Tag Archives: Germany

So you want to marry a German

16 Jan

It was right around this time last year that we completed the paperwork for our Germany wedding. As soon as we got engaged, I spent hours googling “how to get married in Germany” and “U.S. citizen marrying a German.” There was a lot of information to dig through, and it’s good we started the process early. You definitely want to leave plenty of time for the red tape.

the-wild-child-red-tape

As a German citizen, Sebastian needed his ID card and a fresh copy of his birth certificate, which I think he was able to obtain through the mail. As an American citizen, I was required to provide a bit more information.

  • Birth certificate
  • US passport
  • Certificate of free status
  • Proof of income

We were aiming for a church wedding on July 16, and we wanted the legal ceremony to take place before then. Only marriages performed at a Standesamt (registrar’s office) are legally valid in Germany. And you can only apply up to six months before the wedding date. We decided that I should travel to Berlin the week of January 18 to ensure we had the best chance of being approved for July.

There was some prep work to complete for we applied. First, I needed my birth certificate, but I needed it to be issued within the last six months. This was easy to obtain through my county’s Vital Statistics department. I mailed a request along with payment, and my certificate arrived in about a week.

In order for my U.S. birth certificate to be accepted by German authorities, it required an Apostille. The U.S. and Germany are part of a treaty called the “Hague Convention,” which allows documents originating in one country to be recognized in all other countries as long as it bears the Apostille stamp. Luckily, I could also get this by filling out a form and sending it along with payment and my birth certificate to the Ohio Secretary of State  service center. I think this also arrived back in about a week.

The kicker was that all my English documents had to be submitted along with an official translation. I had to make sure I received everything early enough so we could hire a translator to translate everything into German. I sent all my documents to Sebastian, and he handled this on his end.

I also needed an “Ehefähigkeitszeugnis,” which is a certificate of free status stating I was legally free to marry. This document could only be obtained by appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin or the Consulate General in Frankfurt, so I made an appointment for when I would be there.

Once I arrived in Berlin, we had one week to complete everything, and it was definitely stressful at times. Our first appointment was with the Standesamt. We arrived with all our documents (minus the certificate of free status, since it could be turned in later) early Tuesday morning in hopes of getting the first appointment of the day. It all started smoothly. The registrar checked our documents while we filled out the rest of the application. However, we didn’t realize we needed an official translator for the appointment. We had assumed Sebastian could translate for me, but this was not the case. We couldn’t submit our application and began scrambling to find a translator. For a heftier fee we found a guy who was available on Thursday.

On Wednesday, I went for my appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin to receive my certificate of free status. It was January, absolutely freezing, and we had to wait outside in the cold before being processed through security. There has to be a better system, people. You also can’t take anything with you, including my phone and purse. Or your Fitbit. I had to leave mine behind with security since I forgot to take it off. It worked out that Sebastian couldn’t come with me since he served as my personal locker. Once inside, I went to the appropriate office and began waiting. Even with an appointment, you still have to take a number. I sat for about 30 minutes before being called. The paperwork took another 20, and then I had to wait another 30 before paying. It was a long, boring process, but I left with my official certificate. Yay!

We went back to the Standesamt on Thursday, along with our official translator. In no time at all we completed our application and paid the fee. At the end of the appointment we were penciled in for July 15. We still needed to be approved by the high state court since I was a foreigner, but a few weeks later Sebastian received confirmation we were approved. Woohoo! We were on our way to becoming husband and wife.

In case you’re wondering what everything cost, here’s a rough breakdown:

  • U.S. Birth Certificate + Express Postal Fees: $50
  • Germany Birth Certificate: $15
  • Apostille + Express Postal Fees: $30
  • Translating Documents: $70
  • Certificate of Free Status: $50
  • Translator: $140
  • Application Fee:$75

I want to do a longer post about our Standesamt ceremony, but here’s a picture of us shortly after we were married…

the-wild-child-just-married

Totally worth the red tape.

P.S. Happy six months of wedded bliss, Sebastian! xoxo

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Café am Neuen See

26 Dec

Guten Tag! Hope you had a lovely Christmas! As you’re reading this, I’m currently making my way to Germany for a week of exploring, restaurant hopping and relaxation. If all goes as planned I’ll be on the ground Saturday morning, giving the BF a big hug.

