A Travellerspoint blog

What Bibs, Plastic Gloves and Spring Onions Have in Common

sunny 16 °C

I’m perched on a wobbly chair swigging from a cup of woody, red wine, eagerly anticipating what is to come. February has arrived and the Calçotada season is in full swing across Catalonia. I don’t really understand what I’m doing here, or what’s about to appear in front of me, but I’m resoundingly assured that it is something which is not to be missed, that it is a true celebration of Catalan cuisine. I glance around me, inquisitively taking in my surroundings. I’m at what appears to be some kind of farm/factory. Outside there are barrels filled with calçots, giant spring onions and a local delicacy, queuing up ready to be tossed onto a giant charcoal-smothered barbecue. Smoke and flavour billows through the air and weather beaten men stand around with pitch forks and shovels, prodding the prized veg and attending to their every need. Around me, are long tables filled with families and friends clamorously chattering, debating, gossiping, their cups and plates permanently brimming with whatever the waiter bestows upon them. I ponder whether the scene being acted out before me is indeed the definition of rustic?

Before long I’m presented with a giant bib and a pair of plastic gloves. I’m perplexed. I thought we were going out for a traditional Catalan meal? But I’m fervently advised that these items are not some kind of bizarre fashion statement, but a vital tool if I’m to avoid a disastrous outcome to the day. I process the information, but confusion still leads the way. Suddenly, the feast begins. Mountains of pa amb tomàquet, the famous local tomatoey bread, are brought to the table along with piles of robust, steaming artichokes. I mirror those around me and decorate my helping with a dash of salt and oil, not forgetting a dollop of hearty romesco sauce – the epitome of Catalan accompaniments. The starters are fantastic, abounding in simple, delicious homemade flavours, and naturally I help myself to seconds.

Soon the moment arrives to don my bib and gloves and I sense, that it’s show-time. There in my protective gear I feel like a surgeon about to start work on a patient. I look around at my friends – we all look ridiculous. Before long heaped silver platters piled high with calçots are noisily and ungracefully brought over by the waiters and plonked down in front of us. Suddenly it all makes sense. Suddenly I understand the need to dress up as some overgrown plastic baby – the calçots are filthy! Smeared in blacker than black charcoal from their barbecue expedition, they indeed could do some serious damage if they were to come into contact with my clothes. I begin to worry that they could even stain my face! And I inquire as to how you even go about attempting to eat a calçot? I’m told to watch and learn.

I copy the Calçotada veterans around me who are professionally and smoothly stripping the sodden outside layer of their chosen calçot away. Then, as if it were a perfectly normal way to eat, they raise their arm and dangle said spring onion from above, then nibble away from bottom to top. “You can’t be serious!” I utter. “What’s the point in that? Why can’t I just use a knife and fork?”. I receive bellowing laughter in response. I don’t get it. So, I try it their way. Impossible. I nearly poke myself in the eye with my calçot, and escape with a mere cheek splatter – which now means it’s smeared in charcoal. Seriously, how can the others chomp away so effortlessly? Maybe it’s just me being an idiot? By now my friends are on their second. I give up, and utilize my plate and cutlery. Gasps of horror and jests are thrown my way, but I’ll be the cleanest at the end of the day.

I have to admit, I wasn’t so sure about this whole barbecued spring onion business, and had severe doubts as to their tastiness. But, I am pleasantly surprised – they really are delicious! And along with the endlessly flowing cava they are going down a treat! Soon the waiters bring over trays of butifarra sausages, sizzling lamb chops, mounds of chips, and forests of salad, not forgetting the typical mongeta beans. There is literally no room on the table or my plate for any more food. But on it goes finding spaces wherever it can. The feast is overwhelming – a quintessentially rustic, country banquet, and I’m loving every minute of it! But I am so, so full that by now I feel like the Michelin man, as though I’m going to have to be rolled home, and when I’m offered desert and coffee I give a dazed shake of my head. It has been a fantastic and unforgettable experience, really giving me an insight into true Catalan culture. But if I eat anything else, I really am going to burst. So I bid thee farewell Calçotada, and shall see you again next year!

