Alsatian Folklore Museum in Strasbourg

On our most recent trip to Strasbourg, we stopped at the Alsatian Folklore Museum, a.k.a. the Musée Alsacien, and we loved it. We viewed most of it in an hour, but it was so interesting, we could have easily stayed longer, had it not been for having to return to our hotel in time for check-out.

There are many sections to view, such as traditional rooms, costumes, paintings and historical Alsatian tools, glass paintings, and masks.

What caught my attention were these Kleiekotzer or Mehlkotzer (the one puking flour) or in proper English: flour mill spouts. The term Kleiekotzer dates back to the 18th and 19th century, when these masks were used by millers to let the flour pass through the masks’ mouth into the troughs.


In 1903, the antique dealer, Robert Forrer, donated this large collection of carved wooden flour mill spouts to the Society of the Alsatian Museum in order to obtain its membership. His donation back then included 20 mill spouts, 20 chairs, and 30 cask bungs, but today this museum room only houses his flour mill spout collection.

24 Hours in Strasbourg, France

We usually go to Strasbourg once a year, and our highlights remain staying at the 4-star Hotel Cour de Courbeau, and then visiting the flea market on Saturday morning. Again this year, we got there on Friday around 3pm, and left the city on Saturday shortly after lunch. It is enough time to pack in quite a few things, such as a visit to the Alsatian Folklore Museum (about a minute walk from the hotel), visit a few restaurants, shop at the flea market, stop for some coffee and a pain au chocolat, and much more. We usually park at the Austerlitz Car Park, which is a minute from the hotel, has clean facilities, and the rate for one day is just under euro 20.

This is always our first stop – the bridge overlooking the River Ill.

Boat touring the River Ill

This is an ad for the city’s upcoming plans – to build a floating jetty, across from the Historical Museum.

Floating jetty for Strasbourg

This is the courtyard of the Hotel Cour du Corbeau. Built in 1580, it has served as an inn (or hotel) for most of its time since then.


View from our room onto the balcony. Last year, we were able to sit on the balcony late in the evening. This year, a Siberian wind made it impossible.

Some of the interior was renovated to reflect its original half-timbered building style.

This is what I found at the flea market – a sewing table, with a painting by Louis Bollinger (a.k.a. BOLL or BOLI).

Postcards of Mainberg Castle in Germany

These postcards of Mainberg Castle are part of my private collection.

Title: Deutsche Heimat

Dated 1924

Dated 1935

Dated 1953

Dated 1955

Dated 1961


Fasching Parade and Taunus Karneval 2018 in Oberursel

If you are a newcomer to Germany and/or the city of Oberursel, you might be interested in watching this cultural (and pagan) event downtown Oberursel on 11 February 2018.

Fasching (also known as Fastnacht or Karnival) begins on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 a.m. every year. The real festivities begin the day after Epiphany (6th January), when Fasching enthusiasts gather at local parties held throughout various public halls in the city.

The high-light happens on Fasching Sunday, this year being on the 11 February, when around 120 splendidly decorated cars and wagons pass through the city. The tour starts at 14:11 at the Rahmtor (old city gate at the market square), and runs for about two hours. Watch out for road blocks, and detours. Most people walk there or take public transportation.

People line the streets to return the Helau* greeting from the cars, and children are eager to catch the candy thrown from the cars. Adults might have a Schnaps (German hard liquor), while standing there. Children usually bring bags to carry their candy home. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella – even on a sunny day. The umbrella, held upside down, will not only protect your head from getting hit hard by the candy, but it also serves as a convenient candy catcher.

From the archives: Fasching Parade in Steinbach, Germany

Finding a parking spot will be difficult that Sunday afternoon. Also, the local pubs and restaurants will be packed with customers starting around 4pm.

So, you should either dress up, and join the lively activities, or stay away from downtown Oberursel.

Thousands of people from neighboring towns, including Frankfurt, come to watch this spectacle.

If you are going to watch the parade, remember to bring your:

  • smart phone or camera
  • one umbrella per adult (to shield from the rain or flying candy, or both)
  • bags to carry home the candy
  • Schnaps (in a medium-sized bottle), in case the weather is nasty. To make friends, make sure to share it with the others. Bring some shot glasses. Great conversation starter.

More about this sponsored event in photos, etc.: Taunus Karneval

* Helau stands for ‘Hello!’, ‘Hurrah!’ or simply put: ‘I’m having fun!’

You can go there dressed up or in plain clothes. Enjoy the parade.

Snowfall in Jiangsu Province, China

A friend of mine, Reiner Gehles, has been living near Taicang in the Jiangsu Province for almost seven years. He got to experience a rare snowfall (the climate is usually temperate in winter), and gave me permission to share his most wonderful photos here.

This well-known Grand Canal runs through the entire province from north to south.