Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 2015 - Overview

Holidays (Federal or Bavaria specific) and Important Dates   
Photo: R.Hess geo-select FotoArt
School holidays March 28-April 12
April 2- Holy or Maudy Thursday - Stilletag
April 3 - Good Friday- Stilletag SHOPS CLOSED
April 4-  Easter Saturday
April 5 - Easter Sunday
April 6 - Easter Monday SHOPS CLOSED

What to do when everything is closed? Click here for many Nürnberg museums and their special hours for holidays (see Sonderöffnunfzeiten an Feiertagen). NOTE: Even though they still say 2014, the dates are for 2015


More on Easter traditions here 


Events (by no means a complete list)

Herzo
April 2 - Herzo in a Nutshell, English guided tour €2
April 24 - Run for Kaya! and Earth Day celebration
April 25 Spring Flea Market
April 26 - Eco-Fest new this year- Beer!!!
Erlangen
April 1 Easter Crafts 10a- 12p Walderlebniszentrum €3 per child 8+
April 2 Easter Egg Hunt (with scooters!) through the woods, Walderlebniszentrum €4 per child
April 4 Flea Market, Bohlenplatz
April 17 - 19 Erlangen Beer Spring, Kitzmann Brewery events through the weekend, vote for the Beer King to be throned on Sunday. 
April 24  Irish Evening, Strohalm
April 26 Open Sunday!

Nürnberg 
Every Thursday, City Marketing Nürnberg publishes weekend tips! 
March 20 - April 6 Easter Market
March 20 - April 2 - Waveboard Class (for children)
April 4 - Night of Sports, Sportzentrum - rock climbing, badminton and more €12 from 8pm
April 4 - 19 Spring Volksfest 
April 11 - 6th Food Truck Roundup, Nürnberg Messe
More info (including daily locations) on local food trucks here

Other
March 26 - April 19 Easter Fountain time! See here for PDF of Frankischer Schweiz dates
April 2 - 4 16th Annual Short Film Festival, Schweinfurt tickets from €7
April 4 - 13 Flamenco Festival, Würzburg
April 3- 6 Celebrate Easter weekend with the Easter bunny, Krummweiher (approx. 1 hr from Nürnberg)
April 4 - 12 Passion Play, Zschorlau tickets €15 - 20 
April 6 Easter Egg Hunt, Sun Valley, Trebgast 
April 16 - Robert Cray, Munich tickets from €41
April 17 - Simon and Garfunkel tribute, Bamberg tickets from €16 
April 18 - 19 Fränkisch Food Festival, Weißenburg tickets €4 (approx. 45 mins from Nürnberg)
April 25 - Bicycle fair, Bamberg Maxplatz
April 25 - 26 Natural Healing Days, Fürth 
April 29 Lynrd Skynrd, Ludwigsburg tickets from €59,90
It´s Bärlauch season!!! 

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


Find a local Beer Keller here! 


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.  


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


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


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


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

   
Celebrate all things asparagus at an asparagus festival!

From April - October, take a tasting tour (in German) of Erlangen €25 


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. 

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. 


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









Thursday, March 26, 2015

Travel by Train in the HENhaus Area

I, personally, find train tickets here confusing, and more so with the changes to the VGN service area in 2015. Here are the basics of train travel in between cities/towns in the area (and my most frequently bought tickets). Links to monthly passes, etc. can be found on the DB and VGN websites.

Prices are valid as of March 2015.

VGN
Photo:vgn.de


VGN (link in English) is the greater Nürnberg area transportation system. This includes local buses, trains, subways. The area (shown here) is quite large and includes Bamberg, Bayreuth, Ansbach and many other cities as well as Nürnberg, Erlangen, Herzo, Fürth, etc.

Traveling for the day?

While you can obviously purchase a round trip ticket to whatever your destination is- if within the VGN area you might get a better deal purchasing a "Tages Ticket Plus". The Tages Ticket Plus (at full cost €18) allows you (and up to 6 people- max. 2 adults, or bikes instead of people, plus one dog) to travel the ENTIRE VGN area all day until the last bus/train or 3am on all REGIONAL transportation. Regional transportation includes RE and S trains, Ubahns, local buses, trams/streetcars. NOTE this does NOT cover high speed (IC or ICE) trains, and is only valid for 2nd class.

The Tages Ticket Plus is also available for shorter distances (which costs less). Please see here for costs (note the "check your price level") link. It is also available as a "solo" option for those traveling alone.

TIP: In 2015 it appears they have made it harder to purchase these tickets. Rather than finding them at the machine under Tages Ticket Plus (which will only give you the "full" €18 option, select your destination and then select Tages Ticket Plus)

TIP: If you buy the ticket for Saturday travel, it is also good for Sunday. That means a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 children) can travel the entire VGN area the entire weekend for €18.

TIP: This ticket (or the 10 strip ticket with the same price) allow you all kinds of discounts at local attractions, museums, etc. Please see here (in German) for all participating venues. Discounts are around the €1 or 10% range.