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Posted by lauracerys 07:03 Archived in Spain Tagged food spain catalonia rustic calçots cava Comments (0)

The Piste Novice

La Molina

snow -3 °C

A swirling gust grazes my ice-kissed cheeks and provokes an unnerving wobble and sway as I dangle from above. Beneath my bizarre-feeling over-sized feet lays a sugary quilt stretching far and high, and trimmed with snow-dusted conifers. Slowly but surely the distance between myself and the picture perfect flurry below becomes troublingly greater and I grasp my poles tighter, for dropping one now would be disastrous. As beautiful as the views from my seat are, the realization hits that I will soon have to attempt a smooth exit from my current position, and horror sets in as I realise I have now idea how to go about it. I begin to ask myself why on earth learning to ski seemed like such a good idea.

I approach the unloading station and try to position myself correctly with my equipment in the right places. But confusion and panic takes over and the confounding challenge of getting off the ski lift in one piece becomes overwhelming, and ultimately impossible. I tumble into a frosty heap and my jacket fills with snow. Brilliant. Scrambling around like a new born foal I try to stand up again, but it is frustratingly difficult when your hands and feet suddenly have two-meter-long attachments! Eventually I am gallantly helped to my feet by a monitor. He sees people like me coming a mile off, and deep down is no-doubt thinking to himself, ‘idiot’.

As I take a glance at the blizzard-blasted surroundings, the reality of my situation dawns on me. ‘I’m at the top of a mountain’. ‘There’s only one way down.’ ‘And I don’t even know how to start… let alone stop’. I shuffle and drag myself to the threshold of the piste and my stomach knots as I gaze downward. Oh God. Save me now. I slowly push off and try to remember what the instructor told me. Pizza-pizza-pizza-pizza! That’s the shape I need to make with my skis isn’t it?! That’s how you’re meant to control your speed isn’t it!? I can’t slow down! Why isn’t it working!? Bang.

‘Maybe this is what the face of a snowman feels like’, I think to myself as I lay amidst the snow. ‘Frosty. Drippy. Blurry.’ Great. I check all my limbs are intact and notice that I am now only wearing one ski. Weird. I could have sworn I was wearing two…? Suddenly I notice one a few meters further up the piste. Shit. That’s mine. One - how the hell am I going to get to it? And two – how am I going to stick it back on to my boot? I look around me, in the hope that some form of a solution will jump and out rescue me. And luckily it does. One of the pros sees me in my snowy heap and takes pity on me, smoothly picking up my ski and handing it to me without a falter, and then coolly swooshes on down like a slalom racer.

I try to push myself back up onto my feet, a seemingly impossible challenge whilst stranded on an icy slope. My knees begin to shudder and a tremble takes over my arms with the pressure of trying to lift myself from such a strange position. I eventually force myself up and my joints unleash a throb from the effort of such a physical feat. I lay out my abandoned ski in front of me, itself tricky thanks to my position on a slippery slant, and it nearly escapes and takes a long slide down to the bottom of the piste. I rescue it just in time.

I try everything to get my ski back on… pushing, forcing, crouching, shimmying. Why won’t it work? I get frustrated and impatiently slam my foot down. Click. I’m in. Success. But the glory is short lived as I look out at the long slope ahead. Slowly, cautiously, and no doubt with a ridiculous posture I attempt my descent once again. I’m trembling with fear and have no doubt forgotten to breathe. Meanwhile, a group of five-year-olds whiz past me, elegantly turning and curving without a care in the world. Embarrassing. How come they know what to do? How come they don’t fall? How come none of them will ever make a complete knob out of themselves? I’m picking up speed and attempt to turn myself into some kind of snow plough. Nothing seems to work. I can’t stop! It seems the only option is to just go with it, try to keep upright and hope for the best.

