Saturday, December 08, 2007

Holiday Fun

Today we went to two different Christmas markets-one in our hometown of Baden and one in Waldshut, Germany. We enjoyed both, but the one in Germany had many more exciting (and cheaper) food options as well as a carosel for children and some carolers singing Jingle Bells in English. I sang along.

In Baden, all the market offered to eat were sausages, raclette (melted cheese on bread) and mulled cider or wine. The garlic bread machine was broken (I asked since I'm not a big fan of sausage but have learned to eat a bit or two since usually there aren't many other options.) Anyhow, we ended up with one sausage and one mug of mulled cider.

At the German market, the food options were endless. Yes, many sausages, but also flammkuchen (a kind of pizza), mulled cider and wine, schnitzel with potatos, chickens, etc. Here a cup of mulled wine was 1.50 Euros. Compare this to Switzerland where a cup is the equivelent 3.60 Euros. (This is one reason there was a line of cars to cross the border back into Switzerland after shopping hours with no one going the other way!)

Both markets had about the same types of xmas items for sale--ornaments, candles, etc. but the Swiss market had more wooden toys for children.

While in Germany we enjoyed doing some shopping for some random items that are ridiculosy priced in Switzerland. For example:
1. applesauce (almost 4 times the price in Switzerland)
2. Qtips (2 times the price in Switzerland)
3. Soap bars (almost 4 times the price in Switzerland)
4. canned beans (3 times the price in Switzerland)
5. meat (2+ times the price in Switzerland)

It is so interesting to go only 12 km (Baden to the border of Germany is only 8 miles and have things change so drastically.) The other thing we enjoy is hearing real German. I understand people talking and can ask for things without getting "ah, you're a foreigner look." It was really refreshing to order some bread at a bakery and have the transaction go completely smoothly.

There are 2 new German grocery stores right next to the station in Waldshut and this is awesome. I may go back there more often because of this. It is only a half hour train ride from Baden but we hadn't been there for a few months. The other great thing about German grocery stores as opposed to Swiss ones is that they are huge and American feeling. They have many more choices of products and have many additional American food items Switzerland only has in their "speciality department store grocery stores". For example, I was excited to find a bag of mashmallows for .99 EUR just in an everyday store as opposed to an overpriced departmen's international grocery store--the same bag in Switzerland is the equivalent of 3.7 EUR--almost four times the price!


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