A snowy New Year’s in Finland, without snow

Sauna by the lake

Happy New Year! Where did you ring in 2014? We seem to start out each year somewhere different (in our five years in Munich, I think we were only there for its warzone-like Sylvester once). This year we had the pleasure of being invited to join some friends at their log cabin on a lake in a remote part of Finland. We’d lapped up their stories of snowy snowy New Year’s Eves past and could not wait to experience it ourselves.  Continue reading

More notes from Christmas in the UK: hampers and crackers and puddings, oh my

UK Christmas 3

This year of doctors and hospitals has distracted us from all the fun that is usually involved in one’s first year as an expat in a new country. Years have various flows in different cultures, with different events and celebrations punctuating the passage of time. Now that Scott is healthy and about to return to work, we were able to exhale and look around us and enjoy our first Christmas in the UK.  Continue reading

Austria: Easter eggs in Stinatz

Stinatz eggs

I was off to Austria again this past week. This time around we had only fleeting glimpses of snow; most of the trip was spent in Burgenland, the southeastern part of the country full of gently rolling hills. Our first stop was Stinatz, a tiny village known for its hand-scratched Easter eggs.

Frau Stipsits in her kitchen

The women (there are only four or five of them left) of Stinatz who make these eggs belong to a Croatian minority which settled here long ago. We visited one of the women in her home, Continue reading

Christmas in Charleston

cobblestones and palm trees in Charleston

And now for something completely different.

Tiring of our glamorous European lifestyle, we decided to hop across the pond for Christmas in the Deep South. It’s possible that our decision was swayed by the generous invitation of my parents to join them there, but in the end we found Charleston to be a most pleasant place to spend a few days (lack of appropriate Christmas weather notwithstanding). Continue reading

The most wunderbar time of the year

Christmas in Munich

It’s time for my annual I-love-Christmas-in-Germany post. The Christmas markets opened last week, looking much as they do every year. I’ve noticed a couple new stands here and there, but for the most part everything is in its place. Now if we could just have some snow to make them even cuter, I’d be in heaven.

Gluehwein at Der Pschorr

I’ve written several posts about the markets over the years, such as this one about the best Munich Christmas markets for pretty much everything (or you could just view all my posts about Christmas markets). One stop I haven’t talked about yet (but is worth a mention) is the Alpen Wahn, a cozy little stand outside Der Pschorr serving red and white glühwein until 11pm each night (which is later than most of the other markets are open). Look for it at the north end of the Schrannenhalle, just off the Viktualienmarkt.  Continue reading

The only jack-o-lantern on the block

Last night we decided to be true to our American roots and got creative with a pumpkin. When I first moved to Europe in the 90s, Halloween-style pumpkins were nowhere to be found, but this year we were able to pick up one at our local farmers market for only €3 (it was even labeled as a “Halloween-Kürbis”). Continue reading