Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Birmingham Christmas Market

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You read that right!  Birmingham has its own German Christmas market, apparently the largest in the UK.  It's called the Frankfurt Christmas Market in reference to Frankfurt am Main being one of Birmingham's sister cities.  We got a chance to try it out while there earlier this month, and expected it to be a little "off" as German celebrations in the US often are.  We were pleasantly surprised - it's actually pretty close to the real thing!  I think the major differences were the large amount of beer being drunk - you don't generally see anyone drinking beer at the Christmas markets in Heidelberg - and the fact that people were forming lines at the stands instead of just crowding up front.  I'm normally in favor of lines and annoyed by the German inability to form them, but it turns out that since my only Christmas market experiences have not involved lines, the fact that there were lines turned out to be annoying!  I don't want to line up for a Schaumkuss, I want to smash up to the counter until I get one!

They had all the standards - different varieties of Gluehwein, Wurst cooked on incredibly large grills, tacky figurines, ornaments and candle holders, lights strung up everywhere, carousels, a giant Christmas pyramid, crepes, and crafts.  They even had one stand with a functioning Glockenspiel.  One stand sold Edeka brand cookies, which amused us, but they could do that here too for all I know!  (Edeka is a big grocery chain.)

The market in Birmingham seems pretty popular - it was incredibly crowded both times we stopped by, to the point that we actually kind of didn't want to be there!  But, it's comforting to know that next year at this time, if we find ourselves fiending for some of that German Christmas feeling and maybe a little Lebkuchen, and can't go to Germany, it will all be easily available right downtown!

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