Just back from Europe last month, while there I saw the Christmas Markets being set up. There are a reported 1,500 across Germany alone with the traditional European Christmas stands selling mulled wine, sweet roasted almonds, sausages, holiday ornaments, and gingerbread. Even some have skating rinks.
Are the fence friends above not adorable? I wanted one while in Passau, but did not know how to get one in my luggage, they are kinda large.
Gnomes are so cute in the garden and as accents during Christmas. I have a whole collection of indoor gnomes greeting visitors on a shelf in front of my foyer’s Palladian window. I have had them for over 30 years. They are hand painted and from Germany.
Even some cities like Nuremberg already had some markets opened for business in mid-November. Now I am wondering if in fear, thousands of tourists from the U.S. are canceling holiday trips? How could you not want to experience these markets and little shops?
The Christmas Markets are big in Europe celebrating traditional craftsmanship, local artists and their great baked goods. They highlight local stores and shops which deck out their windows with lavish and eye-catching displays. Look below at the unique items, if you can see them each among all the cacophony of items. Theses bountiful displays are common in the towns. The merchants take pride in arranging and creating the windows. many would not allow images for fear of copying designs.
My friend and I almost chose a Christmas Markets cruise this year. I wonder how they are going right now? I am guessing, the Danube still has low water levels. Talking with the cruise company this week, the woman told me El Niño affects Europe in that area with less rainfall, different from it does in the US, so winter will determine next year’s water levels for cruising.
So are people’s fears for travel warranted? Fears of terrorism at the markets are not without precedence. In the northern city of Strasbourg in 2000, a group of Islamic terrorists tried without success to blow up the Christmas Market. The police stopped it before any bombs went off.
I do believe though that the fear is heightened and driven by the media. The fear that something might happen undermines the sense of joy of the season. Reports from the World Travel and Tourism Council have noted tourism recovers from terrorism attacks rather quickly though. That is good news too, that cute shop below waits for us tourists.
Air and hotel reservations were canceled immediately following the attacks I have read, while the museums, cafés and restaurants have lost business in France. A knee-jerk reaction, but there is probably no place under tighter security right now. So what is in store for the Markets and tourism?
A city I was in last year, Prague, cancelled their Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony recently. It is the kickoff to their Christmas Markets in Old Town. This was due not to a known threat, but in case crowds over-react to a loud noise, like a fire cracker going off. Seems to me they canceled more out of precaution.
New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton addressed the video on Times Square by Isis saying, “We understand it is the goal of terrorists to intimidate and disrupt our democratic society. We will not submit.” While the FBI is tracking 1000 active Islamist State probes, they are following 48 of them 24 hours a day, every day. News yesterday, they arrested 56 of them so far this year. Encouraging and good work, but how many do they not know about?
The problem we face is you can’t be sure where or when it will happen. This makes not going places or doing things a wrong choice. I do like de Blasio’s remark, “We will not submit.” We can’t just stop or ruin Christmas. Any readers in Europe? Let us know how the Markets are doing.