Category Archives: Germany

Massenkarambolage #TravelGermany #MondayBlogs

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What do non-Germans think of when they are asked to name one thing German? Do they think of beer fests with liter mugs of beer, pork roasts and potato dumplings? Do they think of Christmas markets with steaming-hot, sweet spiced wine and Lebkuchen? Do they sing a song from Nena? Or maybe they think of anything having to do with the hundred-odd years between the Reformation and the Thirty Years War. (I know I certainly do.) Or do some think of the cool German cars cruising along at the speed of sound on the Autobahn? What great brands we have for the eyes to feast on: BMW, Audi, Porsche, and my favorite, VW, specifically the Golf. Occasionally a Ferrari escapes across the border to go for a run, or a Maserati. At unlimited speeds. Anyone can drive as fast as they want. Or can they?

Richtgeschwindigkeit–advisory speed limit or reference speed on the Autobahn is 130 kmh. That means that one can drive faster, but if an accident occurs, one could be held liable. But over the years, more and more speed limits have been enforced because of Massenkarambolage—Massive Freeway Pileup. I love language.

My most memorable Autobahn moment: I was driving along, doing my 130 kmh, just minding my own business and two zippy cars came up behind me at a terrifying speed. Everyone should experience this just once in their lives: looking into the rear-view mirror and seeing a Porsche and a Ferrari approaching and instead of ramming me or forcing me from the road (the A3 is two lanes here in my area) one passed me on the left and the other passed me on the right, on the shoulder. Those two men (I’m sure they were not women) left a lasting impression on me for life.

@LauraLibricz in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” WITH NONNIE JULES – #RRBC

Rave Reviews By Nonnie Jules

Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules!  Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a book shelf.  A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories.  Here on this “SHELF,”  we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask.  We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them.  WE get personal!  Because when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us,  member, LAURA LIBRICZ.  Laura is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of May and we…

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Forget the #Oktoberfest, it’s Bergkerwa in #Erlangen!

 

I pass on the Oktoberfest. Who wants to sit in some smelly beer tent in Munich with second-rate German celebrities who compete with each other for the pitiful press coverage? To really experience the German beer-fest-thing, it is advisable to start with the less-commercial fests and work your way down to the smaller, more obscure ones.
 
The Erlanger Bergkirchweih is one of the five largest beer fests in Germany. Starting on the Thursday before Pentacost, the fest spans twelve days and marks the so-called ‘Fifth Season’ in Erlangen. Over a million visitors are expected each year, ten times Erlangen’s population. The Festplatz is on the Burgberg, the hill on the city’s northern side. With seating for 11,000 people, it is considered Europe’s biggest beer garden. 
 
Bergkerwa or Berch, as it is sometimes called, is the result of a resolution set in place by the city magistrate on April 21, 1755 to revive the Pentacostal market. Beginning on the Pentacostal Tuesday, (today a highly-revered holy day in Erlangen because all the shops and firms and workplaces are closed and everyone is at the Bergkirchweih), the market in the Altstadt lasted three days and soon after incorporated the city’s beer cellars in the sand stone Burgberg, where a cool beer could be enjoyed.

The rest is history. And, guess what? You’re in luck! You still have time to get over here for the Bergkirchweih (well, only if you are reading this in May!)

Here’s the official Bergkirchweih Website: https://www.berch.info

Bergkirchweih in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bergkirchweih.erlangen/

 

 

With much joy, I introduce Laura Libricz, #RRBC’s “Spotlight” Author!

Natalie Ducey

I am thrilled to welcome Laura Libricz, Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight” Author, on today’s stop of her blog tour.  Laura is an amazing, supportive member of RRBC who generously promotes fellow authors. I consider it an honour to shine the “Spotlight” on her today.

With much joy, I introduce Laura Libricz!

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Welcome to Day 1 of my #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour. I’d like to thank my host and the RRBC for this great honor. To kick off this blog tour, I’d like to talk about writing!

