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Weihnachtsmarkt, marché de Noël, RATATAT

Strasbourg, France

So, what Europe does come Christmastime is set up Christmas markets all over the place. Almost every big city has one. Freiburg's is actually really cute. There are lots of booths, and some sell craft-y things and some sell games, or candles, or nativity sets and christmas decorations. And food. So much food!!!

Keep in mind that I really don't eat meat. But I decided I would try a Käsewurst because they're supposed to be really good. It's basically sausage, but it oozes cheese. And I love them! It's ridiculous, I don't think I've ever finished a sausage in my life until now. But there are also crépes and roasted nuts and chocolate-y things. I could eat so much there.

Another standard of Christmas markets, which we experienced at the Weihnachtsmarkt in Freiburg and at the Marché de Noël in Strasbourg (France) is essentially mulled wine. In German it's Glühwein (which means something along the lines of glowing wine) and in French it's vin chaud (or hot wine). But it's obviously hot wine, and they add spices and generally some citrus fruit like orange or lemon. It's so good. Our German professor took us to get some and showed us, in the Freiburger Weihnachtsmarkt, where all of the Freiburgers go for Glühwein. It turns out there's a little offset of the markt right down the street, and the wine they serve is actually from Freiburg. You can get red or white, and they're both delicious.

Anyway, we went yesterday to Strasbourg for two reasons: it was the opening day of their Marché de Noël which is one of the biggest and most famous Christmas markets in Europe, and there was a RATATAT concert. The market was HUGE and too crowded to be functional. It was impossible to stop at booths because you couldn't break through the crowds!

We also saw a demonstration (and we know I'm attracted to those like a moth to flame) on behalf of the Palestinian populations of Gaza and West Bank. We stopped to talk to one of the women there, and she explained to us what the pamphlets we'd been handed said (A. and I are both fairly function en français, and K.W. is practically fluent, but it would've taken us a while to know we had grasped it, and no one had a dictionary). It was a petition for the EU to apply pressure to Israel because of human rights abuses.

The EU is really big on human rights, on paper anyway. One of the stipulations in most of its trade and/or cooperation agreements is that all parties must respect basic human rights to everyone. Israel wasn't honoring that, and so the EU needed to apply pressure because both parties had already agreed to this contract, or whatever.

Then we made our way to the RATATAT concert which was completely on the other side of the city. When we finally got there, it was this awesome ware-house kind of thing converted into a concert hall. The concert was amazing.

Leaving the concert, we had to find the train from Strasbourg to... Offenburg, I think (as students we can travel to Offenburg for free). The train was, at 1:00 in the morning, quite literally two cars long. And it was one of the dinky white ones (there are three gradations of trains that we can see: the sleek white/silvery ones are the long distance express trains, the red ones are the standard, and the dinky white box-y ones are the ones you never want to have to take!). Everyone on the train was from our program, so we basically had a party on the way back. It was fun.

permalink written by  lost_red_balloon on November 30, 2008 from Strasbourg, France
from the travel blog: The European Union
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