Regensburg: Garden Festival in the Princess’ Palace of St. Emmeram

Regensburg: Garden Festival in the Princess’ Palace of St. Emmeram

Palace of St. Emmeram

Palace of St. Emmeram

Some of you may know, that Justin and I are back in Germany for summer vacation. This is also the reason for the relatively long absence of content creation on JanaCalifornia. However, now I’m back and I have many great stories for you.

Regensburg, my home town, has quite a few interesting things to offer. One of the big tourist draws every summer is the garden festival at the Palace of St. Emmeram which is home to the Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis. She still resides there and chances are good you will actually run into her when you take a stroll on her property.

Once you enter the premises, you are surrounded by luscious, green trees.

The vast grounds resemble a magical forest with the castle towering at the end,

transporting you into the glamorous era of royalty.

When you take a stroll through the woods, along the pond situated in the middle of the garden, the anticipation builds as you walk toward the big Romanesque-Gothic building.

St. Emmeram

During the annual garden festival, various vendors set up their decorated booths all over the garden. Customers can find anything from artwork and garden furniture to fruit syrups and expensive clothing.

Once you get hungry from all the shopping, food booths are there to quench your desires with beer from the Thurn und Taxis brewery and local specialties.

The garden festival is not the only summer festival held at St. Emmeram’s Palace. The Princess hosts a music and theater festival “Schlossfestspiele” with many special guests and outstanding performances, which brings more than 30.000 visitors to the castle each year. Elton John is scheduled to perform this year.

Come to St. Emmeram’s Palace for a special occasions such as the summer festival or the romantic Christmas market or every day to take a tour of the magnificent chambers. With its well-kept green gardens and the ostentatious building take you back to the royal high times of imperial rulers.

Palace of St. Emmeram

Emmeramsplatz 5,
93047 Regensburg, Germany


Artwork Vendor at St. Emmeram’s Palace

Creative Decor

Handcrafted Dream Catchers and More


Yummy Spreads (Pesto, Tomato-Basil and more)

Magnificent Pond and Garden at the Palace

Las Vegas: Japanese Street Food at Yusho

Las Vegas: Japanese Street Food at Yusho

Yusho Restaurant at Monte Carlo, Las Vegas

Yusho Restaurant at Monte Carlo, Las Vegas

I’m finally back from the dead. Well, not literally, of course but at least I’m back to writing blog entries. And the first one I’m bringing to you guys is about food. Who doesn’t love food? But when it comes to Asian food, a lot of people tend to disagree. So do Justin and I.

For my birthday weekend, Justin & I went to Las Vegas. Knowing us, where else would we go right?

As soon as we got to the Monte Carlo, we were pretty hungry and decided to grab a bite. My preference for Japanese food is nothing new to Justin and so he gave in. We were lured in by the concept of Japanese food like Takoyaki, Yakitori and other grilled specialties. However, what we got was quite different than any of our expectations.

As soon as we entered the dining room, I noticed the special ambiance and wall colors. The furniture reminded me of a casual dining restaurant with colorful chairs, turquoise walls and wooden tables.

When we got seated at our table, we looked over the menu and realized that the items were neither priced as street food or casual dining, nor resembled anything we had expected.

The waitress explained to us that the food would be served “tapas-style”, meaning small portions to share, so we should order many of them.

We decided to order  mushroom miso soup, Japanese griddle cake, chicken drummies, house pickles, grilled duckbreast, grilled octopus and two steamed buns (crispy cod & pork shoulder).

Mushroom Miso Soup

Mushroom Miso Soup & Pickled Vegetables

The mushroom miso soup came first and the light mushroom broth was a delight with tofu and sea weed.

As a second dish we got our pickled vegetables which included lotus root, carrots, cucumbers and sea weed and was also really good and quite tangy.

Justin got his chicken drummies and he said he really liked it. I didn’t try it because chicken’s not my thing and it really was the only thing he wanted to eat off the menu except a pork shoulder steamed bun.

The grilled duck breast was wrapped around mushrooms and accompanied by a sweet but savory shiitake mushroom marmalade.

Our grilled octopus dish was quite peppery in taste and it was loaded which enoki mushrooms, which made the dish quite special.

Overall our experience was really great. If you guys want to check it out, click the link in this post. It’s a great place to enjoy some different Japanese food, but beware it tends to be quite pricey.

at the Hotel Monte Carlo, Las Vegas


Goodbye Germany – Hello Los Angeles!

Goodbye Germany – Hello Los Angeles!


Sunset over Regensburg

Hello Everyone!

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. That was mostly due to the fact that I finally got back to Los Angeles.

We left Germany in the early hours of the morning last Saturday and boarded a plane to LAX. The flight was pretty uneventful and somehow, I always like flying towards the west more than I like going east.

