Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Last weekend we traveled to Germany to visit our friends Holger and Annett, who did a rotation in Portland for two and a half years.  Ken and Holger worked many, many hours together, and the four of us got to hang out at various happy hours.  When we found out we'd be living in Norway, we were happy to have a chance to visit them.  So we flew to Frankfurt, and made it out to their house, which is in wine country (so pretty, and it was covered in snow!)

View of the vineyards (and Annett's bird house) from Holger and Annett's patio.  
It was gorgeous to sit in their living room and have snowy vineyards in full view!

So apparently, Christmas markets are where the cool kids in Germany hang.  They were everywhere.  And they sold magical things like glühwein, which we enjoyed many a glass of over the weekend.  

Enjoying the good stuff at Christmas market 2 of 3.

My favorite thing about this particular glühwein experience was that is was purchased and consumed under this little gem:

The moment I saw this, my mind immediately darted to the scene in Christmas Vacation where Cousin Eddie is wearing a white sweater over a black faux turtleneck (otherwise known as a dickey), and one touch of his hand destroys Clark's Christmas pyramid.  

So the fact that we were actually inside one of these was excellent.

Anyhow, more Christmas market pics:

Booth where you can just walk up and take a shot of schnaps.  We'd had enough glühwein at this point, so we somehow managed to not patronize this booth.  Intriguing as it was...

A full pork steak, on a bun.  I can get into Germany's version of a sandwich.

Festive streets and pretty buildings in Bad Wimpfen, the town with the greatest of all the Christmas markets.

Annett and I imitating the cute polar bears.

And we'll end the Christmas markets with this one.  
Bet you can't guess the refreshment we're enjoying here...

In addition to the markets, Holger and Annett took us to beautiful Heidelberg. 

Heidelberg from the journey up the steps to the castle.

Heidelberg Castle.

The whole crew at Heidelberg Castle.  Thanks for remembering your camera, Annett!  
Forgot mine (seriously who does that on a day in a beautiful, historic city??)  Most of these are iPhone (and Annett gave me some of her pics as well).

Just some pretty buildings and streets along the way.  I found a delicious falafel on this walk, and almost cried tears of joy.  It's been awhile since the smorgasbord of delish falafel at the PDX food carts...ahh.

So, thanks to Holger and Annett for such a lovely weekend!  You were fantastic hosts.

Not pictured are some goodies we picked up along the way - bottles of Pinot made a few blocks from Holger and Annett's house that were ridiculously cheap (and delicious!), and reasonably-priced Christmas lights ($20 for a strand of white lights in Norway...)  And no, I'm not exaggerating.  My jaw dropped and I started to laugh when I saw that at the hardware store.

And this week's Moment of Zen occurred just a few moments ago, whilst I was out shopping in the neighborhood.  I turned down a street I'd never been down, and went into a small shop with an inviting array of veggies outside of it.  And found this inside:

It's the little things, friends.  BBQ has been on my mind the past couple of months, and I decided just this week to finally make some delicious BBQ in the slow cooker.   I had just hunted down quite possibly the only piece of pork shoulder in Oslo earlier this afternoon, and was prepared to resign myself to some inferior BBQ sauce that I found awhile back.  Then this little treasure showed up right in my lap (okay, maybe not right in my lap, because I go in every tiny corner shop and search the shelves for anything familiar and wonderful these days).  But still.  BBQ Friday, here we come!