It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

We’ve really ramped up the Christmas festivities this past week. I feel like it’s a dry-run for when Grandma gets here. But by dry-run I definitely don’t mean alcohol free; that would be total insanity. Partaking in the Glühwein is as much a part of Christmas as snow and Santa Claus.

But then again, if you’ll recall, Santa isn’t a thing here, but rather the creepy Samichlaus and his dark side-kick Schmutzli. Together on December 6th they come down out of the woods to terrorize children and scare them into good behaviour. Somewhat similar idea just without the reputation of being a “ripe jolly old elf”.

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Samichlaus and Schmutzli, ready to bring fear into the hearts of all the Swiss children.
This year on the 6th we opted to visit one of the most spectacular Christmas markets in all of Switzerland. The kids’ half-day on Wednesday made it perfect to hop on a train and head up into the mountains to the town of Einseideln.

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This is the setting of the market. A monastery that dates back as early at 943. It is remarkable. (I can’t take credit for this photo – found it online.)
I did manage to take some of my own shots of the day as the whole setting really is breathtaking. Especially considering that now that we’re in the winter season there is a noticeable lack of sun & blue sky here. Especially compared to Alberta. I honestly can’t remember that last time I wore sun glasses – a necessity in an Alberta winter!

So we chose our day partly because of the kids’ schedule but also because of the weather. The forecast was for sun and clear skies. We got on the train in Winterthur in grey/green glum and began the steady climb up into the mountains. The ride was to be just over an hour. 98% of the ride was grey, glum but as promised by the forecast, just before arriving at our destination we popped up out of the clouds and into spectacular sun and blue, surrounded by fresh white snow. It was amazing! And cold. But amazing nonetheless.

Awkward, don’t they know the rule here that 2 Santa’s can never be seen together!?
A cozy coffee break before hitting the market.
Another delightful seasonal drink. Amaretto with coffee and whip cream. You must try it.
A blue-bird sky! With Titi at the monastery.
Photos don’t do it justice. It’s a larger than life kind of place.

What is more Swiss than a handbell performance with cowbells?
We even found the famous monastery horses for our horse-girl.
​One could get a lot of their Christmas shopping done at these markets if you’re into the kitchy, slightly creepy, over-the-top decor. Lucky for Grandma and the “nothing breakable” rule, she was saved from some atrocious delights the kids were super excited to buy her. You’re welcome Ma. Having adult children should at least mean that you can anticipate non-god-awful Christmas gifts.

A rare booth with sweet, lovely Christmas decorations.
Mmmmm, yummy Swiss apple-fritter-like treats.
For Manolo, cheese does qualify as a Christmas present. Lucky him!
 
To that end we made a trip to Zürich this weekend to secure some goodies for Grandma. It was in full mega-metropolis swing with hordes of shoppers and merriment galore.

Here’s a Christmas tip – priming with Glühwein makes dealing with the hordes of shoppers really quite easy. Makes you a wee bit more spendy than you’d otherwise be but nonplussed by the pushing and shoving.

Pretty decor in Zürich.
My nuts with a nutcracker.
Window shopping is our favourite sport. The grey coat is 2,500 CHF. 600 for the shoes. For the love…thankfully I hadn’t had that much Glühwein.
Uh oh, someone needs to get this Mom a Glühwein. Just proves that high fashion does not in fact bring you happiness.

Thankfully some sun and blue did find us in Winterthur this weekend so we ventured into our forest to enjoy it, knowing the nice forecast would be short lived.

Interesting structures to be found in our forest.
A little bit Blair-Whitchy but sort of pretty too.
Still not too cold for the fountains. Careful though, that water will give you brain freeze in no time!
So happy to be out in the sunshine.

Otherwise, the chilly forecast makes for some great indoor time. In our new apartment this is an entirely delightful situation. No hostile or nosy neighbours, heaps of natural light and multiple windows from which to watch the city & forest become blanketed in snow. There’s even a tall building downtown (the tall building to be specific) that lights up its windows like Christmas trees this month. It delights me to no end.

Our local Christmas market in the fresh snow. 

It snowed and snowed and snowed today. It was glorious. And then it rained. 😔

But the best part of our new apartment is the consistent shared baking between us and the two other families. 

Yesterday’s neighbourly act. A fresh batch of cookies along with the sugar I loaned for them to be baked.
A baked-good delight could arrive at our door at any moment. Diego and Helena love to deliver the goods we create. It’s the epitome of being neighbourly and exactly what this time of year should be all about.

 

 

One Comment Add yours

  1. gottasew says:

    Morning Anna,  it’s a wonderful day in Red Deer and the tempurature is to be 6-8. Jim and I will be home for Christmas and will be hosting Jim’s oldest son from Drayton Valley. Jim’s other son and family live in Grande Prairie and two have to work Dec. 24 and 26 so they will stay home too.  Andrew and Vanessa, Jasper and Holly will have Christmas in the UK and a wedding. Vanessa’s sister Andrea is getting married Dec. 23 to a Scot named Scott. I had a great visit (by phone) with Andrew yesterday. They are moving again but still in Victoria. They sold their house but haven’t got a place to stay…We are too old to make that move, we’d have a new house before we sold the old one. We are hoping you all, Mom too, have a wonderful Christmas and hope 2018 treats you well.      Love, Auntie Carol and Jim

    Sent from my Galaxy Tab® E

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