Camp Martin Travels

These entries will be a combination of historical day trips, graduate level travel courses, and just little stops along the way. I have been teaching 8th grade American History for over 25 years. I am also a Civil War Reenactor and have traveled to Germany and Austria with several groups of exchange students and written about our adventures. Please check all my posts by using the monthly Blog Archive tabs shown below. I have posted over 150 Blog Episodes since 2009... Please explore them all!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

An American in Germany / Part # 17 / Tüßling

GAPP Exchange Journal 2012
Round About Tüßling Village 

Rewe Grocery Near Tüßling
We had traveled far and wide and had seen a lot of amazing sights over the past ten days but I was looking forward to staying close to home today, to explore what life was really like in the small village of Tüßling.  I had been living in the small village for over a week and a half but so far, had little opportunity to see the sights just beyond my front door.  After we returned home from school, I was looking forward on joining my host Angela on a fun filled trip to the grocery store with the kids!  I was interested to see how the chore differed from our stores back home and wanted to pitch in to buy some of the Coca-Cola Light I had been consuming since my arrival, along with some snacks.  Before we could depart, it was essential to find all the empty plastic and glass bottles so they could be recycled at the grocery store.  I loaded the two plastic crates filled with the empty liter sized bottles in the trunk of the car, while Angela loaded the much more precious cargo into their car seats.  Leo and Amelie had just woken up from their naps and being confined in a car seat was the last thing on their agenda but were soon successfully wrestled in by a victorious Angela, who won this round.  Both kids were soon appeased by receiving their spill proof child friendly cups filled with apple juice.  A refreshing beverage makes everything better!  We pulled the Opel mini van out of the driveway and were soon on our way.  The Opel mini van was really nice and I couldn't help but think, this is what I would most likely be driving if I lived in Bavaria, since I drive a Dodge Caravan (AKA: The Man Van) back home.  Within a few minutes we were pulling into the parking lot of a small grocery store by American standards, closely resembling the proportions of Weiser's Market in Lititz.  At least we weren't going to have to walk several hundred yards to get the few items on our list.

 Leo Driving for Team Ferrari
Angela grabbed a cart and we loaded the kids and crates of empty bottles and headed toward the entrance but no so fast... Leo saw the tricked out Formula 1 Ferrari race car shopping cart sitting by the front door and just had to take it for a test drive.  So while Angela and Amelie went the traditional cart route, Leo and I went cruising through the aisles in style!  Our first order of business was to take the crates of empty bottles over to the automated recycling machine.  We loaded the crates of bottles onto a conveyer belt where they quickly disappeared behind the wall and within seconds a paper voucher printed out noting the cash value, which you could later redeem at checkout.  The whole process reminded me of "back in the day," before curb recycling existed, when you took all your empty glass beverage bottles back to the grocery store.  You checked them in with the porch clerk, received a hand written slip for the deposit value, and finally placed them within a large box like cart located by the front door.  I even remember writing out those slips for customers myself when I was assigned to porch duty (AKA: Shopping Cart Jockey) when working for Weis Markets a thousand years ago when I was still in high school.  Now it was time to tackle our list and hit the aisles in search of provisions.  Hey Leo, kick it into gear and hit the pretend throttle!  Let's go!

 Angela and Amelie Ordering Some Meats
First, we passed by the bakery, which is often located just inside the door because many people come to the store just to purchase their bread fresh every few days.  Angela selected several different kinds of breads for tomorrow morning's breakfast, including several varieties of fresh rolls and my favorite pretzels!  Next, we passed by the fresh vegetables of the produce section, which looked very similar to any produce department with the exception of the foreign language labels and a lot fewer choices.  The combined meat counter and deli rivaled a butcher shop and just like back home, the kids each got a complimentary slice of cheese to ensure happiness during the brief wait.  As strange as it might sound, it was a lot of fun to compare and contrast the food shopping venues in the eastern and western hemispheres.  I really felt I was out of my element since there are very few shared brand names between America and Europe.  Aside from a few Coca-Cola products the only other item I recognized in the store was Pringle brand potato chips, which were called Pringooolas, a much more festive sounding name.  I wanted to try some of the local products and the snack aisle seemed like a safe choice but soon found myself a bit overwhelmed and was having a little trouble making a decision.  I'm a simple guy and there didn't seem to be much available in the plain old potato chip category.  In addition to the standard salt and vinegar, barbecue, and sour cream varieties... they had chips flavored with various cheeses, paprika spice, pepperoni, and even chili-lime.  They had something called Lorenz Monster Munch Ketchup Flavored Potato Snacks that were little round smiling faces covered with blotches of red.  Why were they looking so happy, they all looked like they just suffered a head injury!  Angela... Help!

