Tag Archives: Holidays

Augsburg’s Christkindlesmarkt

Ah, it’s that time of the year again! The air is full of the scent of gingerbread and mulled wine, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, fir trees and Christmas… Wait! Oh gosh, I forgot to buy the last presents! If you recognize yourself in this scenario, don’t panic. I’ve got some ideas that will not only help you to find a last-minute gift but also involve a bit of fun…

The time is running out…

Only four days left until Christmas Eve and you have to buy some last-minute gifts for your family and friends. So it begins… hustling through the crowded shops with thousands of stressed-out shoppers who – yes, you got it – have forgotten to buy them, too. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

Augsburg’s Christmas market – something for everybody

fairy_lights-min

But lucky you, in Augsburg there’s the annual Christmas market, called Christkindlesmarkt by Auxburger. There are plenty of things to do and buy! On entering, you’ll see all kinds of booths which have even more products waiting. There are, for example, some stalls with beautiful ornaments for your Christmas tree, some of them 100 per cent handmade; and if your tree also needs some lighting, there’s another booth which sells fairy lights in various fancy designs. 

If you’re more into decorating a Christmas crib, you won’t be disappointed either! There are a million ways to give your grandma’s old one a complete update. For the more spiritual among us, there are stalls that offer all kinds of angel figurines, too. If you have kids, a trip to the Christmas market will probably make their eyes light up like the star of Bethlehem. At the Moritzplatz tram stop, there’s a tiny children’s Christmas market for your little ones. It even has a little merry-go-round! And at the main market, they can write Santa a letter at the postal office.

Countless ways to satisfy your hunger

After you’re done with your last-food_and_drinks-minminute shopping, you’ll certainly be hungry. No problem, because food is everywhere! So-called Weihnachtsfladen (similar to Lángos), a breadroll filled with sausages, all kinds of sweet dishes and candy are only a few examples of what makes your mouth water when only reading about it. My tip: try out the so-called Dampfnudel, if you haven’t already! The vanilla sauce tastes yummy! The market is also famous for all kinds of hot alcoholic beverages, but the most famous one is mulled wine. As an alternative for the kids and those who don’t drink, children’s punch is a big deal as well!

Let this thoughtful time come to its finest

As you can see, there are many ways to either get your missing gifts or just spend the evening getting into the Christmas spirit. Try not to waste these last few days in a state of exhaustion!

Happy holidays! 😊

Author: Denise Bieber | Pictures: Katharina Dück

Sätt ljuset in i världen

Idag är det den 13 December, det är Luciadagen. På Luciadagen firar man en av de största religösa högtiderna i Sverige, även om firandet i modern tid inte är så starkt förknippat med religion längre. Då firar man att de kortaste dagarna på året är över, man hälsar de längre och ljusare dagarna välkomna. Man kan säga att Luciadagen är vinters motsvarighet till den bättre kände midsommaren. I det följande ska vi förklara festens historia och traditioner.

Luciadagens historia

Kanske undrar du varför man firar det kortaste dagen just den 13 December, eftersom du förmodligen vet att årets kortaste dag egentligen är den 21 December. Men det är lätt att förklara, om vi påminner oss om vilken kalenderräkning man hade när Luciafiradet började: Europa hade den julianska kalenderräkningen, och enligt den så inföll Luciadagen samma dag som vintersolståndet.

Sankta Lucia, alltså den heliga Lucia, är ett helgon i den romersk-katolska kyrkan och har sitt ursprung i Sicilien. Lucia dog på 300-talet och är skyddshelgonet till Syrakusa. Namnet Lucia kommer från latin (lux) och betyder ljus. Idag vet man inte precis hur luciafirandet utvecklades, men de första historiska bevisen på luciafester går tillbaka till medeltiden. Folk firade fester för att ringa i jultiden. På 1700-talet fanns det första rapporter om vita kläder som människaor hade på sig i samband med luciafirandet. Lite senare, på 1800-talet, spred sig denna sed från Västsverige, Dalsland, Bohuslän, Västergötland och Värmland, över hela landet.

