I write this knowing exactly how ridiculous and unfounded it is—but for as long as I can remember I’ve had a particular bias against Germany and Germans (said by a girl whose ancestry is hugely German). I have always disliked the language, have thought of Germans as harsh and cold people, and haven’t had any interest in visiting, experiencing their culture, or tasting their foods, etc.
I know where it stems from—the Holocaust. And I’m not a stupid or ignorant girl—I recognize how stupid it is to blame an entire country and culture for the wrongdoing that one person started and that people were essentially forced to follow (or succumb to their own deaths). I also know how hard it has been for Germany to move forward from those events and from that period in their history. Up until probably sometime within the past few years, Germans were afraid to show any sort of pride for their nation because that would somehow translate into being too nationalistic again—something that they wouldn’t want to appear—lest the comparisons to the Nazis start again. So, please, believe me when I say that I know how stupid my bias is, but that I have been deeply affected by and interested in the happenings of the Holocaust since I was a young child and I can’t undo 20 years of ill feelings or bias overnight.
Or can I?
When I was making my way around a Christmas Market in Dresden, I spotted a booth selling krappelchen mit puderzucker. I had no idea what they were–only that they looked decadent and that I knew I needed to try them. So, that’s exactly what I did. I ordered the small cone (thank god, as they were ridiculously filling) and got to tasting.
They are essentially mini donuts (or fritters) covered with powdered sugar. They’re a bit crispy and wonderful on the outside and squishy and doughy on the inside. They were still warm and kind of oily from the fryer, so the powdered sugar got gooey and runny the further down I got in the cone. They might be incredibly simple, but krappelchen mit puderzucker are pretty amazing. I don’t know that I could eat them more frequently than at Christmas season, but they were the perfect amount of sweet, warm, and fried for a cold and dreary day in Germany.
Well, my first three months of travel are over! And as you read this, I am en route back to the States, where I will spend just over a month catching my breath, hopefully making some money, seeing my friends and family, and kissing the shit out of my dog. But don’t worry–I’ll also be furiously planning my next round of travels (and as I said, I have a few things in mind–just need to actually take the time to start booking a few things and look at logistics).
In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a rundown of the past few months–the places I’ve seen, quick highlights of the experiences, and little teasers for what you’ll soon see on my blog (because let’s face it–I’ve had a seriously difficult time keeping up with blogging as I’ve been traveling, and I have a lot of stuff yet to put out!).
I’m not new to mountain ranges; I grew up in the Appalachian area and spent many a summer in the Great Smoky Mountains. So, I thought I had an idea of what I was getting into when I headed to the Alps. Only, when I actually saw the Alps, I realized how different they were than everything I’d previously associated to the word “mountain”.
This week’s Foodie Friday features.. wiener schnitzel. While this is technically an Austrian (Viennese) dish, I ate it in Germany (I was close to the Austrian border, okay?). This was my first foray into the world of schnitzels, and more poignantly, into the world of veal (more on this later).
If you’d asked me before my recent trip to Frankfurt, I would’ve guessed that it was a larger city than Köln, but it is in fact the fifth-largest in Germany (just after Köln). Still, it feels much larger and more city-like to me. To be honest, that’s not necessarily a great thing in my book. I liked Frankfurt, but I was sort of bored by it too. Much of it felt very generic and anonymous to me–like it could’ve been a city found anywhere else in the world. It wasn’t until I saw Altstadt (Old Town) that it actually started to feel German to me.
The first real stop on my European roadtrip was to Köln (Cologne). Köln is Germany’s fourth-largest city and is home to the Kölner Dom, or Cologne Cathedral, which was the main purpose of my visit. (There’s much more to Köln than the Dom, but I plan to save that for the World War II tour I’m hoping to take next year.)
I am home from my first-official European Road Trip, and I have to say, it was one of my favorite trips ever. Here are a few iPhone photo highlights from the journey.
I have a lot of trips/plans in the works, but only one big trip confirmed so far. So I figured I’d let you in on that one for now.
In less than two weeks, I’m departing on a European road trip, starting and ending with Amsterdam. The itinerary is…