Monday, December 5, 2011

2nd Advent weekend

We got in the Christmas spirit this weekend.. Or more appropriate for Germany, we got in the Advent spirit.
On Friday night we went to the Hannover Christmas market. Most towns in Germany have one. Hannover's is in the old part of the city, and it spreads out through different streets from the old Market square down to the river. There are hundreds of wooden stalls selling sausages and candied almonds and crafts and gluhwein. Gluhwein is a hot red spiced wine that comes in a mug. For an extra 50 cents you can buy it with a shot... of what I am not sure, maybe vodka. There are Christmas lights everywhere and live music and carousels for the kids.  There is a medieval section where they sell mead and swords and Renaissance style dresses.

It was really crowded at the market on Friday night, but we met with with Andy, Anne and Noah, and took Noah to the puppet show and the carousel. Then some other teacher friends showed up and we hung out in the Finnish section. Brian had a reindeer sandwich, which is sliced thin on a bun with cranberry sauce. It freaked me out a little that he was eating one of Santa's crew, but I decided that the meat came from   Comet or one of the lesser known of Santa's reindeer. Rudolph is too famous to eat. We also ate little fish, whole, deep fried. They are so crispy you don't really notice that the head is on them, but I still only ate two. I had flashbacks to a bad experience with herring last summer in Hamburg. Also in the Finnish section, they smoke salmon nailed to wooden boards next to an open fire, and you can sit under a huge teepee-like thing with picnic tables covered in pelts from reindeer or some sort of furry animal. They serve Glugi there, which is like Gluhwein but it tastes better. We had several of those and ended up at a kitschy Australian restaurant later on, because we were with real Australians who wanted to check it out. Sort of like us going to the kitschy American burger place...

On Friday I bought a wreath at the flower store on our street. It was like 75% off because Advent had already started a week ago, and who would want to buy a wreath now? This American would, especially for 75% off. The flower shop owner, who may be the cheeriest person in Germany after winning a close competition with my German teacher, wished me a happy 2nd Advent Sunday. On Saturday we bought a Christmas tree, at the grocery store, of course. It is a little apartment sized tree. Since I'd never bought a tree at the grocery store, I went to the checkout counter and successfully said, "I would like a Christmas tree." The cashier had to call someone to meet us out on the sidewalk (where the trees were piled up) and help. He said something that we think meant they have a machine that cuts off the bottom of the trunk, but it wasn't working or wasn't available for some reason that day. So Brian carried the tree down the street, and I carried the tree stand, which we had bought at the drug store (where else?). We don't have a saw or anything to cut the trunk with ourselves, so Brian sort of chipped at it with a screwdriver that he pounded in with a hammer to take chunks out of the wood. So far it seems to be drinking in a little water and hopefully won't die soon. Some people buy artificial trees, but not us.

Brian eating a big pickle at the market

This is where they smoke the salmon

Sunday it was back to the Christmas market, in the afternoon this time, without Glugi, in order to do some shopping.  It's not finished yet. I need to keep looking for non-breakable things that are small enough to ship. Apparently Hannover's market is not the best, or the most authentic, or something. For that we are supposed to go to Nurenburg or some smaller towns in the south. Brian and I have never been to one before, so we really don't know any better. As Brian said the other day, "it's way cooler than the mall."

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About Me

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Thanks for coming to my blog. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now has become an ongoing project. I'm an American living in Germany and trying to travel whenever I can. I write about my experiences as an expatriate (the interesting ones and the embarrassing ones), and about my travels. There are some recurring characters in this blog, particularly my husband Brian and several of our friends. The title comes from the idea that living in a foreign country means making a lot of mistakes. So the things you used to do easily you now have to try over and over again. Hopefully, like me, you can laugh at how idiotic it feels. If you have happened upon my blog, then welcome. Knowing that people are reading what I write makes me keep going. Feel free to write comments or suggestions for future posts.