Luciafirandet idag

Kerze1_Idag är Lucia inte någon särskilt religös högtid längre, utan snarare en fest för familjer och barn. De viktigaste symbolerna är vita kläder som barnen har på sig, samt ljus som bär i sina händer och på huvudet. Vanligtvis börjar Luciadagen tidigt på morgonen, hemma hos familjer, och forstätter i skolor, på dagis, universitetet och arbetsplatser. Hemma är det den äldsta dottern i familjen som är Lucia. Hon är klädd i en vit klänning med rött sidenband runt midjan och bär en krona med levande ljus på huvudet. Alla andra tjeierna följer henne som ”tärnor”. Tärnorna bär också vita kläder, men de har glitter i håret och runt midjan. I sina händer håller de var sitt levande ljus. Poijkerna får naturligtvis också delta i Luciatåget: De föreställer så kallade ”stjärngossa”, ”pepparkaksgubbar” eller ”tomtar”.

Men varför bär alla människor ljus på denna dag, kan man undra. Nu behöver vi komma ihåg att solen i stora delar av Sverige aldrig går upp mitt i vintern, så folk vill lysa upp mörkret och bringa ljus till hela landet och till världen.

Svenskarna är söta

Firar man någon högtid i Sverige, så får man inte glömma sötsaker, så klart: Som överallt i hela världen finns det speciella maträtter till speciella fester och högtider. På Luciadagen brukar man baka ”lussekatter”, en vetebulle med jäst som är gulfärgad av saffran. Med lite fantasi kan man se att den klassiska lussebullen ser ut som en katt.

lussekatter_ Kopie2Namnet ”lussekatt” består av två delar: Lusse är en alternativ benämning på Lucia. Andra delen, „katt”, hänvisar till katten, alltså djuret. Tidigare kallade man bullarna för djävulskatter, darför att i Tyskland var det djävulen som serverade dem. Och, som ni alla förmodligen vet, var katter förr i tiden djävulens hjälpare.

Nu ska vi avsluta vår lilla berättelse om en av Sveriges stora fester och, i typiskt svensk tradition, fika med våra lussekatter.

Ha det så bra! Vi önskar er alla God Jul och Gott Nytt År!

Text: Angie Czygann & Tobias Lorenz
Proofreading: Sarah Weitkamp
Pictures: M & A Czygann

Wroclaw

It’s summertime! Courses are slowly coming to an end, leaving us tortured by exams, term papers and other deadlines. With such a perspective, it can be difficult to make time for a long vacation and get away from it all, not to mention that the budget could also be a bit of a problem here. So I would like to present to you a time- and budget-friendly option to escape from uni madness and free your mind, if only for a while.

Wroclaw_kleinYou might be asking yourself why, of all great cities in Europe, I chose to write about Wroclaw. Although I was born in Warsaw and grew up in Germany, I’ve spent all my summers in Wroclaw with my grandparents. The city has always meant a lot to me and I feel like it’s not getting enough recognition, especially among younger people. If you’re planning to visit Poland some time, and have Warsaw or Gdansk in mind, let me tell you that Wroclaw is a much better alternative and has a lot more to offer, especially for university students.

Mind the dwarfs

Dwarf724 kms north-east of our beloved Augsburg lies a city packed with culture, delicious food, craft beer and dwarfs. Dwarfs? Why yes one of Wroclaw’s trademarks is little dwarf statues, which are spread all around the city. They can serve as a guideline to explore the city or just be stumbled upon while walking around freely. Just make sure to keep an eye out for them.

Another thing about Wroclaw is that people tend to call it the Amsterdam of Poland, and as soon as you arrive in the city you will immediately know why. The Odra and its canals beautifully wind through the city, making it explorable from the water and giving the city an amazing Venice-like flair.


Ice-cold refreshments

IcecreamSummer is one of the best times to travel and explore new cities, but what if it gets too hot? Well worry not, there are a lot of different ice-cream shops around the city, among them Ice Rolls Wroclaw. Made right before your eyes, the fresh, creamy deliciousness will not only cool you down but make you enjoy ice cream in an entirely new way.

After you’ve stopped for your ice cream and continue your city stroll, you’re but a few steps away from the marketplace, Wroclaw’s most magical spot (in my opinion, one of the most beautiful city squares in Europe). If you’re lucky, you might be just in time for one of the fairs that take place there and which can last up to a week.

