Photographer:Fotograaf: Jesler van Houdt
Jesler in Freiburg
The inner city lights up with bright red stars and large, white fairy lights. Groups of small children pass me in the morning, singing German Christmas carols from the top of their lungs. I spend the rest of my ride to uni continuing the songs under my breath, thinking back to the time when young-me stomped through the snow to school.
Everyone is in the spirit: my faculty, UCF, is in the midst of its Secret Santa - me in the middle. And just yesterday, the International Club organised a cookie-baking night, where two dozen people from around the world came together to bake Plätzchen - German Christmas cookies. On a side note, it are these very Plätzchen that are fuelling this blog.
But none of this would reflect reality if I wouldn’t mention the most important tradition of them all: Glühwein. Glühwein - mulled wine - is everywhere. It’s used to lure people to different events (among which the cookie-baking night - “Come, we have Glühwein!”). It is used to celebrate community and friendship: I’ve already been invited to UCF’s Christmas party next week. “Put it in your calendars - we have Glühwein!” Almost every conversation I eavesdrop ends in “Shall we grab a quick drink at the Weihnachtsmarkt - the Christmas market?”
Though the last one is a trap: the Christmas market follows unknown rules. When I went there on Sunday two weeks ago, it was closed. When I wanted to grab a steaming glass of Glühwein after a show on Saturday, it was closed. So, it's closed on the weekends, then? No, last Sunday it was opened again. Instead, it seems to magically close whenever I arrive. Though maybe that's a good thing: the Christmas market is so cute, I don't think I'd ever leave.
Jesler van Houdt