Saturday, December 20, 2014

Germany - Christmas Markets, Brauts, and very little Snow

We decided, rather last minute, to use up some remaining vacation days and go to Germany. The kids wanted some winter weather and some snow. We were somewhat successful!

We landed in Munich on Saturday, picked up the rented 9-passenger van, and headed to the Novotel Suites.  We laughed every time the GPS lady spoke - "Follow this road for a long time"!

The concierge recommended a good German restaurant, so we boarded the tram and headed to  Marienplatz. We strolled through the Christmas Market, tried the gluhwein (warm, spiced wine), and got a table at a quaint German restaurant. It took 3 times of asking to get a table at 4:30pm -  the waitstaff thought we wanted the table for all night as that is how they usually book tables. We assured them we would be done by 8pm!

Matthew loved the goulash!
Marienplatz Christmas Market - north side of Munich

Kinderpunch is hot and sweet!
You play a deposit on the cup - so you can get some euros back, or keep the cup. We decided to collect them !
Saige barely let us put a coat on her - no hat yet!

 Sunday morning we headed to Ottobrunn for a special meeting. We had met the Plugges when they visited Dubai a few years ago, and they had us and some visiting girls over for dinner afterwards.

I promised the kids we wouldn't go to any boring museums this trip. But the weather was wet, so the Christmas Market was out Monday morning. Someone recommended the Deutches Museum - we looked it up online, and everyone agreed it was a good option. Turns out - they all loved it!

Saige loved her ride, thank goodness. She often took naps on Dad's back.

Munich is a very international city.

Deutches Museum - German inventions

Kinder area - Matthew, Jolee and Julia loved building with these huge blocks.
Katelin and Macey on the stage!

Famous grilled sausages at a 130 year-old restaurant

St. Nicholas visited the Christmas Market in Munich and gave the kids apples and bags of candy.

Stollens! Yum!

Crane with Christmas lights and a tree!

Snack time at Rischart cafe - yum!

Apple Studel


Baby, it's cold outside!

Macey's candle!
Lebkuchen is gingerbread, usually coved with nuts, chocolate, frosted - more like a cookie. Gluhwein is spiced warm wine, usually red. 

Manger Market

On Tuesday we decided to drive to Nuremberg, Germany to see the castle and Christmas Markets.

Solar panels on all the barn roofs.
Gas station sign
Roadside village

Jolee and Julia are looking forward to Santa's visit!

Princess Julia entering the castle grounds.
Exploring the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg. The inside of the castle is a museum, and the curator told me the displays are all behind glass with alarms connected to the police. We decided NOT to go inside!

Castle wall - garden where the moat would have been.
Silly Macey
Timothy would spend all day in a museum!
Katelin exploring the castle - notice the difference in building materials
This portion of the castle was built in 1570

Lots of different styles and materials

View from the castle walls

Interesting roof - lots of dormers!
Castle towers - you can walk up the round one on the left.

Off to the Christmas Markets.
Stagecoach Tours

Prune people!

The Nuremberg Christkind - an angel that brings presents.
Cookie presses

 Wednesday morning we drove south to Grainau, Germany at the base of Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in Germany. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called Haus Sonnenschein.

Typical Bavarian house

Church with interesting grave yard

Matthew prefers to make faces for the camera - dinner in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Saige makes squinty eyes when you say "Cheese"
Carousel teacup ride

Christmas market in Garmisch - they are everywhere!

Cafe with really good apple strudel

 Thursday morning - what to do with no snow? We decided to go up to the top of Zugspitze.
The mountains were hidden behind the clouds and fog.
View from our porch.
Zugsptize - no snow on the lower slopes!

Lake Eibsee
Up to the top!

Snow at the top, and a sledding hill with sleds provided! We had a great time even though we weren't wearing snow clothes.
Macey - on the edge!

Julia - the sun was so bright, for a change!

Church and a sledding hill

Matthew can't resist a snowball fight!
Timothy lovin' Germany!
Saige loved the snow and the sledding!

German flag - only one we saw on the whole trip.
Germans' love their dogs - we saw them everywhere! 

Lodge at 2600 meters!

Saige loved the cold, the snow, and the ride down the hill - she's a keeper!

We had a few mishaps - Saige is not fond of snow on the kisser!
Boys will be boys???
Hot cocoa in the lodge.

Dinner in Grainau

Apparently Julia can read with Daddy's glasses on!

Lots of pork! And venison! 
The next day we drove to the Royal Castles Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein

Castle with a walking bridge!

It was so foggy that we could hardly see the castles, and it was difficult to take pictures.

We relaxed that evening and "some" of us packed up the suitcases!
Our last day in German, we drove around southern Germany and into Austria. The land lady said their was a festival in Biberwier for Krampus, an evil counterpart to Santa that steals naughty children in his knapsack. We got there a few hours early and the town was asleep. So we drove on to Innsbruck, Austria.

Lunch at the Garmisch Christmas Market

The river water was a bluish color because of the clay on the river bed.

Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck Christmas Market

Puppet show

Getting admitted into the Emirates Lounge is always a feat. We were successful  and enjoyed a delicious lunch!

Goodbye Germany! It was fun!