Photo Journal

December 2020

Week 49   |   30 Nov – 06 Dec 2020

While snow is a rare phenomenon in modern Karlsruhe, you do still get it at higher altitudes. We found this sweet spot at Dobel, a half hour drive from us. We made a valiant attempt to roast some chestnuts, but these croissants on a stick turned much more successfully.

Flags of each EU country are painted on benches along the “Europe Trail” one of the many hiking trails in Dobel. On the top left of this one, someone has written, “was nice to have you :)”

Colourful heather, chameleon of the plant world 🙂 Not only does it flower all year ’round, but many varieties also change colour. I think their winter colours are the most vibrant of all the seasons.

Just hanging out with Penny (our jade plant) and Rapunzel (the angel hair fern) and some acorns I found in the forest.  The two parcels in particular have done a lot of travelling to get here in time. Thanks L!

Came across this field of snow, where local children built snowmen and played on their toboggans until the end of the day, when their parents selflessly carried (or literally dragged) the children and their toboggans home.

My first Christmas market crepe of the year. Plus inaugural outing with the Totoro mask from L.

That is of course a homemade, purple, blueberry, birthday cheesecake. Yes.

Hanging out under the umbrella of a glühwein stand.

Feeling utterly spoilt. Here:  Gifts from Tanja, Carsten, Caroline and Papa Klaus, and a Womankind subscription from Lorraine. 

Motorcycle gang sighted in Karlsruhe, menacing the streets with Santa costumes and reindeer onesies. 

…or maybe some sort of leaf-blanket, preserving the snow beneath it. Not really sure how that happens.

Preliminary results are updated as counting for the local elections continue into the early evening. The results here don’t show it, but incumbent, Dr Frank Mentrup, retained his seat as city mayor.

A strategically parked bike with a clear message about right-wing populism.

Week 50   |   07 – 13 Dec 2020

Stallholders are having a super tough time this year, with the markets significantly reduced in size and daily trading hours, and even the whole season, cut short.

I discovered a really beautiful German tradition this time last year when I started receiving “Plätchen” (small baked Christmas treats) from my students. I’ve decided to adopt this practice and, for the the second Christmas now, have been baking Plätchen with my friend Nicole.  This year, we also mulled some wine on the side.

My friend Noushin visited today. We had cinnamon tea and butter cookies. We try to meet once a week for a German/English language exchange.

Week 51   |   14 -20 Dec 2020

Took a detour through my local park as I was walking home and collected a hug from this cloud. It leaves a super fine mist in your hair that sparkles like a halo when you walk under bright lights.

When elephants see humans, it activates the same part of their brain as when humans see cute things, like babies.

I met my first language exchange partner, Katja, through an English class I was teaching at the local community college.  Katja likes llamas, so I made this for her b’day.

Lucky skateboards and chucks do.

It’s a musk rat! I first noticed them in the summer. Seems like they like playing here in the winter as well.

Splinter has lunch and a mallard duck dances in the background.

Week 52   |   21 – 27 Dec 2020

Christmas food

Lovingly handmade by Katja <3<3

They go by different names, but here these little guys are called Damperdei.

Adopted this Christmas treat from nearby Italy.

Christmas treats

All packed and ready to give away – except for the chocolates in the middle – they were a gift from Katja, along with the bouquet.  

These handmade chocolates deserve their very own close-up.

…Not because it was Christmas, but because it was a Sunday. And because we were talking about the videos of Paddy making blueberry pancakes and that made us want to eat some.

Christmas surprises

The best surprises are when this baby calls me.

The xmas card in the middle arrived from my friend Julie exactly on time! 

Thank you, Lorraine and Niels! xx

Week 53   |   28 Dec 2020 – 03 Jan 2021

Another nice thing about Christmas is that you can make yummy cakes out of leftover ingredients.

In Colombia, we (tried to) eat 12 grapes in 12 seconds. In Germany, we eat brioche disguised as a giant pretzel. It was much more achievable than the Colombian challenge, except that we forgot to do it at midnight, so we had it for brekky instead.

Week 53   |   28 Dec 2020 – 03 Jan 2021

On the last day of 2020, it finally snowed!! Proper snow. 

The “Kloster Allerheiligen”, or All Saints’ Abbey, in modern day Oppenau would have been a centre of monastic life back in the 12th century. 

These spekulatius cookies were made with loads of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice, plus Niels’ 3D printed Moomin and gingerbread man cookie cutters.

…and I drew a pic in the snow. Had to be hasty so my finger didn’t turn into an icicle.

Hmm…forests look quite dramatic when they’re covered in snow.

In situ. Covered in snow.

Almost like sand, or snow-dust…except it behaves completely differently.  I tried to make a snow-castle the same way I would make one from sand. It definitely doesn’t work the same way!  >_<

This is the first time I’ve seen a waterfall covered in snow.

January 2021

Week 1   |   04 – 10 Jan 2021

Further lockdown measures were announced this week, extending the period until (at least) the end of the month. Shops are closed, social meetings are limited to one person at a time and everyone must be home by 8pm. For me, work has either moved online or been suspended until lockdowns are lifted. Other than that, we’ve been pretty lucky and the usual coping mechanisms are working well. Here’s a sample from this week:

Walks in the snow
More cookies
Breakfast pretzels

Luckily for me, it was super novel on this day!

No further captioning needed…

Week 2   |   11 – 17 Jan 2021

Here is a view from my living room window.

Here is a view from my living room window.

Here is a view from my living room window.

January 2021 (default colour: #020101)

Week 01   |   04 – 10 Jan 2021

Week 02   |   11 – 17 Jan 2021

Online Meeting