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Germany Voted Best Country

The Germany flag

The Germany flag

The votes are in! Germany was announced as the best country in the world according to U.S. News & World Reports. Canada and the United Kingdom occupied the second and third spots respectively, while the U.S. ranked fourth. The countries were ranked according to 65 factors in nine different categories. Adventure, business readiness, cultural clout, differentiation, global citizenship, innovation & entrepreneurship, power & influence, quality of life, and values & heritage were the subjects of interest.

According to the survey, Germany received a perfect ten for entrepreneurship. It also ranked high in power, citizenship, and quality of life categories. Germany’s strong economy had a great influence on its top rank.

Canada was number one in quality of life. The U.K. received high rankings for several categories including power, cultural influence, citizenship, and entrepreneurship. It’s no shock that the United States placed first for power. The U.S. was also third for both cultural influence and entrepreneurship, but fell short in both business readiness and adventure.

Overall 60 countries were surveyed. Brazil was given the honor of best country to visit. France’s fine art and exquisite eateries had it ranking number one in culture and Italy has the richest heritage. For the full list, visit

Happy Holidays

WTCholidaycardPhoto by Monica Garcia-Salamon

German Black Forest Cake

black forrest cake

By Sabina Wrightsman

black forrest cake

The German ‘Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte’ is known as the ‘German Black Forest Cake’ in the USA. The German name translates back to ‘Black Forest cherry cake.’

The recipe for this cake is now 100 years old. Happy birthday Black Forest cake! We trust that you will be around and baked for many more years to come despite the calories you contain.

With a name like ‘Black Forest cake,’ you know that it originated in Germany, specifically in the southwest region of Germany, in the Black Forest. But Josef Keller, who created the first recipe in his Conditorei or coffee shop 100 years ago, lived in Bad Godesberg, which is quite a bit north of the Black Forest, in southern North Rhine-Westphalia.

How is the name of this famous cake then associated with the name ‘Black Forest?’

To understand the answer, it is important to know the ingredients in the different layers of this cake:
Sour cherries
Whipped cream
Chocolate and chocolate shavings
More whipped cream
Cherry water

Cherry water, also simply called ‘Kirsch’ in German, means ‘cherry’ in English. It is a clear, colorless brandy made from sour cherries. It is not a sweet brandy, but rather tarty like fresh sour cherries.  It is this cherry water that originates and is distilled in the Black Forrest – hence the name.

In Germany, this cake always contains cherry brandy and deserves the name ‘Kirsch’ in it. The cakes in the United States do not contain any alcohol, only cherries as decoration, and sometimes even no cherries at all. That is why the English name does not have the word ‘cherry’ in it but only kept the name ‘Black Forest’.

Let’s all enjoy a piece and not count the calories!


Germany Celebrates 25 Years Reunified

German flag

German flag

Germany is taking three days to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall. Berlin will be the center of the festivities with an expected two million people visiting, among them former Soviet leader Gorbachev.

Cannonball World Championship



The German Rainhard Riede from Waldkraiburg is this year’s winner! 13 contestants participated in the cannonball splashing competition (actually, the event is called “Splashdiving”). There is no prize money to win; it is all about having fun and making the biggest splash in the pool. This sport is mainly male dominated; there was a championship event for women, but only one female participated, Franziska Fritz, who is now the uncontested champion.

A Pickle Is Not A Pickel

Pickle cucumber.

Pickle cucumber.

German and English are both Germanic languages that is why there are so many words that are identical between the two languages. The only difference is the way they are pronounced. Learning German for an English speaker is the easiest as you will understand so many words from the start. Here are a few examples of words that mean the same in both languages:










However, there are words that sound the same but their meaning is different. This article gives five examples with pictures to show the difference between the English and the German meaning.

Erika Fuchs, A Master of Words

By Sabina Wrightsman

comic   comic2

Erika Fuchs, PhD, began translating Micky Mouse and Donald Duck comic strips into German in 1951, especially Carl Bark’s stories about Duckburg (Entenhausen) and its inhabitants. She was often referred to as an acrobat of words.

What made her so famous is that she did not just translate word for word, but she localized each comic book story and even created a new verb form in German that is still used today. The new form shortened the verb after their stem imitating sounds, such as klimper, schluck, stöhn, (jingle, gulp, groan), and also to represent soundless events like staun, grübel, zitter (goggle, ponder, tremble).

By shortening such verbs, she was often able to translate a complete sentence with only one word, which was important as German is such a long language and room for text is limited in comic books. These forms influenced the German language. To this day, all Germans still use these abbreviated verb forms in everyday conversations, in all sms, email and text messages.

There is even a name for these ‘sound-words’ in German: it is called an Erikativ, adding to genetive, dative, accusative, etc.

Her translations were also more creative than the original ones. Unlike the English originals, her translations included many hidden quotes and literary allusions. As Erica Fuchs once said, “You can’t be educated enough to translate comic books”.

This could be a reason why adult Germans are more interested in Donald Duck than adult Americans.

A comic museum named after Erika Fuchs, opened on August 1, 2015 in her hometown of Schwarzenbach and der Saale.


Her German website can be found here:


Finding Gold



A 16-year old teenager recently found the above bar of gold while swimming in the Kőnigsee in Germany. She noticed something shiny and glittering through the water and dove down to about 6 ft. to find it on the ground. She reported it to the police right away. The police then searched the lake further but did not find any other gold bar. The police is searching for the owner. It appears that the gold has not been in the lake for a long time. The value is estimated at 16,000 EUR.

A jeweler confirmed that the gold is real. It is estimated that it was poured between 1990 and 2005. It is unclear why the engraved number was scratched off as it really does not identify the owner.

If the owner cannot be found, the lost and found office of the county will guard it for six months, after that, if nobody claims it, the girl will get legal possession of the bar of gold.

What a find!

Kieler Woche

Großsegler zur Kieler Woche

Großsegler zur Kieler Woche

By Zak Rozsman

If you’re traveling to Germany this month you won’t want to miss Kiel Week which runs from June 20-28th. Kiel Week (Kieler Woche) is held annually during the last full week in June in Kiel, Germany and is dubbed the ‘largest sailing event in the world’. The Kieler Woche was first held in 1882 and has been a long standing tradition in Germany. This year they are celebrating the 133rd Kieler Woche and there will be over 5,000 sailors from 50 different countries participating in the various events. You don’t just have to be a fan of sailing or regattas to enjoy this event as Kiel Week is regarded as one of the best Volkfest’s in Europe. The Kiel Week festivities start off with the “sound check,” which is a huge music festival, and ends a week later with a bang, a magnificent fireworks display that is visible all across the Bay of Kiel. During the week, there are hundreds of events and some of the best sailing you will ever see!

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