 German Grocery Frozen Food Section
Fortunately, Angela stepped in to save the day and keeping my tastes in mind, pointed out a few suggestions including some Saltletts pretzel sticks, Prinzen Rolle chocolate sandwich cookies, and a very popular treat known as Knoppers, which were a multiple layer treat comprised of milk, hazelnut cream, and light whole wheat wafers.  I finally had something in my shopping cart besides Leo.  At last, we arrived at the largest area of the store where various types of beverages were stockpiled in large quantities.  Most carbonated beverages were sold in one liter size plastic bottles, which you could mix and match within empty plastic crates designed to neatly hold a dozen bottles.  I filled a crate with diet soda in a variety of flavors, especially caffeine free Coca-Cola Light, which wasn't available anywhere else.  I also got a few bottles of Mezzo Mix, a unique combination of cola and orange flavored soda, which is very popular in Germany.  Angela stocked up on a dozen bottles of the ever popular plain carbonated seltzer water and I grabbed a few myself to mix with Fanta Orange and Mezzo Mix to dilute the stronger taste.  With all our beverage needs now satisfied we were ready to check out.  Electronic payment using debit and credit cards is not as widely available in Germany as it is in the United States.  It was always good to have plenty of Euros in cash on hand, especially when making purchases outside large urban centers.  Another quick tip... if you want to have your groceries bagged you need to bring your own from home or be prepared to purchase them at checkout.  Another example of being green, and trying to save paper.  As has recently become more common in America, reusable fabric bags are the standard in Germany.  Leo and I pulled his Formula Racing cart into the pits and parked his Ferrari back in its designated parking space by the front door..  We're outta here!

  Biking through Tüßling
Later that afternoon, Angela asked if I wanted to join her and the kids again to check out the garden show being held at the Palace of Tüßling near the center of town.  I had walked past the 500 year old Baroque castle/palace several times and was quite curious about the mysterious estate surrounded by high stucco walls and welcomed the opportunity to explore the grounds beyond the exterior iron gate.  Angela wanted to know if I was open to biking down to the show since it would be faster than walking and easier than trying to find a parking spot with a vehicle.  I was a little hesitant since it had been quite a few years since I had been on a bike.  Two decades ago, when we were still a one car family, I rode my bike the five mile round trip to work most days for about five years.  I was "Green" before Green was cool!  However, it had been a long time since I pedaled a crank and chain to get from Point "A" to Point "B" but I tentatively agreed to give it a try.  While Angela was getting herself and the kids ready, I decided to take a test run on my own by going solo around the neighborhood on Andy's bike.  I was amazed... It was as easy as... riding a bike... again!  It's true, you never forget and within a minute I was flying up and down the street like a pro and was ready for the Tour de France by the time Angela appeared in the driveway with the kids.  She secured the kids in the stroller buggy and attached it to the rear of her bike and we were off in no time flat.  Angela took the lead and navigated the narrow curving streets and speeding traffic with me following in toe.  The roads are much more narrow in Germany and seemed more so when riding on a bike with cars speeding around you as if you were a moving pylon.  I was concerned for the kids as the passing cars dwarfed their buggy as they zipped by at high speed.  There are abundant bike paths in the country but within town, you are forced to share the road with impatient automobiles.  Yikes!

