Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas in Germany

After almost 2 years of waiting, my mom and I are finally on our Christmas Market River Cruise through Germany. We are having a great time!! We are truly 2 Christmas shoppers at heart.

After flying and enduring transfers we finally arrived in Cologne, Germany after 19 hours. We immediately went to our first Christmas market in Cologne. The picture of my mom (in the green jacket) is standing in front of one of the streets with these temporary buildings that are decorated for Christmas. At night (it gets dark at 4:30 pm) everything lights up and all the people come out to enjoy the atmosphere and the food that is available at about 2/3 of the booths. The food for them is probably similar to fair food for us. Every few steps there is a booth with hot liquor and they serve it in ceramic mugs that you pay a deposit on and the deposit gets returned when the mug is returned. They stand around these logs that are stood up on their ends with lights wired in the middle of the logs. It is really interesting. They have all sorts of handicrafts, items from China, and a few booths with Christmas decorations. They have fun Christmas foods and candies and gingerbread is big here. I purchased a number of food items for our Christmas eve feast. Wood carvers are big here and the picture of the man with the carved items in front of him is the actual wood carver that I purchased a beautiful Madonna and child from.

The ship is sailing down the Rhine and will end in Basel, Switzerland. The cruise is about 8 days long and makes stops through Germany, Strausborg, France, and Basel Switzerland. We are interested in seeing if the Christmas markets are any different in France and Switzerland. I am having fun buying gifts for the children and of course a few special items for myself.

I am sorry I haven't posted cards lately, I was so busy getting ready to leave on this trip and with Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with most of our family (Brandon and Rachel were in Kansas City with her family) and everyone helped with the Christmas decorations on Friday. I wanted to get the majority of them up before I left. I will be home Monday night and I hope to get some more cards up then along with some more pictures of our trip.