Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day trip to Meißen Germany - Dad and David

David and i took a day trip to Meissen; Meissen is world famous for its porcelain (Meissen porcelain, it is very, very expensive; at least $150 for tea cup). Meissen porcelain is the first porcelain invented in all of Europe. Thanks to Augustus the Strong who loved prorcelain and wanted it to be made here so he locked up 2 scientists in Koningstein Castle (see previous blog post) until they figured out how to make it. This porelain had generated a lot of wealth for Meissen and Dresden.

For more on Meissen see the following link:

Albrechtsburg residents and Cathedral as seen rising above the town:

City streets:
There is one bridge to the protected part of the city:
Bridge and gateway:
Cathredral, check out the gothic style:

David overlooking the city:
Keith on the one bridge to and from the inner hill top city:
The Meissen Weihnachtsmarkt (the building in back must serve as a Advent calendar):

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stollen Fest 2009

So for all stollen fans, including myself, Dresden is the stollen mecca of the world!

I have sampled some, just to make sure it is worthy and I can tell you it is the real deal. The original stollen is awesome and always available to you in Dresden, around Chirstmas, within a 100 meter radius (must be a law). Many kinds and brands here; check out this link for more about stollen (see the history section on this web page for the links to Dresden):

So on the second week of Advent in Dresden is Stollen fest. I didn’t know this but heard the parade out the window and rushed outside to see what was going on. It was Stollenfest 2009:

So you ask, Keith what is it with the stollen? Isn’t this just fruit bread of another name? Naiveté, if you think this you have not really tasted Stollen. Stollen was the traditional bread, that my mom made, that was passed down from generations and can be traced back to Germany. For some reason your moms was better than her moms and so on. I was a bit worried how the original Dresdener stollen would taste because of this, but no worries, it is prima.

When I was a kid my mom would make stollen before Christmas. She would make like 20 loaves and one big one. This one, a little less than twice as big as the others, was for Christmas morning. I can remember the smell of it as it was rising for a day or two as it was made, then on Christmas, again the smell. One of my good childhood memories of Christmas morning was the smell and eating that one special stollen. The Christmas one actually tasted almost twice as good as the others.

Our tradition was after opening presents, my mom would heat the Christmas stollen, put a fresh frosting on top and we would all enjoy it. It tasted like it was freshly baked. We would eat the other ones, the ones that weren’t betrothed to other families, throughout the rest of the year. Sometimes with a little help from the microwave, but they never matched the Christmas day stollen.

Well here are some pictures from the festival that honors this perennial favorite of mine:

Lots of speeches before the unvailing of the big one, behind the curtain. The chief chef making a well deserved speech.
The unvailing.......

The big stollen, yes that white thing, for you non believers, is a record size stollen:
Augustus the brave, Dresdens favorite past king presiding over the festivities:

The parade:

Stollen on the move, on its way to the Striezel Markt fur essen:

Team of chefs with banners:

Flags and Band on Augustus Strasse:
Another band:

Of course special stollen flour is needed, only the best:

Dir Raucherman float, last but not least:

One of the many, many shops full of different types of stollen:

Weihnachtsmarkt's season in Germany

The Christmas markets here in Dresden are a big deal. We feel very fortunate to be here and be able to experience this. There are at least 6 different markets within a mile from our house as we live the central historic part of Dresden. We really enjoy walking around and sampling the food, Gluhwein, and the Christmas atmosphere. The weekends are a bit too crowded as people come from all around the world to go to the markets. We wanted to stay overnight in Nuremburg, however because of the popularity there were no hotel openings, we will make it there eventually. Most Christmas markets start the first Advent weekend and run through Christmas

The biggest one is the Striezelmarkt has been going on for 575 years and claims to be the oldest; that is amazing. There is a medieval one right next to our apartment and the two around the FrauenKirche.

More pictures to come as they are still going on.

Front of the Striezelmarkt (according to David's german friends Striezel is an old word for stollen):
Another market:

FrauenKirche market, in that glocken spiel they sell Gluhwein and other good stuff:
Market in Neu Stadt:
Noah and his friends are on the farris wheel, we walk by this too much on the way to and from his friend house and he often talks me into allowing him to ride. Noah and his friend like to make paper airplanes then launch them from the top, after which they try to find them.

One of the very many Gluhwein and brat vendors; Melissa and David enjoying a treat.

Striezel Market:
NeuStadt market from above.
Noah with AltStadt in the background:

Stollen is a really big thing in Dresden, as Dresdeners are given claim to having the first mention of Stollen on record (thus given credit for it):
(my next post in fact will be on the Stollen fest which occurs on the 2nd weekend of Advent):

Street entertainment:
Stollhof markt (Medieval Market):
Dresden AltStadt skyline from the ferris wheel (ok i ride with Noah on the ferris wheel, someone has to watch him):

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thanksgiving in Dresden

Staying here in Dresden gives us a lot of opportunities so see things and learn about different cultures; this we wouldn’t be able to do at home. With this there are however some sacrifices; among the top are not being able to see our daughter, families, or friends as much (although Skype really helps with this). Another big thing is there is no Thanksgiving in Germany and this is my favorite holiday as it brings together family and my favorite foods in one day.

Here in Germany it was an ordinary day and finding the things it takes to have a proper Thanksgiving dinner is difficult. We have been looking since we got here for a Turkey; they don’t sell whole Turkeys here in fact it was hard identify even Turkey breasts. However a week or two before Thanksgiving I did find some (actually by accident, I had picked up puten schnitzel and to me it looked like regular schnitzel, it was not till I was ready to cook it, and did a quick google, that I figured out that it was turkey breast). Corn is hard to find also (we finally found it in a can) and as for stuffing, forget about it.

We were able to throw together a very basic dinner as you can see (the Puten):

Other fixins:
And Budweiser. Ok i don't drink Budweiser at home, but this Budweiser is real beer, unlike our Budweiser back home. It is from the city where the US Budweiser recipe comes from which is Budweis in the Cech Republic.

We have been noticing some changes, in preparation for Christmas in Germany, including the new glow of purple out our back window: