So recently I have been doing my best to go around to as many Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas Markets) as possible. At each Market are different cups that you get Glühwein in and I keep these cups to send home! Glühwein is a type of hot spiced wine that keeps you warm in the winter cold and gives you a nice flush of the face without being too strong of an alcohol. Plan on me trying to make some when I get home for everyone to try.
Every big city has their own market. Everyone of them are special, different, and unique in their own way. The markets consist of food vendors selling steak sandwiches, bratwurst, pretzels, roasted chestnuts, powdered dough, candy, roasted almonds, and so much more. Also there are drink options for Eggnog, Glühwein, Feuerzangebowle, Hot chocolate, and Punch. Finally there are vendors that sell their products that are made locally. These vendors can include toys, candles, candle holders, lanterns, honey, honey products, kitchen supplies, knick knacks, and christmas ornaments.
The one here in Oldenburg is "Lamberti-Markt" and is a fairly small and quaint market near the Rathaus (government offices). It takes one about 20 minutes to walk through casually without stopping to look at any of the shops. But me being me, I stopped at every one of them and played, touched, smelled everything. I even had some more Glühwein in the Oldenburg cups. A lot of us internationals visited this at least once a week for some Glühwein and Feuerzangebowle (Spiced wine in a big pot with a cone of sugar atop of it resting on a metal plate with holes. Some rum would be poured over the sugar until it was mostly absorbed. The rum-soaked-sugar cone would then be set on fire so that the rum and sugar would bed added to the wine. It made for a sweet but yummy drink.)
So far I have been to the Christmas Markets in Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, and Oldenburg. This upcoming Christmas Vacation will also bring me to the Dresden and Vienna Markets! I am very excited! Count on me getting more mugs!
I know this is a short post but we have a big vacation coming up and there will be plenty said about that!
Love and Peace,
1. Smile, wherever you go, smile.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Sorry guys a lot has been happening is a very short amount of time.
|Weihnachtsmarkt in Bremen|
First, I got to celebrate my first Nikolaustag! Nikolaustag is celebrated on the 6th of December and is traditionally for younger children. Usually the kids leave a shoe out and if they have been good that year they get candy, nuts, and a small present; if they haven’t then they get a lump of coal. Well on the 6th I woke up to find candy and a note taped to my door from one of my flat mates. I knew who it was because I was still awake then she taped the note and chocolate to my door, but what I wasn’t expecting was to see a big Santa sitting on our kitchen table for me, we all got one. Leonie, another flat mate, was trying to be secretive.. I knew what that day was, but I didn’t think that my flat mates would celebrate it with each other. After that I left for class like any other Thursday. In class my teacher went into even more details about Nikolaustag and other Christmas holiday traditions. That had to be one of the most entertaining classes to date. After class I headed back home to do some things like homework and read. And to my surprise I happen to see yet another Santa for me, again the others got one as well! I was in chocolate heaven and overload. I thanked my flat mates, but told them I didn’t have anything for them just yet, they have to wait for Christmas.
Sadly nothing else happened for almost a week, but then it just gets hectic. On Wednesday the 12 I did go to a concert, my first one here in Germany. I went with Cassandra, another American, to a Miss May I concert. It was really odd from the other concerts I have been to. Not a lot of people and at a bar. Let’s just say Cassandra and I had a grand ol’ time there. The atmosphere was awesome, the bands were super fantastic, and the beer was good. I remember all of it but how I got my jacket. The walk/ subway ride back to the hostel was interesting too. We both agreed that we have to do it again. Maybe leave earlier to explore the city and not have class the next day.
|Homemade fluffy sugar cookies.|
On Thursday I went to a friend’s End-of-the-World party. The party was so much fun! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, some a bit more than others. Sadly thought I ended up cleaning up after the party. The people who were supposed to clean were a little on the drunk side and since it was in the Backraum of big Pferdemarkt I felt like I should clean, Em was in bed not feeling the greatest. I even made sure that everyone got home safely and those who couldn’t go home stayed with me. As a thank you present Emily got me some delicious smelling soap from LUSH. Friday I helped bake for a Christmas party. All I saw for the rest of the night was cookies, cupcakes, and Glühwein. However, everyone loved my cookies and someone got my white elephant of cookies, I have to make them for her still. I wasn’t able to stay too long after the white elephant since I was just so exhausted. I don’t remember people coming in and out of my room to get there stuff really. I was out like a light!
