It has been about two weeks since my last post and to be entirely honest the only exciting thing that has happened is the opening of the Weihnactsmarkte, Christmas Markets, have opened up around the country. I have never been one to really celebrate Christmas in all its glory, I find Christmas music annoying, and I have never just really gotten all that into it, but after just three Christmas markets I’m starting to think that is all going to change soon. The markets are beautiful, crowded, and when you’re walking around with a hot mug of mulled wine looking at all of the booths and the twinkling lights, it can start to make you like Christmas a little bit more. This past weekend I took a spontaneous trip to Mainz and Wiesbaden, which are both about an hour from Darmstadt. They are two cities right next to each other but I believe they are both located in different states. I had a friend text me and ask if I wanted to go see the “Coke-Cola Christmas Trucks” and I was entirely confused, so I did a little research and here in Europe it is tradition for these trucks to tour around different countries and put on a parade and have singers, it’s kind of a big deal. It was so weird to me because they think that it is such an American tradition but I had never even heard of it. They are just American semi-trucks and they are decked out with lights and the trailers have stages for the singers, and Santa. I did not expect the number of people there and it felt like a huge Christmas concert with all of the trucks parked around the town center. Santa was on one truck, singer Yvonne Catterfeld on another singing Christmas music, and then the German Youtuber Jonas on the last truck doing a meet and greet. It was a great experience and I got to see the beautiful Christmas market in Wiesbaden!
Along with the transition into the Christmas season here, just like everywhere the weather has started to get colder and colder every day. Growing up in Wisconsin means I’m used to the cold, so it’s nothing new for me, but I have made friends in the exchange program here from all around the world and for some of them it is the first time being in such “cold” temperatures. Now I love all of them and it’s amusing watching them be amazed by all the new things for them. For example, when the temperature finally hit 0 Celsius (32 F) and car windows frosted overnight or the first time, or seeing parts of a lake frozen and throwing stones onto the water and they would just sit on top. These things are a normal part of winter for me but sometimes I forget that the whole world doesn’t turn into the frozen tundra for most of the year.
As everyone back home in Menomonie is preparing for finals over here in Germany we are still only about halfway through the semester. We have winter break for about 3 weeks and then we go back in January for the end of the semester and it will end about the end of January and the start of February. We will have another break and then for a little while and then the semester will start up again.
Weihnactsmarkt Mainz, Germany
Weihnactsmarkt Wiesbaden, Germany
Weihnactsmarkt Michelstadt, Germany