Tag Archives: Germany

Cupid Party


……..well as you can see from the painting…..we love to entertain…

I have the wonderful pleasure of having retired from my professional career

as a Health Care Administrator, after 35 years of service and

get to work in the field of my true passion………..the Culinary World!

I work in a retail food environment (i.e. Grocery Store) that is very innovative and trendsetting…

I am the resident Chef for my location and have a wonderfully ordained kitchen in which I get to prepare all sorts of culinary delights for customers wanted to expand their foodie interests.

Due to this I also maintain a recipe site : www.Chef-Emil.com , should you ever be interested in checking out my creations!

I work with the most amazing group of people and so very enjoy what we bring to our customers.

Each year I throw an appreciation party for our group, this year it was the Year of the Cupid…

I ran about the house and gathered up all the Hutschenreuther Puttis I could find to create the tablescape

Just as a point of interest, the Hutschenreuther Company was founded in 1814 by Carolus Magnus Hutschenreuther in Hohenberg an der Eger, Bavaria, Germany.   He had previously worked at the Wallendorf porcelain manufactory in Lichte.   After his death in 1845, the factory was headed by his widow, Johanna Hutschenreuther, and her two sons.

From 1860, they produced hand-painted gilded porcelains, and were quite famous for the use of the Putti (my cupids).  

A large part of the factory was destroyed by a fire in 1848.

I wish the photos would show the marvelous detail of the work….We  fell in love with Hutschenreuther and have been collecting for some time..

First and foremost,  we had to pick out the wines for the eventing…

Then, of course,  have the coffee bar ready for those who may have had too much wine…

…..the house is ready for the guests to arrive…

The food is simple and easy to eat, as we plan on doing a lot of talking and mingling…

….a plate of Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche,  Rye and Gerkins…

…all sorts of cheese, representing the marvelous tastes of our planet…

…this is The Cupid Party, so some sweets were in order…

This Trifle is made with Triple Chocolate Cake, drenched in Godiva Chocolate Liquor, Strawberries, Vanilla Bean Custard and Fresh Cream…

….wonderful Caprese Salad, with Mozzarella Nibs….

 ……….of course the guests of honor for the evening……

a grand time was had by all ……and then at the culmination of the festivities, these wonderful people

present me with something I shall cherish for all time…

…can you believe the were able to find a Tin Man Chef!!….

….so until next year….Ciao….hmmmm…… wonder what the theme shall be..


Grab A Beer – Shiner, Texas


shiner sign

The Flying Monkeys were restless and wanted to explore some new place, so off we went to Shiner, Texas

Shiner is located in Lavaca County.

It all began in 1887 when Henry B. Shiner donated 250 acres of land for a railroad right of way.

As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 2,069.

shiner old

To our amazement there are no hotels in Shiner!  So we booked a room at the Shiner Country Inn..

Not the lap of luxury, but clean

Shiner is the home of the Spoetzl Brewery,  the oldest independent brewery in Texas.  The brewery is most well known for producing Shiner Bock,  a dark German/Czech-style beer that is now distributed in 41 states.


………..but more about that later.

We explored the entire town to plan our itinerary………okay that took 10 minutes,

so we went to Snowflake Donuts for breakfast…


Upon entering we found a table of about 20 locals, all of whom ceased conversation and stared at us the entire time we were in the place…….okay weird!

………..now back the the Spotzl Brewery……

A group of businessmen incorporated Shiner Brewing Association

and placed Herman Weiss in as the company’s first brewmaster.  

In 1914 a German immigrant brewer named Kosmos Spoetzl co-leased with Oswald Petzold

with an option to buy in 1915.  


Spoetzl had attended brewmaster’s school and apprenticed for three years in Germany, worked for eight years at the Pyramids Brewery in Cairo, Egypt, and then worked in Canada.   He moved to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health, bringing with him a family recipe for a Bavarian beer made from malted barley and hops.

During Prohibition in the United States,  Kosmos Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat by selling ice and making Low-alcohol beer  “near beer.”   After Prohibition only five of the original 13 Texas breweries were still intact.   When the Prohibition laws were repealed, larger beer plants, such as Anheuser-Busch, moved to Texas making life harder on the smaller independent breweries,  but Spoetzl kept things small and simple,  never going more than 70 miles for business.

