This week has been very eventful. I have had so much to do to prepare for my trip to the US for Christmas. But I also found time to decorate my apartment here a little for the holidays. Here’s my “tree” – its decorated with my quilling
. Hilde gave me the Advent wreath on the window ledge next to it.
I also took a picture of the Nativity scene here in Bischberg where I live. In my last journal I reported on its dedication ceremony a couple of weeks ago. You may remember that many Nativity scenes change as the Advent season progresses to reflect events in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here are Mary and Joseph apparently being told there is no room at the inn.
We’ve had a couple of small snowfalls, although it’s very early in the year for them. However, last Thursday night we got about 6 inches of beautiful, fluffy white snow! Hilde called me excitedly Friday morning saying it was so wonderful that I had to come to her house to photograph it. She was right! Here are some photos of my two-kilometer walk to their place in the next village:
This particular line of trees with snow is what always comes to mind when I think of winter in Germany:
My favorite apple tree on the ridgeline:
Hilde lives in a village called Weipelsdorf. It’s really small and off the beaten path. I think I mentioned before that I learned it used to be a “Frische Luft Bad,” literally, Fresh Air Spa. It was where people came to the country to enjoy the fresh air. I would love to know more about this spa, but there isn’t anything online at all. Maybe the library. This house was the hunting lodge of the spa.
Here is the view from Hilde’s window. At least one of you in my audience has seen this view before!
Here is an example how much Germany is tied up in meat AND Christmas. This is actual salami in the shape of a Christmas tree! I saw it in the butcher shop and had to get a few slices. They also had something that looked like bologna with a Christmas tree and ornament design in the middle. I passed on that one!
Here Hilde is practicing Silent Night. She always plays it on Christmas Eve when the family is gathered around for gift-exchanging.
This sheet music was copied by her when she was a child. It is a well-known German Christmas song, but I had never heard the melody before. The title, “Ihr Kinderlein Kommet, “ translates as, “Little Children, Come.”
Hilde baked a cherry torte after lunch. Then she brought out her best china, Rosenthal porcelain, and we had a proper “Adventskaffee.” I have loved this china for many years! In fact, she told me once that it’s mine when she dies. I call it Schloss Geschirr
, or Palace Dishes. It is so unbelievably beautiful! I can imagine royalty using it.
What a wonderful day! And it’s a good thing she called me when she did. The next day it warmed up and rained and now most of the snow is gone.
The next day, Saturday December 11, I hopped a bus to Bamberg to visit the fifth and final Christmas market for the year, the Artisan Market
This market was only for this weekend, so I had to go even though it was lightly raining. I was grateful when I saw that it was inside! It benefits the Don Bosco society that works with underprivileged kids.
Part of the market was upstairs in a beautiful Renaissance-type room. Here’s the ceiling:
The market was very kid-centric. Here’s the entrance to the Kid’s Café:
At the exit was a guy selling those bird-whistle ceramic thingies that were at the Medieval Market
– see my previous blog post for details. Different guy but same product. Here’s a closer look. I dig the chest most of all!
After this market I wanted to visit a couple more locations on the Nativity Trail
On my way to the place I definitely wanted to see, I passed by the Carmelite nun’s cloisters. What a huge church! You can get a sense of how immense this place is from the aerial photo here
After the rather lame Nativity scenes I’d encountered so far, this one finally impressed me. It was really big with figurines about the size of toy action figures. It was Franconian style with a little booth of just about every kind of activity you can think of, such as a baker, a weaver, a tailor, a butcher, etc. There were beggars and people doing chores. There was a guy with his arm in a sling. In the center was Joseph with Mary on a donkey, registering with the authorities.
I spent a long time looking at all the different little scenes. And then I HAD to risk taking the prohibited flash photo because I knew I had to post this for you:
Why in the world there would be a martial arts fight in a Nativity scene, I’ll never know! I think the figurines have kung-fu grips.
Next stop was Obere Pfarre church. It translates as Upper Parish. It, too, is HUGE. They have the largest figurines on the Trail, also in Franconian style. The figures are about a foot high. Here’s a pan view of it from across the church:
And Mary on the donkey (LOVE the guy on the right!):
And Joseph registering. Doesn’t that woman walking up on the left look like she’s going to tell the Roman centurions on somebody? I don’t like the look of her!
Here’s another scene from this Nativity. I love the washing hanging on the line.
Here’s the alter in that church. I had never seen it before. It’s so gorgeous – I must do a whole article on it some day. Turns out my landlady attended the school run by this church.
After doing these photos I headed downtown to the big Christmas market on the square. The place was slammed! There were carolers on the square, a band playing Christmas songs on a side street, and thousands of people. They were shopping their a**es off! It was so crowded and I was glad to see the economy jumping. Plus it was NOT a mall! I picked up a couple of items for friends and headed home to warm up.
Tonight I’m going to the local church for a Christmas choir concert. My landlady sings in the choir and she invited me to see it. It’s to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
After that, I start packing for my trip to Florida on Wednesday! I hope you are all having a great holiday season!
Photo for No Apparent Reason (I call it, “Thank your local English Teacher”):