Tag Archives: Germany

Kaffetur 27 / Coffee Tour #27: Playground Coffee, Hamburg Germany

This week’s coffee tour is a bit of a throw-back.
While Zack was visiting friend in Germany last year, he had the chance to pop into Playground Coffee.
Playground is housed inside Otto’s Burgers, a very popular spot for burgers, and weekend brunch.

As it turned out on his visit, Otto’s had recently endured a fire. As such, the windows clearly explained,

Just Coffee

Then again, coffee was exactly what Zack was looking for.

Playground’s set-up is no-frills. A quality third wave coffee shop with some playful splashes of color and chalkboard design thrown in. After all, you gotta find a bit of vintage style when you find yourself with prime real estate in a university neighborhood.

The barista behind the counter was from Australia. He had vast experience and really knew his stuff.

Zack thoroughly enjoyed his pour over.

Playground’s coffee packaging is almost as enjoyable as its coffee. Be sure to check it out on their website.

Learn more about Playground by visiting

Kaffetur 21 / Coffee Tour #21: Coffe Baum, Leipzig

Sometimes you visit a place because of good reviews.And sometimes it’s because of a special story.

We read that the oldest coffee house in Europe was in Leipzig, Germany. (I also read that it’s only the second oldest. Either way, it’s old!)

So when Zack found out he’d have a few hours in between train trips with a friend earlier this year, he decided to check it out.

Coffe Baum began serving in 1694. Yeah, it’s been around awhile.

The shop, as it exists today, includes coffee, food, and a museum.

Zack had coffee and a slice of cake. He said he really enjoyed the cake. He and his friend also took a quick walk around the museum, before making their way back to the train station.

Coffee Baum offers something special. Experience. While it probably won’t be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had, there is something to be said for the historical experience of it all.



Coffe Baum
Kleine Fleischergasse 4
04109 Leipzig

Heading Home

My bags are packed and I am now just awaiting my ride to the airport. A couple of flights, with a long layover sandwiched in the middle, and I’ll soon be back with my three favorite guys.

We have some guests visiting from the states, and they’ll arrive this afternoon. I look forward to welcoming them tomorrow, and giving them quite the introduction to Norwegian culture as their first full day in Norway will be 17.mai, Norwegian Constitution Day.

Enjoy your weekend!

Girl Time

I love living in a house full of boys. It is a great life. And if you know me at all, you know that I’m not a super girly-girl. I’m pretty low maintenance.


But every now and then, it’s nice to have a little time to be with other ladies, to learn from each other, and to relax a little as well.


This week I’m attending a ladies conference that our company offered. It has been a great opportunity to learn, to be encouraged, and to be pampered a little.


Here are a few pictures of my time so far.




Simply Beautiful

Simply beautiful. Those are really the best words I know to use indescribing the place where true conference was held third past week.

Of course, you know I can’t stop with only two words to describe a place!


Rick and Mary Beth Holladay are a couple whose lives just ooze with creativity and hospitality. You get a glimpse of this the moment you set foot in The Art Factory in Kandern, Germany.


But the initial impression does not do justice to what we ultimately experienced. The pair has transformed an old abandoned tile factory in a small German village into a place of beauty. They have done and continue to do numerous renovations and improvements.


The building is home to several apartments that are rented out. The Holladays live there as well, and have a number of bedrooms that can be reserved.


Think of the coziest shabby-chic B&B possible. Add to that endless antiques, projects that make what I see on Pinterest look like child’s play, beautiful art, and the opportunity for art courses, small events, and open mic evenings, and you might get a slight idea of what lies within this monstrous yet cozy building.
And I didn’t even mention the incredible meals that Mary Beth prepared for us.
Of course, with a kitchen like this, I think I would want to cook all.day.long.


I would be remiss to neglect the town of Kandern. Quaint and simple, it has all you need and not a lot more.


Local shops bring beauty. The town eiscafe (ice cream shop) can’t be missed.


And there also a number of nice walking trails to explore.

