Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What are Gasthaus's and Pensions like and Why Stay in Them

My husband and I like to travel a lot; we have been to Germany three times. We only stay in a Gasthaus (Inn) or a Pension which are similar to a bed and breakfasts here, but quite different. The only differences between these two are that a Gasthaus 
 will have a restaurant for guests and non-guests and a common area such as a lounge where a pension does not have to have a restaurant or common areas for non-residents. If you drive into the village and see a
sign that’s says “Zimmer Frei” that means they have a vacant room for rent. Usually this sign is associated with a private home but can be located on any category of accommodation. They are more like an elegant small hotel, the staff is always very friendly, and usually they are decorated with antiques. Breakfast is served and included with the room; it’s a little different from what we usually consider breakfast here. It is       
cold meats, cheese, fruits, hard bread and rolls, and usually boiled eggs.
We like to stay in these because they are in small towns, where you can get a real feel for the culture and food; we always ask where the locals eat. We want to experience their food, in their surroundings, and enjoy being part of something different.
We also like staying in them because they are normally on a rail line which makes getting into the larger cities much easier. Most of the cities have these S-Bahns extending out to the adjacent districts. You don’t want to drive and have to find a place to park, and then enjoy the BEER, (which I drink over there, but do not drink at home). (Wheat BEER is the BEST.)
You can easily get back to the station after enjoying the city, Oktoberfest, or the local restaurants. It is very inexpensive, clean, safe, and you can just relax on your way back to your room.
We usually book one for our first night there, they can be pre-booked just like hotels. On our last trip, we booked one for the night before we were going into Munich for Oktoberfest, to make sure we had a place on the rail line. Normally we rent a car and take off to an area we think we would like, if we want to stay longer, we rent a room, if it wasn’t what we thought , we continue to another destination, and find one there to stay. We have never been disappointed and find them to be a perfect addition to the experience. Almost every town has these places to stay and they are all clean and just as nice as a big hotel in the larger towns.

Travel in Germany, the People, Culture and Shopping

No one should ever worry about traveling to a country that does not speak English as their first language, such as Germany a lot of people speak English, and if not , a smile, a friendly attitude, and playing Charades will always work, and believe me this girl can shop in any language.
When visiting besides the usual tourist attractions, make sure to enjoy the small towns, they are beautiful. They take great pride in keeping things clean; they even sweep the

street in front of their house. They are a very courteous culture, friendly and they waste no space in their yards. While walking around you will find almost everyone has a garden, but not like ours, they are part of the landscape, and beautiful. You get a feeling of great respect for the people; they have so much pride in taking care of their country.

I love going to Germany. The Black Forrest area, we found some beautiful Cuckoo clocks, and a gorgeous waterfall to climb in Triberg im Schwarzwald, it was breath-taking. My son and I climbed all the way to the top, and learned there was a hotel at the top, so if we had driven up there, we could have walked down the falls. We decided that would not been near as much fun as climbing up and then back down, we had a great time.
Crystal is also a passion of mine; we went to a Crystal factory, which had a seconds store next door. I could not tell any of the flaws, and I tried, the price was much better, my husband said it was a good thing we didn’t live there, because I could only get enough to hand carry back on the plane.
We also went on two different Beer Stein factory tours Zoller & Born and King-Werks; my husband had arranged those before we went. I have never had such an experience of really knowing what handmade is really about. Each section, from the design, casting, drying, cleaning, attaching the handles, painting each of the colors on the steins, was all hands on. There were no machines, conveyor belts, or anything we would presume to be modern, each section had one or two people, repeatedly doing the same job over and over, and they took such pride in each and every one, but even though they were the same, no two were exactly the same because each was done individually by a human hand. I have never been so impressed, now when I buy Steins; I look very closely at the ones that are supposed to be alike to find the little differences, and smile because I know how much work and love went into making it. Those factory tours where the highlight of our last visit. HANDMADE is truly HANDMADE.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What Prompted the Development of the Beer Stein?

The Development of the Lidded Beer Stein

The beer stein features a lid which may be opened or closed. Originally the steins didn’t have the thumb lifts that they have today to aid in opening. The concept of steins after they originated started a continuous rise in popularity. The first steins were created from stones and were very heavy to hold. As time went by, steins started being manufactured from other various materials such as silver, glass, porcelain, earthenware, stoneware, etc. The Germans have perfected the art of stein making and the concept soon started spreading to many other countries around the world. Brazil is now the larger producer of steins but are made more as promotional products for companies and organizations, primarily Budweiser.

Steins became the status symbol of beer lovers. Some of the best beer steins in Germany would have their family household crest and shield emblazoned them. Germans tend to place great respect on their food or their best drink and bear the expense that the status the steins would bring them. Today the German Beer Steins are collectibles worldwide and have grown to be fascinating not only for beer lovers but for their decorative features as well.

True German beer steins are handmade and hand-painted with exceptional relief designs. Because they are handmade and hand-painted they can be expensive depending on the design and coloring. The German beer steins are crafted with perfection with many of the designs having historic origins. They are exported all over the world and are more coveted then those manufactured in other countries. One of the things you want to check to make sure you have the authentic German Beer Stein is that the steins are stamped and numbered with the manufacturer's label as well as country of origin. The country of origin by German law must be labeled Made in Germany if it is to be exported. This is also one of the distinct features of the German Stein.

Germany has been celebrated worldwide for its beautiful innovation with art works in their beer steins. Enjoy your chosen drink using the authentic German Beer Steins.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Trend in Beer Stein Collecting

There has been a recent trend over the last few years of collecting beer steins. You might think it is just beer enthusiasts that collects them but it is actually becoming an interest of many people who just use them for decoration. What may surprise you is that women probably purchase the steins by close to a 4 to 1 margin over men. I’ve found this to be true on my site as well as a top competitor’s site.
We have had several steins of our own for over 10 years now displayed in a glass case in our living room that have never had a liquid in them. Lots of times when I’m watching TV, I notice beer steins in the background especially bar and tavern scenes. I believe one of the reasons they are becoming so popular is the many different designs and styles you can get them in which makes them perfect for collecting.
It’s not only the home that the trend seems to be gaining popularity but also bars and taverns. Some bars have their own custom designed steins you can purchase which lets you start a collection of the pubs you have visited. Some of the local pubs might even have a case or display on their wall so that you can have your stein there for your visits for your beer drinking enjoyment.
What type of stein should you buy? Well if you want to be a true collector I recommend that you just purchase authentic German beer steins. Someone might tell you that any stein will do. What do you think will impress people more, a Ferrari or a chevy Spark, both will get you where you want to go but one with a lot more style. It’s the same with steins, the authentic German stein may cost more but it’s handcrafted and hand painted and much more impressive.