Sunday, April 27, 2014

May 2014 - Overview

Holidays (Federal or Bavaria specific)       
Photo: Wikipedia Maypole 

May 1 - Tag der Arbeit (Labor Day)
May 11 - Mother´s Day
May 29 - Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day) - Also, Father´s Day

Events (by no means a complete list)
May 1 - Erlangen Bike tour- in it´s 21st year. several routes, €1     per rider, €3 per family
April 30 - May 4 Erlangen Dance and Folk Fest 
May 10 Charity Run, Erlangen - hosted by the Lion´s Club 
May 15 - August 21 - Erlangen goes fit! FREE fitness classes outdoors every Thursday. Near   Röthelheimbad
May 24 Children´s and Baby Bazaar Rathausplatz 1 
May 28 Erlangen Skate Night- Rollerblading through the city 
May 30 Starlight Fleamarket open until 10pm, Bohlenplatz 


Various dates May 1 -24 - Cats, the musical Friedrich Alexander University (note: tickets are going fast, and some dates are sold out already)
May 3 - Blaue Nacht The arts and cultural night of the year in Nürnberg. Lit up with blue lights, the city has various art installations for the eventing. Tickets are €13,99 and include guaranteed entry to the exhibits, as well as transportation on VGN buses and trains. Wandering around is free.  Starts at 7pm, ends well into the night.
May 4- May the Fourth be with you!!! Cinecetta Nürnberg screening Star Wars movie marathon.
April 19 - May 11 Nürnberg Frühlingsfest! (Spring Volksfest!)  Fairground at the             Dutzendteich, Nürnberg - Not to be missed, if you haven´t been. 
May 9 - 11 Schnapps and Brandy Market, Handwerkhof 
May 11- August 13 Nürnberg goes fit FREE fitness classes for adults and children. Various days of the week, see link for schedule. 
May 16 - Summer in the City, Nürnberg´s "beach" opens! 
May 16-25 May Fest, Aufseßplatz
May 25 - The Color Run (5k) Adult Runners €39,19
May 18 - Open Sunday Nürnberg Südstadt 
May 22 - June 2 Venice Market - Italian specialties, Gondola rides, and more! 


May 3 - Bike Fair 

May 9 - 11 Bamberg Gardenfest steps from the trainstation.
May 9 Tribute to the Reggae Greats, Aschaffenburg, tickets €15,30
May 9 - 18 Spring Festival Coburg
May 10 - 11 Trachten Market, Frensdorf - Need something to wear to Volksfest? Here´s a           great place to purchase traditional Franconian wear!
May 14, 21, 18 Salsa in the Park, Fürth
May 16 - June 1 Bamberg Spring Festival Zollnerstraße - the largest in Oberfranken! Loads            of rides, great for kids
May 19 - 31 Spring Market, Bamberg Maxplatz
May 23 - June 29 Mozart Festival, Würzburg 
May 24 - June 6 Culture Days, Juliusspital, Würzburg Wine, art and more.
May 29 - June 1 Africa Festival, Würzburg link also in English

Other things to do? 
It´s wine festival time! With so many wineries in the lower Franconian region there´s a festival every weekend. Check out the list (in English) here (in English). The area is about one hour from Nürnberg by train. 

Pick your own berries and currants, and even asparagus! click here or here for a few places in the Nürnberg area. Check the individual websites for more information. 

Kerwa (or Kirchweih) season is here! Click here for a list of local festivals. Wondering what a Kerwa is? See our previous post

Explore our area´s many bike paths! (For a Nürnberg map of bike paths, click here) For other cities, start with a google search of your city´s name and Fahrradweg). Maps are available in most book stores for under €5. 

Beer kellers and gardens that closed for the season begin to re-open! Try Forchheim´s famous Kellerwald (click here for map and description in German). It´s little less than 30 minutes train ride from Nberg Hbf and then a bit of a walk. 

Find a local Beer Keller here! 

Check out the "Activities for Kids" page 

Visit a pool or sauna- Atlantis is in Herzo, Nürnberg has many to choose from (link in    German), Bamberg has Bambados Can´t decide?  Schwimmbadcheck is an online review site for public pools, link is in English.

Local Produce

Produce availability in Germany is VERY seasonal. 

Want to know when to expect what (of locally grown produce)? Click here  This also includes information about when to plant what in this area of Germany.

The Bamberg area offers this website with information on where to find local eggs, fish, meat, milk and milk products, herbs, locally made beer, liquor, bread products....just about everything! 

Things to hoard stock up on now, as they are going away quickly!

