Danube : 1st stop Passau

Passau is a very nice little town right where the three rivers converge (read also my post from May 26 2019). The three rivers are the “blue Danube“, which is only blue if the sky is reflected, the “schwarze “Ilz”, a small confluent which is black due to sediment, and the “grüne Inn” which is really rather green. As Passau was the beginning of our trip down the Danube, we arrived early to see some of the sights at more leisure than with the large group.

At the tip of the peninsula (photo in the middle) you can clearly see the two larger rivers Inn and Danube converge with the Ilz coming down the valley and joining them. There is a ripple in the water where the currents with two different colors flow headlong into each other.

We found a very nice hotel Residenz at the water’s edge with a full view of the castle. So we started off with the castle, Veste and drove up to the top. The parking lots are near the youth hostel, you walk past a lookout and the restaurant. When entering the walls you will see the elevator going down to the museums. The special exhibition is about 800 years Veste: the first foundations, the ceramic tile ovens, the coat of arms, statues, carvings. In one courtyard you can relax on deckchairs, sculptures adorn the large inner courtyard which leads to the other smaller museums. One museum is about fire engines, one about apothecaries, one about trade and one about porcelain.

Afterwards we drove down to the opposite peninsula to check out the small Roman museum built over some of the ruins that had been dug up. The museum has some excellent exhibits and a good video, unfortunately there is no snack bar near by. Parking is in front and free during the visit.

After lunch we walked into the hotel lobby of the Wilder Mann on the Rathausplatz, which has the largest collection of blown glass that I have ever seen. This enormous glass museum was opened in 1985 by Neil Armstrong, the owner Georg Höltl was able to buy many articles for little money. You start up in the 4th floor and work your way down with glass vases and mugs tucked into the very last corner under stairs and over doorways. You will need a lot of time to look at all the objects of each century and types of glass that are documented here. Nevertheless, it is worth its while, or just walk through the more interesting exhibits. The exit goes through the cellar out to the street.

In the evening we walked through the cobblestone streets past the Artist’s Alley to the Rosengasse where all the Italian restaurants were celebrating Ferragosto. From afar you could tell there was a party going on, several bands and duos and solists singing at every corner, lots of underwear and sheets strung up across the streets. We checked out quite a few restaurants until we finally found two seats at a beer table for 8 people. Everyone was quite jolly, even though half the meals served were not what we had ordered.

Monday was dedicated to the Organ concert in the Cathedral, the largest organ of the entire world. It is split into 5 separate organs placed on the balcony, at the sides of the altar and the fifth integrated into the ceiling. Each one is built differently, Italian or German and has its own sound and pitch. All five with over 17,900 pipes are coordinated on one manual. Tickets can be bought in the inside courtyard, every day but Sunday. Nearby you will walk past the Ministry of Justice and the Passauer Tölpel.

We had a nice walk to the tip of the peninsula with shade trees and lots of people to watch the three rivers flow together and up to the castle.

The next morning we had to leave and go on board the Viktoria. It involved finding the parking lot on the outskirts and taking the shuttle bus back to the river dock, where the Viktoria and Máxima were waiting. About 150 passengers fit in plus about 40 crew members. 14 days packed with new impressions on the Danube! Stay tuned.

Weyarn in Bayern/ Bavaria

Weyarn is a village about an hour to the south-east of Munich, east of the Mangfalltal, taking the Salzburger Autobahn (highway). It is not spectacular, but the St. Peter and Paul’s church, the monastery founded by the Count of Falkenstein in 1133 and the surroundings are historically interesting.

Unfortunately, one cannot enter the church, there is a glass barrier and bars.

The modern houses in Weyarn present a pleasant contrast to the old monastic building which accomodate the Priory, the Town Hall and the café with its whitewashed vaulted ceilings. The café can be strongly recommended, their cakes are delicious, plum and heavy cream : Zwetschenschmand, apple or cherry crumble, cheese and cream with tangerines : Käsesahne. They also serve lunch tidbits and small meals, such as fresh pasta with chanterelles. There is a large terrace with shady trees or you can sit indoors.

