My Sensation Map- Roaming in the British Christmas Market
倫敦海德公園每年的聖誕市集又稱Winter Wonderland，雖然說是市集，但規模卻可以和遊樂園相比,吃喝玩樂應有盡有。進入市集,有著十幾米高的摩天輪,大型的雲霄飛車、自由落體、溜冰場還有海盜船等遊樂設施，從早到晚低溫的倫敦都熱鬧起來了! 當然，市集除了各種遊樂設施，也少不了各式各樣的攤位，小吃的部分,有各式的法式薄餅(類似在台灣常吃的可麗餅)；另一部分是以德國為主的食物，像是德國香腸、烤乳豬、蝴蝶餅三明治…..等。讓我驚訝的是，居然有糖炒栗子的攤位，這在一般的倫敦市區要找還找不到呢！
Since the brutally cold November has arrived, I have been paralyzed in my bed most of the time, crawled up with my cellphone in hand. I noticed that the Taipei City Government collaborated with France to hold a French Christmas market at Taipei 101. The market spirit has caught me in the UK, so I once again step out of my room into the festive city in celebration of Christmas.
In a country that has no night market culture, Christmas markets are the rare “night markets” that take place about a month prior to Christmas all over the cities in the UK. Some last for a week while some last for one and a half month.
The annual Christmas market in London that takes place in Hyde Park is called Winter Wonderland. Though it’s a market, the scale of Winter Wonderland is equivalent to that of an amusement park. There’s food, drink and all the fun stuff you can think of. A ferris wheel more than 10 meters tall greets visitors to Winter Wonderland at the entrance. Roller coaster, free fall ride, pirate ship ride and many more facilities heat up the freezing London! And of course, other than the thrilling rides, a variety of food stalls await. There are all types of french crepes (similar to the kind of crepe we usually have in Taiwan). German food takes up a big percentage in the market, like German sausage, roasted suckling pig,pretzel sandwich, etc. What amazes me though is that there is even a stall that sells chestnuts roasted with sugar! I had never spotted one in downtown London!
As the weather in the UK is usually cold and wet, drinking is a must at the market!
There is a bar stall about every ten steps you walk. Among all choices, you must not miss out on a nice cup of mulled wine. Each stall offers mulled wine of its kind, most of which are made from grapes. There is also apple or pear cider. In a lower-than-10-degree day, just one or two tiny cups of mulled wine about the portion of an espresso shot will make you tipsy. But of course, local people that are used to low temperatures would usually directly go for a large iced beer!
Since its a Christmas market, there are also numerous stalls that sell handmade artifacts varying from necklaces, home accessories to exquisite artifacts. Now,I must mention Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham. Birmingham in the UK and Frankfurt in Germany are longstanding twin towns. Thus, every year during Christmas holidays, German stalls pop up. Though I haven’t had a chance to visit Germany yet, I’ve seen plentiful German handcrafted artifacts at the Christmas market. Without a doubt, the most famous of all is the nutcracker.An army of nutcrackers of different sizes stand handsomely at the front of several stalls. You can also find ceramics houses, glass candle holders and ornaments.Most accessories are made of wood or metal, elaborate and exquisite.
In addition to the Christmas markets, downtown and street blocks are all covered in Christmas glitter with lights and decorations. The entire city is bathed in warm holiday vibes in welcoming the arrival of Christmas. I do not know the history of Christmas markets but being able to hangout with friends, enjoy culturally diverse food and music in the piercing cold winter is perhaps the best merit of a Christmas market.