Remember, it is not about the presents you get from loved ones, but how you spend the time with loved ones in the present.
Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.
As the holiday approaches, the markets in Germany get more packed as people go out to get that cheer that can only be found with mulled wine and sausage sandwiches. The sellers try to make their last sales, and the bigger acts are brought out to entertain the crowds. Last night was the last night for Germany’s biggest Christmas market, and I saved this one for last because all others would look tiny in comparison.
The city of Nuremberg seems to be designed to this specific event. Right across the street from the train station is a long walking mall that leads directly to the heart of the city, their city square. It is here where the city sets up rows of booths during the month of December, and sellers come from all over to sell ornaments, food, and of course, the biggest seller, mulled wine.
It is hard not to be distracted by all of the stalls and the wonderful smells that are coming from them, but looking beyond that, there is some of the best architecture ever collected in a European city. The cathedrals are sometimes overshadowed by the art nouveau facades that overlook the modern shops and restaurants. The place would be great if Christmas had not exploded all over the place.
Nuremberg also wants to hold on to the feeling of the original markets by making sure that the stuff that is offered is of traditional design. This includes the food and decorations even though I did see a couple of incense burners that were heavy metal in design. This only applies to the stalls that are in the main square too. There is a smaller part of the market that has stalls from all over the world that sells their favorite foods along with the traditional mulled wine, but they make sure to regulate this to another side of the cathedrals. My favorite was the stall from Atlanta that sold the traditional Christmas Pop Tarts. There were other stalls that lined the walking mall to the market, and they were not part of the same regulations and could sell whatever they wished. Either that or gimbap, the traditional Korean snack, has always been a part of the German holiday season.
It has been fun to put all of the regular tourist stuff behind to enjoy the sights, smells and feeling of the holiday season in Germany, and the Christmas markets have been a great part of this. The Nuremberg one was probably my favorite because it was the best organized and had some of the best food offered at any of them. And this was followed by the one in Rothenberg because of the feeling of the medieval city, but I am sure that there is no way for me to know what all of the markets in this country would be like. It seems like every city, and small little town puts on their own market, and it would take a month to be able to understand and judged them all, and I don’t know if I could drink that much mulled wine.
It has been a fun way to build up to the final big day on Thursday, and I am glad that I have been able to experience Christmas in this way. I wish all of you the same type of joy that I have been able to experience during your holidays, and that it holds surprises and new experience just as mine has.
I know that I spend a lot of my time bringing you pictures from around the world as I get to go to some exciting places and experience some truly amazing things. I enjoy sharing these things, and I love the pictures I am able to take with my phone. Most of the pictures I share are of the landscapes and sights from the cities or countries I am visiting, and my thoughts about what goes through me as I get to see them. I am always traveling with someone, but due to their privacy I try not to include them in my blog unless I know for a fact that they will be okay with their picture up for everybody to see. Then I come back to the Unites States, and I quit taking pictures, but still blog. It is not that I do not see amazing things when I am back home; it is more that I do not go out and hunt them down. My experiences in the States is to visit with family, and do the ordinary things that most Americans do on a regular basis. Not that I don’t find this stuff interesting anymore, and that many of my followers around the world might not want to know what life is like in the United States, but I find it so routine that I have a hard time coming up with a fresh way of looking at it.
But yesterday I was able to get out of the house for a little bit and not go to one of the malls packed with last minute shoppers. I got to experience Christmas in a way that I usually do not get to experience it, the Portland rain. I have been in Portland before for Christmas, but it has been a long time since I have been in its rain. I know that a lot of people will think that because I come from Colorado that I grew up with the cliche Christmas experience of trudging through the snow every Christmas morning and drinking hot chocolate while a blizzard raged on outside, but this was not always the case. I did get to have a few white Christmases, but there were other times that I was walking around in a t-shirt and enjoying the sun. In fact, my first post of the year talked about this exact thing.
But there are many people around the world that experience Christmas in a way that is not like the one that is usually depicted on the Hallmark Channel. They put up their Santa Clauses, lights and decorations, pretending that a big snow will come and give it that extra something that makes the holidays the holidays. But it never happens. It rarely snows in Portland. In fact, a typical Christmas here is usually covered with a rain cloud as a drizzle turns everything into a lush green. It is not the cliche, but it is not wrong. It is just the way that they enjoy the holidays in this part of the world.
It reminds me of the last couple of Christmases I have gotten to enjoy in New Zealand and Australia. There will never be a chance for them to experience snow on this day because Christmas comes in the middle of their summer. But this does not stop them from putting up the same decorations that we would see in the United States, and play the same carols over the shopping loud speaking that speak of snow. It felt out of place, but it did not take the holiday away.
I guess the thing that I took out of this recent experience is that the holiday is going to come no matter what. It might not be the same as it is pictured on postcards and television, but it is still a moment to spend the day with the people that make it special. It will take a force greater than the weather to not allow this day to come every year. So for all of you out there that celebrate this day, I wish you a Merry White One, or a Sunny Holiday or like where I get to enjoy the day this year, a Rainy Little Christmas.