April 29, 2017

A Stand Out Moment in Rostock

Ten days into my trip exploring the Historic Highlights of Germany and I had not experienced that one stand out moment like my Goatherd encounter in Mittenwald Germany.  I was beginning to feel it wasn’t going to happen.

That is until the afternoon I wandered into St. Mary’s church in Rostock. 

Outside St. Marys Church Rostock Germany

Your local guide in Rostock!

Beautiful St. Mary’s is located in the old town right off Neuer Market and can be seen for miles.  The large brick Gothic church has guided sailors to Rostock for decades and, today, it can be used by tourists to navigate the city – it sure helped me!

Altar St Marys Church Rostock Germany

Beautiful Altar

Built in the 13th century, St Mary’s was damaged but survived the bombings that devastated Rostock during WWII.

Pulpit St Marys Church Rostock Germany

Ornate pulpit

St. Mary’s is a beautiful church. The gilded altar is spectacular and the one of a kind medieval Astronomic Clock which dates back to 1472 is very interesting!  There are many wonderful ornate features such as the Royal box and the pulpit but the exquisite and enormous Baroque organ from 1770 is probably the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.

Royal Box St Marys Rostock Germany

Exquisite Royal Box

Yes all of these made the church very beautiful but what made it exceptional was the majestic music I was treated to while exploring the church!

ST MARYS CHURCH Rostock Germany  by RAYANDBEE, on Flickr

The organ in St Marys church by Rayandbee, on Flickr

On this afternoon an orchestra and choir were practicing for a performance so my time wandering the church was enhanced by the beautiful and haunting music and voices. Take a listen!

This music really set the tone for my visit!  You could feel the music as it bounced off the walls of this beautiful church. My time in St. Mary’s church was one of “those” stand out moments that I will always remember!

 

What stand out moments do you have from your travels?

 

Historic Cecilienhof Palace

Sometimes traveling take us places whose beauty belies its enormous history.

Cecilienhof Palace in Potsdam Germany is one of these.

Cecilienhof Palace Potsdam Germany

Cecilienhof Palace was the last palace built (from 1914 to 1917) by the Hohenzollern Dynasty and is beautifully placed in the northern part of the Neuer Garten, where views include a lake and the Kings Forest.

 

Outside Cecilienhof Palace Potsdam Germany

The simple but elegant palace was built in the English Tudor style and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990.

 

Views from Cecilienhof Palace Potsdam Germany

The feeling you get here is one of peace and tranquility.  School children even come to play in the meadows.

 

Cecilienhof Palace Courtyard Potsdam Germany

It’s so peaceful that it’s hard to imagine the gravity of the meeting that took place here in 1945.  In attendance at the Potsdam Conference were Churchill, Truman and Stalin, world leaders who would make history and change the face of Germany for decades to come.


Stalins Star Cecilienhof Palace Potsdam Germany

The center point of this beautiful courtyard are flowers in a red star design, Stalin’s Star, which were planted in 1945 by Soviet soldiers.


Cecilienof Palace Potsdam Germany

As I wandered the grounds I kept thinking “If only these walls could talk.  What would they say?”

 

These photo’s are part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the PotsdamTourist Office!  For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites.  Even though my trip was paid for by these organizations, all opinions are my own.

German Food Traditional & Tasty!

Food. While it might not be the reason I choose to visit a city it definitely is something I look forward to enjoying while traveling.

When I travel I look forward to sampling specialties of the area including both food and drink! I am so focused on finding traditional foods that I found myself surprised at all the non-German restaurants I ran into during my recent trip. I remember thinking to myself, “Why would anyone want to eat Italian while in Germany?” “Duh” Debbie, the people who live there might just want a variety of cuisine just like you do at home 🙂

So even though there were many different types of foods available, I was looking for traditional German fare Fortunately I was able to find and enjoy many fantastic meals that fit this bill!

Although my foray into the cuisine in Freiburg started off simply with soup and beer, I continued searching for culinary traditions that Freiburg is known for. You really can’t start off better than at Oberkirchs Weinstuben. Sitting in this cozy historic restaurant sipping a wonderful glass of local wine while feasting on veal and spatzle (yah!) made me feel glad to be in Germany!

