Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Guten Rutsch ins Jahr 2009!

Another year is coming to an end... 2008 was a good year for us.

We have accomplished a lot - most importantly we fulfilled our dream to work and live in Europe and we are really doing our best to make the most of this opportunity. If you don't believe me, perhaps you should have a look at the blog posts over the last few months...

We have Jace's Mum visiting at the moment, so perhaps if everyone is feeling up to it we might be out and about at the Zürich fireworks this evening, then over the weekend we have a small fieldtrip which I am sure I will report on in the New Year.

Until then, as my colleagues at work say, 'Ich wünsch euch einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!' meaning 'I wish you a good slide into the New Year.'

I had never heard that before, but perhaps before I wasn't paying attention... whenever I read that line in emails I imagine all of us on a big water slide, sliding into a pool with a big sign overhead that reads 'Happy 2009!' above it. Something like this perhaps:

Image and info found on swissmiss blog...
and if you think this slide in Abtwil isn't on my list
of things to do in 2009, you'd better think again...

So... 'Rutscht gut rüber........' meaning 'Slide over well!'

Frohes Neues Jahr!!! Happy New Year!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Swisstory Christmas Advent is Over!

While the Swisstory Christmas Advent might be over, don't worry... that means there is a whole new year worth of exciting posts coming soon.

In the mean time, here is a list of all the Christmas Advent posts in case you missed one or just want to hang on to that loving Christmas feeling for a little bit longer:

Christmas Advent Day 24: Oh Christmas Tree
Christmas Advent Day 23: Christmas Recycling
Christmas Advent Day 22: Ice Cream Mandarins
Christmas Advent Day 21: Old time Christmas trolley
Christmas Advent Day 20: Gluhwein Mugs
Christmas Advent Day 19: Paper Lanterns
Christmas Advent Day 18: Heart Heads
Christmas Advent Day 17: Pressed cookies
Christmas Advent Day 16: Window Ornaments
Christmas Advent Day 15: Packlibus
Christmas Advent Day 14: Weihnachtspyramide
Christmas Advent Day 13: Take it Easy
Christmas Advent Day 12: Biberbrot
Christmas Advent Day 11: Feueryangen-Bowle Huesli
Christmas Advent Day 10: The Singing Christmas Tree
Christmas Advent Day 9: Adventkerzen
Christmas Advent Day 8: Samiclaus Swim
Christmas Advent Day 7: Berlinerbänze
Christmas Advent Day 6: Grittibänze
Christmas Advent Day 5: Glühwein
Christmas Advent Day 4: Samichlaus & Schmutzli
Christmas Advent Day 3: Star shaped cookies...
Christmas Advent Day 2: Einsiedeln Christmas Market
Christmas Advent Day 1: Apfelchuechli mit Vanillesause

Enjoy! And thanks to everyone for reading. Posting will commence in the New Year (an exciting Advent and a little bit too much gluehwein can take a lot out of a girl!) ;)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 24: Oh Christmas Tree

Christmas Advent Day 24: Oh Christmas Tree

I figured as a last gift from the Swisstory Advent, I would share my Christmas tree with you all.

I went home for Christmas a few years ago, to Ohio, and found out that Akron, Ohio has a German sister city that puts on a German Christmas Market in Akron each year. At the market that year, I picked up about 20 traditional German straw ornaments and that was it - a theme tree was born.
I added a lot of red accents and more straw ornaments from IKEA the next year, as well as some more modern touches like these wooden red garlands... so it became a red and wooden theme tree. ;) (I love the little straw reindeer in this photo too... and the angel... love them all!)

Since then I have added some things here and there, keeping within the theme, like these laser cut wooden ornaments from Munich.

In Savona, Italy, during my recent 10 day break, I also picked up these felt ornaments in the shape of a star and a reindeer. Cute, aren't they?

Here is a straw wreath at the top of this photo too! And some interesting wooden, red star shaped fans that I also bought in Munich last year.

At Globus in Zurich this year, I found these interesting stars made out of birch wood and figured they would make an interesting addition for those gaps in the tree that are always hard to fill...

And this guy some how made it home with me from Athens, Greece:

Thank you to everyone for following the Advent. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to blogging in the New Year with you.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 23: Christmas Recycling

Here I go again, me forcing you to guess what it is that I am blogging about... Ready? Just this once more, I promise. ;)

What is this???

Need a hint? It is clear and red and plastic all over.

Need another hint? It is bigger than a breadbox... (that one is for you Mom...)

Ok... last hint... you would know what this was if George Clooney were selling it (in Europe at least...)Ok, I will tell you... It's a TREE!!! That's right. A tree... well, a special tree - let me show you.

There it is! But not just any tree - a tree made out of plastic cups and Nespresso coffee pods.

And this one is about 30 feet tall. Boy those Swiss really take recycling to new heights... (bodam ching... get this girl a cymbal for Christmas already!)

Christmas Advent Day 23: Nespresso Christmas Tree at Sihlcity.

Only 2 more days until Christmas. Enjoy them before it's too late!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 22: Ice Cream Mandarins

Christmas Advent Day 22: Ice Cream Mandarins

Did someone say post about peanuts and mandarins?!? Well, here is the half of it! I found these at Sprungli as well and assumed they were for Christmastime. Correct me if I am wrong, but I assume that with all the mandarins being thrown around by Samiclaus and Schmutzli that these gelato filled, hulled mandarins are also a special treat for the holidays.