Everything that happens in my writing happens for a reason! Just like that moment while watching a B-rated horror flick on TV. The heroine hears spooky sounds coming out of the basement. The music rises and her footsteps slow as she walks towards the basement door. Her hand reaches for the knob and everyone in the room shouts, “Don’t do it!”

We wonder how she could be so…

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Walpurgisnacht #MayDay #Witches

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What comes to your mind when someone mentions the 8th century? Could it be the introduction of the triangle harp by the Picts in Scotland? Or maybe the reign of Charlemagne, King of the Franks. Or the popular epic poem Beowulf, which could be as old as the 8th Century? Or marauding Vikings invading the coasts of Europe? Or of the Bendedictine nun and English missionary to the Frankish Empire Walburga, later to be canonized on May 1, 870, one hundred years after her death?

St. Walburga was born in Devonshire in 710. She was raised in a Benedictine Abbey during the time her father and brothers travelled as pilgrims to far-away holy lands. After twenty-six years in the abbey, she joined her brother St. Boniface in Germany to help with his missionary work there.

The goal was to strip the Germanic tribes of any pagan tendencies that might still flourish. St. Boniface prided himself as the destroyer of their greatest symbol: an oak tree in Geismar dedicated to Thor. The Germanic tribe believed that when felled, lighting would strike them all down. When Boniface felled the tree and nothing happened, he moved in and converted his counterparts to Christianity.

The eve of St. Walburga’s canonization, April 30, is still associated with pagans and pagan rituals. Traditionally, the eve of the Walburga Feast is celebrated with rites of fertility, bonfires and dancing. Lovers would commit the sex act on the fields to transfer their fertility to the soil, hoping for good yields. Witches were rumored to fly through the night, especially to the Blocksberg, a peak in the Harz Mountains often shrouded in mysterious cloud cover. A birch tree, a symbol of fertility, was erected and was the site of a traditional dance around the May Pole.

The name Walpurgisnacht was coined by Goethe in his play Faust. Today, the night of April 30-May 1 is in many European countries a reason to party. Finnland, Sweden, Holland and Denmark also observe this day that falls exactly a half year away from Halloween. And the first of May is a bank holiday, so enjoy your day off!

How are you spending your May Day?

Magic Me a Meal #history #food

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What’s for dinner tonight?

Have a look in the pantry, see what you have, what you’re hungry for, and throw together something delicious. There’s a German idiom for just this situation that goes: schnell ein Essen zaubern! And that more or less means: magic me a meal! Let’s go back to the 17th century, specifically in Franconia, Germany: the absence of mod-cons, the hardship and toil and war, and eating whatever one is offered. How can we make a days-old leg of mutton or an old rabbit and some shriveled root vegetables edible let alone taste good? Magic me a meal!

Before we even think of cooking, we have to get this kitchen warm. Unfortunately, we used all the wood during the night because it was chilly and we have to find more wood. And if the fire went out altogether, we need either some embers from another fire or some dried straw, a flint stone, and a knife to get one going. Lug the firewood, light the fire, sit by until it’s burning. Once the fire is going we need water. The buckets are empty. Lug the water from the well, enough to cook with, and for whatever else we may need water for.

Looking in the cellar, I have carrots, onions, and some parsley root that has been stored in dry sand since September. They have shriveled up but they aren’t rotten. Once they are cooked they’ll taste good. A skinned wild rabbit has been hanging here for two days. It smells a bit gamey but it still looks useable. The cellar has a constant temperature summer and winter. (If I had a thermometer, it would probably be around 8° C or 45° F.) We still have some winter apples. These apples store nicely and are also a bit shriveled. In the garden I can dig up a horseradish root. Some kale is still standing in the garden because the spring hasn’t been that warm yet. Kale can stay out in the garden all winter.

We are lucky enough to have a master who is a traveling merchant, so we have pepper and cinnamon. And salt. We would die without salt. Not only does the body need salt to function, we need salt to preserve food. Last autumn, we dried salted deer meat and carp meat. We used all the grain last week and won’t have any more for another week or more. All we have left is old dried bread and ground acorns. The wine is sour but it actually tastes good in the cooking. The chickens have finally started laying again now that it’s spring so we have eggs. Lots of eggs. And the goat is still giving milk.

