Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend in Luxembourg

So, I've been lazy and haven't blogged in weeks, but I must tell you all about the fantastic weekend I spent with my cousin, Sarah, and her family in Luxembourg. Sarah's husband, Matt, is an engineer for Goodyear, and his work brought the family to Luxembourg last January, where they will live for two more years. Thanksgiving has always been very special for me at home, and I was very grateful to have such kind, wonderful, family members welcome me into their house for my first holiday away from my Oregon family. Oddly enough, this is the closest Sarah and I have ever lived, as I grew up in Oregon, and she grew up in Ohio, and we were able to see each other very rarely. It was also ironic to think that my Thanksgiving dinner in Luxembourg was really the most American Thanksgiving I've ever experienced. Mouthwatering Thanksgiving meals with my French grandparents always include non-traditional meat (such as goose, duck, or quail instead of turkey) or a twist on the traditional Thanksgiving fare (such as chestnut and sausage stuffing instead of bread stuffing, and yams cooked with brandy rather than marshmallows). I really enjoyed having an American Thanksgiving in Europe. Sarah and Matt invited many friends that they'd made, and everyone brought a dish. I think there were two turkeys, two bowls of bread stuffing, two bowls of mashed potatoes, gravy, cauliflower, green beans, yams, cranberry sauce, and of course two pies and ice cream for dessert. Delightful!

The next day, Sarah and little Abby took me into town while Matt was at work. Here I am with Abigail and the blue woman in downtown Luxembourg:

Sarah took me to the charming Christmas Market in Luxembourg. I tried some hot white wine (delicious) and Sarah, Abby, and I had pasta for lunch. I don't know what it is about Europeans, but they are masters of fast food pasta. We took a stroll around the booths, buying fudge and scoping out potential Christmas gifts. I thought it was interesting that the market included booths selling everything from nativity scene characters carved out of olive wood, to marzipan penises. I considered buying Jeremy some of the latter as a joke, but decided I didn't want him to be beaten by other soldiers for eating marzipan penises. After the Christmas market, and a chocolat chaud at a café, we returned home for Abby's nap (and mine as well). When Matt came home we went out to a wonderful restaurant where I had ravioli stuffed with foie gras. Nom nom nom. It was a delightful day. Here is a picture of the cousins from that night:

The next day, Matt, Sarah, and Abby took me to Trier, Germany, to visit a very well-know Christmas market. It was amazing. It was like a Christmas wonderland fairy-town dream place. Everyone was walking around with hot wine, and sausages, and potato pancakes, and delicious desserts. Here are Matt, Sarah, and Abby (and Luke is on the way!):

Sausage-themed trash cans: welcome to Germany.

A charming goat scene on the roof of a Christmas booth:

Sarah and Abby eat chocolate covered grapes:

A German einhorn for alex:

Adorable, pregnant Sarah inside the Porta Nigra, Trier's Roman City Gate from the 2nd century A.D.:

View of Trier from the Porta Nigra. The mass of people in the middle is the Christmas market:

Trier was wonderfully, and I was able to add another new country to my list. After Trier, we went home for Abby's nap (and mine, and I think Matt fell asleep too). Then Sarah made us a delightful spaghetti dinner (with real Italian pasta), and then we went out for tea and dessert in the town of Vianden. Vianden has an incredible castle on the hill, and the town was utterly charming. I'm glad we went at night because the town had such a wonderful atmosphere. It was so cold and foggy, and the streets were so empty and quiet, and there were Christmas lights or candles in all of the windows of the homes. It was really lovely. Here is a slightly blurry view of the castle:

My train left the next morning, and I definitely didn't want to leave Sarah and Matt's cosy house where I was thoroughly spoiled. But I'm excited for a return visit to see new parts of Europe, and meet the new addition to the family!