Since we had such a lot of snow over Christmas, Joern decided that instead of taking the Autobahn to get there, we would instead drive through the Black Forest. It was such a beautiful drive, I am so happy that he knows the area so very well.
Of course, they received much more snow in the Black Forest than we did here, so the drive was even more lovely!
Arriving in Strasboug brought back many memories. It was one of the first cities Joern and I visited when I first came to Germany. It was so fun to come back after so many years. I have changed so very much since that first visit to Strasbourg. One of the things I hadn't realized, or remembered, was the Germanness of this French city. Of course, as it was once part of Germany, it makes sense that it is very Germanish, but I didn't really remember just how German the city was. But it is only that German backdrop against the very French-ness of the city that makes it unique and very charming. The Christmas market itself is quite old and definately shows its German heritage. But, unlike Stuttgart's or Nurnberg's, the market is spread out all over the city. We started at the Marche des Bredle, or the Cookie Market. I am sure that before Christmas, the entire tent must be filled to the brim with Christmas cookies. We found a few stands in the tent still selling Christmas cookies, and a few tables of what appeared to be baked goods displayed from some sort of competition.
Although it was a lot like German Christmas markets, we did both notice that there seemed to be more decoration and lights around the town. Not that the Christmas markets aren't beautiful here, its just that the markets here tend to count as decoration. But in Strasboug, there were beautiful lights everywhere!
We decided to stop in Fortwenger's Pain d'Epice Boutique, which was basically a bakery specializing in Lebküchen, or gingerbread. The shop was adorable and very full inside. There were a lot more items than just some gingerbread. We decided to buy some gingerbread beer and a few little trinkets to remind us of our awesome day!
From Fortwenger's, we continued on towards the center. Strasboug is such an adorable city!
Once we reached the main part of the center, we noticed the many restaurants with their adorable decorations. There was such a Christmassey atmosphere there! I also noticed, which I did not last time, that all the names of the restaturants were German.
We opted out of the warm, spiced orange juice, although I am sure it is quite yummy.
I am pretty sure that the Vin Chaud at the market was cut with some juice, because it was much sweeter than traditional Christmas market Glühwein, and well, it had no kick. Plus, I saw a lady pouring apple juice into a pot of Vin Chaud at one stall. Didn't matter, it was still warm and spicy. And despite it's being served in a plastic cup (I guess the French aren't into the deposit system like the Germans,) it was still quite enjoyable.
After our drink, we made our way back to the car. Joern wanted to go grocery shopping before we left. Plus, the grocery store is a part of a new shopping mall that recently opened almost right over the border in France. Much to my surprise, and happiness, it turns out the new mall has a Gap and a Sephora inside. Now, I am really close to some of my favorite stores. The grocery shopping was fun too. We were able to purchase some wonderful Camembert cheese, some salami for Joern, a few boxed soups that are so good, and a pre-made creme brulee that will be perfect for desert on New Year's Eve.
It was a really special and unique day. I love the fact that we live so close to France, and that we are able to take advantage of our location. I do believe that with the coming of the New Year, this probably will round out my Christmas 2010 posts. With that, I'll leave with a French greeting, and say, "Till December 2011,"