Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Things To Do October 3, 2014 - Day of German Unity

The Day of German Unity (Tag der Deutschen Einheit) is a Federal holiday commemorating the day the GDR formally joined the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3, 1990. 

As a Federal holiday, all shops, schools, etc. are closed, and most people have the day off of work. The largest celebration is in Berlin, with a four day festival around the Brandenburg Gate. More on those events here (in English).  Stuttgart, Munich and Hannover have celebrations as well. 

Looking for something local to do? On this holiday, there are lots of local options! 

Many museums have special opening hours for the day (as well as many other holidays).               See Nürnberg´s here

Köfferfabrik in Fürth has a special holiday brunch (€13,90).

Nürnberg Stadtlauf (City Run) Adults 6k - Half Marathon Children 1,7 km

Visit Bamberg´s Antique Market. (45 minutes from Nürnberg)

Uffenheim has a Handwerkermarkt and their shops are open on this holiday! Uffenheim is         a little over an hour away from Nürnberg by train or car.

Kronach has a flea market, auto show, and more.........and their shops are open! About             1.5 hours from Nürnberg.

Head to Hassfurt for their Street Festival as well as holiday shopping! One hour from                 Nürnberg.

 Michaelis Kirchweih, Fürth

 Heywoood (Traditional Irish music), Rattelsdorf (€7 early/€8 at door)

Fall Weekend and Thanksgiving/Harvest Market, Rödelsee (1hr from Nürnberg)

October 2014 - Overview

Holidays (Federal or Bavaria specific) and Important Dates      
October 3 - Day of German Unity
October 26 - Turn your clocks back  
October 27 - 31 (School) Fall Vacation

Events (by no means a complete list)

October 13 Lecture "The Simpsons and American Society" in               English. (Part of Herzo Cultural Days)
Through November 23 Herzo Cultural Days
October 2 - 12 Circus Voyage Two different shows, one underwater! Tickets from €14 for Adults,€10 children. 2.5 hour show 
October 4 - Flea Market Bohlenplatz
October 16 Matthew James White tickets €5
October 19 Open Sunday! 
October 19 Antique and Flea Market, Bohlenplatz


Every Thursday, City Marketing Nürnberg publishes weekend tips! 
September 18 - October 5 Fall Market Hauptmarkt
September 26 - November 16 Little Shop of Horrors (theater) 
October 3 Nürnberg Stadtlauf (City Run) Adults 6k - Half Marathon Children 1,7 km
October 4 Africa Night
October 8 Daughtry - Tickets from €28
October 11- 12 Fall Ceramic Market, Hauptmarkt 
October 11 (also 10/25 and 11/15) GPS Scavenger Hunt. €29,99
October 12 The Kilkennys Tickets from €21,90
October 12 (also 10/26, 11/15) Krimispiel They create a "crime" you and your                            friends/family play detective and try to solve it! Tickets €45, children under 10 free. 
October 17 - 26 Nürnberg Fish Days - The festival takes place at Jakobsplatz
October 25- November 2 - Consumenta Bavaria´s largest consumer fair includes both                 information and items for sale. Fashion shows, home goods, cooking/kitchen, health         information and services, activities for kids. Over 1,000 exhibitors. Tickets from               €7,50
October 31 One Republic Tickets from €43

October 3 - Antique Market, Bamberg Over 450 merchants
October 3 - 15 Michaelis Kirchweih, Fürth
October 3 - Heywoood (Traditional Irish music), Rattelsdorf (€7 early/€8 at door)
October 3- 5 Fall Weekend and Thanksgiving/Harvest Market, Rödelsee (1hr from Nürnberg)
October 4 - 19 Hiking Weeks (Wanderwochen), Eichstatt Group hikes of varying length and        level of difficulty. 
October 4 -5 Thanksgiving/Harvest (Erntedank) and Pumpkin Festival, Muggendorf Ends            with fireworks Sunday night
October 5 - Pumpkinfest and Pumpkin night, Altendorf The area´s largest pumpkin fest
October 5 - Jahrmarkt and open Sunday, Forchheim
October 5 - Open Sunday Bayreuth, Coburg, Fürth
October 12 - Apple Market, Priesendorf includes children´s activities
October 12 - Open Sunday, Bamberg
October 12 - Thanksgiving (Erntedank) Parade, Fürth and Open Sunday
October 12 - Fürther Kärwalauf (Kerwa Run) 7,5 km and Open Sunday
October 15- James Blunt, Bamberg Tickets available from €39,75 
October 17 - 26 The Big Circus Festival, Regensburg Tickets from €10
October 19 - Apple Market, Fürth (everything apple!) Stadtpark 
October 24 - Pumpkin mile and Pumpkin market, Hersbruck (20 mins from Nürnberg)
October 25 - Oktoberfest at Gieselwind
October 25 - Pumpkin Festival, Bamberg 
October 26 - Open Sunday, Würzburg

Other things to do? 

Take a hike! Link to VGN hiking information site here (English). Combine hiking and beer with the 5 Seidla Tour (English). Hiking trails in and around Herzo here. Nature parks in the region may be found here (link in German, click on interaktiven Karte for the map). 

Head to the Frankischer Schweiz (link in English) for breweries, hiking, castles, rock climbing, canoeing and more. An interactive map of hiking trails in the Frankischer Schweiz can be found here

Take the historic train (link in English) from Forcheim to the Frankischer Schweiz (operates until October 26). Especially fun for children! 

It´s  still 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.

Kerwa (or Kirchweih) season is not over yet! Click here for a list of local festivals. Wondering what a Kerwa is? See our previous post

It´s Bockbier Anstich time! That time of year that the Bockbier kegs are tapped. Find a list of local Anstichen (the celebration the day the first keg is tapped) here

Take your own wine walk in Nürnberg (link in German, map on right hand side of page).

