On Tuesday we had breakfast at Cafe Gersfeld in Fulda.

Alan’s granola, banana, yogurt and coffee breakfast.  3 stars

My großes Frühstück was bread, butter, jams, honey, cheese, slices of sausage and ham, a hard-boiled egg, and tea.  5/5 stars


Alan and I got lunch in an underground crosswalk in Nurnburg at a little fish shack.  I can’t remember the name of it, but it was a chain that we saw a lot around Germany.

Alan got a fish sandwich.  4 stars

I got a variety box: shrimp, fish and potato wedges.  It was a little greasy for me.  3 stars

In Fulda we stopped at a sausage place for lunch.  I wanted to get a traditional German sausage lunch for a long time.  There were sausage stores all over, but they looked like delis to me:

Alan kept saying that we should try to get lunch at the delis.  But I kept saying no, that we could probably just get a half-pound of sliced salami, not a warm lunch.  But I was wrong.

Alan got pork schnitzel with boiled potatoes and gravy.  4 stars

I got a big meatball and roasted potatoes.  It was pretty yummy, but it gave me indigestion.  3 stars

That evening we got dinner at a wurst place.  I put them under lunch, though, because it was lunch-ish.

This is Curry Wurst, an iconic German dish.  It’s a sausage (that tastes mostly like breakfast sausage to me), cut in pieces, with a sweet ketchup sauce and curry powder.  I read about it before we went to Germany, and I looked for it forever.  But when I finally got it, I didn’t really like it.  Oh well.  2 stars

At the same place, Alan got a Wurst with mustard (same Wurst as the curry Wurst, but not cut up).  He liked it a little more.  3 stars


We went to two nice hotels in Gersfeld for dinner.  This is the second one we went to.

Alan got some fish and risotto.  3 stars

I ordered some chicken curry.  The waiter said they didn’t have it, but that he would give me this chicken salad instead.  I really hated the dressing that was on the lettuce, and the lettuce was SOAKED in dressing.  Yuck.  1 star

Our first night in Gersfeld we went to a little hotel for dinner.  And it was the best meal we had the whole trip!

I got pork schnitzel with a leek sauce and roasted potatoes.  Amazing!  5 stars

And Alan got potato-crusted trout with salad.  Also delicious! 5 stars


Again, there’s ice cream everywhere!

Here is the spaghetti ice cream, again.

And the Mickey Mouse ice cream.

And the day we got the ish-ick dinner at the Gersfeld hotel, we did get a some good chocolate mousse.  4 stars


We didn’t drink this, but I thought it was a great picture!



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German Language Lesson

I’m going to be up front about this and say this is NOT a list of what you should know if you go to Germany.  I still don’t know how to say “how much does that cost?” or “I am from America.”

But I did go to Germany only knowing a phrase or two.  And I left knowing a bit more.  So here it goes…


Most letters are pronounced about the same as they are in English.  But, you pronounce:

V like F

W like V

So, if you’re looking for the bathroom, you’d say

Vo est WC?

Which is pronounced vo est “vee-cee?” because the “W” sounds like “V”

There’s also this funny looking letter: ß, which is pronounced like “ss”

The  bottom sign here says Bahnhofstraße, which is pronounced “bahnhofstrasse

Straße means “street”  Bahnhof means train station.  So Bahnhofstraße means “train station street.”  Most cities we visited had a Bahnhofstrasse, which was really convenient!

As I mentioned in this post, Flughafen means airport.  You can add the “flug” part to “Bahnhof” to get Flugbahnhof, or airport train station.  I don’t know the exact rule, but it seems like you can add nouns together forever in German.  Some of their words are sooooooooo long!
This leads me to another: all of their nouns are capitalized.  In English we capitalized the pronoun “I”.  German is like that, just for all nouns.  It makes it easier sometimes to try to figure out what a sign means, if you know that the capitalized words are nouns.


Exit is Ausgang

Entrance is Eingang

This sign says Kein EingangKein means “no.”

Kein Eingang = no entrance

Kein Ausgang = no exit

Don’t get confused if you see Not AusgangNot means “emergency.”  Not Halt = “emergency stop” Not Ausgang= “emergency exit”

Big & Small

Big is groß (“gross”)

Small is klein

“big kabob”, “small kabob”


I’m going to do a whole post on food later, but for now I’ll tell you that Essen is “eating,” and Trinken is “drinking.”

Please & Thank You

Bitte = “please”

Danke = “thank you”

Bitte = “you’re welcome”

A lot of time they put schön after bitte and danke

Greetings & Goodbyes

Hallo = “hello”

Guten Tag = “hello” (literally “good day”)

Guten Morgen = “good morning”

Guten Abend = “good evening”

Auf Wiedersehen = “goodbye”

Tschüs = “bye” (this is pronounced like chools.  They really draw out the oooo sound)


Before we went to Germany I only knew the numbers 1-3.  (And I only knew those because of the movie Cool Runnings!)  Now I feel comfortable with 1-5.  But I’ll give you 1-20 here, for the heck of it.

ein = 1

zwei= 2

drei= 3

vier= 4

fünf= 5

sechs= 6

sieben = 7

acht= 8

neun = 9

zehn= 10

elf= 11

zwölf= 12

dreizehn= 13

vierzehn= 14

fünfzehn= 15

sechzehn= 16

siebzehn= 17

achtzehn= 18

neunzehn= 19

zwanzig= 20

That’s about all I know.  I was really grateful for the fact that Alan knew a lot of German from high school!




