Wanderfood Wednesday: Gigantic Pretzels at German Christmas Market

This time last year, we were spending the holidays in Germany.  These pretzels were our favorite Christmas market indulgence as we wandered through Germany and Austria.  Well, that and the waffles and the marzipan, and the chocolate and the Viennese cakes and the…ok.  The pretzels were not our only indulgence, but they certainly are one of the main things my son remembers.  Just the other day I gave him a handful of pretzels and he asked me if I remember that “gigantor” pretzel that we had with Oma and Opa in Germany!

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Stop by Wanderlust and Lipstick to see other Wanderfood Wednesday posts.  If you aren’t hungry now, you will be after reading about all the lovely meals!

Auf Schonberg-Oberwesel am Rhein

In 2005, we traveled with my 10mo son to Europe.  We had a whirlwind vacation and got to do so many different things.  You can read the other posts here: Berlin in Photos, The London Eye, Trier, Germany; Kelty Convertible Backpack; American Cemetery and Memorial; Amsterdam, NetherlandsZermatt, Switzerland and the Matterhorn, Brussels, Belgium, and Stuck in Bed.

We took a long leisurely drive down the Rhine River with our family.  My dad and stepmom told us to pack a bag just in case we went further than we had originally planned and decided to stay the night.  Little did we know what was in store!

We drove up and down the Rhine spotting and visiting many of the castles.  When we reached the Schonberg Castle Hotel, we stopped for hot chocolate and to give my son a break from the car.  We had our hot chocolate and suddenly one of the employees appeared with several keys.  He told my stepmom that the rooms were available to view.  My husband and I thought that she just wanted to take a look at the rooms.  We walked up to a beautiful room, the Tower Room, and when we got inside the employee handed us the keys and told us to enjoy our stay!!

Imagine our surprise!  My dad and stepmom whisked our son away and told us that they would be back in the morning and to enjoy our time.  We had a wonderful time in the hotel.  The many course meal was amazing and the room was absolutely beautiful. 

This is the Schonberg.  See that balcony?  That is our room:

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And this was the beautiful view from our room:

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Be sure to stop by DeliciousBaby to see the other great travel photos!

Berlin in Photos

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Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz (Berlin TV Tower)

In 2005, we traveled with my 10mo son to Europe.  We had a whirlwind vacation and got to do so many different things.  You can read the first eight posts here: The London Eye, Trier, Germany; Kelty Convertible Backpack; American Cemetery and Memorial; Amsterdam, NetherlandsZermatt, Switzerland and the Matterhorn, Brussels, Belgium, and Stuck in Bed.

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Big S in front of Checkpoint Charlie

Today, for Photo Friday over at DeliciousBaby, I am going to share some photos from our wanderings in Berlin.  We spent the majority of our Berlin trip just wandering the streets.  At this point, we had been traveling by plane, train and automobile for 2 weeks and we were tired.  We were also running out of money!  We wandered through many historical landmarks and ate at some fantastic restaurants.

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Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche (a church that has been kept in this state as a memorial after it was hit by a bomb in 1943)

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View of Alexanderplatz from our hotel room

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Statue commeriating the life of Klaus von Stauffenburg at the Bendlerblock (Parts of Valkyrie were filmed here)

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Brandenburger Tor

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Holocaust Memorial

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Buddy Bears in Berlin – These beautiful bears were everywhere!

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Checkpoint Charlie


Big S holding the umbrella…it rained the entire trip!

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Statue of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels at Alexanderplatz

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Fountain at alexanderplatz

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Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche

Oh my!

My last post was on Thursday night of last week! YIKES!!! I would like to take a moment to say thanks to all of my loyal readers. I appreciate you all continuing to visit the site. Things have been crazy here! I am finishing up the school year and as a teacher that entails a LOT of work! We are finished on Monday and although I am sad to say goodbye for a summer, I am so excited about spending the summer traveling with my family! At the same time, I have been working on migrating this site and creating a new site!

Lately, I have been reading Mother of All Trips as she writes her “Mondays are for Dreaming” and I know it isn’t Monday, but I am going to leave you with a picture that shows you what I am dreaming about…this dessert in Garmisch, Germany!

Photo Friday — Digging into the archives!

The first major trip we took as parents was a three week whirlwind vacation in Europe. We landed in Frankfurt and then traveled to the following cities (with other stops along the way) by car or train: Brussels, Belgium; Hamm, Luxembourg; London, England; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Berlin, Germany; and Zermatt, Switzerland. Big S was about 10m old and Little S wasn’t even a twinkle in our eye yet! As a matter of fact, we couldn’t even imagine having two kids at that point!

For this Photo Friday post, hosted by Debbie at Delicious Baby, I am digging into the archives. Actually, I thought that these pictures had disappeared with our crashed hard drive. I was thrilled when I came across this CD recently as I was archiving pictures. It hadn’t been labeled and I was so excited when I realized what it was. I had a blast looking at these Europe photos from our trip in 2005. In the next few weeks, I will continue to reminisce about our experience and post photos from that first major adventure.

