Pumpkins, Proceratosaurus, and a Palace: Perusing the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival

The scene is like something out of a quirky fairy tale with elements like an elegant 18th-century Baroque palace, dinosaurs fashioned out of more than 450,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds, and Rapunzel’s braid dangling from a cobbled tower… This unlikely trio came together at the world’s largest pumpkin festival, held on the grounds of theContinue reading “Pumpkins, Proceratosaurus, and a Palace: Perusing the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival”

A Toast to Munich’s Oktoberfest

“Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit. Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit.”  A traditional German beer drinking song wishing good health and cheer to companions. I was first exposed to Germany’s Oktoberfest culture when I was eight years old. During a whirlwind trip to Munich, my parents’ German friends whisked us away to what seemed like every famous city landmark.Continue reading “A Toast to Munich’s Oktoberfest”

Love in the Air at the Heidelberg Castle

The Heidelberg Castle grounds are one of my favorite spots to stroll. When I was just a young babe in a Kinderwagen, my mother posed for a now-iconic family photograph at the castle’s main overlook spot (Scheffelterrasse), with me in tow. Twenty years after that shot was snapped, I moved from the United States —Continue reading “Love in the Air at the Heidelberg Castle”

Frohe Ostern – Easter Greetings From Germany

Every spring, Osterbrunnen — or Easter fountains — herald spring’s return to Germany’s Franconia (Franken) region. Wells and fountains in town centers are dressed with boxwood cuttings, ribbons, and delicately-painted pastel eggs. This custom celebrates water’s life-giving properties. The decorations typically spring up one week before Easter Sunday and then grace the fountains for aContinue reading “Frohe Ostern – Easter Greetings From Germany”

Seeing Beyond a Physical Challenge – Profiling the Inspirational Isabell Pfeufer

You may remember my having met German university student, Isabell Pfeufer, in late 2009. Introduced to her by a former colleague, I was invited to write a newspaper piece on Isabell’s experiences – as a blind student teacher – with a classroom of third-graders. In the years following that interview, I’ve been delighted to haveContinue reading “Seeing Beyond a Physical Challenge – Profiling the Inspirational Isabell Pfeufer”

Above the Rooftops of Heidelberg: Views from the Church of the Holy Spirit

With a golden sun overhead, Shawn and I ascended to the Heiliggeistkirche’s platform. I hadn’t made the climb up the 600 year-old Gothic church’s curvy staircase since 2002, so I was pleasantly surprised by the splendid panorama! On the sandstone perch overlooking Heidelberg’s Altstadt or old town, ladybugs congregated. Swallows soared. The Church of the Holy Spirit’s bellsContinue reading “Above the Rooftops of Heidelberg: Views from the Church of the Holy Spirit”