Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ein Feste Berg is Unser Gott

Here is a view of Schlosskirche in the morning mist. On top of the türm it has a line from Luther's famous hymn : Ein Feste Berg ist Unser Gott. It is a gorgeous church, and most of the castle and the walls of the city are still intact, and the rest of the buildings have been meticuously constructed to appear that all came from the same time. This is truly a gorgeous city that is being reborn as a tourist destination for Lutherans - and we all know how much Lutheran's don't like change.

The Altes Kirche in Wittenberg. Luther also preached here. It survived dozens of wars and communist occupation. It was built in the 1400's. Didn't get to go inside, but there is a famous altar piece by Lucas Cranach the Elder - a tri panal altar with Luther, a contemporary 'Lord's Supper' and a depiction of calvary.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More Details

We drove from the Brand home near Osnabrück in Niedersachsen to Wittenberg in Sachsen-Anhalt. It took a little over 4 hours because of a 'stau' on the freeway. We wound our way through tiny German towns that were so quaint. It was gorgeous. We arrived in Wittenberg at about 4 o'clock, time enough to tour the Schlosskirche and the home of Luther. It was very nicely done, and hard to believe that 25 years ago this was a communist country. Although, when we crossed from West to East, there were gates and towers and barbed wire that bore remembrance to the way it used to be.
Anyways, Wittenberg was a terrific time. We stayed in the city at the Brauhaus, a brewery, hotel and a wonderful restaurant. Our dinner was FANTASTIC. I had the salmon and grandpa had the beef - truly a terrific German dinner. Then he and I went on a walking tour of the city. Led by our guide, Wittenberg native Marriane Hoy, we toured the most famous landmarks in the old stadt.
- Schlosskirche - where Luther preached and hung the 95 theses
- Home of Lucas Cranach - famous painter and artist for many of Luther's works
- Home of Philip Melancthon, a contemporary, friend and helper of Luther's, and our guide's favorite. She had lots of fun facts about him.
- Cranach Apotheke, where Katherina von Bora worked before she married Luther
- Luther's House, you can still walk IN HIS LIVING ROOM, which is pretty cool.
- Altes Kirche, a church older than Schlosskirche, where Luther also preached. This church also has a 'Judensau', Jewish swine, perched atop it to warn Jews to stay away. This feeling of bigotry, however, does not carry through because almost directly below the pig ornament is a lovely and interesting memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. (Grandpa and I were talking about how it's easy to focus only on the 1500's in Wittenberg, but the city also has thousands of years of European and German history in it too!)
- Many shops and other points of interest, including beautiful gardens and surrounding buildings. I could easily spend another 2-3 days there just enjoying the sites.

We left the city at 9:15 am, because the shops opened at 9 and I needed to buy some things quickly (Watch out Bry!). Then we drove the 2 hours to Dresden, with a quick stop in a historical German town calld Bad Durringen. In that city there is the largest salt water bath in Europe - I'll put up pictures soon. It was interesting to see, and yes, the water tasted nasty.

Check out tomorrow's post about Dresden. Now I'm going to watch Project Runway and enjoy actually understanding everything that is said!

Gute Nacht! Bis Morgen!

Wittenburg and Dresden

We just returned from our trip up north.

More to follow tomorrow.....with pictures, hopefully. I've already filled one memory card!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday through Sunday

So we took it easy on Friday after we had arrived in Bayern. We stayed at Edi and Anita's home and just had a nice day. In the afternoon, Franz Herman Brand came up from Paßau. He is a gynecologist there. He came around 3pm and stayed until 11. We had a nice talk with him, he also spoke English, and that helped a bit. We had a typical German dinner of noodles and beef in a thin gravy, along with some cucumber salad. Of course, no meal is complete without a beer as well.

