Happy 2013 from Würzburg! The Mr. and I enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day that was much needed after a whirlwhind of activity for us over the past couple of weeks.
Firstly, the Mr. and I were busy hosting visitors earlier in December. It’s been sort of a quiet year for us in terms of friends visiting, but we ended up with two different groups of friends staying with us for back-to-back visits in mid-December. The first friend was stopping over in Germany on her way to a new job in Africa, and the second (along with her boyfriend) is German and came through Würzburg to see us on her back home to spend Christmas with her parents. It was great having friends come and stay with us during this final calm period before the craziness that will ensue in early 2013 with the arrival of our GABOJ. And thankfully, I also felt relatively good while they were all here and could move around fairly well.
After our visitors left, the Mr. and I rented a car for an entire week so that we would have an easy way to get around and visit family over the Christmas holidays. On the weekend before Christmas, we decided to visit the Sommerhausen Christmas market as we had done last year.
Sommerhausen’s market is perhaps my favorite here in Germany. While it can’t compete in size with a world-famous market like Nürnberg’s, it more than makes up for it in terms of character. (And it doesn’t hurt that even on a “crowded” day, it’s nowhere near as suffocating as the bigger markets are with wall-to-wall people.) What I love most about the Sommerhausen market is its setting. Although there are some tented stalls set up, many of the stalls are located inside historic buildings in the town. Walking down the steps into an old cellar or walking into an old barn beautifully decorated gives the market a special atmosphere and character. Also, most of the items for sale are hand-crafted, with many being locally made. I didn’t manage to take any photos, but we bought a couple of beautiful porcelain tealight holders for the Mr.’s mother and sister for Christmas. He also had some gorgeous dishware for sale, and I had my eye on a white mug with swirled designs, but the Mr. said we need to break a few of our mugs before we can fit any more in the cabinets!
I couldn’t resist this little guy. He wasn’t particularly cheap, but I fell in love and couldn’t leave him behind. He’ll sit somewhere in the nursery, so I have to figure out the perfect spot for him.
On Christmas Eve, we drove to the Mr.’s sister’s home in Ludwigsburg and spent that evening and most of the next day with his family. Christmas Eve is the big event in Germany, with the children being distracted after dinner with a story or game while the parents and relatives set out the Christmas gifts under the tree and light the real candles adorning the branches. The Mr.’s family then starts to sing Christmas carols to signal that the children should come to the tree. Unfortunately, two of the three kids there were sick with low-grade fever so the celebrations were a little more low-key than usual, but it was still a lovely evening. The next day we had breakfast all together, did a little walk and had some lunch afterwards. The Mr. and I had to break off relatively early from the group walk as I’m more limited in what I can manage these days, but it was a fairly nice day (some rain) with very mild temperatures.
The following day the Mr. and I decided to check out Bad Kissingen’s thermal spa called KissSalis. While I couldn’t really use the sauna, jacuzzi or some of the other facilities of the spa, I could enjoy swimming around their heated indoor and outdoor pools. At first I felt a bit weird in the water; but after about 20 minutes or so, I started to feel more normal and even found myself relaxing. It was nice to have some of the pressure of my abdomen relieved under the water, and I could really feel all the weight of what I’m now carrying when I got out of the pool. I would definitely love to go back to KissSalis at some point, though I’m not sure whether I’d like to go again being this pregnant. I sort of felt like a spectacle waddling around like a whale, and I was a little worried about slipping and falling on the wet tiles. Though it did feel nice in the water….
We then took the car the following day to see the Mr.’s older sister and her family in Ulm. It poured down rain on the way there and the way back, but we enjoyed our visit mostly inside the coziness of their home. We did a short little walk in their neighborhood, but the wind, cold and rain made it rather unpleasant so no one stayed out for too long.
The following day was our last one with the car. We ran some errands, picking up a couple of things at Ikea as well as doing some grocery shopping, before returning the car.
And now begins a more quiet period in January as we prepare for all of the changes ahead. As uncomfortable as I’m starting to feel, I’m thankful I have these next few weeks to read, watch movies, and just generally relax. They’re my last few weeks “off,”so to speak…for forever, I guess! 🙂