Germany, Holy crap

The time for Spargel

There is a time of year in Germany  when asparagus is king. A time when the earth smells spring from thawing ground and the humidity is thick enough to slow you down. But  asparagus time in Germany has been more than adequately documented by others here, here, and here. A bit more over there, this one includes a short video and don’t forget about this good one about Germans connecting in San Francisco, or what about this one?

Thus, I will not tread on well-worn paths. No, today I will keep it short. I present to you for your delight, the asparagus peeler near our home.

beefjerky, Germany

Satan is not dead

This is not Cetin, but it’s the first image that comes up when you search the name.

My downstairs neighbor’s name is Cetin (pronounced similar to Satan). He’s a slight Turkish man with greying temples and a plain-spoken manner. If I were good at caricatures, he would be easy to draw. Cetin works at Haribo. I don’t think he likes his work, but it pays the bills. Cetin is a barometer for my German level. When I moved here I told him, ‘Ich bin ein fussballer.’ That was it. We did not become fast friends.

Cetin controls the backyard and is in charge of the front yard. He takes a laissez-faire attitude to yard maintenance. It’s the kind of yard where neighbors shake their head as they pass. The house is nice inside, but leaves a bit to be desired outside. I should probably take it upon myself to do more.

There’s a cherry tree in the backyard. One day I was feeling a bit more confident with my German and so I said the equivalent of ‘Cherry tree yard me cherries eat please?’ I think he got the idea and acquiesced. On another day Cetin invited me to have a beer in his place on the ground floor. We talked while the TV blared the news from Turkey. We discussed women, Turkish politics (I’d just returned from Turkish holiday) and life in Germany. We’re the kind of neighbors who don’t go out of their way to interact, but when fate deems it necessary, we get along swell. Continue reading

cockfights, Germany, Holy crap

Way to go, Germany


Germany is a pretty swell place. A lot of crap to see here. But the recent discovery of the completely random Crouching Tiger and Turtle in the nearby town of Duisburg is the best so far. Perched on a  hill close to the end of the line in an old, musty, industrial town, the sculpture at first site online demanded a visit. And even though it’s the only thing to see/do in this neighborhood, it’s more than worth a day trip itself. Continue reading

drinking, Germany

Free Beer in May in Germany!** UPDATED- May 3, 2012

tree for beerWould you like a free case of beer?

Here is a tip if you answered yes.

First, the hard part, find someone you love in Germany*.

Next, go find a tree in the forest in the latter days of April. This should be a birch tree, roughly 15 feet tall. Cut that tree down and tie it to the roof of your car. Maybe you think to yourself that you don’t want to kill a tree. Maybe you don’t want beer?

Drive your car home and go to the craft store. Make your way to the crepe paper aisle and get a few rolls. Enough to decorate the tree. Also find some old wood or a cardboard and make a small red heart or other sign. Write the name of your beloved on this heart-like object. Now you are ready for beer.

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Not so good the music is

Note: This post is going to make generalizations and will likely anger some dear friends.

This image shows up when you search 'crappy karneval music'

Karneval music in Germany.

It’s pretty bad.

It’s really bad.

I mean, I think… I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it the past couple weeks as Karneval repeatedly pounded down my mind’s door,  loosened my psychic defenses and embedded itself deep in my brain.

Carnival in Brazil has those samba lines. Trinidad & Tobago rolls to soca and calypso. New Orleans’ Mardi Gras has some great stuff.

But Karneval music around Cologne… hrrrmmm

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drinking, Germany

Karneval is coming

It happens soon. The Karneval city of Cologne is gearing up for their big celebration. Revelers are steeling their guts drinking a little more than usual each day. Merchants are loading in shipments of crappy fake fur costumes. The random ‘ra-ra’ music is flooding the airwaves.

It’s time to get yourself to the store and figure out what want to be.

Last year’s celebration included this and this.

Germany, Holy crap

Jelly Meat Dream World

It was on the menu of the day, Einbeinsülze mit Bratkartoffeln.

Now, I love me some Bratkartoffeln, but this Einbeinsülze, what, where, how? I turned to Johnna, trusted friend and arbiter of all things good here in Germany.

“Pig knuckle,” she surmised.

I put in my order expecting pig knuckle, something akin to what Steve here enjoyed.  I love taking chances on the unknown dish. But the plate that arrived quickly changed things.

My brother* is the world’s biggest fan of Better Home and Gardens’ Cookbooks from the late 60s when brilliant photography joined forces with adventurous typography and whimsical drawings to create something beyond cookbooks, more like works of art. We often tittered over the photos of ‘aspics,’ meat and vegetables encased in gelatin molds.

Who would eat this? Why would you do this? Can God exist in a world where this would be allowed?

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