Saturday I was supposed to go to Hamburg, but I was just so exhausted that I couldn’t go. My mind just didn’t want to work. It took the 8 hours to translate 2 pages when it normally takes me 2 hours, but I needed that day of rest. I didn’t even get out of my pajamas!
The rest of the weekend and week were fairly mellow. Unless you count the fact that we are leaving on Thursday for Vienna, Dresden, and Prague! That’s right the next post will be filled with all sorts of adventures!
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnacht, and Happy New Year (if we don’t update until the new year)!!!!!!
No travel tips from me this time, besides have fun!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Ash and I enjoying some Glühwein!
As many of you already know, Ashley and I ventured off once again to Berlin. However, this time we went with Oldenburg's International Programs Office. Also, we were able to spend more than one day there, this time, we had 3 days to spend! And how did we spend these fun days? Touristing!
The view out the dome of the Reichstag!
Friday we left the University extremely early (I do not like getting up this early, EVER) and made our way on a 6 hour trip to Berlin (usually takes only 4 hours by car on the Autobahn). On the bus many of us kept ourselves busy with homework, reading, sleeping, and music. It was quite relaxing. When we arrived in Berlin around 2:30 when we stopped first at the Reichstag. The Reichstag was beautiful and was full of very useful and interesting information. When we arrived we had to go through tight security but once we were in we were given a headset (in English) that we could walk around with and learn about German history and politics. The Reichstag building was completed in 1894 following German national unity and the establishment of the German Reich in 1871 under the architect Paul Wallot. The glass dome at the top was designed by Architect Norman Foster and built in 1993. The whole building was quite breathtaking.
During our stay we spent our nights at the Three Little Pigs Hostel located close to the Sony Center and in a great location for spare-time tourism. In the room we stayed in there was a total of 7 girls in an 8 person room. It was not cramped or dirty but quite clean, open, and subtle.
Snow and friendship in front of Charlottenburg Castle
On Saturday we started our day by doing a morning bus tour of the city. We were driven and guided by our own bus driver with translations into English. We were able to take quite a few stops for photo opportunities. A few of which were the Charlottenburg Castle which was delightfully blanketed in a thin layer of snow. Most of us were very cheery about the snow and played all around in it. A different stop was Museum Island. Which was not really an "Island" per say but more of a vast complex of different Museums located in close proximity. Again we took this chance to play some more! Following lunch we headed to a museum that explained the "Pass Center" for residents and non-residents coming in and out of East Germany. It was very eye-opening as to the turmoil the residents went through because of the government control.
An underground Cold War Bunker that could fit 2000 people
Sunday we finished our Berlin trip by going to the "Story of Berlin" Museum. It was a small museum focused on the entirety of the German Lifestyle. From the start of the Museum you were in the 1200's then you slowly worked your way to modern day Germany. I really loved this Museum but unfortunately we did not have sufficient time to walk through and read all of what we would have like to read. After this we made our tiring and long journey back to Oldenburg.
The last standing Berlin Wall.
In our spare time we of course wandered around the city. We were able to visit some of the many Weihnachmarkts (Christmas Markets) that Berlin had to offer. We also were taken by Boris on a walk through some of the main attractions of Germany that we would not have been able to see within the planned days. Also, we went shopping, ate good food, and were able to get to know one another.
I soon hope to go back and visit more of the Museums and Historical land marks.
For those of you that dont know about the title of this post "Ich bin ein Berliner" was famously quoted by J.F.Kennedy and translates to "I am a jelly filled doughnut..."
Be safe and have fun XOXO ~Emily
Ash and I at Checkpoint Charlie
1. Before you leave home learn the bus and train routes in and around your city. It will come in handy when you need to find your way around the city when you first arrive and you wont be stressed out too much about it.
2. If you are not sure as to how to do something: ask. It may seem silly, rude, embarrassing etc, but when you need to do something (or want) people are usually very helpful even if they dont know your language. If all else fails a good game of Charades is always in order.
