Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas in the City......

Welcome to the Famous Frankfurt Christmas Market

check out the atmosphere at night at this beautiful market ....
(click the above video and enjoy :-))


I have always loved Christmas, it’s the time most people are at their best … the time when we make up with those we’ve had grudges with for a long time or the time we get to hear from family & friends we were too busy to stay in touch with by sending xmas cards... even the beasts are loving and the snakes have no poison in their fangs!
There is a positive spirit all around us which brings out the best in us! And that’s just one of the reasons i love Christmas.

Have you ever wondered why most charities make the highest “earnings” in the holiday season? Well..... its christmas & christmas is all about giving ....
I should tell you one of my secrets, if you wanna get into a christmas spirit, visit a Christmas market, and, if you’re lucky & visit an authentic & beautiful one, you will get into this christmasy feeling that you might just find yourself smiling at everyone & singing x-mas carols to no one in particular!

Do not even dare blame it on the mulled wine(Glühwein) because some of the loudest people at these markets haven’t even had a drop :-))
My best Christmas market this year was the Frankfurt Christmas market. This is one of the biggest markets in Germany with over 200 stalls ... Donna will tell you all about it ...
Over to you Donna ...

Lucy at the "Karoussel"
could not resist :and they smell so good too :-))))

checking out santa´s workshop :-)

luv you too partner :-)))


The days, hours, minutes and seconds are flying by but there's still time to write a letter to Santa Claus or see if you've been naughty or nice ! What are you waiting for get up and get going!!!! Let´s count together...from my location as I write it is only 4 sleeps, 7 hours, 47 minutes and 13 seconds to christmas day......and  yes, I am back just like promised with my last Christmas Market Tour for the year 2011. Today we are off to the Frankfurt Christmas Market and the great thing about a big city market is one can also do some serious last minute christmas shopping :-))) There is no better person to go on such a tour with than my darling "partner-in-shopping)" Lucy:-)))))

there we are.....Donna & Lucy :-)))
This year we decided to start off quite early because it can get very crowded at the market and we wanted to have some space and also time to check out the stalls and not get runned down by the sea of people:-) So if you are like us and you love to check out every stall without rushing, then always go in the morning hours when the market just open its doors. There was alot to see and the atmosphere was just perfect like Lucy said "you immediately get this christmasy feeling and you find yourself smiling at everyone and practically humming along a christmas carol"...:-) Yes, the atmosphere is just right if you want to get into the christmas mood. We spent some hours there and then we moved on to check out a yearly Mode & Fashion market(but more about the Mode & Fashion market when next we return).

Donna checking out the candle stalls

There has been a Christmas market in Frankfurt for over 600 years. Full of history and traditions the Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of Germany’s oldest and most popular Christmas markets in Europe.
As soon as you catch your first glimpse of the Frankfurt Christmas Market you will not be able to resist all the beautiful temptations.
Take a stroll across the market and you will enjoy a wonderful aroma of baked apples, roasted nuts, gingerbread and mulled wine - quite a contrast to the ever-present Frankfurt Skyline in the background!
Its scenery of beautifully decorated stalls, the historical backdrop of the Römerberg market place, St Paul’s church and the gigantic Christmas tree all contribute to an unforgetable experience. 

the wonderful aroma of baked apples, chocolate & gingerbread......hhhhhmmmm!!! :-))

the historical backdrop of the Römerberg market place
the gigantic Christmas tree

The Frankfurt Christmas Market takes place on the Römerberg square, Paulsplatz and Mainkai quay, 200 stalls offer arts, crafts and seasonal food and drink. A wide range of entertainment around the 30-metre high Christmas tree includes concerts, trumpet fanfares from the balcony of St. Nicholas's Church and the church carillon. You can discover the inside secrets and hidden delights of Frankfurt's Christmas market on a guided themed tour around glühwein, seasonal stories and delicious baked goods. 

no christmas market without "Glühwein" (mulled wine)

Lucy checking out an interesting looking  "Glühwein" stall

don´t blame it on the "Glühwein".....this one is non-alcoholic :-)
Merry Christmas!!!.....

........and A Happy New Year 2012 !!!!

I hope you all did have a wonderful time with us and at this point I want to wish all our readers a wonderful holiday seasons and thanks for following our adventures. We wish and look forward to seeing  you all again in the new year 2012. A prosperous & happy NEW YEAR to you all........we will see you all again when we return after the holidays and celebrations. Stay cool as always....:-))

A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!!!!!

click here for more photos of our day

from "Deutschland" with luv,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Market and visit to Hessen Park

from our homes to your homes
sincerely yours,
Donna & Lucy


A few more days to go and it is finally christmas day. I do love the atmosphere and the feeling around this season but most especially I really love the traditions attached to the season. Like I already mentioned in my last post, I love christmas markets and out here in Germany there are quite alot of christmas markets which makes it difficult to choose where to go. :-) This year I decided to visit markets in different settings, starting from the small romantic market(check out last post), over to the market in a village setting and ending my tour in the big city with one of the most famous christmas markets in Germany.

