Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Euro Christmas

So it's Christmas time. (And in Amsterdam, they actually call it Christmas - it's not Happy Holidays, no matter what religion or not religion you are, it's Merry Christmas.) Anyway, we've been partaking in holidays European style and thought we'd share a few:

  • German Christmas Bizarre - Roadtrip to Aachen with friends to check one of the many farmer's market style events that take place in the town square. Good excuse to buy random crafty trinkets, taste every German desserts and drink gluhwein (warm spice wine, yum). Pics here.

  • Sinterklaas - On the 5th, the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas (it's for the kids they say). I debated whether or not to mention as it's such an insane tradition to grasp. It involves a Santa looking guy with a pope hat taking a boat from Madrid (right, no water there), along with 'helpers' (up for debate) called "zwarte piets", who happen to be white dutch people painted black. The overall wrongness of this is baffling but the kids go nuts. (David Sadaris tells the story best.) Anyway, for several weeks leading up to Dec. 5, kids get small treats in shoes and then a cooler present delivered on the 5th. And if you've been bad, Sinterklaas takes you back to Spain. So there you go.

  • Christmas Tree - Geno surprised me with a tree ... which he hauled on his bike. I'd pay good money for some pics because that tree is heavy! Apparently even the locals stopped to see this vision of Geno. Amsterdam is full of lights and decorations, even a houseboat nearby has Santa on his sleigh with reindeer all in lights. Pics here.

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