Antique Cars Union at the Stud Farm Traventhal


The man of my life loves antique cars. And of course he has a few. But he mainly knows and experiences the American antique cars. This last summer when we were in Europe together I took the chance to go to an antique car show with him in Germany.


We were – for me again – at the Travethal Stud Farm in Schleswig-Holstein. Every year they organize so wonderful events during the year and one of these is the antique car show. So we happened to be in the region just in the right time.

We have been there together with a wonderful friend I have and who happened to be also our host for the days in Travemünde, our Northern-Germany base. She as well is a huge fan of antique cars. The two had a lot to share, a lot to see and a lot to talk about. I continue not to understand anything about cars but I had a lot of fun. And I can clearly see the big difference between the European and the American cars.


We spent a good amount of time looking at cars, nice, interesting, some also American once. Then we went to have a look also at a fair they did contemporary. I enjoyed that one, too, they offered a lot of handcrafts. It was a sunny, not to cold Northern-German summer day with a lot of ‘wow’s and ‘amazing’s!

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Stud Traventhal, Schleswig-Holstein/Germany

For further information:
Stud Farm Traventhal website (in German)


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At the Marvelous Cathedral of Bergamo


Bergamo was a short visit for me but very intense. A beautiful old city where every step is a step in history.

One of the beautiful monuments I visited was the Cathedral of Bergamo, the Duomo di Bergamo.


Already before Christianity in this very place there was a structure for religious cult. During the Roman era prisoners from the East, working in the iron extraction in the nearby Seriana Valley, were the first Christians. Getting free they lived in small communities, also in Bergamo, and bringing their religion to the local people. During excavations, they found a typical Roman mosaic pavement, Lombard graveyards and frescoes.

The church initially was dedicated to Saint Vincent, which is documented on a paper of 744. The church of Saint Alexander was nearby on the place where it is believed the martyr lost his life.

But that church was destroyed in 1561 when the Venetians built a city wall. So all the belongings of the Saint Alexander church were transferred to the nearby Saint Vincent church. People and priests from now on had to stay in one church only.

In 1689 finally the church was officially announced also by the pope the cathedral of Saint Vincent and Saint Alexander.

70 years later Saint Vincent disappeared and the church was Alexander’s only.

There was a major renovation in the 19th century, with a Neo-Classical west front.


Inside you need your time, it’s simply AMAZING. It has a single nave and the shape of a Latin cross. All the church is richly painted with religious themes, like different saints and of course the Madonna with child.

The baptistery is outside the cathedral, opposite to it in the Piazza del Duomo. Octagonal and constructed in 1340 by Giovanni da Campione it was originally for the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. Because of major building works in 1650 it was dismantled and only in 1856 reassembled in the canon’s courtyard.

In 1889, it was moved again to the current site. A must see, too!


The cathedral of Bergamo is no building you enter and go out in a few minutes. Best is to sit on one of the benches right in the middle of the church and look around and UP! The ceiling is sooo amazing. In one of the back windows some sunlight fell on some statues of saints when I was in the church.. it was mystic.

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Bergamo, Lombardy/Italy:


For further information:
Visit Bergamo


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Gingerbread like I love it


Gingerbread and ginger snaps are for me the ‘symbols’ for Christmas. And a whole year I am waiting that they appear in the supermarkets. Normally that is around the end of August. But of course I would not eat them already. Christmas feeling in August on a hot beach doesn’t suite me.

Instead, I start to bake them by my own in the end of November, beginning of December. Now is the right time to eat for breakfast a slice of gingerbread or in the afternoon dip in the hot chocolate a ginger snap. A candle and a nice book sitting in a cozy chair… what is more comfortable?


I had a look at many recipes for gingerbread and ginger cookies or snaps. Most of them are shaped in figures, I wanted something different. So I made my own recipe, put even some apricots jam in the middle to give some extra moisture and decorated like it came into my mind.


I made this now twice just in one week and different non-paleo people tried them. I can’t prepare the gingerbread as fast as it disappears. They all love it and they ‘gobble’ it nearly.

This cake is a great idea for a Sunday afternoon bake with a friend or even with children. The sticky dough will give a lot of fun to the little ones.

Enjoy it!