The owner’s daugher, Miss Cecelie took over operations in 1922

and became the only woman in the United States to be a sole owner of a brewery in 1950.

In the 1970s and 1980s the brewery’s ”Shiner Beer” and ”Shiner Bock”  had less than 1 percent of the Texas market.   In 1983 Spoetzl produced 60,000 barrels of beer;  in 1990 only 36,000.   Sales improved after Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio acquired the brewery in 1989:   Production grew to 100,000 barrels in 1994,  and over the next ten years,  production nearly tripled.

As of 2012,  it was the fourth-largest craft brewery and tenth-largest overall brewery in the United States.  Spoetzl currently produces eight beers year round and four seasonal brews per year.

shiner beer sign ending

We were so lucky to have the Brewmaster, Jimmy Mauric, conduct a personal tour!


The brew house was so very beautiful with the copper brew tanks…

The view of the bottling room was amazing……..many thousands of bottles whirling around…..

The tour over it was time for a late lunch……….where should we go…..oh yes the only restaurant in town….

The Shiner Restaurant and Bar..

The place was empty!  The bar was quite beautiful and ornate

The dining room sported wonderful old cabinets…

The food was great….we began with the Shiner Beer Bread and Shiner Black Butter

…..then on to the Pulled Pork Sandwich and the “World’s Best Sandwich”……that was really the name!

It was a Club Style BLT with a Chicken Fried Steak thrown in for Good Measure…….don’t tell my Cardiologist about this post!

Well that was Shiner a quiet, quiet, quiet little Texas Town

So until next time…………PROST!


Vacation Advice


Well the Tin Man has been sitting still much too long and it is time to start planning the next trip.

I have decided that it is time to enlist the advice and thoughts of all you wonderful, wonderful, people I have met in the blogging world.

I am going to list our itinerary as it currently stands and ask if you would, please, give me any and all input you have of the cities listed and any wonderful sights that are a MUST SEE

Please include restaurants, as you know that I love to blog about food!

I so appreciate your input!

Lisbon, Portugal

Barcelona, Spain

Marseille, France

Nice – Monaco

Pisa, Italy

Grosetto, Italy

Naples, Italy

Villa San Giovanne, Italy

Marsala, Sicily

Valletta, Malta

Messina, Sicily

Brindisi, Italy

Patras, Greece

Athens, Greece

Frankfurt, Germany

If I have missed any places that you would suggest, please let me know.
The route was planned using the EuroRail routes and therefore is very flexible

The only absolutes are:  Portugal, Sicily, Malta………and of course Frankfurt…there is no way I could be in Europe and not set foot in the Father Land!
I so appreciate your input!!!!



The 2012 Olympic Summer Games are coming to a close and the Tin Man thought it might be fun to review some interesting facts about the Olympics.

The five interlaced rings which are depicted on the Olympic flag are known as the “Olympic Rings”. 

The five rings are arranged in a 3-2 pattern on a white background, with the blue ring to the extreme left, followed by the yellow, black, green and red. 

They were designed by Pierre de Coubertin, in August 1912.

The five rings represent the five parts of the world that were joined together in the Olympic movement: 

Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

The Olympic fag was first used in the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium.  The Olympic flag is paraded during the opening ceremony of each Olympic Games.

At the end of an Olympics, the mayor of the host city presents the flag to the mayor of the next host city.

The flag will remain in the own hall of the next host city until the next Olympic Games, four years later.


The tradition of the Olympic Flame began during the ancient Olympic Games, over 2,700 years ago in Greece.  A flame was lit for each Olympics, every four years, and it burned throughout the games.  The flame symbolized the death and rebirth of the Greek heroes.  For each Olympics, a new flame is started in the ancient Olympic stadium in Olympia, Elis, Greece, using a parabolic mirror to focus the rays of the Sun. 

This flame begins its Olympic Torch Relay by touring Greece. 

The flame is normally taken to the country where the games will be held and then carried around that country.  The last runner uses a the torch to light the Olympic flame which will burn throughout the games. 

The flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony.


Citius, Altius, Fortius

Swifter, Higher, Stronger


In ancient times the Olympic victor received his first awards immediately after the competition.

