German Food; The Good, the Bad, and the Take it or Leave it

I wanna talk about German food and some of the stuff that I like and don't like.  As I've mentioned before, I really didn't know too much about German food before I moved to Germany.  I've eaten at plenty of restaurants thus far and I definitely have an opinion on the food.  Most of these dishes are popular in Germany and some unique to Bavaria.  As you can see, it's almost impossible to become a vegetarian here.  Let's get started.
Good Main Dishes
1) Nurnberger Brats- These little sausages are unique to Bavaria, Nurnberg to be exact and they are pretty darn good.

2) Bavarian White Sausages- This white sausage is obviously unique to Bavaria and it's usually served with pretzels and mustard.  Although I don't eat these because they are made with veal, I had to include them because they are a staple of Bavaria.

3) Doners- These aren't exactly German.  It's Turkish and they are similar to Gyro's in the US.  But I had to include them on my list because they are all over Germany and probably one of the best things you will eat here.  Trust me.  They are usually made with lamb or Turkey.

4) Salad- Germans make their salads with slaw, shredded carrots and cucumber, and even cold beans.  They usually use the same vinegar based dressing for everything too.  At first I didn't like their salads but now I love them.

5) Baked Fish-  It might take a little getting used to but the whole baked fish is lightly fried and then baked and it is delicious.  If you don't want to pick through the bones you can just ask for a "fischfilet."

 Good Side Dishes
6) Potato salad (kartoffelsalat)-  Some more items on the good list is homemade potato salad.  I never liked potato salad in the States but this is great.  It's a typical side dish.

7) Pumpkin Cream Soup (keurbiscremesuppe)-  The pumpkin cream soup is seasonal and it's amazing.  It has pumpkin oil and pumpkin seeds in it.  I went to an entire pumpkin festival here in the fall.  Pretty much every soup here is good.
8) Cheese (kase)-  What kind of cheese?  Doesn't matter.  All kinds of German cheese are usually good.  And way cheaper than cheese in the States.
9) White Asparagus (spargel)- I didn't know there was such a thing as white asparagus before I moved to Germany.  It's really good, but seasonal.  I show you how to make a great Spargel soup here.
10) Red Sauerkraut- It doesn't look like it would taste good but I love red sauerkraut.  It's a great side dish for meat and potato dishes because it sweetens it up.
10) Potato Pancakes (kartoffelpuffers)-  Potato pancakes can be found in a lot of European countries and they are yummy.  Paired with applesauce or ketchup, even better.  I got these at the Heidelberg Christmas Market.
 Good Desserts and Drinks
12) Bee Sting Cake (bienenstich)- I just had this German cake for the first time recently and it is soooo good.  It's made with honey, cream, and sliced almonds.  It's not overly sweet like it looks and it's addictive!

13) Beer- Okay even though I don't drink beer I had to add it to the list. Germany is obviously known for its great beer and if I had to drink beer I'd like it from here.  Or maybe Belgium.  Radlers (beer and lemonade) and Colaweizen (cola and beer) are also good and lighter choices.

14) Spiced Wine (gluhwein)-  This is another seasonal item.  It's like a warm spiced cider and it's served at all the German Christmas markets like the Passau Christmas Market where I took this picture.

15) Black Forest Cake-  This cake, which I'm sure you've heard of is traditionally from the Black Forest region in Germany and made with liquor from that area, chocolate, and sour cherries.  Yum

Take it or Leave it
These are four foods that I could take or leave.  They aren't good or bad IMO.
16) Dumplings (knodel)- They are made with different kinds of foods. If they are made with riced potatoes then they are okay with me, but sometimes they are made with lard and I mean, come on, you're basically eating a starchy ball...why add lard to that?

17) Schnitzel-  There are so many ways to make schnitzel.  But it's almost always with pork.  It's not bad when it's fried but no person should be eating the amount of schnitzel that is usually prepared with this dish.  If it's a jaegerschnitzel, it's made with a mushroom sauce.  If it's wiener schnitzel it's made with veal and I'm not touching it.

18) Goulash- It's made all around the world.  It's basically a hearty stew of meat and potatoes.  But I'm not such a fan and sometimes it can be way too salty.  But, it can be good comfort food on a cold day with some bread for dipping.

19) Pretzels- Okay why are pretzels on the take it or leave it list?  Not every German pretzel is created equally.  I've had some amazing pretzels like the huge ones at Oktoberfest and I've also had some crusty dried out pretzels that are used as bar food.  It really depends.

The Bad

These are food that I think are gross and don't plan on eating again or in the first place.  Some are self explanatory...ahem...pork knuckle.

