Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Market in Germany

This weekend Paul and I took my first trip since I moved here - I must say, I love being able to take a quick 3 hr flight for a weekend trip in Europe.  We had heard alot from other expats here about the Christmas markets in Germany and decided to give it a try.

The markets were so amazing - the market stands were all over the city.  We spent two whole days exploring them.  Apple wine, nutcrackers, ornaments, lots and lots of food, toys, scarves, carved wood, art, steins, so much more. 

It was great during the day because you weren't fighting the crowds.  We got to enjoy looking around.  At night, the crowds kicked in - and I know why.  It was magical at night to see everything lit up.

While we had expectations of doing some much needed Christmas shopping, we ended up spending most of our time eating, with some walking in between! We had brautwurst, fries, schnitzels, potato pancakes, some uber delicious apple pancake (apfel pfannkuchenspezialitaten according to the sign - see delicious picture below!), apple wine, mulled red wine, hot chocolate, beer, crepes, delicious choclate creme pastry, candied pecans, and probably lots more I am forgetting.  It was delicious.

We also had a chance to attend a vesper service at the St Nicolas church that is right in the middle of the Christmas markets.  It was such a great way to get into the holiday spirit and nice to be around people speaking English :)

We head back to the US next week for the holidays - Merry Christmas everyone!

My favorite food of the market - apfel pfannkuchenspezialitaten with cinnamon and sugar on top!

More German food

View of the Market and Christmas tree

Market with St. Nicolas church in the background

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


When we came to Turkey for Paul's interview, I had noticed some baked potato stands and thought - hmm, that's an interesting concept.

After coming to Istanbul, I decided I just had to try one of these delicious looking baked potatos. I did some online research, and it comes to find out that these spuds are a bit famous in Turkey - they are known here as Kumpir.

There are Kumpir stands in various parts of town, but probably the most number of these are in Ortakoy, a little shopping area right on the Bosphorous on the European side.  Saturday we decided to get in some Christmas shopping and we went hungry so that we could have one of these delicious treats!

When you first walk into Ortakoy on the north side, you see a whole row of these stands - they all sell the same thing, so everyone is calling out to you trying to get you into THEIR stand.

Once you carefully choose a stand, you go up and pick your toppings just like a salad bar.  They have the usual butter and cheese, and other toppings such as peas, corn, black olives, green olives, pickles, rice, cabbage, mushrooms, yogurt and other unidentifiable (at least by me) things.  Then they mash it up and wrap it up in foil for your eating pleasure.

Odd combination, yes.  But, the kumpirs were a hit.