Baking · Coffee Chat · cooking-through challenge · Travel

I know…. right?

What else can I say? Mia so long…. I could make excuses but I wont. We have been traveling quite a bit these past two months, Coburg, The Ammer See, baseball games in Regensburg, Spring training at the Tegernsee again for soccer and a 5 hour Cruise down the Danube River to Linz Austria.  We have been taking advantage of sporadic days off which have been very welcome in the heat we are having this summer.  I did suffer a slight injury to my shoulder in May which I am happy to announce seems to be on the mend finally, or I would not be chatting with you at this moment.

I finally got back to hanging out in my kitchen and have in fact discovered a most delicate and delicious cookie recipe.  If you love white chocolate you will love this and I will be baking a batch next week to share with you.  Also and I mean a BIG also, I have missed cooking in the Chaotic cooking-through challenge and this month is a Wildcard month which means I will be trying a few new recipes that I have never tried before.

I have missed you all & reading about what you all have been up to and look forward to catching up.  Can I just apologize for not popping in quickly to say hi and let you know I am fine?!  If I made you a cup of your favorite brew and gave you a heart-shaped cookie or two, would you come back for more?

Travel

Are the days of spontaneous travel gone forever?

honeymoon 2011 070I sure hope not!

I lately wonder if technology has ruined the spontaneity of traveling. Other than booking our transportation and a hotel we rarely plan anything when taking a trip. Relying only on a map of our destination along with a travel guide. Yes, it is a small book which are still thankfully readily available through a book store or amazon.

Sadly, a newer trend is popping up where a reservation must be made online to visit some sites. It seems that there are a few places  where one can no longer decide to just walk in off the street to visit or tour a place of interest. Thankfully, this has not taken off everywhere and I hope it never does as I do not have internet capabilities when traveling, by choice.

The process of sightseeing is an adventure in itself. Why plan your day hour by hour? Sometimes, due to transportation delays one may not get to their destination at the alloted time for a tour. It happens and is all part of the adventure.

Personally, some delays have led us to some of the most interesting places which we did not intend to visit or even knew existed.  Like in this photo of the Eiffel Tower.  We were just “walking the streets” of Paris enjoying the warmth in of an early spring day.   We were so surprised to look to our right and see the tower.  It was a beautiful experience.

I believe the best way to travel is to not plan too much. Get to your desired destination, check in to your hotel, talk to some local people and begin walking around. Some of the best attractions are off the main paths. Places that the local residents enjoy and places that you just simply stumble upon.

So when planning your next trip be sure not to schedule too much and just be present and enjoy the adventure.

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food · Germany · Travel

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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food · Germany · Travel

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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Germany · Travel

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! 🙂

 

Travel

Introducing, the first…Travel Tip Tuesday

Travel Tip Tuesday

It is time for the first ever edition of “Travel Tip Tuesday!

This is a simple post where I will share a travel tip of mine.  Considering I have been traveling for the past 42 years, I have plenty to share.  (Am I really that old?! Wow!) Originally I considered writing a blog post that would contain all my tips, but I thought it would be a bit long and get a bit boring, so…. let’s begin.

Probably my first and most important tip I have learned and not too easily at that is:

*Have Patience*

Know that connections will be missed at one time or another, weather can not always be predicted and delays do happen.  I have learned there are two ways to handle this problem.

Option One, be an ass, yell or get angry at the people who work at the airport or train station, complain to everyone around you and be miserable which in turn makes everyone miserable.  Remember, delays are not easy on the flight crew either.  They have homes and children to get back to as well.

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Option Two, accept the fact that your trip is delayed and just enjoy the adventure.  Yes, I know all too well how hard and inconvenient a delay is.  Especially when you are traveling alone and haven’t slept in 30 hours, have really bad cramps (hopefully not tmi?)  and that the event you were traveling for will happen whether you get there or not.  It happens.  Remember, that those around you have a destination to get to as well, not just you.

Traveling is not just about getting to your destination on time, it’s about the journey, the adventure.  During delays, I have met and had some good conversations with very nice and interesting people, seen places that I hadn’t intended on visiting and rode in an old train from 1966 (the year I was born).  These are a few results from delays I have experienced.  And yes… I am embarrassed to admit I have taken the Option One way to handle a delay before, I am definitely not perfect when exhausted and in travel mode, but I have learned how to handle situations a bit better.

This is the best advice out of all I have to give anyone traveling.

Enjoy the delays, have patience and embrace your adventure!

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Random · Travel

What do you mean there’s NO Starbucks?!

I admit, I love Starbucks Coffee.  Give me a white chocolate mocha, pumpkin spice or my favorite, a caramel macchiato with an extra shot of espresso and I am one very, happy camper!  Imagine my surprise when Leif (my husband) told me after the fact that I moved, they did not have a Starbucks in their city.  😲 Would this have been a determining factor in whether or not I said yes when he asked me to marry him? Hmmm………

No worries.  Although it was tough in the beginning, I am very happy to share that our little city has some wonderful cafes where they serve up delicious coffee drinks, a fresh croissant and honey for the price of one Starbucks coffee.

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This time of year it is so nice to sit outside, enjoy a coffee and conversation with friends.  One of my newest favorite pastimes is to sit back and watch the english speaking tourists.  I love listening to them talk about our beautiful city in my native language!

So, I have to say, I don’t really miss Starbucks now.  I do take advantage of picking up a fresh cup of one of may favorite flavors when we travel though!

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Köln (Cologne)

 

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Germany · Sports · Travel

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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