Maximilianstaße, Augsburg

So, Augsburg was founded by Emperor Augustus. It was where the name came from! I chirped to mum while I googled about the statue in Rathausplatz.

From our bench, we could see people sitting on the rims of the fountain and enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. We wondered how scorching hot the square could be when the sun was high during the summer.

It will be very very hot…

The cloud above the square was remnants of the rain we experienced earlier that day.

While we were driving from Rothenburg to the city, we were met with a torrential downpour on A7. The beating of the rain drops was so ferocious that my dusty VW looked like if it went through a car wash once the rain was over. I must say that it was rather a hairy drive because the spray of the water produced by the lorries’ wheels blinded us momentarily every time we passed by them. When the downpour came down its hardest, the only thing we could see through the window screen was tail lamps of the cars in front of us in the shape of very blurry red dots.

‘Shall we get some fruits at a supermarket?’ We walked down Maximilianstraße. The thoroughfare looked like a major high street of Augsburg and both sides of it were lined with large stores.

Let’s try here, we spotted a supermarket. Mum was very curious about German groceries, especially tinned vegetables. In Japan, the people used much less tinned foods for everyday cooking, therefore, she was fascinated by the wide variety of them lining the shelves in Germany. After inspecting every single aisle, mum’s curiosity was satisfied and we left the shop with a box of strawberries, a few flat peaches and a bag of dried apple slices.

Then, I spotted a pharmacy. ‘Can I check if they stock the sunscreen I am after?’

I had been looking for a particular sunscreen by La Roche-Posay, called UVIDEA XL Ultra-light Mist SPF50. I asked about it at every chemist in France but couldn’t find it. And I was wondering if I had any luck in Germany. The pharmacy was large and did stock La Roche-Posay. However, they didn’t have the specific one I was looking for and I had to leave empty-handed. Oh, c’estla vie!

We continued our stroll down Maximilianstraße and arrived at a junction with Moritzplatz…

A multiple tramway tracks merged and forked at the junction…

Drum roll, please! We will ride a tram in my next blog entry (at last)…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Snowball in June

No, it was not a real snowball but a pastry named as Schneeball (snowball), which was the most famous sweet in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. And I forgot to taste it!

I blame the heat wave, which was upon us throughout our road trip, for making me to miss out on this local delicacy. It was simply too hot to have any appetite for a fist-size fat-fried donut with sugar. Instead, I craved for ice cream (and beer).

Awww, Scheebälle! I want you now…

Are they like Krispy Kreme?

The history of these pastries is very long – they have been known to exist for at least 300 years. They were meant to be served on special occasions such as weddings, however, they became famed local delicacies and started to be available throughout the year.

The main ingredients are flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cream and plum schnapps. In order to form a distinctive shape of Schneeball, the dough is first rolled out and cut into even strips with a special rake-like cutter. The dough is cut as such that the top and bottom are left intact. Then, partially cut dough is loosely assembled and placed in a “Scheeballeneisen” – metal tongs with hollowed globes on the both ends. Finally, the scheeballeneisen with the dough inside is inserted into a deep-fryer, and voila, a golden brown Schneeball is born! Obviously, it has to resemble the real thing, therefore, it is dusted with confectioner’s sugar while warm.

Nowadays, Schneeball comes in many varieties of flavour, such as dark chocolate, white chocolate, mocha, almond, marzipan, vanilla, etc.

When mum and I were peering into a show window of Cafe Walter Friedel, a man standing nearby turned and asked if we were Japanese.

‘They are Schneebälle, did you know?’ He smiled. He was a Japanese tourist and visiting the town which was a part of the package holiday. ‘We came by a tour bus. How did you two get here?’

He was very much surprised when I told him that I drove from London. His eyes twinkled with excitement. ‘Oh wow! Really? I’d love to drive on a world famous autobahn too!’, he gushed. Apparently, he loved fast cars and driving a car in general. He confided to us that a driving holiday in Europe, especially hiring a BMW in Germany and driving it on autobahn, was his lifelong dream.

Our conversation returned to the Schneebälle in the window, and we asked him if he tried them already. He replied yes and told us what he thought about them.

‘They were very sweet and rather greasy.’

Oh, I see. Mum and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing. Are they going to be as anticlimactic as Kendel Mint Cake or Grasmere Gingerbread?

Anyway, the man and we parted shortly afterward, wishing each other a safe journey home.

Next day, we did have a chance to explore the town, but we completely forgot about the pastries because our attention was all focused on the Rothenburg’s famed Christmas shops.

As I write this post, I have come across a German confectionary shop Walter Friedel, and they are happy to ship their Schneeball to anywhere in the world as long as the order is more than €18.00! I am going to ask Hubbie if he wants to try them. So watch this space…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Dinner at Reichsküchenmeister

We were very happy to see the sign of our hotel, Hotel Zum Breiterle after enduring a stressful car journey on A3. I recounted to a receptionist how hellish our journey from Würzburg was as she handed over me a key to the room. ‘Noooo, oh my god!’ She couldn’t believe our misadventure.

Our room was modest but very tidy and the bathroom looked immaculate…

There was only one desire we had in our mind…, BEER! Surely, we deserve ice cold beer after the ordeal! So we set off to find a suitable beer garden/restaurant as well as to explore this pretty medieval German town…

We walked along Rödergrasse. It was almost six o’clock and most of the shops, except a green grocer/general store, were already shut. Mum found cartons of strawberries displayed on a bench made out of crates and wanted to buy one of them as a snack for the next day.

After purchasing strawberries, we carried on walking towards Marktplaz…

Near Marktplaz, we noticed soap bubbles wafting along by the breeze. Where do they come from? We looked up and found a cute teddy bear blowing bubbles…

Marktplaz with its town hall…

Rothenburg as a place already existed since around the 11th century, and it was formally founded as a town in 1274. The town became a part of the kingdom of Bavaria in 1803 as a result of the Treaty of Pressburg, thanks to Napoleon’s victory over the Austrian at Um.

We decided to have dinner at Hotel Reichs Küchenmeister as they had encouraging reviews on Google…

The entrance to their beer garden…

One of the waiters ushered us to the side of a table in the corner and told us to wait there until the table was vacated by the guests, who, the waiter claimed, paid the bill and were ready to leave. However, the guests showed no sign of leaving the table, and it was rather awkward being left standing by them. Eventually, I told the staff that we would rather be inside of the restaurant since we were not that bothered about al fresco dining.

In our seat, waiting for our beer (and food)…

Mum with her beer. You earned it, mum. You were a brilliant map reader!

I ordered Dreierlei Fränkische Bratwürste mit Fass-Sauerkraut und Kartoffeln, what a long name…

Three different franconian sausages with Sauerkraut and potatos. I just loved German sausages and I couldn’t have enough of them before returning to the UK.

Mum opted for Flammkuchen mit Räucherlachs, Mozarella, Kirschtomaten und lauch…

Flammkuchen with smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and leek. This Flammkuchen, also known as Tarte flambée, was one of the most famous Alsatian dish and also mum’s favourite during our road trip.

After our culinary desire was fulfilled, we embarked on a post-dinner saunter in Rothenburg…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

 

Beer garden at Alter Kranen

Beer, ice cold beer, that is what we want! Mum and I strongly agreed while fanning our sweaty faces with folded maps given at the hotel early on. But where? Where can we get our hands on chilled long glasses of German beer? We looked around but only to find a beer garden next to Alte Mainbrücke almost brimful with customers.

I remembered that a receptionist who handled our check-in recommended a beer garden on Mainkai. ‘Shall we try there, mum?’

We walked along Kännergasse because the street was in the shade therefore it was cooler.

Alter Kranen was a German restaurant with a large terrace overlooking Main River. We decided to sit in the terraced area as the breeze travelling over the river was pleasant and cooling.

Even though it was only six o’clock, the place was very busy with people not only drinking but also eating hearty meals…

Mum looked so happy to have her beer!

Prost, mum!

The beer tasted so good after a long sweaty walk. We earned it, didn’t we? We nodded in agreement.

For dinner, we decided to share a platter instead of ordering two main dishes as we were not too hungry.

We opted for Brotzeitbrettle…

Supper time board: cheese cream, Emmemtaler cheese, sausages, farmhouse ham, Camembert cheese, tomatos, pickles and onion rings. The platter was accompanied by a basket of farmhouse bread. They went very well with our beer.

Oh boy, visiting a local beer garden is becoming our new routine! Mum and I both shared a good conspiratorial giggle…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

London Pride 2017

I must have a break from our road trip memoir today. There are yet bucket-loads to write about and I want to carry on while my memory is still fresh. However, today was a day for Pride in London, and Hubbie and I went to see the parade with Bella in tow.

Before joining a crowd on Regent Street, we decided to have lunch at SAID on Broadwick Street…

SAID has been a fixture of Broadwick Street for a number of years. They sell ludicrously tasty chocolates with amazing twists and also serve delicious Italian dishes. I just love the way they present their simple yet exquisite offerings.

I had SAID Salad – Honey coated roasted goat’s cheese with walnuts and dark chocolate shavings…

I must say, every mouthful was absulute joy. Who invented this amazingly moreish salad? Chocolate in salad? What a crazy but also wonderful idea!

The walnut had a hint of warm sweetness which went very well with the saltiness of the cheese. And the chocolate, it added another depth to the already colourful elements on the plate.

While we munched through our lunch, a group of drag queens were heading towards the parade…

 

 

They were gorgeous!

Later on, I saw them on London Live TV, performing in Leicester Square.

After lunch, we made our way to Regent Street via Carnaby Street and Beak Street. The street was really busy with the manifold of crowds lining along the barriers, waiting for the parade to commence.

‘Too many people here and can’t see a thing. Let’s move towards Piccadilly Circus!’ Hubbie suggested.

We weaved through the crowd, made a detour to an exhibition at Beetles + Huxley and eventually, made it to Piccadilly Circus.

Then, the party started!

 

 

Alas, I could only see moving flags and hear the beat and cheer.

‘Shall we move further down towards Pall Mall?’ We drifted along the crowd who seemed to have the same idea.

But our effort was in vain. Pall Mall was choking with the crowd too!

And Bella decided to sing along with the parade…

 

 

We ended up walking as far as Trafalgar Square but decided to throw in the towel. There was no way we could find any decent spot to see the parade properly anywhere along the route.

‘We should have planned it better.’ Hubbie and I agreed as we trudged towards Green Park tube station in the hot afternoon sun. Needless to say, Bella was fast asleep on my lap as soon as we were on our way home by tube…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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