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Here are some photos of vintage German dollhouses that were based on a typical home in the German Democratic Republic (a.k.a. GDR and East Germany) prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Here’s a fascinating page on The Fairy Faith: An Ancient Indigenous European Religion, including some lovely art.

Lego is moving away from using plastic to make its bricks in favor of making them from more sustainable materials.

http://www.nablopomo.com

Last summer, when I checked out the German Festival that was held in Timonium, I picked up quite a few flyers that were all advertising upcoming events that were of interest to the German-American community. While I was doing some tidying up at home, I came across one of those flyers that were advertising a Christkindlemarkt that was being held at Zion Lutheran Church in Baltimore. I was intrigued enough by the brochure that I decided to check it out in person this year.

I parked my car at the North Linthicum Light Rail station and took the light rail train to Lexington Market then walked for a few minutes. The next photo shows the remains of the old Hutzler’s department store. One can still see the name and logo etched over what was the main entrance.

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While there are the occasional chain stores that one can also find in the suburbs (such as the Rainbow store in the next photograph), the vast majority of stores are locally owned.

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Baltimore is such an economic mix, even on the same street. In some areas if you look on one side of the street, you’d see locked up stores that have definitely gone out of business a long time ago. But then you look across the street and you see what looks like a nicer area. It gets pretty surreal at times.

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I eventually reached my destination, Zion Lutheran Church. It is a large brick building that’s totally rich in history dating all the way back to 1755.

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Living in the DC area that has a lot of immigrants from Central America, I have long grown used to hearing people speaking Spanish among each other and seeing bilingual English-Spanish signs. It’s just so novel to go to a place where people talk to each other in a different language and seeing bilingual signs and it’s not in Spanish but in German.

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The church has this library that’s filled with wooden shelves and wooden furniture and it’s loaded with German language books, many of which are very old. This church has so many old German books that this library can’t contain them all. I saw bookcases in other parts of the church where the overflow German books were stored.

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Everywhere you went in that church there were all kinds of things relating to German American history and culture. And the architecture of this building was amazing.

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According to the Wikipedia, Zion Lutheran Church is the last church in Maryland that still offers weekly Sunday services in German. I would love to sit in on such a service except I live about 30 miles away and the German services are held at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday mornings. If I really wanted to go, I would have to wake up between 6-7 a.m. and be out the door no later than 8 a.m. Since the light rail trains don’t start on Sunday mornings until after 10:30, I would have to drive into the city and deal with the hassle of finding parking. Maybe I’ll make the effort one Sunday in the future, I just don’t know when I would do this.

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As for the Christkindlmarkt itself, it was excellent. There were three floors full of things to see, do, and eat. The most crowded room was the one that contained a train garden as many children crowded around watching the toy trains go by. I heard a few tantrums as parents tried to tell their children that it was time to go and the kids didn’t want to leave because they were completely mesmerized.

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There was an amazing array of German imported crafts that one could buy. The only thing I purchased (besides the lunch that I ate there) was a pound of German coffee as a Christmas present for my mother. When I was buying the coffee, there was a couple near me that were buying a whole box full of German coffee and they ended up paying $70. I guess this couple loved their German coffee so much that they needed to have enough to last them for most of 2015. (LOL!)

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Despite the German crafts and food, I found that not even the Christkindlemarkt at Zion Lutheran Church is immune from the onslaught of Anna and Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen. (LOL!)

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Zion Lutheran Church is literally located across the street from City Hall.

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I walked back to the Lexington Market Light Rail Stop using a slightly different route. I came across this memorial to former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., who was also the father of former House Speaker (and current House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi.

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I ended my visit to Baltimore by walking past these interesting looking Christmas decorations before boarding the light rail back to where my car was parked.

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One Saturday evening I decided to check out this Oktoberfest dinner that was held at St. Hugh’s Catholic Church in Greenbelt, Maryland because I was in the mood for some German food. The event began at 4 p.m. but I decided to wait until after 6:30 p.m. because there was the usual Saturday evening mass scheduled at 5 p.m. and I wanted some of the mass crowd to leave before I arrived. That turned out to be a big mistake because by the time I arrived, some of the dishes and all of the pretzels and deserts were sold out. Fortunately there were still a few dinner dishes left so I still was able to eat German food for dinner.

I also took a few pictures of the event, starting with the various German flags.

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It was a very festive event with the decorations, the accordion player, and the German dancers.

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I took this last photo of the menu because I liked the names of some of the platters (such as the pork roast platter named after Pope Francis).

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For the record, I ordered the Nurenberger Wurst with a side order of sauerkraut. The sausage was good. As for the sauerkraut, I received such a big portion that I took part of it home to eat at a later date.

I managed to socialize with this older couple who have been members of the church for years. (I was sitting there eating dinner when they were sitting at the same table as I was and they started talking to me.) They were quite friendly while talking about their children and grandchildren (including one grandson who has just started attending the University of Maryland). They also told me that they have recently moved to a retirement community in Beltsville but still attended St. Hugh’s in Greenbelt because they have been members for so long and most of their friends are still with that church.

They reminded me of an elderly couple who were longtime active members of my Unitarian Universalist congregation until they both passed away about five years ago or so. (I remembered the husband passed away first then his wife passed away just six months later. The couple were married 64 years when the husband died first.) That couple were among those who reached out to my future ex-husband and I when we first started to attend that church and they even continued to attend Sunday services at the same church after they moved to a nearby retirement community just a few years before their deaths.

Eventually that couple decided to leave and I decided to go as well because I wanted to get home in time to watch the latest episode of Doctor Who on BBC America. As I left the church, I heard the accordion player starting to play Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. I thought that was so hilarious that I attempted to shoot a video of that performance but I couldn’t because I was running very low on battery power and my smartphone simply refused to let me turn the videocamera on. Oh well.

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