Tuesday, November 29

Thanksgiving also means . . .

Christmas Markets begin!!! We're beginning to feel like pros at this market tourist thing . . . fatty pros with all that yummy food on the tail of our Thanksgiving feast! But now that we've seen quite a few markets each year and the kids are getting older, we took a chance to enjoy some markets with them and some without them. It was a win-win this Thanksgiving weekend!

On Friday, we took the kids by Ubahn into downtown Munich for our first Christmas Market of the season. They loved riding the train and Morgan's expectant, demanding face was so fun to watch! For us, the markets are mostly about the food -- fried potatoes of every variety with tasty dips, hot chocolate and kinderfruchtpunsch, roasted nuts of all kinds and their aroma filling the air, lebkuchen treats, brot & brats -- essentially we aim to alternate between sweet and salty/savory foods. Ya got to have a plan of attack! The markets also boast beautiful ornaments, home decorations, fluffy leather slippers and good, scented candles and soaps . . . but that's not what's fun with the kids.

Not a great shot unless you know that two tantrums are in progress here. Ryan scored us some roasted chestnuts, but McKay and Morgan both wanted to be the one to hold the bag. Ahhh, good times!

Here's Ryan showing McKay and Morgan the finer art of getting to the chestnut.

The kids' favorite of the Munich market was seeing the ice skaters at the rink and picking out a winter hat so their ears didn't freeze. (See previous post to understand why I forgot to pack such essentials as hats and mittens.) They also enjoyed chasing pigeons and weaving in and out of other market goers. I laughed at how reflexive it's become for me to say "Ent-schul-di-gen" (Excuse me). Hmmm, I wonder how you say "Please excuse them"? Apparently, it's all the same - I had to check.

No trip downtown is complete without a stop at Rischart's for hot chocolate and a sweet treat or two. The place is always packed. This time we grabbed a plate of traditional German cookies to share with the cousins and Ryan just had to have one of their cute gingerbread houses. We were grabbing-to-go since Morgan had reached her limit of fun and we took our stuffs to the train. Not even five minutes on the platform and Morgan was in melt down mode refusing to drink her cup because she'd burnt her tongue, McKay spilled his entire cup all over the floor which had people dancing to dodge it, and Easton's lid was leaking down his front because he'd chewed a whole in it somehow. Ahhh, kids are fantastic! But all in all, it was pretty fun to see them enjoy the market!

The Hills Are Alive . . .
Saturday morning, Ryan and I left the kids at the cousins, except Jake, and we hopped over to Salzburg - home of the Sound of Music movie and Mozart. We had such nice weather the whole weekend, it was nice to not be freezing our keisters off! Jake's a trooper in the babybjorn carrier so it was smooth sailing! It's like he's in his own little sleeping bag stuck to Ryan's chest! Bunting sure is quite the science! One of my favorite memories of Salzburg this time was seeing strangers stop and smile as Ryan and Jake would pass by them.

Ryan and I trekked up to the fortress and boy am I out of shape . . . as if I needed any more proof than still being in maternity pants! Oh well. We were a little underwhelmed up there except for finding a new favorite phrase while reading a history of the fortress. "Decorative pomposity" - we've sure seen a lot of that in Europe!

Even though there was all sorts of good food at the market, I needed to be able to sit and feed Jake so we went back to a great little restaurant on GoldGasse we'd found on our first trip here in 2009, recommended by our hotel clerk then. (Memay, it's two doors down from the cute little boutique ornament shop you found last year.)

At 2pm, it was bustling and we ended up having to share a 6 seater with an older German couple. They were polite and we exchanged lots of smiles since Jake was being cute and smiley with all the attention. At one point, I gesture/asked if the woman would like to hold Jake and she beamed. I sure wish I'd dove into the language like Tamsyn, because it would have made conversation a lot easier. We were able to share some meager info and swapped camera pics of their grand kids and our munchkins. She even offered to hold Jake while our lunches arrived. They were just there for the dessert - the original Salzburg Nockerl. It's a whip cream tasting meringue textured top over warm rasberries. Real yummy! They shared a bit of it with us, not knowing we'd had it before on a previous trip.

Then we got out and browsed the market huts . . .

and some shops . . .

laughed at how we bet Mozart must be pleased his image is being used to sell chocolates . . .

and just soaked up the holiday feel of a cute old town.

That night, I just had to snap some of these cute shots of our little Jake. He's quite the slobbery, finger chewer-sucker during the day and by night he's a thumb sucker for sure. Lucky for us though, he loves the pacifier too which makes driving survivable!

From this top-down angle, my kids all look the same except for different shades of hair.
Man I could eat him up!