The next morning (Saturday) we had breakfast and then got in the car. There are 16 states in Germany (Staaten), and by the end of this trip I will have been in over half of them. We drove north east from Regensburg, through Bavaria, into Hessen and then into Niedersachsen. This state is known for its agriculture and looks very much like Wisconsin. However, at times it was hard to see anything since Edi got the Mercedes-Benz up to 220 km\hr!! The autobahn is either really fast or really slow, and there is plenty of roadwork going on. Along the way we had lunch at a roadside restaurant\gas station called Serway. They are all over. I had forgotten that one has to pay to use the toilets here in Europe, but since we also bought lunch we got a reimbusement for the toilet usage. We got back in the car and arrived at the Brand home around 3pm. Edi and Anita kept on going north to meet another friend for the night, so it was just Grandpa and I.

This is the Heinrich Brand family, brother of Franz Herman. He has a lovely wife, Eva, and 4 kids. Only 2 kids were home as the oldest daughter is in New Zealand and the youngest is in Hungary. The middle daughter, Josefine, speaks a little English as well as her Boyfriend, Michael. The son doesn't speak as much English but will speak slowly so I can understand him. There is a small festival going on in their small town (Wörfen) so we went there for dinner. Grandpa and I each had about 5 or 6 beers, they just kept putting them in front of us. We also had a fish sandwich for dinner because fish is typical for this part of Germany. We had a lot of fun at the festival and no one let us pay for anything.

This morning we woke up and had another typical German breakfast. I like the bread and cheese and cold cuts, but raw pork and 'ham salad' before noon just doesn't float my boat. Then we went with Heinrich to a political event. We didn't know it before, but this was going to be an all day meeting with the who's who of this small village. We met Franz Josef Holzenkamp, a congressman who is likely to become the minister of agriculture next week in their elections. I have a picture of us with him that I'll post later. Then Heinrich wanted to show me the back roads so we biked from the restaurant back to the village. I thought we might go hom, but no, we went to the festival again. I counted, and these people, all middle aged, had drunk 5 or 6 beers before 1 in the afternoon! We walked around the festival for a while, and then went to a local Biergarten. No, no more beer this time. We had coffee and some of the most delicious looking cakes I've ever seen. There was a raspberry torte, a mandarin orange torte and then I had a marzipan torte with something called Stocklebeern, not quite sure what that is in English, or if we even have it in the States.

Finally, I convinced them that I needed to head home to check my e-mail and get a Tylenol since I've got a pretty big headache going. I thing (fear) that we're going BACK to the festival for dinner tonight. Edi and Anita came back this afternoon and we leave tomorrow for Wittenburg.

Friday, September 18, 2009


So Stockholm is a very busy place during rush hour. We arrived at the city center around 8:45 am and were greeted with masses of Swedes heading to work. The car traffic wasn't very heavy, but the pedestrians and bikes were just as dangerous. We bought a Metro pass (which we really didn't need) and headed for the Old Town, Gamla Stan. There the buildings are from the 1200's, and are now all shops, cafes and hotels. Our first goal was to get to the palace, which is the official residence of the Royal Family. It was guarded by uniformed guards and was quite impressive. Unfortunately, the tours, shops and museums didn't open until noon. We debated about heading over to the Vasa, a sunken ship from 1628 which had been dagged up and polished, but the Metro didn't run over there, and we were worried about being short on time to make our flight to München. So instead we just walked around the town, which is very pedestrian friendly, and got a feel for the city. Now I wished I would have taken a picture of the 100's (thousands??) of bicycles that were parked everywhere.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wir sind wieder hier

We have arrived. We are at the Gisl home and are soon going to eat dinner here. We had a terrific stopover in Stockholm, although it was about midnight (our time) when we landed. I'll write more about it later....and post photos.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

So we take off from O'Hare at 4:30 today. We're flying Scandinavian airlines and we get in to Stockholm at 7 am. The plan is to see the Vasamuseet (a big sunken ship from 1628) and the old-town Stockholm. Then we get back to the airport and head to Munich where we'll get picked up by the Gisls.

I got us all checked in all the way through to Munich so we should be able to spend a little more time in Stockholm.

