Friday, December 27, 2013

Braunschweig

One of the things on my "wish list" was to take  my family to a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) in Germany!  It is SO festive and beautiful and filled with SO many things we couldn't get in Saudi this time of year (or year-round for that matter).  My host parents must have read my mind.... my host mom did lots of planning for our trip before we came and she had today earmarked for my family to take the train to Braunschweig (an hour trip away) to spend the day (and I say to give my host parents some peace and quiet).  Mutter took us to the train station at 8:30 to send us on our way.  One of her traditions is running beside the train as it leaves.... my kids got a kick out of that!!!
We got to Braunschweig about 9:30 and the market was going yet.  Without knowing exactly where to go, we got on a street car and I told Brad to just get out where the majority of people were getting out... and I was right!  We made it to the downtown shopping area and found a warm place to get a pastry (LOOK at the selection!!!  We were all overwhelmed!) and something warm to drink before heading back out in the cold to see all there was to offer!
When it was time for the market to open, my family couldn't believe their eyes!!!  We had gotten a map of Braunschweig and a list of what to see while we were there.... let me say, we didn't see much.... we mainly just enjoyed the market!
There was just SO much to take in and enjoy!  We thought this was it until we started walking up and down the aisles.... and turning corners... and crossing streets.... it just kept going and going and going!
Fish was being smoked on an open fire....
Typical German Christmas decorations were made life- sized....
And Gluhwein (usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and raisins. It is served hot) stands were everywhere.  This was just the start.
Our day was just beginning and I was in heaven!!!
We had been looking for a brewery store but didn't find one... instead we found a local brewery on the corner so we went in to warm up....and enjoy a beer.....
a BIG beer!!!  Prost! : )
At the church where Heinrich der Löwe and his wife are buried.  Isn't it beautiful!  His grave is up front where the kids and I are standing.
While we were at the church we took a minute to light a candle, say a prayer, and remind ourselves of ALL we have to be thankful for!
We also stopped to remember why we celebrate Christmas!
After visiting the church, we headed back to the market.  Ethan had fallen asleep..... the roads are all cobble stone which makes for a bumpy ride which put this tired boy right to sleep!  We had planned to go eat lunch but decided to walk around a bit to let Ethan have a short nap... time to stop for another warm drink! : )
Brad had looked up good German restaurants on Tripadvisor and a place called Mutter Habenicht was rated #2 restaurant in Braunschweig...and it ended up being right by the market so of course we had to stop for lunch!
I am use to eating red cabbage and sauerkraut.... they are some of my favorites.... so when I went to order them I was disappointed to see it wasn't on the menu.... but I was pleasantly surprised to be shown a new dish I'd never tried before brown (or some call it green) cabbage!  It is good to branch out a bit.... heck, that's what my family had to do this whole time!!! :)
What a good lunch... and nice break from the cold!!!  If you are ever in Braunschweig I highly recommend it!
Now it was getting darker and more festive!  It was awesome!!!  It was also time to find dessert.... there are SO many booths to choose SO many yummy things from...and the kids were loving the free will to shop and choose whatever they wanted!
Life is Good!!!
My little family had an amazing day being immersed in the German Christmas culture!!!
My heart was so warm... and my belly so full... after a full day at Braunschweig's Weihnachtsmarkt!

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