Sunday, December 9, 2007
I still remember the Christkindlmarkt in Munich I went to in 1977 - the hand-made ornaments, the lights, the Gluhwein. Our trip to the Christmas market in Brussels two years ago didn't quite live up to my expectations, so I've been looking forward to visiting the German Christmas markets ever since we got here. This past week I went with a friend from work to the Christmas market in Cologne. The bus dropped us off about 10:00 and we didn't leave until 7:30 that evening, so we had the whole day to investigate the 6 different markets. While I don't remember my first Christmas market, the one in Munich, featuring so many non-Christmasy items, at least some of the vendors in Cologne had the kind of things I'd been hoping to get: small typically German ornaments, a Christmas-patterned Mitteldecke (that small tablecloth that sits catty-cornered in the middle of your dining table), and a Pyramid (one of those wooden things with figures in the middle that spin when you light the candles). The Pyramid wasn't exactly what I was looking for but I figure this is a down payment on the one I have yet to find. Several of the markets had a theme: one was an "antiques" market but looked mostly like a flea market, and another was a medieval market featuring handmade soaps, candles, jewelry, a juggler, and that sort of thing. The picture above is the market on the square outside the famous Cologne cathedral.
Several of the local villages here in our commune are also doing Christmas markets, so yesterday we went to the one on the Grand' Place in Tertre. We almost missed it because the entrance was through a tent that looked like something that wasn't set up yet. But inside there were lots of vendors selling a lot of handmade craft items, lots of handmade chocolate truffles, and several booths where you could get things like long links of sausages or other kinds of meats I don't want to know what they were. We bought white chocolate truffles from a couple and could only guess at what they were saying to us; they had a REALLY different accent.
Next year I may be able to get David to go with me to one of the other German markets. The greasy mass of grated deep fried potatoes I had for lunch may be the lure to get him there.