Tag Archives | Europe

Grand Prix de Monaco

Today was a beautiful day in Monte Carlo for the 70th Grand Prix de Monaco! During the 78-lap race around the shortest and most dangerous F1 course, the cars’ roars and screeches could be heard throughout the city as they raced uphill toward the world-famous casino, downhill and around a tight hairpin, around two more […]

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Crèche, or Nativity

Nativity scenes, or crèches, play a significant role in Europe. In some countries, like France and Italy, the crèche is the focus of the Christmas celebration. In addition to the Holy Family, traditional village folk characters such as doctors and bakers frequently populate the stable. The first crèche was staged on December 24, 1223 as […]

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‘Tis the season for Lebkuchen! This gingerbread-ish, cookie-ish sweet was invented by medieval monks in Franconia, Germany in the 13th century. The earliest known bakers were in Ulm and Nürnberger. Nürnberger won the arms race and quickly became the undisputed Lebkuchen capital of the world. Germany’s tradition spread throughout Europe. Lebkuchen quickly morphed into spiced […]

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Luxembourg Christmas Market

There was finally a break in the rain, so I headed out to the small Luxembourg Christmas market. I’m sad to report that neither the food nor the shopping approached the quality of Strasbourg or Trier. The latkes were too thick and unflavorful, perhaps because they were preformed and sitting in industrial-sized stacks for who-knows-how-long. […]

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Strasbourg Markets

Strasbourg deems itself the Capital of Christmas, and I’d have to agree. The main market in place de la Cathédrale has been going strong since 1570. But wait, there’s more! • Three Christmas markets: place de la Cathédrale, place du Château and place du Corbeau; • The Bredle Village (small cakes prepared during the advent […]

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Europeans love hot alcohol and I’m not complaining. The latest hot drink I tried was Eierpunsch, which is an eggnog-like beverage, only not as rich and topped with whipped cream. Ingredients include egg yolks, white wine, vanilla and sugar. Mmm. I can’t say it went down as easily as eggnog, but it definitely contained about […]

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European Christmas Markets

‘Tis the season for holiday markets! I always love to support local businesses and there’s no better place to do it than in the quaint Christmas markets (yes, that’s right – these are all Christian, all the time) that pop up all over Europe. Grab a glühwein or nog and wander the aisles for unique […]

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I first tasted glühwein years ago in Vienna. I wouldn’t say I was immediately smitten. What is more accurate to say is that when you’re standing in overcast winter weather, hot wine is the most genius idea. Ever the red wine lover, I figured (in my atrophied, frostbitten mind) that flavor was overrated anyway. Bottoms […]

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Mask-making is yet another centuries-old Venetian trade. The masks are traditionally worn during Carnevale, but are displayed and sold year-round. Venetian masks are characterized by their ornate design and bright colors, use of gold and silver, and baroque styles. The most popular styles are the Bauta (full-face) or the Columbina (eye mask). The Bauta was […]

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Every gondola that silently slides through Venice’s water streets is operated by a skilled gondolier. The rowing style, voga alla veneta, which involves standing up and facing forward, is a skill passed through generations. For centuries, no formal training or qualifications were required. Only since 2007 must the gondoliers undergo 400 hours of instruction and […]

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