St. Nicholas’ Day…

In 2009, the Sister and I journeyed to Germany for the first time. We were sailing on the Danube, visiting Christmas Markets between Passau and Budapest! We spent 2 days in Munich…which wasn’t enough…before the cruise. Our first day we paid our respects at Dachau which was a very sobering, tearful experience. When we returned to our hotel, the concierge recommended we try a local Biergarten for dinner. Try it we did and we were reprimanded by a very stern waiter yelling “Nein!” if we asked for a second Bavarian pretzel to eat along with our meals! The same individual shouted “Schnell!” at us when it came time to finalize our bill. Walking back to the hotel, we were very tired and a little confused. Was our entire visit to Germany going to be like this? When we entered our hotel rooms (the hotel gave us adjoining duplex single rooms), we discovered little chocolate Santa’s tucked into our slippers! Too tired to indulge, we both fell asleep while Santa watched over us! The next day, a friend of ours drove from Stuttgart along with his son to take us sightseeing. After visiting the Christmas Market at the Englischer Garten, we sat down for a lunch of turkey schnitzel. During the meal, I mentioned the surprise of finding Santa in the slippers the night before. I must have told the funniest joke because they both started laughing and were saying to the other “They don’t know!” The Sister and I both stopped eating and demanded to be let into the loop! “You had a visit from St. Nicholas!” Huh? Perplexed much? “It’s December 6th! Santa isn’t due to arrive until the 25th!” It seems St. Nicholas is a different individual than Santa Claus! He usually appears at the beginning of December and places small gifts into the shoes of well-behaved children! We were most fortunate to have been visited by St. Nicholas rather than his traveling companion, Krampus! Why? “Krampus gives the bad children coal!”

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