Following announcement of the winner’s name by a herald, a Hellanodikis (Greek Judge) would place a palm branch in  his hands, while spectators cheered and threw flowers at him.

Red ribbons were tired to his head and hands as a mark of victory.

The official award ceremony would take place on the last day of the Games, at the elevated vestibule of the temple of Zeus.  In a loud voice, the herald would announce the name of the Olympic winner, his father’s name and his homeland.  Then the Hellanodikis would place the sacred olive tree wreath (kotinos) on the winner’s head.

Medals were first introduced in the modern Olympic Games in 1896 at the inaugural Olympics in Athens, Greece.

The winners were give a silver medal and an olive branch, while runners-up received a laurel branch and a copper or bronze medal.

In 1900 most winners received cups or trophies instead of medals.

The custom of gold, silver and bronze dates from the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States.

The International Olympic Committee then retroactively assigned gold, silver and bronze medals the three best placed athletes in each event of the 1896 and 1900 Games. 

Medals are given to to the top three competitors; every athlete placed first to eighth receives an Olympic Diploma.

At the main host stadium, the names of all medal winners are written onto a wall.


Women first competed at the 1900 Paris Games.  Women were allowed to compete in lawn tennis and golf, though these were three French women competing in croquet and there was at least one woman sailor as part of mixed crews.  It is commonly believed that the first woman to win an Olympic event was England’s Charlotte Cooper, who won the tennis singles title; however, Swiss sailor Helene de Pourtales won a gold medal as part of a team in sailing earlier than this.

Helen de Pourtales

Women competed in swimming events for the first time in 1912, but none of them were from the United States, which did not allow its female athletes to compete in events without long skirts. The first women’s swimming gold medal was won by the Australian Sara “Fanny” Durack, who won the 100m freestyle in 1912.
In 1928, women competed in track and field events for the first time; however, so many collapsed at the end of the 800 meter race that the event was banned until 1960.

Women’s shooting events were first included in the Olympics in 1984.

The 2000 Olympics were the first time women were allowed to compete in weightlifting.

In 1948, Dutch athlete Fanny Blankers-Koen won four gold medals, the equivalents of the ones Jesse Owens had won twelve years earlier.  She held the world records in the high and long jumps, but did not compete in those, as rules prohibited women from competing in more than three individual events.

British Equestrian, Lorna Johnstone was 70 years and 5 days old when she rode in the 1972 Games, thus being the oldest woman ever to compete at an Olympic Games.

Qatar, Brunei and Saudi Arabia all sent female participants to London 2012 Olympic Games – for the first time every national Olympic committee will have sent women to the Games.


The ancient Olympic Games were founded by Heracles, a son of Zeus, according to legend.

The first Olympic Games for which there are written records were held in 776 BCE.  At this Olympic Games, a naked runner, Coroebus won the sole event – the stade.

The stade was a run of approximately 192 meters (210 yards).

The ancient Olympic Games grew and continued to be played every four years for nearly 1200 years, until in 393 CE, the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, a Christian, abolished the Games because of their pagan influences.


Approximately 1500 years later, Pierre de Coubertin began their revival.

Coubertin organized a meeting with 79 delegates who represented nine countries.  The delegates at the conference voted unanimously for the Olympic Games and had Coubertin construct an international committee to organize the games, which continues today as the IOC – International Olympic Committee.



Before 776 BC

Athletic contests are held at Olympia every four years, between August 6 and September 19.

394 AD

Roman Emperor Theodosius I abolishes the Games.


The International Olympic Committee is founded.


Athens Games

The first modern Olympics with 14 countries represented by about 245 men, competing in 43 events.


Paris Games

Incorporated into the Paris Exposition.  1,319 men from 26 countries compete in 75 events.

Eleven women were allowed to participate in lawn tennis and golf.


St. Louis Games

Only 13 countries show up.  Fred Lorz rides in a car for eleven miles during the marathon, but is briefly taken as being the winner anyway.


Intercalated Games

The first and last and only Intercalated Games are held in Athens.  Medals won here are considered unofficial by the IOC


London Games

The 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius requires the Games to move from Rome to London.

This is the first time athletes march into the stadium behind their nation’s flags.


Stockholm Games

American, Jim Thorpe dominates the Games, taking the gold in the pentathlon and decathlon.


