Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In order to get into the Christmas spirit, I traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany this past weekend to visit the Christmas Market (or Weihnachtmarkt). Dusseldorf is about 2 and 1/2 hours from Amsterdam so it was an easy trip there. Holland's main Christmas type celebration is Sinterklaas (with my pal, Zwarte Piet)which isn't as big on the decorations that recall "Christmas" to Americans. In fact, the decorations tend to be black men scaling walls with sacks over their shoulders and tall bony bishops. Don't even get me started on the special that I saw with a Miley Cyrus type girl singing a song with six back up dancer Zwarte Piets doing "egyptian" style moves.
Back to Germany! A friend once told me that all Christmases are based off the German model. And going to the Weihnachtmark definitely puts you in a "Holly Jolly" mood! We drank copious amounts of Gluhewein (a hot spiced red wine), ate bratwurst, roasted chestnuts, Flamkuchen (a cheesy pizza type thing with bacon and onion!), crepes, chocolate, and more gluhewein. While you gorge yourself, you can wander from decorated square to decorated square and look at handmade angel chimes, candles, sheepskins, tree decorations, angels, jewelry, and all manner of gifts. In the old town market, the altstadt, they had displays of traditional crafts with wood workers, ironsmiths, candlestick makers, and glassblowers making and displaying their wares. But back to the food.... the point of the market is definitely the food. We ate our way across the market and back and still managed to find room for more!
It wasn't super cold, which was a bit of a relief, as I've been recovering from the flu, but we had a lovely time wandering around for two days. I'm definitely in the Christmas mood now - and not feeling overwhelmed or negative like I often do in the US where I'm overwhelmed by adverts telling me to BUY BUY BUY! Support the economy! Get a diamond from your boyfriend because if he doesn't buy you one, he doesn't love you! Shop til you drop! I guess I prefer to eat til I pop!