These photos were taken in Trier, Germany. Part of the Roman Empire, Trier is the oldest city in Germany. There is a cathedral, Roman ruins to view and some great little cafes.

The view of Trier from the Porta Nigra, the Roman city gate

Big S playing in the ruins

The Basilica

A view of the baths

More bath ruins

Daddy J, Big S and me in front of the Porta Nigra

And to give you a laugh, the car ride to the next stop!

Hofbrauhaus in Munich

Do you like brats and beer? Do you like a loud atmosphere and lots of people? If so, you will love Hofbrauhaus in Munich. This beer hall has a very rich history. The Hofbrauhaus began operation in 1592 and was founded by Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria. The menu consists of typical German fare. The Hofbrauhaus is a fixture at Oktoberfest. You can hear the singing down the street as you walk towards the beer hall. Don’t be alarmed if someone asks to sit with you at your table. The tables are long and hold many! Just make sure that when you get a table, you don’t sit at one marked for the regular patrons. You will know that the table is reserved when you see them marked “Reserviert” or “Stammtisch.” When it gets busy, you might find yourself making new friends! During the day, the Hofbrauhaus is a great place to take the kids if they like pretzels!

Partnachklamm or Partnach Gorge

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the alien landscape that we saw in Wyoming at Hell’s Half Acre last summer. While we were in Germany, we saw another crazy landscape that looked like it was formed in some other world. The Partnachklamm is a gorge that at some points is 80 meters deep. To get to the Partnachklamm, you start at the 1936 Olympic Ski Jump Stadium.

The 1936 Olympic Ski Jump

It is about a 20 minute walk from here. I imagine the walk is absolutely beautiful in the summertime. We saw it during the winter. There was fresh snow on the ground; there were horse drawn carriages and sleds everywhere. I will admit that with our two children, our walk was a bit longer than 20 minutes!

On our way up to the gorge

Once at the gorge, you pay a small fee of 1,50Euro per person. During the summer, the gorge is full of flowing water and huge waterfalls. During the winter, it is like you have just landed on another planet…a very far-from-the-sun planet! The waterfalls are frozen in time, yet the river is still flowing right under the falling ice. The pathway is an easy walk and you can turn around whenever you like. We saw many children and adults of all ages.

There is a bridge that you can take but it is only open in the summer so unfortunately we missed it.It was an easy walk for our 4yo and he couldn’t believe what he saw!

The family posing for a picture!

On our way into a spooky tunnel!

Our ride back to the car!

The Glockenspiel

When I came to Europe the first time as a teenager, I wanted to see the gigantic Cuckoo Clock in Rothenburg. It is extremely touristy, but I didn’t care. Fifteen or so years later, I couldn’t wait to see the Glockenspiel in the heart of Munich! Also extremely touristy, the clock goes off at 11am and 12pm (as well as 5pm during the summertime).

We arrived in the Marienplatz just in time to hear the bells. As we came out of the S-bahn, the clock had just started the show. It is kind of hard to miss because there are probably a hundred other tourists looking up! Follow their direction, and you see the beautiful clock. The top part of the clock is a knight’s tournament in which the Bavarian knight wins. The lower part of the clock signifies a dance that was done in the street to announce that it was safe to come after the plague.

Oberammergau–Passion Play and Wood Carvings

In the few short hours that we spent in Oberammergau, it was obvious that this is a must see. We first heard of this little town from one of our classmates in our German language class. She and her husband are planning a trip to Oberammergau for the Passion Play in 2010. The Passion Play was first performed in the 1600’s. The town vowed to act out the play if the lives of the villagers were spared from the plague. Unbelievably, the villagers were spared from the plague so they kept their promise and have been performing the play every ten years. Thousands of people come to see this play that is put on by the townspeople.

We spent the beginning of the day in Oberammergau at a little sledding hill. After visiting Schloss Neuschwanstein, we drove past this little hill on the way home. Children just our kids’ ages were sledding all over it. It was just the right size! We returned to this hill a couple days later so the kids could sled. Sera was not thrilled about sledding and spent most of the day in the van with me. Seth, however, had a blast!

After sledding, we did a little shopping in the wood carving stores. Oberammergau is well known for its wood carvings. A lot of it is hand carved and one of a kind. The stores are filled with beautiful nativities, ornaments and jewelry. My favorite store had the most beautiful nativity in it…unfortunately it was waaaaay out of my price range so I settled for a small carving of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

The nativity that I wanted but couldn’t afford! I got a picture instead! You don’t even want to begin to guess on the price!

Wood carvings stacked all over the store

Ich habe Schwein gehabt!

Translated to English, “Ich habe Schwein gehabt” means “I have had pig!”

For the past couple of days we have seen these marzipan pigs everywhere…in bakeries, in street markets, and even in the grocery stores. This morning I decided to look up the meaning and I found that you were considered fortunate during hard times if you had a pig to feed to your family. In Germany and Austria, pigs are a symbol of good luck in the New Year.