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Issue #149 February 7, 2020


The 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.

February 2020 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...

I got lucky today—the weather for a winter morning wasn't too disagreeable. Isn't that just a nice way of saying it wasn't too gosh-darn cold out today, huh? The sun was shining, and it (almost) made me want to put down my coffee to go outside exploring.

Lucky for me, as well as you, is there's a way this month to sorta get out of the house—all without actually having to spend too long outdoors. That's right, February's full of Must See & Do Events that ultimately keep you warm indoors without being all cabin-fever stuck home.

February's the month of Berlin's annual Film Festival, known as the Berlinale. The most coveted prize is the Golden Bear—and this G-ZINE's Quote of the Month comes from a Silver Bear winner. But more on that in a minute, ok?

Oh, you better hurry if you want to scope out the Staedel Museum in Frankfurt for its Van Gogh exhibition on some 120 pieces of art. It ends in a few days.

Now, I've heard somewhere some people (not that I'll ever understand them) like being outdoors in the dead of winter. So for you nice people you'll probably want to consider partying during Cologne's Carnival. And I'll admit there's something strikingly beautiful with the colorful hot air balloons against the bright white of snow during the annual Montgolfiade at Lake Tegernsee.

To be fair, there is one place that might make you want to be outside—the town of Bad Oeynhausen in North Rhine-Westphalia. Not me, mind you, that "Bad" designation means it's a spa town—and that's right where you'll find me—in the spa. ;-)

Oooh, speaking of spa towns, Wiesbaden was the hometown (another wonderful one) of Simone Henriette Charlotte Kaminker—my choice for this G-ZINE's Quote of the Month. Her stage name was Simone Signoret, and she's touted as a French actress, but she was born in Germany back in 1921.

Frau Signoret was married to the actor, Yves Montand, until her death in 1985. And while he was reported to have had an affair with none other than Marilyn Monroe, his wife was out winning not only a Berlinale Silver Bear, but an Emmy, and a BAFTA.

One of her most decorated films was Room at the Top from 1959. It's a tragic tale, sad and bitter, but this gorgeous woman with an infectious smile was nothing short of outstanding—and beat out Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, and Doris Day for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1960.

Before I wrap this up, all that's left to mention is the Good to Know. And again I ask myself, what's Good to Know? Well, it was a snippet of German news that caught my attention—so I figured, why not talk about some news going on in Germany today?

Good to Know, right? Want to know what else is good to know? That it's time for me to let you get on to reading the G-ZINE. My coffee & I will see you next month counting the days 'til Spring. ;-)



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Must-See And -Do Events


I don't know about you, but I find hot air balloons are part art, part science, and part magic. There's something romantic, fascinating, and just brilliant as these huge balloons lift off over the gorgeous Bavarian town (with a castle, no less). If you're not adventurous enough to take a ride in one of the balloons yourself, there's music and even a Gastro & Culinary Market to keep ya well-fed. Did I mention the beer? What? I told you this was Bavaria, didn't I? ;-)

Making Van Gogh

I have a confession—I'm not exactly a Van Gogh but a Salvador Dali fan. But that doesn't mean I won't get excited about the man who's been called the "Father of Modern Art." Here you'll see some 120 pieces of his artwork, and the museum has extended hours on some days to make it more convenient to see this 19th century painter's work. Did you know Van Gogh's works are some of the most expensive artwork to sell in our lifetime? Amazing considering he was thought a failure in his own.


While Germany's Fifth Season officially started 11:11am on 11/11—the real festivities are the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. And no one does Carnival like Cologne, with events like parades and Balls, dancing and music, beer and costumes. The revelry is infectious, the smiles bright and happy, as the streets of this beautiful city are full of merriment.

Independent Film Festival

While the BIFF (Berlin Independent Film Festival) probably isn't as famous as the Berlinale, doesn't mean it isn't worth submitting an entry to win for Best Feature, Best No-Budget, Best Short Documentary... Ok, you get the point. Either way, get your tickets soon for a film that strikes your fancy at the Babylon Cinema in the Mitte District at Rosa-Luxemburg Straße 30. I'm kinda liking Vampire Vienna—it's campy, it's funny, it's "bloody" brilliant—and showing at 10pm on February 25th.


  • February 20th-March 1st
  • Berlin

This year kicks off the 70th annual Berlinale—and tickets for shows go on sale February 17th, by the way. And the Honorary Golden Bear for this milestone festival goes to Helen Mirren, a wonderful actress who will grace the screen for a special showing of the 2006 film, The Queen. Ohh, and some six different films that have been digitally restored will have their premiere at the Berlinale—including one by Federico Fellini, the comedy A Fish Called Wanda, and even a German silent film. Fantastic, wouldn't you say?


