Thursday, September 30, 2010

Germany: The Wrap-Up

It's been 2 weeks since we returned home from that most Wonderful Trip. Mr. Fritz and I are still living high off the memories and I think we will be for a very long time to come.
We are missing the renewed friendships with the all cousins very much.   Very, Very Much.    Angelika and Hans, Wilhelm and Anja,  Bernd-Elmar and Annette....Thank you so much! It's our turn to buy. Come soon!
This much I do know:
    I will not let another 30something years go in between Fritz and his cousin's Hat Parties

Friday, September 24, 2010

Germany Part 5: St. Bricticus

I Loved this Church long before I met it. In Fact it was the very first thing that I wanted to see when we arrived in the village of Schoppingen. I had heard many a story from My husband's Parents about the Church in their hometown. I wanted to see the the stream that flows through village from beneath the Altar. I wanted to enter the Church and walk down the aisle

to stand at the foot of that Altar

Where so many many of Fritz's and hence my children's, ancestors had celebrated some of life's significant moments. The place were they sought refuge during life's struggles.
    The Church was built in the 8th Century I believe. The earliest mention of the town dates to around
725AD or at least that's what I think I read in German on the plaque in the garden behind the building.

The name Schoppingen means "Sheep Region" in an early German language. How fitting. My dream is to own a piece of land, have a large garden and maybe, just maybe raise a few sheep to provide me with wool to support my knitting habit. If that dream ever becomes reality, I will use this image from the Doors of St. Bricticus as my garden gate.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Germany Part 4: A Little Dignity Please

So many of the Lovely Architectural and Garden Pictures I took were among those lost.
These are just a few of the survivors:

Germany Part 3: Beverages...Adult and Otherwise

The Germans LOVE their coffee...and Schnapps...and Beer!

At 4:00 every afternoon all of Deutschland seems to come to a's COFFEE TIME!!!! If one is out and about, finding a place in one of the numerous cafes to enjoy a machiato and some apple strudel is a must. If home, the table is set, the coffee is poured and a most delicious slice of Plum cake appears with a huge dollop of whipped cream. This scene was repeated every day while we were in Germany no matter where we were or who were were with. Now I like a little afternoon Pick-me-up too, but it usually involves stopping real quick at a counter and getting a cappuccino or cup of tea in a paper cup with a lid, heading out the door and continuing on with the busy day. (side note....I never have liked German cars because they don't have cup holders....I always wondered how they manage to hold their coffee with out making a mess on the way to work...or to run errands... or for that 4:00 caffeine need...) By Day 4, I too looked forward to (drum roll) COFFEE TIME!!! There is something so peaceful about taking a break in the day and just stopping to enjoy the moment. I vow never to pull up to a Starbucks drive-thru again!
   And what would a trip to Germany be without Beer??? I took a wonderful picture of my husband drinking his first Beer on German soil in over 30 years in the Lovely little town of Boppard on the Rhine River. We stayed there on our first night to get adjusted before beginning the family rounds. Most unfortunately that photo, along with so many others from those first few days where accidentally erased.
   Fortunately the cousins had the beer waiting:

The ladies often mixed their beer with sprite or coke....I couldn't quite go with that custom, but I did really like the peach beer!

No matter who's house we went to...especially the octogenarian Aunts and Uncles, The schnapps hit the table as soon as we sat down
At all the restaurants as well as homes,  were were served Schnapps following dinner to "settle our stomachs." Sometimes it took an entire bottle to do the trick.  I should not have any tummy issues for years to come.
A favorite of all our hosts was SaaseKorn. It is Brewed right in Schoppingen. The beverage was wonderful, but I really liked the Sasse house in the middle of town:


One particular night we indulged in a wee bit too much Sassekorn along with a very special bottle of Malt Whiskey brewed in the nearby town of Coesfeld that Hans had been saving. Any lingering Language barriers were completely washed away! And the rest of the story is for the pictures to tell:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Germany Part 2: the Food

We did not have the opportunity to experience  the Bavarian foods that so many associate with travels to Germany.  We spent most of our time in the north in a region called Munsterland. In this area of “water castles”  

 the food is distinctly tied to traditions of the lush farm land.  

Each day, no matter whose home we were staying in, started with a very big breakfast.
The core of the meal in each of our host cousin's homes was Brottchen (rolls) and Deli meats. 

The leftover meats and rolls where often used again for the late evening meal of soup and sandwiches served open faced.   My favorite was the Kernal Brottchen with Schinken (ham). YUM

One fine dinner was enjoyed at  the brewery Klutes.
The food here is all local and seasonal. We opted for the buffet, just to be able to try a bit of everything. 
We enjoyed Hocks, Blood Sausage, Kohlrabi, and the ever present bread complete with an animal fat spread instead of butter.  One of the best perks of traveling is the opportunity to try new foods and eat what the locals eat….I may not ever eat it again, but I am always willing to try! In this case, I would definitely go back.
On the Holidays, my Mother-in-Law Anna ALWAYS makes a dessert we all fondly call “Oma Pudding.”  It’s basically a vanilla pudding with hand shaved chocolate and a splash of rum in it. I had always thought it was something she had just made up one day long ago.  Much to my surprise “Handcreame” was on the menu at Klutes.  Knowing that the dish comes from her traditions growing up in Schoppingen brings a new and wonderful meaning to that delightful delicacy.  Annette and I just had to have some!

We had the Opportunity to visit the Baltic Seaside while staying in Hamburg with Wilhelm and Anja and daughters. The Seaside town of Travemunde
offered a chance to try some seafood. So Very, Very good! 
 We had another chance to try more feasts from the sea back in Schoppingen. There were several items in this platter that I had never had before including herring which has now become a favorite of mine! (BTW…this is what is called a “Light Meal”)

Coming up next:  The BEVERAGES!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Germany Part One: The People

  • The first order of Business as Empty Nesters was of course to Travel! For 30 years Mr. Fritz has wanted to take me to his hometown of Schoppingen, Germany. Duties of  raising 4 children quite naturally prevented that, but just 10 days after moving our Tommy into his dorm room, we boarded a plane bound for Frankfurt. Our travels took us to Boppard, Munster, Amsterdam, Hamburg and that Lovely little village of Schoppingen. We were welcomed by so many Aunts, Uncles and cousins, many of whom I had been fortunate enough to meet when they had visited America. I felt at home from the very start.

I came home tired but renewed. A profound sense of new friendships rests in my heart. A profound understanding of my husbands roots lives in me. And a profound sense that I must adjust my hurried American lifestyle and take time to simply be.

Much more to Follow....