Weyarn is part of a Baroque Route which you can follow throughout Bavaria. Many lovely churches, especially those built by the Asam brothers, are scattered all over.

Cosmos coffee in the Deutsches Museum

Today we decided to drink coffee in the special exhibition of the German Museum, founded by Oskar von Miller, the famous engineer, in 1905. It was finally opened in 1925 and is now the largest science and technology museum in the entire world. Prices have gone up since I last visited, an adult pays €14, so be sure to bring along plenty of time.

The “Cosmos Coffee”, on the second floor passing through the Physics department, runs through May 2020. There are many exhibitions on at the same time, also plenty of demonstrations and guided tours which are free of extra charge.

Our tour guide lived in Venezuela for many years and was very competent. She showed us the plants, the coffee flowers of the more delicate plants, the “talking drawers” with old slogans and clichés, the “smelling machines”, the coffee room, the roasting machines, the different bean colors depending on the roasting temperature.

One cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water to let the plants grow and mature, about 5-7 years. The plant came originally from Ethiopia where it is said the goats ate the berries and capered around more than usual. To the human palate the berries were too acid and hard, so they were tossed into the fire – where they developed a fantastic chocolatey aroma. From Africa, coffee made its way to Al Mokha, Yemen and to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there to many others, reaching the US in the 17th and Russia in the 18th century.

harvest workers on the way home a man sprays pesticides on the plants without a mask

The special roast “Cosmos Coffee” at the Museum is 80% Robusta and 20% Arabica. At the bar you can order from a large menu of 8 roasts and 6 kinds of preparing. The espresso was too strong, but the cappucino was delicious and the young barista makes the best hearts and swirls into the milky froth. You can stand at the tall tables or sit down on the benches and relax with a Florentine biscuit.

City trip: Augsburg 2

We boarded the bus early on a very hot, sunny day and headed off towards Augsburg, about an hour to the west of Munich. This time we didn’t plan to see the sights in the downtown area, but lesser known spots on the edge of town. Our first stop was the Bismarck Tower. You drive through a residential area to the cemetary and walk up a wooded path to the top of the hill Steppacher Berg. Many of these towers were built in honor of the First Reichschancellor after 1868, even on other continents. You walk up the winding stairs to the top and have a wonderful view of the city and surroundings.

Bismarckturm

Our next stop was the large tree avenue Wellenburger Allee in the south of Augsburg. It is about 2 km long, shady, with a nice path for cycling and walking on the side. At the end our treat was waiting: the Schlossgaststätte Wellenburg. The food is German-Austrian, some days there is live music. We enjoyed our drinks immensely.

After a good long rest with Eiskaffee or beer, we boarded the bus again to drive to the canoe regatta area of the 1972 Olympic Games, the rowing area is in Oberschleißheim to the north of Munich. It was built at the Eiskanal near the river Lech and (of course) is used to this day and highly appreciated by canoe lovers. It is fun watching them practise turning over and sprinting through the bends.

the front end of the Eiskanal

Our last stop was the Wasserwerk of Augsburg, a water treatment plant. Augsburger are extremely proud of their pure water, which they claim is the best all around. At the drinking fountains you can fill up your bottles with wonderfully cold water.

After some strong espresso and ice cream at the See Lounge plus a short dip in the river we drove home.

Burgers German-style – Frikadellen

My hubby asked for Frikadellen and I thought, oh wow, that’s a kind of burger other countries don’t know.

Ingredients (2 p.):

  • 400 g ground beef
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 roll, previously soaked in water and squeezed (I used a Brez’n)
  • 1 tsp. spicy mustard (we love French Maille – “il n’y a Maille qui m’aille”)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper (cayenne pepper makes for a good mood)
  • 4-5 potatoes, boiled and sprinkled with paprika and butter
blend all ingredients well

Mix all the ingredients with a fork until blended. If the dough is too moist you can add bread crumbs. Moisten your hands and shape patties, best all of the same size. Cook in a heavy skillet with some margarine, turning the patties several times to ensure they are cooked all the way through.