The inside of the Reichstag, the glass helps to shine natural light into the debating chamber of the Bundestag
Thursday, December 6, 2012
|Just one kiss Boris!|
Emily and I, yet again, went to Berlin. However, instead of staying for only a day, we were there for 3 lovely days! It was amazing. We left early in the morning, boo, on Friday. Oh goodness was it fun, but cold since we decided to sit in the back of the bus. The energy on the bus was amazing. Everyone was excited and just couldn’t wait to be there, mostly to get off the bus.
Our first stop was the Bundestag. The Bundestag is like our House of Representatives and Congress. The building was amazing and the view to die for! You have to make special reservations to sit in the room where the decisions are made though, boo again. However, they let you on top of the roof and there was a skyline tour offered. They pretty much gave us headphones and the recording would follow you walk around the dome of the Bundestag and the roof. Emily and I got some pretty awesome pictures.
|Memorial for the burned books|
We were supposed to meet at the Brandenburg Gate, but since everyone was walking at their own pace we just met at the bus. I got done with the tour early so I left with Boris, a friend and he works in the ISO. He quickly showed me where the American and French Embassies were, since they were right next to the Brandenburg Gate. Emily and I both want to go back to get a better look at our embassy. It also started to so a sleet thing while we were waiting. It was at that moment a lot of people wished they dressed warmer.
Luckily for these people, we went right to the hostel after our little visit. Our hostel was nice, since it was my first I don’t have much of an opinion. I got to share a room with 7 other girls. We had no problem since we all chose to bunk together, yes there was bunk beds. We got to pick on the two British girls, they are now known as Mummy. Granted they started to make fun of us a bit, but what do you expect since we started it.
|The Holocaust Memorial at night|
After we were all settled in Boris took us for a nice walk. We went to a Weihnachtsmarkt, Christmas market, where Emily, Kortnie and I got some yummy Glühwien. On this walk half the people left because it was taking too long to get food, but what we got was more than food. Boris took us to the Holocaust Memorial in Potsdam Platz. It was eerie to be walking amongst the pillars so late at night. A few of the boys decided to walk on the pillars and we yelled at them. We also saw where they burned the books that Hitler banned. You would not see the memorial unless you were on it. The memorial was built into the ground. It was a white room with empty white bookshelves. Again, it was very eerie, but beautiful in its own way. Not too far was a church that was bombed and only the roof was rebuilt. The inside is supposed to still be in the condition it was in during the war, or so Boris told us. From this point we ran into a few more Weihnachtsmärkte, plural, some more pretty buildings, and prostitutes. It was funny watching the prostitutes tried to solicit the guys. I do have to admit that I did not know they were prostitutes and had to ask Emma what they were. Finally, after our adventures around Berlin, by foot, we finally got food. It was totally worth it! However, when we were done we did convince Boris to let us take the tram back to the hostel. It was a good thing we did, because we were wiped out from the day!
|The monsters were let off the bus to enjoy the wonderful white stuff.|
The next day started like any other day, but after breakfast an amazing thing happened. It snowed! My first snow in Germany, I was so happy. It started off as a light flurry then the snowflakes started to get bigger and bigger! Our bus driver was nice and stopped at a palace for a small photo opportunity for us, but I took advantage of it and threw the first snowball. I missed terribly, but my next one hit its mark. After that I was just wiped out. Information overload, but it was nice to see everything and not have a marathon shutting down half the city.
Once all our tours were done we were left to our own devices. So what do we decide to do, well find a Build-A-Bear, of course. Kortnie had never made one and I really wanted one. So Emma, Emily, Kortnie, and I made our first teddy bears in Germany. They are all very cute and very special. I made mine for my nephew, but he will not get it until I come home. After the adventure to the mall we went back to the hostel, where we planned to go out. We never made it because we all fell asleep, oh no.
When we woke up we all scrambled, kind of, to get our stuff around since we were leaving that day. Emily convinced me to play a quick game of pool, and by quick I mean she owned me. After that we left the hostel. You would think that we would have left to return home, but nope we went to another museum. But this one was very fun; it covered the history of Berlin from the very beginning. Sadly we did not have enough time to read and look at all the stuff they had to offer there, because we had a tour of a bunker! This bunker was built during the 1950s to help citizens feel more secure in case of a nuclear attack. It was really really creepy, but so cool at the same time. I can just say I would never want to be in one with close to 3,000 people!
