Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pam's Longest Christmas Day...33 Hours!

Outside Valkenburg, Netherlands, Christmas Market (by cave entrance)12-23-10...the socially liberal Dutch have no problem sporting a nativity which is directly behind Sadie and me.

Q. How in the world does Pam get more hours of Christmas Day than the rest of us? Does she have an "in" with Santa? Has she really been THAT good?

A. Well, on December 25th you start the day in Europe and chase the sun home to Seattle. Germany is 9 hours ahead of us.
...I just could not let more time pass before seeing Captain John and his wonderful I went to Germany to see them. We were snowed in for a couple of days. Their German countryside village home was decorated with tree, advent wreath, a soldier nutcracker found at the Katie Wohlfahrt shop, and handmade Christmas stars placed in the window. (Those German windows can open out like a door...very nice in the summer.)

Food abounds: gingerbread, chocolates, yule log sponge cakes, etc..

German families have pyramids. We were no exception. A pyramid is a nativity scene that slowly turns round and round on a vertical axle. The base holds candles that send their heat up to thin wooden blades. The blades are slightly tilted so put the whole nativity scene into motion as the candle heat rises. Think of a horizontal windmill! The blades are powered by the rising heat and the nativity scene turns round and round.

We went to two Christmas markets. One was in Bernkastil-Kues, Germany where this picture was taken last year. This year snow covered everything but the buildings. At this advent building, 25 window shutters are opened, one at time, until Christmas Day.

Below is a candle shop at the Christmas market.

We drove to Valkenburg, Netherlands, for another Christmas market. It was in an old coal mining cave that took visitors into the hillside and out of the freezing cold...Because of the continued snow it took five hours to make the 1 1/2 hour drive back to Germany.

It snowed in record depths. Europe was like our eastcoast is today. My flight out of Luxembourg was cancelled on Christmas Eve so I spent the night at an airport hotel (paid by the airline since their was no de-icer or runway salt). The next day I made it to Amsterdam and then on to Seattle. I arrived home by 2 PM and had Christmas Day with family here too!