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December 6 , 2008

Written December 12

Dear Friends and Families,


This diary has three themes; our hotel, the Christmas Market, Dinkelsbühl night pictures. We'll start with the hotel because that may have been the best part of a good visit.


Kunstlerhaus Hotel

We had stopped by the Kunstlerhaus ( Artist's House) in our scouting trip a couple months ago. It seemed like a nice old building and the proprietors, Frau and Herr Appelberg, charmed us in just a few minutes. We had promised we would return and it was a great decision.

As the name implies, the Kunstlerhaus is both a small hotel and the store/workshop for the Appelberg's art. Arthur does wonderful etchings and paintings and she does ceramics. On this visit we bought some of the etchings, but I suppose we'll sponsor the other house artist next time.

The hotel itself is just inside the town walls, a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of downtown. The rooms are in the newer part of the complex, 200 or 300 years old. The building in back, which holds the the breakfast room and libraries, is twice as old. Every room we saw, both the guest rooms and the "public" rooms, have been carefully restored and modernized.

The two-level library area was particularly charming. The walls are filled with Appelberg memorabilia, much from Arthur's visits and climbs in Nepal. He regaled Marianne with stories of climbing 30 or 40 years ago, when the mountains were empty. Now, he says, the routes he took are crowded with climbers and littered with the remains of past expeditions. His pictures capture the earlier era.

Take a look at some of our pictures and, if you are ever in the neighborhood, try out the art and the artistic hotel. (We would also recommend the Italian restaurant next door, if I could just remember the name!)

website (German, but useable.):http://www.kunst-stuben.de/



Christmas Market

OK, this is our stated purpose of all our December travel: visit German Christmas Markets. I've wondered how, in the end, we would keep them all straight. Of course that's one of the reasons for the pictures but, despite their common theme, the markets do seem to be different. Dinkelsb├╝hl's was small and the customers were a combination of locals and a few tourists, mostly American military families, perhaps from the base on the edge of town. There were people but no crowds, overall a very pleasant atmosphere.

The highlight for the local kids was the arrival of Saint Nickolaus. December 6 is Nicholaustag (St. Nicholaus' Day) and tradition has him delivering small gifts to the good boys and girls. He arrived at the market in a horse carriage and paraded to the stage full of pomp, ceremony, and friendliness. On stage, he asked the children to form a line, which they did, this being Germany and treats waiting only for GOOD kids. One by one he greeted them, asked some to sing, and generally told corny jokes, just like Santa Claus and kids around the world.


Dinkelsbühl at night

Sometimes I want all the days to be sunny and the evenings crystal clear, so my pictures can turn out "better". Then I have another opportunity to wander around a town with wet streets that glisten or look in colorful store windows and I remember to look around, no matter what the weather.

So, one more Christmas Market under our belts and many more to come. Other stories.


John and Marianne.



Dinkelsbuehl: http://www.dinkelsbuehl.de/ISY/index.php?call=englisch



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