Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Christmas market in Luxembourg

Pretty lights aplenty 
It was my very first Christmas spent in an actual cold climate, so you can imagine my delight to be in Luxembourg for the year end vacation. No matter that it wasn't white - just the sheer experience of being in a place that wasn't trying to pretend it's winter (coughSingaporecough), and actually IS cold without the aid of air-conditioning, felt like Christmas. Heh.

Of course I had to check out the festive market too, after seeing pictures shared by AB (the boyfriend - have decided that this shall be my nickname for him here) who was here last year (and no stranger to such festivities growing up anyway, lucky dude!), and on the trusty (social) media which we can always count on to educate us folks in the tropics on what real Christmas looks like.

So one evening, we made plans to catch up with M, one of AB's mates based here, and also for the two men to bring me to my first Marché de Noël. Wheee.

I looked all calm and coolly pleasant on the outside, but inside the five-year-old in me was squealing non-stop. ("The lights! The cold! Christmas is in the air, everywhere!!!" *hyperventilates*)
Luxembourg Christmas Market in the city centre
It being the week leading up to the actual day, the market was brimming with activity. We were there for an hour or so from 9-10pm, and there was quite a crowd which would usually be rather atypical for the city at this time of the year, as it gets dark and cold early in the evening. Thankfully this is quite a friendly cosy crowd that wasn't packed to claustrophobic level, and everyone was just chilled out and there to soak up the atmosphere, no crazy drinking nor drama abound.

We had some drinks and snacks before heading to the market, but I gamely sampled some of the essential drinks and snacks, too. Of course, the most popular drink would be vin chaud, which is mulled wine. The warm spicy drink was quite nice to hold in my hand with the frosty temperature, but a little too sweet for me beyond the first few sips. I even tried both the red and white versions to be sure, but the conclusion is that I would honestly prefer just a hot chocolate or straight up beer in this weather.

It was pretty fun to nibble on the Groumperekichelcher, which is essentially a deep fried pancake made from mashing potatoes, eggs, onion, flour and parsley. The taste somehow seemed like a cross between our Chinese ngoh hiang and carrot cake (the dim sum type), which was yummy enough, but the stomach was no longer able to take more than one at a time.

Vin chaud blanc and Feuerzangenbowl
M and AB excitedly bought this other drink, Feurzangenbowl which apparently was one of their favourite must-haves at the market. After hearing what the concoction was (mulled wine with a rum-soaked sugar cone that is set ablaze to melt into the drink), I decided to give it a miss. Between the two mulled wine I had, I've had my fill of sweet wine for the evening (if not the week). They did make for some pretty pictures though, what with the red mugs and flaming sugar.

If mulled wine or potatoes are not to your fancy, there are other choices like the harder liquors and beer, as well as sausages and cookies available for the edibles. There were also other stalls peddling fare such as little festive knick knacks (toys, ornaments and decorations), winter apparel and accessories, even a few adventure rides to entertain the kiddos. Mostly, it seemed like a place for a nice evening of catching up with friends more than actual shopping or eating.

Cute cookies made with fruits, spice and honey
By the end of the hour or so, we all declared defeat with our respective drinks - they were just too sweet, and even more unbearably so when they have cooled down. We dutifully returned the mugs, then left the market and adjourned to a bar nearby which was also one of their old favourites, for a comforting pint of beer before calling it a night.

All in all, it was an entertaining evening for me. Apparently, the Luxembourg market pales in comparison to many of the other markets in Europe by size and number of stalls, but for me it was a lovely initiation to the Christmas celebrations here.

My favourite drink of the night!

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