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gingerbread
Gingerbread
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
20 pieces 60 min
Cook Time Passive Time
25 min 3 hours
Servings Prep Time
20 pieces 60 min
Cook Time Passive Time
25 min 3 hours
gingerbread
Gingerbread
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
20 pieces 60 min
Cook Time Passive Time
25 min 3 hours
Servings Prep Time
20 pieces 60 min
Cook Time Passive Time
25 min 3 hours
Ingredients
Wet ingredients:
Filling:
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. In a milk pot melt the raw honey, the coconut flower sugar, Rum and vanilla. Set aside and let it cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
  3. In a big bowl add all the other dry ingredients and mix well. Make a well in the middle and add the egg and the honey-sugar-mixture. Stir and then knead the dough well until all is smooth and well mixed. The dough is very sticky!
  4. On a baking tray place a parchment paper. Transfer the gingerbread dough on the tray and spread it evenly. As it is very sticky, use a spatula dipped into water previously.
  5. Slide the tray into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. After 20 minutes prick a tooth pick in the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
  6. Transfer the cake on a cooling rack and let it cool for a while.
  7. When the cake is still warm cut the cake horizontal into a bottom and upper half. On the bottom part spread the apricot jam evenly. Transfer the upper part back to the bottom part and let the cake cool out completely.
  8. When the cake is cool, in a melting pot melt the chocolate and spread it all over the upper part and sides of the gingerbread cake. Decorate with sliced almonds and chopped pistachios on the warm chocolate.
  9. Let the chocolate harden in a cool place (but out of the fridge). Slice into pieces and serve with hot chocolate, tea or coffee.
Recipe Notes

If you don't like apricot jam, you can use any other. But the taste naturally will alter.

Instead of raw honey you can use also maple syrup. The taste is a little different but still great.

If you don't have ginger cake spice, you can use also pumpkin cake spice. It's nearly the same taste.

For decoration, you can use any other kind of chopped (or not) nuts.

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Differences between the USA and Europe


During the last year I visited a few times the USA, mainly Southern California. Being a visitor I am more aware of differences to what I am used to. Europe – and especially Germany – is trying to be as much as possible to be similar to the US. Funny already here is, that the USA tries to be more similar to Europe. What I honestly like is the diversity of countries and cultures. More similar they are the less interested I am. But still I found a lot of ‘strange’ things in the US.

I will compare a little bit with Italy and Germany as I know both countries and cultures well.

Roads: I noticed that in the US there are reflectors as division of two lanes. In the night that is incredibly helpful and a much better solution as the European way with reflector posts on the right side. In the beginning it looked to me like the runway of an airport but later I found it really great.

Another great thing is the regulation that who arrives first at an intersection, goes first.

People on the border of a street? All cars stop and wait for the person to cross the street. In Germany, you can go ONLY at the crosswalk and in Italy you just go and the car ‘goes around you’. Here a crosswalk doesn’t really mean anything, cars rarely stop to let the person cross the street even at a zebra crossing.

On the multiple lane roads in the US often the most left lane is called carpool lane. It is for cars with two and more passengers on board. That sounds very strange to me. But the thought behind is not that wrong: most people in the US have a car. That means there is most of the time only one person in the car. To encourage drivers to go together they ‘invented’ the carpool lane.

Road construction is everywhere annoying. In the US they don’t shut down the road but work on it in the night, in the morning all is again open. In Germany they shut roads down also for years (!) and you don’t see even people working on it. In Italy they shut them down just half and they work on them day and night.

Shops: Most of them are open 24/7. At any time of the day or night you can go to buy something. I like the fact that also the huge pharmacies are open and you can buy nearly everything. A lot of medications are also available at the counter, Aspirin and such ‘daily’ medicines.

Courtesy: People are extremely nice and polite. Small talk is born here, a compliment in the shops is the first thing you get when you enter. I like that. But I like compliments of course.

I like also that people are less ‘direct’ in the U.S. You fail but they are polite and mention it more instead of pointing it immediately out. Germans are famous to be super direct. In fact, they say first what they don’t like, if you are lucky they say also something about what they like.

Restrooms: The restrooms are extremely clean and large in the US, everywhere. But I thought very interesting: the door for every toilette has a lot of space on the bottom and on the top. It gives me immediately the sense of security because in case something happens I can go out of that space just slipping under the door. Or the other way round if a person fall unconscious inside for some reason someone can slip in and help.

Houses: Who has a garage is very fortunate in general. But in the US a garage is not for the same use like in Europe, for your car. In the US it is a storage room. The cars are parked in front of the house.

