Bye, Bye, Schweinfurt

The remaining U.S. troops are soon to leave Schweinfurt for good, signaling the end of an era. For all of you who have served and worked in Schweinfurt, these photos are for you.

The SKF building, one of Schweinfurt’s landmarks as you come into the city. Not a pretty one, but you know you’re almost there.

SKF Schweinfurt

SKF Schweinfurt

A70 to Schweinfurt

A70 to Schweinfurt

Those two towers below, you will surely not miss. But again, they served as landmarks. Years ago, heading to Schweinfurt from Frankfurt with two small children in the back seat, we would lower the car window to let in some cooler air (we had no A/C back then) after we got off the Autobahn.

With that, we’d get a good whiff of country air, then the kids would wake up, see Luke & Duke, and exclaim “We’re almost there!”

Luke & Duke AKW

Luke & Duke AKW

Schweinfurt is surrounded by so many villages with Bierfests and Weinfests. One of our favorite one has always been Wipfeld and its neighboring villages. We love the vineyards, the view onto the Main River, and the quaint little fests of all kinds.

Franconian village, Wipfeld

Franconian village, Wipfeld

Last, but not least. Some of you might miss the Franconian beer. Then dream of this one.

Franconian beer

To all the short-timers out there – listen to this song, when you’re in the mood.

Bye, bye, Schweinfurt by the local band “Royal Riches”:

Kraut on the Autobahn

When a sauerkraut-transport truck rammed the rear of a car on the A5 Autobahn this morning, lots of  good old Kraut was spilled. Read The Local‘s article Frozen Kraut Jam leaves Autobahn Drivers Sauer for more information.

Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured in this Kraut jam. But to read of Kraut frozen-stuck to the roads, made me think of the German dish Eisbein und Kraut (pork knuckles with kraut).

Somebody else saw a bit of humor in this (the first comment on The Local’s article) by stating that ” … if the second truck had been loaded with Bratwurst, they would have been in good shape.”

I have read of accidents with spilled goods before, but this is the first one involving Sauerkraut.



Autobahn Traffic Rating

The Autobahn A3 between Frankfurt and Würzburg, the one we take going back for visits to Lower Franconia, has been rated one of the Top 30 in regards to Stau (traffic jam).

Just this past Friday we experienced a Vollsperrung (complete closure) and had to take the scenic route towards Schweinfurt. It was worth it, though.

The ADAC published the following results for the A3 (Frankfurt – Würzburg) for 2010:

3000 traffic jams, 3500 hours of waiting, with 6600 km in total.

German Autobahn and Franconian Sights

Impressions of Franconia can vary greatly as these photos can attest to. They were taken within fifteen minutes from each other on two different Autobahnen, A3 and A7.

Luke and Duke, the Nukes in Grafenrheinfeld

Luke and Duke, the Nuclear Power Plant towers, have been around since the 1970s. Their ugly pillars loom over the industrial town of Schweinfurt and really darken its rainy skies occasionally.

Schlossresidenz Würzbug

Vineyards in the sun

While resting at a Autobahn Raststätte on the A7, I got to see a very different view of Franconian culture and  its agricultural highlight – vines on every hill.

The area between Schweinfurt und Würzburg, especially around Zeilitzheim, is full of lovely wine fests in the summer.

Visiting Meiningen in the former DDR, Day 1

This past weekend we managed a little get-away from our weekend in Schweinfurt where we visited my siblings once again. We usually don’t get any further than Schweinfurt as there are so many people to see and things to do with my relatives in town.

This time we left our children with one of my sisters and drove to Meiningen, a quaint town in the southern part of Thuringia and former Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). We had been there once in 1996, but besides its greyness, odd smell, and triste atmosphere, there was not much to remember.

Our drive on A71 to Meiningen was done with very little traffic and in plain surroundings (no ads, no fast food chains– just trees and plains). The road seemed to stretch forever. It was reminiscent of driving in Montana, but without the hills.

wide open spaces on the Autobahn

wide open spaces on the Autobahn

With its wonderfully painted houses around the Marktplatz, this city has gone through a major transformation. Of course, the means for that had to come from our beloved Solidaritätszuschlag, which seems here to stay. This money was invested wisely.

Marktplatz in Meiningen

Marktplatz in Meiningen

But the two most significant points I observed were the inhabitants’ distinct friendliness (not just from service personnel in hotels and restaurants) and their lack of discernible dialect. The spoken German sounded very clear, with no trace of any regional expressions, and it was a pleasure to listen to. We Franconians – living less than an hour’s drive south in Schweinfurt, for example – must sound like Barbarians compared to these well-spoken Germans.

We had booked a night at Meininger Hotels mit Flair in the Hotel Schlundhaus, where we spent the night in a separate guesthouse called Rautenkranz. The room was good, with a bit of a rustique flair to it, and the price at €49.00 per person seemed reasonable.

Schlundhaus Hotel

Schlundhaus Hotel

We toured a bit of the city, but most shops closed at 4:00 on Saturday.

While walking around we got to see the infamous traffic light, which had been disputed over once when East and West Germany reunited. The Ampelmännchen was born in the former East-Berlin in 1961 and is becoming more and more popular also in the western part of Germany.

the little lamp man of the old East German crossing signal

the little lamp man of the old East German crossing signal

the little green figure - with hat - symbolisizing it is safe to cross

the little green figure - with hat - symbolizing it is safe to cross

Museum in Meiningen

Museum in Meiningen

We then had dinner at the Schlundhaus Restaurant, and I tried their local specialty called Hütes, a special kind of potato dumpling, with my meal. After dinner we visited a  French Culture Café called Le Monsigny, which allowed smoking after 21:00. A lot of French was heard in our part of the café and the atmosphere was great! Well, a glass or two of local red wine helped, too. This place is great – if you don’t mind the smoke – and well worth a visit. The prices I found quite low:  €1.50 for a cup of coffee, € 4.00 for a Caipirinha, etc.

We left the café before midnight and only had to walk three blocks to get back to our room near the Marktplatz.

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