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”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcIwhsUTKtk

Schweinfurt Military Closing and Future Photo Exhibition

I found the following call for photo donations on American Soldiers Monument in Schweinfurt via Facebook.

Quoting from their page:

“In response to the pending closure (Fall 2014) of US Army Garrison Schweinfurt, the garrison public affairs office is trying to establish a photo exhibition chronicling the history of the Army in Schweinfurt. But due to the lack of an existing archive, they need your help. So we are putting out the call for photos to be donated to the exhibit.

They are especially looking for photos that prominently display landmarks of the various installations, the local training area, past units, etc. For more information about the project or to donate your photos, please contact the USAG Schweinfurt PAO Office at

usarmy.schweinfurt.imcom-europe.mbx.pao@mail.mil

Or post them here and we will send them in for you. Try to include a DTG and a little background info on the photo if you can (where, what, who, etc). When the project is done they will post everything on Flickr and we’ll share the link with you guys. Thanks everyone for your help.”

* American Soldiers Monument in Schweinfurt on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AmericanSoldiersMonumentInSchweinfurt

Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

This visit was actually for a good-bye beer. My fairly longtime English friend (we have been friends for about five years, which is long in expat circles) has since then moved to Munich, one of the cities claiming to be the Bierhauptstadt (beer capital).

Balcony with Jeannette

With Jeannette from Nottingham/UK

I hope to get to see Jeannette for a beer in Munich before she moves on again!

By the way, here is something I learned today:

*Take a nonalcoholic Weißbier, add Zitronenlimonade ( carbonated soft drink, especially sweet lemon-flavored drinks) and you have a Russ’n (coll. for Russen = Russian)

Wonder what a combination of an alcoholic Weißbier with Limonade would produce, a Tartar maybe?

Munich is famous for its Weizenbier (German), but in the southern regions of Germany and Austria, only ask for a Weissbier or you will get funny looks.

On the Road in Canada – Hopewell Rocks, NB

After our short break in St. Martins, we stopped at Hopewell Rocks in the afternoon.

These rocks, often referred to as flowerpot rocks, stand between 40 – 70 feet tall. These rock formations have been caused by tidal erosion.

We got a family pass for two adults and two children for C$ 20 to get into the park. This photo was taken from above, obviously, and later we climbed down the stairs. The park ward told us there are 96 steps (round trip), which did not impress us much. We have more steps to climb up and down in our apartment building in Germany.

Hopewell Rock, Canada

Hopewell Rock, Canada

The view below is just as interesting. There are even more mushroom look-alikes along the side of the cliffs.

Hopewell Rock

Hopewell Rock

The ebb and tide leave the sea in a constant murky brown. This coloration I had only seen in floods before.

brown sea

brown sea

Here is a bit of information what makes the Fundy tides so special.

Fundy Tides

Fundy Tides

And yes, we heard of some dangerous encounters with moose on the road. Fortunately, we only heard about them and got to see the warning signs along the road. We did not spot a single one.

Moose crossing

Moose crossing

Now we are heading back to Halifax, where we originally started our road trip. We will be spending one night there before heading to Lunenburg for our final place to visit.

5 Most Needed Documents for Car Rental in Canada if You are a U.S. American living in Germany

Traveling is a wonderful thing. I have come to the point to believe it would be easier to rent a car in Uzbekistan and drive it into Turkmenistan. At least, security could not be much tighter. Our rental procedure is so complicated as we are heading to an exotic country… such as Canada.

We have been having a challenging time trying to get a rental car for when we arrive in Halifax/Canada. We could not anticipate the difficulties we would encounter when a U.S. American, residing in Germany, wants to rent a car in Canada AND take it across the U.S. border.

The first stage included finding a car rental agency who would even rent a car to an U.S. American in Canada. Out of the about 30 car rental agencies on the Canadian market, only two were willing to let us rent a car. We settled on Alamo as they had the better offer of the two.

Then we gathered the four extra required documents.

* International driver’s license in English. Strange as it might seem, official German paperwork such as the International Driver’s License is issued in German, among various other languages. The very last page is in English. We are still awaiting their confirmation that one page in English is sufficient as we were told “When renting a car in Canada, you must provide an international drivers license that is issued in English.  All the documents that you have to provide must be in English and must be original.”

We have run into so many unexpected challenges along the way, we need to make very sure that one page in English is sufficient.

* German registration

* Certified English translation of the German registration

* Proof of our return tickets

* We also decided to bring my husband’s confirmation of employment in Germany.

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Now, if you are foolish like us, you might think “Why not combine our trip to Canada (where we attend a wedding) with a short visit down to Maine?” This is part two of the fun:

* For taking the car into the U.S., we have to get a written addendum in our rental contract that specifically permits us to drive the rental car into the US.

 or we will get into trouble at the Canadian/U.S. border.

Not to mention my German nationality, being the spouse of a U.S. citizen without a green card puts me in the second highest risk group for illegal immigration. If we get through with the car – and myself included – we get to visit a friend, spend some U.S. Dollars, then turn back to Saint John/Canada to visit another friend.

As a German citizen, I have never flown into Canada trying to rent a car with my American husband and his driver’s license. And I don’t think I will ever do this again.