Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recent Food Sightings

Aldi: Aldi now carries hummus!!! I have seen 3 flavors: natural, spicy, and pumpkin. I´ve onlyhad the natural, I thought it was very good, but should have been labeled lemon flavor. €1,39 for 200g (December 2014)

English bacon €,99 for 90g. Thanks to HENhaus member Theresa E. for the find!

Crazy Donuts (Nürnberg location): Twinkies!!!! Barq´s Root Beer, Hawaiian Punch (cans), cherry vanilla and regular Dr. Pepper.

Edeka:  Okra (canned/jarred vegetable section. Spotted in a larger Edeka €2,99 for 660 grams

Karstadt: (Nürnberg) Clotted cream (refrigerated section next to butter). Thanks Bob B. and Becky H. for the find!

Nürnberg Christkindlmarkt: (Sister City Markt) Blow Pops (cherry and grape), Hershey´s bars (regular flavor- sold out when I went), Hershey´s Mint Chocolate candy canes (€10 a box of 12).

Rewe Getränkemarkt (Bamberg)

Rewe Drink Market
There is a  new stand in the Rewe Getränkemarkt on Pödeldorfer Strasse in Bamberg (Thanks to my husband for discovering!). While Kraft macaroni and cheese, poptarts and some other items offered here can be found elsewhere, there are many items that are harder to find. Captain Crunch Crunchberry, Lucky Charms and Fruity Pebbles all around the €7 mark. The assortment of Hershey´s bars is incredible. Regular, almond, cookies and cream all for €1,29. Reese´s Peanut Butter cups and Almond Joy as well.

American sodas such as Welch´s grape and assorted Fanta varieties as well. They claim to be the only place selling Kool Aid.

This Rewe location is about a 3-4 minute walk from the Bamberg Bahnhof.

Substop (Hassfurt, Hirschaid, Hallstadt, Bamberg):  Cool Ranch Doritos and Lay´s Sour Cream and Onion chips! Arizona iced teas, macaroni and cheese, other rotating stock of snack items.

Have you made any recent food from home finds? Tell us in comments!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Over the Counter Medications in Germany

OTC medications are often NOT actually over the counter, they are behind the counter, so you must ask at the Apotheke for them. This may, or may not be followed by questions from the pharmacist about your condition. It´s been my experience that it is better to follow their (highly educated about German medications) recommendations rather than insist on something. OTC medications do not require a prescription. 

Note: Green means plant based or homeopathic. 

Here is a list of recommended OTC medications in Germany: 

General Pain Relief: 
Paracetamol = Tylenol
Aspirin = Aspirin for the (Bayer) brand name product. For generic aspirin, ask for ASS or Acetylsalicylsäure. 
Ibuprofen  = Ibuprofen (US Advil, etc.)
**Note: for coated capsules (enteric coating) ask for Magensaftresistent.

Sore Throat:
Ipalat = recommended throat losenges
Dorithricin = recommended throat losenges
Wicks - same as US brand Vicks

Muscle Pain:
Voltaren Gel 
Thermacare warm packs (stick on)

Oralpadon = Electrolyte drink to be mixed with water

Vomacur (for motion sickness as well as stomach flu) 

Sleeping Pills: 
Haggar Nacht

Stuffy Nose:
Weleda Schnupfen Cream - to be applied IN your nose. It makes your nose run for the first few minutes and then you are good to go! Great before bedtime with a cold.
**see Cold Symptoms

Aspecton Hustentropfen - Thyme extract for coughs, mix a few drops in water

Cold Symptoms: 
Rhinopront = close to Sudafed (US)
Aspirin Complex = aspirin plus pseudoephedrin 
Wick Day Med - acetaminophen, phenylpropanolamine (non drowsy decongestant) und dextromethorphan (cough suppressant).
Wick MediNait - acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, ephedrine (sinus congestion relief), doxylamine (makes you sleepy)

Sinupret - homeopathic for cough/mucous/sinus/cold symptoms

Zytrec = Zyrtec (US)
Diphenhydramine = Benadryl (US)
Vividrin = remedy for Hay Fever, available in tablets, nose spray and eye drops

Rash/Skin Problems:
 Hydrocort = Hydrocortisone cream.  Only available .5% OTC here, in the US 1%.

