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.
Fisch- und Heringstage
Oh, I just realized this is gonna be a hard choice between two Hanseatic Cities events this weekend—the first being Lübeck's Fish and Herring Days, where you'll eat (and eat some more), in addition to the music and other activities during this multi-day feeding frenzy. You can also enjoy the amazing city of Lübeck's brick gothic architecture, and visit a museum or two, while you're here. But, honestly, this is probably the more subdued weekend event than what you'll find over in Hamburg.
Hamburg Port Birthday Festival
While Lübeck's might be the quieter Hanseatic City sister, Hamburg has to be the more gregarious one. Not too many places in the world can party like Hamburg, and with hundreds of activities to celebrate the event, it goes to show you the city isn't slowing down at the ripe-old age of 829. There's a parade of ships, amusement rides, fireworks, concert performances, and there's even plenty for the kids to do. The event coincides with the South Africa Festival, so you're getting two hemisphere experiences at one time. And while I'll (probably) always be partial to German wine, South Africa has been making some pretty good stuff since the 17th century.
Carnival of Cultures
Berlin might be German at heart, but you can't say it isn't a cosmopolitan city—and for almost a quarter century it has celebrated its unique diversity with its Carnival of Cultures. There's something hypnotic about the elaborately colored costumes, the music, and the steel nerves of those walking on stilts. This is one big street party, filled with lots of dancing and music and food and even market stalls selling crafts over by the Blücherplatz.
Not all that far from Celle's hundreds of half-timbered houses in the Altstadt is its Arts & Crafts Market. Besides being able to buy beautifully made crafts, this is a family-friendly affair that's a blend of commerce and education, as many artisans offer demonstrations of their created pieces. I know Celle's Schloss is beautifully decorated, but I'm guessing you'll find something stunning to enhance your own castle. And even if you don't purchase anything, consider this is just another reason to visit this charming town in Lower Saxony.
My corny jokes about Bavaria and beer stop right here, because it's all about wine in the wonderful town of Würzburg. For more than three decades, Würzburg has been celebrating the fermented grape—and crowning its own Wine Queen. Wine pairs nicely with food, so you're sure able to eat (exceptionally) well with many regional dishes.
As if the wine (and food) isn't enough to entice to stick around Würzburg, how about adding in the melodious music of Mozart to the mix? I'm truly torn when it comes to the most dramatic backdrop for Mozart's works—the Residenz Hofkirche or the Kiliansdom? Wait... the 12th century Kloster Bronnbach is remarkable, too. You know what? Get yourself tickets to all the venues, then you can pick your own favorite.
Ok, so what if tickets for the annual Bach Festival went on sale back in November—there are still some left so you're able to enjoy the works of the celebrated composer in venues like the St. Nicholas Church and St. Thomas Church (where he's buried, by the way). The festival itself dates back over a hundred years, but Bach's cantatas, concertos, and sonatas go all the way back the late 17th/early 18th centuries. Bach might have been born in Eisenach, and lived for a while in Arnstadt and Weimar, but Leipzig is Bach's city—and the proper place to hold an extraordinary festival like this.
"Mankind advances only through struggle."
Here's a tip: If you're looking for a rip-roaring, crazy, party like a Rockstar kind of thing, don't consider coming to the town, and island, of Reichenau. That said, if you want a tranquil visit to a town that's steeped in medieval history—look no further than right here.
Nothing wrong with that, mind you. You'll be too busy in awed silence at the medieval churches to notice you're not livin' it up in wild style.
You see, one of the biggest "attractions" in Reichenau is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Abbey of Reichenau. Built in 724, the church complex has withstood the test of time—and has its fair share of reliquary shrines dating back to around the 5th century.
By the way, Charles III (also known as Charles the Fat), a Carolingian Emperor, is buried within the Abbey.
A few decades after the initial construction of the Münster St. Maria und Markus, along came the Church of Sts. Peter & Paul. Its twin towers might be simple in their construction, but its twin towers are nothing short of picture perfect.
The last of Reichenau's stunning medieval churches is Church of St. Georg, a late Carolingian church where the head of St. Georg himself was brought in the late 9th century. Fascinating and creepy as that is, it's the murals from the 10th century that are nothing short of marvelous.
Usually, where you find medieval churches you'll find a medieval castle—so, come see the Ruine Schopflen. The original moated castle dates back more than a thousand years to the 10th century, eventually destroyed in 1366. Maybe it's its 2.5-meter thick walls have kept parts of it around for so long?
