I've been trying hard not to jinx anything by not thinking or saying too much about it, but since Sunday night I've been watching the weather forecast and checking the status of central european airports with a fervor usually reserved for meterologist and farmers. Lucky for us, Matthias' flight from Bangkok departed at the scheduled time on Tuesday night and he arrived safely back in Berlin on Wednesday morning (phew). It also looks like we'll be able to fly to Vienna tonight and my sister will make it to Vienna on the train from Geneva. Our little family will be celebrating Christmas together.
I hope everyone has a lovely holiday, that your families make it through the snow and if not, you find yourself a warm place full of good cheer to enjoy the holiday.
The Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas markets) are one of my favourite things about Christmas in Germany. Over the weekend I ventured to the one at Gendamenmarkt. Everything was sprinkled with snow from the fresh fall we had overnight and even though it was freezing (-10 Celcius) there were plenty of people about warming themselves up with Gluhwein (mulled wine) and apple cider and tasting all the yummy sweet treats that were on offer. I only stayed for a little while before my toes and fingers began to complain about the cold. The last photo will do your head-in it's so blurry, but I love the lights so despite being horribly out of focus it made it to the blog!
Today I'm taking a break from my Christmas preparations for a little more from my trip back to Australia. So many photos, so many things to share but it seemed apt to share my week in MacLaren Vale with you today as it ties in so nicely with the prompt over at Mortal Muses today which is 'family'.
Every year since I was 18, my family has spent two weeks of the summer renting a small house on Wilunga Hill. Wineries at your door and the beach a short drive away for afternoon swims after lazy, long lunches. It is the perfect spot for our food-loving, wine drinking family to de-bunk for a week or two of relaxation. When it was decided that I'd be coming back to Australia in November plans were rearranged to fit in a week at our favourite spot. Perfect family time just before Christmas!
After a bit of a longer recuperation time than I was planning on having, I'm back up and about and feeling much more in the mood for Christmas. Remember how I said I was going to make a wreath months and months ago? Well, this weekend I finally finished it. I attached a few of the glass baubles I bought for my "tree" using bobby pins, added a few red berries and attached it to our apartment door. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.
I've decided to not go all out on the decorating for Christmas this year. Matthias doesn't get back to Berlin until we head to Vienna for Christmas and the thought of hauling a tree through the snow and up five flights of stairs just for my enjoyment wasn't that appealing. Instead I've opted for this.
The red berries I picked up from the florist and are sitting in a vase filled with silver baubles. The birds are part of an ever-expanding collection of Christmas Tree decorations that I've slowly been adding to along the way. I did take a photo of the whole thing, but I totally fudged it so you'll just have to trust me that it looks good. And that's it! Well, as long as you don't include our statue of Nataraja who, in a spot of cross-cultural celebration, currently has our presents sitting under him.
It's been a hard first week back in Berlin. After a month of being constantly surrounded my family and friends, returning home to an empty apartment has been tough (Matthias isn't back for another week). And then there's the snow. One of the odd things about Berlin is that there is no 'civic responsibility' to shovel snow. The local government doesn't get paid to do it and residence aren't expected to do it. Not surpisingly it doesn't get done. While I'm the first to admit that I am not the most experienced "snow person", my experience after living in Boston is that shovelling is good. Ice is bad and shovelling at least gives you a small 'ice free zone' to walk. Anyway, I'm back to wearing my ugly winter snow-boots and after wearing summer dresses through Australia it's a little like rubbing salt into a wound... To top it all off I'm sick. I still have a stack of photos from my trip to Central Australia to show you all, but right now all I can think about it curling up under a doona and watching Mad Men. Bah, Humbug!
I'm a city girl really. I'd miss good coffee, the theatre, music and restaurants too much if I ever up and moved to a farm. But every now and then I like to imagine that I would be happy to live miles from anywhere and tend my chickens and swim in the dam and wake up smelling the gum trees. Thankfully my parents have a place where I can do just that.
Oh, and my new favourite black and white processing is something called "heartland" from Pinoneer Woman's Actions. Works well on any super-saturated shots.
Back in Berlin after a magical trip home which went far too quickly. I scheduled some posts, let my mobile go flat, turned off my computer and soaked up the Australian sun. No phone calls, no internet, no blogs (!). I didn't take a photo everyday and I didn't feel guilty. I slept a lot. Played with my nephews, went to the beach and ate yummy food. We visited the rock and then reluctantly I got back on the plane and came back home.
I'm only just getting up to date with all the lovely comments everyone wrote over the last month - thank-you to everyone who stopped by, your comments have made the transition back to Berlin a little easier.
F.C. Gundlach, the last of my series on German Photographers from the 20-70s that I admire. His work straddles fashion and street photography. It's powerful and wonderful and, well, I wish I could take photos like him.