Thursday, September 22, 2011

Potato Dumplings

Back of dumpling box showing a German potato farmer
The circle says the potatoes used are 100% German.

Last night I made potato dumplins for supper. They came in a box and they looked like little bean bag chairs in miniature!  You cook them in boiling, salted water for 15 minutes then run them under cold water and cut the bags open to serve them.  They came in different flavors but I used the plain. I've made dumplings at home in Tennessee from scratch and they were pretty time consuming to prepare. These were easy and tasted great!  In a large skillet, I fried some brats and added a package of red cabbage with apples when they were done. It was fast and delicious. All was put on a plate with mustard from a tube (that looks like a tube of toothpaste to me...) and that was our meal.
Mustard in a tube!
Most kitchens here have glass induction cooktops.  It is very different to use these from the electric eyes or gas burners I've used at home. When something boils over, you have to take a single edge razor blade and scrape the glass surface afterwards.  You'd think this would scratch the dickens out of it, but it comes out pretty and smooth. Then there is glass polish you can put on...this is suppose to add a protective layer to make it easier to clean the next time. Taking care of the equipment and appliances in a German home has been something I've had to learn. Many things are very different.
Soon I'll post about about doing laundry!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bughausen Beer Festival - Herbstfest

Festival Menu
With lots of Bavarian favorites

Here are potato dumplings, fries, pork and such ordered by our friends.

This is what I ordered...It was brats with saurkraut and bread.

We went early and saw the tents as the people were just beginning to arrive. The sound and lighting people were setting up the stage for the performers.

Cerulean blue and white are the colors of Bavaria.

The band played favorites like John Denver's "County Roads", American disco hits and some of Abba's greatest hits. I was expecting an oompa band but no polkas were heard that night by our group. Many people in attendance were in traditional drindls and lederhosen and that was nice to see.
Outside there was a carnival with rides and games.  There was a tilt-a-whirl, bumper cars and a large wading pool where you could get inside a blow-up bubble and "walk" on water. Fun!

Breakfast in Altotting

I was invited to a breakfast gathering of English speaking people in the town of Altotting, Germany.  Here's my view while I sipped my coffee at the bakery where I picked up a dozen fresh pretzels to bring. The little family owned place was right in the middle of town near the main plaza with all the churches and city buildings. There were 2-3 schools nearby and I watched the kids as they changed classes.  You can see them in the background of this picture. One school is a music school and many students carried their instruments as they went.

After having my coffee, pretzels, bicycle and I went to a beautiful home on the other side of the plaza. This is a snap or two of the beautiful garden.  It was raining a bit, so we ate inside. The home owner is a woman from Maine that has made her home in Germany many years.  She seems to enjoy "adopting" strays like me. The other day, she even let me tag along to the grocery store with her to help me figure out what I was buying!
She is a warm & welcoming hostess and has a facinating home that once was a blacksmith shop. Her husband's grandfather was the last blacksmith there. In German homes it is polite to take your shoes off at the door...especially in the winter so as not the track in snow and muck. The first time I visited her, I didn't know this...but she never said a word about it! At least it wasn't raining or snowing that day.

Riding to Work in the Rain

Billy rides to work on his bike in Burhausen no matter what the weather.  He has a rain suit that makes him look like a Druid. It's been raining here for a couple of days...yuck. It's a bit cold too. We are wondering what its going to be like in January. We live a bit away from town though we were originally assigned an apartment downtown near the restaurants and markets. After this spell of rain, I'm wordering how nice it would be to be able to just go downstairs, walk a block or less and sit at a cafe for a cup of coffee!  We love our little place, but as the weather changes we may have more trouble getting around.  I'm sure we will figure out our new climate!  After all, there are plenty of people that have done this all their lives here!...I guess we will just look around and take our cues from the new friends we've met and our current neighbors.
I'll post it as I learn it...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Burghausen History

We saw a reenactment at "our" castle Sunday afternoon.  It was done at the end (main) castle. Since it was in German, we only got part of the story.  It appeared to be mostly about the time in history that Napolian and his troops came through Burghausen chasing the Austrians.  The locals say that the visit gave them a "claim to fame," but also say that it was a really tough time here.  The soldiers clean them out of food and supplies then left them in near starvation before exiting across a temporary bridge they built over the Salzach River into Austria.

