Sunday, February 22, 2009


Lent is almost upon us and as we all know that means it is time to get all your partying out. New Orleans has Mardi Gras, Rio has Carnival, and Germany has Fasching.

Fasching is a weeks worth of parades, parties, and festivals located all over Germany. Lucky for us one of the biggest and best celebrations is located in Mainz, just a 30 minute train ride away, so Shea and I went over yesterday to check it out first hand. Of course like any good party, you have to wear a costume. I went as an old lady with blue hair and Shea dressed in a sombrero and poncho. Generally, most people prefer darker color patterns here in their clothing, however, for Fasching the brighter the better. We saw Elvis, Boris Becker, Clowns, Cats, Cowboys, Nurses, Soldiers, Ghosts, Frogs, and many other creative ideas. Bands marched through the streets with a potpourri of characters trailing behind forming makeshift parades that anyone could join. After enjoying the sights and sounds outside for a while, Shea and I decided to step inside a local "kneipe" (bar). It was packed with people standing shoulder to shoulder dancing, singing, and drinking. The bartenders had an assembly line of pilsner beers going and as fast as they could fill them up they were being handed across the bar to the costumed consumers. People stood arm in arm and swayed back and forth to the traditional German songs. It was like being at an ATM football game with all the memorization and synchronized movement taking place.
After several hours, we left there and followed a marching band back towards the train station... dancing and singing our way out of town. We will maybe try to take in a few more events before Tuesday and will let you all know what we find! Otherwise enjoy some of the funny pics were able to take.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Beers, Blondes, and "Burrr" cold weather...München, otherwise known as Munich- the Capital of Bavaria, was paid a visit by us "northerners" this last weekend.
Munich is the entry to the Alps for most Germans, and as we noticed on the packed train headed there on Friday afternoon, many Germans use it as their ski destination headquarters.
We left Frankfurt at 1:00 and rolled into Munich right at 4:00, an easy three-hour train ride through the rolling hills of southern Germany dotted with picturesque small villages. We were able to see that Frankfurt really is pretty insulated from the snow because as soon as we left town we were able to see the snow banks grow higher and higher. Munich was covered with the stuff and if you felt the desire there you could stop and snowangel anywhere you wanted...Snow-appaloosa.
After arriving we took a local train to our hotel a few minutes outside of downtown. We checked in, then headed right back downtown to the "Altstadt" or old city. The central area of town known for its history (not necessarily all good- as Munich was Hitler's home base of operations).
We got downtown and found the Marienplatz with the famous Glockenspeil (giant dancing clock) on the centuries old Ratskeller (town hall). We wandered around map-less, but if one thing has been proven in our short time here, it is that we have a nose for the party. As we wandered looking for someplace reasonable to eat, we looked up and find ourselves standing smackdab in front of the world famous Hofbrauhaus.
"After you Frau Keller"
"Dankeschön Herr Keller"
Once entered you are immediately struck by the size of the place and large number of people sucking down "maß" (pronounced like "mass") mugs of beer. A maß is a liter, so you can certainly get your bicep workout in as you down the tasty beverage.
Something we should explain is that going out to eat in Germany is not like it is in the States. Unless you are in some 5 star restaurant, there is no such thing as hostesses here. No waiting to be seated at your own table.
No, it is every man for himself here-sharing your table is how its done.
You walk around and find a spot you can fit in and you simple put your butt in the seat. German engineering at its finest. So, not only do you enjoy a good meal but you always make new friends socializing at your table.

We sat down and struck up a conversation with a guy from Brazil, a guy from Mexico, a German with his PHD in philosophy and a woman from Germany who is a journalist. We had a great time and all enjoyed our maß and some hearty German food. After about 2 maß apiece we were visited by the live band who plays traditional German music. They surrounded our table and we all toasted in their honor (photos above)!
It was a great time and the only downside is the headache you have to pay the next day!