Jim Thorpe’s medals are taken away, when it is discovered that he was paid $25 a week for playing baseball in 1909 and 1910.  The Olympics strictly limited to amateur players.


Games are cancelled due to World War I


Antwerp Games

The Olympic Flag is introduced, as is the Olympic Oath.

Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Turkey are not invited, having been on the wrong side of the Great War.

Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain takes the silver in the 1500 meter dash, he later becomes the only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


Chamonix Winter Games

The “International Winter Sports Week” takes place and two years later, is retroactively given the status of the first Olympic Winter Games.


Paris Games

Originally planned to take place in Amsterdam, the Games are moved to Paris at the urging of Baron de Coubertin.  He is about to retire and wants to see the Games in his homeland, one last time.

Germany is banned, but the other four nations banned in 1920 are back.


The IOC forbid such practices as compensating athletes for time taken away from work to compete, making it hard for working-class athletes to participate.

Winter 1928

St. Moritz Winter Games

Plagued with warm weather, some events were slowed and the 10,000 meter speed skating race was cancelled.

Summer 1928

Amsterdam Games

The Olympic Flame is introduced.

Germany returns.

Women compete in track and field events for the first time.

Luigina Giavotti becomes the youngest medalist of all time.  She was 11 years and 302 days old.


The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) holds soccer’s first World Cup tournament in Montevideno, Uruguay, due to the Olympics’ restrictions against professional athletes.

The World Cup is held every four years from this time onward, except during World War II

Winter 1932

Lake Placid Winter Games

Summer 1932

Los Angeles Games

Paavo Nurmi is barred from the Games, on grounds that, on a trip to a German meet, he had claimed too much money in travel expenses.

Winter 1936

Garmish-Partenkirchen Winter Games

Alpine skiing events are held for the first time, but ski instructors are barred as being professionals.  This leads to an Austrian and Swiss boycott, and to the decision not to hae skiing events in the 1940 Games.

Summer 1936

Berlin Games

The first ever relay of the Olympic Torch

The first Games to be televised

Basketball is admitted as an Olympic sport for the first time.  In the final – played on a dirt court, in the rain, dribbling was impossible



Games cancelled due to World War II

Winter 1948

St. Moritz Winter Games

Held in this city since it was untouched by the World War II

Men and Women each have three alpine skiing events

Summer 1948

The first Games to be shown on home television

Germany and Japan are not invited

Winter 1952

Oslo Winter Games

The Olympic Torch is lit in the fireplace of skiing pioneer, Sondre Norheim and then relayed by 94 skiers to the Games

Summer 1952

Helsinki Summer Games

Russian athletes participate for the first time in 40 years, winning 71 medals

Winter 1956

Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Games

The Soviets break Canada’s gold medal monopoly in ice hockey and win more medals than any other country

Summer 1956

The Tin Man turns one year old

East and West Germany are represented by one combined team

In the Closing Ceremonies, for the first time, athletes from all nations enter the stadium in unity, rather than marching in by nation.

Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden boycott the games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Hungary.

Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq do the same as a result of the Suez crisis

Winter 1960

Squaw Valley Winter Games

The only Winter Games not to include bobsledding, as the organizing committee refuses to build an expensive bobsled fun for the mere nine nations that would use it

Walt Disney is in charge of pageantry, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Summer 1960

Rome Summer Games

The first Summer Games covered by television worldwide

A record 5,348 athletes from 83 countries compete

Ethiopian marathoner Abebe Bikila, running barefoot, becomes the first black African to take home a Gold Medal

After taking amphetamines, Danish cyclist Knuth Jensen collapses during a race, fatally fracturing his skull

Winter 1964

Innsbruck Winter Games

Unfavorable weather conditions require the Austrian army to carry ice and snow from higher elevations

South Africa is barred from the Games due to its policy of apartheid and will not be invited back until 1992

Summer 1964

Tokyo Summer Games

Japan spends $3 Billion to rebuild Tokyo for the Olympics, revitalizing a city that had been devastated by earthquakes and World War II bombings

Abebe Bikila again wins the marathon, this time less than six weeks after having his appendix removed.

