Well, the Holiday Season is finally over. My vacation is at an end and I have to get on the bike and head into the office like the rest of Unified Germany.
No more sitting around in my jogging pants, watching horrible daytime television. No more late-night forays in to the world of Battlefield 3. No waking up sometime in the afternoon, simply because you can.
Nope. The new year demands my contribution, as does my employer.
I will spare you all the lurid details of my vacation as no one really needs to hear tales of Anna and I traveling to her parents place with the cats in tow.
I mean, you can pretty much imagine the scene: my car filled to bursting with our luggage, my toys, and Xmas gifts for everyone and then things like bags of cat litter, cat food, scratching posts, and a travel box with two terrified, howling cats in the back.
Now, imagine being trapped in this automobile for over four hours. In traffic.
No, I won't get into the gory details. I will, however, show you the culinary delights that we enjoyed!
Cranking back the Hands of Time®, we have a look at something interesting that I found at a Christmas Market:
For some reason beyond my understanding, I felt compelled to purchase this bag of Physalis despite the fact that I hate the damned things! Fortunately, I was able to resist its siren's call and I was able to enjoy the rest of the market.
Now, for those of you who don't know, a German tradition is the Christmas Market. These begin appearing in every village and town on the first Sunday of Advent and continue until shortly before Christmas Eve.
Photo: Roland Berger License: Creative Commons by-sa/3.0/deed.en
Some of the more famous ones happen in places like Nürnberg, Stuttgart, Dresden, and Munich but markets can be found just about everywhere. Among other delights, the markets sell food, drink, and Christmas/Winter-related items from open-air stalls.
Popular at every market are the "glühwein" stands. The reasons for this being that the drink is very hot, so it keeps you warm and it's full of sugar, so it is sweet, easy to drink, and gets you bombed on the cheap. I can't stand the stuff but I encourage people to drink in mass quantities as it causes young men and women to do incredibly foolish but entertaining things, such as strip down to their underwear on a bet or have piggy-back races in a crowd of people on snowy ground. Hilarious!
Christmas markets are not recommended for people who are trying to lose weight as there is lots of food being sold.
Lots. Of. Food.
Not only is the quantity of vendors available huge but the portions are usually cripplingly large and unhealthy in a way that would make most dieticians have a nervous breakdown. Grilled bratwurst with fried onions, Lángos (deep fried dough with melted cheese or sugar), fresh waffles with cinnamon and sugar, crépes filled with Nutella, hot Reibekuchen, freshly roasted chestnuts, and more.
It's horrible! Evil! Should be illegal!!
You see, I've got a real problem with market food - I don't have enough hands to carry everything I want.
Not everyone was having a great time...
I think it could be worse. Not sure how, but worse.
On to Part 2 of our Epic!!!!