Laura Boston-Thek “American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).”

Wintery Fasching Fun at Untere Firstalm

Each year, since 1930, Untere Firstalm has hosted their historic and hysterical Faschings gaudi. If you aren’t aware of what Fasching is all about a great comparison is to Carnival or what we call Mardi Gras in the United States. It is just one big silly costume bash. Germany really lets its hair down at this time of year.

The origins of Fasching comes from various beliefs and traditions. In pre-Christian times, these Carnival celebrations symbolized the driving out of winter and all of its dark evil spirits. That is why people wear masks and costumes.

The atmosphere at Untere Firstalm for Fasching is anything but scary. It is pure hilarity and happiness. The rivalry begins at 10 am and you can come in costume or not, all are welcome to join the fun. To get to Untere Firstalm you have to plan on approximately an hour walk up a gentle climb. You can park at Kurvenlift and follow the signs up to Untere Firstalm. For a bit longer and steeper walk, you can pay 4 euros and park at Spitzingsee saddle and follow the road to Obere Firstalm. From there you can easily walk down hill to Untere Firstalm. If you are a skier you can also arrive on skis from either the Kurvenlift or from Stümpfling-Sesselbahn.

The proprietors of Untere Firstalm go all out to create a wonderfully festive atmosphere. Last year they created an amazing bar made from snow where endless drinks were skillfully poured by human sized fuzzy animal creatures.

Feel free to grab a spot at the many long picnic benches and watch or join in on the fun and dancing. Silly costumed sled races and incredibly fearless ski jumping at the Snowpark Spitzingsee, located alongside Untere Firstalm, are all part and parcel of the days entertainment.

This year’s event will be held on February 11 at Untere Firstalm starting at 10 am. There will be live music provided by the party band Grenz Gänger. These guys have played big venues like the Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart and the Augustinerkeller, Hofbräu in Munich.  Should be a fantastic snowy dance experience.

 

The Faschings fun or as they say here in Bavaria, Faschings gaudi, will go till dark so depending on your stamina and the weather you might want to pack a headlamp to guide your way home.

 

 

Grenz Gänger:
http://www.grenzgaenger-showband.de/termine.php

 

Untere Firstalm:
https://www.facebook.com/events/574141782926993/

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Hunting Warm Holiday Cheer

Some people spend their lives tracking the Yeti, but I am on the trail of the most delicious and creative Glühwein stands Schliersee has to offer. This year I am excited to announce some new wonderful places to warm your hands and ignite your Christmas spirit.

On first Advent, I made our plans to visit Schliersee’s Seeweihnacht market at Sunset. We hoped to capture all that Christmas magic gathered before the majestic backdrop of alpine glow on the Brecherspitz. Once the chill hit our bones we decided a wander up to the Ratskeller for a delicious meal. First Advent is all about light and the Ratskeller did not disappoint. Matthias Gercken has pulled out all the stops with his incredible holiday decorating. The Ratskeller Glühwein stand which is nestled along side the Rathaus in Schliersee, was handmade in Austria and so, has encapsulated Tyrollean charm. While we ate,   we were serenaded by a local traditional Bavarian band creating a romantic atmosphere. Such a wonderfully typical German start to Christmas. Let’s not forget the delicious fireside mug of spiced fragrant Glühwein. It is holiday perfection inside and out.

Another warming thirsty stop is Lehmanns Neuhauser Stuben. It is located right in the middle of Neuhaus on the bend. Beneath a giant illuminated Christmas tree is their magical little Glühwein hut. All decked out in twinkle lights, with jazzy Christmas tunes playing it is the perfect spot to break your wander and warm up from nose to toes. Either heading up the slopes or while returning home, a stop at Lehmanns is a must do. Chris Lehmann has really gone all out to make his special corner of Neuhaus festive.