In the kitchen sink there is a garbage disposal. Means: you can clean your produce in the sink and flush all down the sink. The garbage disposal will shred all of it.

Women: I learnt that most of the women – and I read recently about 90 % – don’t like cooking. House-work in general is something ‘horrifying’ for them. In the Land of Fast-Food I couldn’t expect anything else of course. But it is really that you are invited somewhere and you eat food ordered in a restaurant. Not home cooked. Ready food I know well also in Europe and during the week maybe it is OK, but inviting friends and serving ready bought food… well, that’s new for me. In Italy most of the families still cook on a daily basis. Ready food is an exception.

If a man is polite, makes a compliment or just smiles at an unknown woman she feels offended, sexually. Well, I know this from German female friends, they feel the same way. In Italy – fortunately – it’s still the other way: a woman feels good when a man shows some interest and politeness.

Mail: even here is a nice difference. It’s not only that the mail is delivered every day but you also can give your letter to the mail man if you don’t have time to go and find a mail box. Just put it out on your mail box and he will take it.

Food: I had some problems with Italian food. I don’t eat gluten and in an Italian restaurant I would like to eat some minestrone. You know, that kind of vegetable soup, so perfect when you want to avoid a pasta dish. But the US minestrone is always – and I mean ALWAYS – made with pasta. Minestrone is NEVER made with pasta in Italy.

I like grapes. I like them without seeds but often I want the seeds too, for example if I make grape juice in the blender. No chance in the United States, they are all seedless.

Celebrations: Well, we all know that Thanksgiving is THE day in America. But did you know that Easter is not celebrated out of church? Of course there is Christmas – and in some parts (like often) way too much shown how much people are celebrating it – but Easter is nothing really mentioned. It’s a pity, I like it most as it means to me to welcome spring, life, colors, light, summer will come soon.

Well, there are many other things that are so different and for sure I will write another article about more differences.

From which country are you and did you notice differences between your culture and the US?


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Memories of my Childhood – Ginger Cookies

As a child winter-time started for me when my mother bought ‘braune Kuchen’, ginger cookies. Thin, dark brown cookies, crispy and tasty. Then my mother would peel some apples and I had these together with the cookies as dinner. So delicious, so good!

For decades I didn’t eat them anymore, I never rarely bought them by my own. Maybe because I left Germany at a young age and forgot, maybe just because I didn’t trust they would be still the same when I would buy them at the supermarket. My mother got them at a special pastry shop. A few times I found them at IKEA, pepperkakor. They are very similar.


So a few days ago I thought why not to try a recipe for these great cookies? They last for a long time stored in a airtight container. And I was sure I still had a lot of Lebkuchen spices. That is a special mixture for ginger bread, I bought a lot the last years. I thought. I didn’t. No ginger bread spices! I asked a friend from Germany to send me some. I am still waiting.

And then I had an idea: as I anyway have to change the recipe to make it paleo, gluten-free and lactose-free then I could also change the spices. Very similar to the Lebkuchen spices are pumpkin pie spices. My solution!


The procedure is a longer one, the cookie dough has to rest at least for 12 hours in a cool place, I prepared the dough yesterday morning and let it chill outside (I don’t use a fridge if not in summer for ice cream).

This morning I prepared the cookies and watching them in the oven, slowly and lightly raising, I could smell my childhood. In my mind I was already sitting in the chair, eating a sliced and peeled apple, biting into a crunchy ginger cookie and reading the last Ken Follett Saga book.

The wonderful thing is that even paleo and without ginger bread spices they are perfect! They are a great snack, a dinner substitute, a nice present when vising friends and so great to offer with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. And even easy to prepare.

I hope you will enjoy them like me, even though they maybe don’t remind you anything now, one day maybe they will!


Ginger Snaps
Ginger Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 12 hours
Ginger Snaps
Ginger Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
24 cookies 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 12 hours
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients
  2. Add the ghee and the maple syrup and stir first with a wooden spoon. Then use the hands and form a ball.
  3. Transfer the cookie dough into a tupperware and leave the dough in the fridge or in a cool place over night.
  4. The next morning preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
  5. Take the cookie dough out of the container and roll out the dough. It should be around 3 mm/0.1 inches
  6. Cut the cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice or just a glass to have a round form. Put the cookies on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Let them cool out and transfer the cookies into a airtight container.
Recipe Notes

You can store the cookies for a relative long time. They are hard but friable.

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