The fire is burning nicely atop the open hearth and all the chores are done so we can start cooking without being drawn away. Embers are gathered under a metal tripod and small pots set on top. The large iron pot can be hung from the chain rammed into the stone wall if we needed to cook a big meal but it won’t be necessary today. The smoke from the fire goes out the open flue but our eyes are still stinging and watering. The only outside light comes from a small window on the other side of the kitchen.

Chopping onions really makes our eyes water now. We chop some dried deer meat as well and then heat some fat in the pan, throw the onions and the deer meat into the pan, and let it fry. After it browns, we pour a half a bottle of that sour wine over the top. Zisch! Fumes from the sizzling wine and onions fill the kitchen and our mouths water! We sink the rabbit into the Sud, the stock. The sour wine will hide the gamey taste. Add salt, pepper and some cinnamon. In the garden, we pick sage leaves, just a few, some lavender, and a bit of rosemary that survived the winter. And we just gathered some Bärlauch, or wild garlic. This tasty herb can only be found in April and May, so we need to make the most of it. We can preserve some for later but it tastes best when it’s fresh.

Our main course is simmering away and we can think about side dishes and maybe even a dessert! So, carrots, old bread, ground acorns, eggs, milk, apples, cinnamon. Fresh kale and horseradish. Do we have any honey left? We decide to make a savory porridge out of water, carrots, onions, and ground acorns, salt and pepper. That will fill the belly. There will only be a mouthful of meat per person anyway. We put all of it in a pot and allow the savory porridge to simmer along side the rabbit. And how about a handful of chopped kale fried in fat with a bit of salt and topped with some freshly grated horseradish and a spoonful of rare goat’s cream?

Dessert: just because this is historical doesn’t mean we have to suffer! Old bread, milk, yes we have honey, apples. Let’s make a pudding. We heat the milk and apples and add the honey. The master also knows a beekeeper who is high up in the guild so we can get honey. It seems to disappear rapidly though. (I love honey.) Whisk in two eggs and watch it thicken. Then pour it over the pan filled with dried bread, set the pan on top of the hearth in a warm spot and hope it thickens more. If we had a fire in the oven we could bake it. But the oven is outside and we only stoke that up when we’re baking bread.

The rabbit should be done by now so we thicken the stock by crumbling the old bread into it. After spending the last two hours cooking, we are tasting our dishes more than we have to. The people we are cooking for hover around the kitchen like wolves who have smelled blood. We settle at the table and after a prayer of thanks to those forces we believe in, the room quiets at the task of devouring our delicious meal! Magic *

(I wrote this article for Donna Huber’s Girl-Who-Reads blog. Check out her site!)

St. Stephen’s #Cathedral in #Passau #MondayBlogs

A documentary about St. Stephen’s Cathedral with music from Quetsch-Bassiges GraZien Ensemble www.blasmusik-woelfl.com and thanks to Pia Olligschläger from the Passau Tourismus e.V. www.tourismus.passau.de

Situated in Lower Bavaria where the river Ilz and the river Inn join the Danube lays the city of Passau. Built on the highest point in the old town is the St Stephen’s Cathedral. St. Stephan’s as we see it today was built in 1668 after a devastating town fire destroyed the late gothic cathedral that stood here before. St. Stephen’s is well known for the impressive pipe organ, built in 1733 by Joseph Matthias Götz. It was considered the world’s largest organ until the organ in the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles took over that honor in 1990.

St. Stephen’s is a bishop’s cathedral and was founded in the 8th century. Since then it has always stood on this very spot. This is the fifth cathedral to stand here, the other four having been destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt. The plans for this cathedral were made by Italian baroque master Carlo Lurago. The interior stucco works and the frescos were also done by Italian baroque masters. The two towers of St Stephen’s shape the cityscape of Passau.

Passau, die Dreiflüssestadt or the City of Three Rivers.