from “The Chronicles of Narnia” soundtrack, 2005.
Since settling down for the time being the blogging has dropped off a bit so apologies there. And with the advent of Christmas, from which it seems there is no escaping even in sunny Thailand, here’s a little taste of the run-up to Christmas so far.
Traditionally at this time of year we would head over to Europe and enjoy a Christmas market, with the ones in Germany (especially Berlin) being our favourites. With that in mind a little online searching turned up one or two Christmas markets and fairs in Bangkok and in particular one at the Goethe Institut, which is a German international institute aimed at promoting German language and culture around the world.
Not sure quite what to expect of a Thai-German market, we decided to head along on the final evening of the event with a couple of friends here: Dan and Sanisa, who got engaged this year too, hurrah. A short ride later and we made it to Lumpini and set off to find the Goethe Institut.
With a little help from the GPS map it wasn’t too hard to find the Goethe Institut, and when we arrived – we timed it for sundown so as not to be out in the blazing sun – it was already pretty busy with both locals and quite a few farang (foreigners) too.
We thought we had best find Dan and Sanisa first, but they pounced on us while we got our bearings. Excellent, so now we can focus on important matters: gluhwein and bratwurst. As all experienced Christmas winter markets aficionados know, mulled wine (glühwein, glögg, etc.) and bratwurst (and variations thereof) are essential to get in the proper mood. And both were available but it seemed that everyone had the same idea as it looked like most of the people there were in the queues for the couple of stalls selling the festive food and drink. We decided to hedge our bets so Dan and I got in the glühwein queue while Sanisa and Philip got in the bratwurst queue – nothing gets between Philip and his meat!
The glühwein was secured first so we stood together in the bratwurst queue to enjoy our hot drink in the warm evening air – so traditional! 🙂 – and had a good old chinwag. It actually took about an hour to get our food; it was that popular, and in the end we had currywurst as bratwurst-in-a-bun wasn’t available 😦 It was good though to be honest the sausage wasn’t up to the standard we had in Germany.
After that we had a proper look around the market. The organisers had created a fun little event and there were a few stalls but – perhaps unsurprisingly – most of what was available was not traditional in the sense of similar European markets: festive snacks, sweets, and food, Christmas decorations and baubles, handcrafted gifts and souvenirs, etc. But still fun to look around but not as Christmassy – for Westerners – as you might have hoped. We did however find just a few German snacks on one stall and so were able to secure an authentic packet of Lebkuchen – a traditional German baked Christmas treat, somewhat resembling gingerbread – to add to our Christmas goodies stockpile.
Full marks to the Goethe Institut for organising this festive event, though a bit of a shame it didn’t quite live up to expectations – perhaps we’ve just been rather spoiled by the markets in Europe!