 I was wanting some better shots than this, but Billy (who is NOT a history buff) was wanting to get in some more bike riding before the sun set. On the way out there was a girl sitting on the grass by a moat playing a lyre type of instrument and singing. It was very pretty!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Train Trip to Munich

 Here is the train that leaves from Burghausen. This is a dead end line. You have to go to a town called Muldorf to make connections to larger towns.  When the train stops in Burghausen the drivers switch ends of the train to drive it back in the other direction.  The second picture is of the station from the other side of the train (before it arrived.) If you look closely, you can see the machine where you can buy your ticket.  There are first and second class tickets and you can also travel with your bicycle if you want.  It has a high pitched whistle that sounds a bit like a toy train!

I rode my bike to the station and parked it in a covered parking lot. I have a cable lock that I put on the back tire.  There is very little theft here, but there are different laws and attitudes about "not inviting theft."
We had sausages, turkey steaks, bread and wheat beer at the tables set up below the Glockenspiel.  There was a German band playing Reggae on a stage. We heard lots of English being spoken,...which is rare. Seems there was plenty of Americans here.

We had a great time in Munich.  I went with a new friend here in Burghausen named Deborah.  We covertly tagged along behind an English speaking tour group and made our way into the Hofbrauhaus. It is a very old beer hall and was founded in the 1500's.
This is the Glockenspiel in the Marienplatz in the city center of Munich. It has a special show 3 times per day where the bells ring and figures dance. It lasts a bit over 5 minutes or so. It was originally designed to commemorate the end of the plague. The whole building is VERY ornate.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Billy's Birthday Trip to Salzburg, Austria

Views from the fortress/castle (Hohensalzburg) on the hill above the city
 You can see the Salzach River running through the city.
  It is the same river that travels through our little town of Burghausen.  It mean "Salt" River because it was a means to transport salt on long flat boats to far destinations.
 Billy sampling the local brew.
 This is "Wiess Bier" or Wheat Beer that is a bit cloudy and rather yeasty tasting ...and very delicious.  We ate ate outdoors at the Cafe at the castle where there was a view of Salzburg below as well as the Alps. After exploring the grounds and seeing the many buildings and exhibits, we came back here and had an apple strudel to celebrate the 50th birthday! Very memorable.  The sky was perfectly blue and the temperature (with the added breeze) made us feel we were in a dream.

A view from one of the upper stories showing some of the many buildings that made up the compound.
They say the fortress was never breached in its over 900 years of existence.  When you ride the tram straight up to the top and then see these huge stone walls, you definitely believe it.  Here is a site that has some better pictures than what I could take:

Here is the cemetery that was depicted in The Sound of Music. We saw a woman tending her family grave there, replacing the plants and such.  Each plot is perfectly "landscaped" in miniature. People actually only rent the plots and if a family quits paying... they move the stone & bones to another place and rent the space to someone else! Multiple generations are buried in a single grave. Ancestors are expected to disintegrate to make way for newcomers... interesting. The archways you can somewhat see to the sides are special mausoleums with iron gates containing elaborate stone burial tombs. It all seems like it might be creepy, but it didn't seem so to us. It was really a quite beautiful and peaceful spot.

Friday, September 2, 2011

We went to Passau last weekend and visited a church that has one of the largest pipe organs.  It has some of the most beautiful art work painted on the walls and ceilings.  Here is displayed the bones of somebody that I'm sure was famous.  It is strange to look inside this glass display and see the skull and ribs of a body.  We don't have one of these at Christ United Methodist Church in Chattanooga. Maybe I'll put that in the suggestion box.


Another First!!

It was a beautiful day in Burghausen.  A little cold riding my bicycle into work today but I had on a long sleeve shirt.  After work I was riding home when I came behind an older gentlemen riding his bicycle.  He was drinking a beer and putting his empty bottles in his basket.  Yes, they are serious about not littering!