Germany and the magic of Christmas

1 01 2009

Welcome to 2009, and a new year of geoblogs, geopix, and geoadventures!

Back in 1977, I was an AFS exchange student in Northern Germany, and I decided to revisit the family again this year for Christmas. I’ve stayed in touch, especially when I lived and worked in Germany about 15 years ago. Of course, this trip presented an opportunity to find my first caches in Europe, and I even got to three different countries!

I landed in Frankfurt and was met by my exchange sister, Gerlinde, who helped me find my first cache in the Vaterland:
Goethes Vater – Jugendkulturkirche St. Peter

She’s since become a geocacher herself, and went and bought a Nüvi for it!

My first errand upon arrival:
geldautomat

Old Opera House, Frankfurt
alteoperfrankfurt

New building in Frankfurt – funky hole in it! Is it art?
holefrankfurt

Things to see in Frankfurt:
seule

Authentic cuisine in Frankfurt:
thaifrankfurt

Kaffeehaus

We spent two nights with her friend, Annagret, and their family in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. There’s a cache in these old millwheels:
Neue Mühle
oldmillwheels
threemillwheels
millwheelplaque

The town’s manger scene had real sheep!
sheep

The town square had an oversized Christmas decoration:
bignutcracker

This is the main street:rhedawiedenbruck1

Houses dating from 1609:
oldhouse

The town is on a canal:
canal2

Speaking of canals, we found one near the Kiel canal:
kielcanal1

There’s a cache up this hill:
Die zwei Berge
zweibergecache1

with this view:
zweibergeview

We found a cache in Eutin that was installed in the armrest of a public bench, but it had been put back in wrong, and we couldn’t retrieve it, even with Gerlinde’s handy tool set:
De jure

This is a cache hide in Burg am Fehmarn:
Grössenwahn??
cacheatinke

It’s next door to this church:
churchamburgamfehmarn

and around the corner from these chickens:
chickens1

Other caches we found in Germany:
Forelle – Fische & Schiffe
Stoer-Faktoren
Wallenstein Eiche
Droped! Red12
Itzehoer Denkmäler – Eisenbahn

On Christmas Eve, we went to the North Pole. It’s only a few miles from where I visted – who knew?
Nordpol

nordpolcache1
nordpolgerlindenordpolme

There a certain magic to being in Germany for Christmas. There’s not so much commercialism, and the mood is much more relaxed. Every town has a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market)
weihnachtsmarkt

where you can enjoy a glass of Glühwein (hot mulled wine)
gluhwein1

Next stop…. Denmark! … and the cache placed just for me!

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8 responses

1 01 2009
P.J.

Sounds like a total blast. I’d love to one day be able to cache in some European countries. Who knows? Thanks for sharing the stories and photos!

2 01 2009
Alex

This trip looks like so much fun! 🙂

2 01 2009
GeoJoe

Nice post, with great pictures. Sounds like the perfect Christmas!
Love your blog, too, and added it to my blogroll (http://geocachingjournal.blogspot.com/).

2 01 2009
sumajman

This was great reading. It reminds me of when we lived in Germany 25 years ago. Germany is such a beautiful country and I’d love to go back and cache there.

3 01 2009
sumajman

Thanks for adding the trekker to your blog roll.

3 01 2009
tonka_boy

Nice photos, Elin. I’ve never been to Germany, although my oldest sister was born there. Looks like you’re having a great time. Ya for you!

Lovin’ the Twitter novel. Keep up the good work.

5 01 2009
Geocaching Online

Sounds like more of a traditional Christmas spot. Thanks for sharing!

We always thought that there would be more snow at the North Pole…

2 10 2012
Kate

“There a certain magic to being in Germany for Christmas. There’s not so much commercialism, and the mood is much more relaxed. Every town has a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market)”

We went to Cologne last November and that’s what I loved about it too. Things were less commercialised and, if I might say so, there was a lovely absence of anything tacky. Don’t get me wrong, there were decorations that I didn’t like but I saw nothing that could be considered tacky. And there was a Christmas tree outside every single shop, a real one. And somehow or other, they made baubles look good. I don’t really go much on baubles but they had three bundled together and a bundle was hung on each branch, it looked fantastic.

And we never heard a cross word. Fair enough, our German leaves much to be desired but all we heard were people laughing, talking and it always sounded friendly. So many times, people heard us speaking English and just struck up a converstation with us; how long were we here for, did we like it, had we been to Germany before, telling us where the best food was to be found. I remember one gentleman who had his own stall for the first time, he was selling these beautiful lace decorations. We bought some of them and we ended up talking to him for about half an hour. It was a crazy half-German, half-English conversation but that didn’t seem to matter and as we said goodbye, he just picked up two lace candles and gave them to us, wouldn’t let us pay. I wouldn’t have picked it for myself but I’ll treasure it all the same because of his kindness.

I’ve been thinking about the Christmas markets in Berlin for my next adventure, possibly Vienna if I can afford it but they’ll have a hard job topping Cologne.

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