 

And lastly but definitely not least is the remarkable Glühwein stand on Obere Firstalm. While doing some moonlit sledding last full moon a friend and I discovered this wonderful gingerbread stand straight out of a Grimm fairytale. I had to find out the secret of when this Christmas mirage appears as I had never before seen it. Marcus Votteler of Obere Firstalm explained to me just how you can make this magic a part of your Christmas cheer. You can reserved this picturesque Glühwein stand for birthdays or office Christmas parties. Just contact them directly for more information. I don’t know about you but I can’t imagine a more perfect way to enjoy a December birthday than to be together with great friends under the stars, as all snuggle close around an open fire.

Now go forth and gather your friends and lets kick off this holiday season in the Bavarian way, fireside, Glühwein in hand.

For more information on how you can visit these huts for yourself.

Ratskeller Schliersee:
https://www.facebook.com/ratskeller.schliersee/?ref=br_rs

Lehmanns Neuhauser Stuben:
http://neuhauser-stuben.de

Obere Firstalm:
http://www.firstalm.de

 

 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Christmas Market in the Woods

As the winter sun sets on a bitter December weekend, we began the walk back deep into the woods through the dusty blue hour to the remote location of Hennererhof. Each year they host a traditional rural Bavarian Christmas market in the woods.

Little rustic wooden huts showcase the many local handcrafted items for sale dot around the property of the Bavarian farm house. The warm fire light and Christmas smells fill the senses. Icy snow dusted every surface and frosty breath billow from every visitors gathered in cozy groups while sipping warm drinks.

Inside the historic wooden farm house filled with traditional acoustic alpine music chilly families gather in the snug rooms. You can purchase many local gourmet items in their hofladen or farm shop. From aromatherapy to eggs, there isn’t anything you can’t find to sooth your soul. This shop is worth a visit anytime throughout the year.

Twinkling lights sparkle in children excited eyes at the anticipation of a possible Nicolaus sighting, the atmosphere of a Christmas market deep in the forest is something quite special. The air fragrant with the earthy woodland scents blend with the delicious scent of melting cheese from the huge pans of fresh made Kase Spatezel a locally made macaroni and cheese.

Chain saw wood artists, natural bees wax candle makers, hand loomed carpets and fabrics, everything you can imagine all hand crafted from this region. If you haven’t found that perfect gift for those you love for Christmas this year, then chances are you will find that something special at the Woidweihnachtsmarkt am Hennerer.

This year on 9-10 December at 14:00 till 21:00 is the Woidweihnachtsmarkt am Hennerer in Schliersee. This is an event not to be missed. Parking near Hennererhof is very limited so prepare yourself for a long cold walk or grab a ride on one of the horse drawn carriages they have providing transportation. At 5 pm is the expected time for Nicolaus to arrive by horse drawn carriage. Dress warmly from head to toe and bring your hunger.

 

 

For more information about the Woidweihnachtsmarkt am Hennerer:
https://www.hennerer.com/aktuelles/

 

Familie Prem
Hennererstr. 36
83727 Schliersee/Westenhofen
Tel. + Fax: 08026 / 922 99 64

Email: info@hennerer.com

www.hennerer.com 

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

A Christmas Market … Lakeside (Seeweihnacht)

Festive twinkle light adorned market booths sit along side of the picturesque alpine lake, Schliersee. Its dramatic backdrop of snow capped mountains. This is Mother Natures holiday decorating at its best. The air, fragrant with all the magical scents of a traditional German Christmas market. From mulled warm wines, to the cinnamon spiced candied nuts. All these sights and sounds help create the magical atmosphere of this lovely little market.

Seeweihnacht in Schliersee is the first Christmas market to start off the 4 Advent weekends of fabulous holiday festivities. Held on the 2 and 3 December in the Kurpark am See located near Vitalwelt. You can come by car or by train as the market is a short walk from the train station. It is a great alternative to sitting in holiday traffic.

What is wonderful about these small town local Bavarian Christmas markets is they are so intimate. Each both contains gifts that are created by loving passionate hands. You won’t find plastic or mass produced items from lands far away at this market. These are handmade gifts destined to become heirlooms. From the foods to the Christmas ornaments, each item is uniquely special.

