18 December 2007

Gluehwein, bratwurst, und kartoffelpfannkuchen. . .

Yesterday, the Grand Duchess and I spent the day up in Chicago. After taking "The El" (elevated railway) in from Bucktown, we made a beeline for the annual Christkindlmarkt, which is, according to Sonja, an authentic German Christmas market. The air was cold, with wind and piles of snow everywhere. It looked like something from a storybook. Best of all, the weekend crowds were absent since it was Monday, and so we had no lines or throngs of people. But things were still what I’d describe as “bustling.”

Once we had looked around at all of the various stalls selling Christmas wares, we indulged in luscious bratwurst (these are real, totally unlike the limp, greasy Wisconsin variety) with sauerkraut, potato pancakes, and then headed into one of the warming huts where we washed everything down with gl
ühwein – a hot, mulled alcoholic drink, not too unlike Scandinavian gløg in aroma and flavor, but without the raisins and slivered almonds.

The rest of our day consisted of some light shopping, primarily for special Christmas and New Years booze, and then we met an old friend of Sonja’s, whose drama company is wrapping up its Chicago stay, for a delightful Lebanese dinner. We reached home again just before midnight, and we were met by our cat Rannveig, demanding to know where we had been and her daily can of Fancy Feast. It was a long day, but at the same time one of those days that you never want to end. I wish we could do it again today. But then maybe it’s a good thing that I can’t indulge in as much bratwurst as I’d like. I’d have to do much more bicycling to stay trim! Anyway, if you live in the Chicago area and have not already done so, head downtown to Daley Plaza and check out the Christkindlmarkt before it closes on Christmas Eve. You can’t help but enjoy yourself!


Bluebear Jeff said...

That sounds like a wonderful day trip.

-- Jeff

ColCampbell50 said...

When I was stationed in Germany, my wife and I enjoyed going to the Christkindlmarks in Augsburg and Stuttgart. We don't get that kind of experience down here in Mississippi!

Merry Christmas to the Grand Duke and Duchess,

Jim (Col Campbell)

Der Alte Fritz said...

I was at the market two weekends ago, and I was strongly tempted to buy some of those model German christmas buildings, which appeared to be nearly perfect for 28mm/30mm wargaming. I resisted the urge, but I may pay another visit during my lunch hour and give them another look.

Is the Duchess going to bake the annual Christmas Stollen this year?

Stokes Schwartz said...

It was loads of fun, Jeff. And those half-timbered buildings and houses caught my eye too. I know just the ones you're talking about, Fritz. You are right. They looked like just the ticket, but I resisted. It was oh so hard too. ;-) The Grand Duchess has indeed baked three stollen this year, so she is finished for the season I fear. However, she made me a small one that I'm going to begin nibbling tomorrow at breakfast with fresh, hot coffee. I've made myself wait until the week before Christmas, so that it lasts me a bit longer. Thank you also for your Christmas wishes Colonel Campbell. Our very best wishes to you and yours too.

Best Regards,


Fitz-Badger said...

Sounds cool (no pun intended). Not sure if I'll get a chance to get down to Chicago, but I will be in M'waukee for the holidays.
(does this crazy Californian (i.e. me) know what he's in for? LOL)
Best wishes to all, happy holidays!

tradgardmastare said...

Go on, resist no more - buy the houses they sound most useful!
We have a small German Christmas market in Edinburgh but is not up to much I'm afraid.
My forbears came over from Germany around 1900 from near Stuttgart but I have never been .
Did you see any painted, wooden carved herrings so beloved in the Duchy of tradgardland at the market?

guy said...

A few years ago we had a lovely receptionist at the office who decided to take her elderly mother on a coach trip to the Christmas market in Cologne. They had lived for many years in Germany as her father was with the RAF, specifically flying Lancaster bombers. Her abiding memory of the trip was her mother saying in a loud stage whisper in the middle of the market.. 'your father used to come here a lot during the war'.



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