Grandpa should be here in about an hour.

Bry- I'm taking some house keys along with me, just so you know that if you use my keys there won't be house keys on them. I'll miss you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


In celebration of being DONE with Step 2 CK, I went out for sushi with "the Katies". Goossen and Cook picked me up and we hit up Fujiyama in West Allis before the 1/2 price sushi rush hour. I got some old stand by rolls: Spicy Tuna, Sweet Potato (Kampyo) and, as a special treat, Shrimp Tempura. Along with some Edamame and good old catching up with my friends, dinner was terrific. Of course, the necessary stop of Krispy Kreme Donuts topped it all off. Man, those hot off the roller donuts are really something else.

Tomorrow Grandpa will get here around 10 am and we'll head to O'Hare, hopefully traffic won't be an issue. So I'm afraid my next post won't be for a while, until we've landed in Munich at least.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Well I'm getting packed. I bought some gifts yesterday and checked in with Grandpa to make sure we were on track with our plans. We'll be leaving Milwaukee at noon on Wednesday, plane leaves O'Hare at 4:30. We get into Stockholm at 7:00 am on Thursday, spend the day there, then on to Munich.

24 hours until I'm done with my test. Only 100 more questions to go.

Bry drove me out to his job-site last night in Watertown - it's pretty impressive.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


So hubby pulled through with dinner plans and we met up with Beth and Kiah on Brady Street. I had been wanting to go to this Mexican place for a while - and this was a great evening. Beth and I ordered the house Margaritas which were SUPER strong - an important selling point in my book. Kiah and Bry both had Mexican beers. We enjoyed the chips and two types of salsa - one was really sweet tasting and I think had a touch of cinnamon - delicious.
What we ordered:
Bry: sopa de limo, steak tostados - "Soup was good - a nice spice", the tostados were not to his taste - but when Abi tried them she found them fresh and delicious. Next time he'll stick with his typical order of enchiladas, but Abi was proud of him for trying something new.

Beth: Trout Tacos - a San Diego spin with trout dredged in blue corn flour and deep fried. It's served with a slaw on top that was not supposed to contain any cilantro, but, alas, it did, much to Beth's disdain. The rice was good.

Kiah: Duck Tacos - because that's what was on "Diners Drive-Ins and Dives". A nice change from chicken.

Abi: The shrimp tacos which were on special. They were nice and fresh, especially with some lime juice on top. The shrimp was good. I also enjoyed the black beans and rice that were served with them. The rice was nice and light, not tomato based, and not super sticky. I still enjoy my good ole plate of refried beans and rice, but this was a nice change.

So Cempazuchi - 1205 Brady Street, Milwaukee, WI - a nice place that I'm glad we tried. Will take some visitors back there too, I think, just to get the Brady Street flavor.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.


So studying has really been getting to me. I've been studying non-stop since August 31 - all day, everyday. And my kidneys are sick of all the coffee and Diet Coke that I've been sending their way. My back and neck are sore from sitting in my less than comfortable chair. I've got 2 more 44 question tests left for today and am dreading them.

Hopefully, Bry will recognize this and see that I need a trip to a new restuarant - maybe a new Mexican one down on National.... it will help in our quest to try all the Mexican restaurants here in Milwaukee.

Starting Up

So I've decided to start a BLOG just before my trip to Europe in 4 days. I figured that since I'll be gone so much this year it might be nice to have a way to stay in touch. Plus, since everyone is obviously very interested in my life, this will let you have a little glimpse!

Also, I think my mom will be happy to be able to read that I'm still alive. Emily - can you tell her what BLOGGING is?

For the next few days the blog will consist of "I AM STUDYING", then on Tuesday I take my LAST test of medical school - the Step 2 CK. Clinical Knowledge. Then on Wednesday Grandpa and I take off for Stockholm. I'll give more details about that later.

So welcome to the blog. I'm interested to see how this all works. And it will give me a site to check on besides Facebook!