Monday, December 11, 2006

I Travel to Germany to Avoid Macy's

The mall at Christmas can be a miserable experience, but how can you catch the Christmas Spirit at the office or at home? Well, you really can't, so I took a few days off and went to see German Christmas markets. That can be a quaint and cholesterol-laden experience, but it also turned out to be a great way to avoid zero degree weather, a big snow, and a local crime wave.

All of this Christmas Market activity takes place outdoors, so it's a good way to get a little fresh air. If you have been to the Christmas Market at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago you get the concept.

Most of the German countryside looks a lot like Wisconsin, and much of the industrial areas look a lot like Chicago, so other than the language you could feel pretty much at home. They have great high-speed trains there, and that's a major attraction. You can zoom around the countryside at top speed--try doing that on Amtrak! I figure that if we could bring in a high-speed to Wilmette we could get downtown in 10 minutes or so. I would like that.

The picture above is the Christmas Market in Erfurt, which I took from the steps of the Erfurt Cathedral. This is the first time I went to what used to be old East Germany. After all those years of Communism, there is far less interest in the religious aspect of Christmas. They place more emphasis on fairy-tale scenes rather than the manger scenes favored in old West Germany--sort of like Macy's Christmas windows this year. When I saw the Macy's Chirstmas windows downtown, I was wondering what-on-earth Mary Poppins has to do with Christmas, but I guess that's a sort of like a fairly tale. Right. Ah, travel, it's so broadening.

Do you remember when a trip to Marshall Field's downtown at Christmas was a real destination? I do, and frankly it had German Christmas Markets beat. Well, progress demands change, and I'm coping fairly well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice pix! Have fun.

Dec 11, 2006, 7:51:00 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I think I have to trek to the mall today.

Dec 11, 2006, 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Nice picture. It looks a lot like Old Town Square in Prague actually.

Dec 11, 2006, 1:05:00 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

HAD fun, Anne! Copy Editor, hope you survived the mall. Prague Twin, does that mean I should skip Prague, or is it worth a visit? Well, it's clearly worth a visit, but at Christmas? Actually, it's not really far from Prague, being an hour or so from Leipzig

Dec 12, 2006, 4:36:00 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Yes very close, and worth a visit.

However the square is an absolute madhouse this time of year.

Dec 13, 2006, 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Publia said...

Prague Twin, sounds like they have a Christmas market there! Last Saturday I had to leave Stuttgart it was so crowded. It was impossible to move!

I lost the vote to go to Prague; I really wanted to go, and it was a week day, too, so maybe not too busy? Some other time, I guess!

Dec 14, 2006, 6:35:00 PM  

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