Maria’s Beer Balcony in Germany

Yes, it is visiting season in Germany. Here I am with my best childhood friend from the small village of Hambach in northern Bavaria. She also reminded me that it had been her idea to post photos of all the beer balcony visitors on this blog.

We looked up the date of my first post on this topic – it was August 2013. This is post # 35.

With my best childhood friend, Bea, from McAllen, Texas

Graveyards in German Franconia

On our most recent trip to my hometown in Franconia (Northern Bavaria), we had to tend to my parents’  and aunt’s grave.

As dusk was rolling in, we were putting on the finishing touches and I noticed how well-kept every single grave looked. The flowers looked splendid, the path was clean, and then I realized it had always been this way.

Graveyard in Germany

Many graves had Stiefmütterchen (pansies), which literally translates to little step mothers.

Pansies, a.k.a. Stiefmütterchen in Germany

Additionally, it is difficult to get much work done as the graveyard, out of all places, is such a social place. Feel lonely on a Saturday evening? Go to your local cemetery, that is where you find a lot of your old friends and acquaintances. Mostly senior ones who have not connected with you on facebook yet.

I was approached by locals who would not have talked to me during my teenage years. I don’t blame them either… people come together for a common cause at the graveyard, and the connecting factor of sharing a family member’s loss overrules any other preconceived notions, at least in regards to my teenage years.

My aunt, who happened to be at the graveyard, told of her most recent visit to Norway, where most graves are covered by a slab of stone (at least the one she had been to). In the U.S.A, I saw many grave stones surrounded by grass only.

Weekly visits to care for the grave are a must-do in these villages, just like sweeping the sidewalk on Saturdays.

Overnight on a Former Farm in Franconia

Although we have family in Franconia, it is not always possible to spend the night at a sibling’s place. Once in a while we have to rent a room or an apartment. For our last trip there, we decided to rent a vacation apartment in my hometown village Hambach (population: 2700), a borough of Dittelbrunn.

Zum Hühnernest, a former chicken farm, has been turned into a big family business. The owners’ grown up children have expanded its lines of service by adding accommodations (rooms and apartment), a guesthouse, a cosmetic studio, a nail studio, horseback riding, horse-drawn carriage rides, horseback riding camps, farm animals, a farmer’s market, etc.

We checked in on Saturday afternoon and found a very spacious apartment and comfortable beds to keep us warm at night.

Pension "Zum Hühnernest" in Hambach/borough of Dittelbrunn

But… when we came back late at night, we found the guesthouse totally locked up. We had forgotten to ask how to get in during after-hours.

It took about 10 minutes and a bit of slow panic crept in, before my husband located a door by going around the place on three sides, entering a former chicken coop, climbing an outdoor stairway, to reach a veranda door leading to the inside of the building.

My goodness, we made it in! With relief, we settled down for a good night’s sleep.

Pension "Zum Hühnernest"

Visit the Gasthaus und Pension Zum Hühnernest for more information. Recommendable, besides the key episode!

Bonzi says It’s a nice place, isn’t it?

Another weekend in my hometown left us battling with even more snow coming down Sunday morning. 

We are also still hunting local guest houses for a taste of Doppelbock, which is only brewed and sold during the time of Lent. The locals are supposed to be fasting, but not in regards to liquid bread.

Hambach Main Street on 21 Feb 2010

Please note the cyclists daring the roads. They were not the only ones riding bikes in the snow either.

Clearing the windshield

For a couple of minutes, we contemplated changing plans…

Road from Hambach to Dittelbrunn

Good ol' Hambach a.k.a. Hammich

Once I find a guest house offering Doppelbock beer, I will post again.