After that final museum we went home. It was pretty uneventful. Everyone passed out, like at my Rotary Conference. I can say I was beyond happy to be in my bed that night!
1. Try having your computer keyboard in your host language. Sometimes the host language has symbols you need to use, but your keyboard does not have.
1. Try having your computer keyboard in your host language. Sometimes the host language has symbols you need to use, but your keyboard does not have.
2. You do not always have to be happy. It is okay to once in a while just sit down and cry. No one will think less of you.
3. Never be afraid to meet new people, unless they are prostitutes. If so then just be a bit wary.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Every one at the Thanksgiving table!
We had to split it in half to fit everyone!
Let me just start of telling you all what I was Thankful for this year:
««I am very thankful that I have so many wonderful friends and family members that have supported me and loved me every day even though I know I can be a little "rough around the edges".
I am Thankful that I have had this wonderful opportunity to travel in a different country and to have met so many wonderful new people and friends.
I am Thankful that I have a home, a family, friends, a job, a warm bed, clothes, etc.
Above all, I am Thankful that no matter how bad things get, I still manage to smile at the little things.««
A plate full of delicious!
So this year was my first year away from my family on Thanksgiving. I knew it was going to be hard since I wont have the chance to see my family, go shopping with them on Black Friday (even though I only go to get coffee ;p ), and to not have the ability to help my Nana put up the Christmas decorations. Since we could not go home for Thanksgiving we decided to bring Thanksgiving to our new home. So, we invited all of our friends here in Germany and it turned out HUGE! About thirty people or more people showed up and most brought food from home or drinks. We had two different versions of Kartoffel-Suppe (potato Soup) from some German friends. There were Finnish Pancakes, a vegan-friendly Nut Roast, Spanish Omelet, Fruit Cake, Leeks and Carrots, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Baked Apples, and of course the TURKEY! All of the food was so delicious and no one, NO ONE walked away hungry and there were very few leftovers left. Every one absolutely loved the Thanksgiving and the celebration. In all, it was such a big success that I was so Thankful (and tired) that it went so well.
My finished Turkey before the oven!
I made the Turkey this year. It was my first time EVER making or even looking at a raw Turkey. I had to call Ashley down cause I have never seen how to take the gizzards and such of a Turkey. Luckily she had at least seen someone do it and helped me. From there I let the Turkey brine in salt-water for 8 hours. The next day I gathered the Rosemary-garlic rub and put it on the Turkey in between the skin and meat. I then sewed shut all openings of the skin and put it in the oven (along with some carrots and onions with some water in the bottom). In total it cooked for about 7 hours and it turned out AMAZING! It was so moist and flavorful! Every one loved it and there was none left at the end of the night. I am so glad that my first Turkey was so successful!
Overall, I am really glad that we decided to hold this holiday here. It brought a lot of people from all over the world to gather, eat, talk, and be happy. The Americans all felt at home with our holiday and talked a lot of what their own traditional Thanksgiving holidays held.
So this is a short (and late) post but there will be another in a few days with our latest grand adventures!!
A big line for the food.
1. Set goals for yourself. Whether it be to learn 1 new thing a day or to become a better person in general. It allows you to accomplish something while you are in a state of constant chaos and confusion of being in a different country. Plus, it is great for your well being.
2. Find outlets for your stress or anger. Try running or walking around the block. Create a playlist where you can express yourself through music. Pick up drawing, write a journal, etc. The more you let your stress pent up the more you will hurt the people around you.
3. Sometimes you need to relax. Even though you are in a new place and want to be a part of every outing, party, dinner, etc. sometimes you need to take time to yourself. For me, I love to crawl into bed with a good book or movie and some Tea. It makes me feel at home and I love the time to breath. Also, I have started doing some basic Yoga where I focus on breathing and relaxing instead of over thinking everything.
Cassandra, Ashley, and I in our Thanksgiving best with GLÜHWEIN!