The MyGermanCity.com G-ZINE
The MyGermanCity.com G-ZINE — the Germany Magazine — provides you with news, updates and happenings in and around Germany. While saving you valuable time, this e-zine prepares you and sets you up for an unforgettable Germany experience.
Classic Open Air
Leave it to the city of Berlin to have concerts in the Gendarmenmarkt that run the gamut from Wagner to the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire (that's a music band for you youngsters out there). Tickets are still available, but you better get yours soon if you wanna get funky to Boogie Wonderland, or treat yourself to Puccini and Verdi's works. Even if you don't score tickets, there are fireworks at the end on Opening Night. Ohhh, a treat for the ears and the eyes. Just delightful, wouldn't you agree?
Freiburger Weinfest (Freiburg Wine Festival)
Even if you're not an avid wine drinker, or don't know the difference between a pinot grigio or pinot noir, you'll still manage to enjoy the fermented grapes of the Baden wine region here in Freiburg. Of course there's more to this six day festival than just the vino—there's plenty of food and music to go around. And if that's not enough, you're treated to some wonderful views of its Cathedral.
Sylter Winzerfest (Sylt Vintner Festival)
Further to the north on the island of Sylt is another Wine Festival brimming with music, food, and even fireworks. Not limited to just one wine region in Germany, you're sure to sample the best of the best from all around the country—and the views of the North Sea in this part of Schleswig-Holstein are grand as well. And just when you think you've had enough wine, Sylt offers spa amenities, romantic getaways, and family friendly activities.
FIFA World Cup
Although we are no longer in the World Cup, the championship is still going strong with other great teams.
Bierbörse (Beer Exchange)
Entering its second decade, the Bierbörse here is Mainz isn't just a "beer exchange"—it's a community event along the banks of the River Rhine (Theodor-Heuss-Brücke and the Kaisertor) with beer tents and music and lots of food. The jovial atmosphere will surely delight you as you sample not only German beer, but from countries like the Czech Republic and beyond.
Kölner Lichter (Cologne Lights)
If you want the best spots to watch the fireworks (with musical accompaniment) you need to get to places like the Rheinpark early enough. And don't say I didn't warn you because if you're not there by 8pm, getting around can be tough. It's well worth it because the Kölner Lichter is more than just an skyward display, it's about the food and people watching, too. Oh, let's add in a bunch of "parties" along the way, as well.
Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival
From Flensburg to Fehmarn, Bad Schwartau to Stocksee, Heide to Hamburg , the beautiful music of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival is a delight to the ears as well as the eyes—and your soul. Musicians from all over come to play in barns and manor houses, schools, a Schloss (or two), all for those of you (and me!) who love the Classics.
Wacken Open Air
On an ordinary weekend the Schleswig-Holstein town of Wacken doesn't even have 1,900 residents—but come the first weekend of August and its number swells dramatically. Why? Because of bands with names like Destruction and Cannibal Corpse who descend on the small northern German town for its annual Metal Music event. In all fairness, I'm not too familiar with the bands playing at the Wacken Open Air, but I have heard the music/lyrics of Steel Panther—a blend of comical and risque instead of bang-your-head Heavy Metal. Even if you're not all that into Heavy Metal it's still a lovely town to visit in its own right, by the way.
Speyerer Brezelfest (Speyer Pretzel Party)
A pretzel parade? A Pretzel Queen? A pretzel flag? Funny, in a town bursting with history (and a UNESCO designated Romanesque church), it's the doughy pretzel that's got me excited. There's more to the Brezelfest than just the pretzel, there's music and beer and even a marathon of sorts. I highly doubt the edible pretzel will make a good souvenir, so good thing you can buy yourselves a t-shirt, a glass, or even a souvenir frisbee.
"Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."
Along the Ammer River, shaded by the jagged (yet ruggedly beautiful) Alps is the town famous for its Passion Play, Oberammergau. While the Passion Play has been taking place every decade (almost!) for the last 380 years, Oberammergau offers quite a bit more in between.
Now, I could sit here and talk (excuse me, type) about its churches, and its other events, but that would be leaving out a unique chunk of what drew me here. It was all in my quest to find Inner Peace. And with Germany having lost its shot for another FIFA World Cup Championship this year, I certainly needed some.
