Christmas Markets rekindle the lost spirit of the season within your soul. Furthermore, a visit to the Chriskindelsmariks (markets of the Child Jesus) of Europe may be the only trip a traveler ever takes where bad weather is an asset.
Be it snow, sleet, freezing rain, drizzle or plain old sub-zero temperatures, it just doesn’t matter.
Nothing can dampen your enthusiasm.
When the weather is rotten hot mulled wine and sausages taste better, music is cheerier, cheeks are rosier and Christmas renews itself by reaching into forgotten recesses of childhood memories.
It really doesn’t matter which Christmas Market you choose. They are everywhere.
Oddly enough, though they are all basically the same, each one is unique. Some are festivals of light. Others feature local arts and crafts. Still others focus on food and entertainment.
Many sprawl throughout a city while others center around a small main square in front of the cathedral.
No matter where you go or what you choose to do, the only thing guaranteed to happen is that your spirits will soar in a personal metamorphosis that would do Ebenezer Scrooge proud.
One region especially suited for travelers during the holiday season is the
The area is compact, making it convenient by rail, boat or car, while offering the cultural flavor of three different countries.
There are large markets such as
Though not the largest,
Historically, the traditional day for gifts and handing out candy in Europe was December 6thto honor the day the patron saint of
In 1570 a protestant preacher in
What took its place was a Christmas Market later in the month of December.
At first the market was only a three-day event held in front of the cathedral just before Christmas.
Over the centuries there were several changes of venue until the market took permanent residence at Place Broglie, one of the main squares in the city.
Today the market spreads throughout
It is arguably the drink of choice at virtually any market, but be forewarned, especially in
Nativity scenes are also mood inspiring because they usually include live sheep, goats and other animals calmly grazing on hay covered floors in front of a crèche.
Though Europeans long ago abandoned church-going on a regular basis, there remains a sense of serenity about live animals in a manger scene where nobody gets upset over political correctness.
Somehow tradition wins out and that adds to the ambience of the surroundings.
Savor the aromas of the season while strolling from booth to booth. Spices, cinnamon, perfumes, scented candles, hot doughnuts and pretzels permeate the frigid air and lull you into a realm of long- lost sensations.
Church bells ring out. Choirs sing in the distance. Sleigh bells jingle.
Mingle with locals. Stroll among half-timbered buildings and colorful wooden stalls. Inhale deeply and take in Christmas as you never have before.
“Oh, come all ye faithful” for the European Christmas markets are truly a “joy to the world.”
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world.
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
Read more of Travels with Peabod and Bob Taylor at The
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