin is drinking Glühwein which is warmed sweetened red wine, a classic christmas drink in Germany.

SchasschlikGavin fishDutch Wafflesgluwine

Later we visited the Castle in Nuremburg, then went to the Albrecht Dürer Museum. The museum was cool enough, i think it was made in the house he lived in while he created his works.  The only thing was the audio guide we listened to was terrible. Nuremburg CastleInstead of describing anything in the carefully maintained home of the artist, we listened to his wife complain about daily life and the people Dürer worked for.  After the Dürer Museum we went to the Nuremburg Trial memorial. Unfortunately the court room where the trials took place was in use. The rest of the memorial was very……heavily  dense with text. Which was all in German. So we had to listen to the entire thing on an audio guide which was very long.  Before we got through the entire exhibit we had to leave to catch our train back to Ansbach. I wish we were able to spend more time at the exhibit and see the court house but I guess that will be for another day.

Our day was very long and very tiring but it was exciting! We look forward to going to Rothenburg tomorrow (AT LAST!!!)

Tschüss!

A day in Ansbach

Yesterday was such a disappointment  Gavin and I woke up early to go to Ansbach with my cousin Melissa. We got to see her Highschool which was very nice. Gavin and I commented  on how her school was so much newer than the high schools Gavin and I went to and she replied, “Really? My school is 600 years old, it is the second oldest school in Bavaria!” Gavin and I were shocked because our schools although old in Canada had absolutely nothing on her school!

After dropping Melissa off at school we walked around downtown Ansbach. It was interesting because Ansbach was my dad’s stomping grounds when he was a teenager. He would tell us about the history of the area as well as places where he used to go to school and where he used to hang out with his friends.

We walked inside a castle courtyard (because there are castles EVERYWHERE!!) and my dad opened an unmarked door to reveal a cafeteria style restaurant (his favourite kind). We had some eggs and chatted for a bit before going to tour Ansbach Palace.

Ansbach Palace

The palace tour was kind of boring, it was opulent room after opulent room and every room seemed  so unnecessary, which I guess was the point of being royal. we only saw 20 of the 180 rooms in the palace. The tour was an hour long.

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After the tour we wandered around town for a bit and found the Ansbach Christmas Market where I got a Nuremburg Bratwurst, then picked up my cousin who finished school at 1pm.  We went back to the house and we were supposed to go to Rothenburg…which so did not happen.

Instead we planned on taking a nap for TWO HOURS at 1:30pm…..nobody woke us up and we slept for SEVEN HOURS and missed dinner, and Rothenburg and everything! I was so disappointed!! The worst part was that our sleeping schedule got thrown off even more and we are still jet lagged.

This morning we are going to Nuremburg to go see the courthouse where the Nuremberg Trials happened, go to the world famous Christmas Market there, and to do some touring. I hope it will be fun!Image