They must be filled with gold ice cream though for CHF 39 for 8 mandarins! They sure as interesting though... Has anyone tried these?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I am back!

Ok, so you probably did not know I was gone but that is because I set up the Advents in advance. (Sneaky, sneaky, I know!) So sorry for not responding to your awesome comments sooner. I am glad you all have enjoyed the Advent postings as much as I did and I have posted my comments this evening.

As I said, I was gone because I went on a wee pre-Christmas vacation but I am back now!!! And I am ready to count down the last few days until Christmas with you personally. ;) I hope you will join me and welcome in the New Year as well.

Photos and details about my vacation will be available in January... ;) Until then... only a few more Advent days left!

Christmas Advent Day 21: Old time Christmas trolley

Christmas Advent Day 21: The Old Time Christmas Trolley

Has anyone been on this baby? Shot taken across from the Hauptbahnhof.

It is stunning, even from afar. All the old time trolleys seem to be out at Christmas. Keep your eyes peeled!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 20: Gluhwein Mugs

While you are out drinking all the Gluhwein, you might as well start collecting the collectable mugs as well. This is the only one that I have seen so far in Zurich, near the singing Christmas tree... but all the major Christmas markets in Germany have Christmas mugs as well.

Christmas Advent Day 20: Collectable Gluhwein Mugs

Here are some more mugs on some of my favorite blogs:
  • Munich mug on This non-American Life
  • Um... ok so one site... send me links to your mugs in the comments!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 19: Paper Lanterns

Christmas Advent Day 19: Paper Lanterns

Gorgeous. 'Enuf said.

Found at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof Christmas market. There is a nice picture of lanterns like these from the Stuttgart Christmas Market on One Big Yodel, too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 18: Heart Heads

Only one more week until Christmas! Woo hoo!

Here are some Christmas Lebkucken hearts with Santa faces for you to celebrate! :)

Found at Sprungli.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 17: Pressed cookies

Christmas Advent Day 18: Shortbread pressed cookies

Christmas is the time for cookies and the Swiss go to new heights when it comes to cookie presses and forms. The cookies above are machine made, but those way below are handmade. The wooden forms are highly collectable and can be very expensive if the cookies are very ornate. But I think the outcome is totally worth it - such cute cookies... now if only I liked anis... (that is the flavor of those at the end of this post... not sure about the others...).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 16: Window Ornaments

Christmas Advent Day 16: Window Decorations using tree cuttings...

There are shops all over town selling offcuts of trees and I have always wondered what people do with them - alas window decorations! I particularly like these.

Where do you think I can get some gold covered veggies, eh? :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 15: Packlibus

Christmas Advent Day 15: The Packlibus

This has to be the greatest idea to get people to buy more gifts - EVER.

This is the bag bus. It is on Bahnhofstrasse and basically it exists so that you can leave all your heavy Christmas gifts and shopping on the bus and GO GET SOME MORE! You check in your bags, get a ticket, and then either send your gifts directly from the bus or come back for them later and take them home. What a great idea!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 14: Weihnachtspyramide

Christmas Advent Day 14: Weihnachtspyramide

If you know me... you know I love the wooden Christmas ornaments. And I especially love these things. They are Christmas pyramids and there are spots for candles on the base and when the candles are lit the rising air causes the windmill at the top to spin around. How cool is that? A total fire hazard, but cool!

The pyramids come in all shapes, sizes and colors and although you can find more of these in Germany than in Switzerland, these babies were found at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof Christmas market.

This is the one I have my eye on... the mack daddy of the Christmas pyramids... although they do have four tier ones available online... this three tier one is a beauty. But I might just have to wait until next year to be able to afford this baby - as it costs a whopping CHF 400!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 13: Take it Easy

Christmas Advent Day 13: Take it easy! (Lebkuchens found at Sprungli)

Only two more weekends until Christmas... time to "Take it easy!" . . .

Yeah right! Get out there and boost our economy! Where are the "Go spend your wad" Lebkuchens and the "Santa says spend!" Lebkuchens?

Then again... perhaps it is time to just take it easy and things will naturally fall into place...


Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 12: Biberbrot

Christmas Advent Day 12: Biberfladen

Biberfladen or Biberbrot is available at all the carnivals and is also available during Christmas.
It is Lebkuchen, which reminds me of gingerbread but different spices, and Biberbrot is generally filled with all kinds of yumminess like marzipan or hazelnut filling.

To be totally honest... I have not tried this before so I would love to hear what everyone thinks about the good ol' Biberfladen... if it is good, I'll buy some before Christmas to try!

They usually have the sugared nuts at the same stand - so go for gold!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Advent Day 11: Feueryangen-Bowle Huesli

Christmas Advent Day 11: Feueryangen-Bowle Huesli

I originally read about the Feuerzangen-Bowle on This non-American life, so when I saw this Huesli (little house in Swiss German) at the
Werdmühleplatz market I knew I had to try some.

According to Juls', it's 'a hot drink much like glühwein...to make feuerzangenbowle correctly, one soaks sugar in rum, lights it on fire, and lets it melt into the wine.' Now, I swore that this tasted more like fruit punch with rum to me, but it could have been wine... nonetheless the drink is flavored with Christmas spices and there was an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic version available at the Huesli.

Here the witches' helper is lighting the rum on fire... oooooooooh. Definately good stuff and sure does warm ya up. I am not sure if I have choosen a favorite between this and gluhwein yet, but ask again at the end of the holiday season, and I am sure I will have an educated opinion then. :)


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