Franconia on a Summer Day

I left Franconia (Franken in northern Bavaria) almost 40 years ago. My four siblings still live there, so I have plenty of reason to go back. It’s not just for family, but also for the local food, which is a big highlight for me. Tasting certain food brings back some good memories.

Here we stopped in Volkach, a little town by the Main River. I was surprised to see so many folks enjoying a glass of wine, sitting in cafés at noon, and it seemed like a regular thing to do. You’d have to be either a tourist or a retiree to have that freedom.


There are quite a few nice shops along the main road. Here we stopped at the shop named “Werry Frängisch”, and the shop keeper, being a Franconian herself, actually chased us out of the shop. Werry Frängisch indeed. 🙂 Franconians have the reputation to be very direct.

We had planned to stop by the wine fest in Nordheim, and were disappointed to realize it would not start until 3pm that Saturday. The following day, Sunday, would start with the Frühschoppen (German for morning pint in Hesse, but morning wine in Franconia) at 11am.

Nordheimer Weinfest

We walked down to the ferry port, where a passenger ride still costs only 70 cents.

Main River ferry

Next stop was the abbey in Münsterschwarzach. Across the street, we had a very good lunch at “Zum Benediktiner”.

I opted for the Fränkische Hochzeitsessen, which means Franconian Wedding Food. It consists of fine cuts of beef in a horseradish gravy. I occasionally make it at home, but to have it in a restaurant, you need to order it from a menu in Franconia.

September Notes from Istanbul

From the Eminönü Port at the southern end of the Galata Bridge (which crosses the Golden Horn), we took the ferry to the other side, Kadiköy, on the Asian side.

This was a split-second decision as the ferry was just about to leave and so we just hopped on. I did not even take the time to check the balance left on our very handy Istanbulkard.

It was about a 20-minute ride crossing the Bosporus into the Sea of Marmara, and once we arrived we checked our guide book to see how often the ferryboats run, which is about every 20 minutes. Beware, there is no time table at the port.

Ferry ride to Kadiköy

We arrived in Kadıköy and walked towards the main road and some side streets. The only thing we had in mind was finding a place which serves fish (for my companion). After an hour of just walking around, we decided to take the ferry back and have dinner in the ‘Bazaar Quarter’.

Wish we had read Istanbul’s Lesser Known Wonder: ‘The Asian Side’ by Enigma on TripAdvisor beforehand.


Coming off the ferry at Kadiköy Port

Here we are just about to pull out from Kadıköy Port. The return was on a very modern ferry with a big TV screen in front, with youngsters taking at least ten selfies before the ferry even took off.

Kadiköy Port

It was about 6:40pm when everything looked so blue.


Ferry rides are relatively cheap and very pleasant.  And a great way to relax your tired feet.

Driving through Franconia

As the Autobahn A3 was fully blocked on Good Friday, our long Easter weekend, we had to get off and take the scenic route once more.

We passed through villages we had never seen before, some with unusual names such as the one below – Opferbaum (victim tree of sacrifice tree).

Village of Opferbaum (Victim Tree) in Franconia

Rolling hills, plenty of bikers and bicyclists, and tons of sunshine were our companions on this trip.

Springtime in Germany

We even got to take the ferry across the Mainschleife as we had to make a book drop-off to Schloss Zeilitzheim and there was no other way to get there, but to cross the river by ferry.

Mainschleife ferry

It was a good 3:15 hour scenic drive instead of the usual 2:15 hours on the Autobahn.

Springtime in Sicily, Favignana Island

We had taken a hydrofoil boat with Ustica Lines from Trapani to the island of Favignana. What we thought would be a pleasant ride turned into turning heads checking on each others facial welfare. There were some really sad looking faces on board, but fortunately, this ride (€ 17,50 for a return trip) only lasted about 30 minutes.

Favignana is the main island of the three Egadi Islands and islets. It is also part of the largest protected marine areas in Italy, so all three islands are a paradise for those who love scuba diving.

Lazy afternoons

This was a typical sight to see – another lazy afternoon, locals leaning up against the café’s wall. The temperature was very pleasant at about 20°C, but the constant wind is another story:  Favignana, the windy island has earned its name rightfully so.

Playing tag on car-free streets

It seems to be a car-free island with so much room for pedestrians and kids playing tag. But yet, there is a car-ferry from Trapani to Favignana.

Anchor graveyard

Favignana is surrounded by crystal clear turquoise sea. The beach held plenty of mermaids’ tears and this spot was also an anchors’ cemetery.


I did it again – I wanted to take a picture of the food I had ordered, but by the time I got it and remembered to take a photo, I had taken my first bite already…. I do not feel bad after having read the article First Camera, then Fork by N.Y.Times. I guess we all need this reminder. This antipasti was all I needed for lunch at the Bar-Ristorante Nautilus.

Sicily, as well as the island of Favignana, was surprisingly clean. Cleaner than Germany! Well, I guess the constant wind serves as an ever present sweeper.

Low vegetation on this windy island

The constant wind only lets heath-like flora flourish along the coast line.

Sicily is well organized in regards to infrastructure, transportation system, tourist information, and prices are reasonable.

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