Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany

Christmas (by Cala)

Well Loyal Readers (who am I kidding, it’s pretty much just my family anyways….) I realize these posts will be out of order and while that may bother no one else besides me, apologies anyways. But way to go Cal for being the only one on top of your game. Here goes (oh and of course I can’t refrain from making comments so mine are in italics)

Hello everybody! First, I’d like to thank my director, and all the cast and – oh. It’s just a blog. Never mind! But really, big thanks to Mom and Dad for providing the necessary funds for this fantastic Euro-trip! I’m supposed to write about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, since I know the most about Christmas, clearly. Let’s see… Christmas Eve is the BIG DAY in Germany, whereas the 25th is the big day in the States. So pretty much everything is closed on the 24th and 25th because everyone in Germany celebrates Christmas (sorry, no Chinese and movie theaters around). So we had to find our own ways to entertain ourselves.

snowy view from the Residenz

We woke up on Christmas Eve to a white winter wonderland! It was a lovely little flurry, so we decided to trek up to The Fortress of Würzburg (not sure if that is the official title, but you get the idea) (Festung Marienburg). The Fortress is over the river and through the park and up a grand hill, prime location for the upper hand on attacks – however, a bit tricky for tourists to get to. So we bundled up and headed out, through the now – heavier snow, over the bridge, through the park and started up when Colleen says, “Oh I thought we would take the scenic route up, and we can take the stairs through the park back down.” Of course, my mom is thrilled that there is a scenic route, so we instead start walking up steep, slippery, icy hills up the backside of the fortress. I, being ill-equipped in the winter hiking footwear department (as well as athletic department), required a bit of assistance up the hill, but we made it in good time. The fortress was initially home to the royalty of Germany (?) and the Prince Bishop of Würzburg until the Winter Palace (aka the Residence) was built in the 1700s, at which point they moved there (also a very chilly place, not many torches or ovens. Here I should mention Cala’s body fat is probably around 2%. On a good day) Anyway, the real highlight of the trip was the view of Würzburg from the top of the hill. Despite the heavy snow, it was a fantastic view of the city on the river. We walked by the keep, the horse pool (no joke) and around the entire fortress before heading back down for some lunch.

We stopped in a little café, one of the only places still open, and grabbed a bite to eat. After some delicious hot chocolate we headed back to the hotel for some relaxation time before dinner.

Girls on the bridge

Colleen managed to get reservations at one of the only restaurants open on Christmas Eve – and a Mexican restaurant at that! The food was delicious, as well as the margaritas, Maura’s favorite part. After dinner we went to 10:30pm mass at St. Killian’s Cathedral. It was, of course, a bit chilly inside due to the fact that it is huge and made of stone, but there were a lot of candles, and pretty soon with everyone huddled in the pews (it was packed!) it warmed up a bit. We didn’t understand any of the mass, despite Colleen’s best efforts to translate while whispering for all of us, but there was one part we understood: the songs. They had the lyrics printed on our pamphlets, so we got to try our best at German pronunciation while singing Silent Night, Greensleeves, Away in a Manger, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. I would give us a B- on pronunciation, but an A for effort!
We returned to the hotel for our last bit of tradition – our Christmas Eve gift exchange. For those of you who don’t know, it is an O’Connor tradition that the three girls all get to open one gift each on Christmas Eve, and that gift is always matching pajamas! Although now that we are older, they more coordinated than matching. So we opened our pajamas – even Jessie! And hit the sack, with hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be at the Novotel room 220.

Fortress in the snow

Christmas Day! Since we were told ahead of time that literally every single shop and café would be closed on Christmas Day, we prepared for total laziness. Colleen and I had gone to the grocery store the day before and bought bread, cheese, sausage, chips, fruit – pretty much anything non-perishable that did not require cooking. We feasted all day! We actually ate breakfast in the hotel lobby, and German breakfasts are a little different than the American buffets. Of course there was toast, jam, cereal, eggs, sausage, the usual – but there was also little packets of Nutella for spreading (Maura’s favorite) and an assortment of cheeses, meats, and fish to put on your bread (Dad’s favorite). Of course they had coffee (Mom’s favorite) and the best part – the served black olives with breakfast! My favorite!
Basically we spent the entire day in bed. Literally. The rooms were a bit small, so we didn’t have a lot of room to sit so we all just sat/laid on the bed all day, playing cards, watching movies. We got Mom and Dad hooked on Modern Family – great show, for those of you who don’t watch it. We played Phase 10, watched Love Actually, ate lots of cheese and sausage and M&Ms, and oh I remember CALA WON WIZARD!!!! For pretty much the first time in a long time. I’m awesome. We exchanged the few gifts we had brought from home, and Jessie had brought us presents from Egypt! She gave her adopted sisters exquisite silver necklaces (mine’s the prettiest) and for her adoptive parents a beautiful hand-crafted leather bound book for all of our photos, with “O’Connor Christmas 2010” on the cover. We loved having Jessie be an O’Connor for Christmas!

Overall, Christmas celebrations in Germany were wonderful. We got to spend time with our fantastic family, eat good food, and did I mention that I won in Wizard?


January 10, 2011 Posted by | Germany | , , , | 4 Comments