Christian and I were naughty over the holidays—we didn’t put up a single Christmas decoration! Since we knew we were coming to Cali for the holidays, we thought ‘eh no putting them up, no cleaning up!’ Also Jack the cat likes the tear off every single Christmas ball from our mini Christmas tree and play a game of cat ‘n mouse...so we thought we’d avoid the annual ‘look under the couches for all of the Christmas ornaments’ task...Jack was not happy...sorry Jack. Just because we didn’t decorate doesn’t mean we didn’t feel the magic of Christmas though. The streets of Amsterdam are beautiful in the Winter. Twinkly lights line the streets, a huge Christmas tree frequents Dam Square for several weeks and since the Fall was relatively dry with not a cloud in sight, it was perfect for a little Christmas bike ride around town.
Maastricht, a small Dutch town in the south where Christian’s family is from, is completely different from Amsterdam but has its own element of ‘gezelligheid’ (that means ‘coziness’ for all you non-Dutch!) at all times of the year. When we went to celebrate Christmas with Christian’s family, we spent a couple hours wandering around their annual Christmas market—Winterland. Set up in the main square in Maastricht (the Vrijtof), it’s a compilation of stands selling trinkets, offering rides and and ice-skating and plenty of wintry foods—gluhwein, bratwurst, warm ham sandwiches with honey-mustard sauce and these REALLY delicious, salty German potato patties. I’ve heard the German Christmas markets are even better!! Hopefully we’ll add a German Christmas market to our agenda in 2012 :)