Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A REVIEW: Tulsa German-American Society German Fest 2018


For the weekend of May 11-13, 2018, the Tulsa German-American Society hosted an annual German Fest.    Thanks to the blog of German Girl in America, I read about this fest in early April.  Since I live in Northwest Arkansas, this fest was about a 2 hour drive from us - and so my husband and I decided to go for a short getaway.  



I was unaware Tulsa, Oklahoma even had an active German-American Society - but apparently, they nurture the German language and culture through language lessons, folk dancing, concerts, various fests, and children's activities.  Membership is taken seriously with rules & dues (but very reasonably priced).  If I lived closer, I'd definitely join!

The German-American Society is housed in a lovely stone church building-structure.  The fest was well organized and attended - seating was ample for probably 200 or more people.  


Live music was on-going throughout the fest days - with various bands and singers performing.  Crowd participation was often encouraged - with much schunkeln (swaying with linked arms) and clapping.  A May Queen was crowned at noon on Saturday.  

There was a small variety of German items to buy - food, candy, and trinkets. We indulged in some of my favorite childhood-memory chocolates:


and these "lucky" Glückskäfer chocolates - one for each child:


There were a few vendors present - beer, pretzels --- and my favorite:  roasted nuts (almonds & pecans) courtesy of The Nutty Bavarian:


Lastly - the FOOD - the food was DELICIOUS!  To quote a German student my mother once had:  Wunderschmecklich (wonderful-tasty).  

Everything tasted fresh; the portions were generous; and the prices were reasonable!  
I had a classic Wienerschnitzel (breaded pork tenderloin), and they even included the traditional lemon slices to squeeze over the meat!  The potato salad wasn't warm (like a traditional recipe might be), but it was flavorful.  Salad and a pickle spear were nice added touches. 


My husband chose the Jägerschnitzel plate, which was equally as good (although we've both eaten better hunter sauce with real mushrooms than what was served).  


Anyway, it was a fun experience.  Admission and parking were free (and parking was easily accessible).  The volunteers were friendly and helpful.  One could hear some authentic German accents throughout the building, and there were plenty of American supporters of the fest there as well.  

I hope to go back for the Christkindlmarkt if they host one this year - and maybe this time, we'll take the kids.  Sounds like something the whole family can enjoy.

In conclusion, I give the German-American Society of Tulsa (GAST) a 1-A (Eins-A).  In Germany, this is the highest rating one can earn!  








Saturday, April 21, 2018

German Cities & Towns: Heidelberg


In an effort to preserve my memories and pictures of Germany, I am writing a series:  German Cities & Towns.  While you can get information about these cities from far more professional websites than mine, these are MY memories, perspectives, and pictures.  I hope you will enjoy them with me!  And share what are YOUR favorite German cities & towns.  

Today I am sharing some information and memories I have of visiting Heidelberg in 1996:



Heidelberg is a university town, located in southwestern Germany, just 50 miles south of Frankfurt, above the Neckar River.
Its castle ruins are probably one of the most recognizable and visited sites in Germany - among Ludwig's Neuschwanstein, Berlin's Brandenburg gate, and München's Oktoberfest ...


In 1996, the entry fee to the castle courtyard was a mere 2 Deutsch Mark and and included a stop to see the famous world's biggest wine barrel, which was built in  1751 and stands 7 meters high and holds 58,124 gallons of wine. There is even a dance floor on top of it!


The castle tour cost us another 4 DM each - but of course, was well worth the money!



Heidelberg's castle is an interesting mix of styles from Baroque to Gothic.  It was built in stages, first as a residence for the Prince-Elect Ruprecht III, starting in 1398, and in the 16th and 17th centuries two buildings were added to make the castle more of a fortress.  Much of the castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and the Palatine War of Succession (1688-1697).  Restoration attempts in 1764 by the prince elector of the time were thwarted by lightening.  Then the castle grounds were used as a kind of quarry to supply stone for new houses in the city of Heidelberg - until this was put to a stop in 1800 by Count Charles de Greimberg, who began the restoration process.

Johann von Goethe walked the parks of Heidelberg castle in the late 1700's; Mark Twain lived in the city in 1878 with his family.  Martin Luther was fetched to the city of Heidelberg shortly after posting his 95 Theses in Wittenberg to defend his writing in 1518.

On the northern bank of the Neckar River is the "Philosopher's Walk" where philosophers and university professors would discuss and contemplate.  Heidelberg is after all the home of the oldest university in Germany, founded in 1386.


I have visited Heidelberg several times in my life ... and it is true to state that "I lost my heart in Heidelberg" as a famous song, composed in 1925 by Fred Raymond with lyrics by Fritz Löhner-Beda and Ernst Neubach states.  This song remains Heidelberg's theme song as well as the inspiration for the 1927 film, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg:

The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg, also known as The Student Prince and Old Heidelberg, is a 1927 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer silent drama film based on the 1901 play Old Heidelberg by Wilhelm Meyer-Förster.  (source)

Other Cities To Read About:








Wednesday, April 18, 2018

German Cities & Towns: Dinkelsbühl


In an effort to preserve my memories and pictures of Germany, I am writing a series:  German Cities & Towns.  While you can get information about these cities from far more professional websites than mine, these are MY memories, perspectives, and pictures.  I hope you will enjoy them with me!  And share what are YOUR favorite German cities & towns.  


