Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dr. Jackie


After three weeks in the States, I'm back in Germany. This is what I did on my trip.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Feuerzangenbowle

So after wandering the Weinachtmarkt all afternoon Saturday, I headed over to some friends for Feuerzangenbowle. At the Christmas market, they sell Gl├╝hwein (hot spiced wine) sometimes with rum or other stuff. For Feuerzangenbowle, red wine with spices (definitely including zimt (cinnamon)) is heated until it is steaming but not boiling. A scoop shaped rack is placed over the pot and a zuckerhat (sugar cone/loaf) is placed on the rack. A bottle of high alcohol content (at least 45%, this was 54%) rum is opened and the sugar is bathed in rum until it is soaked through. The sugar is lit on fire ('fire makes it good!') and the sugar is continually bathed in rum to keep the fire going (by the way, the whole pot was on fire too). The flaming sugar and rum carmelizes and falls into the pot. When the sugar is gone, stir and serve. It's pretty awesome.

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Weinachtmarkt

Here's a massive update before I head out-of-town. I took all these pictures on Saturday.

I bought a bike a week ago and have been very timorously biking to work:


It's a folding bike (Bruce would be so proud!).

The garage down the street is split-level but while Sean was here it was never apparent. It was open yesterday, so I thought I needed some photographic proof:


Here's the window of the violin maker that I mentioned before:


So in the Zentrum (center), a Christmas market (Weinachtmarkt) has sprung up, and formerly cute little plazas have become even cuter little villages of stands that sell food, drinks, arts and crafts, etc. If you notice that some of the pictures aren't so great, it's because it's crazily crowded at the Christmas market.


Here's the most important stand, the roasted chestnut stand:


Here's the busiest stand, the one that sells alcoholic drinks. By the way, although the food often comes on little paper plates, Germans don't seem to believe in paper or plastic cups. All the drinks come in glasses or mugs and you put down 1.50 euros or so in deposit which you get back after you return your cup (although, if I were a tourist, I'd just steal the cups as souvenirs).


They've put up little Christmas trees up everywhere, but it seems sufficient just to prop them against things instead of putting them upright. Here's one against a light pole:


And here's a bunch leaning against a fence:


There's also some kiddie rides that blast mostly American Christmas songs:


A few stands sell cotton candy, popcorn, candied nuts (made there! smells so good!), and these giant gingerbread hearts that say things like 'I love you.' I saw at least one embarassed looking middle-aged woman wearing one around her neck.



This stand apparently sells wooden spoons:



And this one sells brushes for some reason (and I've seen plently of people proudly carrying wire bottle brushes they've purchased. Odd, huh?).


Uh-oh. Creepy puppets.


Another popular item are these paper lanterns shaped like stars.


And, of course, candles:


If you're looking for money, having a dog seems mandatory. These people are apparently soliciting for charity, but I've also seen street performers (a dog circus!) and beggars with dogs.


Speaking of street performers, there's a bunch. This guy is playing the accordian:


These two are rocking 'The Four Seasons' with just a violin and an accordian:


There's also an old lady with an accordian, a couple of kids with trumpets, the guy who plays 'Behind Blue Eyes' with his guitar, the typical set of guys with ponchos and playing some sort of pipes (are they supposed to be Peruvian or something? I'm never sure.), and more than one brass band. Here's one mostly made up of kids:


Past the old gate, there's Friesenplatz, where they've set up a mini ice-rink (also, if you squint, you can see Citibank behind the tree. So that's where it was!).


Sean thinks that Bonn looks like Epcot Center. I can kind of see that in this picture (are all the buildings 3/4 sized?).


One of the plazas has a regular outdoor produce market:


Finally, creepy Santa Claus:

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