...especially if you live in Germany.
What I am referring to, of course, is the wonderful season of the Weinachtsmarkt, the Christkindlmarkt, the Christmas Market, for which tourists flock from the far corners of the globe and ex-pats such as myself get a little too excited about drinking Glühwein and forget to give the mugs back in return for Pfand (ok, I might have kept a few on purpose). Gifts can be overpriced and the warmth of strangers pressing against you in a crowd is not the most comfortable feeling in the world, but the magic of the Weinachtsmarkt is undeniable.
(Or maybe I'm less of a local than I like to think I am, now four months into my life in Germany. Has it really been that long already?!)
I've been to a lot of Christmas Markets this winter – three in Leipzig (vegan, Connewitz, and the series of mini-markets that spread out across the city center), two in Munich, and two in Dresden – and every time I walk away with another Weinachtsmark mug for my rapidly growing collection, I can't help but be thankful for where I am and what I'm doing in the given moments.
The Christmas holiday is a BIG DEAL in my family, which is part of the reason why my mother and sister are about to get on a series of planes to meet me in Leipzig tomorrow morning. I will miss going up to visit my grandparents, as I missed at Thanksgiving as well, but I am beyond elated to introduce two of the most important people in my family to my adopted city. I can't believe that four months has already gone by. When I lived in Ecuador, the months seemed to drag on – not that I wasn't enjoying myself (I loved living with my family in Cuenca!)... but it's different.
Anyway, I just wanted to say Merry Christmas/Frohe Weinachten/Feliz Navidad to all of the people who have somehow stumbled upon this blog. I hope you can spend your holiday season with friends or family or loved ones or pets or alone if that's what you want to do – just as long as you are happy and enjoying your time, anything goes.
Happy holidays, friends, and have a wonderful new year. And now for some more pictures of the various Weinachtsmarkts I visited over the last month...
CAPTION INFO (L-R)
1. Homemade truffles at the Leipzig Vegan Weinachtsmarkt
2. The line (mob?) for vegan Currywurst and Glühwein at the Leipzig Vegan Weinachtsmarkt
3. A delicious waffle at the Leipzig Vegan Weinachtsmarkt
4. Inside the Connewitz Weinachtsmarkt
5. Outside the Connewitz Weinachtsmarkt
6. Daytime at the Dresdner Striezelmarkt
7. Orange hot cocoa at the Dresdner Striezelmarkt (worth every euro!)
8. A vendor at the Dresdner Striezelmarkt
9. The Dresdner Striezelmarkt from above (pro tip: pay 50 cents to use the bathroom at the library across the street, then make your way upstairs to the 3rd floor for this view)
10. Scenes from the Munich Christkindlmarkt in Marienplatz
11. Tasty treats at the Munich Christkindlmarkt in Marienplatz
12. One of many stands for warm beverages at one of the Christmas Markets in Munich
13. A "pyramide" at one of the Christmas Markets in Munich
14. The pyramide with feuerzangenbowle near the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig (aka "fire tongs punch," a less dry but more alcoholic version of glühwein that I actually prefer to the regular stuff even though it costs more... pro tip, get it here)
15. A carousel between Marktplatz and the Nikolaikirche market in Leipzig
16. Scenes from the Leipziger Weinachtsmarkt
17. Scenes from the Leipziger Weinachtsmarkt
18. Lebkuchen (gingerbread) at the Leipziger Weinachtsmarkt – one of my favorite Christmas goodies