Sunday, November 22, 2009

German Pastries

Thought i would create a posting about the German pastries as it they are a real treat.

The backerys seem like the only places that are open every day of the week, including holidays. Interesting enough most stores are closed on Sunday; this includes grocery stores so you have to think ahead on Saturdays and before holidays or you are out of luck. There is a German law that prohibits them from being open on Sundays and holidays. There is a small exception for grocery stores in and near main train stations, although they are very busy. Small backerys are very common and there are lots of them all around, every few blocks.

Here is our favorite breakfast place; Eishold, lots of good stuff.

When you get a pastry to go they wrap it in a nice little package:
One of Melissa's favorites:

One of my favorites, Zupfkuchen (a cheesecake pastry):
Schoko brötchen, two hard chocolate bars inside, tasty:
David's Fav, Streuselkuchen:

Streusel stöllen (combo of stöllen and apple streusel inside) :
Donauwellen - One of my favs:
Filled streusel; a custard/creme filling:
Schoco cresant:
Apfel streusel:
Roubarb streusel:

Aunt Bee's sheep

My aunt Bee had heard that sheep will graze on the pastures of the Elbe, and can be seen moving through the city in the present day. It seemed like this was possible, perhaps likely, but we walk/bike a lot along the Elbe and have never seen such a sight however i told her that i would watch for it. Sure enough last week we saw some along the Elbe right by the castles.

Her story mentioned that the StrasseBahn (street cars) would stop and allow the sheep to cross the bridges in the city however we have yet to see them on the move nor have we seen them cross the bridges in the city, as she had heard, but we are watching for that and it also seems possible.

Here are a few pictures of Aunt Bee's Sheep: Note if you look back in the blog you can see the summer time pictures of the same area and see how things have changed as winter nears:

Königstein Fortress - 11/21

We have wanted to return to go inside the fortress and finally made it. Noah brought his good school friend David C along on the trip. It has been great; Noah has a good friend whose mother is German and Father is American so he speaks both languages fluently and they live just across the Elbe in Neustadt so they can walk to play.
This post is about Königstein Fortress so if you want more on it here is a link:

Königstein is interesting enough where European porcelain was invented. They actually locked a couple of alchemists up in the fortress and made them work on porcelain because the King, Augusta the Brave, loved porcelain and wanted to make it in Europe. They did invent it and Miessen is the famous factory that still makes it.

I found a couple of these markers along the trail up. This looks a lot like the trade mark for Miessen porcelain and wonder if it is? Couldn't find anything on the internet about this:

Here are the Miessen trade marks and circa 1722 matches pretty well, pocelain was in invented in 1707 or so:
The other claim to fame was that this Fortress was never captured and after visiting it we understand why. Its location on top of this large hill and it is built of multiple sets of walls, about 5 different walls some very high. As we approached the fortress and went through each of the defenses I queried Noah and David C about how they would get to the next step if they were attacking. I think they finally realized how hard it would be because they then talked about a blockade. Interesting enough one of the buildings inside was a rain collecting building, so they thought of that also.

The fortess is on the highest hill in this picture.

The hike up, Noah and David C

Two walls, the outer one has spikes along it if you look closely.

Another gate with moat and draw bridge, about the 3rd one on our way in.

Yet another, 4th.

View from the wall:
Another view:
David thinking what it might have been to be a russian Solder, if they would have captured the fortress.
If you look close in this picture, you can see Noah and David C throwing a paper airplane off edge.
Rare picture of me.

View of the fortress and the Elbe:

More of the fortress, again see if you can find Noah, David C, and Melissa.

This crazy, but friendly, cat likes to walk on the edge of the walls. He would also reach down the edge to grab leaves. This is not very advisable because the drop he is on is about 8 stories high, but i am guessing he must think he has more then 9 lives:

Top view of some of the different walls at the entrance:

Defending the castle with the kanone:

Lookout point:
David taking the quick way down:
Getting late:
Sunset over the fortress:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rathen day trip Nov 7th - Saxon Switzerland

We have been trying to make the most of our year in Germany so we took a day trip to Kurort Rathen Germany, known as the sächsische Schweiz or “Switzerland of Saxon”. David had planned out the trip with 3 stops; Rathen, Königstein, and Bad Schandau. The first and last are hiking areas and Königstein is a castle. The bad thing is that we liked the first stop so much that we didn’t have time others; the good thing it’s only a 45 minute train ride (20 Euros) so it’s really easy to get there and we will go again, perhaps next weekend even.

Dresden Haupfbahnhof (main train station), about a mile walk from our apartment:

Ferry to cross the river:
The hills we are going to hike up, to the Bastei:

Town at the foot hill:

Path through the valley, including a stand with coffee and Pommes for Noah.

David looking over an overlook:
Valley away from the River:


Highest look out, looking toward Bad Schandau and the Czech Republic (about 6 miles from here):

David at an overlook, one of my better pictures of David:

The Bastei in the background (

Another shot of the Bastei (can you see liss? how about David and Noah?)
Chilling out:

Enjoying a Glühwein (translates to glow wine, its warm wine with spices, kinda like winter beer); David and my new favorite drink:
Waiting for the ferry, the mesa in the distance is part of the Czech Republic.

Schloss on the hilltop, taken from the Ferry:

Waiting for the train:
View of the Bastei from the Train: