Welcoming Autumn – Our Weekend

This weekend we spent quite a bit of time bicycling.  Thirty-eight kilometers, to be exact.

Here is a little peek as to how we spent our weekend.  Saturday we visited some family which live a little distance from us.  It never seems so far going there and it is mostly along bike paths,over farmland and through a quaint village.  It takes 17 km there and only a few hills to tackle in the beginning.  Although, I always forget we have to trek another 17 to get home until I hop back on my bike.  But it is still worth being able to spend time with family and every time we go, it doesn’t seem quite so far.

Yesterday when we woke up, the weather was unseasonably warm for us.  As the sun was shining so bright we hopped on the bikes again and headed to a nearby town to check out a new subdivision that is being built.

Luckily, we have amazing bike paths along little creeks.

That is actually corn ready to be harvested on the right side there.

Here is a little peek at a nearby village along the way.

I enjoy these leisurely sunday rides.  The air is so fresh, town fairly quiet as everything is closed this one day of the week.  Just like the old days in America.  People are out walking or biking like us.  There is just a nice relaxing pace to end the last day of the week.  Or here, Sunday is considered the first day of the week, but I will always think of it as the last.

As we got closer to home, I stopped to photograph and share my favorite part of our town.  This area is practically in my back yard.

A lovely place to enjoy the sounds of the birds chirping and the occasional rooster crowing.  They just harvested the corn a few days ago.  This same photo would have looked totally different then.

 

The local train even came by.  I have never gotten a photo of it before…

Finally, Happily Mr. and I.  Sitting on a little bench, soaking up the sunshine.  Sometimes we sit here and have great conversation but usually we just hold hands, listen to the simple sounds around us and just enjoy being together.

xo

 

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A Bavarian Staple – The Pretzel

In Bavaria, you are apt to see this as a side dish to just about everything.  The Pretzel  (Bretzel, Bretzen or Brezn it’s all the same) has been around Southeastern Germany since the 1400’s and it may be surprising to learn the fat and calorie breakdown of this Bavarian staple.  These shown above,  I made here at home.  You can buy them pre-made in the freezer section of any grocery store and  pop them in the oven.

Not only is it a nice snack by itself, they are also used instead of bread for a sandwich even.  Lunchmeats or cheese are just layered on top of one.  Another common way to find them in the bakery instead of plain is sliced in half horizontally, with butter spread in the middle then replaced.  Just like a sandwich.  Instead of butter, I enjoy a bit of cream cheese in the middle like you would do with a bagel.  Really, the options of what you can do with a pretzel are endless.

Here is the breakdown:

1 Brezel (85 Gramm):

  • 804 kJ / 192 kcal (Calories)
  • 6,1 Gramm Eiweiß (Protein)
  • 1,6 Gramm Fett (Fat)
  • 38,5 Gramm Kohlenhydrate (Carbs)

Of course they are very popular at the Volksfests and Oktoberfest too.  Although they have a bit more calories as they are quite larger, but oh so good!

So, the next time you plan on using bread for a sandwhich, why not try replacing it with a pretzel?

 

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Delicious Baked Camembert & old Leipzig Gastronomy

Let’s talk about food and with this post I must add beer as the two go together at this place.

My husband had heard about this old beergarten with a rich history so of course we set out one afternoon to go find it.  We had gotten off a tram and began our walk down a narrow cobblestone street in a quiet area of Leipzig.  This was when we stumbled upon Schiller’s house (which I mentioned in my previous post).  We had no idea it would be on the same long winding street to the Gosen-Schenke ohne Bedenken Biergarten.

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Right, I know you are probably thinking what I was.  It looks like a normal building on the outside.  But as with many places in Leipzig, the front appearances are very deceiving.  Let’s go inside.

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Since it is such a beautiful warm day let’s walk on through…

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The tables and benches go back quite a ways.  In fact, it is huge!

This establishment opened in 1899 although the building itself was built in 1905.  Again, like a mentioned in my previous post the Gose beer was originally brewed first in the town of Goslar and has a distinct salty and herbal flavor.  It seems the people of Leipzig adopted this Gose recipe as their own.  It is very tasty.  Some American cities such as Chicago and Baltimore, are now brewing this beer at micro breweries even.  There is so much more history about this place and if you’re interested in knowing more  or seeing the menu, you can check out their website (in English).

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The restaurant was closed when Leipzig became part of the DDR and then reopened in 1986 by a private citizen who wanted to continue the tradition.   It is not just the beer that it is known for but also for its gastronomy and is rated highly as one of the best restaurants in Germany.

My opinion – it definitely is and let’s talk about that!

I ordered the baked camembert with baguette.  I honestly thought it would just be some warm camembert on a baguette but…

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The camembert was baked in a light, delicious beer batter.  OMG, it was truly amazing!  The flavors and textures – my mouth was very happy!  This was one of those times that I did not want my food to be gone, I savoured every bite!

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Would you like to see what my husband ate?  One of his favorites, Homemade Meat Jelly, seasoned with Gose and fried potatoes.  He said it was very good too!

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So that my friends, is it from Leipzig.

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We are looking forward to getting up that way again and definitely making time to enjoy another meal there.