20) Pork Knuckle- You might need to avert your eyes for this one.  I've never tried this and I never will.  B loves it and he's ordered it several times and it makes my stomach turn.  It's usually the size of a head.  Ugh.

21) Prawns- I actually love shrimp and prawns are technically giant shrimp but there's something about how big they are that turns me off. Plus they are served looking back at you so I just can't do it.  Fish whole. No problem.  But prawns.  Nope.

22) Gingerbread Cake (lebekuchen)-  These are the seasonal decorative heart thingies that hang at fests and markets.  They look cool but do not taste good. Even the fresh made lebekuchen doesn't taste good IMO.

23)  Currywurst-  This is a whole pile of nope.  A big wiener covered in curry sauce and powder.  I just don't like it.

24) Carbonated Water (wasser mit gas)-  All of the water in Germany (and most of Europe) is served with bubbles.  I don't like it.  You have to purposely ask for still water if you don't want it with  bubbles.  I can't figure out why Germans like bubbly water and wouldn't want to enjoy a fresh glass of water, but that's why it's on the bad list for me.

26) Spaetzel-  It's basically noodles with a weird texture.  Some people love them but I think they are bland and gross.  You can spice them up with different toppings but I've never really grown fond for them, so they go on my bad list.

So there you have it.  The good, the bad, and the take it or leave it.  As you can see, there are more good than bad.  Have you had some of these German foods?  Which do you like and dislike and which are you wanting to try for the first time?

Linking up at:

Young Germany Expat Bloggers Blog Hop
The Brambleberry Cottage
From My Front Porch To Yours
Rooted in Thyme
Common Ground
The Tablescaper (Oh the Places I've Been!)
Real Food Fridays
A Dose of Paige
Sunday Best Showcase
Travel Photo Discovery
Mel's Daisy Patch
A Stroll Thru Life
Kathe With An E
Do Tell Tuesday
Tuesdays with a Twist
Savvy Southern Style
Dagmar's Home
Ivy and Elephants
Budget Traveler's Sandbox
Finding Fabulous
The Dedicated House (Make it Pretty Monday)

10 Tips for Expats Moving to Bavaria

I want to share 10 of my best tips for those planning on moving to Bavaria.  Bavaria is unlike any other place in Germany.  It is beautiful, safe, and has that small town charm.  But, there are some tips you will need to understand while navigating your way through this part of the country or initiating a move.  These are all tips that I had not known myself prior to moving to Germany.  But, after living here for a year, I feel that these will be most helpful for newcomers or expats.  There are so many things to do and see in this part of the country and I wish I had known these things before I moved here so I could be better prepared.  Take note of these tips, both pros and cons that will give you a good idea of Bavaria and what to look out for.  This is the article I had orginally written for the Expatsblog contest where I took home Gold for Germany!

10 Tips for Expats Moving to Bavaria

1)      Remember that German you learned in high school? 

It doesn’t matter if you remember much because the German they teach in school is very different from the Bavarian dialect.  It may take a while to get used to the way people speak here as there are different words used, phrases, and even punctuation.  Sure, you are ahead of the game if you know German at all, but Bavarians may not immediately understand your German.  With that said, a little German goes a long way.  They appreciate that you are trying even though they might respond in English. 

2)      There are speed limits on the autobahn.

You know those stories from people who have never been to Germany and say that there is no speed limit?  Well they are wrong.  Don’t get me wrong, the autobahn is very fast it takes some getting used to when your speedometer goes past 100 MPH.  I admit, even two hour trips on the autobahn are exhausting because you must be paying attention 110% of the time.  But there are areas with speed limits.  Where there isn’t a speed limit, it is suggested that you drive around 130 KPH depending on the area.  If you see a flashing light it means your car and license plate has been photographed and will be sent in the mail with a fine.  While it is true that in some parts you can go as fast as you want, if you do end up getting into an accident, you will be at fault for not being able to control your car at that speed, if you are even alive to be punished.  

3)      Gas Prices are Insane

Unless you are getting gas at American prices (if you are associated with the military), expect gas on the German economy to be double what you are used to in the states.  When you are burning all of that gas on the autobahn, it can become very expensive.  That is why a lot of Germans use the train or carpool.

4)      The Trains are Safe and Effective for Travel

I’ve taken the train throughout Germany by myself and it is a very safe way to get around.  Keep in mind that you should always be on the lookout for red flags and pay attention to your surroundings, but overall, it is a pretty easy system to use.  It can save you the trouble of driving to a destination and there is usually a helpful desk clerk that speaks English and can help you with ordering tickets and finding your stops.

