Earlier this month, I headed to Germany for food, crafts, beer, and onions…yes onions. Not only did I attend the Onion Festival in Weimar, but I also made a bunch of new friends along my route! In the last week I learned how to cook brats, make Christmas cake, weave lace, paint gnomes, play cards, think like a modern designer, and overall I got back in touch with my Germany roots!
I was introduced to the beauty of Thuringia and Saxony in Germany – areas few English speakers go to! And I became one with the autobahn with top speeds of 95mph…not bad for a little timid driver like myself. And at 95mph I will still in the slow lane as people zipped past me.
If you think that Germany is all about order and conservative, logical demeanors – well you are wrong. I met some of the most interesting, vibrant, and unusual people around.
Bernhard von Lindenau (1779 – 1854)had a vision that learning about art/culture for the small town of Altenburg Germany would bring it and it’s residents more opportunity and education. So he amassed one of the most impressive collections of antique ceramics, early Italian altarpieces, plaster casts of the most important classical works of art and an art library. His collection now resides in Altenburg at Lindenau Museum and is frequently on loan to large museums around the world!
Then there’s Thomas, who has created a Bratwurst wonderland in the middle of Thuringia! One of the best roadside attractions I’ve been too – mainly because Thomas was so nuts about bratwurst. I also met a woman who lives in a bell tower – and no she doesn’t have a hunchback. And finally I met a kindrid spirit in the least likely of places, Altenburg, who made me believe in fate again. Yes – all of this happened in a week! Take a look…
Feeling a little black and white. At Bauhaus University in Weimar Germany soaking up the artistic vibes in this historic school. In love with every single staircase and doorway here! #joingermantradition #artsandcrafts #deinThüringen
At the Leipzig Trade Fair of 1884, gnomes made their debut into our hearts. A terra-cotta workshop from Grafenroda Germany introduced garden gnomes that anyone could afford (they used to only grace the gardens of the wealthy). In Thuringer they came up with the idea to mass produce the gnomes out of clay which could easily be found in the region. For the gnome fanatics out there…you gotta visit this little quirky museum and learn about the 4 generations of gnome creation – some fascinating history!
Now this is definitely #madeingermany ! According to EU regulation, a Thuringian bratwurst must be at least 15 cm long and may be made with raw or parboiled pork. In order to see the ‘Best of the Wurst’ I visited Holzhausen and the first German museum dedicated to the bratwurst. It was there I had this beauty – freshly made in front of me from meat grinder to special spices, to sausage casing, to grill. So good you don’t even need mustard. #joingermantradition #foodanddrink #deinThüringen
The old castle of Altenburg Germany. You can go inside and not only see the rooms, but there is also a great exhibition there of the history of card making. #madeingermany
And this is why hand sewn lace is expensive – its complicated work! I visited lace workshops today in Annaberg in Saxony Germany. Women started making lace products in this region when the mining industry fell into decline. I tried my hand at weaving and braiding the bobbins and caught on pretty quickly – but following an intricate pattern is a whole new puzzle. I’ll leave it to the women who know what they are doing! #joingermantradition #artsandcrafts
Inside St Anne’s church in #Annaberg lives a great love story. I was entranced as I listened to the narrative of how a family came to live in the bell tower.
Not only does Germany make things, it also invents games – like the card game Skat! It was created in Altenburg in Thuringia Germany at the beginning of the 19th century. One of the most complex card games around and when you get it – its a blast. I was taught to play with locals (3 generations of Skat players) Had one of my top travel days of the year making new friends in Germny, eating sauerkraut, drinking beer, and learning how to play this historic game. Stayed 5 hrs longer than originally planned and it was all worth it!
A rainy walking tour of Dresden in #Saxony today. Fascinating history and story of rebuilding a bombed out town from WWII. You can see some of the bricks of the church in the background are darker than others. Those are bricks from the original church destroyed in the bombings which were saved and put back in the restoration in their original places. Like a giant 3D holy puzzle.
A man sits quietly in the Church of the Holy Cross in #Dresden. The shell of the church in tact after the bombings, but the inside completely rebuilt.
After spending time at the bakery in Annaberg Germany, I think I have a pretty good idea why Stollen Christmas Cake is so loved and such an important part of the Germany culture…I think it has something to do with the butter and sugar… #joingermantradition #foodanddrink #Saxony
An apple a day…
The apple of my eye…
She’s a rotten apple…
How about them apples…
Preparing to make cider in the Black Forest!
Thanks to the Germany Tourism for helping me connect with all of these wonderful artisans! #JoinGermanTradition