You can read more about The Art Factory and the Holladays at www.artfactorykandern.com

Kaffetur 3 / Coffee Tour #3: Elbgold Kaffee, Hamburg Germany

The more we look, the more it seems an allusive thing. Finding that perfect combination of ambiance and high-quality coffee. And particularly difficult to track down good handcrafted coffee nestled in a place where you want to sit for more than just a few minutes.

And with that, I introduce our readers to Elbgold Kaffee.
Located in an artsy neighborhood of Hamburg, Germany, they have a great selection of coffee for purchase in-house or take-away. They partner with well-known local shops to offer pastries and other baked goods through the day. And their selection of fair-trade beans, all roasted in-house, is quite extensive. Not quite the perfect combination that we are ultimately on a quest for, Elbgold nevertheless offers great coffee and a fun atmosphere.

Aesthetically pleasing coffee shops that offer excellent coffee are always a plus.

Elbgold incorporates several common elements of the current wave of coffee shops into their location: chalkboards, high ceilings and exposed rafters to create that warehouse vibe, a neutral color palette, and seating crafted from coffee bags. The overall feel is relaxed but not overly cozy, leaning instead more towards trendy, a place to be seen. It is busy, and it can get a bit loud [not necessarily the worst thing when you have the kids in tow].

Ample seating indoors and out provides plenty of opportunity for sitting and enjoying a fine coffee. The traditional tables and chairs were a bit odd to me, but they do offer a number of food options on the menu.

I know, I was shocked as well. Who knew people went to coffee shops for something other than coffee?!?

For many people, the atmosphere makes or breaks a place.

But to us, it really is about the coffee. And Elbgold offers quality coffee. We were definitely pleased with what we ordered. Of course we have only been once and that was last year, so I can only speak to that experience. But with such a massive space and such quality beans, it would sure be nice to see some more time and attention given to handcrafted drinks.

Still, the coffee was really good. And in the summertime, a nice cold brew is always a welcomed treat.


Overall, we enjoyed the coffee at Elbgold.

Daniel enjoyed it as well! He is always
more than happy to finish off the last sips.
A kid who loves black coffee?!?

So much so that we decided to take one more for the road!


You can learn more about Elbgold here (I hope your German is better than mine!).

And then there was Hamburg

Getting to explore so many new cities was great. But one city stood out from the others as we made our vacation plans.

Not because of any certain landmarks or sightseeing or anything like that. No, it was because of some very special friends. Some of our friends from Atlanta are now living there, friends we hadn’t seen in close to two years.
I have to say it was like Christmas morning for me. Watching the hours and then minutes tick off the GPS. Pulling up to their street and seeing three of them standing on the corner, waving us in. Getting out of the car and looking up on the balcony to see one of my best friends standing there (and then running down to greet us). And the hugs. It had been too long. And yet once we were back together, it was as if no time had passed.
The kids immediately fell into playing like normal. And we fell into conversations with people who know us, understand us… and still like us!
For an entire week we lived together, cooked together, ate together, explored together, laughed together, and chilled together. It was a week I will never forget, and just what we needed. I’m incredibly grateful that God has allowed our friendship to continue to grow despite the distance between us. And we look forward to them coming to visit us in Norway at some point!


On our second full day in Germany, we decided to do a little walking tour of Dusseldorf. We enjoyed exploring the churches and wandering up and down the small streets. And we did some shopping as well.
















Exploring Köln/Cologne

As I mentioned in our last post (here), our first stop on our trip to Germany was Dusseldorf. We went there to visit some of our colleagues. They invited us to make the short drive with them to Cologne.And we are so glad we did! We were only there for a few hours, but we had the chance to tour the cathedral. A giant amongst its neighboring architecture, it was hit numerous times but managed to survive the bombings of WWII. Many war experts and reports suggest that it was not specifically attacked because it served as a very visible landmarks for finding other locations that were to be hit.

We didn’t see a lot more than that. We managed to get our obligatory Starbucks city mug, and had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe (wow, we sound like typical American tourists!). But it was a fun afternoon getting to see yet another beautiful part of one of our favorite countries.