Even without the Meditationsweg (Meditation Trail), Oberammergau's location among the Alps is enough to evoke a sense of calm; but there's more to it. This scenic route of sorts spans for 87km from Weiskirche to Ettal with 15 "stations," all designed to help you on your way to enlightenment. Yoga, tree hugging, whatever it is that strikes your fancy—you'll find it along the way.
By the way, this meditative route can even be done in winter for the most part so long as you use some caution and care.
A self-discovering journey can work up quite the appetite, and there's no shortage of gastronomic choices. Vegetarian? Yup, you're covered. Italian? French? Greek? Yes, yes, and yes. Gluten-free? Organic? You betcha for both. And before you even ask, yes there's Traditional and Regional Bavarian cuisine, too.
All fed? Good, because it's time to explore the rest of Oberammergau. Make sure you've got your camera ready because you'll find ornately decorated frescoes covering the front of many of its buildings. It's known as Lüftlmalerei, a word not easy to say—but certainly exquisite (and easy) on the eyes.
Just about a century later, another famous Bavarian made his mark on Oberammergau—my good pal, King Ludwig II. The town honors its previous king every year on the night prior to his birthday (August 24th) with the König-Ludwig-Feuer, a fire truly fit for royalty.
Of course this isn't the only event in town. Oberammergau hosts events like the Christmas Market, an Easter Market, and the Passion Play that's held every 10 years (ending in a zero, FYI). The latter being a thanks to God for sparing their town of a plague epidemic in the 17th century.
The Passion Play has seen some changes over the last 380 years, but these days the Play runs about 5 hours.
In between decades there's more than enough to keep you more than busy, too. Swimming, paragliding, rock climbing, canoeing, cycling, and even a chance to try an alpine toboggan ride.
Winter doesn't slow things down in these parts of Bavaria, since you're able to go snowshoeing, both downhill and cross-country skiing.
I prefer exploring the Döttenhichl, where a number of both Celtic and Roman artifacts have been found. A good place, by the way, to learn more historical stuff is the Oberammergau Museum—filled with information on the long history of wood carving in the area.
Another stop that tells a long history is the Pfarrkirche Sts. Peter & Paul, a gem of a church spanning back to the 12th century. Yes, I'm aware this Rococo looking church these days makes it look much younger than its medieval origins.
So whether you're on a quest back in history, have a love of the great outdoors, or if you're looking for that ever elusive inner peace—you'll find it all right here in Oberammergau, a crowning gem in beloved Bavaria.
It's a good gander to say that even if you're not a sports enthusiast you've heard of the FIFA World Cup—an international football (soccer) event comprising 32 team countries (originally 24) held every four years; and currently being held in Russia as I write this.
Football, it seems, is beyond a national pastime here in Germany; it's almost cult like. Ok, maybe that's a bad choice of words—but yea, I got nothing better. Sorry.
Whatever words you choose to talk about Germany's love of football, there's no denying the German National Team (the men's, by the way)—known as Die Mannschaft—has won their fair share of titles. Four of them to be exact—and currently the title holders having won the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil against Argentina.
I read somewhere like over a billion people watched this game. My guess would be over 80 million of them were Germans. ;-)
This wasn't the first time Germany won against Argentina, they did it in 1990 except it was West Germany who technically won the title. However, the West Germans lost to Argentina in 1986.
The West Germans won Germany's FIFA World Cup Championship against other countries, Hungary in 1954 and the Netherlands in 1974. And Germany has even hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2006. Too bad we'll have to wait so long to try hosting again since the 2022 & 2026 host countries have already been decided.
Women playing for Germany in the FIFA World Cup have done fantastic for themselves as well—having won Championships in 2003 (against Brazil) and 2007 (against Sweden).
Probably because of players like Nadine Angerer, goalkeeper for the German National Team in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup games—who went on to play 540 consecutive minutes of the games without ever having given up a goal.
Her feat was impressive enough to earn her the FIFA World Player of the Year, the only goalkeeper of either sex to win. Another German player has won this coveted award three times, Birgit Prinz, who was given the honor in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
Both women, by the way, are also Olympic Medal holders. But, isn't German Olympic stuff something to save for another Good to Know?
Anyway, I knew I'd (somehow) manage to find something that's Good to Know for regarding Germany's love of football. Now if you'll excuse me... there's a soccer game going on right now... (Too bad it isn't my beloved Germany.)
Short 'n sweet, here's what's coming up next in Germany — a preview of the next G-ZINE:
Published by Marcus Hochstadt
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