Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Just stop, Santa. You're making it worse.

This is the good thing about writing on this page: I can stretch a short weekend trip into a full week of posting, to compensate for the fact that nothing much happens during the week.

So! Catherine and I went up to Strasbourg on Sunday to see the Christmas Market. Before going there, we checked out the little map in my Lonely Planet guide. The center of the city seemed small enough that we could easily walk to every market without having to hunt too long. Plus, it's a little island, so we knew that we could easily navigate based on the rivers.

Well, the city is SO small, that we walked clear across the city before we realized it. We walked through a smaller, crappier market, then circled for an hour. The benefit of getting lost in cities, as I have discovered and reaffirmed time after time, is that you really get a better feel of the city. Unfortunately, we had limited time, so we had to start asking where the REAL Christmas market was. It was, like, two blocks past where we had been circling. Next to this friggin huge cathedral.

And with the market:

Yeah, I don't know how we missed this before, either.

With MASSES of people. Who shove. And don't wait in line.

You know that stereotype of French people playing accordion? It's true. Every city that I've visited, at least half of the street musicians are playing accordion. Really well.

Ice skating next to the cathedral:

Sad looking Santa:

Not only is he small and droopy, you should have heard how terribly depressing his Pere Noel voice was. It was no hearty "Merry Christmas!" that we are familiar with; no. It was like a regular guy off the street saying, "Oh, how nice. It is very nice. Joyeux Noel." The elf next to him was carrying a dog puppet, about which Pere Noel said, "Yes, this is my favorite dog. He's a very good dog."

At least they could up the charm with a few things, like this utterly pretty little paper village.


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