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Flying Home

Sunday morning we got up around 7:30 to go to the airport.  We wanted to not have to check bags for this trip, so we had to pack very carefully.  On the trip from NY to Frankfurt, Alan and I each had one personal item (Alan had a backpack, I had a shoulder bag), and then Alan had a small wheeling suitcase.  We rolled up a duffel bag and packed it in the suitcase.

On the return trip, we have the same luggage as before, except that I now have the duffel bag, full of souveirs. So it wasn’t too much of a hassle to take public transit to the airport.

We took the U-Bahn to the S-Bahn to the Flughaven (airport)!  We had checked in online at Achim’s, so all we had to do was go through security.  It took us a little while to find the right terminal.  But once we did, it was pretty easy to get to our gate.

I set off the metal detectors (I almost never do that!).  It ended up being the Spin-Pins in my hair (which are really great for making buns, by the way!).  They also opened up my souvenir bag.  I bought a fondue set when we were in Fulda, and fondure forks look a lot like weapons.  A man opened up the bag, and I said “fondue forks” to the woman sitting next to him.  She nodded her head like she understood.  The man opened up the tissue paper, and prodded at the forks.  He didn’t like what he saw.  He said, “are these okay?” and the woman said, “yes.”  Phew!

Once again, we are super-early to a flight.  We arrived at the gate around 10:25 for a 12:45 flight.  Our flight wasn’t even on the departures board when we came because we’re so early!  The one time we’re not early, everything will probably go wrong.  So we continue to be early.

The flight from Frankfurt to Chicago was longer than the DC to Frankfurt flight.  Part of it may be that Chicago is farther.  But I think we also had a head-wind to contend with.  It was scheduled for 9 hours.

Very eastern Canada
However, when we were over Michigan, the plane made a loop.  I was watching the little map diagram on the TV screen.  The captain came on the intercom, and said that there was bad weather in Chicago, so we were taking the scenic route to buy some time.  The loop wasn’t enough of a delay, so we flew all the way over Minnesota, and came in from the west.

Rainclouds—the cause of our delay

If everything were on time, we would have had a two hour layover in Chicago.  That’s plenty of time to deplane, go through customs and immigration, go through security again, and get on our connecting flight.  But the detour gave us a little over an hour.  So we hurried through everything, and made it on the plane to Rochester.

The final flight would have been uneventful, except for the loud family behind us.  The parents seemed really tired, and they had two young sons who were energetic, and a crying baby.  I felt a combination of frustration with all the noise, and sympathy for the parents.

The saving grace was that it was just an hour flight.  A short walk from the airport, and we were home!




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Frankfurt & Friends, take 2

Achim and Tanja emailed us during the week to invite us to visit their house.  We could travel to Frankfurt on Saturday, spend the day in Frankfurt, and then spend the night at their house.

Alan and I discussed it for a little while.  We already had tickets for our trip from Gersfeld to Frankfurt airport, and we would have to pay for the Ferienwohnung (vacation house) for Saturday night either way.  We ultimately decided to go to Frankfurt.  We wanted to see Achim and Tanja again, to see the city some more, and to be closer to the airport on Sunday.

The tricky thing was finding tickets that would get us from Gersfeld to Frankfurt on a Saturday.  There are fewer trains on the weekends.  We ended up buying tickets for the regional train from Gersfeld to Fulda, and regional (not IC or ICE) tickets from Fulda to Frankfurt.  Regional tickets cost half as much, but the train took twice as long.  It stopped at every little town between Fulda and Frankfurt.

From the train station we took the U-Bahn to Hausen, and walked ten minutes to Achim and Tanja’s house.  They were out with their kids at swimming lesson.  Alan and I let ourselves in, and looked around.

Achim told us that this is the house he grew up in.  After his dad died, his mother gave him the house, and Achim used his inheritance to buy his mother a smaller house.  Achim and Tanja have renovated the house some, since then.

There is a large kitchen, living room, and dining room on the first floor.  Upstairs are three bedrooms, and a full bath.  The basement (where we stayed) is partially finished, and has Achim’s office, a half-bath, and laundry.  They also have a fenced-in back yard, which is full of things for the kids: a sandbox, swingset, picnic table and toys!

Valerie in the sand box

We were pretty wiped out from a couple of full travel days.  I practically fell in to the bed in the basement, and began napping immediately.  Alan also slept for a little while.  He woke up when the family came home, but I slept through.

Alan accompanied Tanja to the supermarket to buy food for a barbecue dinner.  I finally woke up around five, and wandered upstairs.
We had dinner on the patio, even though it was still chilly!  It was really nice: grilled wursts, kabobs, macaroni salad and bread.  There were two kinds of wurst.  One looked like hot-dogs to me, and they said it was all beef.  The other was bratwurst, which was pork.  Everything was delicious!

