Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas

DSCF0033.JPGWe’ve ‘done’ the Christmas markets in Strasbourg (the self-styled if not entirely unmerited Capitale de Noel). Snow was falling so there was added atmosphere, it was bitterly cold but the vin chaud certainly helped to warm the cockles and thaw the fingers (keeping my left hand still in its sock-glove makes it pretty cold and I’m convinced the wire conducts cold right into the middle). The market stalls were colourful with enticing lighting, there were relatively few tourist tat providers and many original handicrafts (pottery and linen of course, wooden decorations, baubles but also some clever things made from wood, metal, fabric, wool etc etc). Still no-one specialising in paperwork though. Here are some more pictures.

DSCF0023.JPGRadio commentators (we are listening to a lot of radio and are becoming especially fond of France Bleu Alsace 101.4FM) are noting that visitors to the Christmas markets are spending less than in previous years (they are thinking of passing a law prohibiting walking round stalls with one’s hands in one’s pockets on account of one’s hand should be firmly on one’s wallet). We’re still amazed by how calm the preparations for Christmas seem to be here – somehow it manages to be an even more important (in the true sense of the word) festival than the big commercial party that Britain has, but without the hysteria. We’ve not seen a single drunk person since we’ve been here although there’s plenty alcohol around.

DSCF0041.JPGThis evening we went into an estate agent’s office in Obernai and arranged to view a flat we might rent. So that’s progress. We settled our nerves with a glass of vin chaud Obernois, a lightly spiced white wine, utterly delicious, and with a bit more of a kick than we had last night in Strasbourg. Better not get too used to it.

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