Sir, we don’t have Sparrows and my name isn’t Gus!”
I say it just about every year, and since about 1:37 PM today, this year has been no different; I can’t believe that it’s almost Christmas already! All the decorations have been pinned up in and around the hotel, hence the place is looking very festive indeed. Glühwein (basically mulled wine) is now officially on the menu, though I fear only temporarily. Der Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas Tree) arrived today, and now decorated its very presence reminds everybody of what a special time of the year this is. There is one thing missing mind you, and if you’re British then I’m sure that you can guess what it is because we very rarely have it ourselves on the 25th of December! Yes, you clever ones have guessed it, there’s no SNOW! Yes, I’ve been reassured by almost everybody here that we are expecting a white Christmas like always in Göβweinstein, it’s almost guaranteed. But is it? I’m sure that most of you have noticed that it’s been incredibly mild of late for November / December, and Heike also happened to mention that it was one of the mildest Novembers on record for years here. Have I (curse myself) inadvertently brought the curse of the Englishman to this quaint little village? Will we just have to settle with British-esque rain on Christmas day?!
Now despite the lack of snow, there was no excuse for the traditional German Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas Markets) not to open their doors all over the country on the 1st (well, at least in Bayreuth I can vouch for this!). Now I’ve already mentioned previously that it’s always something of a treat working with Senior Chef Vogl, and yesterday he once again vindicated my beliefs. As a reward for helping him repair some insulation in the roof of the guest-house during the day, he obtained permission for me to leave work early in order to visit the Christmas Market in Bayreuth with him and his wife. Obviously as a typical German stereotype, I’d already heard of the Weihnachtsmarkt. However, I really wasn’t prepared for how pretty and interesting they are! I mean, the best that Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex can do for Christmas is display a few festive price reductions here and there in the shop windows, so to be honest it’s not very hard to go one better! Yet I really was impressed with what a special atmosphere there was in the Christmas Market. There’s so much food (good food at that!) to be bought, special festive food as well, that it’s actually a challenge to resist buying anything. Christmas decorations and lighting cover the main street of the city, to make Bayreuth appear like one of the most colourful places on the planet. There are so many different varieties of stalls all around that it’s really cosy despite being chilly at night, and if you’re still cold regardless of all the hussle and bussle of the people, then take my advice and try some Glühwein. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my most favourite drink in the World, especially since I’m more a beer man than a wine man, but it certainly warms you up! Anyway, feast your eyes upon some of the photos to get a taste for it. My camera battery ran out half way through the trip so unfortunately I had to settle with a minimal amount of half decent photos! Enjoy :).