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Issue #148 January 6, 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.

January 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...

Happy New Year, my faithful Readers. :-)

I'm so happy you're with me for the start of another year here at the G-ZINE. And I'd love to wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to you and your family.

You'd think now that Winter has a tight grip with its cold, icy hand around places like Germany there wouldn't be too much to do—but you'd be OH-SO-WRONG. There's plenty to do, and it starts right on the first day of the first month of the year.

That's right, for the 49th time it's time for the Neujahrslauf. Now to be honest, I'm not one for getting up at the crack of dawn to go running around, even if it's a fantastic city like Berlin. But, there are plenty of people running, cheering, and enjoying the festivities. If you don't mind, I'll be home with my coffee.

And for those of you who were sad to see Christmas over, don't worry. You've got just about another week to enjoy the ongoing Christmas Markets in both Baden-Baden and Speyer.

There's still more to explore, so stick around to read the rest of the G-ZINE.

Besides, how else will you learn about places like the Bavarian town of Immenstadt? What? I haven't done a Bavarian town in the Trip Tip in like ages. ;-)

Anyway, Immenstadt is situated ever so wonderfully in the Allgäu Region, right in the shadow of the Alps. Who, by the way, always look so beautiful all covered with snow.

Although you might want to wait for the winter snow to melt before trekking off on one of Germany's fantastic hiking routes. I found a few more, so I thought I'd give you a headstart to plan a trip to meander around one (or two) when the weather's a tad warmer.

All that's left to mention is the German Quote of the Month, this time by Oswald Spengler. Born in Blankenburg back in 1880, Herr Spengler was both a historian and philosopher. He died at a young age from a heart attack in 1936—just a few years after one of his best selling books was banned by the Nazis. A tidbit I found more interesting was how he spent the last years of his life just buying books—like thousands of them.

Now while I'm off wondering what happened to all of Spengler's books, you're able to see what's to do around Germany this month.


P.S.: The coming year of 2020 marks 250 years of Germany's most famous son, Ludwig van Beethoven. So look forward to all kinds of special events throughout this milestone year. It's also the 30th anniversary of Germany's official reunification, so that, too, will have special events, tours, and exhibitions in the coming year.


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Must-See And -Do Events

Christmas Market

Christmas might be over, but that doesn't mean you're not able to keep the spirit of it going. Come to Baden-Baden to experience its charming Christmas Market, one of the prettiest of all Germany's Christmas Markets. Dozens of decorated stalls await offering up charming crafts and whatnot, so use this opportunity to get a jump on next year's gifts. ;-)

Christmas & New Year's Market

Speyer is a great town on an average day, and its charm is incredibly intensified during its Christmas Market. Give its ice skating rink a chance, or just enjoy the atmosphere as you're munching on some delicious street food. Honestly, I love the look of Speyer's Cathedral with just a bit of snow during the Market just as the sun has gone down. What can I say, call me a romantic.

Berlin Fashion Week

Bright colors, bold statements, short hemlines, long hemlines, and beautiful people strutting their stuff down the runway—all this (and more) can be found in Berlin's Fashion Week. The event kicks off with some amazingly talented designers from South Africa, and you'll find German and other International designers making their fashion statement throughout the week. Keep in mind, not all events are open to the public, so be sure to check the website's calendar.

British Shorts

Sitting down to a movie on a cold winter's night isn't a half bad idea, is it? And it's a full-on good idea if you're willing to enjoy one of the British Shorts for its annual Film Festival. Oh, c'mon, this is the land that gave us Monty Python, Dr. Who, and Mr. Bean—so why not find yourself another character to love and adore?

Fide Struck Exhibition

  • January 22nd-December 31st
  • Hamburg

In the 1930s, photographer, Fide Struck, took snapshots of port workers, farmers, and fish sellers in the Hamburg area. What's remarkable is how his photos were left undisturbed for decades (and how the negative even managed to survive World War II). They now offer a glimpse of what daily life in Northern Germany was like all those years ago.


German Phrase of the Month

  • English: I enjoy the work./I don't enjoy the work at all.
  • German: Die Arbeit macht mir Spass./Die Arbeit macht gar keinen Spass.
  • Pronounce: Dee arr-bite mahkt meer shpaws./dee arr-bite mahkt meer gar kay-nen shpaws.


German Quote of the Month

"This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us; to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves; to act in such a way that some part of us lives on."

—Oswald Spengler


Trip Tip

Close to the Austrian border lies the lovely town of Immenstadt in the Bavarian Swabia region. Its 40 districts are charmingly dotted with old churches and chapels, castle ruins, and idyllic countryside in the Upper Allgäu.

Isn't that enough alone to get you to want to visit? For the most part, yes? ;-)

Seriously though, Immenstadt is exactly what most people imagine the Bavarian countryside to be. And you'll want to make sure your camera is ready to snap lots of photos. No selfies allowed.

In my not-so-humble opinion, it's better to take pictures of buildings like the Stadtpfarrkirche St. Nikolaus, built just over 300-years ago to replace an older one. And be sure to get a good shot of the St. Josef Church, built in 1653.

Of course I have a favorite, just can't choose between Gothic church of Sankt Blaise in the village of Diepolz or the medieval one of Sts. Otman and Vitus.

