Lately I've really been missing home. And our extended holiday in Germany. And Korea, with its friendly faces and cheap simple trains and shows. And basically everything that's not Japan.
Living here is hard -_-
So, fuck it: Christmas in July!
Originally Hannes had told me that the Weihnachtsmarkt, or traditional German Christmas market, would be over and packed in by the time we got to Germany just before New Years' Eve. I was disappoint.
But then, lo and behold, it was still going on!
This was the view from the awesome little studio Hannes had never lived in until that glorious time. Obviously his hometown is adorable, and these festive stalls made it even moreso for about the first week we were there.
Glogg (Blogger suddenly hates Alt codes I guess) is the Swedish variety of hot mulled wine, with golden raisins and almond slivers in it. During my first couple of weeks in what I of course now consider to be the best country ever, I tried no fewer than 7 or 8 varieties of the stuff. Had I not been so consistently drunk I might be able to remember a bit better, but that's just further testament to the efficacy of the gluhwein (the more German varieties).
I even decided to mad scientist some at home, and it actually turned out good!
A word to the wise, though: having the flavoured tea and Bacardi together alone is...
Well, you're gonna have a bad time.
The snackage consisted largely of roasted, toasted, coloured nuts, chocolate-dipped things, and deep-fried things. Also baked things, sugar-glazed things, and fruit preserves. such calories. wow.
This is a kartoffelpuffer, which is also one of the few German words I know and among the most fun to say. It's not just potato but also a bit of flour (I did so much allergy damage during the first two months of this year it's untrue), which expands to create little air pockets and therefore a light, crispy texture when the thing is deep-fried.
It's traditionally served with sugar, and Hannes' dad loads on a ton of it while his mother complains, it's pretty classic. It's also served with fruit jams and apple sauces. Not bad!
And here we have a wedge of deep-fried camembert, a roll, and lingonberry jam.
How delightfully decadent!
They even have these awesome "drinking tents" set up, but they're really much fancier than mere tents. They have woodchip floors, Festive winter woodland-wonderland decor turned up to 11, reservable tables, and full-service bars inside.
If you have a chance to visit Germany during the holidays, do it. It's so picturesque, in many cases not nearly as cold as you'd think, but rather, so warm and inviting.
Update (9/15): Hannes and I have been watching some No Reservations lately, and the beginning of the Austria episode is about Weihnachtsmarkt. I know, I know, it's Austria, but Tony's reaction to it is spot on.
At first he's all like, "Christmas market? What is that even? Ugh, I don't even celebrate this holiday and I don't like sweets, it's going to be stupid, blah blah blah", but then he gets several cups of mulled wine in him (and is amazed by the cup return rebate just like I was) and is like, "This is the best idea ever! I love Christmas! Look at this snow, these happy buzzed people, and this palace right here! This is the best tradition ever, let's do it all the time!"