Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Germany and a Weihnachstmarkt

I had a weekend at home between Hungary and Germany so we gathered up the boys and headed for a wintery walk followed by a pub lunch.  (The lunch was unique in being the only occasion when, on requesting a menu, we were told "Lamb or Beef".  We won't rush back.)  Anyway, how spooky does this look?!  There was a blue sky but it was partly shrouded by a very atmospheric and sinister fog. 
This was the focus of our walk.  Officially it's the Tyndale Monument  but is known locally as Nibley Nob. We climbed to the top for a great view of...more mist.
I had a hideously early 3.30am wake up on the following Sunday morning for an early flight to get to a meeting in Germany for 11am.  Lots of coffee got us through to the early evening when our colleagues took us to the local Weihnachsmarkt.  And the tiredness fell away and we soaked up the pure magic (and gluhwein) of a true German Christmas market.  I'd been to the one held annually in Birmingham in the UK but this was different.
We wandered round the various stalls sampling warming drinks (which we needed quite a lot of because it was a very, very cold night).  The stalls were selling thick hats, fluffy socks, candle lit decorations, all standard things and I tried to work out why this was different.  Maybe the hats?
There were the same type of festive things we get in our markets.
Even the same type of stalls.
I sat with my gloved hands cupped round a hot chocolate and pondered. In the UK we have Christmas markets designed firmly for Christmas, selling gifts and trinkets.  So far so good but we become a captive audience for selling other things not associated with either winter or Christmas ie wooden ties, chilli oils and swanee whistles.  But the German markets are winter markets.  They are where you meet up and share a drink with friends and stock up on winter requirements which will  get you through a harsh, snowy months and which will genuinely warm you both externally ie hats, slippers and gloves and internally ie spiced wines and the most fantastic real chocolate.  I loved it.  By the way a great recipe for hot chocolate is to heat a mug of milk and whisk in 3 teaspoons of nutella.  It's not as good as the hot choc I had in the pic below but it's lip smacking good.
Finally, flying home again with slightly heavier suitcases than we had arrived with.
And here's a flying home doodle.  This is a style of representational doodley drawing I may try and develop.

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