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Issue #136 January 1, 2019

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.

January 2019 Topics

In this issue . . .

  1. Must-See And -Do Events
  2. German Phrase
  3. German Quote
  4. Trip Tip
  5. Good To Know
  6. Next G-ZINE's Preview

 

From Marcus' Travel Desk...

Now that 2019 has made its official appearance I'd like to wish you all a Frohes neues Jahr, or Happy New Year. And I wish all you faithful readers nothing but health and happiness for the coming months.

Just like the year has a "birthday," it kind of made me think about Birthdays as a topic for 2019's first issue. As we (probably) all know, everyone has a birthday—but how do we Germans celebrate such an occasion? Guess you'll find out now, huh?

How many of you have those New Year's Resolutions (new year, new me kinda thing)? But so far I haven't quite decided what kind of changes (if any) there'll be for the coming year's G-ZINE, but I do know the next 12 monthly issues will (of course) be filled with all things German.

Although, to be honest, the German Quote of the Month are words from a guy who technically isn't German, but is. Strange, I know. You see, Albert Schweitzer was born in what was once Kaysersberg—a part of Germany back in 1875 that is now Haut-Rhin, France. The guy actually considered himself French, but did all his writings in German. So, to me, he's German.

Herr Schweitzer was quite the busy guy, as he was a theologian, a writer, and a doctor who worked as a medical missionary in Africa—plus won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work against nuclear weapons & testing.

What else? Oh yes, the Trip Tip. Welcome to Stadtilm, a lovely town in Thuringia filled with beautiful old churches, its own castle ruin, and connects with a couple of scenic routes. Stadtilm isn't a party-all-night kinda town, making it ideal for quiet hikes or bicycle rides if you're into that sorta thing.

Now that I think about it, the Must See & Do Events for this issue won't exactly have you Party-Like-A-Rockstar. Talking during screenings at the British Shorts Film Festival won't win you any fans, and no talking with your mouthful for Sylt's annual Gourmet Festival, OK?

As always, it's best for me to let you get to it before another New Year comes rolling around, right?. ;-)

—Marcus

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Must-See And -Do Events

Gourmet Festival

  • January 16th-19th
  • Sylt

Ask yourself, what's better than scrumptious, mouth-watering, oh-so-delicious food? Umm, nothing? Oh wait, how about all that in one of Germany's best islands in the North Sea as a backdrop? Entering its 20th year, the Sylt Gourmet Food Festival is a delight for anyone who appreciates dining delights—but it will cost you. Tickets went on sale back in September, but there's still plenty of tickets left to sample everything from Indian spices to Mexican meals—and let's not forget about great wines to go along with it.

http://www.gourmet-festival-sylt.de/

British Shorts Film Festival

I have a confession, I love British TV and movies. And to get a fix of it, come here to Berlin for the annual British Shorts Film Festival that's been taking place for more than a decade. It's more than just some short movies, the event hosts all kinds of concerts and other activities throughout a handful of venues in the capital city. Tickets can go quick, so hurry to get your hands on the ones you want. Too bad I can't watch some AbFab or Monty Python right now. ;-)

https://www.britishshorts.de/

Winter Hiking Event

While its name only suggests hiking, there are a bunch of other activities that'll keep you busy in the chilly Bavarian air—and beer to warm up the insides after all the cross country & downhill skiing and a ride (or two) on a toboggan. The Fichtel Mountains make for a dramatic backdrop while you're out and about; then add in a soak at one of the local thermal baths, and you're sure to treat yourself after snowshoeing kilometer upon kilometer.

https://www.bavaria.by/experiences/winter-holidays/excursions/events-in-winter/ochsenkopf-winter-hiking-event-fichtel-mountains/

Bremen Tattoo

For those unaware, a tattoo isn't always inking your skin. Here at the Bremen Tattoo it's all about the bagpipes, the brass instruments, and drums for a military musical show that's steeped in history. While the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is probably the most famous, the one here in Bremen will no doubt delight you as hundreds of performers try to outdo each other at the ÖVB-Arena. Just don't confuse this with Germany's Großer Zapfenstreich, reserved for National Celebrations and Commemorations, OK?

http://www.brementattoo.com/

Tegernsee Valley Montgolfiade

  • January 30th-February 3rd
  • Bad Wiessee

Can you think of anything more stunning than the snow capped Alps dotted with bright hot air balloons in the Bavarian sunshine? How about a ride in one? That can happen here at the Tegernsee Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival, then add in some yummy Bavarian cuisine and drinks while you're on the ground—and you've got yourself a delightful winter event that'll take your breath away. Other activities to keep you busy during the event could be a charming horse & carriage ride, or how about a guided tour? Either way, you're sure to love it.

http://www.montgolfiade.de/

Thrill of Deception

Not everyone appreciates the chilly winter air, so for you nice folks, here's your last chance to enjoy a special (inside) exhibition at the Kunsthalle in Munich dedicated to the optical illusion. It's not just a modern phenomenon, for centuries artists have created the "eyes are playing tricks on us" kinda art. Do you see a man's face, or a country landscape? Does it look like it's moving, or goes on indefinitely? Wow, I think my eyes hurt looking at some of this, but it's pretty awesome the talent these artistic geniuses have had.

https://www.kunsthalle-muc.de/en/

 

German Phrase of the Month

  • English: I had an accident./I fell./I twisted my ankle.
  • German: Ich hatte einen Unfall./Ich bin gestürzt./Ich bin umgeknickt.
  • Pronounce: Ihk hah-teh ainen oun-fall./Ihk been geh-stourzt./Ihk been oum-geh-kneeckt.