Tyrosur Gel = Antibiotic creme
Hydrogenperoxide = Same, but the pharmacist must mix it for you. The most common (US) percentage is 3% for cuts, scrapes, oral hygiene.

Especially for Children: 

Nurofen = fever/bad flu 
Sinupret (fluid) for flu/cough release
Prospan syrup = for heavy dury cough/mucous congestion

Need to find an open Apotheke on a Sunday, holiday, or evening? Enter your zip code here to find an open Apotheke near you today. 
Alternatively, your local weekend newspaper will have a list, or check the door of your local (closed Apotheke. They take turns providing after hours services.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December 2014 - Overview

Holidays (Federal or Bavaria specific) and Important Dates      
December 25, 26 Christmas (note: stores will be closed after mid afternoon December 24)
December 31 New Year´s Eve (stores will be closed early)
See here for last year´s post on New Year´s Eve (Silvester) traditions in Germany. 

School holidays December 24 - January 6, 2015

Events (by no means a complete list)


December 1 - 19 Children´s Christmas Huts- arts and crafts from 2-5pm
December 1-24 Living Advent Calendar- the door is opened at 5pm and followed by music
December 4-7 Christmas Market
December 14 - Christmas Concert
December 18 - Herzo in a Nutshell - English guided tour €2


Through December 26 Erlangen on Ice, Erlangen´s free ice skating rink opens Schlossplatz
Through December 24 Forest Christmas Market, Schlossplatz
Through December 24 Historic or Middle AgesChristmas Market 
Until January 5 - Model train exhibit- Erlangen Arcaden
December 5 - 24 Christmas Tree Market, Schlossplatz
December 13 - Light Show, to celebrate the Year of Lights and Light Based Technology, Pedestrian Zone
December 13- Day trip (with English speaking tourguide!) to Dinkelsbühl and Bad Windsheim Christmas markets. €25 
December 15 - Gregory Porter (Jazz from the US), tickets from €39
December 21 - Swanlake


Every Thursday, City Marketing Nürnberg publishes weekend tips! 
Through December 21- Take a Glühwein tour of the city on an old fashioned street car €16
Through December 23- Special at the Planetarium - The Three Christmas Stars 
Through December 24 Christkindlesmarkt!
Through December 24 (weekends only!) Living Nativity Scenes, Nürnberg Zoo 
Through March 2015- Segway Indoor Parcourse - Kickfabrik Friday, Saturday, Sunday (link in German, upper right for translation tool)
December 4-14 Fine Arts and Crafts Market at the Stadtmuseum Fembohaus
December 7 - Open Sunday Altstadt
December 7 - Latin Bazaar- books, cds, etc. in Spanish and Portugese, also crafts, wine, and more! 
December 9 - Bryan Ferry tickets from €55
December 9 - UB40 tickets €41,90
Through December 10 - Citizen Four (film) €6,50
December 13-14 Winterkiosk - Alternative Christmas Market- organic, free trade, etc. items
December 18-21 Holiday on Ice Tickets from €29,90 adult
December 22 - The Nutcracker (ballet) tickets from €20,30

Click here for a previous post about the area´s Christmas Markets, and what makes each special. 
Through December 23 Christmas Market, Fürth (also has a Middle Ages Market)
Through January 6 Bamberg´s 39 Nativity Scenes are up! Walking map of the Nativity Trail here. More info at the tourist center.
Through January 6 Nativity Museum Hirschaid, nativity scenes from around the world Free
December 4 - Bryan Adams, Stuttgart tickets from €69
December 5 - New Orleans Jazz, Hassfurt,tickets €10
December 5 - Danceperados of Ireland (Irish music and dance), Bamberg
December 6 - Adventsmarkt, Frankische Schweiz Museum, Pottenstein
December 6 - Bryan Ferry, Stuttgart, tickets from €47,35
December 6 - Niklauslauf, Forcheim- Up to 5k run (also children and baby runs)
December 6 - Shopping Night, Bamberg- stores open until midnight! 
December 10 - Swan Lake, performed by the Russian National Ballet Theater. Crailsheim tickets from €35,90 
December 13- Day trip (with English speaking tourguide!) to Dinkelsbühl and Bad Windsheim Christmas markets. €25 Bus leaves from Erlangen
December 26- Light my Fire, Doors tribute concert, Hassfurt, tickets €10

Other things to do? 

