Twisting Tongues in Bavaria

German words have a reputation for being long, and at times, very descriptive. I have a few quirky favorites. The first is Zahnfleisch, which literally means “tooth meat” or “gums.” The other is Schneebesen, which literally translates to “snow broom,” but means “whisk.”

Snowy Vignettes from an Alpine Paradise

Having “escaped” winter by spending five wonderful, but scorching months in Asia last year, I must admit — it’s been a bit of a shock wintering in the Alps these past months. Fortunately, there are the visual elements that make sidewalk slips, shoveling, and shivering so worthwhile: chalets peeking out from under snow blankets, MotherContinue reading “Snowy Vignettes from an Alpine Paradise”

Apprentice for an Afternoon: Lessons with Germany’s Old World Artisans

During Oberammergau’s peak tourist seasons, visitors can easily while away an hour observing artisans demonstrating their trades on the ground floor of the beautifully-frescoed, 18th-century Pilatushaus. In past centuries, nomadic traders acquired crafts like these and sold them throughout Europe, making Oberammergau famous for its fine work. Today, travelers can purchase the items directly fromContinue reading “Apprentice for an Afternoon: Lessons with Germany’s Old World Artisans”

A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany

The sign declared, Bitte Esel nicht füttern. And since I was in Germany, a land famously known for its rules, I was even more sure to obey. Even though visitors to the Christmas Market in Oberammergau, Germany were asked not to feed the photogenic donkeys (to keep the live Christmas props from developing upset stomachs), rubbing ofContinue reading “A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany”

Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day & Germany’s Christmas Market Season

On the eve of December 6th, when I was a child, I placed my shiniest shoes in front of my bedroom door, anticipating the arrival of St. Nicholas. The next morning, I eagerly popped out of bed, delighted to find my footwear stuffed with oranges, Christmas cookies, chocolates, and tiny trinkets. St. Nick didn’t visitContinue reading “Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day & Germany’s Christmas Market Season”

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”

Frohe Ostern – Easter Greetings From Germany

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