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Rheda-Wiedenbrück Christmas Market (visited by Sam)

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On Saturday, we took a twenty minute train ride to the small town of Rheda-Wiedenbrück to check out their Christmas market. (The town is technically two parts, Rheda and Wiedenbrück. The Christmas market is located in Wiedenbrück and the train station is in Rheda. If you’ve come in on a train, you’ll want to take the 78 bus to the Ratskeller stop.)

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The Christmas market is nothing huge, but it’s a beautiful little town. These are the sorts of pictures everyone is looking for when you tell them you went to a quaint German village. It’s right out of a fairytale. A very cold fairytale.

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We stopped and got a little something to warm up. Glühwein with blueberries, chile con carne and potato cream soup.

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soup

Before we went, we were told that the lights were beautiful. As the sun started to set, we realized that the it wasn’t so much the lights in the market, but the lights decorating the whole area surrounding the market, that are a big deal. The sky was not too shabby, either.

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It was bitterly cold – though maybe the ice on the water wheel gives that away.

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Nachtansichten

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A couple of weekends ago, we got to enjoy Nachtansichten in Bielefeld (a.k.a. Museum Night). For about 8 euros each, you can gain entry to all of the city’s museums, galleries and churches. We went to see the Historiches Museum, the Kunsthalle, and the Bauernhof Museum. It was a beautiful night, one of the first comfortably warm summer nights of the year, and it was incredible to see how many people Bielefeld actually has. Highlights: seeing massive weaving machines; learning about the microphotographer/artist Carl Strüwe.
Sam

Bielefeld Nordic Walking Trails

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We live just on the edge of the Teutoburger Wald, famous for maybe(?) being the site of a battle between the Roman Empire and Germanic tribes, and also for being kinda pretty.

We chose a beautiful day to talk a walk through the forest, which is full of tall, narrow trees. I was a little concerned that we would fall into a hobbit house or be stolen away by fairies. However, before any of that could happen, the shaded forest opened up onto this field:

People were studying, sunbathing and playing with their dogs. Something that has been really difficult for me here is not interacting with dogs when we see them out and about. I’m totally cool with not interacting with people, but I’m used to being able to at least give a smile and a nod to someone with a dog, and maybe stopping to pet him (the dog, not the person), and maybe having some “dog talk”. Here, that is not the case. If the dog is on a leash, the owner will generally tug him away from other people. Most dogs, however, are not on a leash, and are ridiculously well-behaved. (They also seem to be allowed in most restaurants, which is a whole other post). They follow dutifully, and stop and come when called.

German dogs are only allowed to poop pleasant things.

It doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for the dog to, well, be a dog and run over to strangers to say hi. However, on our hike we came across a yellow lab with huge eyes and a tennis ball shoved in his mouth, and I got to quell my canine craving by throwing it for him a couple of times.

We really thought we’d wandered into a fairy tale when we saw the windmill on the horizon. It turns out it’s part of an historical re-enactment village for kids. We continued on our way, and stumbled onto a little village. Of…hobbit huts?

The land is divided into plots, with stairs and paths winding through. It covers the side of the hill, so there is a beautiful view of the city of Bielefeld. Apparently, on a nice day, you can see all the way to Detmold. Each plot has a garden, and the houses are too small to be houses, but too big to be just garden sheds. Google Translate tells me that it’s called a “Garden Hermitage.” There is a restaurant on site that serves food and drink, and my guess is that some of the food was grown right there.

This was all on the shortest of all of the Nordic walking paths available. When spring rolls around, we’ll be checking out the rest.

craft and knitting supplies

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Sam’s knitting supplies recommendations
http://www.jules-wollshop.de/
Fast online delivery, though she is Bielefeld-based and offers pick-up as an option. More variety in brands than a lot of the “brick and mortar” knitting shops I’ve seen. Speaks English.

http://www.wollrausch.com/wr_kauf.htm
Cute store in the Altstadt. Owner doesn’t speak English but is very friendly.

Piia’s creative supplies recommendations

Idee creative markt http://www.idee-shop.de

Müller http://www.mueller.de