Oberkirchs Weinstuben and Wine Freiburg Germany

Oberkirchs Weinstuben and Wine Freiburg Germany

Since Freiburg is the center of a German wine region, I started my last evening with a little wine tasting at Alte Wache – Haus der Badischen Weine. The wine shop is located in an historic building that was once a guard house during Austrian rule. The shop offers a huge selection of regional wines and is a fabulous place to learn about local wines, enjoy a glass or even take a bottle or two with you! After enjoying wine I was off in search of Flammkuchen, one of Freiburg’s specialties! Continuing along the Domplatz I noticed a restaurant advertising Flammkuchen so into the Goldene Engel I went to nosh on salad, Flammkuchen and more wine 🙂 I really liked the old-fashioned décor even though it was overtaken by cherubs or as my friend calls them “winged babies”. The Goldene Engel is small, warm, traditional and full of people, which is usually a good sign! Oh, the Flammkuchen was excellent too.

Flammkuchen at Goldene Engel Freiburg Germany

Flammkuchen at Goldene Engel Freiburg Germany

Mainz is the wine capital of the Rhine Valley and wine is everywhere! There are wine booths dotting the Old Town and it was at one of these that I tasted a new and unusual drink, Federweisser which is a young wine made from just picked grapes that are slightly fermented. This slightly sweet juice only lasts a day, so you have to enjoy it while you can and it is wonderful. My guide treated me to my first ever Federweisser and I liked it so much that I stopped to have another later that afternoon before meeting up again for dinner!

Federweisser Booth Mainz Germany

Federweisser Booth Mainz Germany

Now its time for dinner in Mainz which ended up being one of my favorite of the entire trip. Weinstube Hottum is one of the oldest taverns in Mainz dating back to 1791. This cozy, traditional and family owned restaurant was charming and full of convivial people! The menu is handed to you on a small chalkboard and is full of wonderful options. The restaurant only has about 8-10 tables which helps create a very social atmosphere. The food was excellent but I think I enjoyed the quaint atmosphere and friendly people most! If you’re in Mainz, be sure to check out Weinstube Hottum.

Weinstube Hottum and Federweisser Mainz Germany

Weinstube Hottum and Federweisser Mainz Germany

Lovely Erfurt is full of dining options that fit my perfect type of restaurant including Zum Güldenen Rade and Zum Goldenen Schwan. Add in weather that was so nice I was able to eat outside and you’ve got a winning combination! The beer was good, pork exceptional as was the Beef Roulade, a traditional cuisine of Erfurt, but there were two things I couldn’t get enough of – potato dumplings and red cabbage. I had so many that I was lucky I didn’t come home looking like a dumpling 🙂 These Thüringen specialties are something you definitely need to enjoy when you visit Erfurt!

Roulade, Red Cabbage & Dumplings by JaBB, on Flickr

Roulade, Red Cabbage & Dumplings by JaBB, on Flickr

What local specialties do you enjoy?

 


Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the Erfurt Tourist Office, Mainz Tourist Bureau and Freiburg Tourist Bureau!  For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites.  Even though most of my meals were paid for by these organizations, all opinions are my own.

Beer & Gossiping during Medieval Times!

While visiting Erfurt Germany I was struck by a few accoutrements on the medieval buildings that still adorn the streets of this Thüringen city.  For Travel Photo Thursday I’m sharing two interesting medieval architectural features.

Back in the day brewing rights were given to certain buildings in the city.  In fact, during the 16th century there were more than 600 small breweries in Erfurt!

Beer Sign Erfurt Germany

Fresh beer is sold here today!

With so many breweries, it makes sense they would limit the days each brewer could sell beer.  To alert the citizens of Erfurt that fresh beer was available the brewer would place a small bundle of straw in an opening on the front of the building (look above the window to the  right of the door).

Gossip Seats on Medieval buildings Erfurt Germany

Or maybe the very first smoking area!

The next architectural addition to the façades of medieval buildings that I found very interesting was the “Klatschstein” or so called gossip seats. Look closely and you’ll see two nooks on either side of the front door.  This is where citizens or merchants could sit and gossip about the folks passing by!  Was this the start of the Enquirer?

Gossip and Beer Erfurt Germany

Gossip while drinking beer!

What interesting architectural features
have you seen during your travels?

 

 

These photo’s are part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the Erfurt Tourist Office!  For more information please contact either organization or visit their websites.  Even though my trip was paid for by these organizations, all opinions are my own.

London Bridge through the Ages

The London Bridge has been at the heart of the English capital for its entire history, playing a vital role in linking the north and south banks of the River Thames. There has not only been one London Bridge, however.  The name has referred to a number of very different structures over the ages.

Origins

London as a major metropolis came into being after the Roman invasion in AD 43. Although trade along the Thames was by then well established, it was the invaders who first bridged it, probably with a pontoon bridge of the sort used by troops. The first permanent, substantial London Bridge appeared a little over a decade later, but this wooden edifice was destroyed during the revolt led by Boudica in AD 60. Once the rebellion had been put down, the London Bridge was rebuilt.  This cross-river link helped to confirm London as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia.

