I’ve put off writing for long enough – time to tell you about our Christmas in Germany.
Our Germany AirBNB home was in a village called Dahlem which is an hour away from Hamburg. The village is sticking with our rural theme, not much around but very beautiful woodlands and a cute village. The house we stayed in had a cosy granny house feel to it, non of the cups or plates matched, the kitchen was older than me and the cupboards didn’t open properly – but this just added to the charm.
We were most looking forward to going to some German Christmas Markets, our first market stop off was in a small pretty town called Luneburg. Unfortunately the Berlin Christmas market attack had just happened a couple of days before and this meant the people here were on high alert. A good number of the stalls weren’t open and there were hardly any visitors. There was no excited Christmas buzzy feeling so we didn’t stay long. We had our mulled wine and hot sausage and headed home.
A couple of days later we tried another Christmas Market in Uelzen. We noticed that the roads were blocked off with fire engines in a bid to make the visitors feel safer and i’d say it worked as there were loads of people here, it definitely had the excited buzzy feeling we were hunting for. There were lots of stalls and rides and the amazing smell of mulled wine in the air. They project lights onto the town hall to turn it into a big advent calendar, behind each window is a brothers Grimm inspired art piece. There was a huge crowd to watch the opening of the days window and we had somehow got stuck in the middle it. Eliza was on my shoulders and none of us could move. The ever growing crowd was getting a bit too much for us so we decided to escape. Oh boy the German crowd did not like this! They defiantly stood still and upright and would not move an inch to let us through. One lady even shouted ‘no’ when I made an attempt to pass her. We eventually made it out alive but had (accidentally) pissed off some Germans in doing so !
The thing i was most looking forward to this year was having a real Christmas tree. Every year I want a real tree but every year Chris is against the idea – except this year! Not only am I allowed a real tree we also get to take an ax to the woods and chop it down ourselves which Chris loved. It made him feel manly!
Christmas at the Stitts is always a chilled affair. We have our big Christmas roast dinner on Christmas eve so on Christmas day we can all chill and play with new toys and no one has to worry about cooking a big meal or doing the mountain of dishes. This year was no exception and it actually fits in with the German way of doing Christmas.
In Germany Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend) is the day the people celebrate. Most people spend the afternoon and evening attending church services, eating traditional dishes and opening presents. In fact on Christmas morning (25th) when we were opening our gifts we saw our neighbour opposite working in his garden and building a wall.
We had a lovely Christmas day, we ate a lot of cheese, meat and party food. We played with Eliza’s new board games and we video called friends and family in the UK. It was just what we had hoped for.
We have never bought fireworks before because I’ve heard so many horror stories of home fire works going wrong but Chris managed to convince me to give it a go for New Years Eve – the fireworks here are so cheap and conveniently located in the fruit and veg aisle of our local supermarket ! So on NYE we made a fire outside, we had some music playing, Eliza bounced on the trampoline and played football and when she got too cold we wrapped her in blankets and quilts and watched the fire. Eliza had been excited all day so was exhausted by 7pm so we did our fireworks early and she was alseep by 8:30pm (after we played her the fake NYE countdown – Thanks Netflix!!) Chris and I spent the rest of the evening rock and roll style watching The Big Fat Quiz of the Year and realising how little we know about the modern world of TV and Music. I think we will stick to our pointless general knowledge quiz shows from now on. Midnight arrived and the village exploded – everyone had fireworks. It was crazy loud, Eliza woke up and watched for a while but was soon fast asleep again. It was nice watching other peoples fireworks from the window and seeing everyone out on the streets so happy.
Not long into January we finally got the snow Eliza was desperate to find. She can’t remember playing in the snow just before her 2nd birthday and was so excited to get some proper snow here in Germany. We made a snowman and a snow cat. We went sledging and had the best time. The woods near by were full of treasures too, we found fungus that looked like a yellow brain, we saw deer and a big hare and saw icicles dripping down from hunting cabins. Happy memories were made. (this is me reminding myself that it wasn’t all bad)
Ok – now for the reason it took me so long to write this post. Germany was the first place I felt really lonely. We have been so lucky to have met some wonderful people on our travels so far, some have been a simple smile in a shop or a helping hand if we have been lost and others have become friends that we have kept in touch with as we have moved on. Unfortunately despite our efforts we were unable to find a friendly face in Germany. Eliza has made friends in all the countries we have visited so far and has learned some basic phrases in the languages needed such as ‘my name is Eliza’ or ‘can i play with you’ and ‘shall we play hide and seek’ was a favorite phrase in France. Germany was no exception and she tried repeatedly to play with the little boy who lived next door but unfortunately the boys dad didn’t want Eliza to play with his son because she ‘isn’t German’. We missed the service with a smile that you get in supermarkets in the UK (and France, Belgium, Holland….) that just didn’t exist in Germany – or not where we were anyway. After 6 weeks we were all looking forward to leaving.
Auf wiedersehen Deutschland!