“I would rather own a little and see the world than own the world and see a little” – Alexander Sattler
This post is so long overdue but…Last summer, Adam and I took a trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan for a long weekend. I, being born in Germany (West Germany back then) love everything German (well we can leave the years 1933-1945 out) including the food, clothing, buildings, etc. so finding a place that’s all German less than 5 hours away from us was incredible!
My family and I left Germany in 1993 to find a new home after the Berlin Wall fell and apparently we had three distinct places in mind to choose from to live; USA, Australia, or Canada. We travelled around the US to Kentucky, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, didn’t make it far around Canada, and we definitely didn’t make it to Australia before loving Canada and moving here. I haven’t been back to Germany since but have been planning a trip in my head for over 15 years now. I had two first languages; inside the house was English and outside was German. After moving here and wanting to fit in, I changed my English accent (yes I had one and my brother and I sounded like the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang kids) to a Canadian one fast and refused to speak German (I really regret!)
So wanting to travel but save money at the same time, I planned a trip to Frankenmuth and dragged Adam along with me. We left on Friday morning around 10am and crossed the Sarnia border. We took my in-laws GPS with us as ours was (got a new one for Christmas- Thanks in-laws!) broken but they played a prank on us and were waiting for our phone call when we arrived in the states. My MIL turned on the notification to “Moo” every time we passed rest areas. I jumped out of my seat thinking we had hit a cow! Ya not funny waking up to that lol.
Now Adam is not like me in the sense that he gets nervous talking to people, especially border guards. Adam has to practise for at least 5km before the border on what he’s going to say, how we know each other, where we’re going; I’m not allowed to talk during this time. So we’re waiting in line, Adam still rehearsing, and finally it’s our turn. You’d think Adam would be cool, calm, and collected by now. Nope Adam is even more nervous now. So the guard was stern faced as always and asked Adam where we were going (he passed), how do we know each other (he passed), then he asked what we did for a living. Well Adam said plumber and the guard asked Adam what I did for a living. Adam’s face went white, he hadn’t practiced for this, what was he going to say?! He started stuttering saying “umm well ahhh she’s a aaaaaaahhhh security dispatcher.” Oh thank god he got it right, I wasn’t in the mood for a cavity search that day. I am told that Adam’s mum is the same when she goes across the border with my Mum (now I know where he gets it!)
So we stop off at a rest area (Moo!) and had sandwiches we made from home. I went into the building to use the bathroom, and held the door open for this middle aged lady (she said thank you so I didn’t drop the door on her). Then walked around the shop looking for Adam and saw him outside. So walked out and saw the same woman coming out with her husband first. So again I held the door open and both said thank you and the woman said “Well isn’t that thoughtful, second time! Thank you again” so I said “Oh no its you again, well if I’d known it was you I would have slammed the door!” Her husband looked at me weird and then the wife turned to her husband and laughed saying “She held the door twice now for me, she’s very well brought up! Were you raised in the states?” To which it’s so long to explain this to people, I said “No brought in Canada, by English parents, and born in Germany.” The look on people’s faces are priceless as you can see the wheels turning in their head trying to figure that one out. We talked and it turns out the man worked at the same US Army base my parents did in Germany but decades apart. What a small world.
We got to the hotel in Birch Run checked in. It wasn’t the nicest hotel but it was cheap and clean, and we weren’t going to be spending a lot of time in it. Plus it had free breakfast and was 2 minute drive to the outlet mall!
The drive from Birch Run to Frankenmuth is only about a 10 minute drive through country roads which are quite cute. So when we got to the hotel around 3pm we drove straight to Frankenmuth. The first thing we stopped at was the covered bridge. Built in 1979, it spans the Cass River from the main street to Bavarian Inn Lodge.
We first went into the Frankenmuth Clock Company and saw all the coo-coo clocks. There are some we saw for $6000! Ya we kept our hands to ourselves lol. We wanted to take one back but I’m pretty sure the constant ticking a coo-coo would drive me even more crazy. We did see kids running around in there and that drove me up the wall! There were two families together with young kids thinking this would be the best place for a play ground; $6000 clocks around may I remind you. I saw one woman bring in a dirty diaper to throw in their garbage (when there was a public garbage just 10 steps more away from them.) The employee said hold on, grabbed a shovel or something that looked like it and said “OK put it on here” and held it as far away from his face as he could. I was dying with laughter from this! As we walked out the front door, we had to walk through the same families that had their kids running around, but walk through a thick cloud of smoke. Two things I hate the most in this world; cigarette smoke and others peoples kids running around unsupervised. Great start to the weekend.
We brushed it off and went next door to the wood carvings of the Grimm Brother’s fairy tales. The scenes were so intricate and detailed; very beautiful.
We had an itinerary to follow down to the last minute (yes I’m that kind of crazy) so we planned to walk up and down the main strip towards the museum. It was a hot sunny day so we decided to get a picture beside the visitor centre fountain. I’m very surprised we got the picture because the couple we asked to take the picture admitted they just came from the beer gardens and it might not turn out of our whole bodies (good thing I got a pedicure then!) Keep in mind how sunny it was. I was so hot and sweaty from walking around, I’m pretty sure it was at least 32 degrees that day.
So we walked to the Frankenmuth museum where I think it was only $2 each to get in which was very reasonable because it had a lot of stuff that I didn’t know about, even before going there and spending hours reading up on the town. I didn’t know that most years before 1948, the shopping district on the Main Street would be flooded every spring from the Cass River and that in 1968 a dike was built to prevent this.
There was a lot of hands on exhibits in the museum and its great for all ages.
We walked (sprinted) to the other stores and came across a boutique where I found the most cutest preppyist, darling tunic/beach cover up. And it was only $15! I’ll show pictures in the last part of these blogs.
We went to the Bavarian Inn for dinner and got the German Dinner special. I’ll say this with caution; DONT GO UNLESS YOU ARE HUNGRY! We were but we still couldn’t finish everything. Check out the menu http://www.bavarianinn.com/files/9814/8409/2838/Winter_2017_dinner_for_web.pdf
Although I tried to stay true to my roots and order the Heidelberg dinner (being born and growing up less than 45 minutes away from Heidelberg) I was craving chicken. I got the chicken dinner which these guys are famous for. Oh mein Gott (OMG) it was sooo good and there was so much food! We got two types of bread three types of salad each, soup, buttered noodles and cranberry relish. This is all brought to you before the meal by the way! Then I asked for one piece of chicken but they looked at me strange and said the lowest is two pieces. I also had gravy, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and vegetables! You know when you’ve ordered too much and can’t finish the rest so you pick apart the food so you don’t look like you’re wasting food? Ya I did that with a whole piece of chicken (and I’m pretty sure this was a small turkey or at least a chicken that had been lifting weights because it was too big for the huge plate. Adam tried sauerbraten for the first time and loved it so now I’ve got to find a recipe for that! Once we tried to hide our defeat with the chicken and were done dinner, our server came and offered us dessert (which comes with the meal). We groaned ok because no one can turn down dessert and I’m glad we didn’t. I didn’t eat much but I still have these in my kitchen!
The restaurant is fantastic and the food is great. All of the servers are in dirndls or lederhosen.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a post so I’ll try to pace myself with stories about this trip so keep posted for the next instalments.
Bis zum nächsten Mal! (until next time)