One Magic Christmas
While they’re yet to replicate the magic of small town Mitteleuropa, Warsaw’s Christmas markets have become an essential ingredient of the expat Xmas…
Think of a Christmas market and the scene that’s conjured is pure fairytale: cute wooden stalls dusted with snow and medieval buildings ringing it all. Of course, in Warsaw’s case, the typical small-town German scene can never be replicated, largely thanks to the Germans themselves: the legacy of wartime carnage left Warsaw with few genuinely quaint areas that could serve as a suitable backdrop for Santa and his helpers.
For the second year running – and to the absolute horror of the traditionalists – Old Town square, the one venue to truly evoke the Christmas spirit, has once again been earmarked to serve as an ice rink. This time, however, the city has at least met the conventionalists halfway. After taking considerable flak for relocating Warsaw’s market to the train station – a grim concrete site that’s the pure definition of the anti-Christmas – the city gods have deigned Warsaw’s main market will sprout up on Podwale: curving round from the gates of the Barbakan to the mouth of pl. Zamkowy.
With the roofs of Old Town twinkling behind it, this year promises to be nearly every bit as good as long-timers might remember. After all, it’s all about the scene, not the actual merchandise, which for the most part consists of leather slippers, wooden toys and flamboyant sheepskins. Though if it is purely about the atmosphere, then no-one’s told the others…
Also popping up this year will be a market in Blue City mall. From December 15th, find approximately 30 stalls selling trinkets and wine. The same organizers will also be opening another market for the duration of December on pl. Wilsona in Żoliborz. Promising more conviviality than their other venture, this project assemble stallholders from afar afield as Croatia, the Baltics, Turkey and Hungary. With an industrial helping of snow (we hope) and a few blokes lurking about dressed as Santa, there’s much to anticipate. Promising plenty of grilled cheese, mulled wine, charred sausages and ghastly knitwear, it might even oust the Old Town as the peoples market of choice. And remember, should that fail to pass muster then there’s always the idea of a weekend in Kraków at Poland’s most celebrated seasonal market.
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