I don't know, but if you're truly interested in learning more about medieval life, then I suggest visiting the museum "complex," four buildings that are chocked full of information regarding the significance of the region. And the Old Town Hall exhibits are truly informative in highlighting life in the medieval period.
Inasmuch as I'd just l-o-v-e to spend my days contemplating the Middle Ages, Reichenau is also very much into the whole modern-day stuff, too.
And I mean modern as in things like canoeing, kayaking, and e-biking. Oh heck, it's only about 12km around the island part of Reichenau, so it's sorta easy enough to hike around. And if you're truly hell-bent on walking, I'd suggest the Art Route Untersee.
All this sightseeing and activity can work up quite the appetite, so good thing there are plenty of places to find regional cuisine (ooh, and ice cream). In addition to all the historical stuff, you'll find plenty of vegetable farms, so lots of locally sourced veggies to eat.
Wine is another locally made goodie, so find one that'll pair nicely with whatever you choose to eat. Plus, if you've eaten (or drank) a tad too much, there a number of hotels, pensions, and apartments available for a good night's rest.
Last, but by no means least, is to tell you all about Reichenau's three Island Holidays. These "festivals" aren't the whole drink beer/party til the cows come home kind of thing. All three start with a parade, but it's a more dignified affair since these are religious in nature.
The Saints whose relics spend eternity here are given a parade, and many shops are closed while children are given off from school The Markusfest is the first, celebrated every year on April 25th; the second being the Heilig-Blut-Fest (Holy Blood Fest) comes on the Monday after Whit Monday), ending with the Assumption Day event on August 15th.
My friends, honestly I'm never one to think I've got the know-it-all on towns as culturally significant as Reichenau, so I'm glad there are people at the Tourist Office (Pirminstraße 145) to help.
Now if I could just get someone to help me finish this G-ZINE. ;-)
Now that I've mentioned that, maybe help writing an article isn't all that great of an idea. Why? Plagiarism, that's why. Now what's that got to do with the Good to Know section? And what's that got to do with a scandal in Germany?
Truth be told, it isn't always easy to stare at a blank screen thinking original ideas—just ask Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the former Minister of Defense in Germany. Back in 2011 his doctoral dissertation at the University of Bayreuth was found to have been plagiarized by not citing proper sources.
Like what's the big deal you might be thinking? It was a big enough scandal for Herr Guttenberg to lose his Ph.D. and resign his position. And it was a big deal enough for him to have to pay 20,000 Euros to charity for copyright violations. And it was a big enough deal for the University of Bayreuth to say he did it intentionally, unlike the legal eagles investigating him criminally.
In the grand scheme of things plagiarism might be small peanuts compared to some bigger scandals in German history. Two of which occurred during the days leading up to World War II and during the war itself.
One scandal leads beyond the borders of Germany, taking you all the way to the Royal Family in Great Britain. How? Well, if you know anything about the British Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II's uncle, Edward VIII, was reportedly a Nazi sympathizer.
But the tale doesn't end there. Edward, known as the Duke of Windsor at this point, was married to one of the most controversial figures in recent history—Wallis Simpson. Again you might ask, what's this have to do with anything?
Wallis, you see, was said to have been Joachim von Ribbentrop's lover. That's right, the almost Queen of England was said to have spent some time (literally) in bed with the Nazis. At best she's been called a Nazi sympathizer (like her husband), and at worst a German Agent.
Both Edward and Wallis were also guests of Hitler at this Berghof in 1937, and the two of them spent time at the home of another suspected German Agent in Lisbon, and planned on sailing around the Caribbean on a vessel by a pro-German Swede in 1941.
Shocking stuff considering the effort Great Britain put into stopping the Nazis in World War II.
Another scandal rocking Germany also took place during WWII when it was discovered the famous Bayer company used slave labor, and even experimenting on prisoners in death camps like Auschwitz.
Honestly, that's not exactly fair to say about Bayer, as at the time it was part of IG Farben, said to be the largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
Even more shocking (is that possible?) was IG Farben held more than a 40-percent share in Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schädlingsbekämpfung (shortened to Degesch), the company responsible for making Zyklon-B, then selling it to the SS and German Army.
These days Bayer is the maker of two of the medicines on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medications—Aspirin and Phenobarbital.
Some companies, like Bayer, have managed to survive their scandals and shake ups—and time will tell how well the next company in the next installment will manage to survive.
What? Did you think I wasn't gonna find more scandalous behavior; this one with global ramifications. Stay tuned...
Short 'n sweet, here's what's coming up next in Germany — a preview of the next G-ZINE:
Published by Marcus Hochstadt
The newsletter system is powered