Mercatini di natale

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All of my Christmases came early this season: with my visiting mum and sister I visited six Christmas markets in November in the space of a week. With so much Christmas spirit it felt strange to then wait another four weeks for Christmas day.

Also, how nice it was to have my mum and sister stay! They came for my 30th birthday (and for Europe, I guess) and we did lots of little trips together. That photo above is them, with their daily vin brulè.

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On one memorable occasion, we visited TWO Christmas markets in one day. Because I was the tour operator and I was that keen.

The wooden decorations are from a little shop within the Merano markets – they sold such cute stuff but I couldn’t bring myself to spend close to 20 euro for a Christmas decoration, and I left empty handed. Those gingerbread weren’t from a market at all, but a bakery in Merano. So festive! They looked better than they tasted.

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Merano, our first stop, is rather adorable. It’s an ex-Austrian spa town so, like other towns in Alto Adige/Sudtirol, the main language is German. I never know if I should speak Italian or attempt my very, very poor German, or if should give it all up and speak English.

*My German is about ten words strong, most of them food related and most of them I can even pronounce properly.

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After Merano we went to Bolzano. As much as I love visiting the markets, I never actually buy anything, except food. And for this Merano and Bolzano didn’t rate so highly for things I wanted to eat. But, they are quite pretty, no?

Ever since our first Christmas here, I have had a mini, mostly internal, dialogue that I should buy things – I can imagine a day in 15 or 150 years time, when a mortgage and school fees have sapped my income and I can’t afford to leave the country, and at that point I might like to have decorations for my tree from Italian Christmas markets. But, I still can’t be bothered buying them, and practically my only Italian-bought Christmas decoration came from Upim (a small department store, similar to Farmers), so I shall have to steal them from my mother instead. You won’t mind, will you mum?

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Those last photos are all of Bolzano – so pretty! See also, no snow. It has been a very dry winter so far, I’ve heard the ski slopes look a little dismal with only a thin track of artificial snow for the skiers to follow. Things might be looking up now, Saturday brought actual, real snow to Rovereto’s mountains and on the ground in the city, so things can only improve.

 

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