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Making life a holiday with interesting vacation and adventure ideas.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas Markets 

With December just a couple of weeks away, thoughts in the northern hemisphere are turning to Christmas Markets. It is reckoned that there are over 2500 Christkindlmarkts held in Germany, offering a special festive atmosphere, characterized by roasted almonds, hot chestnuts, carved nativity figures, Christmas spices, millions of sparkling Christmas lights, gingerbread, candles, baked apples and, of course glühwein (mulled wine).

The French hold their own style of Xmas Markets. In Strasbourg, France, home of the European parliament, they have been holding a traditional Christkindelsmarik (Christmas market) since 1570.

In fact, Christmas markets are held throughout Europe. Prague holds markets and Advent weekend concerts in both the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, with stalls selling traditional Christmas gifts, handmade toys, candles, bells, Czech folk art, mulled wine (again) and hot chocolate. In Krakow, southern Poland, they also keep out the cold using mulled wine, but their name for it is 'Grzaniec'

Hungary's Budapest features a huge Advent calendar as the centrepiece of its market and you will also find markets in Austria's Vienna and Saltzburg. The advent season is a magical time of year in Vienna, the aroma of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts fill the air in front of the Rathauss as the Christkindlmarkt transforms the area into a wonderland full of excited children (and equally excited parents) enjoying candied fruits, nuts, candy floss, Christmas decorations, delicacies and you guessed, mulled wine, a glass or two of which makes Christkindlmarkt seem even more wonderful! Visitors can enjoy Fantasy-trees and Pony-rides in the Rathauspark, with a traditional merry-go-round and Reindeer train, the Christmas Express, Confetti-Pavilion, Hoki Poki Villa and of course, the "Post office in the clouds" for those important Christmas letters.

In previous posts, I have written about the Bolzano christkindlmarkt in Italy and the big Christmas market in Geneva.

Scandinavian winters are notably dark because of their northern latitude, but Christmas decorations brighten the darkest days and Denmark enjoys one of the most romantic Christmas markets at Tivoli, which I hope to make the subject of a later post, together with posts covering Xmas markets in the USA and Canada.

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