Winter 1968

Grenoble Winter Games

East and West Germany compete on separate teams for the first time

Sex tests and drug tests are introduced

Peggy Fleming wins America’s only gold medal, in figure skating

Summer 1968

Mexico City Summer Games

These games are held at the highest altitude ever: 7,349 feet

Swedish pentathlete Hans-Grunner Liljenwall is the first to be disqualified for drug use, having tested positive for excessive alcohol

On the winning podium, after the 200 meter race, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a Black Power salute and the two are immediately suspended from the Games and deported from the country

Winter 1972

Sapporo Winter Games

Retiring IOC president Avery Brundage threatens to disqualify 40 Alpine skiers for taking money from ski product manufacturers, ultimately making an example of just one skier, barring Austrian Karl Schranz.

The United States, Soviet Union and others have been routinely circumventing the IOC’s amateur code for decades, with no consequences.  The Soviets have been paying their athletes for jobs they never actually perform, while the Americans have handed out athletic scholarships to thousands of athletes.

Canada boycotts the Games, in protest of Easter European “state amateurs”

Summer 1972

Munich Summer Games

The Olympic Oath is taken by a referee for the first time

The Games are over shadowed when members of the Black September terrorist group kidnap eleven Israeli athletes from the Olympic Village, killing two and taking the other nine hostage.

During a failed rescue attempt by German authorities, the remaining athletes and all but three of the terrorists are killed


The word “amateurism” is removed from the Olympic Charter

Winter 1976

Innsbruck Winter Games

These Games were originally planned for Denver, Colorado; however, Colorado residents voted against spending money on them.

Ice Dancing makes its debut

Summer 1976

Montreal Summer Games

The price tag for the Games is $1.5 Billion Dollars

Canada bars the Republic of China (Taiwan) team from the country, then allows them to enter if they agree not to compete as “the Republic of China”  the Taiwanese consider this unacceptable and withdraw from the Games

Dozens of other nations, mostly African, boycott the Games in protest of the inclusion of New Zealand, whose rugby team is touring racially segregated South Africa

14 year old Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci scores seven perfect 10s …….nobody had ever achieved even one 10 before

Winter 1980

Lake Placid Winter Games

The first Games to use artificial snow

Summer 1980

Moscow Summer Games

The first Games to be held in a communist country

President Carter calls upon the U.S. Olympic Committee to boycott the Games, due to the Soviet invasion af Afghanistan

the U.S. stays home and many other countries follow suit

80 nations participate in the Games, down from 122 in Munich


International sports federations are given the right to determine which athletes may compete.

While athletes must live up to the standards in the Olympic Charter, the door is opened for nations to admit professional athletes.

Athletes are still barred from receiving money during the Games, whether for participating or for winning


Jim Thorpe, whose amateur status was revoked in 1913 is officially pardoned by the IOC, 29 years after his death.

Replicas of his 1912 medals are presented to his family at the start of 1983


The IOC votes to allow the Games to be opened to corporate sponsorship

Winter 1984

Sarajevo Winter Games

The first to be held in a socialist country

49 nations attend, 12 more than the previous record for the Winter Games

Summer 1984

Los Angeles Summer Games

In retaliation for the U.S. led boycott of 1980, the Soviet Union leads a 14 country boycott

The first privately financed Olympics are a commercial success

34 official sponsors, 64 companies with supplier rights 65 licensees

These are the second Games to ever turn a profit – 215 million, the first was the 1932 Los Angeles Games

A record 140 nations participate, but without the Soviets and East Germans, the Americans win almost three times as many medals as their closest competitors

In a compromise with FIFA, professional soccer players are allowed to participate, but only if they have not been part of a World Cup event


The IOC votes to change the schedule of the Olympics.