The wind howls as it crashes past my face and giant snow flakes bounce off my goggles fogging my vision. But there’s no time to worry about being able to see. I have to focus on staying alive! I’m accelerating no end and my joints rattle as the clattering contact between skis and slope sends ripples through my body. I feel like a kind of George of the Jungle meets Yeti character, propelling though the snow without a hint of grace. ‘Don’t fall! Don’t fall! Don’t fall!’ I say to myself, maybe even out loud.

Suddenly, and finally, the end is in sight. I can see the bottom of the piste. And the slope seems to be evening out. Yes, it’s getting flatter! And I’m slowing down! I pizza, I snow plough, I do whatever my legs are willing to and attempt to bring myself to a halt. And eventually, I stop. With incredulity I look around me. I glance back up at from whence I came. I did it! I actually made it down! I’m still quivering from the stress, but I feel like a legend. I! Me! I skied! I am officially cool! And surely if I did it once, I can do it again. Surely I can only get better!

And just like that the overwhelming fear of taking on the piste disappears, and I can’t wait to try it all over again!

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Posted by lauracerys 05:36 Archived in Spain Tagged mountains snow skiing ski catalonia piste la_molina Comments (0)

When The Bizarre Becomes Real

sunny 7 °C

When a giant feather-bower-embellished willy drives past, you know that Sitges Carnival is finally in full swing.

Spectators line the streets, packed against shop fronts donning inappropriate fancy dress, excitedly awaiting the big event. Suddenly soul-shuddering drums explode into blazing, palpitating rhythms and a grand display of the burlesque and the bizarre pulsates through the heart of the town. Radio-hogging tunes of the moment are blared out and clouded with tropical, salsa beats, and for a moment we forget that it’s winter and pretend that we are in a far off balmy destination grooving under exotic coconut trees. But alas, it’s cold and we make a mental note that next year our costume should be more weather appropriate. That will no doubt be forgotten though, as the exuberant fun and spirit of carnival will surely lead us astray.

Eccentric and fantastic floats squeeze through the brimming and awkwardly narrow streets with flamboyant confidence and ease. Booming with vivaciousness they wobble at times with the insatiable party spirit of carnival-goers. Truly impressive artistic feats pass before our eyes with theatrical flourishes and thunderous energy, and house a multitude of striking, vociferous characters. Glittering, sensational, outlandish and lurid they dance the night away, posing for cameras and rousing the atmosphere. As we take in the extravagant, celebratory surroundings colourful costumes excite and delight and leave us wanting more, eager to see what else will make its way down the street… and you can bet your bottom dollar, it’ll be increasingly ridiculous and outlandish. Mermaids, Mad-Hatters, Freddy Mercurys or peacocks, who knows what you may behold – at Sitges Carnival, it would seem that anything goes!

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Posted by lauracerys 12:55 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona catalonia party carnival sitges Comments (0)

Los Reyes Magos

sunny 12 °C

When the decorations are boxed up again and the January blues well and truly kicked in in many countries, festivities are still in full swing across Spain, with the highlight of the season still to come – the Feast of the Kings, or Los reyes magos, to many, more important than Christmas Day and traditionally the time for exchanging presents. The eve of the 5th of January for Spanish children must be the most anticipated time of the whole year, where a magical parade of drama and spectacle, vivacious colours, and booming characters bring to life a century’s old tale in true flamboyant style. The spellbinding arrival of the gift-baring Three Kings to their town, accompanied by a dazzling entourage sometimes a thousand strong, must be overwhelmingly exciting for them, and provides a glittering and extravagant finale to the Christmas period.

A buzz of activity hums through the air all day long in preparation for the evening’s festivities, and excitement bubbles away reaching boiling point at around 6pm. Friends and families great and small choose their place wisely as they line the streets to await the theatrical parade of the Kings, the children’s fizzing enthusiasm and intrigue by now uncontrollable. Suddenly, the faint murmur of a drum is heard in the distance harmonising with rumours that they are finally on their way. Gradually the beat grows stronger, slowly developing into a grandiose, regal rhythm, announcing that royalty is indeed approaching. Trumpets galore break into a flourishing fanfare, and from around the corner appear the forerunners to the kings’ infinite party.