Cheers

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Follow us around Leipzig, Germany

If you happened to read my last post, you know we are back from… you guessed it, Leipzig.  I admit I was a bit apprehensive about this trip when we found out the main Train Station was to be closed for the time we planned to be there.  They were replacing all of the tracks into the station.  A bit inconvenient but we made other connections using the S-Bahn from Halle (a city nearby).    The businesses were open and it was nice to look around and really see and take in the beauty of this old station without running to a platform to catch your connecting train.

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An elegant bookstore and cafe bar inside the train station.

The first day in Leipzig was the soccer game, our main reason for this trip.  The cool thing about this stadium is, it was built inside the existing old stadium.  This year is the first year that Leipzig is in the First Division.

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The old and current entrance to the Stadium

Can we just talk about the steps for a minute?!!!  We counted 290!  The entrance is not the only place with steps.  The guest entrance where we had to enter through had soooo many.  Too many!

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See the new stadium in the old?
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…and a peek inside

What is so wonderful about Leipzig is you can go anywhere in the city at anytime using the Trams.   Their public transportation is fantastic! So, we did a bit of sightseeing…

This building which looks like a church  is still being rebuilt on the inside.  Leipzig was formerly part of the DDR and the communist did not want the university church, so the original church, The Pauliner Kirche, was blown up in 1968 for political reasons.  It is quite a complicated history.  Although the altar and various items from the old church were saved and will be used in this new assembly hall and room of common prayer for the university.

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A little less complicated…The Opera House.

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Opera House

This next building is the Bayericher Bahnhof or Bavarian Train Station.  Although the front was renovated it is not a working train station anymore but a brewery of Gose beer (originally  from the city of Goslar) and very good restaurant.

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Of course, I only have a photo of our beverages for this meal, but I had a delicious platter of assorted lunch meats and cheese’s with delicious fresh & still warm, homemade Potato bread and Leif ate what is called a cold Wurst Salat with Kase which is basically  strips of pork lunch meat and cheese all mixed up with vinegar and onions.  A very Bavarian dish.

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Oh, one thing that I have to share with you which was so unique was this upstairs area in the restaurant, where the restrooms were located.  This beautiful old piano.  I used to play classical piano and I love anything vintage, so it just spoke to me.  Wish I could have this piece in my home.

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We visited many other beautiful parts of Leipzig.

The monument for the battle of the nations, completed at the 100th anniversary of the battle against Napoleon.

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Völkerschlachtdenkmal

and a view inside… these stone sculptors are the Guardians of the dead.   Sadly 100,000 soldiers were lost in this battle.

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My first visit to a Russian Orthodox Church which also opened at the same time as the monument (above).  This is also a monument in remembrance of the Russian soldiers lost in battle in the year 1813.  What is so unique about this building is the outside resembles a monument but the inside is a church.  The idea was to create a living monument.  I couldn’t take photos on the inside but it is absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.

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St. Alexi Orthodox Church

Now on to other sites.  Friederick Schiller’s house, the classical playwright famous for his works such as The Robbers and Mary Stuart.  Did you know… he was originally a Doctor of Medicine until he saw his first play?

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The University Library – yes, the book geeks that we are, we did go inside to have a look. They have an American section which was incredible.  I think I could write great papers in this building!

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University of Leipzig Library

The famous Auerbachs Keller, one of the city’s most important wine bars and restaurants from the 16th century even.  Linked to Goethe’s famous Faust drama, it is located in the beautiful Mädlerpassage which also has high-end shopping inside.  I really wanted to eat here but it was a bit on the pricey side for us.  I noticed this photo is a bit blurry but the entrance to the restaurant is just to the left of the sign in front of the monument.  It truly is in a cellar!

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Auerbachs Kellar

… the passage  with shopping and cafe bars.

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Mädlerpassage

Finally,  one of my favorites from this trip was a visit to St. Thomas Church, for a concert.

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Johann Sebastian Bach was the music director in the 1700’s at this church.

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As I mentioned above I studied classical music, so this was incredible for me.  We heard some of his works executed beautifully by the organist and the highlight… the St. Thomas Boys Choir performed.   I was so moved listening to the blend of these talented, beautiful voices.   I honestly, did not want them to stop singing.  A wonderful experience for me.  In fact, leaving the church after the concert, I felt so calm and relaxed.

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The boys choir warming up before the concert/mass

I have to say I felt totally safe and comfortable as we navigated our way around Leipzig.

A little reality check though as we stumbled upon this laying on a side street. It loosely translates,  For a peaceful world, Here is no place for rasicm, right-wing activism, and anti-Americanism.  Sad that in this day and age we have to have reminders such as this around.

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On to happier thoughts….These were the highlights from our trip to Leipzig, BUT one of the best moments was lunch at a famous biergarten (beer garden).  As this lookbook seems to be quite lengthy, I will share this final place and our meal even in my next blog post!

To close…  I have to say Leipzig has a place in my top three cities in Germany.  I look forward to making a trip back to see more of this historic place, so rich in culture.

I hope you enjoyed following us around a little bit of Leipzig.  If you happen to find yourself in Germany, you should really plan on spending some time and creating your own beautiful memories in Leipzig.