Starting in 1984, the Summer Games and Winter Games will take place two years apart form one another, rather than in the same year

Winter 1988

Calgary Winter Games

The Winter Games are spread over 16 days for the first time

Summer 1988

Seoul Summer Games

North Korea refuses to participate and Cuba and Ethiopia follow suit in solidarity, but there are not widespread boycotts for the first time since 1972

159 nations send 9,465 athletes, including 2,186 women

Canadian Ben Johnson beats Carl Lewis in the 100 meter dash with a world record time of 979.  Shortly thereafter, he tests positive for steroid use and is stripped of his medal


The IOC votes to disallow unofficial demonstrations events at the Olympics, starting with the 1996 Games

Winter 1992

Albertville Winter Games

Germany has reunited and the Soviet Union has broken up.  In spite of the accompanying turmoil, the German team and Unified team of former Soviet states remain at the top of the rankings

Summer 1992

Barcelona Games

For the first time in decades, every single nation with an Olympic Committee shows up, even Cuba, North Korea and South Africa

A record 172 nations participate, represented by 10,563 athletes

Winter 1994

Lillehammer Winter Games

These are the only Winter Games to take place two years after the preceding ones

It is the Tonya and Nancy Show in figure skating : Nanacy Kerrigan gets the Silver and Tonya Harding gets the notoriety

Ukraine’s Oksana Baiul gets the Gold

Summer 1996

Atlanta Games

A pipe bomb in Centennial Olympic Parks kills one person and injures 111

Snowboarding, curling and women’s ice hockey are introduced

15 year old American figure skater Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest athlete to win a Gold Medal at the Winter Games

Summer 2000

Sydney Games

10,651 athletes (4,069 women) from 199 nations participate.

The ony nation excluded is Afghanistan

North and South Korea enter the stadium under one flag

Women are excluded from boxing and baseball

Men are excluded from synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics and softball

Winter 2002

Salt Lake City Games

These Games are controversial starting about three years before they begin, as it is revealed that several IOC members accepted inappropriately large gifts in exchange for voting to hold the Games in Salt Lake City.  At least four IOC members resign, as do top Salt Lake City committee officials.

The IOC pledges to change the way host cities are chosen

These Games are also dominated by doping scandals, one of the most interesting being Britain’s Alain Baxter who loses his Bronze slalom medal after a drug test, although the drug detected turns out to be a Vicks inhaler.  Unknown to him, it has a different formulation in America than in the UK.  A later investigation clears him of all moral guilt; however, his medal is not returned.

Russian figure skating pair Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze win the Gold over Canadian pair Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.  The Canadians protest the French judge admits to having been pressured to give the Russians a higher ranking, and in an unprecedented ceremony, the Canadian pair is given Gold Medals, although the Russians are allowed to retain theirs.


Athens Games

The Games return to their birthplace


The IOC decides to eliminate baseball and softball from the 2012 Olympics, the first sports to be dropped since polo in 1936


Torino Winter Games


Beijing Summer Games

On May 8, 2008, the Olympic torch was carried by climbers to the “roof of the world”, reaching the 29,035 foot summit of Mount Everest

During the ascent, Tibetan women were the first and last to carry the torch


Vancouver Winter Games

On February, 12th, shortly before the Games began, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili died during a training run after his sled left the track and crashed into a pole.  As a result of this tragedy, the start for the course was moved further down the track.


London Summer Games

About 4,000 newts and hundreds of toads were removed by hand and relocated during construction of the Olympic Park

The London Olympic site has more than 525 birdhouses, 150 bat houses and numerous otter holts to help maintain the local wildlife as part of the Games’ focus on producing an eco-friendly event

Some great Olympic Athlete names for 2012 are:

Michael Arms  – Rowing, New Zealand

Elena Baltacha – Tennis, Great Britain

Usain Bolt – Track, Jamaica

Jason Lavigilante – Boxing, Mauritius


Sochi, Russia


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


PyeongChang, South Korea


I hope you enjoyed this look at the Olympics

now to close with my very, very favorite Olympic quote

“When I race my mind is full of doubts – who will finish second, who will finish third?”

Noureddine Morceli, Algerian athlete, 1996 Summer Olympics

Schloss Neuschwanstein – Castle


Neuschwanstein was commenced by King Ludwig II in 1868 high above his father’s Hohenschwangau Castle in the area he knew so well, and was never actually completed.  It was his monument to the culture and kingship of the Middle Ages, which he venerated and wanted to recreate.  Designed in the medieval style but equipped with the latest technology of the day, it is one of the most famous buildings in the world and a central symbol of German idealism.  The interior features picture cycles from old Norse and chivalric legends. 

The Singers’ Hall is based on two halls in the Wartburg.

The Throne Hall, which celebrates power and authority, was inspired by Byzantine and early Christian churches.

