Hello Friends and Family,
Happy Holidays! I am so excited that it is almost December and soon enough my family will be here with me in Germany. I had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday week that I got to spend with my sweet cousin, Christine, and my great teammates here in Dresden. I’ll tell you all about it!
We kicked off the week by heading out to the Schloss Wackerbarth Winery with the Bartsch family. It has been very nice to have Michelle’s parents here. Moms and dads have a way of making you feel a little less far from home. Our day at the winery did not disappoint. We all shared a delicious lunch, and I tried Duck for the first time. It was a fantastic meal, and it was made even better by the gorgeous snowfall that began outside as we ate. The snowflakes were large and falling by the thousands. It felt like we were inside a snow globe. After lunch we took the “sparkling wine” tour. It technically can’t be called champagne as only wine from the champagne region in France can be named that. Our tour guide’s name was Klaus, and he was a good time. He walked us through the process of how they use yeast in the bottles, hand shake them, and rotate them in order to give the wine that champagne bubble. Our favorite part was the taste testing at the end!
On Wednesday my cousin Christine flew in from Venice! She is studying architecture at UVA, and she took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in Italy this semester. I am so proud of her, and it is really special that she was able to come for a visit on Thanksgiving. We had an amazing time filled with great food, fun company, and amazing sights!
Thanksgiving Day was a cold one here in Germany! Christine and I decided it would be necessary to warm up with a hot drink from Starbucks, so we headed in to the city. It just so happens that it was also the first day of the Christmas markets here in Dresden! This is the oldest and most famous Christmas market in all of Germany. Actually, there are several mini markets set up all around the city to explore. On Thanksgiving Day we just did a cursory adventure around the main market as we sipped our Chai Tea Lattes. Then we headed over to Michelle’s house to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! We got there in time to see the UVA marching band among the many performers and, of course, Santa at the end! For dinner we had all the major players…sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac n cheese, green bean casserole, turkey, gravy, and even duck! Dinner tasted just like home, and we had fun watching the dog show on TV as we ate. Some of those dogs had their hair groomed better than any human I’ve seen! After we got seconds and let that settle, it was time for dessert. Michelle made an amazing pumpkin cheesecake with gingerbread crust that was to die for. Also Gina made some perfect apple bar pastries because what is Thanksgiving without an apple dessert? We went home that night feeling full of food and happiness!
The next day, Christine and I took to adventuring the streets of Dresden to work off our dinner from the night before! We walked all around the city to explore as many of the Christmas markets as we could. One of our personal favorites was the Medieval Christmas market. Everything was true to the theme and we enjoyed listening to the live band that was dressed in the traditional medieval garb. They created a really fun environment. It was fun to have Christine along with me as a tourist because she could clue me in about all the different architecture strategies around the city. One church in particular really caught her eye and we had a fun time walking through there and seeing how they built it. After my practice that evening, Michelle and I met back up with Christine in the city at the main Christmas market called the Dresden Striezelmarkt for dinner and exploring. We ate little bits from a couple of the different booths around the market. Obviously, we had bratwurst because, Germany. One of our favorite stands was the hot chocolate booth! There was literally fountains pouring out melted dark or milk chocolate. When you ordered a cup they ladled out some of the melted chocolate goodness and then filled the rest of the cup with hot milk. The whipped cream on the top only added to this amazing dessert. I picture this to be what the hot coca was like at the North Pole in Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause. We had to use a spoon to get it all because it gets thick towards the bottom of the mug. Heaven!
I will always cherish these memories with Christine. How cool that we got to be together in Germany and explore the Christmas markets together each for our first time! We are definitely lucky girls and this was a fun time that I will not soon forget! I love you and I’m thankful for you, Polly!
I hope everyone had a fulfilling Thanksgiving and is getting in to the Holiday Spirit!