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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

Christmas Markets

January 2: Packing and organizing our trip to southern Czech for 3 days.

January 1, 2012: Happy New Year

I have no need to come up with a New Year Resolution. I am living last year’s and the year before that... We are so blessed with family and friends - I do miss them but talking on Skype makes it seems like they are right around the corner.

December 31: Gary is shoveling and I am out cleaning off the car so I can take the recycling into town. Our 88 year old neighbor comes out of her house carrying a bottle of champagne. With the few English words she knows and the few German words we know, we understand we have been invited to her place to celebrate the new year. At midnight, we each have a glass of champagne and watch the many firework displays. I feel like the bobbing head on a car dash board trying to look catch sight of each and every burst of colorful lights in the sky.

December 25: Merry Christmas or Veselé Vánoce  We have invited Leona to breakfast. She is the “heads and beds” person for our pension. She knows minimal English so thank goodness for Google Translation. We sat on the couch each of us taking turns on the computer. She brought Christmas bread. The recipe came from her Grandmother. Marci and Christophe gave us a set of pates and a bottle of wine. Alexia and Andre gave us some chocolate truffles. Bottom line - we are foodies.

December 22: We attempt a trip to Wroclaw, Poland. The GPS, again, gets us all messed up. I take control with the map and get us on our way. Because the sun is thawing the snow, there is a lot of splashing on the windshield and the wipers have seen better days. We pull into a filing station and buy new blades - get this - for only $3.52. It is noon time and we have another two & half  hours of driving plus we realize we have forgotten the camera so we decide to go shopping at Tesco in Jelenia Gora Poland and then go home.

December 20: I catch the train back to Liberec without too much problem. I am in the wrong car for the final stage into the Czech Republic. Luckily a young lady translates for the conductor so I know to make the switch while they disconnect the car from the train. Gary is glad to have me home. He has added a hyperlink to the homepage called “Where is Candy Map?”. It is amazing all the place we have visited.

December 19: The hotel staff has recommended a train trip to Ludwigsburg to attend their Christmas market. The market is much smaller but in a lovely square with two churches facing each other. We come across a chalet selling german sweets. The young lady gives us a taste of the honey almond cake and I immediately have to bring home 4 squares for Gary & me. That is probably my one regret, I didn’t buy one of everything in her case - it all looked so good. Dinner is back in Stuttgart at a recommended restaurant. I have goose breast with red cabbage and a dumpling. Yummmmmmmy!

December 18: We make it to breakfast before they close at 10 am. The market opens at 11 am. We make it a full day of photo taking, finding the hidden treasures and enjoying each others company. We had a “wunderbar” chestnut soup at a traditional restaurant for lunch.

December 17: I am awake at 5:30 am to finish packing. We drive to Liberec so I can catch the train to Stuttgart Germany to hook up with my sister Marci and my niece Alexia. It is snowing very hard but as we come out of the mountains the weather improves. I catch an earlier train to Dresden. It was easy to find the next train to Nurnberg. Once in Nurnberg I referred to a paper listing of trains, found my departure time and destination and “volia” - I had the platform #.

It was dark when I arrived in Stuttgart but very lively. Saturday night and everyone was out to visit the Christmas Market. I visited the tourist information center and discovered that the market and hotel were within walking distance so I started my walk-about. With my handy map and my backpack I make a quick tour of the Christmas Market on the way to the hotel.

It was wall to wall people. The twinkling of the lights, the chalets loaded with Christmas gifts to purchase, food and hot mulled wine and the occasional musician playing his or her instrument overwhelmed the 5 senses - I was so excited. I knew I would bring Marci and Alexia back here to have dinner. They arrived at the hotel safe and sound. We made our way back to the market for dinner. Alexia and I are eagerly positioning ourselves for the next Christmas photo as we soak in the sights and sounds of the Christmas market.