German Cuisine: Why Marlene Dietrich Disliked Rutabagas

by Nadia Hassani

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

Photo copyright Spoonfuls of Germany

The third winter of World War I, whose beginning a century ago is commemorated this year, is also referred to in German as the Hungerwinter or Steckrübenwinter (Rutabaga winter). The blockade of Germany through the North Sea cut the country off from overseas trade and supplies, and the potato crop in 1916 had failed. As a result rutabagas, until that time mainly grown as animal fodder, became a staple of the 1,000-calorie ration-card diet for civilians.

Marlene Dietrich was then a teenager in Berlin. She would recall with a shudder how her family ate rutabagas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in every possible form. Most people’s faces turned yellow from all the rutabagas, hers didn’t. Her perfect, porcelain-like complexion stood out already then.

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World Cup Blog: End Of World Cup 2014 And Filling The Void Left Behind

by Ian Schneider, @EN541 

Well what a finale that was! It was a thoroughly exciting final game between Argentina and Germany, with either side looking like they could take the trophy home at any minute. I also found this final game was much better and more exciting than the 2010 final between Spain and the Netherlands, which is something I was worried about. Fortunately however, both teams attacked aggressively and there were lots of great plays on both sides.

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers (photo: Ian Schneider)

Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers (photo: Ian Schneider)

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World Cup Blog: Road to Glory

by Yuri Damasceno 

Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. No matter how brilliant, it’s already old news and there isn’t much one can say that hasn’t already been said in the media and social networks. But more than winning the World Cup, Germany has accomplished a much more difficult task while making it look like easy game: they have conquered Brazilian hearts (and that was way before the heartbreaking 7X1).

Team Germany

Team Germany

Ever since their arrival in Salvador (the capital of the Brazilian state, Bahia) the German squad spread niceness and charisma wherever they went. Neuer and Schweinsteiger wore the uniform and sang the hymn of the local team Bahia and put smiles on the faces of local citizens (even the ones that don’t cheer for Bahia). Podolski and, the usual nice guy, Schweinsteiger, also wore the uniform of the most popular team in Brazil, Flamengo (from Rio de Janeiro). Many German players posted messages in Portuguese to the locals in an attempt to socialize with them (and also in person on beaches and streets of Brazil).

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Castles in Germany: Happily Ever After

Photo courtesy Sail the Seven Seas

Photo courtesy Fly the Seven Seas

Forget the news about efficiency, debt bailout packages, Oktoberfest records and NSA phone-tapping – Germany really is just one big fairytale.

Like many young girls, I grew up reading and was read the classical fairy tales from The Brothers Grimm (Die Gebrüder Grimm) and Hans Christian Andersen. Yes very cliched, but just for the record – Rapunzel, The Princess and the Pea and Snow White were my favourites.

Little did I know that decades later I would live amongst the settings and inspiration of my childhood fantasies. Since moving, I have managed to prance around the royal gardens and courtyards of some (or, lets say a handful) of Germany’s many palaces and castles.

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World Cup Blog: The Sad Ending to Brazil’s World Cup Dreams

by Jessica Barra, @JessieBarra 

At the moment Brazil lost Neymar, the supporters started to say that everything was lost, how could we plan to get in the final without our best player. Thiago Silva would also miss the game.

Despite the young age Neymar already hold on his shoulders a huge weight full of 200 millions of hope in this World Cup. It’s true, there are another players to share the pressure. But after what happened yesterday maybe the team, and mainly their confidence has depended too much on him.

The road to the World Cup 2018, Illustration by Jessica Barra

The road to the World Cup 2018, Illustration by Jessica Barra

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Take a Look: Berlin’s Eastside Gallery

by Shannon Miller

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Our last day in Berlin, we took my husband’s mom to the Eastside Gallery. She’s an artist, so we figured she’d love the murals painted on old sections of the Berlin Wall. It’s another way Berliners have turned ugly history into something positive.

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

During the Cold War, people in West Berlin drew graffiti on their side of the wall, and when the wall came down, artists joined together to create an international memorial for freedom by painting murals on remaining parts of the wall. The Eastside Gallery is one of the world’s largest open air galleries, but it’s had its share of problems. Just this year a developer for luxury apartments destroyed part of the wall to begin construction despite protests, and every year the wall is further damaged by weather and vandalism.

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