Monthly Archives: November 2009

What do you call a German biscuit?

Germans are remarkably restrained when it comes to biscuits (that’s cookies to any readers from over the pond). For eleven months of the year, that is. As soon as Advent comes around, this changes. Traditionally the Germans bake “Plätzchen” … a wide variety of different types of Christmas biscuits… and the entire month of December turns into one long gluttonous cookie-fest.

There are lots of different types… Lebkuchen, Zimtsterne, Streuseltaler, Mandelhappen, Spritzgebäck… so it was no wonder, I felt, that when I came across this pack in the local supermarket, that the product manager had somehow failed to come up with a name for this brand of biscuits. Maybe inspiration was in short supply… maybe the biscuits are rubbish…. maybe he or she was in a rush. But, honestly…. Butterzeug?

(For non-German speakers, Butterzeug translates directly as “butter-stuff”).

My favourite theory though, was that the product manager had sampled a little too much of one of the competitor’s brands.



Filed under food, Life in Germany

Germany’s New Outside Minister


Filed under comedy, German language, German video

Hanging out on the Schwebebahn

This week I went with my visiting father and my youngest daughter to Wuppertal and took a ride on the Schwebebahn.

My grandfather lived in Wuppertal around 1911 – and he had told my father about the marvellous “hanging railway” which runs along the route of the Wupper river, from one end of Wuppertal to the other. So here we were, nearly a century later – three more generations of the family – taking a ride on our ancestor’s route to work.

The first thing you see as you approach the tracks is an amazing iron structure spanning the river and stretching off into the distance in each direction.


The train carriages are suspended from the overhead rail… quite a long way up over the river…


When we got on the train it was packed… but I managed to position myself behind the driver’s cab where you get the best view over the river…

It’s a fabulous way to see Wuppertal – the views across all parts of the city are spectacular. Particularly as you are suspended so high up.

Every now and then you meet another Schwebebahn coming the other way.

We went all the way from the city centre up to Oberbarmen and back – about half an hour’s round trip.

I’d like to give a vote of thanks to this part of the train…

… this was the bit that kept us attached to the overhead rail.




Filed under About Germany, Life in Germany