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We are back from…

Can you guess what city  we visited?

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I’ll give you a hint… it is in Germany and was formerly part of the DDR.

I have so much to share with you, from some of our sightseeing to a delicious and rather unusual meal at a pretty famous biergarten known worldwide.

In a day or two I will have my Lookbook _______, ready to share with you as well as that amazing meal.  We are still doing a little “day” travel around Bavaria as my husband has a bit more time off work.  Our weather is beautiful here, sunny, warm but still fall like.  It was really nice that the weather has cooperated with my husband vacation time.

See you very soon! 🙂

 

My 6th Gäubodenvolksfest!

I’m here!  Sorry for not posting last week, but it was celebration time here in Bavaria.  Many of you may know this time as Oktoberfest, State Fair or Volksfest.

In the beautiful city of Straubing, the Gäubodenvolksfest is held for 11 days in August.  Briefly the background is, the King of Bavaria organized this agricultural festival in 1812 as a way for people in the Danube region to meet up once a year.  They have been celebrating it ever since with only a brief interruption during the war.

It is the second largest festival in Bavaria, of course you may know that the “Oktoberfest” in Munich is number one.  Still, the Volksfest sees about 1.2 million visitors who come to enjoy the festivities and even dress up in the “traditional dress”, lederhosen & dirndls or trachten.

I did find this photo from 1912 – as you can see there was a bit of flooding that year from the Danube River, luckily they have pretty much contained that problem here now.

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photo from br.de

Now on to this year! Let me briefly show you around.

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The one thing we do very well in Germany is beer.  The local Karmeliten Brewery got my number one vote this year as the best tasting.

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Yes, we drink beer in a maß. Basically a “big ass” mug of beer.  Delicious, I have to add.

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Luckily, we had a bus ticket which was good for the duration of the festival.  No biking home and the best part is our stop is right in front of our building.  How is that for service!

This is me waiting for said bus wearing the traditional dress.

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(above) Hands down, the biggest and best tasting Pretzel in the whole fairgrounds.  Unbelievable, I was too busy eating it to take a picture of it.  But here is Leif holding up the first “bretze” Pretzel we bought during the fest.

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Here are a few photos I took walking around the fairways.

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Nope, those aren’t Amish girls,  that’s just our traditional dress. 🙂

There are tons of rides, roller coasters, kiddie rides and even one of the original rides makes an appearance every year.

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Also games…

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Love seeing my Country represented! 🙂

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Yep, you can buy big pickles…

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or ox meat sandwiches.

Corn on the cob…

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Or sit in one of the many beer tents and be served…

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while listening to the fabulous folk music during the day (or shlager and popular music in the evening).

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Prost!

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I am exhausted!  I haven’t even touched on half of what this festival offers. Although, I do call it the happiest time of year here in Germany.  I am so glad I live in the city that hosts this festival.

Finally, I leave you with a skyline view of Straubing from the ferris wheel.  I love my hometown!

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Spring training at the Tegernsee & the national sport

The national sport of Germany is…?  Anyone?  Soccer or Fußball as we call it here.  That question was even on my Citizenship test, believe it or not.

My husband Leif is an avid sports enthusiast. Soccer, hockey and baseball.  As a child growing up in Germany, they pick a team.  Just like in the United States, Germany is also divided into States.  The young child will pick what team they will support for the rest of their lives.  Leif’s team of choice is Borussia Mönchengladbach.   No, it is not Russian and they just call the team Gladbach for short.  Their stadium is in the North Rhine-Westphalia region or state, just about a half an hours drive to the Netherlands border.  Okay, enough geography.  Basically, we live nowhere near it.  But we do live near the Tegernsee where spring training is happening for the start of the new soccer season.  So what did we do?  As usual, we planned a road trip with friends.

Let me give you an idea of what this town looks like.  It is a lake with a town around it,  set in the middle of what they call the voralpen.  The beginning of the Alps.

 

Here are a few more photos of the area around the Tegern Lake

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And yes, I really did take a photo of a dog stopping his frisbee play to pee.

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In this next photo we had a wonderful lunch outside at the local Hofbräuhaus.  I ate the traditional Leber Kase with Kartoffelsalat and Bretze.  Of course we washed that down with the locally brewed beer.  Let me explain in English what we ate.  Leber Kase is basically a warm, thick bologna, it is not liver and cheese and I have no idea what they call it that.  Kartoffelsalat is potato salad.  Bretze is a big pretzel. I guess I don’t have a photo of our meal.

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Of course, our little group had to stalk the team at their hotel boarding their bus.  Yep my husband was as excited as a small boy.

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Now lets head to the soccer field nestled in the mountains.

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In this next photo I wanted to share with you peek at the refugee set up in parts of Germany.  If you can see on the right some blue and white umbrellas and right behind you can just make out a white dome.  That is a temporary refugee camp.  Right next to the soccer field.  There were no problems or and tensions about and they seemed to be enjoying the game too just like everyone else. I think they got in for free though, but thats okay.

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It was a beautiful evening and setting for a soccer match and yes, Gladbach won.:-)

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