All vacation unfortunately have to come to an end and so I had to say good bye to my parents last Saturday. Its always a sad day to say good bye and know that it will be at least another year to see them again. Its not that the flight is taking so ungodly long that I couldn’t make it more often to Germany, its more the $$ it costs nowadays and the little vacation days you get in the US that prohibit me to visit my parents more often. But on the positive note, I am lucky that I can spend 21 days, undivided attention just with them, that’s like visiting them almost every other week for one year if I would live in Germany!
Since Mike joined me on my Germany vacation, the focus was more on sightseeing than cooking, so you won’t see or read a lot about food in this edidtion. Below a recap of the week in photos:
Mike and I already visited Cologne 4 years ago but we never made it to my birth town Duesseldorf, so this time we took a quick trip to Duesseldorf and spent some time in the Old Town and on the Rhein Promenade.
A stop in Zons and visting my college friends
On the way to my friends Sandra and Petra, we stopped at an old Fortress called Zons, Its a very old small town (going back to the 7th century ) on the west bank of the lower river Rhein between Cologne and Duesseldorf. The little town is surrounded by a big wall and each side has a tower with gate you can access the town through. You get a very good feeling of how living in a small town in the Middle Ages must have felt.
After the stop in Zons we met Petra, Ernie, Sandra, Frank and their two adorable kids Sarah and Erik. We met for dinner and had a chance to catch up on the good old times and current events. We also committed to an entire “girls weekend” in 2016 since it takes more than a dinner to get caught up on the past years.
Netherlands – z’Hertogenbosh & Den Haag
On Wednesday Mike and drove to close by Holland and visited a little town called z’Hertogenbosh and also visited Den Haag,which is the official residence of the King and Queen of the Netherlands and also hosts every major embassy.
z’Hertogengbosh is a neat little town with a huge market place, a nice church, great cafes and worth an afternoon stroll.
Den Haag is a very fun city to visit, its much smaller than Amsterdam but still has a very nice downtown area with tons of street cafes, restaurants, shops and of course famous (pot) brownie shops.
We stayed at a gorgeous old hotel in downtown called Des Indes, which used to be the “party palace” for the Queen back in the day; its absolute posh and makes you feel very “royal” yourself, the service was just outstanding from check in to check out.
Schloss Burg: (close to Leverkusen and Cologne)
Back from the Netherlands we went on a small family outing and visited Schloss Burg. Although reconstructed in the 1920’s, this is a really cool Fortress with museum that documents how the Counts of “Berg” lived and ruled the area from 1133 through 1648. In 1882 the castle was reconstructed.
A visit to Schloss Burg has to be concluded with the traditional “Bergische Kaffeetafel”. Whilst traditional ‘afternoon coffee’ with cakes or other baked goods is typical throughout Germany, rather different dishes appear on the table for a Bergische Kaffeetafel (‘Bergisch coffee spread’).
It consists of pound cake, ‘black’ and ‘grey’ bread, jam, sausage, ham, cheese, ‘quark’ (a creamy fresh curd cheese), sweet raisin bread, Melba toast and the traditional Burger Pretzel (its a dry sweet pretzel). Two dishes never missing from this rich spread are typical Bergische waffles, served with hot sour cherries, and rice pudding with cinnamon and sugar. And the undisputed queen of the spread is the” Dröppelmina’, a three-legged pewter coffee pot with a little tap to serve the freshly brewed coffee.
This concludes my food and travel diary for this Germany trip. I hope you enjoyed all the photos and tales that went along with them. Now its off to catching up with 3 weeks of work that was left behind.