5)      Travel is a Must

Take advantage of living in Bavaria and Germany in general, as it is a central point in Europe where you can easily branch out and visit other countries.  You could conceivably drive or take the train to countries like Italy, Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Beligum, and the Netherlands.  Don’t miss this opportunity to experience slow travel and really get a feel for each country.  It will be cheaper because you don’t have to by a plane ticket from the states and you can take shorter weekend trips!  Traveling in Bavaria alone is exciting in itself.  There are many famous restaurants, outdoor activities, and castles to explore.  Get out and travel!

6)      Don’t Assume People are Rude Because they Don’t Smile

Smiling at strangers is a dead giveaway that you are an American.  I still do it, but don’t be offended when they don’t smile back.  It doesn’t mean they are rude, quite the opposite, I have found Germans to generally be very hospitable and friendly.  They just think it’s quite awkward to smile at people all the time for no reason.  I think it’s pretty awkward too.

7)      Try the Food, it Will Blow you Away

I didn’t know too much about German food until I actually moved to Germany.  And you know what?  It’s pretty amazing.  The food is prepared fresh with usually local products being used and free of preservatives.  It may not last in your fridge for a week but that is a good thing.  Typical dishes are brats, sauerkraut, spaetzle, jagerschnitzel, salad, and potato salad.  Most dishes are made with pork and you won’t find too much beef here.  Even if you go to a small restaurant in the middle of nowhere, you are getting quality food.  Germans tend to eat a little later in the day and have the biggest meals for lunch.  Germany also has great Italian and Asian food; however, you may end up missing good seafood and Mexican food in Bavaria.

8)      Trachten (the dirndl and lederhosen) is Real and Bavarians Wear it Quite Often

Originally worn by peasants, Trachten became popular by nobles and eventually everyone else started to follow suit.  Trachten, however, is typically only worn in Bavaria and parts of Austria.  If you go to Northern parts of Germany they think it’s kind of funny.  I love that Bavaria is so traditional.  Bavarians wear their trachten to a lot of events like fests, markets, and the wildly popular Oktoberfest.  Don’t be afraid to buy one for yourself either.

9)      Everything isn’t Open 24/7

In fact, besides some restaurants, most stores, shops, and other businesses are closed on Sundays.  Bavarians respect this day as a religious day of rest.  But Sunday isn’t the only day with limited or closed hours.  Many stores close early during the weekday; some as early as 5pm.  So if you work and then need to run an errand it can be kind of difficult.  It can also be frustrating when you want to run to a certain store in the evening and it is already closed.  Things like restaurants however, are usually open late.  Some don’t even open until dinner and stay open until about midnight or later.  It will take time for you to adjust and plan ahead and realized that 24 hour service is not an option here.

10)   People Take Pride in their Property

People here take pride in their homes and backyards.  Germany is a small country in reference to the United States and they need to conserve energy and keep the country clean by practicing recycling, good landscaping, and organic farming.  In fact, recycling isn’t just a good idea here, it’s the law.  You can walk through any neighborhood in Bavaria and see how beautiful they keep their lawns and really take pride in their property.  There are flower pots hanging from almost every window sill.  It is a beautiful area to see and it has reminded me to be more eco conscious and to really think about what kind of foot print I am leaving for future generations.

I hope these tips will be helpful for someone considering a move to Bavaria.  It is a wonderful place to live, but always remember to be respectful to the people and your environment and you will have a great time.

Link Goodies #1

1) Want to learn a new language? I do. I need to work on my German so I can communicate better with my German friends even though most of them all know perfect English. I thought about doing Rosetta Stone but it's so expensive. I just started Duolingo on my iPhone which is a free app to help you learn a language. How amazing does that sound? It's bloody brilliant. I don't plan on being fluent with this but I'll let you know how it goes. I'm really excited, especially because it's free and seems easy and interactive. Do any of you have experiences completing a Duolingo language? Please share.

2) I realized that although I have a link on my sidebar for my Google + Community, Antique and Flea Market Travelers, I never really announced the community on my blog. I'm taking the time now to share this information with you. My little community has grown to over 700 members! We talk about our finds, show em' off, and even get help identifying them. If you're a vintage junkie, check it out.

3) Take this fun quiz to find out what city you should actually be living in.  I got Portland.  I'm totally okay with that.  Have you ever seen Portlandia?  Love it.

4) During some of my research about possibly traveling to Thailand, I came across some very sad articles about how some of the animals in the tourist industry are treated in Thailand.  Having an Elephant ride may just be hindering our gentle giants.  Read more here.

5) This is a video made by a guy who took a bunch of famous paintings and animated them.  It's hauntingly beautiful and oddly relaxing in my opinion.