Today I wanted to share my favorite spot in Berlin, Café am Neuen See.

On the Lake | www.the-wild-child.com

Pizza and Beer | www.the-wild-child.com

Café am Neuen See is a restaurant and biergarten located within the Tiergarten Park. I love the biergarten, especially on a warm day. You can sit by the lake, enjoy a beer and some pizza, and take comfort in the shade.

Cafe Am Neuen See Biergarten  | www.the-wild-child.com

Cafe Am Neuen See Lake   | www.the-wild-child.com

I’ve actually never eaten at the restaurant, but we made reservations there for New Year’s Eve or Silvester. There’s an awesome menu planned with champagne and fireworks. I have a hunch I’m going to like it.

Biergarten in #Berlin  | www.the-wild-child.com

Café am Neuen See
Lichtensteinallee 2, 10787 Berlin
+49 030 2544930

Eating in Berlin, part 2

19 Dec

Guess what?! This time next week I’ll be on my way to Germany. Sebastian and I debated New Year’s Eve plans, but we both decided it would be fun if I went there this year. I can’t wait to be back in Berlin, a city I fall in love with more and more every time I visit.

As I prepare for the trip, I thought it would be fun to share some of the awesome restaurants we tried on my last visit. Please excuse the lack of photos for some locations.

Melbourne Canteen
Pannierstraße 57, 12047 Berlin – Neukölln
+49 030 62731602

If you’re in the mood for a laid back breakfast, this is the place to go. Sebastian often comes here on the weekends for brunch and newspaper reading. When we went together, I ordered scrambled eggs with avocado and toast and some tomato juice, although I should have opted for the Bloody Mary. Next time.

Ständige Vertretung
Schiffbauerdamm 8, 10117 Berlin – Mitte
+49 030 2823965

Located on the Spree, this is a great spot for a cold beer and some people watching. Sebastian says his Dad loves to come here when he visits Berlin.

Standige Vertretung  | www.the-wild-child.com

Drinks at Standige Vertretung | www.the-wild-child.com

Fratelli La Bionda
Bergmannstraße 31, 10961 Berlin – Kreuzberg
+49 030 63901770

We went here for date night during my visit. It was the perfect place to sit outside, share a bottle of wine and enjoy some authentic Italian cuisine.

Burrata | www.the-wild-child.com

Steak Tartar | www.the-wild-child.com

Pasta

Buchkantine
Dortmunder Strasse 1, 10555 Berlin – Moabit
+49 030 94883728

This bistro is located along the Spree and is actually quite close to Sebastian’s apartment. We went here for a late breakfast one morning. It has a lovely deck that is built around a giant tree. There is also a bookshop inside, but we never checked it out.

Buchkantine in #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

German Breakfast | www.the-wild-child.com

Chez Michel
Adalberstraße 83, 10997 Berlin – Kreuzberg
+49 030 20845507

We met our friends Maik and Kristine here for dinner. We sat outside at a tiny table and shared different dishes. It’s a no fuss kind of place – you order at the counter and they bring the food to you. But the food itself is simple and good.

Monsieur Vuong
Alte Schönhauserstraße 46, 10119 Berlin – Mitte
+49 030 99296924

I’ve shared this restaurant before, but I’m doing it again anyway. I love the cozy atmosphere and the amazing Vietnamese food. I know no matter when we visit, we’ll always get a great meal. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Monsieur Vuong  | www.the-wild-child.com

Spring Rolls  | www.the-wild-child.com

The California Breakfast Slam
Innstraße 47, 12045 Berlin- Neukölln
+49 030 6869624

This is one of those restaurants that feels so European yet so American. I can picture walking into a place like this in Portland or Ohio City, but here it is on the streets of Berlin. If you’re looking for fancy decor, this is not the place for you. The food was fantastic though. Order the pancakes and thank me later.

Breakfast Platter  | www.the-wild-child.com

Pancakes | www.the-wild-child.com

Gastón Tapas Bar
Weichselstraße 18, 12045 Berlin – Neukölln
+49 162 8199853

I loved this restaurant – it’s probably my favorite out of all the stops on this list. We ended up here on a Friday night with a group of friends, ordering rounds of beer and sharing tapas. If I ever live in Berlin, you’ll find me here often.