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Richly robed choruses file by at a triumphant pace, the endless members acting out well their royal duties. Colourful messengers carry the Christmas letters written by the children of the town. Horse riders try their best to look majestic whilst controlling their vessels amidst the crowds of people. Brass bands, wind bands, and troupes of drummers keep the momentum going and rouse the festive spirit of all around. Flag bearers tell us of the exotic origins of the kings and flame jugglers delight and warm us as they pass by.

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Soon the streets explode into a roar of excitement – the Kings are here! The hoards fervently cheer and applaud as the lively, glittering carriages approach, a true show on wheels. Their royal highnesses, Balthasar, Melchrior and Gaspar, wave to their fans like superstars showered in glory, embracing the emotion of their subjects with joyous, festive outcries. The locals go wild as the Kings hurl sweets into the air, stretching their finger tips up high to catch some or scrambling to the ground to scoop up any that escape them. Filling your pockets with as many as possible is a must. Some even go as far as hanging upside down umbrellas over their balconies for maximum sweet-catching potential.

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Los reyes magos is a truly magical evening where the whole town seem to come together to celebrate what for them is perhaps the most important part of Christmas. The awe-inspired look on children’s faces as the Kings float past is enough alone to create a wonderful atmosphere. But, the whole thing really is great fun for adults too, letting out the child in all of us. If there’s one thing Spain knows how to do well, it’s celebrate!

Posted by lauracerys 09:27 Archived in Spain Tagged spain catalonia christmas parade kings reyes_magos Comments (0)

The Great British Christmas Dinner!

Surely, one of the very best things about Britain.

rain 5 °C

The suspense mounts for weeks for those of us living abroad. As soon as the tree goes up, dreams of a glistening roast embellished with perfectly rolled up pigs in blankets take over. M&S inspired images of tumbling roast potatoes, smooth, slow-trickling gravy and swirly-steamy veg play out in our minds, tantalising our tastebuds for days on end. And before we know it, the momentous occasion arrives.

Christmas morning, and the rich aroma of slow roasting meat fills the house, providing a warming, wintry ambience and provoking a steel band of rumbles in our stomachs. We hover around the oven, hoping to catch a glimpse or a waft of what will be the flavoursome festive centrepiece. At some point your mother starts to panic about whether there’s enough veg, but you look around you in disbelief and confirm to her that the ten different varieties themselves would suffice for a Christmas dinner, let alone the turkey, the beef and the p’s & g’s that go with them!

Soon the table fills up with delicious, piping hot mounds which together make up the colourful collage that is, Christmas dinner. Bright, cheery carrots mingle with bouncy, vivid green sprouts, and the wise, old broccoli stands apart, thinking himself king of the veg. Potatoes and parsnips harmonise, a choir of crispy, roasted goodness, whilst mash lays in a bowl by the side like a fluffy, creamy cloud. Peas chitter-chatter, rolling around like fools, and stuffing holds tight, fearing the crash of the impending spoon. And finally, swede sits bored, yawning in the corner, occasionally conversing with the lethargic Yorkshire puddings. Then, suddenly, the over door is flung open, and the prized showpieces carefully lifted, emerging from the steam like superstars.

Next comes an important moment for any man during the festive season – the carving of the meat. Dad carefully finds the perfect angle and gracefully slices away to produce succulent, rounded pieces of turkey and beef. Picture perfect, and you just can’t resist, so you steal a little slice – just to test it, of course! And then the grand, long anticipated moment arrives, and you all sit down and finally get stuck in. Brilliant! And surely, one of the very best things about Britain!

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Posted by lauracerys 09:35 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged food christmas dinner uk britain Comments (0)

Qu'est-ce Que Vous Vous?!

