Saturday, December 27, 2014

How I spent 2014 Christmas

This year's Christmas day was somewhat low-key. I spent half the day lounging around then texted a friend to go for a hike. I needed the diversity in activities, after all.

He brought a friend and the three of us hiked from the university up to the Humbergturm, a tower with a nice view over the city of Kaiserslautern. We had a fun time hiking; both guys are Bangledeshi and very merry. We chatted about different holidays, including in their country, and how people celebrate them.

On the way, we passed a decent amount of hikers, including two cute older ladies. They wished a merry Christmas and told us to hike faster to get to the top. Considering that we were already going at a good clip, it was pretty funny! I'm always so impressed by the active elderly Germans. They totally kick it on the trails.

Once at the top, we climbed the tower and admired the view and debated what various buildings were. One can see the whole city of Kaiserslautern from there.

Humbergturm Kaiserslautern
Humbergturm, Kaiserslautern: built 1900

Kaiserslautern view from Humbergturm
View of Kaiserslautern, to the north, from the Humbergturm
On the way back, some German hikers asked if we were returning to the city and if they could follow us, which we agreed to, stating that we were going back to the university. I can totally understand how it's easy to get lost; the only reason I knew where I was going was because I had been up that way two years ago for a volksmarch to the tower. In total, we hiked about 12 kilometers.

When we returned to the car, I said bye to the guys and hustled home. C was cooking Christmas dinner and I threw together a side dish and a pie. In total, we had:
  • Crock pot ham, marinated in cranberry juice with cloves stuck in the top (for every pound of ham, add an hour of cooking in the crock pot at low heat)
  • Mashed potatoes with bacon, leeks, celery, and garlic
  • Cornbread stuffing with added cranberries, celery, and bacon
  • Brussels sprouts cooked in a glaze of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar with blue cheese and fresh cranberries (I used this recipe but steamed the brussels sprouts first because otherwise they are too bitter for my taste; I also omitted the barley and pecans)
  • Apple pie, using Uncle Paul's Pie Crust recipe

All of it was delicious! C did a wonderful job of creating everything and gave it that special touch, which is, in my book, pork products, which she knows I like ;) Since I am done with the vegan challenge, I could enjoy it all.

After dinner, we watched The Signal, a sci-fi thriller about alien abduction. It was super interesting, with lots of moving pieces. The plot kept building and building without us being able to see where the movie was going. In fact, they did such a good job of it that we couldn't exactly get the ending! A bit of Googling made it clearer. We both that the director had quite a bit of talent and will only get better as his style matures.

It was late so C turned in. I skyped my family for a bit to wish them a merry Christmas. It was a lovely day, spent with friends and connecting with family.

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