Gaston Restaurant  | www.the-wild-child.com

Markthalle Neun
Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, 10997 Berlin

There are several market halls like this in Berlin. This one reminds me of the West Side Market in Cleveland except on a smaller scale. You can find anything here from flowers to goat cheese to fresh bread and fish. We went for the meat, specifically Big Stuff Smoked BBQ. I can’t even describe the amazingness, so enjoy the photos below.

Markthalle Neun #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Lemonade | www.the-wild-child.com

BBQ in #Berlin  | www.the-wild-child.com

P.S. In case you missed it, here is Eating in Berlin, part 1.

Fleesensee

24 Nov

Just an hour north of Berlin is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Sebastian and I spent a night there near Fleesensee, one of the lakes in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte district. Don’t you just love German words?

Schloss Fleesensee | www.the-wild-child.com

Castle Entrance | www.the-wild-child.com

We stayed at the Radisson Blu Resort – also known as Schloss Fleesenesee. Schloss means castle in German, and the Radisson is literally a nineteenth-century castle converted into a hotel. I thought it was super cool and kept trying to envision what each room used to be.

Schloss Fleesensee Radisson  | www.the-wild-child.com

Flowers   | www.the-wild-child.com

Unfortunately when we visited, the weather wasn’t cooperating and it was quite cold for May. We wanted to spend more time walking the grounds, and visiting a national park nearby. But we opted for an afternoon of lounging by the indoor pool instead. I know, spare me.

Schloss Fleesensee Grounds  | www.the-wild-child.com

Indoor Pool  | www.the-wild-child.com

We finished the evening with cocktails in one of the old parlors and a fantastic dinner in what probably used to be the grand ballroom. I would go back every single day to eat their tomato soup again, so unbelievably good.

Castle Interior  | www.the-wild-child.com

Dinner | www.the-wild-child.com

Tomato Soup  | www.the-wild-child.com

Good Food | www.the-wild-child.com

The following morning we tried to spend some time outside, walking around the lake and exploring. It was still pretty cold so we’ll definitely need to go back when it’s warmer. There are tons of little cottages along the lake, and I bet a week there in the summer would be awesome.

Schloss Fleesensee Outside  | www.the-wild-child.com

Selfie  | www.the-wild-child.com

Lakeside | www.the-wild-child.com

Fleesensee Lake  | www.the-wild-child.com

All in all, it was my kind of stay, one where I had plenty of time to read and relax. It’s always nice to get away, especially when you spend the night in a castle.

Schloss Fleesensee Germany | www.the-wild-child.com

Radisson Blu Resort Schloss Fleesensee
Schloßstrasse 1
Fleesensee DE-17213
Phone: +49 39932 80100

Biking in Berlin

22 Nov

Every time I visit Europe, I always get this urge to ride a bike. We don’t have many cities in the states where biking is convenient, but over there it feels more accessible. So on my latest trip to Germany, I talked Sebastian into renting bikes one morning.

Biking in #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Biking in #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day to ride around Berlin. The sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and the tourists were scarce. We started with a ride through Tiergarten park and then made our way through the city. It was such a fun way to check out the sites and explore different areas. Eventually we started making our way to Tempelhofer Park.

Brandenburg Gate #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Berliner Dom #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

I adore Tempelhof, and I don’t think I’m in the minority here. It is one of the coolest places in Berlin. What was once an airport has now become a public space for cycling, kite flying and picnics. We kicked off our shoes, lounged on the grass and spent the afternoon people-watching.

Tempelhofer Park #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Biking in Tempelhof #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

No shoes #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Tempelhof Biking #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

We stopped for coffee with Sebastian’s dear friend Maik on our way home and finished the trip with ice cream at a new shop that had just opened nearby. We chatted with the owners for a few minutes, and they found it hysterical that nussbaum is called walnut in English. Who knew walnut was such a funny word?

Victory Column #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

#Berlin street corner | www.the-wild-child.com

Ice Cream Shop #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

Ice Cream #Berlin | www.the-wild-child.com

It was one of those spectacular days that you want to bottle up and keep forever. Can’t wait to go back and do it again. Have you ever biked around a city? What was your experience?

