So, what happened in December? I know I say this every month, but there was a bunch of working. There was also a reasonable amount of drinking, and 10 days in Sweden (you can read about that here and here). There was also Christmas in London,
Coming from New Zealand, December is a totally different month in the UK.
Not just in the obvious ways (the different seasons), but the way Christmas tends to be celebrated. I think because it is dark more of the time in Europe it means Christmas decorations actually work. You can see lights and decorations before and after work, because it is pitch black during those hours (I guess this doesn’t actually mean Christmas is celebrated differently, just that decorations are more/less effective).
So, here is all the fun that lead up to Christmas…
- Everyone in Europe (who isn’t actually from Europe) tends to use December as a time to visit some new places and see the Christmas markets. The secret thing they won’t tell you is that all Christmas markets are pretty much the same - if you have been to one good Christmas market, you have seen them all.
Sure, some are bigger, or some have rides, but in general they are all just people selling junk you don’t want, and mulled wine. So, basically, they are a good opportunity to wander around in the cold drinking - which I guess is pretty fun.
This Christmas I went to Vienna with about 15 people (probably too many to travel comfortably with unless you have things planned out). Vienna has about 13 different Christmas markets - a number so high that it really feels like they are taking the piss. Is it really two markets if there is a road between them?
- Seriously though, do people buy things other than food or drink at Christmas markets
- The irony (not actual irony) of the Europe Christmas market trip is that London has potentially the best one of all, right in the middle of Hyde Park.
In London they call it Winter Wonderland, and there is a beer hall (I assume there are other things there too, but I’ve never seen them). Now, the Winter Wonderland beer hall isn’t up to scratch with what you might get in Germany, but it is a nice surprise for London (it also seems to be getting worse each year, but what isn’t...).
Winter Wonderland even has their own super creepy Santa(type guy)! It isn’t just Queen street!
- I saw The Force Awakens. It was good. I don’t really know how to talk about it, or, if it is something worth talking about. It’s basically A New Hope, which is fine because that was good. I guess it was a safe bet after the pain of the prequels.
I would watch it again (and yet haven't)
- There were some work Christmas parties. I drank wine and hugged snowmen. I also did karaoke [no photos apparently].
- I understand I should have probably know this earlier, but, there is a really useful part of Google Maps that I hadn’t used before. If you are walking somewhere (alone), and want to look like you know where you are going, Google Maps does navigation (dah) for walking. You can wander along, listening to music and be getting directions read to you too (in headphones, please).
Watch out for buses (in this situation, and in general).
- I had a positive experience at Stansted Airport. I guess arriving early, having a flight delayed a few hours, and then drinking would always help.
It almost changed my opinion on the whole airport until I remembered how annoying it is to get to or from.
- You know how you sometimes get fried onions on things? Not soggy ones, but crispy fried onions? And you know how those are awesome? Why can’t you get bags of that and eat it as as snack?
- In December I came upon something I had only seen once before in my life - A person who liked dairy products, but refused to eat them outdoors.
Can anyone else confirm if this is a real thing?
- I can’t be 100% sure about this, but I think I saw a guy at work go to the bathroom carrying a book. I know this is something that people might do at home, but I am pretty sure I don’t think it is something I am OK with at work.
- What’s the best Christmas movie of all time? It’s Die Hard, right? Nothing else comes even remotely close?
Better question - is Die Hard the only good Christmas movie of all time?
- I had more than one funny experience in the bathroom at Winter Wonderland (though the notes I took only make sense for one of them, sorry). I was peeing, and some young guys to my side were talking about the urinal cakes (which looked like butter). One of them then picked one up and put it in his friends beer. The guy didn't appreciate it and they had a bit of a fight, then he threw his glass in the urinal and left. A guy on my other side then just said "Back in my date we just ate our urinal cakes and didn't make a big deal about it"
- In the urinal story it is also worth noting that if you take the glass back to the counter they give you £4. The other guy and I both had the same thought, but we decided we didn't need £4 that much.
So, there you go... December... and only two months late. Oops...