In April of 1996, soon after arriving in Germany for a 3 year tour with the U.S. Army (we were stationed in Würzburg), we explored the nearby town of Dinkelsbühl, also located on the Romantic Road.
Dinkelsbühl is located in Central Franconia (Franken) in the state of Bavaria.  It was about an hours' drive from our home in Würzburg.  The U.S. military also had a post in nearby Ansbach, Katterbach Kaserne and a small artillery division in Dinkelsbühl itself.  

Dinkelsbühl - like Rothenburg - is a medieval, walled city.  Another walled city of note is Nördlingen, also on the Romantic Road.  


There are several towers along the walls ...


St. George's minster (Münster) is the largest church in the heart of the city, built in the 15th century.


An interesting fact about Dinkelsbühl is that is that during the Reformation in Germany, it is one of only four bi-confessional cities.  There was approximately an equal amount of Catholics and Lutherans living in the city, combining the rights and rule among leaders from both denominations.  This remained until 1802, when it was annexed into the Kingdom of Bavaria.  


There are many more churches, museums, chapels, and streets to explore in Dinkelsbühl than I can mention.  This town is well worth spending a day exploring if you are ever on the Romantic Road!

Other Cities to read about:  



Monday, April 16, 2018

German Cities & Towns: Bamberg



In an effort to preserve my memories and pictures of Germany, I am writing a series:  German Cities & Towns.  While you can get information about these cities from far more professional websites than mine, these are MY memories, perspectives, and pictures.  I hope you will enjoy them with me!  And share what are YOUR favorite German cities & towns.  

Other cities:  
Rothenburg o.d. Tauber
Dinkelsbühl
Heidelberg

Soon after arriving in Germany in January of 1996 for a 3 year tour in Würzburg with the U.S. Army, we began to explore our surroundings.  
In February, we drove the approximately 65 miles east of our new home to the town of Bamberg.  (The U.S. military's Warner Barracks was also located in Bamberg until 2014).  

Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia (Franken), in Bavaria, on the Regnitz River.  It extends over 7 hills, which gives it the nickname the "Franconian Rome".  


Bamberg has a cathedral and an abbey, dating back to the 12th century.


^Bamberg's famous alte Rathaus (old town hall) has an interesting story.  It was built in 1386 in the middle of the Regnitz River.  The current bishop of Bamberg did not allow for a town hall to be built, so the citizens planted stakes into the middle of the river and created a small island on which to build their town hall.


The neue Residenz was built from 1698 to 1704.  It was initially intended as the home of the prince-bishops who ruled various cities of Bavaria.  

The elaborate Residenz can be toured (for a mere 4.00 Deutsch Mark back in 1996).  We happened to snap pictures of the ball room and the desk that Napoleon used when he passed through Bamberg at one time.  

Bamberg is Germany's largest UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) city -- and well worth a visit!




Saturday, April 14, 2018

German Cities & Towns: Rothenburg o.d. Tauber


In an effort to preserve my memories and pictures of Germany, I am starting a new series:  German Cities & Towns.  While you can get information about these cities from far more professional websites than mine, these are MY memories, perspectives, and pictures.  I hope you will enjoy them with me!  And share what are YOUR favorite German cities & towns.  

First of all, let me show you how I look EVERY TIME I arrive at the Frankfurt airport:  pure joy! 


This was in early January of 1996.  My husband and I were greeted at the Frankfurt airport by my 2nd cousin, who lived in Frankfurt.  We were about to begin our 3 year tour of living in beautiful Würzburg, Germany, thanks to orders from the U.S. Army.  Married just 3 years and before we had children, this was about to be the beginning of an adventure I will never forget.  

As a student of history, my husband was enthralled with the chance to see and explore the places he had yet only read about.  We jumped into traveling immediately!   Our first weekend after settling in was to visit the town of Rothenburg.  It was a mere 40 minute drive away, so we visited very often afterward.

Rothenburg is in middle Frankenland, in Bavaria, a stop along the famous "Romantic Road".  It is one of - if not THE - oldest walled cities in Germany.  It is officially known as Rothenburg ob der (or o.d.) Tauber.  ob der means "above the" ... this city is above the Tauber River.  

Sites to see include Käthe Wohlfahrt's Christmas store.  There are many of these stores across Germany now - and there is even one in Stillwater, Minnesota!  

St. James Lutheran church is lovely ... There are wood carvings by the famous Würzburger resident Tilmann Riemenschneider, which he completed somewhere between 1500 - 1505.

 ^a typical lane in Rothenburg.  I recommend trying a local bakery delight:  Schneeballen (snow balls).  They are crunchy but sweet - a unique "pastry".

The town hall of Rothenburg is amazing, there are beautiful garden paths all around the city - and there is a criminal museum in town, if you like the macabre.

Have you been to Rothenburg?  It is truly one of my FAVORITE places in Germany!

OTHER CITIES in the SERIES: