German Ice Cream Dish: das Spaghettieis

With sunny weather approaching, you might want to treat yourself and your child/children to one of Germany’s most popular desserts: Spagetthieis  [ʃpaˈɡɛtiˌaɪs]

Do it yourself: Pile some whipped cream onto a plate. Squeeze vanilla ice cream through a Spaetzle Press, completely covering the whipped cream. Then top with your favorite strawberry dessert sauce.
Add coconut flakes, blanched slivered almonds, or white chocolate shavings to simulate Parmesan cheese.
Almost every ice-cream parlor (Eiscafé) serves this. Guten Appetit!

German Terms of the Day: die Steuern und Abgaben

Newcomers often mention Germany’s high prices when it comes to labor costs and products. One one hand, some employees enjoy good benefits, and let’s not forget the many kinds of taxes employers in Germany have to pay.

Let’s take a pub owner and the list of applicable taxes and shares he has to pay:

  • Schankerlaubnis (public entertainment license), Getränkesteuer (alcoholic beverage tax), Vergnügungssteuer (entertainment tax), Mehrwertsteuer (value-added tax or VAT), Einkommenssteuer (income tax), Vermögenssteuer (property tax/personal tax), Grundvermögenssteuer (immovable property tax), Gewerbekapitalsteuer (trade capital tax), Gewerbeertragssteuer (tax on profits), Lohnsteuer (payroll tax), Lohnnebenkosten (nonwage labor costs), Hundesteuer (dog license fee), Kapitalertragssteuer (capital returns tax);

 

  • Add the employer’s obligatory share of his employees’ Krankenversicherung (health insurance), Pflegeversicherung (long term care insurance), Berufsgenossenschaft (employers’ liability insurance coverage), Familienausgleichskasse (family compensation fund), Invalidenversicherung (disability insurance), Angestelltenversicherung (employees’ insurance), Arbeitslosenversicherung (unemployment insurance), Lebensversicherung (life insurance);

 

  • Feuerversicherung (fire insurance), Einbruchsversicherung (burglary insurance), Unfallversicherung (accident insurance), Haftpflichtversicherung (liability insurance), Solidaritätszuschlag (solidarity tax), Rechtsschutzversicherung (legal protection insurance), Industrie-und Handelskammer (chamber of industry and commerce);

 

  • The owner also has to pay his monthly expenses for Gas (gas heating),  Wasser (water), Elektrizität (electricity), Heizung (heating), Müllabfuhr (garbage collection), Schornsteinfeger (chimney sweep), Telefon (phone charges), Zeitungen (newspaper subscriptions), Zeitschriften (magazines), Radio- und Fernsehengebühren (quarterly payment for radio and television licensing fees), Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte or GEMA (performing rights society), etc.

I had read somewhere that a village pub about 30kms north of here had to close its doors. Paying a monthly fee of euro 700, so his guests could watch sport shows, was no longer feasible.

If you have a dog, you also have to pay the Hundesteuer (dog license fee).

I believe we all should pay our tax with a smile. 

I tried, but they wanted cash.

Jewish Ritual Bath in Friedberg, Hesse

The mikvah or mikveh is a bath used for ritual immersion in Judaism to achieve ritual purity. This one in Friedberg, Hesse, belongs to a small group of remaining monumental mikvahs dating back to the Middle Ages. The others are in Friedberg, Speyer, Cologne, Worms, Offenburg, and Andernach.

With a depth of 25 m, the mikvah in Friedberg is the biggest and most impressive among them all. It is also one of the last monuments of Jewish life in Friedberg. From the 13th century until 1942, the Jewish population lived in and near the Judengasse (between the town and the castle). Their synagogue was burned down on 10 November 1938.

We went to see the mikvah this afternoon. We were the only visitors on this snowy afternoon, so the museum attendant told us.

What an experience this was to be inside this mikvah! While we were talking, we noticed the extraordinary acoustics – any sound resonated for about six seconds within the walls.

The octagonal skylight, which we passed on the way in, was reflected in the waters down below. Then, our sound was reflected in the walls. This was truly amazing.

The last part of the stairway is closed off to the public though. Climbing down 23 regular steps and another 52 steep steps requires a sure foothold and sturdy shoes.

The entrance is euro 2 per adult. Hours of operation: wetterau-museum

This was definitely a cultural and historical highlight.

 

Early Years at the Motor Pool in Oberursel (1945-1956)

After having worked for Rolls-Royce for more than fifty years, Mr. Helmut Hujer then spent the next ten years working on this book – a huge compilation of stories and photos. This was his Lebenswerk (the work of a lifetime).

The book has almost 800 pages, weighs close to 11 lbs, and spans the 125-year history of the Motor Pool from 1892 – 2017.

To see a list of the people’s names having contributed to the book, visit this Personenregister or List of contributors.

I’ve purchased a copy myself, and THIS is the work of a lifetime. If you’d like to contact the author, send him a message: hujer.helmut@t-online.de

The Mountain Lodge in January 2018

This photo of the Mountain Lodge, Camp King in Oberursel, was taken on a late afternoon in early January 2018.

The photo below is from March 2013. Within five years, much has happened to this building.