Saturday, December 31, 2016

AWARE is my word for 2017

2012: GO

2014: CHANGE

So this year I'm thinking a little bit broader. After the year we've had as a nation, it's time to think more outwardly and consider in-depth my perception of others, and in return, their perception of me.  What do I want others to see? What do I want to project? After some self-analysis, how do I want to change this year? 

As always, this isn't a challenge to complete by a certain date, these yearly words are an effort to focus on an area that needs some attention over the course of the coming months and seasons. I initially started with OPEN: the opening up of myself to new ideas and circumstances. But before I can become Open, I have to become Aware of what's going on in the world and in my head.

So that's where I'll start this year.  For many of us, 2016 ended with quite a jolt and a lot of raised questions and discussions about topics that we've never really considered in all their variations. Where do we go from here? What do we stand for? And what will we stand up for?

That all begins with becoming AWARE. Join me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Winter Solstice

The shortest day (of sunlight) is the first day of winter, and where better to spend it than Koln. It was actually quite cold out, even with the few hours of sun that shone. I think that means I didn't drink enough gluhwein (or any... my mistake).  The boys are not into markets and methinks that next year, maybe one will be on the "family outing" ticket. This year was Wiesbaden with Becca (nice), Bad Homburg with Becca (way too small to bother), Strasbourg with Becca (awesome), Frankfurt with everyone (no soul), and Koln with everyone.  Ian also went to Mainz with Becca, which I think is similar to Wiesbaden.

Koln has several markets, and we visited the three closest to the Hbf, the cathedral market, the gnome market, and the angel market.  The best of the three is the gnome market.

The whole market was filled with gnomes, on the stall roofs, on the signs, on the mugs, everywhere. Every market should have a theme like gnomes.

Seriously... gnomes!
There's a familiar feel to the Koln markets, as there seems to be in many of the Hessen city markets. Next year we'll try to get some of the more unique ones in walled cities and little hamlets. But Koln is worth visiting for an afternoon.

Bailey's hot chocolate is da gnomey best

The cathedral is massive and stunning.

Christmas tree.

Judgy owl

Ice skating through the market

Group photo! Thanks Berenice for taking it!

Taking to the ice.
So yes, we'd recommend a visit to Koln and its markets. If you do go, stop by the angel market and get a rolled up and baked, cheese and bacon wonder.  We decided to pass, and realized almost immediately that THAT was a mistake as it's something we haven't seen before.  Take the uniqueness when you can as so much of the markets are very cookie-cutter.

Enjoy the longest night of the year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

What I've Learned

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing Picture Quote #1

In the summer of 2014 we spent time in Northern Ireland and Scotland.  Northern Ireland was chillier than Amman, and it drizzled. A lot.

There was a quote that we saw in a shop window and it spoke to me.

I have to admit that my biggest concern with moving to Germany was the winter weather. It's still dark at 8 a.m. It's dark again at 4:30 p.m. And some days it's cold.  So cold. So very cold.

I don't do cold, and there are still times that my hands and feet get cold while I'm sitting at work or at home. That's normal, right? But so far winter in Frankfurt hasn't been awful.

Our home is designed for cold.  The heaters are toasty, the blankets are flung about, the windows don't leak.

I have a heavy coat with a big hood and lined pockets.

I have ankle boots that are lined and water-proofed.

I wear a scarf every day with my coat and at work.

I have a large assortment of sweaters, and one is wool so on really cold days that gets pulled out.

For really cold days I have leggings for under my pants and silky tops that are awesome layering insulators.

And in the past 20 years I've put on 30 pounds of living insulation.

I. Am. Set. And it makes living here that much more fun.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Strasbourg Market

I hate to admit it, but the Frankfurt Christmas Market just isn't all that. After loving Prague, enjoying Bratislava, adoring Schoenbrunn Palace, and now having Strasbourg under our belt, the Frankfurt option just doesn't seem to have much soul.

So yeah, Strasbourg on Tuesday was pretty awesome. The market this year takes up a number of alleys and squares of the Grand Ile in the city center.  It's a beautiful market, lots of walking, everything has a stork on it, and so many sweets.

Lunch at Au Dauphin

I think we'll actually go back to this one next year. Lovely.