Spargel (asparagus) (should be here until June) Find an asparagus farm, or festival here (link in German) 

Local things cropping up (pun intended) ;)

Iceberg lettuce
Kohlrabi  Here´s a soup recipe I use, (I add a little Bärlauch to it as well) 

What in the world is that?

Photo from
Rhubarb! See here for ways to use it. During rhubarb season you can also find fresh juice and (my favorite) rhubarb yogurts! Check your local Bio Markt. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Reading English Magazines in Germany

Thankfully, there are many options for reading English magazines in Germany.

The expensive way(s):

Most Bahnhof newsstands, airport newsstands, and larger bookstores will sell them. They are usually a few weeks late, and terribly expensive. I believe I paid €9,50 for an American Cosmopolitan. The UK versions are a bit cheaper. The selection is also limited.

Subscriptions: Also, expensive, and late.

The free way: Libraries! Many libraries carry some English magazines. Ours has Elle (UK), and Ladies Home Journal.

The middle ground- the electronic way(s):
In my opinion, the only way to go. There are several sites out there that allow you to read magazines electronically. Reading magazines online DOES take some getting used to, but it is fast, efficient, cost effective, and you can keep them electronically for virtually forever.

The two most comprehensive sites (that was able to find) are:

Zinio:  Large selection of international magazines in over 30 languages. Most English magazines are around $20USD per year, though there were some bargains when I searched (More and Fitness are both just $5USD per year as of today!).
Apps compatible with iOS, android, win 8; desktop readers and Kindle. Online reading with any Flash enabled browser. NOT compatible with Windows mobile, Blackberry, Sony Reader or Nook. Magazines can be downloaded and read offline (perfect for a long plane ride!)
Magazines can be kept forever.

Downside: This is just the paper version, so you are just turning pages. No bells and whistles here. Note also, be careful when ordering especially when using language: English as search criteria. Many other editions (Singapore for example) are in English- which is great, if that is what you are looking for.

Magzter:  Large selection of international magazines. You can view them on up to 5 devices with one login. Compatible with Apple products, Android, Kindle, Win 8, desktop browsers. Free app available on Google play, apple app store, amazon, samsung, and huawei app stores.

Preferred (by me) over Zinio because of click throughs to video, additional information (on some, but not all magazines). If you are not in a hurry, check out their "Deals" page and bundle offers. Some are more than 50% off the regular subscription price. Prices similar to Zinio (approx $20USD for a 12 month subscription to most magazines).

The Kindle way!: I love, love love my Kindle Fire. It´s also my preferred method of reading magazines. Note: some magazines do their subscriptions through apps, which MUST be downloaded in the US (unsure about UK, and other English speaking countries) to use it elsewhere, which is what I did. However, more are moving to their product page only, making this unnecessary.

Why is it my favorite? Large selection, an email when a new magazine arrives, you can keep them forever, the bookmark function makes it easy to start where you left off, loads of click throughs to video, additional information, etc. (most magazines). Magazines can be downloaded for offline reading.

Cost? Very similar to the others. Again, look for specials. I got Health and Fitness (US Editions) for $8USD together. What is different is that many publishers allow access to the Kindle version for free for paper subscribers. So I ordered a few magazines to my parent´s house, and can access them here in Germany!

Downside: One must own a Kindle, also, the magazines are not available on other devices. The way you read the magazine varies by magazine, which takes some getting used to. For example some require you to scroll down (like a web page) to view an entire article, others, you turn the page as if it was paper.

How do you read your magazines? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt! April 20

Photo source:Wikipedia
The Fränkisches Freiland Museum in Bad Windsheim has all sorts of Easter activities for families. In addition to Easter Egg coloring (April 17, 18 and 19), they also have an Easter Egg Hunt!

On April 20, over 1,000 eggs will be hidden on their grounds. The hunt starts at 9am and ends around 1pm.

The Fränkisches Freiland Museum is approximately one hour by car, and an hour to hour and a half by train. More information is available here. The museum itself takes approximately three hours to go through with children (source: their website) through the signed path through (shorter trips are of course possible)-

The old farm yard, herb pharmacy, and Museum Church tour take an additional 2 hours (again, may be made shorter by not taking the "official" tour.

Entry prices vary by age, and which part of the grounds you are interested in seeing. See here for information on tickets.  The museum is also open Easter Monday!

While there, check out Franken-Therme, the spa the town is well known for!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Franken vs. Bayern (Franconia vs. Bavaria)

You hear "Franken" all the time............the newspaper "The Fränkischer Tag", the Franconian International School, Fränkische Schweiz (link in English),  you see the red and white flags. But you don´t know what that means? Paßt sho or Bass´d scho  (Fränkisch for everything from, that´s okay! to great). It´s a bit confusing.
Photo credit: Wikipedia

 See, in this area, you are not just German, you are FRÄNKISCH. 
To simplify, and make a long, long story short just prior to 1803, the area was broken up like this. Each area governing themselves, by rule of Dukes, Bishops or Kings. 