Achim was going into the city to meet some friends for drinks, and invited us to ride into the city with him.  We left early enough that he could show us around the city some before he had to meet his friends.

We wandered through the main shopping area in Frankfurt, and then south across the river to the Saxon-house area.  Achim told us that Frankfurt was nearly flattened in the war.  All but one building were destroyed from the bombing.  So Frankfurt is a very new city.  Most of the architecture is very modern, especially in the financial district.  There are some re-built old-looking buildings, too.

Views from Frankfurt at night:

We parted with Achim in the Saxon-house area.  He headed off to the restaurant, and we re-traced our steps back to the U-Bahn station.  On the way, we got some ice-cream.  There are ice-cream cafes everywhere!

We got back to Achim and Tanja’s around 8:00.  I was still super-sleepy, so I went to bed right away.



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Today we got up early to catch the train to Nürnberg (Nuremberg).  We took the usual local train to Fulda, and then an ICE (Inter-City Express—our first one!) to Nürnberg.

Würzburg Nürnberg Ingolstat

After a quick visit to the Tourist Information Center, we hopped on the U-Bahn outside of the old walled city.  In a few minutes, we arrived at the Nürnberg courthouse (Justizpalast).


Since it was vacant, we were able to tour Courtroom 600.  This was the room where the Nürnberg trials took place.

Room 600

Room 600

Room 600

Apparently Room 600 is still a functioning courtroom, so it’s not guaranteed that visitors can tour it.

Upstairs from Room 600 is a Nürnberg Trials museum.  The exhibits were in German, but they provided audio tours that translated all the text into English.

I got to see a picture of my favorite Supreme Court Justice: Justice Jackson!  In a sea of Supreme Court decisions last year in Con. Law, Justice Jackson’s opinions were well written, and somewhat enjoyable!

Justice Jackson

After an hour and a half at the Justizpalast, we took the U-Bahn back into the old city.  Nürnberg was a walled city, so the city is compact and easy to walk.

We walked through the city to the castle (Kaiserburg).  It’s a pretty old.  The castle first appears in documents in 1105.

We bought tickets at the castle, and visited the castle museum.  It was pretty cool: lots of armor and swords!

Enormous cross bow with attached ladder to climb over castle walls

The biggest gun was at least 7 feet tall!

After the castle museum, we climbed the “Sinwell” Tower.  Sinwell is a Middle German word for round.

Sinwell Tower

We climbed the 96 stairs to the top.

View from the bottom of the tower

Views from the top

Looking down on the city

We decided not to go to the Nazi party headquarters and rally ground.  It was in the low 40s and almost raining: less than ideal weather to walk around rally grounds.  So we meandered back to the train station.

We stopped in a few churches

And did some souvenir shopping.

It was pretty chilly, and we were glad to get on a warm train back to Gersfeld.  We got home around 8:00, after a really good day in Nürnberg!



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Today we went to Fulda!  We caught the 9:15 train in, for a few euros each.  We didn’t have a real itinerary.  Our hope was to see the city, do some souvenir shopping, and check out some of the old buildings.  And we did!

1. See the city

Typical street

Juxtaposition of old city and new construction

Half-timber building (Rathaus, I think)

Kloster(laden) = Abbey (shop)


Public toilet (much cleaner than in US)

2. Shopping

Aldi: Same as in NY

Also at Aldi.  “Bio” is equivalent to “organic”

Camera store

Yarn store
3. See some old buildings

First we went to the Stadtschloss (City Palace).  As far as we can tell, it is still a functioning government building.


Hallway in Stadtschloss (offices on the right)

Basement of Stadtschloss

The Stadtschloss had a tiny museum dedicated to the cathode ray tube.  It’s inventor, Karl Braun, is from Fulda.

Cathode Ray Tubes

There were different sized doors to the Stadtschloss

Alan-sized doors

And Liz-sized doors

Next we went to the Dom (Cathedral), and Dommuseum

Super-impressive from the outside!

Super-Baroque on the inside

Inside of Dom

The Dommuseum was fairly interesting.  All the art and artifacts were religious.  There were a LOT of Jesuses there!

Not Jesus

Cool wood-carving (of Jesus)

Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (Pharisees on the left, disciples on the right)

Backlit Jesus

Jesus doing crunches (photo and caption credit to Alan)

Old priests’ garments

Illuminated Bible in Latin

They also had some old statutes.  Here’s what this one looked like when it was made:

And now:

The last old building we visited was St. Michael’s church.  It was built in 819!

St. Michael’s church.

Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let us take pictures inside.  It was really interesting inside: much less ornate than the Baroque Dom.  The walls looked like they were made of sandstone, and they were painted with rustic designs and figures.  We got a brief tour of the crypt.  Eek!

Well, this is kind of a bummer way to end the story.  So I’ll show you a figure from the Dommuseum.  There were a dozen or so small statues of Saints.  Here is one who lost his head—poor guy!




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