Saturday, October 30, 2004

Fall has fallen here in Germany, and it really is gorgeous. Much prettier, in fact, than I recall last fall being. I went to Kaiserslautern today with my friend Amy for the Rhein-Ordnance Holiday Bazaar, and we were just amazed by the scenery as we zipped along the Autobahn. Multicolored vineyards stretched out on either side of us--tidy squares, some still green, others turning yellow, orange, or brilliant red.

Many of the military communities over here host international bazaars throughout the year. Some are huge, while others are tiny. This one was, like Baby Bear's chair, just right. There wasn't a lot of duplication, but there was a healthy dose of almost everything. There was a Polish pottery stand (bought a cookie jar on clearance, which I'm going to use to store cat food), a couple of toy stands (a new Beanie Baby rodent to add to the kids' collection), tons of antiques, cheeses from Holland, leather and glass from Italy, our favorite wine vendor (bought 2 bottles each of his homemade Glühwein (think hot sangria--we already killed off one bottle tonight), and of course plenty of nutcrackers:

If shopping for Belgian chocolates were a video game, I am pleased (dismayed?) to report that I probably hold the high score for the day if not the entire weekend. Here's a shot of the fellow Amy and I call "Belgian Hot Chocolate Guy"--I always begin and end every bazaar with a visit to his shop:

After we finished off the bazaar, we stopped by Zofia's, a little Polish pottery shop nearby. I did a bit of Christmas shopping and also managed to score a really cool liquid soap dispenser for myself.

Zofia's is located in the basement of a small hotel. In the backyard, there's a swingset much like the ones that were in backyards when I was a kid. That swingset cracks me up. You know how in the United States everybody freaks if the mulch or rubber chips underneath the play equipment isn't so thick? Well, here they have POURED CEMENT SLABS underneath the swings, I suppose to keep little swinging feet from wearing away the earth. Check it out for yourself:

All in all it was an excellent day of much-needed retail therapy!

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