WALKING IN WONDERLAND ON CHRISTMAS
Krakow is the largest Christmas markets of Eastern Europe in Old Town, Poland. People here donning a Santa cap, holding a cup of grazaniec (spiced, hot Polish mulled wine), standing in the centre of the majestic Rynek Glowny (city’s medieval market square), listening to the soothing sound of church bells-I was transported to an other-worldly, enchanting setting.
RIDING AROUND THE SQUARE
Krakow dates back to the 7th century and has a long tradition of markets that play an important part of the city’s cultural calendar. But somehow, the Christmas market is the most special and eagerly anticipated one, as this is the time when the city is usually draped in snow, making it an even prettier sight for visitors.
The buzz is best captured in the main market square that plays neighbour to the ancient Cloth Hall and has an old-fashioned aura. To soak in the archaic surroundings of Baroque palaces and the archaic surroundings of Baroque palaces and the archaic surroundings of Baroque palaces and Gothic churches, here take the hundsome horse-drawn carriages that took you on the popular 30-min route from the market square to Wawel Hill
TO MARKET, TO MARKET
Apart from housing a tall, prettily-lit Christmas tree, the market square is lined with 80-100 rustic stalls offering everything from culinary creations to Christmas gifts and goodies by local craftsmen. Everything from glass baubles, ornaments and toys to festive candies, embroidered table cloths, local pottery and knitwear has a distinct Polish appeal. As with most European Markets, the aroma of hot food remains everywhere. Scents ranged from the juice of sizzling sausages and roasted pork to pierogi (stuffed dumplings), bigos (a cabbage and pork stew)and oscypek cheese-smoked cheese made out of salted sheep milk,a speciality of the Tatra mountains.
If you wish to pick one memorable experience, it would be Krakow’s most astonishing musical sight that requires a bit of neck-craning. Atop the splendid, Gothic Saint Mary’s Basilica, one of the world’s most bizare trumpet solos can be heard. After the bell sounds every hour, a brass instrument unexpectedly appears from a window of the 65-metre – high cathedral tower and plays a five-note melody.
The Krakow Christmas market was a mini winter wonderland, even though a little touristy and crowded. But it generated enough Christmas warmth to overcome the winter chill.
PRAGUE (For time travel )
you’re in for a double treat. The city’s two main Christmas markets. In Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, are a five-minute walk from each other.
BUDPEST (For festive food)
The biggest market runs at Vorosmarty Square in Budapest city centre. Stalls sell traditional Hungarian folk art and crafts. Sample delights like Kurtoskalacs (sweetbread).
UUBUANA (for lighting)
Ljublijana, Slovenia, boasts of a Christmas market with the most extravagant lighting.
RIGA (For the christmas tree )
The christmas tree at the medieval square is decorated with ornamets made of natural material.
TALLIN (For specail souvenirs)
Handmade Estonian crafts are bound to interest you.