Friday, February 17, 2012

The Local Tourist - The Vancouver German Christmas Market

Although I was born in Canada, I grew up in Germany as an Air Force brat. They were magical years in so many ways, but sometimes it seems like it was all a dream. One of my favorite memories was the German Christmas markets. Masses of twinkling fairy lights, amazing aromas of cooking food, lots of tasty treats and a slew of hand crafted ornaments. All this washed down with copious amounts of mulled red wine known as Gluehwein and frosty beer. Those markets seemed to capture the essence of Christmas in a way that our malls with their muzac never could.

Well, now Vancouver has its own German Christmas Market and on December 24th, I went downtown to check it out. I was not disappointed! For a few hours, I was transported back to my childhood.

Excitedly, I dragged David from one booth to another as memories came flooding back. First stop was to the bratwurst stand for sausage on a bun as only the Germans can make them, yummy! Then we sampled the large bread pretzels ( damn, I forgot how good those were), I went back for more but they were sold out :(  We purchased some Gluehwein to wash it down,... now that's a seriously tasty drink! Everywhere we turned we were accosted by the fantastic smells of baking apples, molten cheese, gingerbread cookies and so on.

Once we had had our fill of food and drink, we turned our attention to the arts and crafts. The Germans have a long tradition of making beautiful intricate handmade ornaments. The prices were out of this world, but I bought a couple anyway as they had special meanings for me. I called my Dad when I got home to tell him about the market and when I mentioned the prices he said they had always been extravagent even back in the sixties and seventies. I really wish I had hung on too the ones I had, but they got lost in my many moves over the years.

These German Pyramids were a typical sight and the incredible detail and workmanship made them  a highly sought after item. They dont come cheap!, These can run in the hundreds of dollars but are something that can be handed down for ages. The heat from the candles creates air currents which cause the blades to spin. That in turn,spins the different levels around, each one carrying a carved vignette of life.

At the end of the evening, there was a beautiful old-fashioned carosol which we took a ride on, David on a gorgeous pink pony.... priceless. Mysteriously, I  lost my camera before I got that picture downloaded..hmmmm.

It was a wonderful experience to dust off old memories, I can't wait for next years, I'll be lining up early for the pretzels, and plan to take a taxi home so I can have a second glass of Gluehwein.

Heres a short video to show you what it looked like ( I lost my camera)

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