Monday, 7 January 2008

Round-up part 1

And I don't mean weed control.

It is time for a bit of a round up of the last 3, nay 4 weeks. It will be in installments, as rather than overpower this post with photos this will be text only posting. If you have the time and inclination to go and look I'll be posting photos on Flickr later on.

Last time I wrote anything of substance I may have left you with the impression that I was looking forward to going to Germany for the weekend with my friend Andy. It was an accurate impression, possibly underplayed for the audiences (there is was LOT more internal squeeing than you can imagine. My parents often tried to give me away free with a bar of soap around the holidays because I became THAT unbearable). Nuernberg was fantastic. The hotel was just adorable, and very central to all the bits in the old town that we wanted to go to. Getting to and from the airport in Munich couldn't have been easier.

Nuernberg really knows how to throw a Christmas Market party! They market themselves as the Christmas Town, and they are pretty much right to (from a shopping and getting you into the secular spirit point of view, all other towns with claims to being the birthplace of Christmas aside...). I had forgotten how much I love German Christmas markets. The smells, the sounds, the sights, but mostly the smells. And the sounds. Oh, and the sights...

We arrived late afternoon on the Friday, and once we had dumped our stuff at the hotel we hit the main square in front of the cathedral where the bulk of the Christmas Market is. Andy, being roughly the width of a twig, was instantly freezing, so I felt it only fair that I kept him company with a steaming mug of Gluewein. If you ever got to any kind of holiday market, and you think there is a chance they won't be selling any mulled wine, take a hip flask. It is the utter way forward. When we lived in Germany I was a bit young to really appreciate how fabulous Gluewein is. I am now a convert.

Saturday we roamed the town itself. There is a Breuniger in Nuernberg. This is possibly only exciting to someone who was a teenager in Boeblingen in the 80's. As I was we had to go. Imagine my disappointment when it was just a clothes store. It is like going to Harrods and the food hall being absent. Or going to Liberty's and have them just selling scarves. Very odd. We also found the only vegan restaurant in town and had lunch there. Whilst it was run by some very earnest hippies, they were earnest hippies who made good food, and had a great deli.

Andy and I had made the decision on Friday that we were only window shopping to make sure that we had seen all that there was to see, so Saturday night we headed back down to the market with Euros in our pockets and empty shopping bags in hand. We have a history of giving Christmas tree ornaments in our family, and it is something that I have extended to my closest friends for the last 10 years. I found some lovely traditional wooden ornaments for my friends, which were just perfect to give, but I also got some fabulous painted tin ornaments for the family. Tin ornaments are such a traditional part of Christmas in Germany, often times they come in the guise of a little shop front or other tableau, and can either be hung from the tree, or against a plain wall, so that you can really see the detail. We have some from when we lived there, so it was good to be able to remind my Mum & Sarah of the good times we had in Germany, especially this Christmas. I also treated myself to a German Smoker, like the big soldier or prince nutcrackers that you see, another really traditional German decoration.

On a knitterly note I did manage to find 2 yarn shops in the town though. The first just sold Lana Grossa, so I needed to get some. I bought some New Cotton in a teal-y colour, and I bought some Merino Big in orange and variegated browns, blues and oranges. The latter for me to make mitts and a hat out of (and if there is enough left over then a neck warmer too). I am obsessed with hats and gloves at the moment. The New Cotton was for my sis. She has eczema and can't tolerate wool, and the yarn I had bought to make her hat and mitt set with wasn't working out on the mitt front. The bad mitts had formed part of my packing, so I frogged them as soon as we got back to the hotel, and cast on with the NC (which, as luck would have it needed the same 4.5mm needles as I had with me). I finished sewing the ends of the 2nd mitt on the plane on way home. The 2nd shop was more of a generalist shop, but they had some Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett, so I snagged a couple of balls to turn into socks at some stage this year.

Nuernberg got a big 2 thumbs up from both Andy & me. It has set a high bar on the Christmas Market front for future trips, and I think we will be going back, as really, who can resist the sights, the sounds, the smells...

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