By Allison Schroeder
Web Content Assistant Manager
Years ago, when I lived overseas in Germany, I always looked forward to seeing new places because living in a foreign country is an experience that changes your life. I don’t mean to exaggerate it, but it really is a life changing experience because when you eat, shop, and live among the locals, it almost feels like you are a local, but with a language barrier.
My favorite season in Germany was the Christmas season because for one, it wasn’t hot outside and inside your house (in Germany, you don’t have air conditioning in your house), but also because during the Christmas season you would see Christkindl markets.
Christkindl markets were my favorite because all around you were vendors filled with people selling and buying items from around Europe: cheeses, wines, wood carvings, and many other items. My favorite part was walking around in the cold air, smelling the spices of the glühwein, a mulled spice wine that is famous for German locals in the winters.
At the markets, you would also find singers singing carols, band performances, delicious food stands filled with bratwursts, funnel cakes, churros, crepes, and more. In one German town, Bernkastel-Kues, there was a building dedicated to being the advent calendar during the Christmas season. I think the Christmas markets is where my love for Christmas really sprouted because Christmas always brings me back to those fond memories.
Where to visit in Germany:
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
One of my favorite places I used to visit in Germany was Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which means “red castle above the Tauber.” The Tauber is a river that runs through the town. It is in the northern part of Bavaria and was known for its medieval architecture and their schneeballen, or in English, snowballs.
A schneeball is a ball-shaped pastry, made from a short-crust pastry and once put together is about the size of your fist, or if your fist is small like mine, a fist and a hand wrapped around it. The classic schneeball has confectioners’ sugar on it, but there are other types of schneeballen can be chocolate dipped, or have other flavors like marzipan, nut, or nougat.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, has beautiful cobblestone streets walk paths, and the homes and businesses were beautiful concrete buildings that had wood on the outsides. My favorite thing was to walk around the town in the winter, then in the summer I enjoyed walking up on the pathways that takes you on the walls of the town.
Trier is one of the oldest cities in Germany. It’s history is prevalent everywhere you look because they have maintained the history throughout the city. I remember walking through Trier and feeling the wind on a hot summer day. The people were kind and the walkplatz was filled with locals and tourists.
The bakery had fresh pastries and sandwiches, which don’t get me started about the sandwiches. Another great thing about this destination is the sites to see like Porta Nigra, which is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps, Aula Palatina, the Cathedral, Imperial Baths and much more.
Garmisch is perfect for a winter or summer getaway depending on what you like. If you like to go skiing or snowboarding, the Alps are right there conveniently with different chalets, or if you are interested in shopping, lake visits, hikes, and day trips to nearby areas, this is the perfect destination for you!
I have been during both seasons and I loved it each time. You won’t be disappointed if you find yourself in Garmisch-Partenkirchen!
Nuremberg is a historic landmine. Everywhere you look there is history because they were one of the cities to make sure they kept their same architecture during the remodel instead of urbanizing their buildings. A few of my favorite destinations to see include St. Lawrence’s church, Church of Our Lady, St. Sebaldus Church, the castle walls, and the Nuremberg Castle tour.
5. Neuschwanstein Castle
Have you ever wondered where the design for Sleeping Beauty’s castle? Well, this is where they got the inspiration. The Neuschwanstein Castle was one of my favorite castles to visit while living overseas, because seeing castles or castle ruins was a frequent event living in Germany, but visiting King Ludwig II’s castles were exciting because the rich history was fascinating.
What you should eat while in Germany:
I absolutely love the food in Germany. When moving back to America after living in Germany for so long, I did not look forward to leaving behind the food I had grown to love. Everything from their jagerschnitzel to their orange Fanta, I miss to this day. Sometimes, I go to World Market just to raid their German food aisle.
Jägerschnitzel is probably my favorite meal, especially when it is served with spätzle, an egg-based type of noodle commonly served with dishes that have sauce or gravy. Jägerschnitzel is a breaded pork chop dish that is served with a delicious mushroom brown gravy sauce.
2. Bratwurst or Currywurst with Brötchen
If you aren’t familiar with meats, bratwurst is a German sausage made from pork. It is often served inside of a brötchen, a hard bread that you use as a bun, and at most places you can self-serve your condiments from mustard, ketchup, or curry ketchup.
3. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake)
Black Forest Cake, where do I begin? This is probably my favorite type of cake because of the chocolate cake combined with a cherry filling, and a vanilla whipped cream frosting. It is so good that my mom made me an amazing Black Forest Cake for my birthday this year. Since I don’t think my description can do it justice, just look at this cake in the video.
Käsespätzle is spätzle, the egg-based noodle, with cheese and fried onions on top. It is a delicious combination!
Spaghettieis sounds like spaghetti and ice cream combined, but I promise you it isn’t actually spaghetti and ice cream mixed. Spaghettieis is actually vanilla ice cream made to look like noodles topped with a strawberry sauce to look like it is marinara sauce. On top of this deliciousness is shaved white chocolate to look like parmesan cheese.
If you ever get the chance to go to Germany, I hope you keep these ideas in mind! These were some of my favorite places to visit and favorites foods to eat while living in Germany, but there is much more than what I can fit into an article that you must experience for yourself.
Featured Image by Allison Schroeder