A weekend in Paris with people who know what they’re doing

overcast 1 °C

So I had visited Paris a couple of times before and done the classic tourist route of The Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Eurodisney. But I knew from the start that this trip was going to be different. With four friends now living in the French capital it was long time for a rendezvous – but this time I would be at a major advantage… staying in a proper Parisian flat, with people fluent in the language and who are totally and every so coolly in the know about the ins and outs of that vast cultural epicentre. So, in a rather pretentious manner, I told my hosts that I didn’t care about the Arc du Triomphe and Sacre Coeur, and that I wanted to do whatever they normally do. And so we did. And so I saw, a completely different city. Scenes from a Paris that I didn’t even know existed were acted out before me, and enchanting visual spectacles along with numerous culinary delights filled my weekend with excitement.

I emerged from the airport somewhere in the region of the second arrondissement and was greeted by an icy blast of harsh December wind shooting through the winding tunnels that make up the immensely labyrinthine underground world of the Paris metro. I headed towards the exit, fighting against the stinging chill in the air and ice covered steps and popped out somewhere that instantly looked fantastically Parisian. Creamy, weather beaten apartment blocks with an array of stores and restaurants nestled below them lined the streets in all directions. High above, long, rectangular windows embellished by iron railings looked out onto the bustling world below, and lonely glowing lanterns cast a movie-worthy hue on the frost-nipped pavements. I looked around me, inquisitively and delightedly taking in the distinctive ambience. But naturally, was quickly escorted to a bar for my first vin rouge of the weekend.

I woke bleary eyed the next morning and was taken for breakfast on Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle where I was greeted by a perfect buttery-melty croissant, freshly squeezed orange juice and café crème, which although were delicious, were seriously expensive, proving my suspicion that Paris is capable of breaking the bank regardless of whether you’re in a tourist trap or not. Next, we headed over to Rue de Rivoli for a browse around the shops, in particular the BHV department store – one of my friends’ favourite places. It was then suggested that we went for a spot of lunch in the area of Paris where she works on the outskirts of the city, so that I could see somewhere different and try an authentic locals in the know meal. So off we hopped to a place called Fontenay-aux-Roses, to the Braserie L’Odyssee, and sat in a squished corner on a tiny table surrounded by hungry French workers – brilliant!

The menu du jour was extensive and baffling but thanks to my year 7 French I managed to decipher that cheesy onion soup and steak and chips with some kind of onion sauce (most things seemed to be based around onion) was indeed an option – and what a marvellous choice it turned out to be! A huge steaming bowl of comforting wintry goodness arrived as my starter and I tucked in with glee. The rich, rustic flavours of the soup were divine and the juicy breaded topping oozing with herby infusions. It really was perfect, and so, so filling! Next came the robust plate-devouring beef filet accompanied by a potent onion puree and a chaotic mountain of fries. The meal was simply delicious but unfortunately, given the quantity and the soup starter, unfinishable. However, I was most pleased to have dined out with the locals and sampled a truly authentic French lunch.

Of course, we needed a good while for the feast to go down, but by late afternoon we had made our way to the Village de Noël, the ever so festive Christmas market boasted by the Champs-Elysee. The market goes on for as far as the eye can see on both sides of the avenue and offers all of the usual yuletide goodies – mulled wine, hot cider, bratwurst, an endless array of glinting chocolates, and more decorations and gift ideas than one can handle in a single visit. The extent of the market is rather mind-boggling, easily rivalling the German effort, and with twinkling Christmas lights illuminating the sky, and the waft of hot festive treats swirling in the air this is surely one of the best ways to spend a shivery December’s eve.