 

German Quote of the Month

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. "

—Albert Schweitzer

 

Trip Tip

In my (not so) humble opinion, there's nothing like a quiet Sunday morning—coffee in hand, enjoying the grey sky in places like the Thuringian town of Stadtilm. No, my friends, life doesn't get better than this right here. Without a doubt, many might appreciate the cacophony of the big city, but I'll take the stillness of a smaller German town any day of the week.

That being said, there are 22 smaller villages that comprise Stadtilm, each (it seems) with its own picturesque Dorfkirche, or Village Church. It's hard to pick a favorite, but the originally Romanesque one in Griesheim is exceptionally pretty, as is the Gothic one in Gösselborn. And don't miss a visit to the 12th century Church of St. Marien, whose Baroque interior may very well leave you speechless.

Perhaps it's hard to pick a favorite medieval church when a medieval castle ruin is around? Burgruine Ehrenstein was a 13th century creation, only be be destroyed just a few centuries later. To see its crumbly grey bricks are well worth the hike, and tours are available if you wish to learn more of its history.

History, it seems, isn't limited to just Stadtilm's churches and castle. The area was settled during the Bronze Age, and the town's economy was once fueled from salt mining, shoes, toys, and even porcelain—which explains why it falls on the Thuringian Porcelain Scenic Route.

Stadtilm also lies on the Ilm Valley Cycle Route, just so you know.

But, whatever route you choose to take—a visit to the Museum Brewery Schmitt (yeah, beer!) is an incredibly good idea, as is a stop at the Kunst und Senfmühle (in Kleinhettstedt), a 16th century half-timbered mustard making complex.

And as you're out and about, the old City Walls will catch your attention—and how could they not with their almost three dozen half-towers? Be sure to have the camera ready, because Stadtilm's Rathaus (Town Hall) was once part of a medieval monastery.

FYI: Stadtilm's City Museum is closed for redesigning at this time, but will reopen in the future.

Don't worry, the nice people at the Tourist Office (Markt 12) can keep you updated for its reopening.

Too bad for me, but I'll just sit here a while longer with my coffee enjoying the peaceful morning as more ambitious folks meander on their e-bikes and bicycles. Nah, one more cup and I'll be able to tackle that hike to the castle again.

No, wait! The Dienstedter Karst Cave might be on the agenda today, or a stop to see the Wasserschloss in Großliebringen, even the half-timbered church or old mill in Großhettsedt.

Hmm, with enough coffee I might be able to take on the entire world—and I'll start right here in Stadtilm. Just one more cup before I start... ;-)

https://www.mygermancity.com/stadtilm

 

Good To Know

Birthday Traditions

In a world where bad behavior is often rewarded, I'm starting to wonder if the concept came from observing Germans on their birthday. What? From a country of people known for their formality? Something smells fishy, right?

Hear me out. You see, Germans are (for the most part) very formal—but come your birthday you're actually allowed to be bratty. It's one of those traditions that lets the birthday boy or girl have a free day pass to, um, break the rules a bit, so to speak.

One traditional German birthday rule that shouldn't be broken is wishing someone a "Alles Gutes zum Geburtstag" before the actual birthday itself. This stems from a superstition that alleges bad luck to both parties. Even gifts sent the recipient will often have a Geburtstag warning so they don't open it before the big day.

Brattiness is encouraged, but German punctuality prevails. ;-)

What about an actual Birth Day? You know, when those little bundles of joy make their way into the world? Well, traditionally, no gifts are given before the actual arrival of a new baby—and often a house will be decorated on the day a screaming, crying (I say this in jest, I love little, oh-so-cute newborn babies!) addition to the family makes its grand entrance.

Traditional families can often have a wooden wreath for the new baby holding 12 candles (with one for good luck), and parents will set it out on the table for the first dozen years of their little angel's lives. This is in addition to sending treats into school for their child's classmates.

You're not off the hook in the treats department if you're an adult, by the way. Oh no, unlike our American counterparts where your family & friends will often foot the bill for a cake and/or dinner—as a German you're paying for not only your own cake, but you're hosting (and paying) for your shindig.

Shocking, right? Might explain why often Birthday Parties may usually be only a family affair.

And who doesn't appreciate a "milestone" birthday? For Germans turning 21 isn't as much a big deal (like in the United States), but 16 and 18 are, as well as turning 50 (sometimes called Abrahamstag, which will be mine this April). Like, if you're 50 you're supposed to "know better," or something.

Some Old World traditions sometimes make their way around if you're 30 and single—where friends will make you "clean" doorknobs with a toothbrush if you're female, and the local Rathaus steps if you're male.

Although I don't recommend getting married only to avoid these silly antics. Besides, it's your birthday, you can always act like a brat about it while you're scrubbing away. ;-)

 

Next G-ZINE's Preview

Short 'n sweet, here's what's coming up next in Germany — a preview of the next G-ZINE:

  • Berlinale Bears Are Back
  • A Kiss Surrenders Says Emil
  • Medieval Meersburg & More

 

Published by Marcus Hochstadt
Founder, MyGermanCity.com

Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 3
68723 Schwetzingen, Germany

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