What is There to See in Franconian Switzerland

On our three-day trip to the Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland), we got to see and do quite a bit of everything.


Pottenstein is always worth a visit. There are many shops along the main road, but some were closed during this off-season.

Pottenstein main road

We also went to our first Christmas market of the season. This one was in Ebermannstadt (25km southeast of Bamberg). What a lovely small market it was. We bought many things such as mulled wine, Bratwurst, Christmas cookies, Gin&Tonic jam, and much more.

Prices are still lower in that part of Germany, so spending money is more fun.

Ebermannstadt (near Bamberg)

After the Christmas market, we entered one of the restaurants located at the market square. This one, Brauereigasthof Schwanenbräu Ebermannstadt, is one of the finest restaurants I’ve ever been to.

Our view reminded me a bit of looking out at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, also in November of one year.

Service was outstanding (very quick and with a smile each time), and my husband and I both had one of the local specialties. He had breaded carp, and I had a small order of Krenfleisch (boiled pork or beef) in a horseradish sauce with a dumpling.

In my hometown area of lower Franconia, this dish is also known as Fränkisches Hochzeitsessen (Franconian Wedding Meal), and is always served with Bandnudeln (ribbon noodles).

Once I posted a photo of this kind of meal with ribbon noodles on my Facebook page Fränkisch für Ausländer (Franconian Dialect for Foreigners), and this caused quite a stir. Some readers insisted this can only be served with potato dumplings, or boiled potatoes. In my 40+years of cooking and eating out, I had only seen this dish served with noodles.

Then there it was on the menu – with a dumpling! From now on, I will only eat this version. The small white strings you see on the outer part of the plate are radish strips.

This dish is always served with Preiselbeeren (lingonberries).

Krenfleisch with potato dumpling

And yes, we got a six-pack of dunkles Lager to take home.

Visiting Franconian Switzerland means eating and drinking well. At least, to me.

For a mini lesson in the upper Franconian dialect, learn how to say “Of course!”:

“No freili!” The literal translation would be: Ja, freilich = Yes, of course.

So if someone asks you whether you wanted another beer, “Möchten Sie noch ein Bier?”

“No freili!” is the perfect response.

Putting Up the Christmas Tree in Thessaloniki

On Friday, 23 November 2018, the city started putting up the Christmas tree in the Aristotelous Square.

What looked initially like a single lop-sided tree (with missing branches on one side) turned out to become a little collation of trees to make it into a 20-meter-high Christmas tree.

We noticed this on Sunday morning, when we took a final stroll through town. Several trees of different sizes were being put up and arranged to form this single giant.

And yes, Thessaloniki occasionally gets snow.

On a different note – orange trees are loaded with fruit right now and add much to a southern flair in 15°C weather in late November.


What to Do in Tallinn, Estonia in November

Tallinn is known to experience its second-wettest month of the year in November (after June). Well, we were in luck. It was a bit rainy in the mornings, but it usually cleared up towards noon.

We had flown from Frankfurt via Stockholm to Tallinn. When we arrived at the Tallinn Airport, I learned my suitcase was still in Stockholm. Oh well. This was nothing a good local beer could not fix.

This was the first sight we saw entering Old Tallinn.

Old Tallinn entrance

We stayed at the Baltic Hotel Vana Wiru, where they have a very fine restaurant. More about that and Estonian food in a different post.

By midnight, we checked into our hotel, and then went to a pub. By the time we got back, my suitcase had arrived at the hotel too. It was a bit damp from having been out on the tarmac for a while, I’d suppose.

The next day, we hit the Christmas Market several times. Old Tallinn is not that big, so you are bound to cross the market again and again on your way around. We tried different sorts of Glögg (the Baltic version of mulled wine). Interestingly enough, it was often offered in three content levels: 0% alcohol, 11% alcohol, and 21% alcohol.

Glögg’s the word!


Christmas market tree in Tallinn

There are many tourist shops selling their knickknacks, shops featuring amber in any possible form, and there are many cafés, pubs, and restaurants.

Amber jewelry tree

This amber jewelry tree would set you back by € 4950 – in case you were wondering.

I had read somewhere Tallinn would not be so crowded in November. It seems they still have their fair share of tourists during that time of month, especially with the start of the Christmas market.


In my opinion, a full day in Old Tallinn is enough. We had one and a half days, which was plenty. Well, and then, there is always more Glögg.

German Advent Calendar for Beer Lovers

The advent calender (German: Adventskalender) counts the days from 01 – 24 December, when we celebrate Christmas in the evening.

The tradition of the advent calendar dates back to the 19th century (Lutheran origin) and was originally intended for children to shorten the waiting period till Christmas Eve.

This would make an interesting present for anyone new to Germany and should be given before 01 December.

Christmas Tree Pick-up Oberursel 2013

This coming Saturday, 12 January 2013, Christmas trees will get picked up again.

Either throw it off the balcony (like we do every year) from your apartment building or, if you live in a house, just drag it to the roadside.

Christmas trees in Germany get recycled. Most of the wood is turned into wood chips, so I’ve been told.

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