Medieval times

When the Roman legions departed from Britain, around AD 410, the engineering skills required to maintain the London Bridge went with them and the bridge gradually decayed until late Saxon times. During this period and the first century of Norman rule, the London Bridge was rebuilt several times after destruction resulting both from military action and natural causes, such as the tornado of 1091. The final structure from this period, originally ordered by Henry II, was finished in 1209. This timber bridge survived for 600 years and, at its height during the Tudor period, boasted 200 shops along its 800-foot length.

London Bridge at night London England

London Bridge Illuminated by burge5000

The 19th century bridge

By the 19th century, it was clear that the ancient bridge was inadequate for the much larger London of the Industrial Revolution. In 1831, the new five-arched stone bridge was opened and the medieval bridge was then demolished. Although the new London Bridge had more capacity than the one it replaced, as the city continued to grow, it in turn became overcrowded. By the turn of the 20th century, the London Bridge was the single worst point of congestion in the entire capital.  In fact, the sheer weight of vehicles crossing it every day lead to the foundation beginning to sink.

London Bridge today

Despite its flaws, it took until the second half of the 20th century for this London Bridge to be replaced. Famously, it was purchased by an American businessman, who had it shipped in pieces to the US and reassembled in Arizona. The replacement bridge, the one that stands today, was opened by the Queen in 1973. This is a straightforward concrete box girder bridge, which does not have the elegance of some of its predecessors but is able to stand up to the high demands of 21st-century traffic.

The many visitors who stay in London Bridge hotels today may well pass over the bridge regularly without ever realizing the two millennia of history behind this Thames crossing!

 

Have you crossed the London Bridge without realizing its history?

 

This article was brought to you by Mercure hotels.

A Perfect Day in Warnemunde!

Perfect days don’t come along all that often.  But when everything goes right and you get one of “those” days. . . oh what a day!

Well that is exactly what happened when I visited Warnemunde Germany.  The stars and moons all aligned to give me one perfect day!Two Sailboats with Lighthouses Warnemunde Germany

Warnemunde Germany, the sister city to Rostock, is situated in northern Germany along the Baltic coast.  To say it is a city tied to the sea would be an understatement!  Everywhere you look there are reminders that this is a maritime city.

Founded in 1200, Warnemunde was purchased by Rostock in 1323 to ensure access to the Baltic Sea.  The old channel is lined with restaurants, pubs, traditional fishing boats and shops that were once cottages of fishermen.  There are two jetty’s each with lighthouses at the ends but there is also an older lighthouse dating back to 1897 which is one of the symbols of Warnemunde.

Warnemünde Germany Altstadt by Norbert Kaiser

Warnemünde Altstadt by Norbert Kaiser

To begin my exploration of Warnemunde I decided to wander through the city.  I walked past shops full of wonderful souvenirs, beautiful houses and checked out the local church a neo-gothic beauty dating back to 1866 which also contains artifacts from the older church that once graced the village.

Then it was off to visit the local fish market where you can buy all kinds of local delicacies from the seas – even smoked fish!Smoked Fish Warnemunde Germany

Now it was time to stroll along the promenade to the lighthouse, sand and sea! As I wandered I was amazed at the number of boats heading out of the harbor for a day sailing the Baltic.  The day was mostly blue skies with puffy clouds, sun and wind! A perfect day for sailing.Red Lighthouse with sailboat Warnemunde Germany

Once I made it to the end of the promenade, I sat for awhile on the rocks just to watch the ships and enjoy feeling the sun on my face!

After awhile I noticed my stomach was growling which meant it was time for lunch!  But first I needed to walk along the broad sandy beach that is the largest on Germany’s Baltic coast and even place my feet in the water!  As I walked, I noticed families with young children playing in the water, many other tourists like me and children of all ages flying kites!Moody Coast Warnemunde Germany

It seems like a lot of people thought this was a perfect day!

Arriving at the Teepott restaurant, an example of East German architecture, I opted for a table outside overlooking the sand.  As I relaxed I enjoyed a wonderful bowl of lobster soup, salad, and, of course, a Rostocker Beer!Rostocker Beer Warnemunde Germany

It was now time to make my way back to the train station stopping by many shops looking for that perfect gift to bring home with me!

As the train whisked me back to Rostock I was able to sit back and savor my day –  the sun, the wind, the salty sea air, the sound of the sea gulls, the boats, the peace and calm that comes from the sound of the ocean!

Yes it was a perfect day!

 

Tell me about your perfect day in the comments below!