Make sure you've got plenty of film or space available for more photos of a handful of castle ruins. There are around five of them within the surrounding area, and all but one originate from the 13th century.

Burgruine Rothenfels and Burgruine Hugofels are quite close to each other, each unique with their craggy rubble. Burg Werdenstein's preserved "Gate" is a testament to medieval engineering and architecture; and sadly the Burgruine Rauhlaubenberg's remaining walls aren't all that safe—so enjoy from a distance.

FYI, the Burgruine Laubenbergerstein is older than its neighbors, a 12th century castle whose jumbly stones just seem downright creepy. Ohh, this isn't a warning to stay away—its eerie vibe only makes it more intriguing.

Immenstadt isn't all old buildings, by the way. Nope, this is a vibrant community with lots of fantastic markets and festivals. One of the biggest is the Viehscheid (Cattle Market), held on the 3rd Saturday of September.

Earlier in the year Immenstadt hosts a City Festival (June); the Bühler Seenachtsfest (end of July); the Jahrmarkt der Träume (July); the Allgäu Triathlon (August); and the Outdoorfest Allgäu (early June).

What else is there to tell you about Immenstadt? Oh yes, how about a number of people flock to the area to swim or boat along the Alpsee, to hike or ski, or cycle around the Bavarian countryside.

But, if that's not exactly your kind of thing—the town is home to two museums. The Local History Museum is within the Hofmühle, dating back to the 1890s. And the Bergbauernmuseum is full of information on rural dairy farming—and totally family friendly.

That's what's great about many of my Trip Tip towns—they're family friendly and offer something for everyone. For me it's a cup of coffee, and I'm gonna enjoy it while taking in the beauty of a Bavarian winter day in Immenstadt.


Good To Know

Yes, I'm aware that most people aren't out hiking this time of year. Of course there are a few die-hard hiking fans that don't mind trapezing out in the snow. But I look at it this way—if I tell you about some awesome hiking routes through Germany now, you'll have time to plan (like a proper German does) for when the weather's more agreeable.

Right now I found two themed hiking trails, the Fläming Castles Trail and the Zweitälersteig. The former is a 147-kilometer route starting and ending in Bad Belzig, the latter a 106-kilometer route that kicks off and ends in Waldkirch.

As for the Fläming Castles Trail, it's done in eight stages with some three-quarters of it over unmade surfaces. What? Just take some sturdy shoes—this way you don't miss out on seeing some amazing wildlife, like owls and woodpeckers.

It also offers an opportunity to explore around Burg Eisenhardt, which is also a museum. And while you're in the area, make a stop to the St. Marienkirche.

Another castle that shouldn't be missed is Burg Rabenstein in Raben, a town that also has its own Nature Exploration Trail. Ohh, there's also the Palace in Wiesenburg, too.

The longest stage of the Fläming Castles Trail runs from Ziesar-Groß Briesen, at a whopping 24.4 kilometers. Ziesar, by the way, has these amazingly beautiful village churches—the Stadtkirche Heilig Kreuz Ziesar being a Romanesque wonder. And you'll even find a castle dating back to the 13th century.

While the Fläming Castles Trail has more of an architectural flavor, the countryside seems to be the main attraction on the Zweitälersteig (Two Valleys Trail). Throughout its 106-kilometers you'll find everything from waterfalls to gorges, quiet cafes to local farms; no wonder this route is considered to be "one of Germany's most beautiful hiking routes."

Hey, who am I to disagree when it comes to the Black Forest area?

The route is simple, marked by green diamond with a red heart, and starts and ends within the town of Waldkirch. It's meant to be done within five stages, and special packages are available April to October that'll help you along so you're not traveling with all your luggage.

One recommendation that I read regarding the Zweitälersteig is if you're driving to park your car at the end of the stage you're on—and there are both buses and trains that'll bring you back to the starting point of your journey. If you're staying the night within the ZweiTälerLand, get yourself a KONUS Guest Card, it'll get you free bus or train transport.

Overnight accommodations along the Zweitälersteig, by the way, are charming pensions, guesthouses, and even farms.

One of the best stops along this route is Simonswald, with its Old Mill and Village Museum. However, it's the Zweribachwasserfälle (Zweribach Waterfalls) that'll most likely take your breath away.

A unique stop on the Zweitälersteig is the Totentanz in Beinhaus Kapelle at the Church of St. Georg in the town of Gutach im Breisgau. In English it would be the Death Dance in the Ossuary Chapel—whatever you call it, it's an eerily macabre piece of art from, like, the 18th century.

Not everyone enjoys this kind of stuff. So for those who prefer something more light—there's the medicinal garden in the village of Winden im Elztal. Or, how about the elegant Baroque church of St. Mansuetus in the hamlet of Biederbach?

Ooh, I almost forgot to mention all the flora and fauna that await in the Southern Black Forest Nature Park. Can you believe it, I tell you the countryside is the main attraction, and here I am about to forget an integral part of the Zweitälersteig.

No doubt you'll find some wonderful treasures on these two hiking routes that I actually did forget to mention—so you'll just have to do them, then tell me what I missed. Sound like a deal?

But, as long as I don't forget to write next month's G-ZINE... it's all good. ;-)


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
  • Carnival Comes To Cologne
  • Simone Signoret Said So


Published by Marcus Hochstadt

Ortsstr. 52
76891 Rumbach, Germany

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