Thursday, December 29, 2011

Relaxing days over Christmas in Germany

After the day in Nuremburg we had a day at home. We decorated the tree - well I handed things to Claudia or her mom. The tree was crooked though and at one point we heard a crash and sure enough it had collapsed. So after sort of stabilizing it we gave it a wide berth everytime we went into the lounge. Claudia's mom - let's call her Erna as that's her name! - Erna fixed schnitzel with boiled potatoes and beans (both veggies from their garden). It was delish. They always have their big meal at noon. Breakfast is rolls with cheese and different kinds of sausage spread. Supper is the same only bread instead of rolls. Claudia is an anglofile so has loads of British comedies and mysteries so every evening we would go to her lounge in the house (the top floor is basically hers) and drink wine with a big plate of home baked goodies in front of us....

On the 23rd of December we headed off again on the train. Claudia had gotten two six euro tickets for us to use - six euros for two people to go anywhere within a certain radius. So off we went to Weisenberg. It was a pretty little town - we walked by the town wall and saw the sights. Luckily it didn't rain while we were there. We had lunch at a restaurant and I had Laberkasse which says it has cheese in it but that's a lie - what it basically is is fried bologna with a fried egg on top! And this had salad on the side. It was quite good. We stopped at a grocery store so Claudia could buy some wine for a friend we would be visiting and she said are you going to buy chocolate so I did....:) We then took the train a couple of stops and Claudia's friend Renate picked us up and took us back to her house for coffee and cake. She is married to an American (he is now retired from the military)so of course her English was excellent. Bob said I was the first Canadian he had ever met. Anyway it was a great visit and their house is lovely. Back to Heiligenstadt where we had our usual supper. Another evening of wine and DVD's! Heiligenstadt is a very tiny village of 1500 so not a wild nightlife!!!

Christmas Eve day dawned and after breakfast I headed out for a walk. They have created paved biking/hiking paths out of disused railway lines that go on for kilometres. It's wonderful. It drizzled the whole time I walked but I did about 7 km and then back to dry off and a hot cup of tea. We had bratwurst and warm potato salad for lunch - yum! We attended the 4 pm Christmas Eve service at Claudia and Erna's Lutheran church which is beautiful. Even though I didn't understand a word that was said it was nice - they did a skit which was different and then it ended with the lights off and only candles while we all sang Silent Night. f(which was written in Austria!) It was spine tingling and then walking back through the village with the Christmas lights it was truly magical.
Back to a supper of home made pizza rolls then opening up gifts by the tree. (we put them by the tree - not under it in case it toppled again!!) Erna and Claudia seemed pleased with the gifts I brought them. Erna gave me home made socks as well as lots of chocolate and Claudia gave me a lovely small wooden Christmas decoration of carollers singing. It is light and small - perfect! Oh and a package of chocolate truffles and a huge honking chocolate bar.
We then watched a Christmas special that was truly international with songs popular in North America as well.
Christmas Eve is the big celebration in Germany with gifts, etc. and Chrsitmas Day is the day to eat. And eat we did!! Claudia and Erna went to church in the morning but I stayed in and caught up with my travel journal, etc. - the poor church would collapse for sure if I turned up again...as it is I've been to church twice this year - haven't done that it years!! Lunch was roast duck, red cabbage and dumplings. It was good. And I was good getting through all that cabbage...Claudia and I walked around the village and area for over an hour later that afternoon. Then back for coffee and cake followed by supper a couple of hours after that - my pants feel tight just writing about it....
Boxing Day which is just called Second Christmas Day in Germany....we had the usual breakfast followed by chicken curry for lunch. Then Claudia and I set out on the bike path and according to the sign post walked 5.5 out and back but Claudia said it was more like 7 km each way - she has measured it and they are wrong. Well whatever it was a good walk. Claudia ended up with blisters and was sore but I felt great which made me feel good as guess I am in not too bad of shape which is a good thing with that race coming up Feb. 5th.
My knees have been bothering me though on stairs and that house is full of stairs. In fact the shower room is in the basement and the stairs are a killer...plus going up and down to my room then down to the loo on the main floor....ouch. The first couple of days there I was a wreck from walking those steps up to the fortress in Salzburg. I can do hills too - give me some aleve and point me onto a walking path with hills or without and I am fine but if there are stairs it's gonna be ugly...

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