If you plan on visiting the castle, ride up the mountain in one of the horse-drawn carriages, it is still quite a hike when you disembark the carriage and there are many, many, many staircases to climb once inside the castle. I also suggest riding down in the carriage also.

To begin the tour you must climb three flights of stairs. The interior of the castle is decorated with murals, chandeliers and even furnishings that represent the characters of Wagner’s Operas. There is even a cave created within the castle to reflect a scene from one of the operas. Poor King Ludwig II only spent 120 days in the castle before they took him away and only two floors of the castle are actually completed. Evidently it was opened to the public six weeks after his death and has been a tourist attraction ever since. Disney, of course, used the castle as the basis for creating his famous castles at the Disney theme parks. All in all it is a rather disturbing and unnerving scene, despite the majestic beauty it presents.

Linderhof – Residence of King Ludwig II


Poor King Ludwig II was born long past his time, as he truly wanted to be a King of the old world.  Creating his castles was a way of creating that reality.  He was removed from the throne and declared insane; on that very same day he was found drowned in a lake with his psychiatrist…………oh yeah, that was an accident.

The beautiful Linderhof, called a castle by many, was actually King Ludwig’s residence. It was a place he would escape from the world into his beautiful fantasy. What a wonderful place it is with magnificent fountains and breathtaking grounds. His dining table was designed so that it could be lowered into the kitchen and set with utensils and food and then raised back up so that he king would not have to be bothered with commoners fluttering about.

A marvelous structure it is, the mirrors of 12 feet in height were framed in Meissen porcelain and some of the chandeliers were also of the same stunning porcelain. The “Hall of Mirrors” was truly stunning with two large mirrors facing each other and giving the viewer an impression of an endless hallway of mirrors — stunning!






The weather is below freezing and we are walking in the mountains covered in snow — then suddenly it begins to sleet and snow very heavily — how marvelous! We are cold, but so enjoying this wonderful experience. We are deep into the Bavarian forest standing before the residence of King Ludwig II, surrounded by snow-covered alps and we a getting covered in it — In May when our poor Texas is parched!

Munich, Germany


We are on the train to Munich!  This is probably our last train trip on this voyage.  We are  still so amazed at how comfortable and efficient the transportation system is here in Europe.  We are mesmerized by the beauty as we travel through the mountains — may with snow!  This has been one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  The homes all have the typical German architecture and the forest is dense tall pine trees.  So lush and green as compared to our parched Texas.  We pass through village after village of quaint gingerbread houses surrounding a grand church whose steeple towers over the village, all nestled in the mountains of pine trees with clouds tucked in the crevices and clear pristine rivers running by.

We arrive in the city of Munich with the weather clearing and the sun shining!  Our Hotel Ibis is located near the old section of Munich and all that lies between us is the botanical garden — not a bad walk!  We just finished dining on schnitzle and spatzel with mushrooms and gravy.  We sit and review our plans regarding the sites to visit while we are here.  Our room at the hotel was rather small, so we met with the manager Karina Nolle, who moved us to the top floor of the hotel in a lovely room overlooking the entire city……what a wonder person she is!

We had a grand breakfast at the hotel of some of the most wonderful smoked salmon I have ever tasted with horseradish and sour cream with chives and onion —— ooohhhh my!  Of course I visited my new friend — the European coffee machine — several times for wonderful rich cappuccino.  We then ventured out to the subway and off to Marionplatz, home of the famous glockenspiel.  The glockenspiel is basically a life-sized coo-coo clock in the tower of the town hall built in the 1500s.  The figures that spin and dance re-enact some royal wedding and they are all life-sized and carved of wood.  It is a marvel to behold.  unfortunately it is Sunday and all the shops are closed!










We have dinner at a wonderful German Restaurant, Rechthaler-Hof.

We sit near a beautiful harvest crown make of wheat.

Our first course is beef broth with a large liver dumpling– oh delights this is so very good!

The main course is a pig leg baked to crispy perfection, served with fresh sauerkraut and a huge potato dumpling. I am reminded of Botin’s Restaurant in Madrid and the Cochino al Horno.

The meal was so marvelous. The skin of the pork was crispy and the dumpling was so very, very good. We had to skip the beer and desert, the meal was so rich and filling.

