Friday, December 02, 2022

Christmas markets (Christkindlmarkt) in Germany

Weihnachtszauber in Gendarmenmarkt

Christmas markets are a holiday tradition in the German-speaking part of Europe that date back to the Middle Ages. So the best Christmas markets, known locally as Christkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt, are definitely in Germany. While the markets originated in Germany, they can now be found in many other regions of Europe and among German communities in North America. I got to visit the one in Chicago when I was at Purdue.

City-Weihnachtsmärkt at Gedächtniskirche

During the pandemic, I got to visit several in Germany including the Weihnachtszauber in Gendarmenmarkt and the City-Weihnachtsmärkt at Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church), both in Berlin.



Of course, I went there for the food and the Glühwein (mulled wine), especially Feuerzangenbowle (rum-soaked sugarloaf set on fire and dripped into mulled wine). 


At one of the markets, I had Lángos, a deep-fried flatbread that originated from Hungary. I had a simple one topped with butter and garlic. Others are topped with cheese and vegetables.



I also had Handbrot (hand-rolled flatbread) topped with sour cream, bacon, and spring onions.


The Handbrot is baked in a wood-fired oven.


Of course, there are pretzels and sausages. I had a Rostbratwurst.

I also got to visit two Christmas markets in Köln (Cologne). Super crowded despite the pandemic!


At the Weihnachtsmarkt in Aachen, I got to try Reibekuchen (potato pancakes).

Aside from food, you can also get Christmas arts and crafts at the markets.

Santa Pauli Hamburgs Geilster Weihnachtsmarkt

In Hamburg, we dropped by the Santa Pauli Hamburgs Geilster Weihnachtsmarkt, the Christmas market of Hamburg's red light district.




I got to try Grünkohl (kale) with KohlwurstBärlauch-Hacksteak (hamburger steak), Currywurst, and Flammkuchen (tarte flambée).



For drinks, I got Eierpunsch (egg punch) made with delicious Eierlikör (egg liqueur) and white wine. While it is sometimes referred to as the German version of eggnog, the difference is that Eierpunsch is made with wine while eggnog is made with milk.


And since it was Christmas, we got some Plätzchen (Christmas cookies) from one of the bakeries in Ulm!

What's your favorite food at German Christmas markets?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Afternoon trip to Ottawa, Canada: Parliament Hill and Rideau Canal

After a two year hiatus, I've decided to start posting again in my blog. I attended the 18th TICCIH International Congress in Montreal, Canada earlier this month where I presented a paper. Right after the conference, I made a quick trip to Canada's capital city, Ottawa. Because we didn't have much time, I only got to visit Parliament Hill and the the Ottawa Locks of Rideau Canal.

Parliament Hill is known for its Gothic revival buildings. We got to walk around the three main edifices on Parliament Hill: the East Block, Centre Block, and West Block. 

The Centre Block is closed for renovations as part of a 20-year project to rebuild the Parliament buildings. According to the Government of Canada, "This is the largest, most complex heritage rehabilitation project ever seen in Canada and is one of the largest in the world." The building will remain closed up to at least 2028.

Built in the Gothic Revival style, the current building was completed in 1927 after a fire destroyed the original building in 1916.

This is the West Block, built in the Victorian High Gothic style and completed in 1865.

The East Block, also built in the Victorian High Gothic style, has survived mostly intact since original construction was completed in 1866.

The Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council facing Parliament Hill was built in the Second Empire Style design and was completed in 1889.

Right by Parliament Hill are the Ottawa Locks of Rideau Canal in an area known as Colonel By Valley. the Rideau Canal is a World Heritage site. The eight locks that form the Ottawa Locks are the largest single set of locks on the entire Rideau Canal system.

What is interesting about the locks is that they are still manually operated. You can see this happen close to Plaza Bridge, by the Lockstation House. Further down, closer to the Ottawa River, is the Bytown Museum, the former Commissariat Building. It is the oldest building in Ottawa, built in 1827.

Thank you to my colleague, Fergus Maclaren, President of the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee, for the guided tour of the area.

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