04.12.2009 - 14.12.2009 20 °F
With a tummy full of baked, cinnamon apples and a view of a winter wonderland, I thought I'd celebrate the numerous festivals going on at this time of the year. The beginning of December is by no means the beginning of festivals in Germany. I wouldn't even know where to begin in naming them all. But I believe there are some bets going on that there is at least one festival every weekend of the year in this country. So far I have tasted new wine during the wine festival season, tried plantains and other foods from around the world at the Völkerverständnis Fest, "prosted" liters of beers with my father and friends at Oktoberfest, tasted fruit covered chocolate at Tübingen's chocolate fest and collected cheesy snowman-shaped mugs from Christmas markets. But these are only a few of the highlights. I always enjoy walking by a set-up crew on my way to work wondering what could be going on this weekend? Will I see dancing? Or maybe participate myself? The one sure thing is that wurst will be involved in some way shape or form.
I've been trying to let the city of Karlsruhe grow on me and feel more like home, but these past few weeks Tübingen keeps wooing me away to it's festivals. Anthony and I have become experts on the road between Karlsruhe and Tübingen, knowing when the heaviest traffic is and the best detours to avoid road construction. We often trade off fairly between the two towns, enjoying the view from the hilltop dorms and the various events or the quiet hideaway in Karlsruhe and evening dinners with roommates. But I couldn't resist the sound of a chocolate festival last weekend. International food festivals are difficult enough to miss--I even brought Tupperware to the last one in Chico--but chocolate of all kinds? The old downtown was lined with sweet smelling stands and vibrant images projected onto the buildings. We were escorted into the town center by "torch light" and illuminated globes. It was an ethereal combination of tantalizing scents and psychedelic decor. There was hot chocolate infused with the most unimaginable flavors that would outdo the chemists at Jelly Belly, dried fruit dipped in chocolate, chocolate covered rose petals, chocolate shot glasses filled with "Wintertraum" schnapps, chocolate...well I could go on but I'm not Bubba and we don't have three days to swab military barracks together. Oddly enough, I walked away from the event empty handed with an equally empty cup. There were enticingly too many decisions and it felt like the right choice to not make one instead of wondering what the other 67 choices tasted like. Instead I will imagine each one as I look back on the festival.
And after a short but industrious week at "the office", I found myself back in Tuebingen for another tantalizing list of events. Each weekend Anthony and I try to enjoy some down time together but events seem to fill each gap we have. This weekend's agenda includes Shopping in Reutlingen after visiting a medieval Christmas market, but not forgetting the Feuerzangenbowle on Friday night http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feuerzangenbowle. On Saturday We had plans for a fancy tea party followed by a masquerade and would like to top the weekend off with the Tuebingen Christmas market on Sunday.
Well, we made it about halfway through, slept in every day and relaxed instead. After shopping all day on Friday we figured it wasn't much good trying to understand a German movie when we could barely speak in full sentences and it finally snowed on Saturday so it was grounds for a late cozy morning inside and a romp around in the afternoon before getting fancy for the masquerade. We did, however, make it to the Christmas market today but oh were our fingers and toes numb! Up until now we were perplexed by the strangely warm weather and rarities for wearing more than three layers, but we have made up for all of that in one evening of cold. It is now very clear that we can put off the purchase of winter shoes no longer! But the gluhwein and various stalls full of local crafts was well worth the cold!
So that's about all for tonight but stay tuned for the next German festival which is sure to be on the horizon.