6) You might have seen this one floating around. It's a quiz that tells you based on upon your dialect what part of the US you might be from.  Some people I know had strange results.  Mine were pretty spot on, it said I might be from Philly, D.C. or Arlington.  (I'm originally from PA).

7) Need some inspiration to shoot photos like a boss?  Check out this Russian mama who shoots pics of her son and farm life.

8) I thought this was an interesting video of of clothing and dance styles throughout the last 100 years.

9) For my Frenchie fix, I'm sharing this adorable video of a daddy French Bulldog showing his puppies how to play!

10) I was lucky enough to win this rockin' skull tank from Reverie-the Shop.  I love it and Bri's site.  They have the coolest stuff.  Blankets, bags, and clothes.  Give it a look.  Thanks Bri!  And thanks to Diane's Vintage Zest for running the contest!

Any link goodies you are dying to share?

Stylish Ideas for your Home Office

I've been thinking a lot lately about turning one of the rooms in my house into a home office.  I'd love to have my own little space to makeover, start from scratch, and fill with Etsy goodness.  Also, I need a space to sew and do school work.  I was excited to write a post about home office inspiration.  This article I wrote for gives you some great ideas on how to decorate and where to fit a home office when you think you don't have any space.  Click on the link below to read the article:

Do you have a home office?  I'd love to see what it looks like.  Add your links below.

Linking up at:

Monthly Inspiration: Items to Propel you into the New Year!

New Year new you right?  Well while everyone has goals, sometimes they need some inspiration.  I picked 3 sections of goals that I am excited to pursue further in 2014.  Fitness, Photography, and Planning.  I own most of these items already but I am finally putting some of them to use, i.e. the heart rate monitor that has been unopened for months ;)

Need a sneaky way to get in more fruits and veggies?  This is a reasonably priced juicer that does a great job.  I think juicing is a good way to squeeze in fruits and veggies, but don't fool yourself into thinking that drinking sugar filled juice all day is good for you.  Make em' green!

I'm not a fan of Old Navy clothing but I'm kind of obsessed with their activewear.  It's super cheap and good quality.  I've bought lots of their cute workout gear without breaking the bank.

Don't be bound to the treadmill.  This HRM will watch your heart and count your calories.  I love it!  They can get pretty pricey, but there's no reason you have to pay an arm and a leg.

4) OnaBag
I've been searching for the perfect camera bag. I wanted it to be able to double up as a purse.  The Onabags are stylish and practical. This bag protected my camera during the fickle English rain.  They are a bit of a splurge.

Wanting to learn how to use your camera in manual for the New Year?  You can take one of Bonnie's online photography courses and start your year actually knowing how to use your fancy DSLR.

Many times I can't lug around my nice camera so I rely on my iPhone for taking pictures.  This wristlet is perfect for storing my phone, credit card, ID, and some moohla on a night out!

No, I'm not in grade school anymore, but I do use a piggie bank system to get excited about saving for upcoming trips.  Mostly for the novelty factor.  Use it for travel.  Use it to save money for school books.  Use it to reward yourself with an outfit after successful workouts...I don't care, just use it :) This little piggie is digital so it does the math for you.

I actually have this book and I like to mark each place I've visited.  It doesn't matter what book you choose, but they can be great inspiration.  I've added many of these places to my Travel Bucket List.

9) Daily/Monthly Planner
I do admit that I am someone that puts all of their appointments straight into my iPhone but this year I want to be able to see a physical representation of my goals, appointments, and to do's for the year.  One of my pet peeves is when people make a bunch of big plans and don't follow through.  Life happens but don't be one of those people this year.  Plan stuff and then make it happen :)  Plus there are tons of cute planners out right now.

Do you have any gadgets, tips or tricks that are propelling you into the New Year?

Linking up at:

The Dedicated House (Make it Pretty Monday)
Sunday View
Mel's Daisy Patch
Coastal Charm
A Stroll Thru LIfe
Do Tell Tuesday
Tuesdays with a Twist
Lavender Garden Cottage
Wordless Wednesdays
Savvy Southern Style
The Brambleberry Cottage
From My Front Porch To Yours
Ivy and Elephants
Rooted in Thyme
Treasure Tromp
French Country Cottage
Inspire Me Please
Finding Fabulous
Serenity Now
The Tablescaper (Seasonal Sundays)
Sunday Best Showcase
Kathe With An E

The Roman Baths in Bath, England

The last stop on my trip to England were The Roman Baths in Bath. If you follow my blog, you know I have visited the Imperial Roman Baths in Trier, Germany. But these are essentially ruins and we only visited the outside of the ruins. The Roman Baths in Bath are very much intact and we had the opportunity to go inside and pretend we were spa goers back in the day. I was excited to visit Bath.  First, you can walk through the museum which houses a multitude of Roman artifacts.  Get your camera ready, because photos are allowed everywhere here! 