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The next morning I was taken for breakfast and a stroll along Rue Montorgueil. This lively street had a fantastically olde-worlde feel to it, like a kind of Oliver Twist ‘Who will buy this wonderful feeling’ scene with a Parisian twist. Cheese shops, wine shops, ham shops, and fish shops mingled with flower sellers, tailors and cute boutiques. Inviting cafes, no doubt with a thousand tales to tell, lined the pavements and customers sat out in the morning chill leisurely smoking and sipping away at their coffee. The street had a vibrant, aged ambience, suggesting that it hadn’t changed much in centuries and I truly hope that it stays that way as it remains one of the quaintest and most colourful places I have seen in the city.

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Soon it was lunch time and we headed over to Rue Saint-André des Arts, in Paris’s Latin Quarter. One of my friends knew of a special crepe restaurant and was eager for me to experience it. Creperie des Arts, as it was named, was a charming and amusing restaurant set out in a cave-like style with curious art work and rustic lighting. Tables were housed in stone booths giving the impression of dining in toasty caverns. Indeed, the interior was most peculiar and provided a quirky lunchtime treat. As for the food, there were abundant crepes on offer, both sweet and savoury, and typical Breton drinks such as sweet cider to wash them down. All in all a great time was had!

Next, it was off to Le Marais, which I was fervently informed was one of the coolest areas of Paris. And of course my knowledgeable hosts were right! Le Marais was none other than amazing. With a strong Jewish influence the narrow streets were buzzing with history. Alluring display windows intrigued and contented me and small cafeterias beckoned me to pop in for a warm. Vivid shop fronts and richly colourful awnings enchanted me at every turn whilst elegant squares whispered tales of the artists and aristocrats of times gone by. Chic is the rule for everything on sale along with the occasional flirting with the vintage, and on every corner is an opportunity to take the perfect black and white photo of the perfect Parisian scene.

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The final thrill of my weekend was to be a raclette party (apparently a typically French winter affair) and since I had no idea what a raclette was I was eager to see what it entailed. Cheese, and lots of it – that’s basically what it’s all about. Melting cheese on mini spades under a specially designed table grill then tipping it over potatoes and ham – those French are genius! The problem I discovered was that it is very easy to get carried away. You hear yourself saying ‘oh go on then... just one more slice’ time and time again until eventually, you can’t move. No regrets though, it really was a truly memorable way of ending my weekend in Paris and something that I shall certainly be repeating in the not so distant future!

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And so I discovered that weekend, that as wonderful as the famous landmarks are, they are merely the beginning. The Eiffel Tower is astounding no doubt, but there is so much more beneath the surface of the city, so much to see, to do, to taste – it really is worthwhile making a friend in Paris!

Posted by lauracerys 08:23 Archived in France Tagged markets winter paris christmas eiffel_tower december champs_elysee le_marais frace raclette Comments (0)

Un encantador destino otoñal

semi-overcast 8 °C

Un hermoso amanecer escarchado se abre sobre la antigua ciudad de Durham durante el mes de noviembre. Gotitas heladas que yacen en el suelo brillan en la tenue luz de la mañana, y un aire fresco y glacial saluda a los residentes al salir de sus casas. El sol, cansado, queda bajito en el brumoso cielo, produciendo sombras curiosas y tintes azules en las pintorescas callejuelas. El sinuoso río Wear fluye con gracia alrededor del casco viejo de la ciudad actuando como un elegante marco natural. Y siguiendo su ruta encontramos mini bosques que en esta época del año son explosiones de colores vibrantes. Los tonos cálidos de las hojas y su banda sonora crujiente crean un rico ambiente de temporada. Y para los deambuladores, súper bufandas y gorros de pompones son la alta costura de la estación, y dan un toque alegre al asecto de todos.

La histórica ciudad de Durham es un perfecto destino para pasar un fin de semana otoñal. El antiguo barrio central está lleno de pequeñas y bonitas tiendas que venden un despliegue de maravillas coloridas. Ahí se encuentran librerías a la antigua, boutiques tentadores y cafeterías estrafalarias donde se puede disfrutar de chocolate caliente sin-fin y grandes trozos de tartas templadas. O si tenemos más hambre, ¿por que no entrar a comer en un típico pub del norte de Inglaterra, y probar uno de los famosos pasteles de carne al lado de un atrayente y ardente hogar? Perfecto para una trade de frío.