Sign up for a class at the Volkshochschule (page includes links to the VHS in the HENhaus area).

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. 

Head out to a local soccer game. Tip: For those with children with short attention spans, some clubs offer free admission for the second half.

Mundraub allows you to search your area for wild fruits/veggies/nuts. Take the kids and pick your own wild apples or pears. (link in German) 

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.


Produce availability in Germany is VERY seasonal. Want fresh asparagus right now? Not likely.
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.

Things cropping up (pun intended) ;)

Pumpkin (Hokkaido)   
Butternut (and other) squash                                     
Field lettuce
Local apples          
Local pears         

Things to stock up on as they will go away soon! 
Local cucumbers
Local plums
Local zucchini
Local tomatoes

What in the world is that?

Photo: sparkchaser.org 

Federweißer, or new/young wine. A seasonal alcoholic (4%) drink typically served with Zwiebelkuchen (onion cake) or chestnuts. You can read more about it here or here.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Volkshochschule (VHS)

It´s time for the new VHS semester to begin!

Most cities (and larger towns) have a Volkshochschule (VHS). The VHS serves as a community school for continuing education, and offers classes in a wide variety of things. Courses in cooking, fitness, computer related topics, career related , art, psychology, language, crafts, organization, and even day trips may be offered. The school is partially funded by the government, so the prices can´t be beat...............that said, they fill up quickly!!!

A major reason expats go to the VHS is the low cost German language courses. The VHS in your area may offer  German classes, or the Integration Course required for some here on visas. See below for links to HENhaus area German classes offered this semester.

Of course, most of the classes offered at the VHS are in German. However, VHS Erlangen has an International Club. They offer a FREE (with registration)  English/German discussion group, want to just practise your German? You can do that for free with them as well! Learning German and love art? Visit the Erlanger Kunstpalais and learn all about it at a beginner German level (cost €2).

The International Club at the Erlangen VHS offers a book club, English language movie screenings, information sessions about working in Germany, and so much more! They also offer films and get togethers in languages other than English. Check out their Fall program brochure (pdf) here.

Need only a German language test? Here is a search engine provided by the VHS for all of the German language test dates offered in association with them in Germany. If you need to take for example, the B1 language test and have no need for classes, it´s a great place to start. This lists both telc and Goethe, online tests, and VHS appointments.

Links to the German courses at various VHS in the area:

Herzo (also see link within to Weisendorf, Heßdorf, Großenseebach) NOTE: No German courses available as of this semester.
Bildungszentrum Nordbayern Nürnberg  see here for information about FREE childcare for course            takers Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm  Click here for current (Fall 2014) German courses A1-C2              levels available.
VHS Erlangen

On the same topic, and for more about why you should consider taking a VHS class read this blog post..............though she writes specifically about Munich, it was enough to inspire me! :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mushroom Season!

It´s Pilz (mushroom) season in Germany!

Did you know Germans eat more mushrooms than any other nation in Europe? About 2.9 kilos (6.4 lbs) per person per year. Source

With all of the local varieties available, it´s no wonder.

Many local restaurants will have special Pilz Karte (Mushroom Menus).
Like this one featuring Pfifferling (Chanterelles in English). Schiesshaus in Nürnberg has an awesome reputation for their seasonal menus, to include mushroom season!

Want to make your own? Head to your local farmer´s market! I went last week, and here´s what I found. 

Champignon (also called button mushrooms): Available, although 
not local, year round. Add to pasta, saute, top your pizza, they make cute hor d'oeuvres when stuffed. 
Steinpilz, cep, or porcini mushrooms: I am personally more used to seeing them dried. These are sliced in half, but are white on the outside, with a brown cap. Found in forests with spruce and beech trees, they have a nutty taste to them. Here are a bunch of recipes from the BBC. Their texture lends well to marinating. 

Maronen, or Chestnut mushrooms: The same, essentially as champignons, but this is a strain that grows browner and has a stronger taste. These, when allowed to grow, will become portobello mushrooms. Try them with garlic and parsley on toast
Pfifferling, or Chanterelle mushrooms: These are highly prized due to their short growing season (first rain of Fall to the first frost of Winter), and that they may be harder to find, as they sometimes nest deep in moss. Found in forests with spruce and/or pine trees, they are rather common in this area in season. These are best eaten cooked, raw chanterelles may irritate sensitive stomachs. Their taste pairs well with cream, and can be added to a pasta or meat with cream sauce, or in a cream of mushroom soup
Rotkappen, or Red Cap mushrooms: Found attached to birch trees. or in between blue berries, this mushroom is also rather versatile. When cooked, it turns a (harmless) black color. Featured in many Russian recipes. 
Krauce Glucke, called cauliflower mushroom or sparissis in English, is the most interesting (to look at anyway). Found near Douglas Fir and Pine trees, also rather common in Bavaria. Here is more information on how to find, and cook with them. Here are several recipes. 

A note on foraging for your own mushrooms: Please be VERY careful when doing so. There are over 60 poisonous varieties in the area, some of which closely resemble edible mushrooms. Also, be aware that picking mushrooms is prohibited by law in Naturschutzgebiete (protected nature areas), public parks, and fenced in forests, and areas where trees may be cut down (source: Frankischer Tag). It may also be prohibited in other areas.

Below is a chart of what local varieties are available when. Click on the links to find out more (in German) about each variety.
Milder Kiefernzapfenrüblingxx
Violetter Rötelritterlingxx
Source: http://www.t-online.de/ratgeber/freizeit/umwelt-natur/id_48747376/pilzsaison-2014-in-welchem-monat-sie-welche-pilze-sammeln-koennen.html