You have probably noticed by now that I love eBay. Years ago, when eBay first started, my PayPal account was hacked. Ebay and Paypal handled everything beautifully, but it made me nervous, so I stayed off a few years. I eventually worked up the nerve to get back on, and I am so glad I did. Not only are there fabulous finds, but I have been very fortunate to build relationships with several antique dealers, large and small. Even though I try to find the time to go to antique shows, traveling around eBay is like traveling around the country and the world, all from the comfort of your own home. One of my favorite finds is some brown Fostoria glassware in the Mesa pattern. I have the salad plates, juice glasses, and a lovely pitcher. I ran across these when searching for matching green Mesa for my mother. They were a steal. As it turns out, they are a wonderful accent to Intarsia. So are the smoke glass Noritake Perspective water goblets!
But back to traveling...I like real traveling even more than virtual traveling! In 2006, I started the tradition of taking my children to Europe for on their seventh birthday. My daughter Emma, now in seventh grade, accompanied me and some of my students on a trip to France, Spain, and Morocco in North Africa for her first overseas travel adventure. My son turned seven in 2009, and he opted for Germany and Denmark. My youngest daughter most recently chose England and France in 2010, but this is a story about my son's trip.
My son's birthday is in January, a bad time for a trip in terms of work, school, money, and weather. Sadly, I put him off for a while. As 2009 was winding down, I realized I was running out of time for a trip. As I do so often, I sat down and started combing the travel websites for flight deals. As he was pressuring me to find out where were going, I found round-trip air travel to Frankfurt from Atlanta for $400 per person, including taxes. It was for the week of Thanksgiving. I booked three tickets, surprising Emma. I also noted that rail passes were 20% off in Germany to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was in honor of its 20th anniversary that November. So, I bought 4 day pass bundles for the three of us. All three of those together were about $400, and the tickets were delivered to my door 10 days later. Then there was the matter of where to stay and the language. It is my experience that you can get around with just English in Europe. Just plan really well. I travel some, and I took a tiny bit of German in college, but I had only been to Germany once while passing through in the south earlier that year, (at a bus stop by Lake Chiemsee). I was a little concerned to be there for a more than a week with an 11-year-old and a 7-year-old, but I figured as long as we could eat and get back to the airport to fly home, we'd be fine. I was so right! (Much to my youngest daughter's chagrin, I told her she was a bit too young for me to handle the three of them and all of their luggage and souvenirs alone! She would have to stay home with dad, his family for Thanksgiving, and spend the rest of the week with my mom and dad!)
Ah, the blessings of the internet! As I was posting updates of these adventurous plans on Facebook, a friend of mine from high school whom I'd not seen for twenty years (10th grade!) messaged me. She said her family was stationed in Flensburg, in northern Germany near the border of Denmark for a post at the German Naval Academy. Would I consider staying with them?
Wow! Of course we would!
The main Hamburg train station. We made many trips through Hamburg, some intentional, some not! :) What a beautiful city! The Saturn electronics store, just a block or so from the train station saved me when I couldn't find my European charger for my iPhone! We carried our suitcases in and everything. The staff was breaking down an Apple display to relocate it in the store. Everything was in boxes. They were so sweet to find just what I needed!
Lego Discovery Center, Berlin. A major highlight of this trip. We had considered going to the original Legoland in Denmark, but it was a little out of the way for this trip. Not to mention, it was a little cold for outdoor amusement parks! This center has a ride, lots of building centers, and several interactive exhibits including a film and a cute theatrical walk-through exhibit about how Legos are made. And of course, a fanstastic gift shop. My son's pride was a Lego chess set!
German Naval Academy, Flensburg. What a neat place! I have no idea if this is a place you can visit in general. The stenciling in this place is amazing. The history! And the food was fantastic in the Officer's Club. See a recipe at the bottom of the page for some yummy schnitzel!
Dining Room and part of the tableware collection, Glücksburg Castle
I have so many pictures of china and silver from trips abroad. Many pictures are blurry, but I had to share just one!
So that is how our German adventure began. I could write pages and pages about how much I loved Germany and Denmark, the Weihnachtsmarkts in each city, the castles, the missed trained stops, all of the Lego visits, the history, the wonderful people, the schnitzel, the döners, and the Danish dogs! But I am trying really hard to stick to china!
What does this have to do with Intarsia? Well, Villeroy and Boch are German makers of ceramics, reputed to be the largest ceramic maker in the world. They are in their eighth generation; over 260 years of production. In selecting the colorful pattern Intarsia, I couldn't help but think of our travels to Germany and some of my favorite souvenirs. In researching for this blog, I realized their museum is in Mettlach, Germany, close to France. I am more often in France than anywhere else when I am traveling, (French teacher!), so it seems like a convenient day trip!
While my children brought back toys, (LEGOS!), dolls, coins, antique knick knacks, charms for charm bracelets, clothes, cards, and the ever-important Hard Rock memorabilia, my favorite treasure is my Berlin Bear.
Different artists have designed patterns for these collectible bears honoring the city of Berlin. The sculptures are all over the city, and the collectible bears are easy to find. We have one large one, and each of my children have the mini-bears. We also brought home several extras as gifts.
All of the maps remind me of traveling. I especially like the elephants on the boxes in the background. Did you know Berlin has very famous zoo? This zoo receives the most visitors of any in Europe each year. It is an old-fashioned, themed zoo. These boxes remind me of the Elephant Gate! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Zoological_Garden
Google the pictures. It is amazing!
In planning my Intarsia table, I really wanted to honor its German origins of the china and evoke our memories of traveling together. The map theme continues on the chargers from The Pottery in Commerce, Georgia for $1.00 each. I mentioned The Pottery in a previous post; I am sad to say again that it closed a few years ago. However, the outlets in Commerce are still worth the drive!
Accents from TJ Maxx
Beacon Hill stainless from Towle
All this table needs now is food! Look below for recipes from our trip to Germany and Denmark!
Thank you for stopping by! (Recipes below!)
As I mentioned above, we had a great chicken schnitzel at the Officer's Club at the German naval academy. This is very close!
Lemon Chicken Schnitzel
Ingredients1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or strips
Juice of 1 lemon or 2 to 3 tbsp. lemon concentrate
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. water
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
Dijon mustard or sweet and sour sauce for dipping (optional)
Italian bread crumbs make it very flavorful.
Cut chicken horizontally into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Place between 2 pieces of waxed paper and flatten, using the flat side of a cleaver or bottom of bottle.
Sprinkle chicken with lemon juice; let stand for 10 minutes.
In shallow dish, combine flour, salt, and thyme; mix well. In another shallow dish, lightly beat egg with water.
Dip chicken pieces into flour mixture, then into egg mixture, then into bread crumbs.
Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes or in microwave, uncovered, on high for 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside.
Take a typical hot dog or any frankfurter style sausage in a bun. Many websites offer good recommendations, including adding vinegar to the water you boil your hot dogs in.
Top with remoulade, sliced pickles, ketchup, mustard, and fried onions. (I prefer the canned kind you put on top of green bean casserole. They seem the most like what I had in Denmark.) I don't like pickles or mustard, but I have to say, I crave these hot dogs all the time now!
Warm German Potato Salad