holidays, markets

Santa visited our little Adventmarkt while riding a motorcycle!

Every year at Advent, when the pandemic isn’t forcing everything to be closed, our little town of Breckenheim has a little Christmas Market. They only have the market for one night, and it mostly consists of local clubs selling Gluhwein, hot apple wine, beer, and funnel cakes. There are usually also a couple of little stalls selling crafts.

Four years ago, when we moved to Breckenheim, we happened to be here on the night they did the market. However, because we were up to our armpits in boxes, we missed it that year. In 2019, we made it to the market, which I remember to be a really fun time. Back then, we only had Arran, as we lost our sweet Zane to lymphoma on August 31 of that year.

In 2020 and 2021, the market was canceled because of COVID. I remember last year, we did make it to the Wiesbaden Christmas Market, but in 2021, a lot of the smaller markets were still called off because of the pandemic. This year, they seem to have come roaring back! Some people live for the Christmas Markets. I could take them or leave them, to be honest. I think they’re lovely to look at, and I enjoy the food and some of the shopping, but I don’t necessarily feel like I have to go to a bunch of them.

It was fun to go to the Advent Market last night, though. We brought Arran and Noyzi with us, because Arran seems to have been regressing a bit since he’s been getting chemo. Twice, we’ve gone out and found that he’s torn up something. I suspect it’s because the steroids make him obsess over food. He made a huge mess last week when we went to see James Taylor, and he made a more minor mess on Thanksgiving. So this time, we decided we’d just take the boys with us and give Noyzi some much needed exposure to crowds.

It was pretty chilly last night, but thanks to a new alpaca sweater from Novica and an Irish flat cap, I stayed pretty warm. Bill and I took in the sights and sounds, as we sipped mulled wine and watched lots of eager children play as they waited for Santa Claus to arrive at 5:00pm, sharp. After the Santa visit, there was a church service held at the big beautiful church by the Dorfplatz. We didn’t go to the church service because it would be in German and we had the dogs with us. But we did watch Santa come in, announced by sirens and a guy from the local biker club escorting him with his chopper.

We also ran into one of the other American families who live in our town, and we had a nice chat with them until it was time for Santa. Noyzi was pretty well behaved, although he was a bit spooked by all the kids and the noise. Arran ended up being filmed because he was barking at the huge Maine Coon cat who has adopted our village and shows up for all of the events. I don’t know who she belongs to, but she’s very friendly and doesn’t care at all about Arran’s crotchety beagle barks. I think this will probably be Arran’s last Advent Market, not that he attended a lot of them before he got cancer…

Noyzi, on the other hand, needs some training so that he can go out in public more often. He loves people and is very friendly, but he still gets pretty scared of things he’s not used to. After about an hour, though, he did calm down and seemed rather pleased with himself. Arran was over the market within a few minutes and was very happy to go home, where he could worship Bill in private.

Below are some photos and videos from our outing. We tried to stay out of trouble by hanging out on the periphery.

A very short video of Santa’s entrance and exit on a motorcycle. We didn’t get closer because of the dogs.

Edited to add: someone got a great shot of Santa…

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Our little Adventmarkt!

A year ago, Bill and I spent December 1st moving into what was our new home in Wiesbaden. He was recovering from cleaning our old house in Jettingen, which turned out to be a complete waste of time, since our former landlady was determined to find and charge us for every little defect, whether or not we were responsible for it. In retrospect, I wish we had just broom swept the place, as required by our lease, and been done with it. Trying to clean that house to her impossible standards was a waste of energy that took away from the energy we needed to set up our new home.

Anyway, because we were in the process of moving, we never did make it down the hill to Breckenheim’s adorable little Adventmarkt, which goes on for just one day every year. They had it last night, so we went down for a couple of glasses of Gluhwein. I got some pictures. Most of the booths were for food and mulled wine, as far as I could tell. They had waffles, crepes, and I could see the Breckenheimer bikers were selling brats off the grill. They were the ones who threw the awesome rock festival over the summer.

I love how community minded Breckenheim is. This is a community that does a lot of neighborhood events and I can see that the neighbors are friendly and social and like to do stuff together. I experienced this a lot less when we lived in the Stuttgart area. They had events, but they weren’t necessarily neighborhood events. It was also a lot harder to meet people down there because it seemed like the general mood was more reserved. I did make friends in the Stuttgart area, but it usually took more time. A lot of times, our dogs facilitated the meetings, too.

The lady who owned the dog, Sammy, was also working the Gluhwein stand. She noticed Bill’s German accent wasn’t native and quickly figured out we are English speakers. It turned out she lived in the United States for awhile and worked for Seagram, the beverage company. She came out and had a lovely chat with us on topics ranging from The Rolling Stones to Donald Trump. I found myself apologizing for our president, who is not popular over here for obvious reasons. But Germans have a laugh about that, since Trump’s origins in Kallstadt are not far from where we’re living now. Some of Trump’s poor extended relatives in Germany have been treated badly because he’s a distant relative.

Our new acquaintance from last night had plenty of opinions about American politics, which she expressed in excellent English, as well as a funny story about visiting the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky and being shocked that it was in a dry town. We chuckled and told her that Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee is also in a dry town, and that folks who live there have to bring in their booze from a neighboring town that doesn’t ban alcohol.

When we told our new acquaintance we used to live in Swabia, she had a good laugh about the dialect, which even a lot of Germans don’t understand, and the stereotypes about people from Stuttgart. She said they are very good at business, since they’re very detail oriented and hate to spend money. I suppose I can agree with that, although I don’t know that being that way always leads to good business sense. Sometimes, both of those qualities are alienating and can get in the way of business. The trick is knowing when to be that way and when to lighten up and go with the flow. Sometimes a person can be “penny wise and pound foolish”.

Sammy, the dog, was incredibly adorable. His owner told us that he doesn’t like little kids and she worries that he’ll bite them. I noticed Sammy started barking whenever kids ran past him, but he was utterly charmed by the two fluffy furball puppies another family brought. I wish I had Arran with me, but he’s at the Hundepension Birkenhof today, because Bill and I have to go to Landstuhl and spend the night. Bill is having routine tests done at the hospital and I am the designated driver, because he will be under the influence of sedatives. God help us. At least we have a Volvo!

We headed back to the house when it became clear that my kidneys are in good working order. I suppose we could have gone back to the festivities and hung around for the appearance of Santa… Maybe if we’re still here next year, we’ll do that, if it’s not too cold. Last night’s weather was chilly, but not too unpleasant, but you never know in Germany. A few years ago, we had snow on December 1st. But then, that was down in Stuttgart, where things can be chillier in more ways than one!

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