We walked back to the Hotel Ibis, the temperature is below 40 degrees and there is a slight rain and strong wind. We discussed what an adaptation we will have to make when we return home to Texas.

It is time to visit a traditional Beer Garden and enjoy one of the true gifts of German society. We pick the Augustiner-Keller, which was established in 1812.

It is a very large beer garden nestled under dense trees. When we left we found out how dense the trees were…..it had been and continued to rain! We remained dry the entire time we ate our meal under those trees! I would estimate a half an acre of food and beer. We enjoy a plate of assorted Bavarian sausages with the most delicious sauerkraut and potatoes. We drink the beer that is brewed on site and served out of ancient wooden barrels — another amazing treat.

We have such fun spending a day in the ourdoor market and marveling in the sounds, smells, sights and tastes of this wonderful city.

When we awake to leave for the United States, we find a beautiful moon over Munich and almost decide to stay………..

Berlin, Germany


We sit in our cabin on the train to Berlin with a very kinky middle-aged woman in short boots, black lace stockings, short denim shorts and a sexy black & white top, she looks ready to hit he cabaret stage, but is actually a business traveler working on her computer. We have moved to the dining car — now there is a surprise! I have a wonderful plate of Nurnberg sausages and bread whilst Augustine has his favorite Goulash Soup. We dine and sip a lovely chardonnay while the German countryside goes by. The beautiful lush green fields filled with the most beautiful dairy cows. I so love the Fatherland and the lush bounties it offers.

I must confess that this train trip has turned tedious. We expected a fast train to Berlin; however, our train stops many times with many passengers getting off and on. We finally settle in the dining car for even if it is full of the sounds of clinking dishes and many conversations; it seems calmer than the up and down of passengers and luggage. Berlin will not come soon enough for me. We arrived fine and will rest well in our large comfortable room at the Hotel Ibis. We go to the grocery store and purchase 3 bottles of wine — one of which I promptly drink and off to bed!

Awoke early and begin our adventure in Berlin. We began with a wonderful breakfast at a gas station! Yes, a gas station. Wonderful food, exceptional coffee in a nice dining area served on china! Who would have thought! We make friends with the manager who loves her new American friends.

We then hopped on the tram and headed off on our exploration. WE switched from tram to train at Alexander Station and made our way to the Brandenburg GateCheck Point Charlie. What history lies at our feet — it makes one realize how fleeting freedom can be. We watch as people walk freely back and forth from East to West and reflect on how many lost their lives attempting to cross this place. We find a young man who stamps our passports with the verfication stamps no longer necessary and gives us a day visa to cross into the West.

We sit under the flowering Linden trees and I quickly sing an old East German song “the branch of the Linden is leafy and green, the Rhine gives her gold to the sea; the morning will come with the world is mine — Tomorrow belongs to me!” We enjoy a Berliner Beer and I write post cards to the United States. We continue our walk to the Berliner Dom — a beautiful church that ws bombed during the war, and explore the crypt full of coffins from teh German Kings and Queens, many are coming apart and the crypt smells of death.

We enjoy a marvelous dinner at a sidewalk cafe: August with schnitzle and asparagus and I with knockwurst and kraut and a beautiful bottle of dry Riesling, sitting in the sun, remembering our day of exploration in Berlin. The transportation system is very interesting here. You buy a ticket that entitles you to the tram, bus and subway — both of which are necessary in order to move about the city. We explored every inch, I do believe.

Our last day in Berlin. We awoke at 6 A.M. and took a leisurely time getting ready for our day. Of course we had breakfast at our favorite cafe — the gas station! I must say the food is better than many a restaurant and the staff is so very pleasant and friendly. We hop the tram and then the train to West Berlin and find ourselves in the midst of some marathon being run in the city. We want to see the ruins of a bombed church, only to find it has been encased in aluminum for restoration!!! They do allow us in and it is spectacular.

We walk about and enter a chapel that has been constructed of the broken stained glass from the original church — what majesty shines though this glass and what pain it reflects.

We hop the train back to Alexander platz and switch to the tram to go back to the hotel.






We find a cafe down the street open and decide to dine at the “Do The Pop” (www.cafe-do-the-pop.de).

We sit outside with a white wine and a Berliner beer and have some luncheon, a spicy carrot soup and wonderful German bread.