Sunday, November 25, 2012

Getting That Jingle Bell Feeling

The Budapest Christmas Market opened a week earlier than usual this year. Generally, it opens on the first Sunday of Advent, but this year it beat Thanksgiving. Having been sick, I have been putting off hoofing over there, but today was warm enough and I needed the fresh air.

After eleven years, there are few surprises from one year to the next. I could probably diagram where each booth will be and what they will sell there without leaving home to do it. Can we say “predictable”? If you are around here at Easter time, the same booths, the same sellers and the same merchandise reappear then too. They are like the crocus appearing out of the cold earth.

Why do I bother going at all? Well, for one thing, it is tradition. Yet, I have great hopes that one of these years there will be a major surprise in store for me with a new vendor. I was pleased to see that one of my favorite shops in Szentendre has opened a Christmas booth here. They make and sell the best hand puppets I have ever seen. I love them.

There are the usual booths selling baskets, gourmet chocolate, which I have tried and did not find appealing at all, and of course tons of food. It always makes me chuckle heartily that the crowds fill the food booths and chow down like they have not tasted this food in their lives. 

I do pay particular attention to their conversations as they stand around the elevated tables stuffing their mouths in between a big chomp into a sausage. Each time I observe, the majority of diners are speaking Hungarian. Doesn’t mama cook for you anymore or did she send you here so she could get some peace for a change?

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