Sunday, December 9, 2012

First Christmas Market (for 3/4s of the Ts)

Exactly one year ago, Pete visited Luxembourg for the first time.  As part of his weekend stay with a friend, he experienced his first Christmas market.  The Christmas market is a common phenomenon in European cities.  It's typically held in the town square and lasts for all of December, and consists of several wood huts selling trinkets, gifts, food, and hot mulled wine.

At this time, I would like to turn the keyboard over to Pete for a moment so that he can properly explain the role the Luxembourg Christmas market played in our eventual move here:

"During a particularly grim assignment for my last company, I was marooned for about four weeks in rural southwestern France.  However, since I couldn't go home on the weekends, the company paid for me to travel, and since I only knew one person in all of continental Europe, I figured I'd pay him a visit. Thanks, Matt!

Among the many things that I loved about Luxembourg on that first visit was the Christmas market.  I had a hard time wrapping my mind around it at first.  My conversation with Matt went something like this:

Me:  So... what's everyone drinking?
Matt:  Glühwein - it's like a hot sweet wine for the winter.
Me:  (now drinking and thoroughly enjoying a Glühwein) Wow this is good!  And it looks like everyone is enjoying sausages too!
Matt:  There's also crepes.
Me: (now drinking Glühwein and with a mouth full of Nutella crepe) Mmmph mmmm uhmm mm mmm? -- translation --- "and this happens how often?"
Matt:  Uh, every day in December up to Christmas.
Me:  So let me summarize.  So... everyone just gets together in the middle of town to drink mulled wine, sing Christmas songs, and eat sausages and crepes?  Everyday?

At this point it clicked for me that Europe/Luxembourg has some things figured out.  It doesn't get much better as far as simple-community-pleasures-on-a-winters-day go than hot wine and street food, and all your friends in the same place.  For some reason, it just made sense to me that if the people and the city of Luxembourg were this serious about The Christmas Market, then this would be a good place to live and raise a family.  Dubious logic I suppose, but there you have it."

Yes, there you have it.  So a couple weeks ago we all stopped by this "famous" Christmas market on our way home from church.

not the greatest picture, but it was difficult to capture a good view of the whole thing
And here are a few more shots from walking around the market....

Santa waving Lux flag
typical gift stand
large heart-shapped cookies and other treats
A few of the huts provided some semi-indoor space, a welcome shelter from the cold.
chocky chaud (French nickname for "hot chocolate") is another popular drink
and of course, some Glühwein.  1 euro deposit for the mug.
Daphne found a classmate, so we stopped to enjoy some street food with her and her family.
bandstand for Christmas concerts in the background
And finally, for the big news of the day (and those of you who know me well will know why this is big news), I tried the Gluhwein - and liked it!  It was quite sweet with a lovely mix of Christmasy spices.

I stole Pete's so he had to go get another!
Verdict: the Christmas market receives my solid stamp of approval as worthwhile Christmas tradition.  I'll take this over a shopping mall or Black Friday any day.  Although I don't think I'll be partaking in the retail aspect, the market itself supplies a pleasant atmosphere and experience.  It's truly a simple community pleasure, so right up our alley.

My only complaint is that it can be quite cold standing around outside, but that's what proper winter clothing and Glühwein is for!!

1 comment:

Fiona Lynne Koefoed-Jespersen said...

Oh I so love the market! We've been multiple evenings with Rasmus' colleagues already and nearly always bump into people we know.
My best tip: the little train-shaped gluhwein stand at the end farthest from the stage adds amaretto shots to the gluhwein - AMAZING!!!