On my 4th annual visit to Vancouver’s German Christmas Market I learned how important of a tradition it was for the vendors. My conversation with a busy vendor was brief and started out in the most unlikely of ways…
This year the Christmas Market celebrates 5 years in business and each year I have seen it grow with more handmade trinkets, more delicious food and more beer and or mulled wine. As a veteran I know that in order to visit the market efficiently you’ve gotta buy your tickets online at their website (here). For only $7 per adult you get to skip the long lines that develop, especially during the evenings when the market is its most festive.
Live musicians trumpeted their way through the classics – The Little Drummer Boy, It’s a Marshmallow World, and my favourite Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
The Christmas carousel spun like a top, colours of blue and white blurring together as people buzzed by with gifts, beer/wine and German food stacked within their full arms.
I strayed from my usual mulled wine this year and opted for a Krombacher Pilsner and so did my enduring travel partner/boyfriend/drink holder, Jamie. He has stood by me while being my obnoxious blogger self: standing still in big crowds to get the best photo or my insisting he try a new food because “it’s unreal and you must!”
Boy has he come a long way from his meat and potato days. Now he has come to enjoy foie gras and the nuances of brie cheese from camembert and so on. He even has come to enjoy the Christmas market when his mind is distracted from the large crowds. But as we often say, if we can endure the crowds of Venice we can endure anything.
James introduced me to the delicious world of beer, my second favourite bubbly in my life, and on occasion I find myself craving a Guinness or a blonde ale. So, we sipped our German brewed Pilsner (since 1803) and made liberal decisions on purchases around the market. Huts filled with lace and glass ornaments, Canadian made candles, German made beer steins and Austrian chocolate cakes are all must stops. When our final stop, a lovely and busy hut that was selling Christmas pyramids handmade (and some painted) in Germany as well as unique little glass ornaments including the famous Christmas pickle that they always sell out of each year.
As we stood behind a couple looking to buy a few trinkets for their own home Jamie all of a sudden let out an uncontrollable sneeze which blew the foam from his beer onto his face and a bit on my brow. I, in shock, began to laugh clearing the foam from my face and eyelashes. James stood in disbelief apologizing to the woman in front of us who was mortified thinking that she had got the brunt of it.
The vendor had also seen this and was laughing along with me while the woman was unimpressed by our reactions. James continued to apologize.
“Can you at least tell me if there is anything in my hair?” She cowled. Her boyfriend assured her she was fine shuffling it off in an easy going manner. The couple left with the woman still upset and looking like a bit of a prude but as far as she knew there was beer foam in her hair I suppose.
The vendor then approached to help us clearing away tears from her eyes in laughter.
“I am sorry,” she said with a thick German accent, “my husband has warned me but I just can’t help it. I must laugh when I see something funny.” A communal soul for I too love to laugh.
We proceeded to order our yearly additions to the Christmas collection as James attempted to suppress sneezes that seemed to have been caused by the Pilsner. We began talking and she expressed her appreciation for those who return each year to the German Christmas Market.
“It is people like you who help make it possible for us to return each year. Just for that, and for the laugh, I’ll give you a discount.”
James might prompt me to re-think publishing this post, which still turns his face red when I tell the story, but thus is the peril of dating a travel blogger.
Happy holidays! May you all laugh as hard as we did at the Christmas Market and here’s a bit of video from my time there this year.