02 December 2009

It's Already December 2nd Everyone!

Here's an inviting photograph of the Christmas market in Bremen, Germany. The Grand Duchess and I enjoyed coffee several times at an outdoor cafe just in front of the gabled house at the center of the picture when we were in Bremen for three days last summer. Our stay, my first time back to this charming city since February 1986, had an almost magical quality about it. Bright, sunny, and warm weather with about 20 hours of daylight at a time.

This time of year, in German speaking areas of Europe, and perhaps other places on the continent too, there are yearly Christmas markets, much like the Christkindlmarkt in Downtown Chicago each December. The Grand Duchess informs me that it's authentic, right down to the German vendors who come over to the United States for the month. It's a lovely tradition that I didn't learn about until after I met the Grand Duchess, who lived in Berlin and Dresden for several years during the 1990s.

So, imagine walking around on a cold afternoon through a lively, cheerful crowd, browsing the wares sold in all of the stalls, making a few purchases -- maybe a couple of handblown glass tree ornaments or some fancy hard candies, and then stopping in one of the warming huts to drink a mug of hot gluehwein (mulled wine) before continuing on toward the food. Why, it's a perfect way to kick off the Christmas Season!

Anyway, besides seasonal ornaments and foods for sale, Christmas markets also sell all manner of Christmas sweets and goodies (I'm partial to the hot cinnamon almonds myself) plus various other kinds of handicrafts and gifts. And the bratwurst on kraut with mustard! Perhaps it's a good thing that we won't make the Chicago Christkindlmarkt this year because I could eat my weight in that. But in a few years, when "Paulchen" is a bit bigger, stand back!

On the painting front, I had to take a break last night. The Grand Duchess had some work to do in her office, so I looked after Young Paul, who was wide awake for quite some time. Later, I had my own work to attend to. . . Yes, it's that point in the academic term. . . the dreaded student papers! The less said about these, the better, but it took until almost midnight to read, grade, and provide commentary on 15 four to six page essays, so no time for painting. ;-( However, this evening, it's onward to a few touch ups with the paintbrush and then a coat or two of Future/Klear, depending on how my time runs. Tally ho!


Xaltotun of Python said...

There are quite a few in the UK. Birmingham has been and gone - actually, I didn't go this year, Sandra did with one of her friends. Lincoln is still to come - I gather hotels are booked up 3 years in advance for that. We aren't going this year, usually we go on a coach trip there, much easier. The one I will be going to is Bruges in Belgium - again, a coach trip. Means getting up early.

Best part: food. Non stop munchies, gluhwein and hot chocolate. Sandra collects the cups they come in, ther're lined up around the various bookcases.

Giles said...

One of the consequences of our own imminent new arrival is that we have had to forgo a visit to a European (or rather "Continental") Christmas market this year. Last year we went to Munich, which was wonderful, and previously visited Cologne, Lille and Brussels. They all have distinct atmospheres, but you can't beat a bit of snow, mulled wine and enormous cakes (or sausages).



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