Cook on medium heat turning the patties several times. Make sure the beef is cooked through.

Serve the Frikadellen with spicy (Maille) mustard and the boiled potatoes, buttered and sprinkled with paprika for flavor.

Veggie Variation: Sometimes I add in grated carrots, which offer a special touch of flavor. We call those our “Bunny Burgers”.

Quick quisine: noodle salad

the noodle salad in a ceramic fish bowl bought in Barcelona near the Picasso museum

Whenever we invite friends over to a barbecue, I always make a noodle salad, one of potatoes, one of cucumber, one of tomato, sometimes a fruit salad. Of course we always have Brez’n, buns, cake and ice cream, prosecco or crémant with crème de cassis and different kinds of German beer.

Ingredients (about 8 servings):

  • 250 -300 g noodles (spirelli), cooked according to directions (8 min.)
  • 1/2 jar Miracel Whip / mayonnaise
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 -2 onions, peeled and chopped (or spring onions)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 4 large pickles and pickle juice
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 bell pepper, washed and chopped
  • herbs, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

First cook the noodles al dente, about 8 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Meanwhile, chop and dice all the vegetables.

When the noodles have cooled down, mix all ingredients. Add salt and pepper, lemon juice and herbs according to taste. Leave in the fridge for several hours to cool and blend.

Variation: buy half a ring of Lyoner / bologna, cut it into bite-size chunks and add it in if you don’t have steaks.

Enjoy on a warm summer evening!

City events: Nymphenburg and Kocherlball, Munich

This week I went to a wonderful concert in the Johannissaal in the Nymphenburger Schloss (castle). It was one of a series of “Liedkunst – Kunstlied” (The art of singing) featuring Angelika Huber (soprano) and Stephan Lin (tenorio), accompanied on the piano by Tung-Hsing Tsai. The room with very high ceilings has room for about 100 listeners, the adjoining concert room Hubertussaal is much larger, for about 220 people. Both grand rooms belong to the oldest part of the castle, the “Brunnturm” from the 18th century, which even today houses one of the oldest mechanical fountain pumps for the large central fountain outside. It was also the home of the elector’s well-servant (kurfürstlicher Brunnknecht) who checked the pump regularly. Both rooms can be booked for events, many good concerts are given on a regular basis.

The castle itself is worth visiting, there are guided tours for visitors. In another wing of the castle you will find the entrance to a great museum “Mensch und Natur”, all about evolution, dinosaurs and animals, birds and human beings all around the world. Entrance is 3,50 for adults, you can book a birthday party or special group tours for kids with specialized Museumspädagogen (educational personnel). There is a fun shop at the entrance with minerals, books, mugs. etc. Downstairs is a large room for school classes with lock-up boxes for their bags and jackets.

If you don’t feel like being indoors, the expansive park behind the castle is great for a nice brisk walk along the canals. In the fall there are the golden leaves, in the winter you may go skating on the canals (safety depth permitting). Some smaller pavilions are tucked into the corners of the park. The Palmengarten Café is not far off.

Around the corner you can enter the Botanical Garden with its lovely café and terrace. Try to be there in February/ March for the butterfly show!

On Sunday July 21, if you are an early bird, you can try out the “Kocherlball” (Cook’s Ball) in the Englischer Garten at 6.00 in the morning. This is a tradition going back to the 19th century when the cooks, gardeners and maids had to get back to the mansion when the rich masters arrived from morning mass. So they organized their ball plein air very early around the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) in the English Garden. Naturally, you will want to wear your best Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses to fit in while whirling around. And if you don’t know how to dance, the Hofbräuhaus organizes free dance lessons to learn all the important local dances. Join the 10,000 others having a ball!