Lake Dwelling Settlements Unteruhldingen – Remnants of the Stone Age

How was life in the Stone Age? What did people do all day? What did they eat? How did they sleep? You can learn all about that and much more while visiting the lake dwelling settlements in Unteruhldingen at Lake Constance. In German, they are called “Pfahlbauten” – pole dwellings – and that’s what they are. Conveniently built alongside the lake, so people thousands of years ago were close to the trade and traveling routes and would not be impacted by the changing water levels. The first reconstructions were undertaken in the 1920s and 1940, when diving techniques were much less advanced than today. Check out the different life size models of the houses that feature living and sleeping rooms, a stove and work places of people living between 4300 and 850 BC.

Burg Meersburg – The Old Castle at Lake Constance

If you are visiting Lake Constance in Germany, be sure to check out Burg Meersburg, the old castle. Built in the 7th century, it features sleeping and dining rooms, a kitchen, a dungeon among other fully furnished rooms, and a tower with a spectacular view. You can tour the castle on your own and join a guided tour to the top of the tower. The castle has been remodeled many times by kings and bishops since it was first built, and people still live there today. Oh, and poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff died here.

No “Göring Avenue” in Bad Honnef

"Am Spitzenbach" street sign in Bad Honnef, Photo: Christina Bergmann

Words matter. Names, too. Just ask the Germans. There is no “Hitler Boulevard” or “Goebbels Avenue” in Germany. After World War II, Germans were determined to remove everything that glorified the people that had committed or ordered unspeakable crimes during the Nazi era. Buildings were torn down. Statues were removed. Streets were renamed. Even if that meant tearing down a monument honoring a distinguished member of society. Continue reading

Dresden’s Revival

Visiting Germany this summer, I spent two days in Dresden. And although it was raining cats and dogs the whole time, I was impressed by the beautiful buildings, all rebuilt or restored after the war or even after Germany’s reunification. The Semperoper was closed, unfortunately, but I could climb to the top of the Frauenkirche. And I could marvel at the old paintings in the Zwinger. The Elbe, however, did not have enough water after the long hot summer for a boat trip. But at the Panometer, I could get an impression of how the city looked during the Baroque in Yadegar Asisi’s impressive installation.

I stayed in the charming Hotel Smetana,  and had dinner one evening at the Restaurant Stresa, which has delicious food and an excellent wine selection.

Yesterday, a friend at the dinner table asked the question: Why does all progress (technical, medical, social…) seems to have happened in the last 100 years, or an even shorter period? In terms of IT, think of the Apollo Program and the much larger capacity your modern cell phone has. An interesting question, so I asked the internet… and came up with this: Continue reading

Cool Cars at Katie’s

Waking up early Saturday morning and in the mood for a drive and cool cars? Here is the place to go: Katie’s Coffee House. On Saturday mornings, car lovers from all over the region park their precious vehicles on the parking lot in Great Falls, Virginia, grab a coffee and stand in awe over old and new cars. The Washington Post had an article this week about Katie’s, I’ve been there two years ago, and it’s really worth getting up at the crack of dawn. Otherwise, you won’t get a parking spot, because the show is pretty much over at 9 am.

German American Heritage Museum in Washington, DC, Foto: Christina Bergmann

Have you ever been to the German American Heritage Museum (GAHM) in downtown DC, close to Chinatown? It’s worth a visit, and it’s free. These days, the museum is hosting an exhibition about “idealistic 19th-century immigrants who wanted to create the 25th U.S. state” – German immigrants, that is. They came from Giessen, close to Frankfurt, to Missouri. Here is the Washington Post story about the GAHM exhibit with the name “Utopia: Revisiting a German State in America“.

And while you’re at it, check out this WP article about “How to view art” by Philip Kennicott. Worth reading – and doing.

 

Happy Birthday, Germany

Who would have thought 25 years ago, that in 2014, Germany would celebrate it’s first quarter century as a united nation (although we still have to wait another year for the “official” 25th anniversay). On Oct 3rd, 1989, a peaceful German unification seemed like a dream that would never come true.

So let’s celebrate like on Wednesday at the German Embassy in DC,by remembering what happened 25 years ago,  like in this DW report, and with pictures from my now united hometown: Berlin.

 

German Band Artig rocks the German School

Artig at the German School/GLC in Potomac

 

After their great success in 2012 and 2011, the German band ARTIG is once again bringing German Pop Rock to High Schools to several US States this fall. Their first performance was tonight at the German School/German Language Courses in Potomac, MD. More than 100 kids and their parents celebrated the four young men from Germany. Continue reading