22 December 2015

magic in basel and baden-baden!

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although you might not guess it, this ^^ is my super duper excited face. i could hardly handle my joy as we arrived at our first christmas market stop in basel, switzerland. everything was just so magical! i had high expectations for the markets, and basel, right off the bat, blew them away.

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we had such a great time perusing the stalls and trying the food and delighting in the decor. but the very best part of the first day of our christmas markets road trip was being with my brother, sister-in-law and neice, who live outside zurich and came to meet us in basel. love them so so much!

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and now for an overload of pictures (which of course just can’t quite capture all the enchanting, festive lovliness):



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^^ need an angel?? ^^
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^^ cool puzzles and games were plentiful in all the markets we went to. we thought these intenst rubix cubes were pretty crazy! ^^
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^^ aren’t those bread twists on a stick over the fire pretty neat? the basel market has this darling “fairytaleland” area for kids. our neice was loooooving it! there were crafts (including candle making!), a little train ride, a blacksmith shop, a nativity scene, lots of christmas trees, and…santa! ^^ our swiss sister-in-law anita told us all about different swiss christmas traditions as we wandered around, which was really fun!
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^^ tal and his (super delicious) meat on a stick. i love this brother of mine so so much. he is such a blast to hang out with. ^^
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^^ very typical sight at every single market we visited. the boy found out he really likes bratwurst! ^^
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^^ taking a peek over the river on the other side of the cathedral from the market. it was really fun for ian and i to be back in basel – we visited last january for a job interview, and very nearly moved to this lovely swiss town after an offer was extended. we are so glad we chose london, but we’ll always have a soft spot for basel! ^^
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^^ as we were walking down the main street toward the town hall, this little girl started belting out some christmas carols in swiss german. i loved it! no shame whatsoever – just singing her heart out among the crowds. ^^
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^^ basel town hall is one of my favourite buildings in the whole world. it is so so vividly colourful, i absolutely love it! ^^
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^^ and in december there’s this huge, lush christmas tree in the courtyard! ^^
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^^ tal and anita are the best. ^^
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^^ they had these organ machines playing in the courtyard too. they are pretty amazing – making tunes as someone turns the crank that moves the paper with differetly patterned holes in it. the festive music was so atmospheric! ^^
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^^ ian told me to put my arms out for a picture and we ended up with one of the best photobombs ever. we had to go and meet that guy after we snapped this! ^^

when tal and anita had to go back home for bedtime, we hit the road towards germany to check out a highly-rated (thank you, christmasmarkets.org) market in baden-baden. the sunset on the drive was stunning! and the market was fun – soooo crowded but a fantastic party.

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^^ my boy loves his candy sweets! ^^
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^^ real live donkeys! we loved that at every market we went to there were plently of reminders of the real meaning of christmas, the true source of all the magic. ^^
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^^ the baden-baden market featured these stained glass windows made by local school children. they were beautiful! we especially liked seeing the one with st. lucia on it as we’d just celebrated her day. ^^
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^^ beeswax candles were another common sight at the markets. ^^
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^^ i don’t think i saw a sprig of fake garland at all the markets we went to. only real pine boughs everywhere! ^^
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we stayed up late that night talking with tal and anita. so good to be with family.
and the christmas market magic had just begun!!

5 comments :

  1. You drove from Basel to Baden-Baden and returned to Zürich? You are so American (as in I believe that the stereotypical American drives further than the typical European, because of the size of their respective countries and we have a different attitude to what is wide)! :-)

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  2. haha we totally are! ian is actually quite the outlier, even among americans. he grew up driving everywhere with his family (thirty+ hours at a time) and loves long road trips. we averaged probably five hours in the car each day on this trip. you see so much on the drive!

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  3. Ha ha, thanks for the text update :) And this is just so, so, so lovely. I need to be there next year.

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  4. Looks like y'all had a wonderful time. I used to visit my Granny near the Black Forest and help her decorate her tree, every year until she passed in 2010. We used to visit all the German markets - and I especially liked the gingerbread cookies. Have you tried them, so good!

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