Vacation memories

12 Jun

It’s hard to believe two weeks ago today I was on my way to the South of France. Vacations always fly by quickly, but it seems the weeks that follow go just as quick. Reality returns with a strong vengeance and gives you a good slap in the face. No worries folks, I’m hanging in there. And I have some great pictures and memories to keep me smiling for a while.

With that being said, let’s do a quick recap. After a delayed flight to Germany, I finally arrived in Düsseldorf, and we were on our way to Sebastian’s hometown of Warendorf to spend the day with his parents. Since Sebastian lives in Berlin, the opposite side of the country, I hardly ever see his family when I visit. In fact, I hadn’t seen his parents in two years (talk about pressure to make a good impression). We had an awesome visit though – from lunch with his Mom to cheering on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final with his Dad, it was an awesome (and very full) day.

strawberrycake{strawberry cake in the garden}

garden{Mrs. B’s backyard}

soccergame{BVB fan club of Warendorf}

cookies{Borussia Dortmund themed cookies}

Due to my delayed flight, our time in Germany was shortened, and the next day we were already on our way to spend a week in France. This was my first trip there, and I absolutely loved it. From the architecture to the food to the people, it really was a lovely country. I’ll be spending the next couple weeks recapping the trip, so stay tuned!

Up next: our morning at the Eiffel Tower and lounging on the Champ de Mars.

Oktoberfest

17 Oct

When I travel to new places, I like to do research on my destination. What is the history? What are some interesting sights to see? Where are some places we can eat?

When Sebastian and I decided to attend Oktoberfest this year, I did what I always do and started researching. I learned a lot about the history and had a pretty good idea of what it would be like – except I was wrong. Any idea of what I thought it would be like was amplified by a thousand (in a good way though).

I imagined there would be a lot of drinking and a lot of people and I was right (times a thousand). Sebastian and I arrived in Munich late morning and met up with Thomas (Sebastian’s twin) and his girlfriend Milena. Since we couldn’t check in to our hotel yet, we decided to get lunch at my favorite brewery in Munich, Augustiner. After a relaxed lunch we checked in, quickly changed and were on our way to the festival.

We weren’t exactly sure how to get there, so we followed the crowds of people in dirndls and lederhosen. And we arrived at more than just a beer festival. Oktoberfest is a huge carnival with food stands, rides, games and 14 large beer tents. And people, lots and lots of people. In the tents alone (inside and outside) there is seating for almost 100,000. Add that to all the other people and you have A LOT of people. It was crazy!

Most people probably don’t know this but you won’t find beer walking around. You must be served beer from one of the tents, so finding a seat is very important. However, finding a seat is not easy, and it’s almost pure luck if you do. You can reserve seating ahead of time (like 6 months or more in advance) or arrive very early to grab a table. We did not reserve seats, and it took us about an hour, but Thomas finally spotted a place for us to sit in the outside part of the Schützen-Festzelt tent. While we weren’t close to the music inside, I was very glad our seats were outdoors. It turned out to be a beautiful evening.

We sat by three guys from Valencia, Spain and an adorable older couple from Germany. It was an awesome experience. We were all different ages from different places and different backgrounds, all laughing and drinking and enjoying Oktoberfest together. And speaking of drinking, I drank a lot. I don’t remember much from the end of the night. I know I stopped to make Sebastian buy me a cookie, and that we made it safely back to the hotel.

Needless to say, I didn’t feel so great the next morning. After some aspirin and lots of water, I was finally able to get dressed and explore the city with Sebastian, Thomas and Milena. We stopped by Marienplatz and spent the rest of the day walking slowly through the English Garden. It was nice way to recover from Oktoberfest.

It was definitely an incredible experience and one I won’t soon forget. You can bet I’ll go back some day, but maybe just drink a little less beer next time. And an added bonus: my dirndl now doubles as a Halloween costume. Winning!

Eating in Berlin

9 Oct

Every time I visit Germany, my friends tell me to eat lots of schnitzel or wurst or sauerkraut. But the truth is, I rarely eat any of those things during my trips. Sure I’ve had amazing schnitzel and delicious currywurst, but not as often as you’d think.

This trip was no different. We dined out at some awesome restaurants (none of them with German cuisine), and I’m already drooling thinking about all the amazing food we ate. The one thing we did keep traditional was breakfast.