Today I will share with you my visit to the "make-believe village" in the Hessen Park. The christmas market out there turned out to be quite smaller than I expected but also really crowed. We spent just a few minutes and we moved over into the park to do a tour of the "Hessen Park village".

arrival at the christmas market in Hessenpark

at the Main Square with original  buildings taken down from around Germany, and reassembled here.
The Hessenpark is an open air museum in Neu-Anspach(about 30 minutes drive from Frankfurt City) It was founded in 1974 by the Hessen State Government. The Hessenpark is a popular family destination. This park is a collection of buildings from various states in Germany that have been taken down and reassembled for the sake of preservation. Some of the houses date back 500 years.  

The Open-Air Museum: Hesse, the way it was
Since 1974, more than 100 endangered buildings have been re-erected in accordance with scientific standards at the Hessenpark Open-Air Museum. The buildings in the Museum have been divided into five groups, each group representing a Hessian type of settlement typical of its region of origin. Houses and farmsteads from different villages have been placed as to give a realistic impression of the social and economic situation in the respective region.
The houses are utilised in a variety of ways. In part they are home to permanent and special exhibitions, whilst others have been furnished with original furniture and household items. In addition, you can also visit  historical workshops in the buildings.(source : Open-Air Museum Hessenpark)

infront of the bakery at the main square
knock! knock! knock!.... anybody home???? :-)
yes someone´s home.....and she bakes deliciously, just like grandma would :-))))

going back in time.......the kitchen
It was great to walk through this quaint little park, which looks just like a farming villlage from centuries ago, and marvel at its recreation from buildings taken down and reassembled from all over Germany.  One gets to see a live farm with geese, pigs, chicken and donkey.  A quick visit to the blacksmith shop where he demonstrates how nails and other farm and home implements were made.  One can also take a tour of the soap factory, where you can also purchase soaps made from natural ingredients, via age old methods.  There is also a large community building where visitors can eat local specialties, or there is the bakery in the main square where breads and pastries are offered for sale.

In one of the homes we watched a lady back some very sweet smelling christmas cookies and got to see how difficult it is to keep the fire at a temperature where you can cook the food without burning it.
Then we checked out the stables. After seeing the stables, we went further down to the Jewish train. It is a wagon, to give you an idea of what they looked like inside. And when you exit you can get a lot of information about the Jewish community in Germany. Also there is a Jewish Bath house to see, very interesting too. In one of the houses they have an exhibition on the Hessians that migrated to the US and live in the Armish villages now. 

off to check out the live farm

the chicken farm reminded me of  africa.....lovely feeling hearing a cock crow early in the morning
a visit to the carpenter (cart wheelwright)

a visit to the blacksmith

checking out the stables

the beautiful and peaceful village square

The educational train

inside the train

women at a religious service

women in traditional attires

a post-war living room
a Hair salon just like in the 1950´s

almost got a 1950´s hair make-over...... :-)

I really enjoyed just walking around the park, since there are no cars, no noise and not too many people at this time of the year. It was a lovely day and it really felt like going back in time......

Hope you all did enjoy going back in time with me. Next we will be visiting my absolute favorite of all the christmas markets I visited this year. It will be off to the big city market.......stay cool until we meet again.

click here for more photos of our adventures

from "Deutschland" with luv,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


It´s the season to rejoice.....

"The Nativity" scene at the christmas market

Once again the festive period is at hand. In about 2 weeks it´s going to be christmas day but hey! the celebration had long begun. All over Germany people are already celebrating because now is "Adventszeit" (Advent). Every where are Advent calenders, Advent wreaths with candles and Advent or pre-christmas markets. Back in africa we don´t celebrate Advent like its done here in Germany. Over the years I have come to love celebrating this and more especially the traditions surrounding this period. It is also lots of fun when one has children because we get the chance to see this once again through the eyes of a child. In the coming days  I am going to share with you all how we celebrate Advent right through to Christmas day. By the way what is Advent?

