Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Der Hamburger Rathausmarkt

My first weekend in Hamburg was spent moving into our apartment (and being jetlagged, of course); I got in on a Thursday afternoon and we spent that first night at Lars and Lena's place. Hannes had timed moving in almost perfectly to coincide with my arrival, which was a pretty good trick considering how obscenely hard it apparently is to even get an apartment in any of Germany's three biggest cities.
His parents came that Sunday, too, with a huge carload of stuff that we had alternately left here, had shipped to them, etc. over the past three years, and Anke made sure to bring plenty of little household necessities to top it off. Marco helped Hannes power all the heavy shit up the five flights of stairs and installed some minor lighting fixtures. And lo, for it was good.

The following weekend we went to the main Christmas Market or Weihnachtsmarkt here, in the shadow of the Hamburg City Hall or Rathaus. Have I mentioned before how great I think it is that the seat of local politics is called the "Rat House" in German? I probably have.
("Rat" actually means advice or counsel, or also a senior official. So, still funny.)

It's a pretty audacious, towering Renaissance Revival structure, constructed between 1886 and 1897, after the first one burned down. 
You might remember this style of architecture, so impressive to the eyes of those unaccustomed to seeing it, from the floating castle that houses Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's parliament in Hannes' home state next door. That's in Schwerin. Nico and Andrea took us on a day trip there the first time I was here, and we went again when my mom was here for Christmas last year.

Levels of charming easily at over 9000 right out of the gate


Wow, bookplates! These have been trying to come back in vogue for a few years now, 
but honestly, I don't think enough people read paper books anymore for that to happen.

Doesn't mean they're not awesome, though. Once I actually have my books here 
I can totally see myself stamping them..

Oooh, French-milled soap. How pleasant the texture of these stacked-up ones looks. 
I ended up going back and getting a regular-sized bar of the Provence lavender variety for Rejon.

Of course, the main point of a Christmas market is the glühwein.

Perfectly and picturesquely and somewhat annoyingly because it was windy and super cold, it started to snow. A few little flakes got on the lens when I went to take a picture of my mug, but I love the effect they created with the lights.

Great, right? The resolution of these and the other ones of the sleigh in front of the building 
is super high, if you want to enlarge them for detail.

It was also super fucking crowded. Even for a large Christmas market. 
It was about the same when I went back the following Sunday.

Hrrrrngggg yes I want to have a warm cozy Nordic woodland fairy house full of handcrafted utilitarian goods such as these, please and thank you. Just think of it: filling a cloth bag with freshly picked blueberries and raspberries from the nearby woods and depositing them into one of those wonky baskets, placed atop your rustic wooden table, when you get home. 
So good, so pure, much lifestyle, wow

Oh boy, gingerbread

Love this one

Om nom (it's a coconut macaroon)

They look legit glorious with those shiny gold bows.

Okay, time to eat some real food, ideally something hot.

Kartoffelpuffer! Fried potato cakes. 
I got mine with a delightful salty cheese sauce that I don't think is particularly common. Usually you eat them with applesauce, or just sugar on top.

"Here, see?" 
(He always moves or pulls a face when I take a picture, or both)

I really like this one, too.

At 6 P.M. a real live Santa gets into that sleigh and a weirdly creepy, deep-voiced (It was like, "Heh heh.. heeey, kids..") recording played while he was there in the middle, before going the rest of the way across on that line. Everyone stopped to watch and listen, though he didn't say anything himself or throw down little candy canes or anything like that.

Yeah sorry cute Asian girl working the glühwein stand, I creeped on you 
and your cute raccoon skin-capped uniform a little bit, so sry

"Hah, because nothing says 'Merry Christmas' like 'Absinth'..."
Little did I know.

So lovely. See that 'Kalinka Hütte' there? 
That's supposed to be a Russian-style drink and snack stand.

And it was SO CUTE.
It looks like Hannes' grandma's apartment! 

This is the third one I really like.

I thought at first that this was some kind of post box, but it's just a trash bin lol
Either way, somebody built a tiny snowman on top :B

Pretty neat, huh? I don't know what the deal is with this Egyptian-looking monolith in the middle; maybe someone will explain it to me after seeing this.

We're drunk enough and tired of the crowd and can't feel our fingers or toes; 
that means it's time to go.

Hannes got us a little bag of those delightful cookies; 
this is a dark chocolate-covered gingerbread one.

Ooh man, look at that texture! It's a winter wonderland.

A charming street corner near our place. 
And that's how December in Germany goes :3

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