German Phrase of the Month

  • English: What are my responsibilities?
  • German: Was sind meine Aufgaben?
  • Pronounce: Vaz zint maine owf-gah-behn?


German Quote of the Month

"Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years."

—Simone Signoret


Trip Tip

Curious it seems that I, with the power of the keyboard, keep choosing spa towns for the G-ZINE's Trip Tip. Do I do it subconsciously? Do I do it because spa towns like Bad Oeynhausen offer up great places to relax, refresh,and rejuvenate?

Probably a combination of both.

But this North Rhine-Westphalia town doesn't just limit itself to its spa, it's a fantastic place where guided tours will show you highlights like the 12th century Laurentiuskirche, the Großsteingrab von Werste (a megalithic era grave), and its old mill (awesome enough to earn it a place on the Westfälischen Mühlenstraße or Westphalian Mill Route).

That's right, Bad Oeynhausen falls on a German scenic route.

If you ever read any other G-ZINE, or about any town on the website, you'll know I pretty much always have a favorite church or castle—this time it's the graceful Schloss Ovelgönne. And while its Baroque appearance is what you see today, it's got its origins way back in the Middle Ages to around 922 A.D.

And I'm ever so partial to the Evangelical Church in the village of Eidinghausen (also home to the Schloss, BTW). It's 19th century renovation and upgrade from its 12th century construction is now home to art & other objects from centuries long gone.

Now if you've done the traditional sightseeing, you've earned a chance to chill at the spa. The thermal brine pools at the Balitherme, along with the sauna, are a delight. But then again, special treatments using vanilla sugar scrub, chalk, and chocolate are, too.

Inasmuch as it's often quiet in the spa, if it's solitude you're looking for—then Aqua Magica is the place to be. This nature area has like no biking, no driving, just the flora and fauna to keep you occupied from April to October.

Outdoor enthusiasts, don't worry... there's still more to keep you busy. How about canoeing? Golfing (miniature and regular)? Horseback riding? Ohh, and how about doing a Segway?

Not for me, thanks. I'll just meander about one of Bad Oeynhausen's walking trails. Or, perhaps, enjoy the town's cultural events like the Wine Festival (a 3-day event), its Oktoberfest, or its obligatory Christmas Market. A couple of big ones are the Autumn/Farmers Market and the Spring Market (held two weeks before Easter).

No doubt the fine folks at the Tourist Office (located in the Kurpark) will forgive me if I've missed anything regarding their marvelous town—so do yourself a favor, and go see them to find out more.

In the meantime, I'll be subconsciously finding other Spa towns to keep highlighting in the G-ZINE. ;-)


Good To Know

Between you and me, writing the Good to Know is the hardest part of the G-ZINE. Seriously, like what's good to know? Then it hit me—if you're reading the G-ZINE, then you must love all things German—so what's good to know? How about current events in Germany?

For instance, were you aware Germany has banned "Conversion Therapy"? This is amazing stuff considering the state of affairs in Germany just eight decades ago—when being gay could land you in a Concentration Camp. And now perpetrators who force, coerce, threaten, or deceive German citizens under age 18 into these "cures for being gay" face up to a year in jail or a substantial fine.

Ohh, and speaking of jail—makes me think about the police. Turns out the Bundespolizei (Federal Police) has reportedly lowered their German language requirements in order to fill quite a number of positions that become available every year. Hmm, Germans going easy on others whose first language might not be German?

This is good, yes? Yea, this easing of language requirements allows for more recruits to get a passing grade, thus allowing a larger pool of people available from other parts of the European Union to come work.

Maybe more police are needed, because did you hear about the museum heist in Dresden? Ok, this happened a few months ago—but this daring thieves managed to steal over a hundred items whose priceless gems once belonged to the first King of Saxony.

One sword and scabbard alone contained over 800 diamonds, and a pearl necklace had some 177 pearls strung into a single piece of jewelry. One of the most beautiful pieces was believed to belong to the King's wife—a 660 diamond brooch (weighing in at some 614 carats) in celebration of the birth of their daughter.

Can you imagine? Ahhh, if you know anything about it you can buy your own—because there's a 500,000 Euro reward available if you're able to help bring the thieves to justice.

If any of you collect on that reward, you can buy me coffee. ;-)


Next G-ZINE's Preview

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

  • First DOM of the Decade
  • Käthe Kollwitz from Königsberg
  • Stay Strong for Starkbier


Published by Marcus Hochstadt

Ortsstr. 52
76891 Rumbach, Germany

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