 What is Advent? ( source wikipedia & projectbritain.com)

Advent is the new year of the Christian Church and the church season that leads to Christmas Day. Advent is the time when Christians remember that Jesus came into the world in Palestine 2000 years ago and that Jesus also promised one day to return in all His glory. During the season of Advent, Christians across the world prepare for the celebration of the arrival of the Lord into the world through the birth of his Son Jesus Christ. Advent is a time to celebrate light in the midst of darkness.

our modernized classic Advent wreath :-)....2 lighted candle represents the 2nd Advent sunday

Advent begins on the sunday nearest to 30th november and lasts until midnight on Christmas Eve. Advent Sunday is the first of the four sundays before the 25th December. The traditions and customs surrounding this period is what I really love......The "Adventskranz" (Advent wreath) like its called in german is a widely recognized symbol of Advent. The wreath is normally made of a circle of evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal life. Four candles (traditionally red) stand in the circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. Well, nowadays people tend to modernize their Advent wreaths to suit their individual style and taste, me not being an exception :-) This year hubby and I decided to have a simple rectangle shaped one instead of a circle and we used classic white candles instead of red. Like hubby will say "weniger ist mehr"(less is sometimes more). Oh yes, he is Mr. Classic colours and I am Mrs. Rainbow colours......the brighter the merrier it is for me :-)))

Advent time is baking time.....my "Weihnachtsplätzchen"(christmas cookies)

The beginning of Advent is when the preparations for Christmas really begins - the festive menu is planned, gifts are chosen and wrapped, carols sung, cards are written and posted and houses decorated. I wonder what hubby will say when he sees my colour-theme for this year´s christmas tree....hope he doesnt have a shock...LOL. It´s definately going to be vibrant colours against classic colours this year...:-)))

one of hubby´s Advent calendar.....yes he´s got a sweet tooth :-))

Another popular symbol of Advent is the Advent Calender. The popular tradition of advent calendars arose in Germany in the late 1800s and soon spread throughout Europe and North America. Originally, the images in Advent calendars came from the Hebrew Bible. Many Advent calendars today have no religious content. Now, alongside traditional Advent calendars depicting angels and biblical figures are those whose doors open to display teddy bears, pieces of chocolate, or photos of pop stars. 
During Advent, some people make or buy Advent calendars as a way of counting the days to Christmas. The first sign of Christmas in most homes is the advent calendar. Advent calendars are a fun way to help children to know when Christmas Eve will arrive, an important night for them because Father Christmas (Santa Claus) will visit them bringing gifts. An Advent calendar is a poster or card with twenty-four small doors, one to be opened each day from 1st December until Christmas Eve. Each door conceals a picture. Every morning children open one window of the calendar to see a pretty picture or find a chocolate inside.

my son´s Advent calendar.....he is a big disney fan

6 December is Saint Nikolaus' Day!

In Germany, 6 December is an important day for children. On the evening of 5 December, children place a boot or shoe outside the door, hoping that Nikolaus will fill it with presents. My son was quite excited to see what Nikolaus will put inside his boot.
Across the German-speaking region of Europe there are many kinds of Santa Clauses with many different names. Despite their many names, they are all basically the same mythic character. But few of them have anything to do with the real Saint Nicholas (Sankt Nikolaus or der heilige Nikolaus), who was probably born around A.D. 245 in the port city of Patara in what we now call Turkey. Very little solid historical evidence exists for the man who later became the Bishop of Myra and the patron saint of children, sailors, students, teachers, and merchants. He is credited with several miracles and his feast day is Dec. 6, which is the main reason he is connected with Christmas. In Austria, parts of Germany, and Switzerland, der heilige Nikolaus (or Pelznickel) brings his gifts for children on Nikolaustag, Dec. 6, not Dec. 25. Nowadays, St. Nicholas Day (der Nikolaustag) on Dec. 6 is a preliminary round for christmas day.

kids in Germany get their presents from Saint Nikolaus in boots placed outside the door :-)

my baby was so excited to find what Nikolaus placed inside his boots

Saint Nikolaus became famous for his good deeds. One story tells of how he secretly helped three poor sisters. He didn’t want the sisters to find out that he was helping them, so he climbed onto the roof of their house and dropped three lumps of gold down the chimney. In Germany, the story goes that the three pieces of gold fell into three shoes. This is the reason why kids in Germany get their presents from Saint Nikolaus in shoes :-) During this time i always start my christmas baking too. My hubby and son love Weihnachtsplätzchen(christmas cookies)

chocolate and vanilla christmas cookies

My favorite tradition around this season are the "Weihnactsmärkte" (christmas markets). With so many Christmas Markets through out Germany the most difficult choice is which Christmas Market to visit.  The best solution is to sample at least two or three markets, preferably in a city for some serious shopping and a small town or village for something a little bit more romantic.
Most Christmas Markets start in the last week of November and run through to Christmas Eve. They are usually open every day from 10am to about 8 or 9 pm. My first visit took me to a small romantic Christmas Market in the Frankfurt city part of Sachenshausen. Visiting during the early hours is great if one has kids with them...it is not yet crowded and one can move about freely.

