...So sudden and flawless and festive; had elves put it there?

 

Picture a whimsical, snowy Christmas village - complete with all the trimmings, from real pine bows to blinking lights to sugar plums and toys for every girl and boy - and that's what I walked into one day in late November in Krakow's main square, Rynek Główny. The only thing missing is Rudolph and his buddies, although I wouldn't be surprised to run into them there! It's quite a magical scene to take in, especially when looking around at the grand surrounding square with all of its own beautiful lights and holiday adornments.

This wonderful winter wonderland is actually Krakow's annual Christmas market, which is made up of dozens of little wooden huts draped in thick garland that sell seasonal foods and beverages, as well as gifts, Christmas decorations, pottery and winter wear. Usually those selling merchandise also have tables laid out in front of their huts to make browsing easier. A stage is also set up in the area for various performances that are put on during the three and a half weeks that the fair is open.

Well, I have a brand new camera finally (the repair wasn't worth it after all), so I'm able to snap away again and use my own shots! Yesss!! :-D It was raining when I took most of the photos for this post, but luckily it adds to the wintry atmosphere!

Welcome to the market! Come inside with me!

 

The main eating area, which smells amazing, thanks to all of the savory aromas wafting from the grills.

One of those tables over on the left is actually in a sleigh!

 

Another eating area with two main stands. Here's one:

 

And the other:

 

Besides all the meat, there are some other yummy items cooking:

 

Grilled mushrooms and seasoned baby potatoes! What a delightful dinner that was! Now I want more...

 

And for dessert - tasty Christmas treats!!! So colorful!!

 

Lots of tourists seem to come especially for the market, and specifically English speakers, since that is the main language I've been hearing in there, hehe! Plenty of Brits, but even some Irish with their awesome accents. :-D

Below is a photo of one of the horse carriages that I talked about in my last post, with the top put on for winter. They are even more fancy looking now, and can often be seen from the market since the area where they wait for customers is nearby. With jingling bells added to the horses pretty outfits now too, for Christmas, I can't help but stare and smile every time a carriage goes by. Too cute!

 

A gorgeous, towering tree that must be at least a couple storeys high, with vertical blue lights, dominates one end of the square:

 

Several bare trees in the Rynek have been bedazzled with both regular lights and special ones that look like dripping icicles. Ooh la la!!

 

I even spotted Santa Claus himself at the market one evening (I said it was a magical place!), as captured in the photo below. Not only did he have his red toy sack with him (probably picking up a few things there), but it also looked like he was having a mug of piwo (beer)...no doubt to relax before his big night coming up in not too long!

 

Christmas cheer can not only be found in the market and the main square but all over Krakow. With all the trees, wreaths, garland, lights, and even huge blow-up figures like they sell at Walmart I've seen everywhere, I'd say this city is good and ready for Christmas! Even private businesses seem to go all out with decorating, and I love it! I will be sad to see it all go, but hopefully it'll linger for awhile like it sometimes does in the US. 

More to come soon about winter here and seasonal festivities and such, but up next it's back to the classroom for some more insight into what it's like to be a student here in Poland!

Until next time,

Sara :-)

 

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