I’ve been to a handful of German festivals before and there are some things that you’ll be sure to find. Roasted nuts (usually cinnamon-y almonds, but you can also find all sorts of specialty flavours), chocolate-covered fruit on a stick (S loves pineapple, I got strawberry pineapple), bratwurst of all types (I’m always amazed to see people chowing down on the 1/2 meter bratwurst with both ends of the sausage poking out of the half-baguette sized bun), and always gingerbread hearts!
Tab 1: Flight searches
You may have heard of these amazing discount airlines like Ryan Air that jet between European cities daily. As amazing as these airlines sound, they come with a few catches. First of all, you often need to fly into smaller airports that are usually 40+ km outside of the city centre. Even if you score a great flight deal, chances are you eat up your savings by taking a train or bus just to get into the city! Second of all, while you may stumble across a ridiculously cheap flight for 37 Euros, the flight usually turns out to leave at the crack of dawn and your return flight is usually much more expensive or with multiple stopovers, ultimately negating the awesome deal.
We tried our hand at an online travel site that searches for the best deals for your journey. We thought we lucked out with a not-to-be-missed deal. After checking that the flight was in fact for the days we wanted to go and confirmed the departing and arriving airports and the flight times, we clicked ‘Book Now’. When we were halfway through the booking process, the ‘discount travel website’ informed us that since posting the flight prices, the cost had gone up by 1, 500 Euros. Ummmm, no. No no no no no. Not even if it was first class and we got unlimited warm cookies, serenades, and shoulder massages – it’s just not going to happen.
The flight search continues. I read somewhere that Tuesday is the cheapest day of the week to book flights. I guess we’ll see what happens. Can you recommend a good airline or tips on booking cheap flights? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
I’ve had a bit of free time lately and have gotten into cooking. Not my usual ‘throw it in a pot, boil, and hope for the best’ style of cooking when it’s 7:45pm and you’re so hungry you’ll eat just about anything, but carefully planned, thought out meals with side dishes and everything!
Once these ambitious meal ideas come to mind (Peach balsalmic flatbread! Chicken parmesan! Spinach and chickpea curry with raita and homemade naan!), I proceed to hunt for the necessary ingredients. Grocery shopping in Germany is fun and enlightening. I could literally spend hours in a grocery store looking at products that we just don’t have in Canada (like Schmand, Quark, and pre-made Rote Gruetze, among others).
And then there are some things that I just can’t find in Germany. Cilantro, where art thou? I miss you with a fiery passion. S and I have scoured a number of supermarkets for cilantro, either a fresh bunch, a plant, or any facsimile of it. No where to be found. This makes it tricky to execute the numerous Thai, Indian, and Mexican recipes that I have bookmarked and drooled over online. S and I are planning to go to a giant plant nursery soon to inquire about where we can get our grubby little hands on some cilantro. Once we get a cilantro plant, though, keeping it alive will be the next challenge (see photo below).
S and I spent the last week in Sweden, a country I have always wanted to visit! We spent the majority of the trip in Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden (and Scandinavia as well).
Since we were in Sweden for a week, this post had the potential to get a little wordy and repetitive (i.e. ‘Sweden is awesome!!!!’) so I thought I’d keep this post to the top 5 highlights and fun facts.
1) IKEA is King
You may have gathered from my living room redecorating post that S and I are IKEA fans. Well, that is nothing compared to the Swedes. As you may know, IKEA is originally from Sweden. Everywhere we turned, we saw IKEA cutlery, mugs, candles, you name it. The largest IKEA in the world is in Stockholm, but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see it.
2) Astrid Lindgren’s Novels
Astrid Lindgren, the famous children’s book author of Pippi Longstocking, the Emil series, and other books, is beloved in her home country of Sweden and around the world. S and I visited a few Astrid Lindgren sights, including 2 film locations for the movie adaptations of Lindgren’s stories ‘Emil’ and ‘Bullerbyn’.
Pippi Longstocking books and merchandise are everywhere in Sweden – it makes me want to familiarize myself with those books and movies!
3) Road Trip to Småland
Though S and I spent most of our time in Stockholm, we did detour out of the capital for 3 days to visit Mariannelund and Vimmerby, two small villages in the picturesque Swedish province of Småland. A Swedish friend of S’s that we visited said that Småland is known for 6 things:
- Glass blowing artists
- The inventor of the zipper (who I thought was Canadian, but apparently was a Swedish-American man)
- The hymn ‘How Great Thou Art’
- Astrid Lindgren
- Polkagris – peppermint-flavoured striped candy sticks
Småland is a beautiful province rich in lakes and forests. I’m glad we got a chance to leave the capital to see some of the countryside!