Christmas Market in Bratislava
I looove Christmas Markets! In my home town in Finland the Christmas market is rather small and it's only open on few weekends before Christmas. But the Christmas markets in Central Europe are world-famous.
First up we visited the old Bratislava Market Hall, which is only open for special occasions, such as Christmas Market. There you can find all kinds of gorgeous hand-made foods and handicrafts. Pastries, chocolate, wine, vegetables, you name it, they had it. The building itself is a beautiful stone edifice built in 1910.
Through the Market Hall you come out into a square where the Christmas Market starts snaking through the Old Town to the Main Square and down to the river.We bought some pancakes (filled with local cheese bryndza, yamm!) and some hot wine. They even have glögi here! Except the range of different glögis here is huge compared to what we have on offer in Finland.
If you really want to infuriate a Finn tell them that they shouldn't be cold because they come from the North. Me and Anni are very annoyed by these inquiries that we get at least twice a day. On Saturday it was about 7 degrees warm here and we were freeezing, so we found refuge by the square in a chocolaterie Maximilian.
It was a wise decision: unlike in Finland here hot chocolate means literally proper chocolate melted into liquid form. I ordered hot chocolate with banana (because chocolate and banana are a holy combination!) and it was heeeaven! So good!
After warming up we continued through the Old Town to the Main Square where they had an ice rink for skating (Slovaks love ice hockey maybe even more than Finns), huge Christmas tree (although Turku has bigger) and a stage for some musical performances.
The main point of Christmas Markets here is in good food and hot drinks. Alcoholic hot drinks I may add. In Finland you can't even dream of finding alcohol in a Christmas Market. Even food is scarce, it's mostly handicrafts. That is why Finland loses 6-0 to these Central European markets. These are all about getting together with friends/family/random people and enjoying food and drinks with them accompanied by music and wonderful atmosphere.
I particularly liked the fact that there were so many different kinds of punches/glögis; flavoured with, for example, ginger and lemon, blueberries, mint, and the most exotic one maybe, with absinth. I stayed far from the absinth one... except I had to have a taste from Anni of course. It was surprisingly OK. Not too strong at all. I myself stayed with blueberry, ginger and the mojito tastes.
Also the street food here in Slovakia is very good and varied. From filled pancakes to burgers to different forms of deep-fried potatoes. Obviously anything that has been deep-fried has to taste good! Also anything that comes with bryndza cheese!
To be honest, I spent time at the Market every single day this weekend. Because it's just so nice there: the lights, the people and above everything the atmosphere. I wish Finland would relax a bit and learn from the Markets here: selling alcohol there doesn't mean that everybody automatically become alcoholics the moment they step into the Market.
So, Bratislava Christmas Market, I very much recommend! In couple of weeks we are going to check out the Christmas Market in Vienna. I've heard great things about it so I'm really looking forward to it.