In the time between 1803 and 1806 most of what we now know as Franconia was given to the Kingdom of  Bavaria. And they are still mad about it. The Frankisch Hymn is sometimes played before sporting events, not the Bavarian (Song and text here).  The Frankisch people take great pride in their culture and heritage, which is why while you will see the blue and white flags of Bavaria on official state or government buildings, you won´t see them too often in the private sphere at beer gardens, restaurants or festivals. That´s also why blue and white is a decorating color combination you don´t see often. In other areas of Bavaria, it´s almost all you see (especially Munich). 
Today, Bavaria looks like this. The Franconia areas in red.

The area is broken up into Upper Franconia/Ober Franken (capital: Bayreuth), Middle Franconia/Mittel Franken (Ansbach) and Lower Franconia/Unter Franken (Würzburg).

While it is all "Franken", each area has it´s own character, regional specialties and dialect (variation on Hoch Deutsch, or the high German we learn in school). There are many variations between the Fränkisch regions, but here is a general Fränkisch/German online dictionary. In spoken Fränkisch, you won´t hear a "t" sound, for instance, with the exception of "Senft" (mustard), which actually doesn´t have a "t" in it. Go figure.  The regional differences range from pronunciation (Main River pronounced Mai or Mee) to those you will never figure out on your own (like "Gimmer?" for Gehen wir jetzt? or Want to go now?). For those in the Bamberg area, which has it´s own specific dialect, I recommend this book which translates to both German and English.

This makes it very difficult for a new German speaker. But there´s a reason. Take a look at that map of the area, pre-Bavaria. Each area was self-governed, and also had their own dialect. The "Bavarian" dialect also has variations, although not as vast, as it was a Kingdom since around 550 AD, though with various borders. 
Fränkische Bratwurst 

Fränkisch food is an umbrella term for the food in the Franconian region. While it is similar to Bavarian food, you won´t find much of the Bavarian Weisswurst served here, or Weizenn (wheat) beer. Conversly, the Southern portions of Bavaria don´t serve much Pils beer.  Franken is known for pork dishes (esp. Schaüferla - pork shoulder), Franconian Bratwurst (made from pork shoulder) and Kloß (potato dumplings), as well as carp, but each region has it´s own specialties. 

Lower Franconia (largest city: Würzburg)

  • Wine Country! An easy way to tell if your wine is from Franconia is to look for the distinctive shape of the Bocksbeutel
  • Franconian Hagebutter or Rosehips Jam
  • Mainfranken Beer- This is registered with the EU as a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication- These are foodstuffs closely linked to a geographical location. They may not be produced elsewhere). 8 breweries currently produce it. 
  • Fränkischer Zweibelkuchen (Onion cake)
  • Meefischli (Würzburg) Fish from the Main
  • Fränkischer Obster - Franconian fruit brandy. Also registered as a PGI. This must be produced using Franconian apples and/or pears. It is so popular in the Unterfranken area that there are over 15,000!!!!! distilleries! 
  • Mainfränkische Meterbratwurst- which is, you guessed it, a meter long. 
Middle Franconia (largest city: Nürnberg)

  • Nürnberger Bratwurst - also registered as a PGI. These are made of pork (without tendons) and pork belly, seasoned with marjoram. Served three in a roll or "Drei im Weggla" (photosource: 
  • Fränkischer Sauerbraten
  • Nürnberg Lebkuchen (Gingerbread)
  • Nürnberg Christkindles Glühwein

Upper Franconia 
  • Beer country! Cities especially known for their beer include Bamberg and Hof. Franken Bierland is a great website for all things about beer in Franken. 
  • Bamberger - essentially a croissant
  • Rauch Bier - (smoked beer) from Bamberg
  • Hofbeer - from the city of Hof (another product registered as PGI with the EU). Only 5 breweries exist, making 16 different kinds of beer. 
  • Hofschlappen beer - again, from Hof, brewed only in June since 1430. 
  • Coburger Bratwurst - made from a minimum of 15% veal or beef, the only seasonings allowed are salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon zest. Typically grilled over pine cones. 
    Want to learn more about our regional specialities? Check out this website in English! 
Want to celebrate all things Franken? Come to Tag der Franken (Day of Franken) held annually in a different city every year. This year, on July 6, the celebration is in Ochenfurt.