Celebrating Mariä Himmelfahrt Day in Oberammergau, Germany

As the clock edged toward nine thirty in the morning, the stream of villagers dressed in traditional German folk costume passing by our window in Oberammergau, Germany grew. Ladies in elaborate Dirndls and men in Lederhosen pedaled by on their bikes. Some navigated their bikes’ handlebars with one hand, with elaborate wildflower bouquets in theContinue reading “Celebrating Mariä Himmelfahrt Day in Oberammergau, Germany”

Germany’s Sommertagszug Tradition: Greeting Spring & Bidding Farewell to Winter

In parts of Germany three weeks before Easter, it’s customary to celebrate spring’s return with a summer procession, or Sommertagszug. Believed to have pagan origins, the fest celebrates spring’s return and winter’s banishing. Children take to the streets with sticks adorned with colorful, ruffled ribbons, topped with pretzels and eggs. In Heidelberg, they walk alongContinue reading “Germany’s Sommertagszug Tradition: Greeting Spring & Bidding Farewell to Winter”

A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence

When I unpacked a red and gold Vietnamese ox ornament last week, it reminded me why I love travel: serendipitous events, cultural immersion, and the opportunity to mingle with “citizen diplomats.” With today being the Vietnamese New Year, or Tết, it seems fitting to reminisce on a Hanoi happening from my travel memory bank that epitomizes all threeContinue reading “A Vietnamese New Year’s Reminiscence”

A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany

The sign declared, Bitte Esel nicht füttern. And since I was in Germany, a land famously known for its rules, I was even more sure to obey. Even though visitors to the Christmas Market in Oberammergau, Germany were asked not to feed the photogenic donkeys (to keep the live Christmas props from developing upset stomachs), rubbing ofContinue reading “A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany”

Canada Day Greetings from Ottawa

Greetings from Toronto, where it’s Canada Day. Informally speaking, you can say that it’s Canada’s birthday. Technically, July 1st is the anniversary of the country’s creation back on July 1, 1867. Two days ago, Shawn and I explored Ottawa on foot. In preparation for Canada’s birthday celebrations, the capital city was getting dressed in anContinue reading “Canada Day Greetings from Ottawa”