Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Date Night at the Essen Christmas Market

Every date night is a reason to rejoice, but Bryan and I were particularly looking forward to our most recent date night in Essen for the Christmas Market.  Dylan's babysitter came at 4:00 on Friday afternoon and we caught the 4:30 train to Essen.  It always amazes us how close we are to nice, big cities like Essen, Münster, Dusseldorf and Cologne.  And hour train or bus ride in any direction and we're in a pretty cool destination.  And hour traveling in any direction in Jacksonville and we'd be, well ...  probably still somewhere in Jacksonville.

Essen's Christmas market is very large and beautiful.  Unlike Münster's and Cologne's markets where there are 5-7 mini-markets set up around the city, Essen's market all seems to wind its way through the main shopping district but always remains connected.  So instead of traipsing through a large city on a cold day to multiple smaller markets, Essen's is one very large market that seemingly never ends.

Plus it has this:

I really wanted to go on this ferris wheel but Bryan distracted me with Glühwein and shopping, so we were pretty much in Dorsten (half way home) by the time I remembered that I wanted to go on the ferris wheel.  Bryan has a selective fear of heights.  He gets all willy-nilly at the top of the Eiffel Tower or on a ferris wheel, but his acrophobia miraculously disappears when it's time to go on roller-coasters or do something that he wants to do.

Anyway, our first order of business at the Essen Christmas Market was to get Bryan a wurst.  This wasn't a difficult task because I think there is some Christmas Market Law that requires every 5th booth to be a wurst + pommes (Bratwurst + French Fry) stand.  Our second order of business was to have a Glühwein (hot, spiced wine), which I'm easing myself back into drinking after a particularly embarrassing episode during last year's Christmas market where someone thought it was a good idea to give me a "bottomless cup" of Glühwein that turned into quite a debacle (Borken basketball people, you know what I'm talking about).  German readers who aren't familiar with the American expression "bottomless cup" - it means free refills.  This year to keep it under control (and avoid the worst possible hangover ever), we limited ourselves to two-cups each.

Bryan about to enjoy his bratwurst.
Less than 10 minutes later while I was buying the Glühwein, Bryan snuck off and returned a few minutes later with a second bratwurst.

Dear Glühwein,  It took me 11 months to forget what you did to me last December.  I forgive you.  We can be friends again, but I will only take you in small doses.  

We then spent the next 3 hours wandering from booth to booth, exploring the different kinds of Christmas decorations, jewelry, chocolate and other goods.  A lot of factors went into this probably being my most favorite Christmas Market experience yet.  I mean, leaving Dylan at home with a babysitter is enough alone to push this experience to the top of the list, but that combined with the size of this market, the good weather and the festive atmosphere made Essen's market one that I'll want to return to next year.

No, that is not a booth going up in flames behind me.  The camera was doing weird tricks with the nighttime lighting.

If I ever forget that I'm in a foreign country, all I have to do is look at the names on these cups.  Dieter, Ingo, Felix, Janus... Bryan said "Hey look, there's a Brian.  Oh no wait, that says 'Biano.' Nevermind." 

1 comment:

Biano/Bryan said...

Man, I look so tired in those pictures. I wasn't kidding about how red and puffy my eyes get by Friday.
We always have a great time on our dates. I am so lucky to have such an awesome wife.
Love, Biano/Bryan