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This and That:

Flat Stanley's Travel Adventures

Flat Stanley's Journal (Part 7)  

Adventures with Jane and Bob Miller
November through December, 2004
By Sarah and Wolfgang Blauen

December 15, 2004
The three of us went Christmas Shopping in Rheydt. Malls like we know them in the States are not popular here. The shops are mainly on and around the city square which is made from bricks in many cases. There are a few shops grouped together off a main hall (kind of like a mall!). The city had live Christmas trees placed around the square and many of the stores put out pots with decorated ivy and small evergreens in front of their entrances. There were booths set-up selling sausages-on-a-roll and Glühwein (hot spiced wine) and there was even a Merry-Go-Round for the kids. Lots of people were out shopping, especially as it got closer to lunchtime! As we walked back to the car, there was a man playing Christmas songs on a very small trumpet while another man played an electric piano. 
For dinner we went over to eat with Mr. and Mrs. Miller. She made a big plate full Reibekuchen (Potato Pancakes) – 2 big stacks along with a large bowl of homemade Applesauce. It was delicious!!

December 16-17, 2004
Worked in the Party room some more. Things are really starting to come together. Mr. Bob and I worked on roof construction and bar top. Miss Jane was sent to the dungeon … (found out it’s not really a dungeon, just a small space where the old roof tiles are stored!) Lots of dirty work but when it’s all finished, there’s going to be a gigantic party!!!
Miss Jane let me slide down the short banister. Wow, that was fun!

December 18, 2004
This evening we drove around Erkelenz to see the Christmas lights. All the street lamps in the small downtown area were decorated with stars, bells or Christmas trees with white lights. Strung across the street in various places were evergreen swags with white lights. In the middle of the square was the biggest live Christmas tree I’ve ever seen and the trees in front of the Rat Haus (City Building) were also decorated with small white lights. One of the restaurants was all lit up with a large stuffed animal in each window. There was Santa, a brown bear, a penguin, a reindeer and a polar bear. It was all quite festive! 
Next, we picked up Mr. and Mrs. Miller and drove on the Autobahn (highway) to Krefeld to visit Mr. Bob’s sister Liza and her husband Stephan. Many parts of the Autobahn don’t have a speed limit and people drive very fast. Mr. Bob is a careful driver so it wasn’t too scary! I have noticed gas is quite expensive here: 1Liter (1/4 Gallon) is 1 Euro and 22 Cents (that’s about $1.50). Wow – that’s $6 a gallon!
Liza and Stephan live in a “Doppelhaus”. This looks like a big house with 2 front entrances. It’s really two separate houses joined in the middle with a thick double-wall. They told me this is very common in Germany. Liza fed us a huge meal and then brought out a pan of baked apples filled with Marzipan (almond paste), almonds, raisins and vanilla cream. We sure eat well in Germany!!!

(read on ...) 

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