- Late night plans in Erlangen/Fürth/Nürnberg vicinity???? Between 1am and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights (as well as the nights before public holidays) the Night Liner buses are available. Extra services to insure your safety at that time of night include stops in between stops when requested, and the bus driver will even call a taxi for you to pick you up at a stop and bring you to your door. More information on this in English here. Nightliner tickets are included on your VGN all day ticket.

- You are able to purchase tickets, see timetables, etc. through one of VGN´s various apps.

DB           
Photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/
wiki/File:Deutsche_Bahn_AG-Logo.svg

Deutsche Bahn runs trains all over Germany.

- All Federal Lands have their own special land-wide tickets. In the HENhaus area, it´s the Bayern ticket. Tickets are €23 for one person and an additional €5 each for up to 4 additional persons (total 5 people on one ticket). With this ticket you can travel all around Bavaria, and even to Salzburg, Austria from 9am - 3am in one day. This ticket includes all regional trains, U-Bahn, trams, and local buses.

- If you are traveling within 50km, you can choose the Franken Hopper ticket. For €10 you can travel back and forth to your destination (from 9am to 3am the next morning). See here for the eligible train lines. Information on the DB site is only in German, see here.

- Traveling around Germany with a group this weekend? The Schönes Wochenende Ticket from Deutsche Bahn allows up to 5 people (first at €40 next four at €4 each. max total €56) to travel all over Germany and even bordering areas of Poland (on regional trains, again, NOT IC/ICE) for the entire weekend. See link for terms. During the week, try the Quer Durschs Land ticket. More day tickets from DB here.

- DB also has several apps which are useful, and sometimes tickets purchased in-app come at a discount.

TIP: If you get your ticket at the ticket counter (via an actual employee, rather than a computer or machine) you will be charged an additional €2.

TIP: DB employees are not able to advise on VGN products. Sometimes they will sell you a €23 Bayern Ticket when an €18 VGN ticket would have worked.


2015 changes I have noticed:

- VGN increased their coverage zone. Destinations such as Burgkunstadt that used to be eligible for a Franken Hopper ticket (DB product) now are served by VGN and therefore a Tages Ticket Plus must be purchased.

- Agilis has increased coverage. When traveling between Erlangen and Bamberg for example, there are now some trains that stop in Forchheim and one must change trains.

***Have you noticed any other changes to local train travel for 2015?? Have any other tips??? Leave a comment below!***

Not sure what the difference between an RE and an S.Bahn is? Check here for a glossary of German train related terms from the German Way.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Choosing Potatoes in Germany

It wasn´t until I read this article on A Sausage Has Two (formerly Eating Wiesbaden) that I understood why my baked potatoes never came out right! If you are at all interested in seasonal eating and German recipes, it´s a fantastic blog. For more on the subject, she also has a rather comprehensive list of other blogs/websites that focus on food in Germany. 

Photo: www.potatoes.com
The following is reposted with permission from the author.    

A little while ago, I was asked for a recommendation for a good roasting potato; and then again, just this week, for advice on what sort of spud to use for soups and mash.  These may seem like daft questions to those of you in the "just buy a bag of potatoes and use them for everything" camp, but if you like your roasties fluffy and light and your mash whipped into peaks, picking the right potato is actually a very important task to complete.

There are are hundreds of different potato varieties in Germany, each offering their own individual combination of texture, flavour and cooking characteristics, so choosing the right one for the job can really make all the difference to your meal.  Luckily, potatoes can be broadly generalised into types, which means that despite there being so many different varieties to choose from, if you know what you want them for, you've got a good chance of ending up with the right sort.  Unfortunately, the way potatoes are classified differs around the globe: in the US, for example, it seems to be done by colour - russet, white, yellow, and so on - and in the UK they're categorised by how waxy they are.

In Germany, potatoes are classified in two ways.  Firstly, they can be grouped by when they're harvested: very early, early, medium-early, medium-late or late (specific, I know, but remember where we are).  Potatoes are available all year round, but those planted in winter and harvested early, in spring and early summer, are known as early potatoes (new potatoes) and can only be bought from around April to July.  Early potatoes have very thin skins and hold their shape well when cooked and cut, which makes them perfect for boiling or making salads.

Potatoes in Germany are also classified in terms of their cooking characteristics; whether they're floury and dry or waxy and firm or somewhere in between.  Floury spuds disintegrate when boiled but are the perfect for baking; waxy potatoes make great gratins but a mediocre mash.   So, these characteristics are the most important thing to consider when buying potatoes, and happily, this is how they're grouped in Germany, very broadly, into the three categories below.  From farm shop to supermarket they're even labeled as such, so despite there being countless different sorts of potatoes in each category, the good news is that if you stick within the right group, you can't go too far wrong.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lieferando Delivery Service

It´s not exactly new, but new to me- Lieferando Delivery Service!

The website is also in English and contains a really comprehensive list of restaurants that will deliver in your area.

All relevant information is provided- hours of operation, minimum required for delivery (if applicable), delivery charge (if applicable), customer reviews, and the menus of course. You can even sort by type of cuisine, delivery charges and a host of other information.

If you are like me, when I am being lazy and feel like ordering in I rarely have enough cash on hand! Lieferando allows you to pay online using credit or EC card, PayPal, etc. with no additional fees.