On Saturday, we went back downtown and toured the historical sites during the day. We arrived for the noon showing of the Glockenspeil performance. We then toured the Dom, which is their centuries old church with twin towers that look like beer steins. We went to another church where they let you tour their tower to get a birds eye view of Munich. We only had to climb 305 steps to get to the top (I counted). We were able to see all of the Munich tourist spots, Olympic park, beer gardens, but unfortunately because of the falling snow, couldn't see the Alps. Next, we took a tour of the Wittelsbach family castle. They were the ruling family of this Bayern (Bavaria) area of German for many centuries and had several castles throughout the area. We visited two of them during this trip. One in the heart of Downtown Munich on Saturday and another one of their summer retreats a few miles outside the city on Sunday. Needless to say, it would have been a pretty swank life to be a Wittelsbach back in the day. From that point on Shea would only answer if I referred to her as Her Majesty Sheattelsbach...weird.

Saturday, as you all know, was also Valentine's, only the best for my baby- Back to another Beer Hall!!!! This time we went to St. Augustiner. After a full day of walking around the city, sightseeing, and climbing stairs, we only needed one beer apiece before we were ready to curl up at our table and race off to dreamland. We had a nice dinner and then called it a day.

On Sunday, we headed outside of Munich to Dachau. As most of you know Dachua was one of the largest concentration camps used by the Germans during WWII. A rather somber and sobering experience, but a site everyone should see so as to ensure history will never repeat itself.

After Dachau, we headed to the Wittelsbach castle called Nymphenburg Castle outside of Munich. Sunday was a cold, but sunny, day, so Shea and I enjoyed walking around the castle and doing some people watching. People were iceskating on the frozen canal and playing a game similar to bocci on ice. We had a great time there and wondered just how quickly we would fall on our butts if we tried playing.

Now this trip wasn't all fun and games, part of the reason we were there was because Shea had to meet with some clients on Monday, so while she worked, I toured the Olympic park. It was a very pretty area of the city and though it was really cold out, people were still taking advantage of all the tracks and facilities there. There was a big tribute to the Israeli athletes and the swimming pool was calling my name. "Herr Keller, Wo ist sein Speedo?"

Monday night, Shea had a business dinner that her clients were kind enough to invite me along to. We had a wonderful French meal, and they were excellent hosts. The wine was a-flowing. They are a well-traveled couple who had been to Dallas about 2 years ago for a conference. While there they had bought cowboy boots and hats, and visited both Gilley's and Billy Bob's. The man kept trying to say "Yeehaw", but something about his pronunciation was amiss. Shea kept having to correct him on how it was done but he loved every minute of it.

All in all, Munich was a great time. We will certainly want to go back again when the weather is nice...umm, I don't know, say late September, for OKTOBERFEST!!!!
Seriously, if you are planning on coming, let us know, we need to start booking our stuff pretty soon, because it is going to be an amazing time!!!! Tschuss!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Scouting Report

Sorry it's been awhile since our last post. We have been working and staying close to home the last two weeks, but we bought tickets for our next trip today.
Next week we are going to head down to Munchen (or rather known in English as Munich) on Friday for a 4-day stay. We plan on taking in the city, enjoying the Bavarian sites, and most importantly do some scouting. Scouting, you ask?
Munchen is home to the Germany we all imagine and want to be part of...Oktoberfest. Men in lederhosen, women in dirndls, and beer showering like manna from heaven. We are anticipating a flood of Americans this September, all of whom hail from a little southern state known for its football, cattle, and big hair. We want to make sure we have the city adequately prepared for their arrival with a warm up lap.
We will blog about it when we get back, so keep your KellersinGermany blog online and keep hitting refresh so you can be the first to read about it.
We also have some other great adventures coming up in the next few weeks. German Mardi Gras, known as Karnival, is coming up in 2 weeks. We are headed to Cologne with some friends and should have some good stories from there. It is suppose to be pretty outrageous…stay tuned.
In March, Moms Keller arrives with Aunt Marianne and we are heading to Dublin to enjoy a little St. Patty's Day shenanigans. Something tells me Ireland may not be big enough for all the fun headed its way.Hope you are all are doing well and enjoyed our first month of the New Year!!!