Munich — Department Store Holiday Window Decorations

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On Sunday, all of the stores were closed in Munich, except places to eat and the Christmas Market stalls. This was good, because there weren’t as many people out, so I could walk and really look at the store windows.

I thought you’d enjoy these holiday decorations. Really beautiful with the gigantic nutcrackers. Notice that I was able to take pictures with no “shoppers” in the photo. The store had Christmas music playing in English, I was singing along.

The perfect way to end the day!

German Oktoberfest is here! Time to go to Munich.

Oktober fest collageI almost forgot it was Oktoberfest! I was at Cost Plus / World Market the other day and they had a German section of food for Oktoberfest celebrations. The usual variety of sausages, mustards, beers, spaetzle, pretzels, chocolates and more.

Lederhosen group of men

Have you ever been to Munich for Oktoberfest? It’s really beautiful to see the men in their lederhosen and the women in their dirndles. I think this is the only place in the world where you will see grown men wearing leather shorts with bright colored shirts and as you see in the photo, you have to have the right shoes and socks too!

schnitzel

They really celebrate with fabulous music, singing and good food. Who can resist some schnitzel?! It’s a special tradition they have. My in/laws are German, so we always celebrated with their German friends, it was fun! They would sing all the German songs together, locking arms together swinging back and forth. Singing from their hearts.

My favorite is the Chicken Dance, here is a Youtube video (Wurstfest – How to Chicken Dance) that explains the steps for the chicken dance. In Germany, (EVERYONE) old and young get up to dance this dance. Enjoy this German tradition!

German Christmas Ornaments

1F9F01D6-5279-4FA9-9462-F1CDADE719EFThis past weekend was the start of Christmas shopping. I say, “Christmas,” because for many of us it’s when we start putting up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, hanging the lights inside and outside and finding those special ornaments to put on the tree.

Every year I look for new ornaments. I like to send them as gifts. I had a lucky find this weekend. I came across a German Christmas Market. I was in America, but I felt like I was in Munich, Germany. Wonderful!

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They had similar ornaments that I would find in Germany, hand made, so a bit expensive, but as you can see from the photos, really darling. Everyone was enjoying themselves.

One special item that Germans put up is the Christmas Pyramid. I learned this from my mother/n/law, because Italians do not have this. Every year, out came the Christmas Pyramid and we would scramble to find candles to light, so that the propellor would fly around in a circle. Here you see a larger pyramid that they put up in a town in Europe. Ours was much smaller.

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When I was young, we had a German neighbor and they put small candles on the tree and lit them. Can you imagine what a possible fire hazard that was?  BUT they never burned their house down. While we enjoyed the lit candles on the tree, we would play a game of Canasta!

Memories… it’s nice if we still have them!

A BIG thank you for the “Dampfnudel recipe” from Austria

3983C00E-C08A-4ED6-ADA7-B9EB1BBCE61EI enjoy German / Austrian cooking, especially when Fall and Winter come as their recipes are nice and hearty comfort foods. Recently, I came across Karin’s Blog called, “The Austrian Dish.” What a lucky find, a site specific to Austrian recipes.

When I think of Austria, I remember the movie, “The Sound of Music.” Not long ago I was on a train going from Italy to Munich and sat next to some Canadian backpackers. They had just been in Salzburg and took “The Sound of Music tour,” which took them to all the movie locations. FABULOUS – they raved about it!

Now, back to “The Austrian Dish.” As I was going through Karin’s recipes, I started longing for a German recipe that a friend’s German mother would make on special occasions called, “Dampfnudel.” I put a request in with Karin for this recipe.

Well, I woke up this morning to see a post called, “Sweet Dampfnudel.” It was the recipe on her Blog. Dampfnudel, for those of you who have never heard of it, is a wonderful Bavarian yeast steamed dumpling that can be served savory or sweet. I have always had it as a dessert with vanilla sauce. Thank you Karin!!

History says a hungry Swedish army came to the town of Frakenfeld, Germany in the 1600s. They told the towns people that if they could feed their army a hot meal, they would not plunder the town. The head baker, Johanes Muck, saved the town by making 1286 Dampfnudels.

Guess what – last year the “The Great British Bake Off” had the contestants make dampfnudel. The Irish Mirror news site wrote an article, “Dampfnudels rule Great British Bake Off as viewers fall in love with the German treat.”

Wow — Dampfnudel went global!

Globetrotter – German Sportswear, Outdoor Gear

imageI was recently in Munich walking down the sidewalk and kept seeing these fantastic store windows of outdoor displays. The colors of the clothing and equipment were so bright and vibrant, I thought, “What is this store!”

Store window

So, I went in. Wow – I felt like Charlie did from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” when he walks into the factory and he’s amazed by the “Oompa Loompas” and the factory process.

I had that same feeling of wonderment. This store was modern, bright and beautiful. Three levels to explore. imageThey had everything from outdoor clothing, to camping gear, biking, hiking boots, skiing, travel maps, canoes — what am I missing?  Oh, a tiny cafe too.

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We have REI, Cabela’s, and Bass Pro Shops as our “go to outdoor stores,” but this was unique. When trying on shoes they had different terrains to test them out. They had a pool on the ground floor, so you could try out your kayak. I got a kick out of this alligator one, great way to get a child involved in kayaking.

You can try everything out. Before you buy the rain jacket, go into the rain chamber and see how it works OR test a jacket for warmth, go into the cold chamber, where it is minus 20 degrees. That’s great!

If you are an outdoor person, if you are traveling through Germany, I highly recommend adding this store to your list of “things to see.” I promise you, you will be like a kid in a candy store.

If you’ve been there – post your recommendation. Would love to hear what YOU thought.

OK — heading to Green Lake, canoeing races today!