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Easter fun on the Stuttgarter Wasen

Parent Category: MagazineCategory: SightseeingPublished: Monday, 24 April 2017 10:38Written by Thomas Niedermüller
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The Stuttgart spring fest starts with a 4 day weekend into its 79th year. This year it is opening right in time to celebrate the end of fasting on the Saturday before Easter. Old and young visitors can look forward to 3 eventful weeks in the capital of the State of Baden Wuerttemberg, starting at April 15th to May 7th 2017. Expect to be entertained by the 250 different food stands, rides and salesmen. It does not matter if you prefer a ride on one of the many colorful merry-go-rounds, the candy stands, a stroll through the Kraemermarket or proper fest music in the beer tents, everyone’s wishes will be satisfied. “The 23 days of celebration at the Wasen make it a great place for Families and what’s even better, this year’s Easter break falls right into the first week of the Fruehlingsfest.” Comments Andreas Kroll, head of the Stuttgart’s Event Management Ltd team. “We can look forward to a family friendly mood during that entire week and not just on Wednesdays, the already popular family days.

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Easter in Germany

Parent Category: MagazineCategory: CulturePublished: Saturday, 08 April 2017 13:26Written by Karin Stumph
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Spring is right around the corner, and Germany is getting ready for Easter.

While traditionally a religious holiday, Easter is one of the most popular holidays for churchgoers and non-religious affiliated Germans alike. Since Christian and pagan rituals are now so intertwined it only makes sense for everyone to take part in the celebrations, besides who does not like a couple extra days off.

Easter markets are a popular thing and pop up on almost every weekend luring eager shoppers to the city center. Most of the public gardens and parks open up right around the beginning of spring also and will enchant with beautiful flowers and walks during the first warmer days.

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The Maginot Line in Lembach

Parent Category: MagazineCategory: SightseeingPublished: Tuesday, 04 April 2017 12:45Written by Uwe Warnack
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Two hours from Stuttgart or one and a half hours from Kaiserslautern - located in the French Lembach - is the fortress "Four a chaux" - lime kiln of the Maginot line. It got its name from the formerly located lime kiln in the neighborhood.

The Maginot Line extends over a distance of more than 500 miles on the French border. The construction began during the 1930s world economic crisis and lasted until 1940. It was also planned as a job creation program for the French state as there were many unemployed people who found employment that way. Up to 20,000 workers were involved in the construction of the Maginot Line, about 800 with the fortress in Lembach.

When you come through Wissembourg, you may continue in the direction of Lembach. Over a narrow road, which crosses the foothills of the northern Vosges, you can reach Lembach going through Climbach. Follow the signs "Ligne Maginot" in the town center. Just one mile outside the small town lies the fortress built in the hill to the left of the road. In front of the fortress stands an old M 41

"Walker Bulldog" tank of the US Army from 1951. Approximately 100 yards behind the tank, one sees parts of the fortress - a solid concrete structure with the material entrance, machine gun openings left and right and, a few meters above, the gun couplings. Our tour started at 2:30pm. Our guide was an almost 70-year old veteran of the French army. He told us that the fortress is still owned by the army and that it has been open to visitors since 1983. First, we went a steep way up outside the fortress, and after about 250 yards, we were at the team entrance. Also, there again, you find the same picture. Machine guns on both sides, which had the forecourt completely in the firing field. Then began the journey into the past. The walkway is about seven feet wide and did not lead straight into the interior of the plant but is angled several times and again secured by machine guns and armored doors. We were then in the barracks area of ​​the plant. In the fortress, there is always the same temperature no matter if summer or winter - always 55° Fahrenheit, and the air is very humid. We walked several hundred yards along the main aisle, and from there we could look into rooms where the ventilation was housed. A slight overpressure prevailed in the plant so that no penetration of poison gas, in case of an attack, was possible. Then we were led through the team kitchen, huge kettles, a baking oven, storage and cooling rooms, and very importantly the wine cellar. Each of the 580 men's crew received a quarter of a liter of red wine at each meal.

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Cora, and the benefits of living right next to France

Parent Category: MagazineCategory: ShoppingPublished: Friday, 31 March 2017 12:39Written by Karin Stumph
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One of the great things about living in Europe is that you can travel from country to country in a matter of hours. Borders are open to the most parts, and while there are sporadic border checks, you are pretty free to transport bought goods for personal consumption.