the small but very romantic Sachenshausen christmas market

the christmas market was held at the foot of the famous "Goetheturm"(Goethe tower)

the Goethe Tower has a breath-taking view of the Frankfurt city skyline and the landing band of the Airport

Louis enjoying a mini-caroussel ride....

moi, infront of "The Nativity" scene
checking out the "Glühwein"  (mulled wine).... :-)

As next i will be be visitng another market in a "make-believe village" in the Hessen theme park. I will see you all there when next we meet. I wish you all a  lovely Advent season and stay cool until we meet again.

click here for more photos of our adventures

from "Deutschland" with luv,

Friday, December 2, 2011

"Ladies Nite" in Cologne.....part 3 /3

dancing the nite away......


After a short walk from the restaurant we arrived Harry`s New York Cocktail Lounge/Bar. At this point we did not know what was awaiting us since it was our first time hanging out there. I just kept my fingers crossed and hoped it lives up to its very positive internet ratings. It was a very full-house as we walked in and what a pleasant surprise we had.....there was a live band playing some really good soul music. The atmosphere was great and the crowd quite pleasant :-) We made our way across to the bar to check out what they have to offer for Cocktails :-) We ordered our cocktails and we found a corner that could accomodate all 15 of us....then it was party time!!!!!

arrival at Harry`s New York Bar

Ladies corner :-)

The band playing that nite is called "Soulgeflüster" meaning  "Soul whisper". I wouldnt say they actually whispered :-) but damn they rocked the house. They played soul music from Michael Jackson to Usher and lots lots more......it was just fantastic!!. Like I would say in german..."einfach eine geile Band". After the first cocktails, the ladies let down their hair and danced the night away..... :-)

it was a full-house with the live band "Soulgeflüster"

the lead singers of "Soulgeflüster"....they rocked da house :-))

the saxophonist of the band......boy was he goood!!!! :-)

the guitarist.......and Jackie E carried away by the sound of the saxophone...it was da bomb :-))

To have a feel of what the atmosphere was like that night with the live band "Soulgeflüster"....check it out in above video.

It was a great and fun night, lots of laughter, lots of dance moves :-) .....the cocktails were flowing and the ladies were rocking :-)......the ladies literally put the house on fire. Our energy and presence could be felt all across the bar :-)))

let the party begin.....the cocktails have arrived :-)))
who says cocktails can´t be healthy........my virgin "Evergreen" :-))))
cocktails were flowing..........

and the ladies were rocking :-))

burning down the house :-)))

Lucy D, showing her Michael Jackson moves....who´s bad ?? uuuuhhhh!!!! :-)))

rocking the dance floor......

Somewhere after midnight we had someone from the management team approach us to show appreciation for our presence and also for bringing so much vibrant energy in the house. We got a round of drinks(tots) on the house and a very deliciously chocolate cheese cake. That was one sinfully delicious choco-cheese cake and I couldn´t resist having a very large piece :-))
I guess it is impossible not to notice when 15 very energetic and charming afro ladies invade your house :-)) We even got a special from the DJ too.... he played real african music(Koffie Olumide) for us :-) Wow, that was a lovely surprise indeed. A big thank you to the Management Team, this is what I call excellent customer service. Then it was dance dance dance dance until the wee hours of dawn.

thanks Management for your excellent customer service

the sinfully delicious choco-cheese cake......couldn´t resist a big piece :-))

Somewhere around 3:00 am, it was time to kiss the ladies goodbye.....then it was off into a taxi and back to the hotel. Wow, what a night!!! Despite it being such a long long day, I was surprisingly still quite fit. Maybe it had something to do with the healthy virgin "Evergreen" cocktail I drank all night :-))) So Lucy and I chatted for a while and made one last toast to a great and successful day with the ladies. Then it was off to dreamland...... :-)

one last toast to a great night
cheers !!!! and goodnite.........

We had a really good night rest and I was up round 9:00 am quite relaxed and ready for a new day.  So 11:00 am we checked out of the hotel and it was off to the train station to catch our train. At 12 :15 pm it was bye bye Cologne. Sitting in the train I was excited to be going back home to my love ones. It was only one night but I did miss them and could not wait to tell hubby all about our "Ladies nite".

Lucy checking us out.........

me quite fit & relaxed despite the long long night :-)))

arrival of the ICE train (Inter-city express)

time to say goodbye......:-)

bye! bye! Cologne.....we will be back for sure :-))

 Hope you all did have fun with us in Cologne. Wish you all a wonderful weekend and a happy "Adventszeit". Stay cool as always until we meet again.

Click here for more photos

from "Deutschland" with luv,