A traditional German breakfast consists of a fresh loaf of bread from the local bakery (sometimes croissants and rolls as well), jams, cold cuts and sometimes cheese. The bread is served with butter as a base spread and then a choice of jam, honey or cold cuts for toppings. It’s not a breakfast I was used to, but one I’ve come to love.

And now for the great restaurants in Berlin (in no particular order):

Monsieur Vuong – I seriously heart this restaurant. It’s usually crowded and with good reason – they serve the best Vietnamese food on the planet. The day we ate there it was cold outside, and the fresh chicken soup with rice noodles was exactly what I needed. We also tried the spring rolls, which were beyond good. Another bonus: the menu is in English.

Burgermeister – I didn’t expect to find a good burger in Germany, but I was wrong. A fun place to eat, Burgermeister is located under an S-Bahn track in a former public toilet. What you miss in the comfort of a restaurant, you make up for in a super tasty burger. Yes, you have to stand and eat, but the burger was worth it, and the chili-cheese fries were killer.

Transit – This restaurant is cool because even though it was just Sebastian and me, I could definitely see going there with a large group of friends. The menu offers Thai and Indonesian food served in small bowls (3 euros each) with side orders of rice and noodles (1 euro). The meal was extremely affordable (and delicious), and the dishes have fun names. We tried My Favorite Duck, Crunchy Strips, Smokey Sate, Crispy Pockets and Almost Nude. They also offer the menu in English.

East London – We went here for breakfast one morning, and it did not disappoint. The restaurant’s concept is serving good British food in Berlin – pretty cool. Sebastian had the “Full Monty” and I tried some awesome homemade pancakes. And I have to mention their cappuccino, since it was one of the best I’ve ever had. We’ll definitely be going back next time I visit.

City Chicken – Good God, we ate so much food here it was unreal. And the price was unreal. I think for about 6 euros, you get a half a roasted chicken, salad, french fries, humus, garlic sauce and pita bread. The place has more of a fast food vibe, but the atmosphere didn’t even matter. The food was crazy good.

I don’t have pictures for the last joint, but I have to mention Chapel Bar. For months I’ve heard Sebastian talk about Chapel and this supposedly amazing drink they serve called the Basil Lime Smash. We went there after a concert Friday night and he was right – the drink was amazing and refreshing and delicious. I could seriously go for one right now.

If you’re ever in Berlin, I hope you’ll check out some of these awesome restaurants. And if you feel like it, maybe eat some schnitzel, too!

Berlinstagrams

1 Oct

Another trip to Germany has come and gone. Yesterday I arrived back in the States with so many wonderful memories. I don’t know how it’s possible, but each time gets better and better. And luckily, I won’t have to wait too long for the next visit since Sebastian will be here in November.

I have many stories to share, but until I get caught up on sleep, I’ll just share a few pictures for now. These are the Instagram photos I captured during the trip. I call them Berlinstagrams. Enjoy!

{one of the best burger shops in town}

{views from the Berlin Cathedral}

{a giant map of Berlin}

{yummy food at Transit}

{hanging out on the runway at Tempelhof Park}

{museum island at dusk}

{chicken dinner}

{Berlin Zoo}

{fun. concert}

{miss this guy}

P.S. Happy October! It’s amazing how fast this year is flying by.

Wearing a dirndl

25 Sep

Greetings from Germany! I’m having an absolute blast in Berlin (or at least I think I am,  as I wrote this post before I actually left). For all we know, I could be having a terrible time at this point, but I seriously doubt it ;-)

Anyway, today we’re taking a break from Germany’s capital and heading to Munich (or München, as the Germans call it) to celebrate Oktoberfest. And not just any Oktoberfest, THEE Oktoberfest.

By the time you read this, Sebastian and I (along with his twin brother Thomas and his lovely girlfriend Milena) will be getting drunk on wonderful German beer.

Quick history lesson: Started in 1810, Oktoberfest is a festival held annually in Munich, running from late September to the first weekend in October. More than 5 million people attend every year (yikes!).

I decided to wear a dirndl, a traditional dress worn in Bavaria. It looks like this:

Can’t wait to share pictures from the day! I can guarantee it’s going to go down as one of the craziest experiences of my life. Prost!