It feels easier flying all through daylight instead of having to fall asleep in a crammed, hot and smelly cabin with crying babies.

As soon as we touched down, we drove ourselves to Las Vegas, simply because we didn’t want our vacation to be over yet.


The Rocky Mountains

An American in Germany – Berlin Edition

An American in Germany – Berlin Edition



As we were stuck at home during the holidays, I thought about how boring the small city life must be for my husband Justin. Seeing that he is from Los Angeles, I decided to show him more than just a small Bavarian town and booked a two day trip to Berlin. In my opinion, if you fly across the Atlantic to come and visit Germany, you should not miss our capital. Right after New Year’s Eve, we packed our bags into our rental car and drove the approx. 5 hours up to Berlin. We checked into the Park Inn at Alexanderplatz, which is the second largest hotel in Berlin. It was indeed quite large and our hotel room was located on the 19th floor. The interior design of our hotel room was quite interesting as it included a bathroom that was only divided from the room by a glass wall. The perfect shower for exhibitionists. We got there early but we were so tired from driving that we didn’t really go out; instead we went to sleep at 7 pm. Not a good idea. The next day we woke up at 6 a.m. and got tickets to a “hop on, hop off” city tours bus first thing in the morning. We decided to go with the bus that had a real guide instead of headphones to explain the city to us. I’ll share some photos with you at the end of this post. We saw almost all the sights that you’d want to see in Berlin: the Reichstag, some parts of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Siegessäule and the Brandenburg Gate. The latter was quite the sight and obviously flooded with all kinds of tourists and costumed performers harassing said tourists.


The Brandenburg Gate

 Due to the cold, we stopped at the famous and quite expensive Hotel Adlon.  I don’t usually mind luxurious things but when I have to pay $20 for a cup of chamomile tea, I draw the line. But all kidding aside, the hotel is really nicely decorated and they make you feel really important. You better include some pampering with that price!

As we continued on, Justin also insisted on visiting the main train station in Berlin. He is a big train enthusiast (hint: I’m not!) and Berlin’s train hub is one of the largest in Europe. The day went by quickly and the next day we left for Regensburg after taking a tour of the Berlin Zoo. This concludes my first part of our Berlin trip. I’ll write another post about the KaDeWe and the food specialties we enjoyed on our trip soon.




Main Train Station



Hotel Adlon right next to the Brandenburg Gate


Our room at the Park Inn Alexanderplatz

An American in Germany – Christmas Market Edition

An American in Germany – Christmas Market Edition

Christkindlmarkt in Regensburg

You might wonder why I’m writing my first blog entry from Germany if this blog is about my life in California. But there is a simple explanation to it. I just didn’t have time to start writing during my fall semester and now that I’m on Christmas break, I’m finally concentrating on blogging.

The title of this blog entry is explained rather easily, too. It’s my husband’s (he is an American) first time in good old Germany. Some of you might have read the “About the Author” page, so you might know that I’m from a small town north-east of Munich, Germany. You know, close to the city of the world-famous Oktoberfest.

Anyhow, after being in the U.S. for a year and a half, I’ve decided to visit my family back home and show Justin what a German Christmas is all about. I promised him snowy, white festivities but instead he got a warm (10°C/ 50 F) no-snow holiday.

Justin trying Glühwein

We started with a rather troublesome 12-hour flight with a young child to my right (yes, I know it’s very cliché!) and a woman that had to recline her seat all the way back, leaving me with 10 inches of space between me and my small TV screen.  We spent the next days jet-lagged between getting up at 6 am and crashing on the couch at 6 pm because our biorhythm was so out of synch.

Nevertheless, we made it to some of the world-famous German christmas markets and Justin got to taste Glühwein, warm mulled wine with spices and tart flambeé, a French pizza-like “Flammkuchen” specialty with sour cream and bacon. We also bought some “Apfelkücherl”, which are fried apple rings in dough, rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

The second christmas market we visited was nestled in the courtyard of the Thurn and Taxis Castle. After the sun had set, we were freezing and decided to go for another hot beverage. We bought ourselves Lumumba, however instead of rum, we added amaretto into our hot chocolate.

The vendors here were also a little different. They offered specialties such as fire-grilled salmon, a variety of sweets and the world-famous Bratwurst on bread.

Another delicacy that stands out is the Hungarian Baumstriezl a.k.a. chimney cake which is yeast dough rolled around a stick and baked in a wood-fire oven. To top it off they roll it in a mix of cinnamon and sugar. It’s pretty delicious. For anyone who is interested in seeing how it is made, I’ve found a small video: click here

Panorama of the christmas market at the Thurn and Taxis castle

This was the first part of our special series about Germany. I will tell you more about all the different foods we eat and the sights we’re going to visit in the upcoming days! Thanks for reading.

Fire-Grilled Salmon

Salmon grilled over an open fire.

Justin eating Flammkuchen