From September - April 2015 go ice skating at Nürnberg Arena!

Click here for a list of tours in the area in English, many are indoors (museums). 

Visit the Nürnberg Planetarium

Take a day ski trip! Loads of companies organize them. Wöhrl, Jochen Schweizer, Snowstars, Intersport (ask at the store for brochures) for example. 

Take a salsa class.

Wednesdays and Thursday evenings, go to the public ceramic workshop in Nürnberg, just €2 per evening! 

Go (indoor) rockclimbing. Kids just €2,50.  

Kick-Fabrik - Nürnberg indoor soccer and mini-golf

Rock cut beer celler tours (Nürnberg) every Sunday 11:30am in English. €5 

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

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).

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) ;)
Clementines- though not local, of course, this is the time they arrive in stores! 

Things to stock up on as they will go away soon! 
Red cabbage

Also: Glühwein, Eierliquor, Lebkuchen, Stollen :) 

What in the world is that?

Zieräpfel. Edible, though sour. Mostly used for decoration

Barbara Day - December 4

December 4 is the Feast of Saint Barbara, or Barbara Tag. According to legend (though they vary), Barbara grew up in what is now Turkey. Her father, Dioscorus, a wealthy merchant, would lock Barbara up in a tower when he was  away in order to preserve her virginity. One day he came home to find three windows in the tower, instead of two. He asked her what happened, and she confessed that she had converted to Christianity, and been baptized by a Priest who had disguised himself as a doctor. The third window was added as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.  This infuriated her father, and as it was done against his will, she was accused, brought before a judge, and sentenced to beheading. Her father, legend has it, was struck dead by lightening on the very same day. 

Legend has it that a branch of a cherry tree got caught in Barbara´s dress. She watered it daily in her tower cell, and on the day of her execution (in 306) it bloomed. 

On Barbara Tag, many people purchase a Barbara Zweig, or Barbara Branch of a cherry tree. If you put it in water on December 4, it is said to bloom on Christmas, bringing good luck. 

Though the Catholic Church deemed Saint Barbara a non-historical person, and removed her feast day from the official Church calendar in 1969, many people in Catholic regions of Germany still celebrated the tradition. 


Advent refers to the time leading up to Christmas, and is the time for preparing for the holiday, baking cookies, eating Lebkuchen and Stollen. It´s also Christmas Market time! See here for a list of Christmas Markets in the HENhaus area.

One tradition involves the Adventkalendar. Advent Calendars come in various shapes and forms, but the idea is that one counts down the 24 days until Christmas (December 1-24). The more traditional are boxes, with a piece of chocolate or candy behind 24 doors.
Photo: Karstadt online
The largest door is always the 24th. 
There are Advent Calendars for everyone, Some have toys behind the doors, others have liquor oe beer! I´ve seen Nivea and La Roche skin care calendars, and even "adult" calendars as well. Really, anything goes! 
 If you can´t find the one you want, there are also some you fill yourself. Karstadt has an amazing selection. 

While many German Christmas traditions are hundreds, if not thousands of years old, this one is rather new. Though stories differ, one originates in Maulbronn, Germany. The mother of a young Gerhard Lang grew tired of him asking when Christmas was coming, and created the first Advent Calendar by sticking candies (or cookies or chocolates depending on the story) on a piece of cardboard so that he could visualize (and eat!) the countdown. When Gerhard grew up, he was the owner of a printing company, and created the first Advent Calendar as we know it, with little doors to open in Munich around 1904. It was known as the Munich Christmas Calendar. It did not contain chocolate, rather, Bible verses and pictures related to the Holiday. During the War, production was stopped, due to the rationing of cardboard. In 1946, a man named Richard Sellmar brought the calendars back, but it wasn´t until the 1950´s that the calendars contained chocolate.

Another Advent tradition is the Adventskranz, or Advent Wreath.
Photo: Wikipedia
The wreath contains four red or violet candles to symbolize the four weeks of Advent. Sometimes a Christ Candle is placed in the middle. Beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, a candle is lit. Families gather around the wreath and may read Bible passages, pray together or sing songs.

A popular song to be sung around the wreath can be found here.