Students’ (night) life

All this might sound really touristy and mainstream, so why write about it in a student magazine and make it sound so special? Well, one thing I noticed is that Wroclaw lives for and because of its many local and foreign students. There are a lot of great things to do during the day, but at night an entirely new side of the city comes to life. So grab a fancy cocktail, sitting on the market square with a view of the illuminated town hall or enjoy locally-brewed craft beer in one of the many different types of pubs. With a little luck, you might be able to land a pint for 2,50 zl, which is roughly 70 cents. Or if you’re not the beer type, you might want to stop by Czupito, a shot bar with an astonishing variety of mind-blowing shots. Of course, you can combine all this and go on a crazy pub crawl and even end up in one of the university’s dorms at a house party with people from all around the world drinking polish wodka and eating dill pickles.

So if you’re still struggling to decide where to go on a short trip, take Wroclaw into consideration. I promise it is worth the trip!

Wroclaw_2

Author & Pictures: Aleksandra Goralska

Yorkshire

What did you think about the Twilight Franchise? Did you like it? Or was it too cheesy? As far as my vampirology knowledge goes, vampires are supposed to resemble demonic, sublime characters with a twisted romantic touch. But where does this misguided love theme in Coppola’s Dracula movie and the sinister notion of vampire films like Nosferatu come from? Well, it was the Irish author Bram Stoker who kicked it all off with his Gothic novel Dracula, in 1897. But where did he get his inspiration from?
Yorkshire_Dales_1

A northern English town called Whitby, located in Yorkshire, inspired Bram Stoker writing his novel Dracula. The weather conditions and the local dialect are worked into the novel and even the novel’s name itself – Dracula – derives from a book about Walachian and Moldavian history, which Stoker stumbled upon in Whitby.

Not only did Dracula put the town on the map internationally, but also well-known explorer Captain Cook acquired his early nautical skills in this Yorkshire town.

However, Yorkshire has more to offer than vampire-related trivia and nautical history. It was also home to the famous Brontë sisters, Emily, Charlotte and Anne. Emily’s novel Wuthering Heights, for instance, is regarded as an English masterpiece of the nineteenth century. The three lettered sisters lived in Haworth, which is one of many picturesque towns you can find all over Yorkshire. If you like cobblestone streets and dry-brick walls, you’ll get your money’s worth in the countryside of this northern English county.

Yorkshire_Dales_2

If you’re not too interested in vampires, sailors and classic literature,  don’t worry! Yorkshire has you covered. The county features three of the biggest cities in England, namely Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford. Leeds is considered to be among the top ten towns for live music and upcoming bands. Sheffield doesn’t make this list, however, even though both bands Pulp and Arctic Monkeys come from there, which tells you a bit about the quality we’re talking about.

If this doesn’t sound hot enough for you, visit Bradford, which was named “Curry Capital of Britain” for the sixth year in a row in  ????. Thanks to its many citizens of Indian descent, you can find the best and most original Curry in the UK here. Maybe spicy food isn’t your cup of tea, though; in this case you can always go for a hearty Yorkshire pudding – a traditional Sunday roast.

The historic town of York gives its name to the entire county, the already-mentioned pudding and it’s definitely worth a visit. Not only York, but also Leeds and Sheffield have tradition-steeped football and rugby clubs where you can experience authentic English passion. Luckily the football teams don’t compete in the Premier League at the moment, which makes buying a ticket more affordable and less mainstream.

And if none of these aspects intrigue you, you can still go for a hike and enjoy the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.

 

Author & Pictures: Johann Beß

Camping from Windhoek to Cape Town

Etosha National Park

My first – and let’s be honest best – highlight from Namibia was the Etosha National Park.

As our tour started, the first thing we did was to drive five hours from Windhoek to Etosha. On the road, we had lunch and I tried not to freak out because I was so damn afraid of malaria…

Our first game drive through the park became very exciting pretty quickly when we saw the first elephant. I took about a thousand pictures and was convinced that this was the most beautiful elephant I’d ever seen and will ever see. We also saw a lot of springboks, antelopes and kudus, which honestly weren’t as appealing as a 2.5m elephant. When we arrived at our camp site, our first mission was to put up our tent named “Giraffe”, which turned out to be quite a challenge. Slowly but surely with the help of our guide “Doctor” we managed to put it up and were ready to have dinner at the camp site. Then that night we spotted elephants at the water hole and were seriously ecstatic. However, the night was extremely cold and I didn’t think I would survive the next eleven days of camping.