Each year the ladies of the Frauenbund from the Catholic church in Schliersee work tirelessly preparing the most fantastic array of German Christmas cookies called “Plätzchen”. You have to arrive early to make sure you get a box as they go quickly. Definitely worth making a trip to savor a few of their delights.

Families have gather around in the firelight listening to Christmas carols while wagging dogs snuggle with warmly bundled children since the first days of this market. Eyes bright with age old Christmas cheer. This is a timeless image of small Bavarian village tradition. Visiting these local markets is where you truly can experience an old time German Christmas market feeling.

Some of the great highlights for the whole family are the horse and carriage rides which are held on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm till 5pm.  Alpine brass Christmas music fills the air every day of the market starting at 8 pm and a very special visitor greets the merry makers at 5pm when Nikolaus arrives in all his Christmas glory.

 

 

This is a market that can’t be missed. It’s a great finish to a long day on the slopes.

 

Opening times:

Saturday 2 December from 2pm till 8pm

Sunday 3 December from 12 till 8pm

 

Address:

Kurpark Schliersee

Perfallstr. 4

83727 Schliersee

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Adventskranz…Creating German Christmas Light

With the first Advent just around the corner, I thought it might be nice to talk about a German Christmas tradition that anyone can make to bring some European Christmas cheer to their holiday homes. The Advent wreath or as it is called in German, Adventskranz, is a wreath or tray holding four candles, one for each week of Advent. On the Sunday of each Advent another candle is lit right up to Christmas Day.

The Adventskranz is first lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Each year the actual date changes to the Liturgical year or church year. The Adventskranz in earlier times was lit while family and friends would gather around it to sing Christmas carols. It held great significance in a time when Christmas trees were only put up and decorated the night before Christmas because in those time real candles were used on live trees.

First Advent also signifies the start of the Christmas Markets or Christkindlmarkt. These warm and wonderful markets are the true highlight of the holiday season so for many in Europe First Advent is a magical date when friends gather in the glow of candle light and share in laughter, song and warm drinks.

Traditionally the Adventskranz was made using a ring shaped wreath form. These forms are  available up at your local craft store. In these more modern times, people are thinking outside the box or should I say outside the ring and are using many different shapes and styles to create their wreaths.

For the more traditional wreath, you will need a straw or foam base, four candles and various decorative items to give it your own particular flare. I will try to show you two distinctly different styles of creating your Adventskranz, one traditional and the other a bit more modern which I use in my own house.

Living in Schliersee, I am blessed with an alpine location surrounded by pine trees, but many of you living in either city or country locations can also gather some natural branches for decorating from your local florist or craft center. The bringing in of live Evergreen has been done since ancient times so you will be keeping a great tradition alive.  Plus the fresh pine smell fills your home and nothing smells more like Christmas.

Once you have your materials, gather the greens using the florist wire into small bunches like bouquets. Once you have 10 or 15 bunches lay them on the wreath to see if you have enough to cover the entire ring. If you find your bunches are not covering the form completely you can cover the form with wide ribbon. Wrapping it around the form until the entire surface is covered or you can even cover the form with extra flat greenery pieces. Just try to cover the surface evenly. Once you have achieved the covering you want, attach each bouquet to your wreath form using the wire. Over lap each bunch to create a so you can’t see where each begins and ends. This is repeated this until the entire form is covered. Many people like to add dried fruits, nuts or even Christmas ornaments using a glue gun. Add items to your own particular taste or just leave it natural. There are no hard and fast rules. At this point in the project you need to find a way to add your four Advent candles to your wreath. One easy fast way is to lay your wreath on a large plate or platter and in the center hole you stand your candles.  Or if you can find candle spikes then use those.

 

 

If you think you lack the talent or time to put together an Adventskranz for yourself, my time saving idea might be perfect for you. Find a beautiful dish or tray that is big enough to hold your four candles and arrange your decorative items creatively. It is that simple. For my table I found a wrought iron tray that had four candle holders built right in making the job very easy. These type of decorative candle holders are widely available. While searching online for sources I also found pre-made forms using florist foam or oasis and they even included the candle holders all under $10. There really is no excuse for not bringing some German holiday cheer to your home this year.

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).