Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oswin Takes: The Annecy Christmas Market

Just before Christmas we decided to round out our European Christmas Market tour with one last french market in Annecy...

Now we love love LOVE Annecy - it's one of our favorite cities in France...

...and since it's so close to us, we try to go every chance we get. 

...but I have to say, we were a bit disappointed with the Christmas Market. 

Maybe it was because we had just gone to two great Christmas markets in Freiburg and Basel, as well as the festive and colorful Mulhouse Christmas Market, but we really had expected more in Annecy. 

It was really small...

...and didn't have, as far as we could see, even one ornament stand. 

There were a lot of food stands, and strangely enough, a lot of Canadian goods advertised, but really it felt like a lot of the shops had just set up a stand outside of their stores and were selling the same items from inside. It didn't feel much like a Christmas market, more like a weekly outdoor market. We did however have a great cup of apple cider made with Jura honey, so that was a win right there. 

Despite being a bit disappointed by the Christmas Market, we had a gorgeous day to walk around one of our favorite cities, pick up some yummy goodies, and even buy a new sweater for mama. As per usual, a great day in Annecy!

A biento Annecy! Can't wait to see you again soon!

A la prochaine friends...


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oswin Takes: The Basel Christmas Market

We left Freiburg feeling pretty content. Two thirds of a great adventure was already in the books, little miss had been a total rock star the whole time, and we were coming home with some great Christmas market swag....not to mention a small stockpile of German beer. However, the question remained as we got in the car to leave Freiburg: do we test our luck and continue on to Basel, or head straight for home?

{Oswin's first time on a Swiss tram}

We weren't sure whether to make a stop in Basel because Oswin had already been SO good the whole time, and we didn't want to test our luck. We had already had two (and a half) very long days, and we were just waiting for the time bomb of infant fatigue to go off and begin to wail. 

In the end, we decided we'd kick ourselves if we drove right past a potentially sweet Christmas market... off to Basel we went. 

We did however have low expectations for what we would find in Basel, if only because Switzerland is so damn expensive. We thought maybe we could get one ornament, and maybe a gluhwein each. No sense in taking out a loan for a Christmas ornament or a pretzel, right? Our plan was really to just go to do a quick tour of Basel, and see how Switzerland does Christmas markets. 

In the end, we were very pleasantly surprised. There were actually some affordable ornaments (as well as some crazy priced ones), and we brought home not one, but THREE! We were able to each have a drink as well! It was a Swiss Christmas Market miracle! Our warm boozy beverage was not gluhwein, but something as equally delectable and with about 13 consonants in the name, which is why it is escaping me now. The market went up through the curved streets of Basel's Old Town, creating a very Christmas-like feel for our little tour. It was cute, it was cozy, it was cold - all requirements for a great Christmas market in my book. I'd even go so far as saying that Basel is now my second favorite Christmas market that I've been to, with Freiburg still being my favorite. Way to go Basel! 

We spent about two hours browsing little stands and taking in the festive lights of the city. Oswin was still a rock star. In fact, we made it all the way home without any major freak outs, save for a minor one as we were getting into the car to leave. The next day was another story however. I think we're finding out that our kid is a great traveler, but definitely, like her mama, gets a bit of an overtired-travel-hangover once she gets home. It's ok baby girl, I don't mind spending the day after trips in pyjamas with you, snuggling, and watching episodes of "Le Chat de Frankenstein." 

In fact I look forward to it. 

A la prochaine friends...


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oswin Takes: The Freiburg Munstermarkt

On our last day in Freiburg, we decided to explore a little more of the city, and in doing so found the Munstermarkt.

The Munstermarkt is a great market located outside the cathedral in Freiburg. There were stands upon stands of fresh fruit and veg, vendors selling homemade apples juice, bratswurst, currywurst, essentially everything with a "wurst" on the end...

Being that this was just a few days before Christmas, there were lots of stands with Christmas-y things, such as cut trees, wreaths and little tiny live trees. 

Other sellers covered the bases of beeswax candles, kids toys, and cooking supplies. I bought a rolling pin with designs cut into it that is used to create a traditional type of German cookie. The woman working the stand was incredibly nice, and even gave me a copy of the recipe in English!   

And in an effort to eat as many brats as we could while in Freiburg, we obviously had to get one at this market. I ate it too quickly to snap a picture, but it was my favorite one of all three that I had in a 24 hours period. There were so many herbs in the brat itself, it was beyond good. I wish I had taken a picture of the stand selling it so that we could go back to them next time. 

According to the market's website, the market runs six days a week, from from 7:30 AM to 1:30 PM (2:00 PM on Saturdays).  

If you have a chance to check out the Munstermarkt, also check to see if the cathedral is open, because it is a beauty. 

There's just something so spooky and wonderful and scary and lovely about old European cathedrals, isn't there? 

{Oswin Jade, snoozing her way 'round Europe...}

After exploring and picking up some wares at the Munstermarkt, we headed back to the Christmas Market for one last go around...

...and one last hot chocolate. 

(See, we didn't ONLY drink gluhwein on this trip!)

And what would be a road trip to Germany without picking up some heavenly priced German beer? Eighty - ninety centimes a beer?! Are you kidding me?! Hashtag that one "we're never ever leaving."

Next Up: The Basel Christmas Market 

A la prochaine friends...