Thursday, January 12, 2012

Frohe Weihnachten, everyone.

It's probably best to rename the Meldrumhaus the Meldrum Mobile Home, given the travel we've been doing these past few weeks. Besides our several awesome days with Jaren in Paris, Brussels, Maastricht (post coming soon!), and Aachen, Sara and I spent four days in London for New Year's, followed by five days in Bavaria. That said, sorry we're behind on keeping you up-to-date on our lives. For now, though, I want to bring everyone back to 2011 for a look at the Christmas Market in Cologne:


Of course we made Jaren climb the 509 stairs up the south tower of the Cologne cathedral and saw the red-roofed Weihnachtsmarkt below.


And looking back up was pretty impressive, too.

We saw this street group playing Pachelbel's Canon in D; note the guy on the left playing the Balalaikacontrabass. Probably the coolest instrument I've ever seen.


No day at the Weihnachtsmarkt is complete without some tasty treats. Here's Jaren enjoying Glühwein and roasted chestnuts.


Köln (or Cologne) is large enough to host several Christmas markets; here are the swinging gnomes marking the entrance to one a little further removed from the Cathedral with wares of somewhat higher quality (and price):


And to make sure his luck wouldn't run out while in Europe, Jaren rubbed the nose of the Cologne statue-icon Tünnes (the tall one is Schäl). Apparently, the sign says that Schäl is going to be deported. Don't get it at all.


Though Sara and I aren't terribly pleased with the dining options in Aachen, we've never tasted anything as disgusting as we had in Köln. Recommended to us by the Cologne natives and tour guides from our German courses at the Goethe Institute (back from when we were living in Bonn), Früh is a brewery/restaurant dating back to the 12th century. Apparently it serves the best traditional dishes found in the Rheinland. Apparently, the food from the Rheinland is gross.

Jaren ordered goulash. We didn't really know what goulash was, so we asked the waiter. The conversations went something like this:

Tyler: Excuse me, could you explain what exactly is goulash?
Waiter: Goulash?
T (nervously, thinking that he had mispronounced it): Yes, goulash.
W: Umm, that's an international dish.
T: Well, we don't know what it is, so...?
W: I guess it has chunks of meat in it and it's in a sauce...
T: So it's like Sauerbraten?
W: No, it's not.
Jaren (to T): I'll try it.
T (to W): He'll have the goulash.
--five minutes later--
W to J: Here you go. Das ist Goulash.

The emphasis on his das in das ist Goulash can't be overstated. We used that phrase about 500 times during the remainder of Jaren's stay.

The verdict? Jaren reports that his goulash was like canned Dinty Moore stew. A 15 euro can of Dinty Moore stew.


Sara tried some bean dish that was supposed to be accompanied by bacon. Apparently they raise bigger bacon out here--it comes by the slab!


I, on the recommendation of the locals, tried the local beer (alcohol free). As a service to all of you, let me warn you: DO NOT DRINK KÖLSCH BEER BY FRÜH. IT IS DISGUSTING. The only upside was that it was cheaper than water. A lot harder to put down that water, but cheaper. Overall, Früh was the most disgusting thing that we had eaten in a long while, and we paid around 50 EUR for it. Just so you know, dear potential visitors, we won't take you there. (But at least you know we've done our research.)

Christmas was well described by our guest poster, Jaren. The three hats he mentioned were a clever stand-in for the usual stockings. (Only after Christmas did our German friends ask if we got presents in our shoes--why didn't Santa think of that instead of hats?) Each of us got some hot chocolate from The Chocolate Company (excellent), some Ritter Sport chocolate, and a TV show on iTunes. (For the curious, Jaren got season one of Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren, Sara got season two of Downton Abbey, and Tyler got season one of Dexter. All highly recommended.)


To increase the Christmas spirit, Sara took some time on Christmas Eve to whip up this Christmas tree. It was festive, if a little unorthodox, and provided a home for the new pig ornament that Sara received from her family. (Sara loved pigs as a little girl. Still does.)

Perhaps the best Christmas present was a three-way video chat with our brother Austin, currently serving a mission for the Mormon church in Chuuk, Micronesia, and with our family in Denver. It was a great chat with him that left all of us feeling closer as a family; a surprising feat given that we were all at least eight time zones removed from the others. The conclusion of the video chat was that following Austin's return to the States in May, my family will be making a trek out here to see us in Germany/Europe. So, dear readers, rest assured that there will be plenty more guest posting to come.


Merry Christmas, everyone.


  1. where are the wacky boob pics?

  2. They live in you, Jaren. They live in you. (And on Flickr. And on your post.)


Comments remind us that once upon a time we had friends.