Friday, June 27, 2008

Euro Cup 2008

Since moving to Germany, Luke and I have learned a lot about "football". Not the kind of football we'd go to Manhattan to watch so many Saturdays in the fall, but European football...what we refer to as soccer. We have learned a little more than just about football though, it has also given us a little insight into the German culture. Typically Germans are very reserved and communicate something is good by not saying anything. If however something is wrong or needs to be changed they will very clearly communicate this...not in a rude manner, just very matter-of-factly. This mindset carried over into sports as well...or so we've been told...until two years ago. In 2006 the World Cup was hosted by Germany and Germany finished third. Germans have told us that since then the fans here have become "fanatical". The Euro Cup 2008 started on June 7 and we have been able to see a small glimpse of this as we've watched the Germans celebrate victories en route to the Euro Cup Championship, to be played on Sunday. The semi-final game held even more significance as it matched Germany against Turkey. Since moving here we've discovered that there is a very large number of Turkish immigrants living in Germany. And, unfortunately, as is common in many areas where there is a strong immigrant community, tension between the Turkish and Germans is not uncommon. However, many showed their allegiance to both countries. It was not uncommon leading up to the game to see a car driving around with a Turkish flag on one side and a German on the other. The game lived up to its expectations and Germany won 3-2 on a goal scored at the very end of regulation. They will now face Spain in the Euro Cup Championship.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Salzburg, Austria

This last weekend Luke and I took a quick trip to Salzburg, Austria. Here are a few pictures from our trip! A little explanation for the last three pictures...biergartens are very common in Germany (and Austria). They are usually an outdoor seating area associated with a restaurant and covered by large trees. You are allowed to bring food in with you from home or another restaurant, you just have to order a beverage. Germans will gather with their family or friends on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon just to hang out, maybe bring cards to play. Luke and I were thinking the Germans that came to America should've brought this tradition with them, but then we remembered how many days a year the weather is nice enough (and not too windy) to really enjoy eating outside. Oh well!
Mirabell CastleThe gardens at Mirabell Castle
The home where Mozart was born
The city of Salzburg (taken while hiking up to the castle in the next picture)
Festung Hohensalzburg (one of the biggest castles in Europe)
Augustiner Biergarten
Enjoying a stein of bier at the Augustiner Biergarten

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bike riding in the Alps

Last weekend Luke and I (and our bikes) took the train to Füssen to do some bike riding in the Alps. Here are a few pictures from our journey. It was a lot of fun...but also exhausting for a couple of people from the flatlands of Kansas! This coming weekend we're planning a short trip to I should have some pictures to post next week of our trip!
Entering Österreich (Austria)
View from where we stopped to catch our breath on our way up.
Luke figuring out where we're at (on the green curvy line).

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Last Friday night our German class went to our teacher's house to make Käsespätzle. Our German class consists of Luke and I and two others that moved to Germany from the States. We were also joined by two Frenchmen that our teacher also works with. We had a great time practicing our German and the Käsespätzle was delicious! Some of you are probably wondering what Käsespätzle is. The dough is made basically from flour, water and eggs. You put it through a Käsespätzle press and boil it in water. It is then layered with different Allgäu cheeses (from dairies in a region near where we live) and topped with fried onions and then baked. Yum! We're planning on bringing a Käsespätzle press back with us so hopefully we can make Käsespätzle for some of you. The tricky part will be finding the right cheese. Somehow I don't think it'd be quite the same with cheddar or velveeta cheese.
"Getting" the groceries we need to make Käsespätzle...and you thought only kids played store. (this was our German lesson for the day)
Tine (our German teacher), showing Luke how to stir the Käsespätzle batter.
Luke hard at work in the kitchen! :-)
Oops! Luke was stirring too hard...or he's just too strong for the spoon!
Using the Käsespätzle press to cook the batter. Quite a process, but well worth it!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Last week Luke had a training session in Italy and I was able to go with him. The training was in a rural part of Italy, near Bologna, about a 6 hour drive from Marktoberdorf. The drive was almost the best part. We drove through southern Germany and the Alps in Austria. The Alps were gorgeous! Very green this time of year with several villages nestled into the many valleys. Northern Italy had mountains with vineyards taking up literally every piece of ground that didn't have a house, building, castle (we saw several throughout northern Italy) or road on it. There were even grapes growing in the "ditch" between the highway and the railroad tracks. The part of Italy where the training was held was very flat and mostly farmland. It was also out in the country and I didn't have a car, so I spent most of my time sitting in the meetings reading a book. Not exactly a dream vacation to Italy! ;-) But on the last day the weather was nice enough that I was able to walk into the nearest town. They were having an outdoor market and I really enjoyed just walking around and watching the Italians interact with each other and shop...and just listen to them talk. The Italian language is a little more beautiful than German! We also had some really good Italian food and wine while we were in Italy. They definitely pride themselves on aged food! The first night we had some parmesan cheese that was 2 years old and aged salamis. At the end of the evening they brought out some Balsamico (balsamic vinegar) to eat with the parmesan that was 12 years old. We were all impressed and it actually tasted really good. By the last night they were bringing out cheese that was 3 years old and Balsamico that was 40 years old! Only a few people were able to try the 40 year old Balsamico...but I did have some 30 year old Balsamico and it was tasty! Here are a few pictures from our trip!The tractors Luke tested while in Italy. I was hoping to get a ride, but it didn't work out.
Some sort of tree farm next to where Luke's training was held.
A house in the countryside.
A meat stand at the market with some aged salami hanging up.
The open market in Concordia, Italy.