El corazón de la ciudad está marcada por la impresionante e inmensa catedral que tiene más de 900 años de historia. Es sin duda uno de los edificios religiosos más imponentes de Europa, y uno de los que más mantiene su forma original. El enorme complejo tiene un encanto muy especial y un ambiente mágico, y visitarlo es una oportunidad única, particularmente cuando tomamos en cuenta que varias escenas de las películas de Harry Potter fueron rodadas ahí. El castillo al lado también tiene un aire muy evocador y ayuda a dar la impresión de que estamos de verdad en medio de Hogwarts. En noviembre el festival de luz, Lumiere, llega a la ciudad, y durante unas gélidas y oscuras tardes ilumina de manera preciosa la catedral y las calles de alrededor – una perfecta manera de distrutar de las largas noches otoñales.

Otra actividad muy emocionante es acudir a un evento del famoso Bonfire Night. El 5 de noviembre es un día muy especial en el Reino Unido en el cual se recuerda del viejo rey James I. Ese mismo día del año 1605 James fue salvado de un intento contra su vida. Entonces para celebrar su salvacion, declaró que en ese día todos los pueblos deberían encender una hoguera en su nombre. Todavía hoy se mantiene esa tradición y además se organizan fuegos artificiales. Cada año la universidad de Durham monta un evento estupendo con un maratón de música, infinitos colores y un increíble telón de fondo proveído por la magnifica catedral.

Entonces, para unos dias otoñales llenos de historia, cultura y curiosidades ¿por qué no visitar la hermosa ciudad de Durham? Igual, se podría combinar el viaje con otros estupendos destinos Británicos – a York y Edinburgo se llega en menos de dos horas en tren.

Posted by lauracerys 08:46 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged england durham harry_potter inglaterra otoño Comments (0)

Baubles and Bratwurst!

overcast 1 °C

Frankfurt Christmas Market is an epitome of festive clichés, merry, bustling and with a perfect frosty chill. Although the city itself is primarily made up of modern, industrial buildings, historic Römerberg Square is turned into a quintessential Bavarian winter wonderland at the end of November each year. Infinite twinkling fairy lights illuminate the aisles and a sky scraping Christmas tree acts as a proud and magnificent centre piece. The quaint, wooden-framed buildings enclosing the square offer a backdrop straight out of a Grimm fairytale and provide the perfect setting for this festive spectacle.

Traditional wooden booths, embellished by elegant red and green wreathes, offer a magical array of yuletide treats and are bursting with colours, sparkles and flavours galore. Handmade wooden toys delight and intrigue, whilst mini candle-lit cottages give displays a warm and inviting glow. Opulent baubles and enchanting decorations glint at passers-by, their varying shapes and sizes never failing to impress.

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Traditional German Christmas carols, many of them now famous world-over, are regularly performed, providing a perfect soundtrack for our wintertide get away. And meanwhile the old fashioned merry-go-round entertains children and adults alike, provoking smiles and giggles all-round.

On a cold winter’s eve the deliciously sizzly wurst are perfect, comforting snacks, their rich scent whirling in the nose-numbing air, enticing us over for a nibble. And the sweet toothed visitors are far from disappointed either. Fantastical baked ginger goodies with their intricate designs pose for the festive food paparazzi, the glisteningly sticky pretzels and divine chocolate kebabs never far behind. And perching at one of the market’s bars for an apfelwein or rich mulled wine is a truly evocative way of soaking up the festive atmosphere.

So for scenes and an ambience fit for a Christmas card, why not head to Frankfurt this year for a few days of festive fun! Fröhliche Weihnachten!

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Posted by lauracerys 09:35 Archived in Germany Tagged markets traditional germany christmas frankfurt german carols christmas_market Comments (0)

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