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    Inspiration

    "Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful we must carry it with us or we find it not."

    R. W. Emerrson

    Entries in Germany (4)

    Sunday
    Dec212014

    Bringing Back Cocktail Hour - Christmas Markets in Germany

    Our friend Katie had told us that Germany was the place to experience the holidays.  When she sponsored “dinner and drinks for two”, we decided to set off on a search for the most delicious food and lively libations available in the country’s celebrated Christmas markets.

    We started our tour in Düsseldorf, a large, pedestrian-friendly city with several markets, each with its own unique atmosphere.  Our favorite was Altstadt (Old Town), home to a giant ferris wheel overlooking an intimate collection of well-lit holiday stalls.  We explored the offerings from the local vendors and satisfied our hunger with fried potato pancakes, pork shank, and a heaping helping of grilled mushrooms topped with spicy chili sauce.  As the temperatures dropped we warmed our hands and our bellies with spiced glühwein served in decorative mugs.

    We boarded a northbound train to Osnabrück, the town where three of Jenn’s grandparents were from.  It didn’t take long for us to fall in love with the historic town and its Christmas market which was the perfect size; the people were friendly and the food was among the best we’ve encountered.  We strolled through the stalls surrounded by beautiful, colorful buildings as we consumed Nordic salmon over a bed of lettuce.  The salmon had been smoked on a cedar plank secured over an open flame that gave it an out-of-this-world char grilled flavor.  This first dish of the day satisfied our immediate hunger, but it wasn’t long before we were queued up at another stand where we ordered a thick pork nackensteak “mit kraut”.  The glühwein continued to flow as we ate our way across Germany.

    The final stop on our fun filled Katie-funded Christmas market tour was one of the country's largest and oldest.  Stuttgart houses more than 270 stalls filled with holiday goodies, and it accommodated an immense weekend crowd during our visit.  We tried two new plates – A sauerkraut dish that included sausage bits and hot mustard, and a hearty chili con carne.  You can surely guess what we selected for our warming beverage of choice.

    We raised each new cup of glühwein (and glühkirsch, and glühschnapps) saying “Prost” and “Thank you Katie” for bringing back this wonderfully non-traditional cocktail hour.  Have a Frohe Weihnachten!

    Sunday
    Nov232014

    Everything Old is New Again - Trier, Germany and Luxembourg

    From the Alsace region that seems unchanged by the passing of the centuries, we traveled to two cities that have harmoniously combined historical and modern architecture.

    Trier is arguably the oldest city in Germany.  It is a place where construction of a new parking lot recently revealed ancient Roman ruins slumbering just meters below the surface.  The town’s nearly 2,000 year old Black Gate punctuates a road which delivered us to a small carnival of strobe-lights, amusing rides, and boardwalk games where we drank our first glühwein of the season while watching families enjoy the festive setting.

    Luxembourg’s geographic location at the crossroads of European powerhouses has allowed it to realize impressive financial success.  As it has grown, the city has managed to incorporate immense forts from the 17th, 18th, and 19th century into its modern architecture.  The Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, locally known as MUDAM, offers a wonderful example of integrating past and present designs (pictured), and we were thrilled to stumble upon a special opening night exhibit that reminded us of Denver’s wonderful Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

    These two amazing cities demonstrate unstoppable momentum; their skylines dotted with one construction crane after another.  It’s comforting to see that history can be maintained, and perhaps even enhanced, as city planners balance efforts to expand and evolve while maintaining watchful eyes on the precious need for preservation.

    Tuesday
    Sep302014

    Bringing Back Cocktail Hour - Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany


    Munich’s Oktoberfest, a beer lovers’ festival of global proportions, provided the perfect venue in which to recognize Mike's generous "Bring Back Cocktail Hour" sponsorship.

    To locate Oktoberfest at Theresienwiese we simply followed the people dressed in traditional dirndl and lederhosen until the buildings parted to reveal a collection off impressive tents and well lit amusement park rides. The smell of roasted meat filled the air and spurred the appetite.

    We explored the grounds before selecting a tent that captured our attention. It was our first time drinking Pschorr beer and we enjoyed its frothy, cool, clean flavor. Our libations were perfectly accompanied by a freshly roasted hendl (chicken) which was juicy and well seasoned with a salty finish. The hours passed as we sang songs and shared camaraderie in this cross-cultural gathering of merrymakers.

    We raised our mugs with a hearty “Prost!” in appreciation of Mike’s generosity for helping us realize our delicious Oktoberfest dreams.

    Sunday
    Sep282014

    Potty Mouth - German Humor in the Bathroom Queue

    "Ich verstehe nur ein bisschen Deutsch" is a handy phrase that means "I understand only a little German”.  We relied on this convenient response when the residents of our host country casually put forth flowing statements and questions in their local tongue.  Sometimes we could understand enough to respond, like when we were able to give rough directions to Marienplatz, but often we were dumbfounded.

    One such instance of assumed German fluency occurred while Matt was waiting in a ridiculously long Oktoberfest restroom line and a fellow reveler shared what turned out to be an entertaining joke accompanied by a hearty high-five.  A nearby friend translated the German quip, “as soon as I get through this line, I need to get back in the line again”.  This statement made one thing perfectly clear:  Toiletten-humor transcends the language barrier.