Luckily, I didn’t die that night and even woke up around 5:30 am for a one-day of game drive through the park. It was super interesting and quite an adventure, but to be honest, after a while, I did get a little bored of seeing the fiftieth elephant or the seventy-third giraffe. Of course, I wanted to see the Big Five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard) but we only managed to see the “Big Three” (elephant, rhino, lion). But favorite memory and the most impressive panorama was seeing the biggest group of elephants with their cutest young ones at the water hole at our lunch site!!!

etosha

 

Himba Tribe

On our way to Swakopmund, we also visited a Himba community close to Kamanjab and had the opportunity to interact with the people who live there.

In the tribe we visited, the tourists who would like to get a better understanding of the way of the Himba, their lifestyle and their traditions can do so, without interfering with those still living in their natural environment, the “real” Himbas. The income that this specific tribe generates from the visits goes towards the education of orphaned Himba children, a scheme which we were of course happy to contribute to. There’s also a market, where the women hand-made jewelry and obtain a small income.

It was interesting to see their red-clay houses and the Himba women preparing incense as an anti-microbial body cleanser/deodorant and fragrant. We also saw how the women made otjize paste out of ochre pigment to cleanse their skin. But as interesting as the experience was, the educational village did feel more like a super touristic attraction than the Himbas’ natural habitat I was hoping to see.

himba tribe

 

Sossusvlei Dunes

Located in the southern part of the Namib desert, Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes. One of the most fascinating places around the middle of Sossusvlei dunes is the Deadvlei. Vlei means a lake or marsh in a valley between the dunes in Afrikaans.

The Deadvlei is a dry lake covered in white clay pan. It’s full of dead trees and the white really stands out against the bright red of the dunes. We also had the pleasure of climbing Dune 45, which is a 170m star dune that’s composed of 5 million-year-old (!) sand. The panoramic view over the dunes at the top is tremendous but let me tell you – the climb is tiring as hell!

dunes

 

Swakopmunddunes2

Known as the biggest city on the coast of western Namibia, Swakopmund is surrounded by the Namib desert on three sides and the Atlantic Ocean on the East.

As Namibia was once a German colony, Swakopmund is still a very German city. You can hear many people speaking German on the streets and there are lots of German signs outside of cafés and shops.

Numerous activities like camel riding, squad biking and sandboarding are offered in the desert, and you can also go on dolphin and seal cruises or go fishing. The city itself isn’t very big but we were all happy to have a day in civilization after the desert. It was also our only accommodated stay on the whole tour and I was very excited about a soft bed and my own shower!

 

 

Cape Town

Cape Town is the most populous city of “the Rainbow Nation South Africa” after Johannesburg. It’s one of the most multicultural cities in the world and is very modern and westernized.

And there’s plenty lot to do there. One of the best-known attractions is of course Table Mountain, which you either can hike up or use the cableway up. At the top, you have an incredible 360˚ view over Cape Town but be ready to stand in a looooong queue on the way up. Another typical tourist attraction worth seeing is the Cape of Good Hope, the south-western most point on the African continent. Not only is the Cape itself a beautiful view but also the roadtrip there is full of breathtaking landscapes.

If you’re strolling around the city near Long Street, I would also advise you to make a detour to Bo-Kaap, a part of the city filled with colorful houses and amazing places to take photos at.

However, in my opinion, one of the best parts of Cape Town, apart from the people, was the beautiful coastal areas like Camps Bay or Hout Bay. To explore the coast, I would strongly recommend you to buy a ticket for the hop-on-hop-off bus, as it gives you the chance to tour the coastline and stop anywhere you want to in order to explore the beauty of the beaches.

capetown

 

Author & Pictures: Maya Egger

About sushi, anime and technology

Honestly, how much do you really know about Japan? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? According to the media and hearsay, we get a lot of information about what Japanese people do and how the country works and we’re pretty sure Japan is a crazy country, right?
Anata ni himitsu o oshiemashô (Let me tell you a secret):

Anime and manga are kid’s stuff!?

building-kleinerCan you remember playing Yu Gi Oh! or watching Pokemon, Naruto or Biene Maya after school? Known as the Japanese interpretation of comics and their animated version, anime and manga become famous in the 70s in Germany. Despite massive criticism of the violence by some people, it seems manga and anime are made for kids. However, only some anime are just for kids because there are topics and stories for all ages. While Biene Maya and Pokemon try to teach kids friendship, loyalty and honesty, others are meant for grownups and tell us something about our sometimes harsh and cruel world. They‘re very important methods for teaching values.

