Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas market

Christmas bazaars start to mushroom in every corner in Manila during the later "-ber" months, that are Novem-ber and Decem-ber. Germany doesn't get itself left behind with its Weihnachtsmarkt, literally Christmas market. These markets are usually found in small towns which add more dreamy and fantasy-feel to their already quaint ambiance. Establishment of Christmas markets usually coincides with the first Sunday of Advent and runs until Christmas eve.
The Christmas market in Freiburg caters to stalls showcasing toys and Christmas trinkets, hand-made and sold by craftsmen from the Black Forest and nearby towns. If you're looking for a Christmas gift or just something to decorate your house, earthen ware can be had in every other stall, prices of which depend on an artifact's size and intricacy of embellishment. Leather goods, lamps, and many other products spill out of each stall to attract shoppers and window-shoppers.However, the main attraction of a Christmas market is the Gluhwein. This wine has a hint of red wine, but, unlike other wines, is served sweet and piping hot. A glass of Gluhwein costs about three Euros including one Euro of deposit for the cup. Don't bother getting the refund since the cup is worth taking home as a souvenir. I would like to believe that any one who drops by the market does not leave without drinking a glass of Gluhwein. Don't worry when your stomach starts to grumble. The Weihnachtsmarkt is generous to the palate, including the ever-reliable German sausages (Bratwurst!) in bread, potatoes, and even Indian food in all its hot and spicy glory- a perfect treat to counter the cold and nipping weather. Grab some nuts afterwards before exploring the little alleys and weaving around the market. One cannot get lost in this compact market, lit by green and yellow bright bulbs diverging from every lamp post. Curtains of Christmas lights also adorn the main streets leading to the market.
Theme rides are also thrown in to add cheer to children and the children-at-heart. A mini-carousel snugly fits into the Rathaus Platz, while a spinning swing ride is available at the Kartoffel Platz to while away one's time.
Germans may not be night owls as compared to midnight madness-loving Manilenos as the market closes at nine o'clock in the evening at the latest. And that's for a good reason: the -1 C weather caused my hands and fingers to go numb after after roaming around to snap some shots. If you still don't feel like heading back at the comforts of your house, you can always hit the bars a few corners away to thaw and drink schnapps and beer for a round or two.

Frohliche Weihnachten!

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