December 3rd, 2011
A friend from Australia, Scotty is visiting at the moment, so we took a day trip up to Leavenworth in the Cascade Mountains here in Washington state. The main purpose of the trip was to enjoy the Bavarian fun, but also this was the first weekend for the famous Christmas lights festival. The trip up there was quite spectacular driving through the snow-covered mountains and forest along rivers and through little towns (we took a bus so no hassles of parking, icy roads etc). One stop on the way in a little place called Index (strange name for a town) provided an unexpected highlight.
There was a wooden carved statue of a big foot at the coffee stand in Index. I said “it looks just like Harry from the Harry and the Henderson’s movie”, then the next moment my next comment was “oh look, part of Harry and the Henderson’s was filmed on location here in 1986″! Amused me at least!
We arrived in Leavenworth just in time for lunch. German style schnitzels were the order of the day with spratzl and red cabbage. Later we tried hot apple cider and of course had to knock down at least one Bratwurst with sauerkraut. All tasty foods.
The day was spent listening to musical performances, people watching and wandering around the town, checking out the themed buildings, shops (including the all year round Kris Kringle Christmas store, there is a crazy hat store with massive queues where you can get hats representing anything from a snow globe to an animals and also strangely the Australian store) and the river front park. The park provided some amusing moments. It was a sunny but cold day, there was a lot of snow and ice on the ground. Imagine two Aussies who are not accustomed to such ludicrous weather conditions, slip sliding our way along the path. At one stage I was basically running on the spot trying not to fall flat on my face! We survived and had a lot of fun!
As the sun started to go behind the mountains the crowd began to build. There would have been thousands of people in the town. Then after the formal ceremonies, at around 4.30pm we did a countdown from ten then the town lit up! There was the big christmas tree, but also all the other trees along the main street and all the buildings had lights on them. There was also some fireworks. It was quite spectacular standing amongst so many people as the lights came on. Such a great day!