 

Itadakimas – Japan’s dangerous food

Besides sushi and ramen, Japanese people like food-table1-kleinerto eat dangerous things like fugo (pufferfish) and awabi (ear shells).If you go to Japan, you won’t find many restaurants serving this kind of food. Only a few selected cooks with a special qualification are allowed to serve these dishes. Apart from this, the most famous dishes are donburi, rice with a variety of toppings and karê-raisu (curry with rice).
An interesting fact about their food: they don’t put many spices into it and prefer light food, and is serve it very hot! As we’re used to western food, Japanese food might taste a bit strange, at first, but it gets better as you get used to it. And thanks to the 7/11 stores at every corner, you never go hungry, as you’re able to buy freshfood.

Japan as a high-tech country

When it comes to technology, Japan is second to none. Imagine one skyscraper next to the other with big screens on most of them, combined with the singing (!) traffic lights and masses of people wandering around – this is a typical day in Tôkyô or Ôsaka. Apart from singing toilets, a typical Japanese household isn’t full of technology. And because there’s a housing shortage in the cities, the Japanese people have to save space. They’re fans of minimalism and some don’t even own a TV. But as fancy as Japan is, not every big city is just filled with technology. Hiroshima, for example, is comparable with Augsburg in this sense, and if you take a closer look, you can see how high-tech mixes with tradition in many big cities. And if you go further into the rural areas, you’ll realise that these places aren’t affected as much by technology.

city-above-kleinerSo, clichés sometimes have a core of truth, but in order to tell the differences between the truth and generalisations, it might be a good idea to travel to different places. Every single country is uniquein its own way – datte bayo!

Author & Pictures: Sabrina Korti

Independence Day: The fourth of July

If you happen to spend the 4th July with a bunch of Americans today, you will most likely be having a backyard barbeque with burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, coleslaw and watermelon, the juicy ripe red watermelon everyone loves and can’t get enough of. All of this is often served on paper plates. Cans of beer, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Snapples, Coke or Pepsi are kept in cooling bins full of crushed ice. Perhaps little paper flags or streamers displaying the typical colors of the Star-Spangled Banner will be part of the decoration.

Maybe the town will offer picnic and barbeque opportunities at some public area. Baseball games, parades, concerts and other summertime events mark this national holiday. Politicians might even appear at different celebrations holding speeches on all kinds of freedoms.  Most likely there will be fireworks, too, in honor of the birthday of the United States of America.

Although Independence Day is a significant American holiday, it doesn’t dominate the summer as Thanksgiving and Christmas dominate the fall and winter season. For instance, there are no greeting cards in the stores. Along with beach parties, family trips and BBQs that dot the summer months, the Fourth of July is one of many typical summer events. School will have been out for a month already and another month and a half to go.

But what is Independence Day originally about? 

The English established their first permanent settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. By 1733 there were 13 English colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. These colonies were ruled by the King of England, King George III.  Over time the relationship between the settlers and the British began to crumble due to unfair laws and taxes and the growing sense of nationalism in the colonies. In short: people didn’t want to be ruled by a king so far away.It´s_time_that_we_become_independent_jefferson

A letter to King George III

The Continental Congress – a meeting of delegates from the thirteen colonies –  appointed five leaders, called the Committee of Five. They were meant to write the King a formal letter. These five men were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman and Thomas Jefferson. Their letter explained why Congress had voted to declare Independence. This Declaration of Independence contained three essential points:

  1. Beliefs of what made a government good
  2. The dislike of the oppressive government
  3. Break with Great Britain

On July 4th, 1776 Congress officially adopted the final version of the Declaration of Independence. On August 2nd, all 56 delegates of the Continental Congress signed it.

A holiday is born

Following its adoption, the Declaration of Independence went viral in various cities, by word-of-mouth, being read aloud before troops and published in newspapers or delivered on horseback and by ship. Whenever heard, people shouted and cheered.

People continued this tradition by lighting candles, setting off fire crackers, firing guns and ringing bells.

Finally, Congress declared July 4th a federal holiday in 1941.

 

Author & Picture: Elisabeth Stützel