The Romans Baths were used daily and weekly for ancient people to get clean, socialize, and relax.  The source was the local hot springs, which they would use to fuel the different sections of the bath house.  The Celts revered the goddess Sulis (and you will see statues of this near the baths) and they equated her to the Roman goddess, Minerva (goddess of wisdom).  So often you can see her being called Sulis Minerva.  The baths were originally built around 44 A.D. but only later discovered by English archaeologists in the later 19th century.  These baths are special because they are known to be the biggest and most complete representation.  Like Stonehenge, Bath is another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Wow, I really went to two of those in one day?

Above you get to see an image of Gorgon's Head, The Spring Overflow ( made with lead pipes), some of the different bath rooms, and the last bath picture you can see the Abbey poking out from the top.  At the end of the tour in the Pump Room you can try some of the spring water which is suppose to be curative.  I've learned my lesson about drinking the "curative waters" from my trip to Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic ;)

Below is the town of Bath.  I wish we would have had some time to explore the city itself.  I understand there are some other cool things to do there like visit the Abbey, the Jane Austen Centre, the Theatre, and the Gardens.  Our tour guide even told us that Nicholas Cage lives there and possibly Johnny Depp has a home there?  Plus, Bonnie Rose from A Compass Rose lives there.  Perhaps she would know?  Before we hopped back on the bus we did try a traditional Cornish Pasty filled with meat and vegetables.  The bakery worker said they had won some sort of prize for this dish and they were closing in 5 minutes so we got like four different pastries for like 3GBP.  Win and win. 

Wanting to take a dip in the Baths?  Well you can, sort of.  Apparently you can have a spa day in the Thermae Bath Spa, which is a new addition.  Packages can be found here.

 Planning a visit to The Roman Baths in Bath England?  Go here:
The Roman Baths, Abbey Church Yard
Bath, BA1 1LZ

Tel: +44 (0)1225 477785
Fax: +44 (0)1225 477743

Miss a part of this trip?  There are four other parts to our trip to England that you can find here:
London (Day 1)|London (Day 2)|Windsor Castle|Stonehenge

Have you visited any of these places?  Do you have a favorite?

Linking up at:

Travel Tuesday


During my trip to London, I was able to sneak in a trip to Stonehenge.  I am so glad I made this a priority.  This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It's located in the countryside of Wiltshire, England.  There has always been mystery surrounding the stones and how they got there and how they were raised in such a time where machinery was not available.  Also there are discrepancies between who we believe built them and why. We do know a few things about Stonehenge though.

What We Know
1) Archaeologist have discovered that they were constructed around 3100BC and 1100 BC

2) Gerald S. Hawkins and other astronomers believed that the stones were used to predict astronomical events but many have discredited this theory due to incomplete data

3) There have been human remains found around the sight making archaeologists think it was used as a holy or burial grounds

4) The original layout of the stones has been modified by ancient Britons

5) Currently the land is actually owned by 3 different owners.  This creates issue when decisions about renovations need to be done

During our trip, we left from Windsor Castle and hopped back on the bus.  I'm glad we were nice and cozy during our hour long bus ride through the English countryside because the weather was at its worst.  The winds were very fast and it was of course raining.  Stonehenge has undergone a lot of renovations to the actual tourism aspect of it.  They added a building where you buy tickets that is a far walk from the site and then you have to actually drive to another site to get in line for a bus that takes you to Stonehenge.  The idea was to not have a bunch of buildings and people near the exact site taking away from the view.  Also, England has been very consciencious about keeping things at their natural beauty.  On a warm day you could walk a half hour to the site, but on a day like to this, the bus was the only option. 

Once we actually got to the site I didn't want to take out my nice camera so I snapped a few shots with my iPhone, took in the beauty for about 5 minutes and then had to head back on the bus much like everyone else.  But it was worth it.  I mean look how beautiful this is!

Once you get back to the site where the buses take off there is a gift shop and a small museum.  I think the picture above shows a replica of one of the stones and how the ancients possibly raised them. This was a once in a lifetime place to visit and I'm so glad I did.

Planning a trip to Stonehenge?  You can go as part of a tour like I did (which is the easy way because it's in the middle of nowhere) or go here.

Last Stop: The Roman Baths in Bath, England

There are three previous stops on this trip:
London (Day1)|London (Day 2)|Windsor Castle

Is Stonehenge on your travel list? Do you have your own theories?

Linking up at:

Travel Tuesday