Since the Kaiserslautern/ Ramstein area is located right along the border of France, it's super easy to just jump in the car and drive to one of the many stores near the border. The only thing you need to worry about is having an international driver’s license and your official passport and you are ready to go. One of the bigger store chains in France is Cora and well comparable to a Walmart back in the states.

If you are used to the smaller German grocery stores, it can be quite overwhelming at first, but the true American shopper in you will reemerge in no time and let you tackle the isles. The Cora in Forbach offers everything from clothes, jewelry, groceries, pet supplies and even gardening stuff.

The only issue I regularly encounter is that the staff at the store speaks neither English nor German, but they are willing to do broken sign and point language. Cora offers amazing baked goods sections, fresh seafood and the fruits and veggie tables are loaded with any kind of exotic fruit you can think of.

A cold cut and fresh cheese counter is also overloaded with fresh quiches and other savory specialties, whose names I can't pronounce.

You will notice many of the familiar German items, but also many of the goodies that you may have been missing from back home and then on top of that all the French items. Cora also holds wine markets in the spring and fall with a huge tent in the parking lot and bottles upon bottles of yummy French wine.

After an exhausting shopping marathon inside of the store, be sure to check out the small shops located across from the cash registers and stop for a snack at the bistro or restaurant inside. I had no issue using my debit cars or German giro card there, but if in doubt bring Euros.

They do have an ATM in there, but there will be withdrawal fees.

In the vicinity of the Cora store, you can find several fast food places like McDonald’s and KFC, and lots of other stores and shops.

Be prepared for a fun day of shopping and bring your own shopping bags; Cora only has the reusable bags for sale.

The address for Cora is: Avenue de l'Europe, 57602 Forbach, France

Happy hunting

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Wissembourg

Parent Category: MagazineCategory: TravelingPublished: Monday, 27 March 2017 12:32Written by Karin Stumph
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Located right on the French-German border is the picturesque town of Wissembourg. Wissembourg is only 45 miles away from Kaiserslautern or 75 miles away from Stuttgart.
Founded in the 7th century as an Abbey, the town had grown into a fortified city by the 13th century and is now a modern city with a rather big hospital complex and big wholesale places like the sparkling wine store.

The main street that takes you into the city will lead you along a beautiful drive along parts of the city’s outer walls and old watermills running into the many streams and canals that run through the town. There are plenty of dedicated parking spots in city center, and during the weekend parking may even be free, just check on the next ticket machine for prices and times.

Entering the old town is like getting out of a time machine; most of the buildings inside the city walls date back from the 11th to 17th centuries and are breathtaking. The charming old buildings with their crooked roofs and ancient timbers will take you back to a different place. Tucked in between the old houses are many side roads inviting you to explore.

The old town is built around many streams where little bridges and roads used to guide the horse carts and people to mills and storehouses.

The Abbey in the center of town should be on your “must see” places in Wissembourg and is absolutely stunning. Most of the old houses are outfitted with plaques that will tell you about the building in French, German and English. Many of them house stores and restaurants. For longer visits there are also several hotels located inside the city.

When we decided to visit Wissembourg last weekend, we actually were really lucky and came at an open shopping Sunday. When we hit town, we saw a little fair with rides and booths. Heading further into town I noticed that, to my delight, places like bakeries were stocked and selling wonderful treats. We strolled through the well visited streets and past busy bistros and cafes. One of the more impressive buildings is the Kugelhupf bakery; that we had to check out. Shelves of fresh croissants and pastries greeted us behind glass counters, and on the other side of the small sales area were glass counters with heaps of chocolates and pralines.

We also found a tiny antique shop that displayed some lovely old furniture and knick-knacks. The store also had several shelves with homemade soaps and scrubs.

Another place offered fresh cheeses, salami and wine. The aroma was overwhelming! We did lots of sampling and walked out of the store as proud owners of a large boar salami.

Most of the store owners did speak some English and German so it was not really an issue to communicate; people where friendly and made us feel very welcome.

If you head there during the week, be sure to check out the French grocery stores for some great food, or stop at the sparkling wine store “Caves de Wissembourg” to stock up for you next party. And instead of taking the car, they also have a train station; the walk to the old town is not too far.

We really enjoyed our day in Wissembourg and will be back for sure.

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