Photos to come. My new computer isn’t compatible with my external hard drive (you’d think I’d have thought of that) so I have to figure out how to access them some other way. And then, pictures galore!
I just realized I never told you about the trips I took in the last few weeks in Paris!
So with my time running out for this particular rendezvous in Europe, and no more nannying to be done, I decided to do all the traveling I hadn’t felt I had the time or energy to do. I took three trips in my last month in Paris. Yep. I was busy.
The first was to spend Thanksgiving with my sister in Berlin, Germany.
It was only a long weekend, but it was lovely. When you’ve been alone in a foreign country where you don’t know a soul or speak the language, it is such bliss to spend time with family.
I arrived Thanksgiving morning, just in time to make a pumpkin tart (no pie tins to be had in Berlin) and help Anna make turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and lord knows what else. We cooked all day long, just us sisters. The turkey was a hair dry, and the mashed potatoes were a bit runny (my fault), but who was to know since we were the only Americans at the table. “Let’s just not say anything,” Anna said. “They’ll never know!” And we giggled into our napkins and no one was the wiser.
We didn’t do a lot of sight-seeing while I visited, but we did go to a Christmas market.
Let me tell you, there is nothing like Christmas markets in Europe, and everywhere does them differently. By then, I’d done Christmas markets in Italy and in France, and I was excited to meet the mother culture of Christmas markets. See, in Florence, the Christmas market happens in Piazza Santa Croce, which used to be a German neighborhood. Christmas markets are a German, or at least Eastern European, tradition which has spread it’s delights all over the place and been adopted and re-dressed in each new country.
This was a smaller neighborhood market, and I loved it.
First order of business was ordering gluhwein. You can’t do a Christmas market without a toasty beverage, and gluhwein is the traditional drink in Germany. I kept calling it vin chaud, which is what it’s called in French (“hot wine”). But this was nothing like the vin chauds I’d had off the streets in Paris, which usually involved a microwave, a packet of sugar and some cinnamon. Gluhwein was delicious. And it didn’t take long for my cheeks to feel warm and my giggles to be endless.
There were lights and bouncy game things and schnitzel galore! I tried currywurst and it was delicious! And everyone was so friendly and smiling, which I wasn’t quite used to coming from Paris. It was very refreshing. Vendors encouraged my sister’s German, and spoke German right back to her (seems obvious, but it’s not the standard in every culture).
We meandered around and saw every stall twice and didn’t care that we couldn’t feel our feet. We talked and laughed and bought Christmas presents and souvenirs, and then we came home and thawed and ate leftover turkey and mashed potato sandwiches. Heaven.