Wednesday, November 21, 2007
It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas
I started out the day by singing christmas tunes loudly in the shower: Silver Bells, It's Beginning to Look alot like Christmas, White Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting... the classics. Artur and I watched "Jack Frost--der Coolste Dad der Welt" yesterday, and it put me in happy christmas spirit. So today I was more than happy to see the dark wooden stands of the Marienplatz Christmas Market already set up and ready to roll.
The giant tree was already standing in front of the Rathaus and the Maroni--roasted chestnut--stands were already crackling away. The wooden stands built up like a labyrinth across the usually wide open cobblestoned plaza set me dreaming about Glühwein, Bratwürstl and Lebkuchen.
The Christkindlmarkt on Marienplatz in Munich has a long history itself. Founded in 1642, it holds the title of the oldest and biggest market in the city, and has been selling the gingerbread-like Lebkuchen and Oberammergauer wood cutouts since at least 1805. With over 3 million visitors a year, it may seem like a tourist trap, but every Münchner loves to stop by Marienplatz on the way home from work to stroll through the christmas-scented bustling stands, or to meet friends over a glass of Glühwein or a steaming Feuerzangenbowle-- literally "Fire Pliers Punch", prepared by heating a giant bowl filled with mulled wine, suspending a Feuerzange, a metal holder for the Zuckerhut (sugar hat), a large conical mass of sugar , which is placed above the bowl. The sugar is soaked in rum and burns a caramalizes with delight into the wine, resulting in a more dramatic and more alcoholic version of Glühwein.
The markets don't open until December 1st, but until then I'm going to sing myself into Christmas oblivion. In Germany, my fairytale christmas comes alive...