17 December 2009

L'hiver est arrivé

Though it's officially still 4 days away yet, the temperatures here have definitely been winter-like. Then today, 2 things happened that cemented winter's unofficial official arrival.

1. It snowed. Snowfall in Paris, according to the locals, isn't a miracle event. But it also isn't an everyday winter occurrence. It started early this morning, before the nominal sunrise, and continued for much of the morning and early afternoon before kind of petering out. Since I'm not sure we'll get to see it again, I went out and took pictures, like a dork. It was fun.

Off the balcony.

One of the few times today La Tour was visible at all.

Square Lamartine

Student uprising. The local high school is around the corner from our apartment, and as I went out to do chores first thing this morning, they had gathered and were chanting/shouting slogans, throwing firecrackers, and had shut down the street. There have been railway and museum strikes for awhile now, so not really sure what this was about, but I heard a couple of students a few blocks away say the school was closed today. Were they refusing to go to school, protesting, or celebrating?

Though I saw a few intrepid souls on bikes today, most of the Velib stations were pretty full.

The Cluny.

Houseboats on the Seine.

The rear end of Notre Dame.

Benches in the 3e.

Place des Vosges.

2. Springerles magically arrived at our apartment. OK, so it wasn't magic-- my mother sent them. But the package's arrival was magical, nonetheless. If you don't know what these things are, don't read any further, so you don't know what you're missing. If you do know what they are, don't read any further, because you'll know what you're missing. Wait-- cancel that. Read further, so you get to see the picture.

Springerles are a German anise-flavored christmas cookie made with ridiculously intricate molds. My grandmother made them, and whether it was the anise (which I adore) or the fact that my grandmother (whom I adored) made them and sent them, with a cut apple in the tin to keep them moist, I developed an almost unnatural fondness for them. My other grandmother's cookies were also amazing, the Scandinavian butter cookies that could sustain a soul through 8 months of darkness. So I guess it was the anise, and the texture, that made these the best of a pretty amazingly good holiday variety. Anyway, my mom took up the whisk some time ago and makes a darn good, though definitely different, springerle. And either because she loves me, or because she knows I'll whine until next christmas if she doesn't, she sent a package of goodness my way. Maybe the best thing about it is that Karen has never really developed a taste for them, so they're all mine!

Anyway, their arrival says it's officially christmas season, so it must be winter.

Beautiful anisey goodness: springerles.


  1. Hi Rolf: I love the tribute to Meme and her cookies. Reading your blog is enchanting. Happy holidays from your cousin.

  2. Thanks, Kathy. Mom's springerles are more deserving of the enchanting label-- the only reason there'll be any left by Christmas is that we'll be gone for 5 days.

    Happy holidays, yourself, and come visit us next year!