Sunday, December 22, 2013

Burg Hohenzollern

 A great thing about being in Germany during the Christmas holidays are the Weinachtsmarkts.  Translation: Christmas Markets featuring lots of handmade ornaments and decorations (especially wood) and an amazing variety of local food and desserts.  Of course, no German celebration would be complete without huge mugs of beer but the Weinachtsmarkts highlight is glühwein which is a hot mulled wine.  I don't care for it but it is very popular and a good way to warm up while perusing the stalls in the cold.  These markets run during the 4 weeks of Advent and can be found all over Germany.  Stuttgart has one of the largest and oldest and I will be posting images of that one soon.  This is the first Weinachtsmarkt we visited this year at Burg Hohenzollern.  This particular market only runs for 2 weekends (others run the entire 4 weeks).  The Hohenzollern Castle is about 30 miles south of us at the seat of the Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Alps.  Swabian refers to our unique cultural region here).  It is 2805 ft above sea level.  We drove up the mount part of the way, then took a shuttle bus another part, then another smaller shuttle up the steep, windy switchback trail, then walked up the rest of the way on a paved trail into the castle.  Crazy!  It is still privately owned by Prussian royalty... cool!  We went during the evening with some very good friends so we could enjoy the lights at night.  It was very overcast and foggy for the most part so the views were somewhat obstructed.  I can't wait to go back during the spring for the Mothers Day event when tourists can stroll through all the castle rooms!  Here is the website link if anyone is interested.
Click on photos below for larger images.
A pict of the castle from the web.   Our view from the car as we approached.

Inside the castle.  This was the only area open to tourists.

Me with some castle greeters (very Cirque de Soleil as one friend commented!)
And my favorite wintertime treat here... hot chocolate!
It is sooo chocolatey and so rich it's almost like pudding.
Of course, being in Germany you can have it plain or with a shot
of Bailey's or - my favorite - Amaretto. 

Our very good friends, the Wamberas...
Leonhard, Isabel, Thomas and Louise.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Wow!  How is *that* for a title?!  (Of course, in my mind it is being sung by Andy Williams who I think does the best version of this and Peter will agree.  Love that he loves the classics!)

Well, I'm back!  Really.  Seriously!  I know, you are thinking, "Yeaaah.  She'll post one lousy blog and then come back *next summer* to give us a novel, promising more is coming."  And you might be right.  And, might not.  Long story short (believe it!)... my ancient Mac died, my camera died (I lost all of my Paris pictures which I hope can be retrieved), Peter's camera - which I had confiscated for my own use after mine died - crapped out, I lost my cell phone, I've been busy, it's dark and I'm wearing sunglasses... you get the picture.  (And if you didn't get the Blues Brothers reference... what can I say?  There are sooo many good lines from that movie you are missing out on!)

ANYWAYS, it is DECEMBER ALREADY!!!  Where in the world has this year gone?  I am now armed with a trusty new Mac (hurrah!) and lots and lots of photos that are of questionable quality from my weenie phone (a lame replacement after losing my "good" phone) and am ready to share with you all some new posts about our time here in Germy.

SO... get ready!  Lots of German festivals, castles, Paris (maybe) and a Year In Review.  And maybe a New Year's Resolution to keep up with the blog...  actually on the real live computer and not just in my head!  ;)

Hope you all are having a happy holiday season so far!  We'll "talk" soon!

Marky and Peter - Cutest boys on the planet!  (OK... I'm a bit biased.)