Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #30 – November ’16

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Every year I say this, but this year seems like the fastest one ever. I feel like we were celebrating Christmas not long ago and here we are already on the 1 December again. We’re into winter days already (not officially since winter starts on the 21 December) but golden autumn is definitely gone and it’s got a lot colder. Since I haven’t written a weekly small pleasures post for a while (a blog event started by Mani at A New Life Wandering), I thought I’d update on some of the highlights of November.

November started with a trip to Belgium, where we indulged in chocolate and other Belgian goodies, see previous Weekly Small Pleasures.

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The next highlight of the month was a trip to Harz for some snow hiking. What a beautiful place!

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So one of my small pleasures of the month was buying  a new pair of hiking shoes. Or maybe it’s rather a big pleasure, as I just love these shoes. I got them at Decathlon which is a great sports shop with a large variety of clothes and equipment for all sports (including hiking, camping etc.)  at reasonable prices. So before our trip to Harz I went to buy some snow hiking shoes, because quite often during winter I end up walking in snow, and I don’t have any winter hiking shoes. These shoes are amazingly warm and they also had my size (a half size) so they’re super comfortable. The whole two days of hiking in snow, my feet stayed dry and warm.

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Another small pleasure during the hiking weekend: hot chocolate by a fire 🙂

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Then back in Berlin there was the mystery of the suddenly-working bike lights. My bike light had not been working for a while so I’d been using  a clip on light. One day, when my clip on light had run out of battery, my normal dynamo-driven light suddenly started working again and has been working ever since! My mom often used to joke that sometimes if you leave something long enough it seems to fix itself.

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Another highlight of November was when a South African friend returned to Berlin from holidays, and brought with her the second part of my wedding present, which was a traditional wedding fruitcake home-made by her mom, decorated by my friend and accompanied by a beaded serving spoon. The cake was delicious and I also appreciated the sweet thought.

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One weekend in November we also went to the farm in Czech (my husband’s family’s place) and enjoyed a relaxing weekend. Some of the animals were a lot friendlier now that it’s winter! In summer they are out doing their own thing.

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Back in Berlin, a moment that had me in stitches: my husband changing the duvet cover. We both end up climbing inside it whenever we do this, but it looked so funny to watch him doing it as I don’t usually see myself!

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At work I also finished an old lab book and got to start a new one. I love a new book with blank pages to fill.

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One good thing about winter is that our German class fills up again. In summer people postpone classes, preferring to enjoy the many other activities of Berlin. In winter it’s cold and dark early so it seems like a good opportunity to take classes and a lot of new faces appear.

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Another wedding present arrived in the mail. It had been sent before but we didn’t get the slip from the post office as at the time there was someone stealing mail from people’s letter boxes, so it sat at the post office for a while and then got sent back. Our friends then sent it again so it finally arrived in Berlin so that was a lovely surprise. They sent us a travel journal and also some photo frames with photos of us inside.

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Another great thing about this time of year, the Christmas markets start, normally around the first Advent. They started on the 21 November this year. i’m glad we’ve had the opportunity to visit a few of them before heading south for Christmas. For more about some of the Berlin Christmas markets, see here.

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We also had a visit from my husband’s mother last weekend, which was nice as it’s the first time she’s been to Berlin. Even though it was cold, we managed to do a lot of sightseeing and take her to some Christmas markets. She also brought us a lovely advent wreath, some mugs and perníčky (a spicy Czech cake).

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While we were taking her touring around Berlin, we were able to enjoy the Christmas lights and decorations that have popped up everywhere. Christmas trees are also for sale now.

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We also chanced upon an event by the Brandenburg gate where they were giving out free advent calenders. Today is the first of December so I had the pleasure of opening the first little window today to eat my chocolate 🙂

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And so December starts. I hope everyone has a good month!

If you’d like to read other weekly small pleasures, you can check out Thistle and Kiwi’s latest post here.

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