Friday, December 7, 2012

Wednesday - Schloss Buckeburg & Bielefeld

Today we are off to Castle Buckeburg in the town of Buckeburg.  After breakfast with fresh breakfast rolls still hot from the bakery, and after the host husband made sure all was well with his business we were in two cars going to Buckeburg - with car seats for two children we needed to take the second vehicle.  It was great everyone could go today.
Entrance to Schloss

With Santa and Helper

American Christmas

The castle itself was lovely, but the main attraction right now is the Christmas market with “An American Christmas” as the theme.   After you walked through the gate of the castle wall you encountered Christmas market stalls/tents/shops located along the driveways and in the gardens.  The “An American Christmas” included trees decorated in ‘stars and flag’ ribbons, lights on shrubs and trees (this is not European), reindeer shapes, English Christmas carols, Santa Claus instead of St Nicholas or Father Christmas.  The evening before on our way home from Soest we drove down one street known as the “American Christmas light street”.  It is a street where most of the homes have lights on their houses or a tree – it is quite modest, but at the same time very nice.  I guess we did not realize that Europeans do not decorate with lights. 
The Great Room in the Schloss

The Great Room

The Red Room

Shopping for Christmas

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At one point a soloist appeared on the castle balcony and sang Christmas songs in English.  Later we realized what we thought was a tour of the castle was indeed more shopping inside the castle! As we went from room to room in the castle, each room was full of tables and booths selling items.  As your exited the castle you embarked on another shopping experience in a large tent in the back gardens!  I must say that everything was very upscale and tastefully arranged. The place was crowded!  Busloads of shoppers were there!  It appeared to be the place for women’s groups to come for the day!  Cal & I tried to look at the castle rooms over and above the tables.  It would be a beautiful castle to tour at another time of year.  After walking around the grounds for a while and having a snack, we drove to the city of Bielefeld to visit their Christmas market.

This whole Christmas market tradition is interesting.  We do not have anything like it in Iowa or any other State that we are aware of.  Each market is decorated differently, and has its own personality.  We have been to enough now to see the differences and feel the differences. They are usually located in a plaza area and you walk from one plaza to the next for each individual market.  It is a place for people to come together, eat, stroll, do some shopping, have a hot drink of some sort and socialize.  We understand the crowds are larger when it is cold as that is when the hot drinks taste the best.  People are all bundled up these cold evenings.  The hot drinks do not need to have any alcohol, as there is hot chocolate, and hot mulled cider.  There are all sorts of food – all sorts of brats, pizzas, flamkuchen (looks like thin crust pizza, but better), all sorts of meat on a stick, chocolate covered fruit on a stick, spiral cut potatoes on a stick – someone needs to go to the Iowa State Fair to get the ‘on the stick’ ideas!! I am just naming a few.  The gluhwein stands are very busy after work and later in the evening! The markets usually close somewhere between 9-11:00 pm.  Some of the markets have entertainment stages with puppets for children, bands, or singing groups. We see some of the same items at each market, but there are new and different items at each market.
Soest Christmas Market

Which Brat would you like


With Friends

Making Pizza

Cutting Pizza

By the time we arrived home the children were ready to run around freely – no more car seats, no more strollers, no more sitting in back packs!  By now they are really interacting with us.  Bedtime was hard as they were wound up! It has been so much fun learning to know the personality of each child.

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