As I said in my last post, I’ve just had 2 weeks of vacation.

I started out by taking a short trip to Alsace. Though in this case, short trip refers not to the time in transit, but to the total length: ~3 days.

I took the train between St Etienne and Strasbourg on Monday, December 20. I left my apartment around 7:20 a.m. and arrived at my destination after 3 p.m. Too long.

I decided to go to Strasbourg because I had heard that it has the best Christmas markets, and a quick online search affirmed this notion with the phrase “Christmas Capital.”

As it turns out, Strasbourg has not only one Christmas market, but several all over the city, each with unique characteristics.

But what is a Christmas market? Well it’s an outdoor market with booths where people sell anything from ready-to-eat food, to hand-made crafts, to decorations, to clothes, and everything in between. Everyone is different depending on the city.

For instance, in Saint Etienne, it was fairly small, but there were churros, hot wine, amber jewelry, scarves/hats, precious stones/minerals, and more.

In Strasbourg practically every neighborhood had it’s own market. The food that they sold was more typical to the region, so it included baguette flambée, crêpes, hot wine with white Alsacien wine, large pretzels, and more. The decorations I saw included miniature models of Alsacien houses, nativity scenes, Christmas tree ornaments… There were lots of chocolate stands, and gingerbread cookies.

In Saint Etienne the booths were little wooden houses, where as in Strasbourg there were all sorts of different types, decorated in different ways. It really was incredible.

Another remarkable thing about Strasbourg was the ubiquitous nature of Christmas decorations. It was practically impossible to go anywhere without seeing some sort of decoration, from a wreath to a tree, to lights, a candle, a bow, fake presents, or a star. On most of the roads there were also glowing lights hanging between the buildings.

All that together with the traditional middle age architecture makes a for a unique and truly beautiful city.

Go to my Photo Blog to see photos.

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