Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lviv Christmas Market

Apologies for the seasonal post that is a few months late. We're still cranking out travel photos from  December. 

We first unexpectedly bumped into Christmas Markets in Vienna. Then were ecstatic to find that it wasn't time to say goodbye yet, because they were also in Budapest. Imagine our delight when we heard that Ukraine, our home country, also has their very own Christmas markets! 

Ukrainians celebrate Christmas (or Рiздво) on January 7th, so naturally their Christmas Market opens later in December. The wooden huts were being nailed together and lined with lights during our time in Lviv, and the market was scheduled to officially open on Sunday, the day we were set to leave-- major bummer! The gigantic Christmas tree went up in front of the opera house on our last day and we never got a chance to see it lit up. 

However, a lot of the shops opened early and were already selling baked pastries and bread, handmade gifts for the holidays (like candles, stuffed animals, and jars of honey), and most surprising of all-- Glühwein (German hot mulled wine)! Drinking Glühwein while wandering the Christmas market in the evening was comparable to drinking an ice cold water in the desert. It was so relieving. Some days in Lviv were so frigid cold that all my extremities felt like they might break off if anyone bumped into me. We would hop into McDonalds just to warm up our fingers, since the large crowds there helped conceal us. 

I think Christmas Market hopping around Europe in December should be a tradition. I'm waiting for one to open in Seattle (wishful thinking). 

- Julia

Giant Christmas tree going up in front of the opera house
This man is stringing lights on the shops that are getting ready to open for the season.
The sign above this shop reads "just good bread" and is constructed of bread. Clever!
The honey shop. Don't they look cold?
In case you're curious, 8 hryvnia equals $1 (these two pasties are labeled 6 & 9 hryvnia). 
The shops with the lines were selling Глiнтвейн (Glühwein).
Our cups of Глiнтвейн.
And of course, a Christmas market is always more magical at night.Young soldiers and a guitar. Some things never change (all of our dads have faded Ukrainian photos from their army days of their buddies and guitars).