Gartenque / Garden Show of Tüßling
We parked the bikes just outside the castle gate and quickly transformed the bike buggy into a stroller, never having to remove the kids from their seats.  It is an ingenious invention every mom with a bike should purchase.  We paid the entrance fee and were free to pass into the interior of the estate grounds.  There were stands set up throughout the interior campus selling colorful flowers, garden sculptures, and everything in between.  The beautiful property was owned by Stephanie Countess Bruges von Pfuel who inherited the estate from her father upon his death 20 years ago.  The 90 room palace and accompanying support structures were in an advanced state of disrepair but instead of selling off the property she invested in a complete restoration of the entire estate, making it beautiful once again.  She decided to open the palace grounds to the public periodically, by hosting various events to help offset the cost of the property's past renovations and present upkeep.  The outdoor garden show, officially known as the Gartenque, is an example of one of these fundraising events, which has become an annual summer tradition.  Another popular palace event are the musical outdoor concerts performed by a variety of artists on the large back lawn of the estate.  Amazingly, Sir Elton John was scheduled to perform an outdoor concert at the palace during the middle of July, the smallest event on his busy performance schedule.  How did the Countess ever pull that one off?  It was a common joke around town that Elton John's three concerts in Germany this year were Berlin, Munich, and the tiny village of Tüßling!  In addition to hosting various local events, the Countess has written a gardening book, dedicates time to a major children's charity, is involved in local politics, and manages her vast farm and forestry land holdings.  She has become very popular with the local people and a positive role model for young German women for her independence, style, and keen business sense.  

Palace of the Countess of Tüßling
We strolled through the multiple shaded pathways checking out the diverse garden and craft stands until we came to a play area set up for the kids complete with toys and a large pile of sand.  Angela pulled over to award the kids some fun time, giving me a few minutes to walk around the perimeter of the main palace to get some pictures.  The rear lawn was a huge open space with two flower lined parallel walkways ending before a large fountain surrounded by green shrubs.  It was elegant and attractive, made more so by the bright beautiful sunny afternoon.  I made my rounds about the estate and soon found my way back to the sand pit, where Leo and Amelie were both having fun on the make believe beach.  Angela reloaded her passengers in the stroller and we continued our tour of the various venders selling their wares.  Gardening is a very popular outdoor activity in Germany, a hobby almost everyone could afford to indulge, to some extent.  Almost every home has plantings on display within colorful gardens, window boxes, or large ceramic planters... and sometimes all three!  Angela was on a scouting mission, trying to research what items she might like to plant around their new home once it was finished being built.  We eventually came to a seating area located directly next to the main palace and surprisingly ran into Angela's parents, Erwin and Maria Schadhauser, who were enjoying a cool drink with friends.  We were warmly invited to join them and it felt good to sit down for a few minutes to relax in an atmosphere of elegance and royalty.  We left the comfort of the table briefly to get a little something to eat, which in my case was the standard bratwurst nested within a fresh roll, topped with spicy sweet mustard, and complimented by a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola Light!

  Gartenque Color on Display
We hung around together for awhile, until prior pending engagements that evening broke up the party and we parted company until another time.  We took one final stroll through the estate grounds back toward the front entrance gate.  Although the German Government officially disbanded royalty groups shortly following WWI, many families retained their titles and are followed by the German press and featured on occasion, within their society pages.  Stephanie Countess Bruges von Pfuel has reinvented the role of local royalty by opening up her home to the local community, featuring events enjoyed by people from far and wide... including visitors from out of town... like me!  By the way, you can rent out the large main hall within the palace itself for an entire day.  But... it will cost you close to $10,000 in American dollars to host your daughter's wedding in elegant style!  Angela, Leo, Amelie, and I mounted our bikes and headed for home through the streets of Tüßling.  I got a great video of it!  You can check it out within my pictures of my Tüßling photo album at file link below.  Later that night, Andy and I went to watch Germany face off against Italy at a friend's house in Altötting.  Unfortunately, Germany lost and would have to wait another two years until the World Cup tournament began in 2014.  On the way home, driving toward Tüßling, the dark night sky suddenly burst into bright colors as fireworks exploded overhead.  They were launched from the palace grounds as an official ending ceremony to this year's Gartenque.  What a day!  It was time to turn in for the night before the next adventure began... However, I think I'll have a Knopper before I hit the sack! 

Front Entrance Gate of the Palace
Please stayed tuned for the next installment of our adventure!

 Stephanie Countess Bruges von Pfuel
(Photo Credit / Zimmermann CMG)


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